[Federal Register: July 10, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 131)]
[Page 37540-37542]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Nevada Department of Wildlife, Lincoln County, Nevada, 
Enhancement of Survival Permit

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

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


SUMMARY: In response to an application from the Nevada Department of 
Wildlife (Applicant), we, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are 
considering issuance of an enhancement of survival permit pursuant to 
section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended 
(ESA). The permit application includes a proposed programmatic Safe 
Harbor Agreement (SHA) between the applicant and the Service. The 
proposed SHA provides for voluntary habitat restoration, maintenance, 
enhancement, or creation activities to enhance the reintroduction and 
recovery of White River springfish (Crenichtheys baileyi baileyi), Hiko 
White River springfish (Crenichtheys baileyi grandis), Pahranagat 
roundtail chub (Gila robusta jordani) and southwestern willow 
flycatcher (Empidonax trailii extimus), within the Pahranagat Valley, 
Nevada. The proposed duration of both the SHA and permit is 50 years.
    We have made a preliminary determination that the proposed SHA and 
permit application are eligible for categorical exclusion under the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). The basis for our 
determination is contained in an environmental action statement, which 
also is available for

[[Page 37541]]

public review. We are requesting comments on this application.

DATES: We must receive written comments by 5 p.m. on August 9, 2007.

ADDRESSES: Please address comments to Robert D. Williams, Field 
Supervisor, Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office, 1340 Financial Boulevard, 
Suite 234, Reno, NV 89502; facsimile number (775) 861-6301.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Heather Martinez, Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist for the Southern Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office, at 4701 N. 
Torrey Pines Dr., Las Vegas, NV, 89130; telephone (702) 515-5230.


Document Availability

    Individuals wishing copies of the permit application or the 
environmental action statement, or copies of the full text of the 
proposed SHA, 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. Documents also 
will be available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal 
business hours at this office (see ADDRESSES).
    We specifically request information, views, and opinions from the 
public on the proposed Federal action of issuing a permit, including 
the identification of any aspects of the human environment not already 
analyzed in our environmental action statement. Further, we 
specifically solicit information regarding the adequacy of the SHA as 
measured against our permit issuance criteria found in 50 CFR 17.22(c).
    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, be advised 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 from public review your personal identifying 
information, we cannot guarantee that will be able to do so.


