[Federal Register: October 10, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 195)]
[Page 57596-57598]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Proposed Candidate Conservation Agreement With Assurances for 
Fisher for the Stirling Management Area, Sierra Pacific Industries, 
Butte, Plumas, and Tehama Counties, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; receipt of application.


SUMMARY: Sierra Pacific Industries (Applicant) has applied to the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for a 20-year enhancement of 
survival permit for the fisher (Martes pennanti) pursuant to section 
10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered

[[Page 57597]]

Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The permit application includes 
a proposed Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (Agreement) 
between the Applicant and the Service for the fisher on the 160,000 
acre Stirling Management Area in Butte, Plumas, and Tehama Counties, 
    We are requesting comments on the permit application, the proposed 
Agreement and on the preliminary determination that the proposed 
Agreement is eligible for a categorical exclusion under the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended. The basis for this 
determination is discussed in the Environmental Action Statement (EAS) 
and the associated Screening Form, which are also available for public 

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before November 9, 

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to the Field Supervisor, U. S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Yreka Fish and Wildlife Office, 1829 South 
Oregon Street, Yreka, California 96097. Written comments may be sent by 
facsimile to (530) 842-4517.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Laura Finley, Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist, Yreka Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES); telephone: 
(530) 842-5763.


Availability of Documents

    Individuals wishing copies of the application, proposed Agreement, 
and EAS should immediately contact the Service by telephone at (530) 
842-5763 or by letter to the Yreka Fish and Wildlife Office [see 
ADDRESSES]. Copies of the proposed Agreement and EAS also are available 
for public inspection during regular business hours at the Yreka Fish 
and Wildlife Office [see ADDRESSES]. The information above will also be 
available at the following Web address: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.fws.gov/yreka.


    Under a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA), 
participating landowners voluntarily implement conservation activities 
on their property to benefit proposed species, candidate species, and 
species likely to become candidates in the near future. Under a CCAA, 
non-Federal property owners commit to implement mutually agreed upon 
conservation measures which, when combined with benefits that would be 
achieved if it is assumed that those conservation measures were to be 
implemented on other necessary properties, would preclude the need to 
list the covered species. In return for the landowner's proactive 
management, the Service provides an enhancement of survival permit 
under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Act which, if the species were to 
become listed, would authorize the take of a specified number of 
    Section 9 of the Act and its implementing Federal regulations 
prohibit the take of animal species listed as endangered or threatened. 
Take is defined under the Act as to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, 
wound, kill, trap, capture or collect listed animal species, or attempt 
to engage in such conduct (16 U.S.C. 1532(19)). However, under section 
10(a) of the Act, the Service may issue permits to authorize take of 
listed species. For enhancement of survival permits, that take must be 
``incidental'' as defined by the Service's implementing regulations as 
take that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, carrying out an 
otherwise lawful activity (50 CFR 17.4). Regulations governing CCAAs 
and their section 10(a)(1)(A) permits are found in the Code of Federal 
Regulations at 50 CFR 17.22(d) and 50 CFR 17.32(d).
    The fisher is a candidate for listing under the Act. The extent of 
past timber harvest has been identified as one of the potential causes 
of fisher decline. Timber harvest has contributed to the loss of 
habitat, habitat fragmentation, and population isolation, which are 
current threats to the fisher. Removal or modification of mature and 
late-successional forest from large portions of the Sierra Nevada and 
Pacific Northwest has likely contributed to the significantly 
diminished distribution of fishers, within their historic range on the 
west coast.
    The Agreement between the Applicant and the Service and the 
enhancement of survival permit are proposed for 20 years on the 
160,000-acre Stirling Management Area located in Butte, Plumas, and 
Tehama Counties, California. The purpose of the proposed Agreement is 
to provide incentive for the Applicant to implement habitat 
conservation measures for fisher so as to increase the capability of 
the enrolled lands to support fisher. The amounts and spatial 
distribution of resting and denning habitat in this CCAA are 
necessarily experimental due to our level of uncertainty concerning the 
landscape habitat needs of fishers. The Applicants forestland 
management over the 20-year permit period is proposed to increase 
fisher resting and denning habitat on the enrolled forestlands in the 
future. An additional purpose of this CCAA is to provide incentive for 
the Applicant to accept translocated fisher onto the enrolled lands 
that historically contained fisher, but currently do not.
    The permit would authorize incidental take of fisher consistent and 
associated with this CCAA, resulting from the otherwise lawful forest 
management activities on the Applicant's 160,000-acre Stirling 
Management Area. The covered forest management activities include 
felling and bucking timber, yarding timber, loading and landing 
operations, salvage of timber, transport of timber and rock, road 
construction and maintenance, rock pit construction and use, site 
preparation, tree planting, vegetation control, pre-commercial thinning 
and pruning, minor forest products, grazing, and fire suppression.
    The Service has made a preliminary determination that approval of 
the proposed Agreement qualifies as a categorical exclusion under NEPA, 
as provided by the Department of the Interior Manual (516 DM 2, 
Appendix 1 and 516 DM 8). Determination of a categorical exclusion is 
based on the following three criteria: (1) Implementation of the 
proposed Agreement would result in minor or negligible effects on 
federally listed, proposed, and candidate species and their habitats; 
(2) implementation of the proposed Agreement would result in minor or 
negligible effects on other environmental values or resources; and (3) 
impacts of the proposed Agreement, 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 
    Based upon this preliminary determination, we do not intend to 
prepare further NEPA documentation. We will consider public comments in 
making the final determination on whether to prepare such additional 
    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.
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(c) of the Act. We 
will evaluate the permit application, the proposed Agreement, and 
comments submitted thereon to determine whether

[[Page 57598]]

the application meets the requirements of section 10(a) of the Act. If 
the requirements are met, we will enter into the Agreement and issue a 
section 10(a)(1)(A) enhancement of survival permit under the Act to 
Sierra Pacific Industries for the incidental take of fisher from 
forestry activities on the Stirling Management Area in Butte, Plumas 
and Tehama Counties, California.

    Dated: October 2, 2007.
Phil Detrich,
Field Supervisor, Yreka Fish and Wildlife Office, California/Nevada 
Operations Office, Yreka, California.
 [FR Doc. E7-19893 Filed 10-9-07; 8:45 am]