[Federal Register: May 29, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 104)]
[Page 30965-30966]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2008-N00134; 81430-1112-0000-F2]

Proposed Low Effect Habitat Conservation Plan for the Maintenance 
and Operations on the Calnev 8-Inch and 14-Inch Pipelines, Cajon and 
Lytle Creek Wash, San Bernardino County, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: Calnev Pipeline Company LLC (applicant) has applied to the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for a 5-year incidental take 
permit for one covered species pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The application 
addresses the potential for ``take'' of the endangered San Bernardino 
kangaroo rat (Dipodomys Merriami parvus) associated with the proposed 
pipeline inspection and repair projects in the City of Rialto and 
unincorporated San Bernardino County, California. A conservation 
program to minimize and mitigate for the project activities would be 
implemented as described in the proposed Maintenance and Operations on 
the Calnev 8-inch and 14-inch Pipelines, Cajon and Lytle Creek Wash, 
San Bernardino County, California Habitat Conservation Plan (proposed 
HCP), which would be implemented by the applicant.
    We are requesting comments on the permit application and on the 
preliminary determination that the proposed HCP qualifies as a ``Low-
effect'' Habitat Conservation Plan, 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 Low Effect 
Screening Form, which are also available for public review.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before June 30, 2008.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to the Field Supervisor, Fish 
and Wildlife Service, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, 6010 Hidden 
Valley Road, Carlsbad, California 92011. Written comments may be sent 
by facsimile to (760) 918-0638.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Karen Goebel, Assistant Field 
Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES); 
telephone: (760) 431-9440.


Availability of Documents

    Individuals wishing copies of the application, proposed HCP, and 
EAS should immediately contact the Service by telephone at (760) 431-
9440 or by letter to the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office. Copies of 
the proposed HCP and EAS also are available for public inspection 
during regular business hours at the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office 


    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. 1538). However, under section 
10(a) of the Act, the Service may issue permits to authorize incidental 
take of listed species. ``Incidental take'' is defined by the Act as 
take that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, carrying out an 
otherwise lawful activity. Regulations governing incidental take 
permits for threatened and endangered species, respectively, are found 
in the Code of Federal Regulations at 50 CFR 17.22 and 50 CFR 17.32.
    The applicant is seeking a permit for take of the San Bernardino 
kangaroo rat during the life of the permit. This species is referred to 
as the ``SBKR'' in the proposed HCP. The SBKR is restricted western San 
Bernardino and Riverside counties.
    The applicant proposes to perform routine inspection and repair 
work along 8-inch and 14-inch petroleum product pipelines within the 
Lytle and Cajon Creek Wash in the City of Rialto and unincorporated San 
Bernardino County, California. The purpose of the project is to ensure 
safe and effective transfer of petroleum products within these 
pipelines. The applicant proposes to expose, inspect and repair 
pipelines as necessary to ensure safe and effective operations. Each 
dig will impact approximately 0.02 acre of land, and this permit would 
authorize a maximum of 0.5 acre of impact in total. We anticipate that 
some SBKR may be lost within the 0.5 acre of SBKR occupied habitat. The 
project is within designated critical habitat for the SBKR.
    The applicant proposes to minimize and mitigate the effects to the 
SBKR associated with the covered activities by fully implementing the 
HCP. The purpose of the proposed HCP's conservation program is to 
promote the biological conservation of the SBKR. The HCP includes 
measures to minimize impacts to SBKR by containing the project 
footprint, minimizing activities that may directly impact individual 
SBKR, and promoting recovery of impacted habitat. Impacts would be 
confined to previously impacted areas, and exposed areas would be 
replaced with the original soils and associated seed bank. The 
applicant proposes to mitigate impacts to the SBKR through purchase of 
1 credit within the Cajon Creek Conservation Bank in San Bernardino 
County, California. For each individual repair project, the applicant 
would subtract from the credit at a 2:1 ratio such that no more than 
0.5 acre of impact would be authorized by this permit.
    The Proposed Action consists of the issuance of an incidental take 
permit and implementation of the proposed HCP, which includes measures 
to minimize and mitigate impacts of the project on the SBKR. One 
alternative to the taking of the listed species under the Proposed 
Action is considered in the proposed HCP. Under the No Action 
Alternative, no permit would be issued, and no maintenance or 
conservation would occur. This Alternative was not chosen because it 
would result in no repairs or necessary maintenance to

[[Page 30966]]

existing pipelines, which would increase the risk of impacts to the 
public, property, and environment.
    The Service has made a preliminary determination that approval of 
the proposed HCP 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 Low-effect Habitat Conservation Plans is based on the following 
three criteria: (1) Implementation of the proposed HCP would result in 
minor or negligible effects on federally listed, proposed, and 
candidate species and their habitats; (2) Implementation of the 
proposed HCP would result in minor or negligible effects on other 
environmental values or resources; and (3) Impacts of the proposed HCP, 
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.
    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 HCP, and comments 
submitted thereon to determine whether the application meets the 
requirements of section 10(a) of the Act. If the requirements are met, 
we will issue a permit to Calnev Pipeline Company, LLC for the 
incidental take of the San Bernardino kangaroo rat from petroleum 
pipeline repair and maintenance in the City of Rialto and 
unincorporated San Bernardino County, California.

    Dated: May 21, 2008.
Jim A. Bartel,
Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, Carlsbad, 
[FR Doc. E8-11939 Filed 5-28-08; 8:45 am]