[Federal Register: August 16, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 158)]
[Page 46094-46095]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Proposed Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan for the City of 
Greeley Bellvue Filter Plant Raw Water Ponds Toe Drain Project, in 
Larimer County, CO

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability and receipt of application.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the City of Greeley 
(Applicant) has applied to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) 
for an incidental take permit pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the 
Endangered Species Act (Act) of 1973, as amended. The proposed permit 
would authorize the incidental take of Preble's meadow jumping mouse, 
Zapus hudsonius preblei (Preble's), federally-listed as threatened, 
through loss and modification of its habitat, periodically used for 
foraging, breeding and/or hibernation, associated with construction and 
installation of a toe drain around the base of the perimeter of two raw 
water storage ponds located at the City of Greeley's Bellvue Filter 
Plant in Larimer County, Colorado. The duration of the permit would be 
10 years from the date of issuance.
    We announce the receipt of the Applicant's incidental take permit 
application, which includes a Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan 
(LEHCP) for Preble's at the Bellvue Filter Plant site. The LEHCP fully 
describes the project and the measures the Applicant would undertake to 
minimize and mitigate project impacts to Preble's. A bald eagle nest 
also exists near the project area. In the LEHCP, the Applicant proposes 
to avoid all adverse impacts to the bald eagle through restrictions on 
the timing of the project, and thus does not seek coverage under the 
permit for the eagle.
    The Service plans to process the application under a categorical 
exclusion from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 in 
accordance with our Habitat Conservation Planning and Incidental Take 
Permit Processing Handbook (November 1996). We request comments on the 
permit application, including the LEHCP.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before September 17, 

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Susan Linner, Field 
Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Colorado Field Office, P.O. 

[[Page 46095]]

25486, Denver, Colorado 80225. Comments also may be submitted by 
facsimile to (303) 236-4005. Individuals wanting copies of the LEHCP 
and associated documents for review should immediately contact the 
above office. The LEHCP and associated documents also will be available 
for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at 
the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Adam Misztal, (303) 236-4753, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Colorado Field Office (see above).



    Section 9 of the Act and implementing regulations prohibit the 
``take'' of a species listed as endangered or threatened. ``Take'' is 
defined under the Act, in part, as to kill, harm, or harass a federally 
listed species. However, the Service may issue permits to authorize 
``incidental take'' of a listed species under limited circumstances. 
Implementing regulations define ``incidental taking'' as any taking 
otherwise prohibited, if such taking is incidental to, and not the 
purpose of, the carrying out of an otherwise lawful activity. 
Regulations governing permits for threatened species are located at 50 
CFR 17.32.
    The project is located at the City of Greeley's Bellvue Filter 
Plant in Larimer County, Colorado; S\1/2\ of Section 14, in Township 8 
North, Range 70 West. The Universal Transverse Mercator coordinates of 
the approximate center of the project area are Zone 13: 483780 mE, 
4500530 mN. The Bellvue Filter Plant is the primary drinking water 
facility for the City of Greeley. The plant operates 24 hours a day, 7 
days a week, year-round. The project involves the construction of a 
buried toe drain around the perimeter of two raw water ponds located at 
the Bellvue Filter Plant. The project is located adjacent to riparian 
habitat along the Cache la Poudre River, which is potentially occupied 
by Preble's. The project will disturb a total of 0.10 hectare (0.24 
acre) of Preble's habitat 0.04 hectare (0.09 acre) of permanent impact 
and 0.06 hectare (0.15 acre) of temporary impact. Greeley will complete 
the project consistent with this LEHCP, which contains provisions to 
enhance habitat for Preble's and lists conservation measures for 
Preble's and bald eagles. The project will provide a net benefit for 
nesting bald eagles over the long term by protecting the two raw water 
ponds at the site that provide potential foraging habitat for the 
eagles. Greeley does not anticipate incidental take of bald eagles 
related to the project and, therefore, as noted above does not seek 
coverage for the eagle under the permit.
    Development of the LEHCP identified three alternatives--(1) 
Construct the project while minimizing impacts to Preble's and avoid 
adverse impacts to bald eagles to the maximum extent practicable 
(Preferred Alternative); (2) Construct only that portion of the project 
more than 91 meters (300 feet) from the 100-year floodplain (no impact 
to Preble's habitat); and (3) No action. A fourth alternative, waiting 
for a regional section 10(A)(1)(B) permit, also was considered but not 
carried forward, because no regional permit is currently planned that 
would cover the project area.
    To mitigate impacts that may result from incidental take, the LEHCP 
provides a conservation plan that will likely provide a net benefit to 
the Preble's mouse and other wildlife by enhancing certain riparian 
corridors on the plant site and associated wetland areas through 
revegetation efforts and the creation of new habitat. Project 
construction will disturb 0.10 hectare (0.24 acre) of riparian shrubs 
and trees that provide potentially suitable habitat for Preble's. 
Approximately 0.04 hectare (0.09 acre) of this disturbance would be 
permanent. To mitigate for potential impacts to Preble's, Greeley will 
enhance 0.16 hectare (0.40 acre) of riparian habitat. Enhancement of 
this acreage will include the creation of a travel corridor between two 
existing habitat areas. Greeley also will reseed with native grasses 
and revegetate with native shrubs and trees. In addition, a qualified 
biologist will monitor implementation of the LEHCP, including all 
mitigation efforts, and will prepare an annual report on the progress 
of habitat improvement measures for a minimum of three growing seasons, 
or until success criteria are met.
    The Service has made the preliminary determination that approval of 
the LEHCP qualifies as a categorical exclusion under NEPA, as provided 
by the Department of the Interior Manual (516 DM 2, Appendix 1 and 516 
DM 6, Appendix 1) and as a ``low-effect'' plan as defined by the 
Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook (November 1996). Determination 
of LEHCPs is based on the following three criteria: (1) Implementation 
of the LEHCP would result in minor or negligible effects on federally 
listed, proposed, and candidate species and their habitats; (2) 
implementation of the LEHCP would result in minor or negligible effects 
on other environmental values or resources; and (3) impacts of the 
LEHCP, 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 other 
resources that would be considered significant.
    Based on this preliminary determination, we do not intend to 
prepare further NEPA documentation. We will consider public comments in 
making the final determination whether to prepare such additional 
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(c) of the Act. We 
will evaluate the permit application, the LEHCP, and comments submitted 
herein to determine whether the application meets the requirements of 
section 10(a) of the Act. If the requirements are met, a permit will be 
issued for the incidental take of Preble's in conjunction with the 
construction and installation of the toe drain around the perimeter of 
the raw water ponds located at the Bellvue Filter Plant. The final 
permit decision will be made after public comments are considered.

    Dated: July 31, 2007.
Susan C. Linner,
Colorado Field Supervisor.
[FR Doc. E7-16122 Filed 8-15-07; 8:45 am]