[Federal Register: July 22, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 140)]
[Page 43862-43864]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement for an Amendment 
to the Incidental Take Permit for the San Bruno Mountain Habitat 
Conservation Plan, San Mateo County, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent.


SUMMARY: Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) advises the public that we 
intend to gather information necessary to prepare, in coordination with 
the County of San Mateo (County), City of Brisbane (Brisbane), City of 
Daly City (Daly City), and City of South San Francisco (South San 
Francisco) (hereafter collectively referred to as the Permittees), a 
joint Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/
EIR) on an amendment to the San Bruno Mountain Habitat Conservation 
Plan (Plan). Consistent with a consent decree and final judgment, these 
jurisdictions have requested an amendment to add four species to their 
incidental take permit (PRT 2-9818) originally issued on March 4, 1983 
for the Plan. The Plan is being amended under section 10(a)(1)(B) of 
the Federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended.
    The Service provides this notice to: (1) Describe the proposed 
action and possible alternatives; (2) advise other Federal and State 
agencies, affected Tribes, and the public of our intent to prepare an 
EIS/EIR; (3) announce the initiation of a public scoping period; and 
(4) obtain suggestions and information on the scope of issues and 
alternatives to be included in the EIS/EIR.

DATES: Public meetings will be held on: Thursday, July 29, 2004 from 
2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The meetings will 
held in an informational and workshop format. Only written comments 
will be accepted. Written comments should be received on or before 
August 23, 2004.

ADDRESSES: The public meetings will be held at: Mission Blue Community 
Center, 475 Mission Blue Drive, Brisbane, California from 2:30 p.m. to 
4:30 p.m.; and Brisbane Community Center, 250 Visitacion Avenue, ground 
floor, Brisbane, California from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Information, 
written comments, or questions related to the preparation of the EIS/
EIR and NEPA process should be submitted to Lori Rinek, Chief, 
Conservation Planning and Recovery Division, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, 2800 Cottage Way, W-2605, 
Sacramento, California 95825 (facsimile: 916-414-6713).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Craig Aubrey, Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist, or Lori Rinek, Chief, Conservation Planning and Recovery 
Division at the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office at (916) 414-6600.


Reasonable Accommodation

    Persons needing reasonable accommodations in order to attend and 
participate in the public meeting should contact Lori Rinek at (916) 
414-6600 as soon as possible. In order to allow sufficient time to 
process requests, please call no later than 1 week before the public 
meeting. Information regarding this proposed action is available in 
alternative formats upon request.


    Section 9 of the Endangered Species Act (Act) (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.) and Federal regulations prohibit the ``take'' of a fish or 
wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened. Under the Act, the 
following activities are defined as take: harass, harm, pursue, hunt, 
shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or

[[Page 43863]]

