[Federal Register: September 11, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 175)]
[Page 53466-53467]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Notice of Intent to Conduct Public Scoping Meeting and Prepare an 
Environmental Document for the Stanford University Habitat Conservation 
Plan, Palo Alto, CA

AGENCIES: Fish and Wildlife Service, (FWS), Interior; National Marine 
Fisheries Service, (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration, (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION:  Notice of intent.


SUMMARY:  The Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries 
Service (Services) advise interested parties of their intent to conduct 
public scoping meeting under the National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA) necessary to gather information to prepare an environmental 
assessment (EA) or environmental impact statement (EIS), (collectively 
referred to as ``environmental document''). The Services anticipate 
permit applications from Stanford University (Stanford) submitted under 
the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for the incidental take of federally 
listed species. The permit applications would be associated with the 
Stanford University Habitat Conservation Plan (Plan) at Stanford in 
Palo Alto, CA. We provide this notice to: describe the proposed Plan 
and possible alternatives; advise other Federal and state agencies, 
affected Tribes, and the public of our intent to prepare an 
environmental document; announce the initiation of a public scoping 
period; obtain information to assist the Services in determining 
whether to write an EA or EIS; and obtain suggestions and information 
on the scope of issues to be included in the environmental document.

DATES:  A public meeting will be held on September 21, 2006, from 4 to 
6 pm. Written comments should be received on or before October 11, 

ADDRESSES:  The meeting will be held on the Stanford Campus at Jordan 
Hall, 450 Serra Mall, Building 420, Room 040, Stanford, CA. Written 
comments or questions relating to the preparation of an environmental 
document and the NEPA process should be addressed to: Ms. Lori Rinek, 
Chief, Conservation Planning and Recovery Division, Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, 2800 Cottage Way, Room W-
2605, Sacramento, CA 95825, facsimile 916-414-6713; Gary Stern, San 
Francisco Bay Region Team Leader, National Marine Fisheries Service, 
Santa Rosa Area Office, 777 Sonoma Avenue, Room 325, Santa Rosa, CA 
95404, facsimile 707-578-3435; or Stanford.HCP@NOAA.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  Sheila Larsen, Fish and Wildlife 
Service or Lori Rinek, Chief, Conservation Planning and Recovery 
Division, Fish and Wildlife Service, at the address shown above or at 
916-414-6600, or Gary Stern, National Marine Fisheries Service, at the 
address shown or at 707-575-6060.



    Section 9 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1532 et seq.) and implementing 
regulations prohibit the ``taking'' of fish and wildlife species listed 
as endangered or threatened . The term ``take'' is defined under the 
ESA to mean harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, 
capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct (16 
U.S.C. 1532(19)). Harm is defined by the FWS to include significant 
habitat modification or degradation where it actually kills or injures 
wildlife by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, 
including breeding, feeding, and sheltering (50 CFR 17.3). NMFS' 
definition of harm includes significant habitat modification or 
degradation where it actually kills or injures fish or wildlife by 
significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including 
breeding, feeding, spawning, migrating, rearing, and sheltering (64 FR 
60727, November 8, 1999).
    Section 10 of the ESA specifies requirements for the issuance of 
incidental take permits (permits) to non-Federal landowners for the 
take of endangered and threatened species. Any proposed take must be 
incidental to otherwise lawful activities, not appreciably reduce the 
likelihood of the survival and recovery of the species in the wild and 
minimize and mitigate the impacts of such take to the maximum extent 
practicable. In addition, an applicant must prepare a habitat 
conservation plan describing the impact that will likely result from 
such taking, the strategy for minimizing and mitigating the incidental 
take, the funding available to implement such steps, alternatives to 
such taking, and the reason such alternatives are not being 
implemented. To obtain a permit, the applicant must prepare a habitat 
conservation plan that meets the issuance criteria established by the 
Services (50 CFR 17.22(b)(2) and 222.307). Should permits be issued, 
the permits would include assurances under the Services' ``No 
Surprises'' regulations [50 CFR 17.22(b)(5) and 17.32(b)(5)].
    Currently, three federally listed species are proposed for coverage 
under the Plan, and one additional species that may be listed in the 
future is also proposed to be covered. The federally listed species are 
the threatened California red-legged frog (Rana aurora draytonii), 
California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense), and steelhead 
(Oncorhynchus mykiss). The one unlisted species proposed for coverage 
is the western pond turtle (Clemmys marmorata). Species may be added or 
deleted during the course of Plan development based on further 

