[Federal Register: February 26, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 37)]
[Page 8393-8394]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of an Environmental Assessment and Receipt 
of an Application for Amendment to an Incidental Take Permit for the 
Green Diamond Resource Company Habitat Conservation Plan for the 
Northern Spotted Owl, Del Norte and Humboldt Counties, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability and receipt of application.


SUMMARY: Green Diamond Resource Company (Green Diamond) (previously 
Simpson Timber Company) has applied to the Fish and Wildlife Service 
(Service) to amend its existing incidental take permit (ITP) for the 
federally threatened northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina; 
``NSO''). The existing ITP was issued in 1992, in association with a 
Habitat Conservation Plan (Plan) and Implementation Agreement (IA), 
pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act (Act) of 
1973, as amended.
    The proposed ITP amendment would authorize the take of eight 
additional owl pairs on Green Diamond's ownership in Humboldt and Del 
Norte counties, California. These additional takes would be authorized 
during the existing permit term expiring in 2022, and would provide 
Green Diamond operational flexibility while they and the Service 
further consider and evaluate the findings of a 10-year, comprehensive 
Plan review.
    The application for permit amendment includes proposed amendments 
to the existing IA and Plan, which describe the proposed action and the 
measures that Green Diamond will undertake to minimize and mitigate 
take of the NSO.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before April 27, 2007.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to Ms. Amedee Brickey, ES Program 
Manager, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1655 Heindon Road, Arcata, 
California 95521. You also may send comments by facsimile to 707-822-

call 707-822-7201.


Availability of Documents

    You may obtain copies of these documents for review by contacting 
the above office. Documents also will be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the Arcata 
Fish and Wildlife Office [see ADDRESSES] and at each of the following 
    (1) Eureka Main Library, 1313 3rd Street, Eureka, CA; telephone: 
    (2) Fortuna Branch, Humboldt County Library, 775 14th Street, 
Fortuna, CA; telephone: 707-725-3460.
    (3) Arcata Branch, Humboldt County Library, 500 7th Street, Arcata, 
CA; telephone: 707-822-5924.
    (4) Del Norte County Library, 190 Price Mall, Crescent City, CA; 
telephone: 707-464-9793.


    Section 9 of the Act and Federal regulations prohibit the ``take'' 
of fish and wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened. Take 
of federally listed fish and wildlife is defined under the Act to 
include ``harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, 
capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct.'' The 
Service may, under limited circumstances, issue permits to authorize 
incidental take (i.e., take that is incidental to, and not the purpose 
of, the carrying out of an otherwise lawful activity). Regulations 
governing incidental take permits for threatened and endangered species 
are found in 50 CFR 17.32 and 17.22.
    On September 17, 1992, the Service issued an ITP to the Applicant 
authorizing take of up to 50 NSO pairs in accordance with conditions 
set forth in the Plan and an IA. The ITP was issued in response to a 
permit application with an associated Habitat Conservation Plan for 
timber harvesting on the firm's properties in Del Norte, Humboldt, 
Mendocino, and Trinity counties, California. The effects of the 
proposed ITP were analyzed and described in an Environmental Assessment 
(EA) prepared and issued by the Service (Notice of Availability, 
Federal Register, May 27, 1992).
    Green Diamond is proposing to amend its ITP to authorize take of up 
to eight additional NSO pairs on that part of its ownership, currently 
about 416,533 acres, on the west slopes of the Klamath Mountains and 
the Coast Range in Humboldt and Del Norte counties, California. The 
Applicant anticipates that these takes would be in the form of 
displacement of NSO pairs, incidental to timber harvest activities in 
or near NSO nest sites or activity centers.
    To mitigate take of eight additional owl pairs, Green Diamond 
proposes, in addition to measures in the existing Plan, to conduct new 
research on the habitat overlap and interaction between the NSO and 
barred owl (Strix varia), and to re-establish, through year 2012, a 
special management area of about 20,310 acres on its ownership, within 
which Green Diamond would not take owls.
    The Service's EA considers the environmental consequences of three 
alternatives, including: (1) The Proposed Project Alternative, which 
consists of issuance of an amended ITP and implementation of the 
additional Plan measures; (2) an alternative that provides for the take 
of eight additional owl pairs (similar to the Proposed Action), plus 
release for harvest entry of three set-aside areas that are otherwise 
not available for timber harvest during the term of the ITP; and (3) 
the No Action Alternative, which provides for continued implementation 
of measures contained in the existing Plan and associated IA, and the 
level of incidental take authorized in the existing 1992 ITP.

National Environmental Policy Act

    Proposed permit issuance triggers the need for compliance with the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Accordingly, as the NEPA lead 
agency, the Service is providing this notice of the availability and is 
making the EA available for public review.

Public Review

    The Service invites the public to review the EA and amendments to 
the Plan and IA during a 60-day public comment period [see DATES]. 
Written comments from interested parties are welcome to ensure that the 
issues of public concern related to the proposed action are identified. 
Comments and materials received will be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the office 
listed in the ADDRESSES section of this notice. All materials received 
will become part of the administrative record. Our practice is to make 
comments, including names, home addresses, home phone numbers, and 
email addresses of respondents,

[[Page 8394]]

available for public review. Individual respondents may request that we 
withhold their names and/or homes addresses, etc., but if you wish us 
to consider withholding this information you must state this 
prominently at the beginning of your comments. In addition, you must 
present a rationale for withholding this information. This rationale 
must demonstrate that disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted 
invasion of privacy. Unsupported assertions will not meet this burden. 
In the absence of exceptional, documentable circumstances, this 
information will be released. We will always make submissions from 
organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying 
themselves as representatives of or officials of organizations or 
businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety.
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(a) of the Act and 
the regulations for implementing NEPA, as amended (40 CFR 1506.6). We 
will evaluate the application, associated documents, and comments 
submitted thereon to determine whether the application meets the 
requirements of NEPA regulations and section 10(a) of the Act. If we 
determine that those requirements are met, we will issue an amended 
permit to the Green Diamond. We will make our final permit decision no 
sooner than 60 days from the date of this notice.

    Dated: February 20, 2007.
Ken McDermond,
Deputy Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Sacramento, 
 [FR Doc. E7-3176 Filed 2-23-07; 8:45 am]