[Federal Register: September 12, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 176)]
[Page 53704-53706]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Intent To Conduct Public Scoping and Prepare an 
Environmental Impact Statement Regarding the Coyote Springs Investments 
Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan, Lincoln County, NV

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent.


SUMMARY: Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 
U.S.C. 4321, et seq.), the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) as the 
lead agency, advises the public that we intend to gather information 
necessary to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) regarding 
the proposed Coyote Springs Investment LLC (Applicant) Multiple Species 
Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP) and issuance of an incidental take 
permit (Permit) for endangered and threatened species in accordance 
with section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended (Act). The Applicant proposes to develop a planned community in 
southern Lincoln County and implement conservation features (Project). 
The Applicant intends to request a Permit for incidental take of 
federally listed threatened or endangered species, including desert 
tortoise (gopherus agassizii) as well as Evaluation List species. 
Evaluation List species include species that have been petitioned for 
listing; State-listed species; species that have been nominated for 
inclusion by technical specialists; and other species of concern that 
co-occur with federally listed species. The Service plans to refine the 
species list as a part of the scoping process. In accordance with the 
Act, the Applicant will prepare a MSHCP containing proposed measures to 
minimize and mitigate incidental take that could result from the 
    The Service provides this notice to: (1) Describe the proposed 
action and possible alternatives; (2) advise other Federal and State 
agencies, affected tribes, and the public of our intent to prepare an 
EIS; (3) announce the initiation of a 30-day public scoping period; and 
(4) obtain suggestions and information on the scope of issues to be 
included in the EIS. The proposed action is approval of the MSHCP and 
issuance of the Permit.

DATES: Public scoping meetings will be held:
    1. September 26, 2006, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Lincoln County Alamo 
Annex, 100 S First W Street, Alamo, Nevada 89001, 775-725-3356.
    2. September 27, 2006, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Moapa Recreation Center, 
1340 E Highway 168, Moapa, Nevada 89025, 702-864-2423.
    Written comments from all interested parties must be received on or 
before October 12, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Comments and requests for information related to the 
preparation of the EIS should be sent to Robert D. Williams, Field 
Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1340 Financial

[[Page 53705]]

