[Federal Register: November 19, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 222)]
[Page 65056-65058]
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 
for Landowners Restoring Aquatic and Riparian Habitat in the Pine Gulch 
Creek Watershed in Marin County, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; receipt of application.


[[Page 65057]]

SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the Marin County 
Agriculture Commission (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 (Rana aurora draytonii). The 
Agreement and permit application are available for public comment.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before December 19, 

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Rick Kuyper, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, 2800 Cottage 
Way, W-2605, Sacramento, California 95825. Written comments may be sent 
by facsimile to (916) 414-6712.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Rick Kuyper, 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.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.


    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 land use 
restrictions as a result of efforts to attract or increase the numbers 
or distribution of a listed species 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 the Applicant to develop this proposed Programmatic 
Agreement for the conservation of the California red-legged frog in the 
7.5 square-mile Pine Gulch Creek Watershed in Marin County, California. 
The properties subject to this Agreement consist of approximately 4,800 
acres of non-Federal properties within the Pine Gulch Creek Watershed, 
on which habitat for the California red-legged frog will be created, 
enhanced, and managed pursuant to a written agreement between the 
Service, Marin County Agriculture Commission, and property owners in 
the Pine Gulch Creek Watershed.
    This Agreement provides for the creation of a Program in which 
private landowners (Cooperators) enter into written cooperative 
agreements with the Applicant pursuant to the terms of the Agreement, 
to restore, enhance, and maintain aquatic and riparian habitat in ways 
beneficial to the California red-legged frog. Such cooperative 
agreements will be for a term of at least 10 years. The proposed 
duration of the Agreement is 30 years, and the proposed term of the 
enhancement of survival permit is 30 years. The Agreement fully 
describes the proposed management activities to be undertaken by 
Cooperators and the conservation benefits expected to be gained for the 
California red-legged frog.
    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 Marin County 
Agriculture Commission authorizing take of the California red-legged 
frog by Cooperators 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, and/or to return to pre-Agreement conditions (baseline).
    To benefit the California red-legged frog, Cooperators will agree 
to undertake site-specific management activities, which will be 
specified in their written cooperative agreements. Management 
activities that could be included in the Cooperative Agreements will 
provide for the enhancement, restoration, and/or maintenance of aquatic 
and riparian habitat. These activities have been designed to enhance 
California red-legged frog populations by creating and improving 
breeding habitat, managing vegetation and grazing as appropriate, 
controlling non-native predators, and managing agriculture and 
recreation as appropriate to benefit populations of California red-
legged frog. Take of California red-legged frog 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 Cooperator could incidentally take a California 
red-legged frog, thereby necessitating take authority under the permit.
    The California red-legged frog relies on a variety of habitats for 
various stages of its life cycle, including pond and riparian habitat, 
upland habitat and moist refuges. Baseline conditions, consisting of a 
description and survey to determine the quantity and location of 
suitable California red-legged frog habitat, shall be determined for 
each enrolled property as provided in the Agreement. In order to 
receive the above assurances regarding incidental take of the 
California red-legged frog, a Cooperator must maintain baseline on the 
enrolled property. The Agreement and requested enhancement of survival 
permit will allow each Cooperator to return to baseline conditions 
after the end to the term of the 10-year cooperative agreement and 
prior to the expiration of the 30-year permit, if so desired by the 
Applicant and Cooperator.
    Consistent with the Service's Safe Harbor Policy (64 FR 32717), 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 
specifics the baseline conditions on the property. This written 
agreement remains in effect until the expiration of the 30-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.

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 the

[[Page 65058]]

Environmental Action Statement, which is also available for public 
    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 comment to the address listed in the ADDRESSES 
section of this document. Comments and materials received, including 
names and addressed 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 
at 40 CFR 1506.6. If we determine that the requirements are met, we 
will sign the proposed Agreement and issue and enhancement of survival 
permit under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Act to the Applicants for take 
of the California red-legged frog 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 
    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: November 8, 2007.
Susan K. Moore,
Field Supervisor, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, Sacramento, 
[FR Doc. 07-5703 Filed 11-16-07; 8:45 am]