collect listed animal species, or attempt to engage in such conduct (16 
U.S.C. 1538). However, under section 10(a) of the Act, we may issue 
permits to authorize ``incidental take'' of listed species. 
``Incidental take'' is defined by the Act as take that is incidental 
to, and not the purpose of, carrying out an otherwise lawful activity.
Regulations governing permits for threatened species and endangered
species, respectively, are at 50 CFR 17.32 and 50 CFR 17.22.
Take of listed plant species is not prohibited under the Act and
cannot be authorized under a section 10 permit. We propose to include
plant species on the permit in recognition of the conservation benefits
provided for them under the Plan. These species would also receive no
surprises assurances under the Service's ``No Surprises'' regulation
that are then in effect.
The Service originally issued an incidental take permit (Permit PRT
2-9818) to the Permittees for the Plan on March 4, 1983. The permit
authorized the incidental take of three federally endangered species:
the San Bruno elfin butterfly (Callophrys mossii bayensis), the mission
blue butterfly (Icaricia icarioides missionensis), and the San
Francisco garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis tetrataenia) and has since
been amended on four occasions (although the number of species listed
on the permit has remained constant). The Permittees intend to request
that the amended permit include those species covered in the original
incidental take permit, as well as the endangered callippe silverspot
butterfly (Speyeria callippe callippe) and San Francisco lessingia
(Lessingia germanorum germanorum), the threatened bay checkerspot
butterfly (Euphydryas editha bayensis), and unlisted San Bruno Mountain
manzanita (Arctostaphylos imbricata). Species may be added or deleted
during the course of Plan development based on further analysis, new
information, agency consultation, and public comment. The amended
permit is needed to authorize take of listed animal species that could
occur as a result of implementation activities covered under the Plan.
The Plan is being amended, in part, to comply with a January 6,
2003, consent decree and final judgement, which the Service agreed to
amend the Plan by July 2005. Specifically, the Service agreed to
consult, pursuant to section 7(a)(2) of the Act, on: (1) The impacts of
the Plan on the endangered callippe silverspot, mission blue, and San
Bruno elfin butterflies, and on critical habitat of the threatened bay
checkerspot butterfly; (2) the Permittees' application for an amendment
to the Plan; (3) the adequacy of existing Plan funding; (4) the
adequacy of the Plan's minimization and mitigation measures; (5) the
extent to which non-native species invasion is affecting the callippe
silverspot, mission blue, and San Bruno elfin butterflies on the
mountain; and (6) the extent to which management and restoration of
conserved habitat on the mountain are being conducted according to the
Plan. The amendment will also update the Plan so that it is consistent
with Service regulations and policy, to include such ``No Surprises''
regulations as may then be in effect.
The Plan area comprises approximately 3,600 acres of land in
northern San Mateo County, California. Most of San Bruno Mountain is
unincorporated land, surrounded on all sides by the cities of Brisbane,
Daly City, Colma, and South San Francisco. Topographically, the
Mountain is made up of two ridges. The larger, main ridge or southeast
ridge, reaches an elevation of slightly over 1,300 feet. The smaller
ridge on the northeastern side of the Mountain reaches an average
elevation of 840 feet.
Implementation activities that may be covered under the amended
Plan include activities associated with commercial and residential
development on planned and unplanned parcels in the Plan area,
maintenance activities, and vegetation management on conserved lands.
Maintenance activities covered in the Plan amendment may include those
conducted by: the Pacific Gas & Electric Company on existing
transmission and gas lines, the San Francisco Water Department on
existing water lines, the San Mateo County Department of Public Works
and Department of Parks and Recreation for existing road and other
facilities, and the California Department of Forestry for maintaining
established fire breaks on the Mountain. Habitat maintenance and
management activities covered under the amended Plan may include hand
and mechanical removal of invasive plants, herbicide treatments,
prescribed burning, and grazing. Under the amended Plan, the effects on
covered species of the covered activities are expected to be minimized
and mitigated through participation in a conservation program, which
will be fully described in the amended Plan. This conservation program
would focus on providing long-term protection of covered species by
protecting biological communities in the Plan area.
Components of this conservation program are now under consideration
by the Service and the Permittees. These components will likely include
avoidance and minimization measures, monitoring, adaptive management,
and mitigation measures consisting of preservation, restoration, and
enhancement of habitat.

Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report

The Permittees, the Service, and the County of San Mateo have
selected Jones & Stokes, Associates to prepare the Draft EIS/EIR. The
joint document will be prepared in compliance with NEPA and the
California Environmental Quality Act. Although Jones & Stokes will
prepare the EIS/EIR, the Service will be responsible for the scope and
content of the document for NEPA purposes, and the County of San Mateo
will be responsible for the scope and content of the EIR.
The EIS/EIR will consider the proposed action (i.e., the issuance
of a section 10(a)(1)(B) permit under the Act), and a reasonable range
of alternatives. A detailed description of the proposed action and
alternatives will be included in the EIS/EIR. It is anticipated that
several alternatives will be developed, which may vary by the level of
conservation, impacts caused by the proposed activities, permit area,
covered species, or a combination of these factors. Additionally, a No
Action alternative will be considered. Under the No Action alternative,
the Service would not issue a section 10(a)(1)(B) permit.
The EIS/EIR will also identify potentially significant impacts on
biological resources, land use, air quality, water quality, mineral
resources, water resources, economics, and other environmental issues
that could occur directly or indirectly with implementation of the
proposed action and alternatives. For all potentially significant
impacts, the EIS/EIR will identify mitigation measures where feasible
to reduce these impacts to a level below significance.
Environmental review of the EIS/EIR will be conducted in accordance
with the requirements of NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), its
implementing regulations (40 CFR 1500-1508), other applicable
regulations, and Service procedures for compliance with those
regulations. This notice is being furnished in accordance with 40 CFR
1501.7 of NEPA to obtain suggestions and information from other
agencies and the public on the scope of issues and alternatives to be
addressed in the EIS/EIR. The primary purpose of the scoping process is
to identify important issues raised by the public, related to the
proposed action. Written comments from interested parties are invited
to ensure that the full range of issues

[[Page 43864]]

related to the permit amendment request are identified. You may submit
written comments by mail or facsimile transmission (see ADDRESSES). All
comments received, including names and addresses, will become part of
the official administrative record and may be made available to the

Dated: July 16, 2004.
Vicki L. Campbell,
Acting Deputy Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Region 1,
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 04-16663 Filed 7-21-04; 8:45 am]