Boulevard, Suite 234, Reno, Nevada 89502; or fax 775-861-6301. Comments 
may be submitted electronically to fw8leocomments@fws.gov. Comments and 
materials received will be available for public inspection, by 
appointment, during normal business hours at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeannie Stafford, at 775-861-6300.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Persons needing reasonable accommodations in 
order to attend and participate in the public meeting should contact 
Jeannie Stafford (See ADDRESSES) at 775-861-6300 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.
    A Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS was published in the Federal 
Register for this project on December 4, 2001 (Federal Register Volume 
66, No. 233, pages 63065 to 63066). This second notice is being 
published because the amount of land included in the MSHCP has been 
modified. The MSHCP described in the 2001 NOI included privately-owned, 
developable lands, and leased land in Lincoln County and Clark County, 
Nevada. The MSHCP described in this NOI includes private, developable 
lands in Lincoln County only, as well as leased lands in both Lincoln 
and Clark Counties.
    The Applicant has initiated discussions with the Service regarding 
preparation of an MSHCP and issuance of a Permit for their activities, 
which include residential and commercial development, construction, and 
maintenance. The Applicant has also initiated discussions with the 
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regarding land leases, and with the 
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers regarding project wetland permitting. Land 
leased and owned by the Applicant occupies most of the eastern portion 
of Coyote Springs Valley straddling the Pahranagat Wash and the Kane 
Springs Wash in Lincoln County. It consists of approximately 13,800 
acres of land leased from the BLM in Lincoln and Clark Counties, and 
approximately 22,140 acres of developable private land in Lincoln 
County. The area is bordered by the Delamar Mountains to the north, the 
Meadow Valley Mountains to the east, and U.S. 93 to the west. The 
development area extends approximately 9 miles (14.48 kilometers) north 
of the Lincoln County/Clark County line. Leased land is bordered by SR 
168 to the south in Clark County. Accordingly, BLM will be a 
cooperating agency for the environmental review. These lands are 
located in portions of Townships 11, 12, and 13 South and Ranges 63 and 
64 East. The surrounding land is primarily owned and managed by the BLM 
and the Service. South of the development area, the Applicant's lands 
are being developed in Clark County and are not covered under this 
    Some of the Applicant's future activities have the potential to 
impact species subject to protection under the Act. Section 9 of the 
Act (16 U.S.C. 1538) and Federal regulations prohibit the ``take'' of a 
fish or wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened. Under the 
Act, the following activities are defined as take: To harass, harm, 
pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or collect listed 
animal species, or to attempt to engage in such conduct (16 U.S.C. 
1532). 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 ESA 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 are at 50 CFR 
17.32 and 50 CFR 17.22, respectively. An applicant for a Permit under 
section 10 must prepare and submit to the Service for approval a Plan 
containing a multifaceted strategy for minimizing and mitigating all 
take associated with the proposed activities to the maximum extent 
practicable. The applicant must also ensure that adequate funding for 
the Plan will be provided.
    The Service will conduct an environmental review of the MSHCP and 
prepare an EIS. The Applicant has selected ENTRIX as the lead 
consultant to prepare the EIS under the supervision of the Service, 
which will be responsible for the scope and content of the NEPA 
document. NEPA requires that Federal agencies conduct an environmental 
analysis of their proposed actions to determine if the actions may 
significantly affect the human environment. Under NEPA, a reasonable 
range of alternatives to proposed projects is developed and considered 
in the environmental review. Alternatives considered for analysis in an 
EIS may include: Variations in the scope of proposed activities; 
variations in the location, amount, and types of conservation measures; 
variations in activity duration; or, a combination of these elements. 
In addition, the EIS will identify potentially significant direct, 
indirect, and cumulative impacts on biological resources, land use, air 
quality, water quality, water resources, socioeconomic conditions, and 
other environmental issues that could occur with implementation of the 
proposed action and alternatives. For all potentially significant 
impacts, the EIS identifies avoidance, minimization, and mitigation 
measures to reduce these impacts, where feasible, to a level below 
    The EIS will consider the proposed action, no action, and a 
reasonable range of alternatives. A detailed description of the impacts 
of the proposed action and each alternative will be included in the 
EIS. The alternatives to be considered for analysis in the EIS may 
address combinations of covered species, different permit effective 
periods, or a combination of elements.
    Written comments from interested parties are welcome to ensure that 
the issues of public concern related to the proposed action are 
identified. Comments and materials received will be available for 
public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the 
office listed in the ADDRESSES section of this notice. All comments and 
materials received, including names and addresses, will become part of 
the administrative record and may be released to the public. Public 
meetings will be held as noted in the DATES section above.
    The Service requests that comments be specific. In particular, the 
Service is requesting information regarding (1) potential direct, 
indirect, and cumulative impacts of implementation of the proposed 
action; (2) other possible alternatives that meet the purpose and need; 
(3) potential adaptive management and/or monitoring provisions; (4) 
existing environmental conditions in the area; (5) other plans or 
projects that might be relevant to this proposed project; and (6) 
potential 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 1500-1518), other applicable Federal laws and 
regulations, and applicable policies and procedures of the Service. 
This notice is being furnished in accordance with 40 CFR 1501.7 to 
obtain suggestions and information from other agencies and the public 
on the scope of issues and alternatives to be addressed in the EIS. It 
is estimated that the draft EIS will be available for public review 
during the first quarter of 2007.

[[Page 53706]]

    Dated: September 5, 2006.
Ken McDermond,
Deputy Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Sacramento, 
[FR Doc. E6-15050 Filed 9-11-06; 8:45 am]