Proposed Plan

    Stanford is a major research university that owns 8,180 acres of 
contiguous land in northern Santa Clara County and southern San Mateo 
County. These lands consist of both developed and undeveloped areas. 
Most of the urban facilities, including academic buildings, housing, 
roads, pedestrian/bicycle pathways, and recreational facilities are 
located in the central part of the campus. A generally undeveloped 
``Academic Reserve'' outside this core academic area is used for low 
intensity academic uses. Stanford maintains three open water 
reservoirs: Lagunita, Felt Lake, and Searsville. Some of Stanford's 
lands are leased for interim non-academic purposes.
    Activities proposed to be covered by the Plan (Covered Activities) 
are generally activities related to water management, academic uses, 
maintenance and construction of new urban infrastructure, recreational 
and athletic uses, campus management and maintenance, activities 
carried out by Stanford's tenants and future development.
    The draft Plan to be prepared by Stanford in support of the permit 
applications will describe the impacts of take on proposed covered 
species, and will propose a conservation strategy to minimize and 
mitigate those impacts on each covered species to the maximum extent 
practicable. Components of a

[[Page 53467]]

conservation program are now under consideration by the Services and 
Stanford. These components will likely include the following 
conservation strategy. Stanford has divided its 8,180 acres into four 
zones according to their relative habitat value for the Covered 
Species. Zone 1 (approximately 1,150 acres) supports, or provides 
critical resources for, one or more Covered Species. Zone 2 
(approximately 1,260 acres) is occasionally occupied by, or 
occasionally provides some of the resources used by, one or more 
Covered Species. Zone 3 (approximately 2,500 acres) consists of 
generally undeveloped open space lands that have some biological value, 
but provide only limited and indirect benefit to the Covered Species. 
Zone 4 (approximately 3,270 acres) consists of urbanized areas that do 
not provide any habitat value for any Covered Species. The draft Plan 
will identify alternatives considered by Stanford and will explain why 
those alternatives were not selected.
    To mitigate unavoidable impacts to proposed Covered Species from 
Covered Activities, the mitigation program will consist mainly of 
preserving large areas of the highest quality habitats and managing 
them for the benefit of the Covered Species. To ensure that mitigation 
precedes impacts, Stanford will designate several large preserve areas 
during the planning process and apply preservation ``credits'' against 
land development and related impacts over the course of the Plan. 
Stanford will also restore habitat values in certain areas in which 
habitat quality has been degraded over time through a variety of land 

National Environmental Policy Act

    NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) requires that Federal agencies 
conduct an environmental analysis of their proposed actions to 
determine if the actions may significantly affect the human 
environment. To assist in determining whether this project would cause 
significant impacts that would result in the preparation of an EIS 
refer to 40 CFR 1508.27 or 40 CFR 1508.2. These sections provide 
information on how to determine whether effects are significant under 
NEPA and would therefore trigger the preparation of an EIS. Under NEPA, 
a reasonable range of alternatives to proposed projects is developed 
and considered in the Services environmental review. Alternatives 
considered for analysis in an environmental document may include: 
variations in the scope of covered activities; variations in the 
location, amount, and type of conservation; variations in permit 
duration; or, a combination of these elements. In addition, the 
environmental document will identify potentially significant direct, 
indirect, and cumulative impacts on biological resources, land use, air 
quality, water quality, water resources, and socioeconomics, as well as 
other environmental issues that could occur with the implementation of 
the proposed actions and alternatives. For all potentially significant 
impacts, the environmental document will identify avoidance, 
minimization, and mitigation measures to reduce these impacts, where 
feasible, to a level below significance.
    The primary purpose of the scoping process is for the public to 
assist the Services in developing the EA or EIS by identifying 
important issues and alternatives related to the proposed action. The 
Services propose to serve as co-lead Federal agencies under NEPA for 
preparation of the environmental documents. Written comments from 
interested parties are welcome to ensure that the full range of issues 
related to the permit requests is identified. All comments and 
materials received, including names and addresses, will become part of 
the administrative record and may be released to the public.
    Comments and materials received will be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the offices 
listed in the ADDRESSES section.
    The Services request that comments be specific. In particular, we 
request information regarding: the direct, indirect, and cumulative 
impacts that implementation of the proposed Plan could have on 
endangered and threatened and other covered species, and their 
communities and habitats; other possible alternatives that meet the 
purpose and need; potential adaptive management and/or monitoring 
provisions; funding issues; existing environmental conditions in the 
plan area; other plans or projects that might be relevant to this 
proposed project; and minimization and mitigation efforts.
    The environmental review of this project will be conducted in 
accordance with the requirements of the NEPA of 1969 as amended (42 
U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), Council on the Environmental Quality Regulations 
(40 CFR parts 1500-1508), other applicable Federal laws and 
regulations, and policies and procedures of the Services 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 environmental document.

Reasonable Accommodation

    Persons needing reasonable accommodations in order to attend and 
participate in the public meeting should contact Gary Stern at 707-575-
6060 as soon as possible. In order to allow sufficient time to process 
requests, please call no later than one week before the public meeting. 
Information regarding this proposed action is available in alternative 
formats upon request.

    Dated: August 31, 2006.
Paul Henson,
Acting Deputy Manager, Fish and Wildlife Service, California/Nevada 
Operations Office.

    Dated: August 31, 2006.
Angela Somma,
Chief, Endangered Species Division, National Marine Fisheries Service, 
Office of Protected Resources.
[FR Doc. 06-7572 Filed 9-8-06; 8:45 am]