[Federal Register: November 9, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 217)]
[Page 65830-65832]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Proposed Programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement for the Oregon 
Silverspot Butterfly Along the Central Coast, Lane County, OR

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; receipt of application.


SUMMARY: The Nature Conservancy (TNC) 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 TNC and the Service. The proposed 
term of the permit and Agreement is 35 years. The requested permit 
would authorize TNC and private landowners to carry out habitat 
management measures that would benefit the federally-listed as 
threatened Oregon silverspot butterfly (Speyeria zerene hippolyta). The 
covered area or geographic scope of this Agreement includes all non-
Federal properties on the central coast of Oregon located in whole or 
in part within the approximately 7-mile corridor along the central 
coast between Bray Point and Big Creek in Lane County, Oregon. We 
request comments from the public on the permit application, proposed 
Agreement, and related documents, all of which are available for 

DATES: Comments must be received from interested parties on or before 
December 11, 2006. The final permit decision will be made no sooner 
than December 11, 2006.

ADDRESSES: You may obtain copies of the documents for review by 

[[Page 65831]]

Richard Szlemp, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2600 SE. 98th Ave., 
Suite 100, Portland, Oregon 97266; facsimile (503) 231-6195; or by 
making an appointment to view the documents at the above address during 
normal business hours. You may also view the documents on the Internet 
through http://www.fws.gov/oregonfwo/. You may submit comments by 

postal mail/commercial delivery or by e-mail. If you use postal mail/
commercial delivery, please address written comments to Kemper M. 
McMaster, State Supervisor, Fish and Wildlife Service, 2600 SE. 98th 
Ave., Suite 100, Portland, Oregon 97266, or facsimile (503) 231-6195. 
If you wish to use e-mail, address your comments to 
centralcoast_sha@fws.gov. Include your name and address in your comments and please 

refer to the TNC Central Coast SHA.


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 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 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Safe Harbor Agreements, 
and the subsequent enhancement of survival permits that are issued 
pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Act, encourage private and other 
non-Federal property owners to implement conservation efforts for 
listed species by assuring the landowners 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). These permits allow any necessary future incidental take of 
any covered species above the mutually agreed upon baseline conditions 
for those species in accordance with the terms of the permit and 
accompanying agreement.
    We have worked with TNC to develop the proposed Agreement for the 
conservation of the Oregon silverspot butterfly within the central 
coast region of Oregon, roughly between Bray Point and Big Creek. The 
area covered by this Agreement is about 7 miles long and within 1 mile 
of the coastal waters of the Pacific Ocean. Under this programmatic 
Agreement, individual Cooperative Agreements (CAs) between the Service, 
TNC, and landowner/cooperators would be developed for individuals who 
volunteer to engage in activities, such as habitat restoration, that 
are likely to benefit the Oregon silverspot butterfly and wish to 
become a party to the Agreement. Environmental baseline conditions 
would be established and would primarily be based on the presence or 
absence of the Oregon silverspot butterfly's larval host plant, the 
early blue violet (Viola adunca), prior to restoration efforts. We 
anticipate that the baseline conditions will in most cases be 
determined to be at or near zero. The landowners would then be issued a 
Certificate of Inclusion (CI), which would allow activities on the 
enrolled property that might involve incidental take of Oregon 
silverspot butterflies above the baseline conditions to be covered 
under TNC's section 10(a)(1)(A) permit. TNC and/or the landowners would 
implement restoration and management actions to restore and enhance 
coastal meadow habitat for the Oregon silverspot butterfly.
    TNC has agreed to work with landowners to improve Oregon silverspot 
butterfly habitat by suppressing or removing invasive vegetation, 
planting native coastal meadow vegetation, and/or specifically 
enhancing early blue violet plant populations. Without the regulatory 
assurances provided through the Agreement, CI, and permit, landowners 
may otherwise be unwilling or reluctant to engage in activities that 
would attract federally-listed species such as the Oregon silverspot 
butterfly onto their properties. Additionally, the requested permit 
coverage would allow management activities to proceed that might result 
in some limited amount of take incidental to those activities that are 
intended to benefit the species over the term of the permit. TNC would 
carry out the management activities itself on private lands or work in 
conjunction with landowners to carry out management activities. TNC has 
already begun working with landowners in the area and has the expertise 
to carry out these types of restoration activities and advise 
landowners of management options to provide the desired future 
conditions that would benefit the Oregon silverspot butterfly. The 
proposed management activities are expected to provide a net 
conservation benefit to the Oregon silverspot butterfly within the 
covered area along Oregon's central coast by restoring and improving 
habitat conditions, potentially increasing the local butterfly 
population, and providing habitat patches linking butterfly populations 
on the south and north ends of the project area.
    The Oregon silverspot butterfly was listed as a threatened species 
by the Service in 1980 (45 FR 44935). At the time of listing, the only 
known population was within an area along the Oregon coast in the 
vicinity of Rock Creek and Big Creek in Lane County. Additional 
populations were subsequently discovered at Bray Point, Cascade Head, 
and the Clatsop Plains in Oregon; Long Beach Peninsula in Washington; 
and northwestern Del Norte County, California. Succession, due to lack 
of disturbance from fire and grazing and the spread of non-native 
plants, has affected the presence and abundance of early blue violets 
through crowding and shading. Succession has resulted in trees, shrubs, 
and ferns developing within coastal grassland communities that were 
previously maintained by disturbances such as fire and grazing. Non-
native pasture grasses that have spread and become well-established 
along the coast crowd out other native plants and create dense layers 
of vegetation that inhibit the growth of native species, including 
early blue violets and native nectar sources used by adult butterflies.
    The Service has made a preliminary determination that the proposed 
Agreement and permit application are eligible for a categorical 
exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). 
We explain the basis for this determination in an Environmental Action 
Statement that is also available for public review (see ADDRESSES).
    The Service will evaluate the 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. All comments received, including names and 
addresses, will become part of the administrative record and will be 
available for review 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. 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.

[[Page 65832]]

    If we determine that all requirements are met, we will sign the 
Agreement and issue an enhancement of survival permit under section 
10(a)(1)(A) of the Act to TNC for the take of Oregon silverspot 
butterflies, incidental to otherwise lawful activities in accordance 
with the terms of the Agreement. This notice is provided pursuant to 
section 10(c) of the Act and NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: November 3, 2006.
Miel Corbett,
Acting State Supervisor, Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon Fish and 
Wildlife Office, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. E6-18970 Filed 11-8-06; 8:45 am]