[Federal Register: January 13, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 8)]
[Page 1998-1999]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Draft Environmental Assessment and Habitat Conservation Plan and 
Receipt of Application for an Incidental Take Permit for Livermore Area 
in Larimer County, CO

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability and receipt of application.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the Livermore Area 
Landowners Group, The Nature Conservancy and the State of Colorado 
(Applicants) have applied to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(Service) for an incidental take permit pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) 
of the Endangered Species Act (Act) of 1973, as amended. The proposed 
permit would authorize the incidental take of the Preble's meadow 
jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius preblei) (Preble's), federally listed as 
threatened, through loss and modification of its habitat associated 
with development of new agricultural and residential structures and 
ongoing agricultural activities in the Livermore Area of northern 
Larimer County, Colorado. The duration of the permit would be 30 years 
from the date of issuance.
    We announce the receipt of the Applicant's incidental take permit 
application, which includes an Environmental Assessment (EA) and the 
Livermore Area Habitat Conservation Plan (LAHCP) for the Preble's in 
the Livermore Area of Larimer County, Colorado. The proposed EA and 
LAHCP are available for public review and comment. They fully describe 
the proposed project and the measures the Applicants would undertake to 
minimize and mitigate project impacts to the Preble's.
    The Service requests comments on the EA and LAHCP and associated 
documents for the proposed issuance of the incidental take permit. All 
comments on the EA and permit application will become part of the 
administrative record and will be available to the public. We provide 
this notice pursuant to section 10(a) of the Act and National 
Environmental Policy Act regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

DATES: Written comments on the permit application, EA and LAHCP should 
be received on or before March 15, 2004.

ADDRESSES: Comments regarding the permit application, EA, and LAHCP 
should be addressed to Mary Henry, Assistant Regional Director, 
Ecological Services, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 25486, 
Denver Federal Center, Denver, Colorado 80225-0486. (Street location is 
134 Union Boulevard, Lakewood, Colorado 80228-1807). Comments also may 
be submitted by facsimile to (303) 236-0027.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bob McCue, Ecological Services Program 
Supervisor (South), telephone (303) 236-7400, extension 252.


Document Availability

    Individuals wishing copies of the EA and LAHCP and associated 
documents for review should immediately contact the above office. 
Documents also will be available for public inspection, by appointment, 
during normal business hours at the above address.


    Section 9 of the Act and Federal regulations prohibit the ``take'' 
of a species listed as endangered or threatened. Take is defined under 
the Act, in part, as to kill, harm, or harass a federally listed 
species. However, the Service may issue permits to authorize 
``incidental take'' of listed species under limited circumstances. 
Incidental take is defined under the Act as take of a listed species 
that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, the carrying out of an 
otherwise lawful activity under limited circumstances. Regulations 
governing permits for threatened species are promulgated in 50 CFR 
    The Livermore Planning Area encompasses 114,634 hectares (283,266 
acres) of land utilized primarily for agricultural purposes with a 
limited amount proposed for development. The applicants are making 
participation in the LAHCP available to all landowners within the 
Livermore Planning Area who voluntarily agree to participate. Within 
the planning area, the LAHCP proposes a 8,626.3-hectare (21,316-acre) 
conservation zone (CZ) consisting of corridors along 323.5 kilometers 
(201 miles) of streams.
    The applicants have determined that the activities covered by the 
LAHCP could impact 1,358.4 hectares (3,356.7 acres) of Preble's habitat 
along 46.3 stream kilometers (28.8 stream miles), if all lands 
containing potential Preble's habitat within the CZ of the planning 
area are enrolled in the LAHCP. The

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maximum level of permanent impacts allowable under the LAHCP within the 
portion of the CZ owned by private landowners would be 20 percent (3 
percent not requiring mitigation and 17 percent requiring mitigation) 
and 1 percent on lands owned by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Colorado 
Division of Wildlife (CDOW), and the State Land Board (SLB) (not 
requiring mitigation). In all cases habitat connectivity would be 
    In addition to the proposed action, alternatives considered 
included--(a) no action, (b) development of individual conservation 
easements, and (c) waiting for Larimer County to develop and gain 
approval of a county-wide HCP. The draft EA analyzes the direct, 
indirect, and cumulative impacts of the proposed activities and 
mitigation on the Preble's, and also on other threatened or endangered 
species, vegetation, wildlife, wetlands, geology/soils, land use, 
cultural resources, air quality, and water resources and quality.
    Two federally listed species, the threatened Preble's and the 
threatened bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), occur onsite. 
However, only the Preble's has the potential to be adversely affected 
by the activities covered in the LAHCP. To mitigate impacts that may 
result from incidental take (exceeding the limit of 3 percent on 
private land and 1 percent on the TNC, CDOW, and SLB land), the LAHCP 
provides for mitigation in the form of either (1) conservation of 
existing habitat at a ratio of 4:1 (4 acres conserved for every 1 acre 
of habitat in the CZ impacted), or (2) habitat improvement or creation 
at a ratio of 2:1. Additionally, the LAHCP calls for mitigation of 
temporary impacts to the CZ at a 1:1 ratio and identifies methods for 
and timing of reseeding of temporarily disturbed areas. A monitoring 
program would be implemented to determine whether the LAHCP is 
achieving the biological goals and objectives outlined in the plan.
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(c) of the Act. We 
will evaluate the permit application, the EA/LAHCP, and comments 
submitted therein to determine whether the application meets the 
requirements of section 10(a) of the Act. If it is determined that 
those requirements are met, a permit will be issued for the incidental 
take of the Preble's in conjunction with the development of new 
agricultural and residential structures and ongoing agricultural 
activities in the Livermore Area of northern Larimer County, Colorado. 
The final permit decision will be made no sooner than 60 days after the 
date of this notice.

    Dated: December 29, 2003.
Ralph O. Morgenweck,
Regional Director, Denver, Colorado.
[FR Doc. 04-631 Filed 1-12-04; 8:45 am]