    The primary objective of this proposed SHA is to encourage 
voluntary habitat restoration, maintenance or enhancement activities to 
benefit White River springfish, Hiko White River springfish, Pahranagat 
roundtail chub, and southwestern willow flycatcher by relieving a 
landowner who enters into the provisions of a cooperative agreement 
with the Applicant from any additional Section 9 liability under the 
Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) beyond that which 
exists at the time the cooperative agreement is signed and certificate 
of inclusion issued (``regulatory baseline''). A SHA encourages 
landowners to conduct voluntary conservation activities and assures 
them that they will not be subjected to increased listed species 
restrictions should their beneficial stewardship efforts result in 
increased listed species populations. Application requirements and 
issuance criteria for enhancement of survival permits and SHAs are 
found in 50 CFR 17.22(c) and 17.32(c). As long as enrolled landowners 
allow the agreed-upon conservation measures to be completed on their 
property and agree to maintain their baseline responsibilities, they 
may make any other lawful use of the property during the term of the 
cooperative agreement, even if such use results in the take of 
individual White River springfish, Hiko White River springfish, 
Pahranagat roundtail chub, southwestern willow flycatcher or harm to 
these species' habitats, as long as it does not cause conditions to 
fall below baseline.
    As proposed in the SHA, landowners within the Pahranagat Valley 
that have suitable habitat for any of these four species may be 
enrolled by the applicant under the SHA. Landowners, as cooperators, 
would receive a certificate of inclusion when they sign a cooperative 
agreement. The cooperative agreement would include: (1) A map of the 
property and its legal location; (2) delineation of the portion of the 
property to be enrolled and its stream mileage/feet; (3) the property's 
baseline and biological assessment, which would include a description 
of the habitat types that occur on the portion of the property to be 
enrolled, including an accurate description of riparian and aquatic 
habitats and a thorough stream analysis (with photos) of the enrolled 
stream miles/feet; (4) current land-use practices and existing 
development, and the characteristics of water supplies to aquatic 
habitats; (5) a description of the specific conservation measures to be 
completed; and (6) the responsibilities of the cooperator and the 
    The applicant, as the permittee, will be responsible for annual 
monitoring and reporting related to implementation of the SHA and 
cooperative agreements and fulfillment of their provisions. As 
specified in the SHA, the Applicant will issue yearly reports to the 
Service related to implementation of the program.
    Each cooperative agreement would cover conservation activities to 
create, maintain, restore, or enhance habitat for the White River 
spring fish, Hiko White River springfish, Pahranagat roundtail chub, 
and/or the southwestern willow flycatcher and achieve species' recovery 
goals. These actions, where appropriate, could include (but are not 
limited to): (1) Restoration of wetland and riparian habitats and 
stream form and function; (2) establishment of wetland and riparian 
buffers; (3) repair or installation of improved irrigation systems that 
improve water quality and quantity for habitat; (4) development and 
implementation of monitoring plans as well as facilitation of the 
implementation of other objectives recommended by the recovery plan for 
these species. The overall goal of cooperative agreements entered into 
under the proposed SHA is to produce conservation measures that are 
mutually beneficial to the cooperators and the long-term existence of 
these four species.
    Based upon the probable species' response time, we estimate it will 
take 3 years of implementing the planned conservation measures to fully 
reach a net conservation benefit for White River springfish and Hiko 
White River springfish, 5 years for Pahranagat roundtail chub and 10 
years for southwestern willow flycatcher; some level of benefit would 
likely occur within a shorter time period. Most cooperative agreements 
under the proposed SHA are expected to have at least 10 years' 
    After maintenance of the restored/created/enhanced habitat for 
these species on the property for the agreed-upon term, cooperators may 
then conduct otherwise lawful activities on their property that result 
in the partial or total elimination of the habitat improvements and the 
taking of these four species. However, the restrictions on returning a 
property to its original baseline condition are: (1) The cooperator 
must demonstrate that baseline conditions were maintained during the 
term of the cooperative agreement and the conservation measures 
necessary for achieving a net conservation benefit were carried out; 
(2) we and the applicant will be notified a minimum of 30 days prior to 
the activity and given the opportunity to capture, rescue, and/or 
relocate any of the four species; and (3) return to baseline conditions 
must be completed within the term of the certificate of inclusion 
issued to the applicant. Cooperative agreements could be extended if 
the applicant's permit is renewed and that renewal allows for such an 

[[Page 37542]]

    We have made a preliminary determination that approval of the 
proposed SHA qualifies for a categorical exclusion under NEPA, as 
provided by the Department of Interior Manual (516 DM 2 Appendix 1 and 
516 DM 6 Appendix 1) based on the following criteria: (1) 
Implementation of the SHA would result in minor or negligible effects 
on other environmental values or resources; (2) implementation of the 
SHA would result in minor or negligible effects on other environmental 
values or resources; and (3) impacts of the SHA, considered together 
with the impacts of other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable 
similarly situated projects, would not result, over time, in cumulative 
effects to environmental values or resources which would be considered 
significant. This is more fully explained in our environmental action 
    Based upon this preliminary determination, we do not intend to 
prepare further NEPA documentation. The Service will consider public 
comments in making its final determination on whether to prepare such 
additional documentation.


    We provide this notice pursuant to section 10(c) of the ESA and 
pursuant to implementing regulations for NEPA (40 CFR 1506.6). We will 
evaluate the permit application, the proposed SHA, and comments 
submitted thereon to determine whether the application meets the 
requirements of section 10(a) of the ESA and NEPA regulations. If the 
requirements are met, we will sign the proposed SHA and issue an 
enhancement of survival permit under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA to 
the Applicant for take of White River springfish, Hiko White River 
springfish, Pahranagat roundtail chub and southwestern willow 
flycatcher incidental to otherwise lawful activities of the project. We 
will not make a final decision until after the end of the 30-day 
comment period and will fully consider all comments received during the 
comment period.

    Dated: June 3, 2007.
Robert D. Williams,
Field Supervisor, Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office, Reno, Nevada.
[FR Doc. E7-13375 Filed 7-9-07; 8:45 am]