[Federal Register: July 23, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 141)]
[Page 44054-44055]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Availability of Draft Environmental Assessment and Receipt of an 
Application for an Incidental Take Permit for the Ranch View Terrace 
Project, University of California, Santa Cruz County, CA

AGENCY: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: Regents of the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) 
have applied to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service or ``we'') 
for an incidental take permit (ITP) pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of 
the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We are 
considering issuing a 60-year permit to the applicant that would 
authorize take for the federally listed Ohlone tiger beetle (Cicendela 
ohlone) and the California red-legged frog (Rana aurora draytonii) 
incidental to otherwise lawful activities associated with the proposed 
Ranch View Terrace faculty housing development and Emergency Response 
Center. The proposed take would occur within the southwestern portion 
of the UCSC campus through the construction and occupation/operation of 
the proposed Ranch View Terrace faculty housing development, a portion 
of the proposed Emergency Response Center, and implementation of the 
habitat conservation plan (HCP).
    We request comments from the public on the permit application and 
an Environmental Assessment, both of which are available for review. 
The permit application includes the proposed HCP and an accompanying 
Implementing Agreement. The HCP describes the proposed action and the 
measures that the applicant will undertake to minimize and mitigate 
take of the red-legged frog and the tiger beetle. To review the permit 
application or Environmental Assessment, see ``Availability of 
Documents'' in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before September 21, 

[[Page 44055]]

ADDRESSES: Please address written comments to Diane Noda, Field 
Supervisor, Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, California 93003. You may 
also send comments by facsimile to (805) 644-3958.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jen Lechuga, HCP Coordinator, (see 
ADDRESSES) telephone: (805) 644-1766.


Availability of Documents

    You may obtain copies of the draft documents by contacting the 
Assistant Field Supervisor (see ADDRESSES). Copies of the draft 
documents are also available for public inspection and review at the 
following locations: (1) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ventura Field 
Office, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, California 93003; (2) City 
of Santa Cruz Public Library, 224 Church Street, Santa Cruz, California 
95060; (3) UCSC McHenry Library, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, 
California 95064; and (4) Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office Internet 
site: http://ventura.fws.gov.


    Section 9 of the Act and Federal regulations prohibit the ``take'' 
of fish and wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened. Take 
of federally listed fish and wildlife is defined under the Act as 
including to ``harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, 
capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any 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 incidental take permits for threatened and endangered species 
are found at 50 CFR 17.32 and 17.22.
    In 1989, a long-range development plan (LRDP) was prepared for the 
UCSC, to provide a plan for anticipated campus growth through the year 
2005. The Ranch View Terrace project is consistent with the LRDP and is 
necessary because the current supply of affordable on-campus housing 
for faculty is inadequate to meet current and future demands. The 
proposed Ranch View Terrace development and Emergency Response Center 
would partially implement the LRDP's program for campus growth to an 
enrollment of 15,000 students by 2005 by providing additional faculty 
housing and emergency response services to support the campus 
population. The tiger beetle and red-legged frog may be affected by the 
construction, occupation and operation of the Ranch View Terrace 
development and a portion of the Emergency Response Center, and the 
long-term monitoring and management of mitigation lands under the HCP.
    The activities that would be covered by the proposed permit include 
the construction, occupation, and operation of a 13-acre faculty 
housing development and a 0.2-acre equipment storage site and building 
to support the Emergency Response Center. In addition, the long-term 
monitoring and management of mitigation lands under the HCP, developed 
to fulfill the requirements of the section 10(a)(1)(B) permit, would be 
covered by the proposed permit.
    Our Environmental Assessment considers the environmental 
consequences of four alternatives, including: (1) The No Action 
Alternative, which consists of no development and no permit issuance; 
(2) the Proposed Action Alternative which consists of development of 
Ranch View Terrace and the Emergency Response Center with the issuance 
of the ITP and implementation of the HCP and Implementing Agreement; 
(3) the Off-Campus Housing Alternative, which consists of relocation of 
the project to an off-campus location known as the Swenson Site; and 
(4) the Reduced Project on Inclusion Area D Site which would cover a 
reduced area for the Ranch View Terrace development. Under the third 
alternative, the 11-acre site is located on Shaffer Road, adjacent to 
the UCSC Long Marine Laboratory; this alternative would require the 
development of a separate HCP and issuance of a separate ITP by the 
Service due to the presence of suitable red-legged frog and tiger 
beetle habitat. Under the fourth alternative, the housing development 
would still be located on Inclusion Area D, but would be located on the 
northwest area of the site and encompass approximately half the number 
of housing units, reduced landscaping, and fewer community-related 
amenities; the 0.2-acre equipment storage facility for the Emergency 
Response Center would still be constructed.
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(a) of the Act and 
the regulations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 
(40 CFR 1506.6). Pursuant to an order issued on June 10, 2004, by the 
District Court for the District of Columbia in Spirit of the Sage 
Council v. Norton Civil Action No. 98-1873 (D. D.C.), the Service is 
enjoined from issuing new section 10(a)(1)(B) permits or related 
documents containing ``No Surprises'' assurances, as defined by the 
Service's ``No Surprises'' rule published at 63 FR 8859 (February 23, 
1998), until such time as the Service adopts new permit revocation 
rules specifically applicable to section 10(a)(1)(B) permits in 
compliance with the public notice and comment requirements of the 
Administrative Procedures Act. This notice concerns a step in the 
review and processing of a section 10(a)(1)(B) permit and any 
subsequent permit issuance will be in accordance with the Court's 
order. Until such time as the June 10, 2004, order has been rescinded 
or the Service's authority to issue permits with ``No Surprises'' 
assurances has been otherwise reinstated, the Service will not approve 
any incidental take permits or related documents that contain ``No 
Surprises'' assurances.
    All comments that we receive, including names and addresses, will 
become part of the official administrative record and may be made 
available to the public. We will evaluate the application, associated 
documents, and comments submitted thereon to determine whether the 
application meets the requirements of NEPA regulations and section 
10(a) of the Act. If we determine that those requirements are met, we 
will issue a permit to the applicant for the incidental take of red-
legged frog and tiger beetle. We will make our final permit decision no 
sooner than 60 days from the date of this notice.

    Dated: July 19, 2004.
Paul Henson,
Acting Deputy Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Sacramento, 
[FR Doc. 04-16812 Filed 7-22-04; 8:45 am]