[Federal Register: June 17, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 116)]
[Page 35291-35292]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Proposed Low Effect Habitat Conservation Plan for the Pioneer 
Meadows Development in Washoe County, NV

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; receipt of application.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that Pioneer Meadows 
Development, LLC; BCI Properties, LLC; DBJ Holdings, LLC; BB Investment 
Holdings, LLC; and BPHI, LLC (Applicants) have applied to the Fish and 
Wildlife Service (Service) for an incidental take permit (permit), 
pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 
as amended (Act). The Applicants have requested a 42-month permit to 
authorize the incidental take of the endangered Carson wandering 
skipper (Psuedocopaeodes eunus obscurus, ``skipper'') on 39 acres of 
habitat associated with the development of a mixed residential and 
commercial use community within the city limits of Sparks, Nevada.
    We are requesting comments on the permit application (application) 
and on whether the proposed Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) qualifies 
as a ``low-effect'' HCP eligible for a categorical exclusion under the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended. We 
explain the basis for this possible determination in a draft 
Environmental Action Statement (EAS), which is also available for 
public review.

DATES: Written comments must be received by 5 p.m. on July 18, 2005.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Robert D. Williams, Field 
Supervisor, Fish and Wildlife Service, Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office, 
1340 Financial Boulevard, Suite 234, Reno, Nevada 89502-7147, fax 
number (775) 861-6301 (for further information and instruction on the 
reviewing and commenting process, see Public Review and Comment section 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jody Brown, Deputy Field Supervisor, 
Fish and Wildlife Service (see ADDRESSES) telephone (775) 861-6300.


Availability of Documents

    Individuals wishing copies of the application, proposed HCP, or EAS 
should contact the Service by telephone (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT) or by letter (see ADDRESSES). Copies of the subject documents 
are also available for public inspection during regular business hours 
at the Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES).


    Section 9 of the 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. The definition of take of federally listed 
fish or wildlife under section 3 of the Act is to ``harass, harm, 
pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or collect, or to 
attempt to engage in such conduct'' (16 U.S.C. 1538). The Service may, 
under limited circumstances, 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. The Applicants are seeking a permit for the incidental 
take of the skipper during the requested 42-month term of the permit.
    The Applicants propose to develop and carry out construction 
activities on 610 acres of project lands, comprising a mixed 
residential and commercial use community, including improvements for 
residential, retail, industrial, and office use. Specifically, this 
includes approximately 1,325 single family residences, 800 apartment 
units, a commercial shopping center, a business park, offices, and 
other commercial purposes. Of the project's 610 acres, 39 acres 
(Habitat Area) have been determined to provide suitable habitat for the 
Carson wandering skipper, based on an extensive habitat component 
survey and the sighting of one individual skipper on the Habitat Area. 
The Habitat Area is proposed to be completely developed, which would 
result in the incidental take of the skipper and the permanent loss of 
39 acres of occupied habitat that also support the larval host plant, 
salt grass (Distichlis spicata), nectar sources, and

[[Page 35292]]

alkaline soils. Therefore, the Applicants are requesting a permit for 
only the 39 acres of Habitat Area considered suitable habitat for the 
    The proposed minimization and mitigation measures include the 
acquisition of 39 acres offsite to mitigate for the 39 acres that would 
be lost within the project area. The proposed acquired property would 
provide habitat of equal or greater value than the on-site parcel, 
protect an existing skipper population or occur in the vicinity of an 
existing population, and be acquired within 42 months of permit 
issuance. Management of the acquired off-site lands would be by an 
undetermined third party. Funds would be provided by the Applicants for 
management and monitoring of these mitigation lands in perpetuity.
    Approval of the HCP may qualify for a categorical exclusion under 
NEPA, as provided by the Departmental Manual (516 DM 2, Appendix 1 and 
516 DM 6, Appendix 1). The proposed HCP also may qualify as a ``low-
effect'' plan as defined by the Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook 
(Service, November, 1996). Determination of whether an HCP is low 
effect is based on the following criteria: (1) Minor or negligible 
effects on federally listed, proposed, or candidate species and their 
habitats; (2) minor or negligible effects on other environmental values 
or resources; and (3) impacts of the proposed HCP, considered together 
with the impacts of other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable 
similarly situated projects, would not result, over time, in 
significant cumulative effects to the environmental values or 
resources. If the Service determines that the Applicants' HCP qualifies 
as a low-effect HCP, further NEPA documentation would not be required.

Public Review and Comment

    If you wish to comment on the application, EAS, or the proposed 
HCP, you may submit your comments to the address listed in the 
ADDRESSES section of this document. We will evaluate this application, 
associated documents, and comments submitted thereon to determine 
whether the application meets the requirements of section 10(a) of the 
Act and NEPA regulations. Individual respondents may request that we 
withhold their home address from the record, which we will honor to the 
extent allowable by law. There also may be circumstances in which we 
would withhold from the record your name and/or address; you must make 
this request prominently at the beginning of your comment. Anonymous 
comments will not be considered. All submissions from organizations or 
businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as 
representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, are 
available for public inspection in their entirety.
    If we determine that the permit requirements are met, we will issue 
an incidental take permit under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act to the 
Applicants for take of the skipper, incidental to otherwise lawful 
activities in accordance with the terms of the permit. We will not make 
our final decision until after the end of the 30-day comment period and 
will fully consider all comments received during the comment period.
    The Service provides this notice pursuant to section 10 (c) of the 
Act and pursuant to implementing regulations for NEPA (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: June 13, 2005.
Ken McDermond
Deputy Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Sacramento, 
[FR Doc. 05-11977 Filed 6-16-05; 8:45 am]