[Federal Register: September 5, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 171)]
[Page 52339-52340]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Proposed Safe Harbor Agreement for the California Red-Legged Frog 
and the California Tiger Salamander for Landowners Restoring and 
Enhancing Stock Ponds in Alameda County, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability: receipt of application; request for 


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the Alameda County 
Resource Conservation District (Applicant) has applied to the U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service (Service) for an enhancement of survival permit 
pursuant to Section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 
as amended (Act). The permit application includes a proposed Safe 
Harbor Agreement (Agreement) between the Applicant and the Service for 
the threatened California red-legged frog (CRLF) (Rana aurora 
draytonii) and the California tiger salamander (CTS) (Ambystoma 
californiense). The Agreement and permit application are available for 
public comment.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before October 5, 

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Shannon Holbrook, U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, 2800 Cottage 
Way, W-2605, Sacramento, CA 95825, or sent by facsimile to (916) 414-

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Shannon Holbrook, Sacramento Fish 
and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES); telephone: (916) 414-6600.


Availability of Documents

    You may obtain copies of the documents for review by contacting the 
individual named above. You may also make an appointment to view the 
documents at the above address during normal business hours.


    Under a Safe Harbor Agreement, participating landowners voluntarily 
undertake management activities on their property to enhance, restore, 
or maintain habitat benefiting species listed under the Act. Safe 
Harbor Agreements, and the subsequent enhancement of survival permits 
that are issued pursuant to Section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 
1531 et seq.), encourage private and other non-Federal property owners 
to implement conservation efforts for listed species by assuring 
property owners that they will not be subjected to increased property 
use restrictions as a result of their efforts to attract listed species 
to their property, or to increase the numbers or distribution of listed 
species already on their property. Application requirements and 
issuance criteria for enhancement of survival permits through Safe 
Harbor Agreements are found in 50 CFR 17.22(c).
    We have worked with the Applicant to develop this proposed 
Agreement for the conservation of the CRLF and CTS on private ranches 
in Alameda County, California. The properties subject to this Agreement 
consist of those non-Federal lands in Alameda County, California, on 
which existing stock ponds will be restored and maintained pursuant to 
a written agreement between the Natural Resources Conservation Service 
(NRCS) and the landowner.
    This Agreement provides for the creation of a Program in which 
private landowners (Program Participants), who enter into written 
cooperative agreements with the Applicant pursuant to the terms of the 
Agreement, will restore, enhance, and maintain stock ponds in ways 
beneficial to the CRLF and CTS. Such cooperative agreements will be for 
a term of at least 10 years. The proposed duration of the Agreement is 
50 years, and the proposed term of the enhancement of survival permit 
is 50 years. The Agreement fully describes the proposed Program, 
management activities to be undertaken by Program Participants, and the 
conservation benefits expected to be gained for the CRLF and CTS.
    Upon approval of this Agreement, and consistent with the Service's 
Safe Harbor Policy published in the Federal Register on June 17, 1999 
(64 FR 32717), the Service would issue a permit to the Applicants 
authorizing take of CRLF and CTS incidental to the implementation of 
the management activities specified in the cooperative agreements, 
incidental to other lawful uses of the properties, including normal, 
routine land management activities, or to return to pre-Agreement 
    To benefit the CRLF and CTS, Program Participants will agree to 
undertake management activities specified in their written cooperative 
agreements with the Applicant. Such management activities shall provide 
for the restoration and maintenance of an existing stock pond. These 
practices have been designed to achieve a high degree of likelihood 
that the pond will retain water through the rearing season of the CRLF 
and CTS so as to allow metamorphosis of their larvae, vegetation and 
grazing management appropriate to the conservation needs of the 
species, effective control of non-native predators, and related 
measures. The object of such measures is to enhance the potential of 
existing stock ponds to serve as effective breeding sites for the CRLF 
and CTS while simultaneously providing water for use by livestock. Take 
of CRLF or CTS incidental to the aforementioned activities is unlikely; 
however, it is possible that in the course of such activities or other 
lawful activities on the enrolled property, a Program Participant could 
incidentally take a CRLF or CTS, thereby necessitating take authority 
under the permit.
    Both the CRLF and CTS rely on a variety of habitats for various 
stages of their life cycle, including pond and riparian habitat, upland 
habitat, and moist refuges. Pre-Agreement conditions (baseline), 
consisting of the size of existing ponds and riparian habitat, acreage 
of appropriate upland habitat and a characterization and location of 
moist refuges associated with ponds, shall be determined for each 
enrolled property as provided in the Agreement. In order to receive the 
above assurances regarding incidental take of CRLF and CTS, a Program 
Participant must maintain baseline on the enrolled property. The 
Agreement and requested enhancement of survival permit will allow each 
Program Participant to return to baseline conditions after the end of 
the term of the 10-year cooperative agreement and prior to the 
expiration of the 50-year permit, if so desired by the Applicants.
    Consistent with the Service's Safe Harbor Policy (64 FR 32717 et 
seq.), the proposed Agreement and requested permit also extend certain 
assurances to those lands that are immediately adjacent to lands on 
which restoration activities occur. To receive such assurances, a 
neighboring landowner must enter into a written agreement with the 
Service that specifies the baseline conditions on the property. This 
written agreement remains in effect until the expiration of the 50-year 
Agreement between the Applicant and the Service and requires the 
neighboring landowner to maintain the baseline conditions established 
at the start of the agreement.

[[Page 52340]]

Public Review and Comments

    The Service has made a preliminary determination that the proposed 
Agreement and permit application are eligible for categorical exclusion 
under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). We explain 
the basis for this determination in an Environmental Action Statement, 
which is also available for public review.
    Individuals wishing copies of the permit application, copies of our 
preliminary Environmental Action Statement, and/or copies of the full 
text of the Agreement, including a map of the proposed permit area, 
references, and legal descriptions of the proposed permit area, should 
contact the office and personnel listed in the ADDRESSES section above.
    If you wish to comment on the permit application or the Agreement, 
you may submit your comments to the address listed in the ADDRESSES 
section of this document. Comments and materials received, including 
names and addresses of respondents, will be available for public 
review, by appointment, during normal business hours at the address in 
the ADDRESSES section above and will become part of the public record, 
pursuant to section 10(c) of the Act. 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 a respondent's 
identity, as allowable by law. If you wish us to withhold your name 
and/or address, you must state this 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.
    We will evaluate this permit application, associated documents, and 
comments submitted thereon to determine whether the permit application 
meets the requirements of section 10(a) of the Act and NEPA 
regulations. If we determine that the requirements are met, we will 
sign the proposed Agreement and issue an enhancement of survival permit 
under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Act to the Applicants for take of the 
CRLF and CTS incidental to otherwise lawful activities in accordance 
with the terms of the Agreement. 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).

Susan Moore,
Acting Field Supervisor, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, 
Sacramento, California.
 [FR Doc. E6-14630 Filed 9-1-06; 8:45 am]