[Federal Register: August 13, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 157)]
[Page 47209-47210]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2008-N0202; 81430-1112-0000-F2]

Proposed Low Effect Habitat Conservation Plan for Restoration and 
Management of the Linden H. Chandler Preserve, City of Rolling Hills 
Estates, County of Los Angeles, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy (applicant) has 
applied to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for a 25-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 
Palos Verdes blue butterfly (Glaucopsyche lygdamus palosverdesensis, 
``PVB'') associated with restoration and management of the Linden H. 
Chandler Preserve (``Preserve'') in the City of Rolling Hills Estates, 
Los Angeles County, California. Following reintroduction of PVB to the 
Preserve, measures to minimize impacts to PVB would be implemented as 
described in the proposed Restoration and Management of the Linden H. 
Chandler Preserve Low Effect 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 September 12, 

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 Palos Verdes blue 
butterfly during the life of the permit. This species is referred to as 
the ``PVB'' in the proposed HCP. The PVB is restricted to the Palos 
Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles County, California.

[[Page 47210]]

    The applicant initiated native habitat restoration activities 
within the Preserve in 1999 and proposes to reintroduce PVB once 
suitable habitat for the species is established. Following 
reintroduction of PVB, the applicant will continue to maintain native 
plant cover and eliminate invasive species on up to 28.5 acres within 
the Preserve. Restoration and management activities may include 
irrigation system installation and repair, mechanical weed removal, 
application of herbicides, planting, seeding, mechanical weeding, and 
removal of organic debris as necessary to enhance habitat for PVB.
    The applicant proposes to minimize the effects to PVB associated 
with the proposed restoration activities by restricting certain 
activities during the flight season (February 15 to June 15), and 
avoiding disturbance to host plants and surrounding soil. The applicant 
will also conduct surveys for PVB for the first five years following 
reintroduction and a minimum of every three years thereafter to track 
peak abundance and patterns of occupancy within the Preserve. 
Restoration activities have the potential to result in take of a small 
number of PVB pupae if host plants and surrounding soil are 
incidentally disturbed. Surveys for PVB during the flight season have 
the potential to take a small number of adults if they are flushed from 
the site and not able to successfully reproduce. The project will 
result in an increase in the quality and quantity of habitat for PVB 
within the Preserve; therefore, no additional mitigation is proposed.
    The Proposed Action consists of the issuance of an incidental take 
permit and implementation of the proposed HCP, which includes measures 
to minimize impacts of the project on PVB. 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 reintroduction of PVB to the Preserve would not occur. 
Management and restoration efforts would continue in the Preserve; 
however, the threat of extinction of PVB in the wild would remain high.
    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 DM8) 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 
    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 Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy for 
the incidental take of the Palos Verdes blue butterfly from restoration 
and management of the Linden H. Chandler Preserve in the City of 
Rolling Hills Estates, Los Angeles County, California.

    Dated: August 7, 2008.
Jim A. Bartel,
Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, Carlsbad, 
[FR Doc. E8-18685 Filed 8-12-08; 8:45 am]