[Federal Register: September 12, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 178)]
[Page 53038-53040]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2008-N0136; 80221-1112-0000-F2]

Coyote Springs Investment Planned Development Project Multiple-
Species Habitat Conservation Plan

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; final environmental impact statement 
and multi-species habitat conservation plan.


SUMMARY: Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the 
Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) as the lead agency, together with 
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and Bureau of Land Management 
(BLM) as cooperating agencies, advise the public of the availability of 
the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the application from 
Coyote Springs Investment LLC (CSI) for a Section 10 incidental take 
permit pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended 
(ESA), a section 404 permit under the Clean Water Act, and 
reconfiguration of CSI private and lease lands in Lincoln County. In 
addition, the EIS includes the proposed action of BLM issuing a right-
of-way within the BLM utility corridor, located west of U.S. Highway 93 
in Lincoln County for the construction of detention basins.
    This notice also announces the availability of the CSI Multiple-
Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP), which CSI has submitted as 
part of their incidental take permit application, and Implementing 
Agreement (legal contract for the MSHCP). The permit would authorize 
the incidental take of specified covered species over 40 years, 
including some that may become federally-listed during the term of the 
permit. The permit is needed because take of species could occur during 
CSI's proposed urban development activities located in a 21,454-acre 
area in southern Lincoln County, Nevada. In addition, take of species 
could occur during recreation and resource management activities within 
the 13,767-acre proposed Coyote Springs Investment Conservation Lands 
(CSICL) in Clark and Lincoln counties. The CSICL is an area leased by 
CSI from BLM, which would be managed for the conservation of the desert 
tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) and other covered species specified in 
    This notice is provided pursuant to applicable NEPA regulations (40 
CFR 1506.6) to inform the public of the proposed action, and to make 
available for 30 days' review the final EIS, CSI MSHCP, and 
Implementing Agreement.

DATES: A Record of Decision will be signed no sooner than 30 days after 
the publication of the Environmental Protection Agency notice. Comments 
on the final EIS must be received on or before October 14, 2008.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Robert D. Williams, Field 
Supervisor, Fish and Wildlife Service, Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office, 
1340 Financial Boulevard, Suite 234, Reno, Nevada 89502, and fax number 
(775) 861-6301.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert D. Williams, Field Supervisor, 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office, 4701 N. 
Torrey Pines Drive, Las Vegas, Nevada 89130, telephone (702) 515-5230 
and fax number (702) 515-5231.


Availability of Documents

    Copies of the EIS, CSI MSHCP, and Implementing Agreement are 

[[Page 53039]]

for public review during regular business hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
at the Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office in Las Vegas, Nevada (see FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Copies are also available during the 
public comment period at the following libraries: (1) Clark County 
Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, Las Vegas, Nevada 89119; (2) Moapa 
Valley Library, 350 N. Moapa Valley Boulevard, Overton, Nevada 89040; 
(3) Washoe County Library, Downtown Main Branch, 301 South Center 
Street, Reno, Nevada 89501; (4) Lincoln County Library, 63 Main Street, 
Pioche, Nevada 89043; and (5) Alamo Branch Library, 100 North First 
Street, Alamo, Nevada 89001.
    Individuals wishing copies of the EIS, CSI MSHCP, and Implementing 
Agreement should contact the Service by telephone (see FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT) or by letter (see ADDRESSES). These documents also 
are available on the Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office Web site at http:/

Background Information

    Section 9 of the Federal ESA of 1973, as amended and Federal 
regulations prohibit the take of fish and wildlife species listed as 
endangered or threatened (16 U.S.C. 1538). The term ``take'' means to 
harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or 
collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct (16 U.S.C. 1532). 
Harm includes significant habitat modification or degradation that 
actually kills or injures listed wildlife by significantly impairing 
essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding, and 
sheltering [50 CFR 17.3(c)]. Under limited circumstances, we may issue 
permits to authorize incidental take of listed fish or wildlife; i.e., 
take that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, otherwise lawful 
activity. Regulations governing incidental take permits for threatened 
and endangered species are found in 50 CFR 17.32 and 17.22, 
    Although take of listed plant species is not prohibited under the 
Federal ESA, and therefore cannot be authorized under an incidental 
take permit, plant species may be included on a permit in recognition 
of the conservation benefits provided to them under a habitat 
conservation plan. All species included on an incidental take permit 
would receive assurances under the Services ``No Surprises'' regulation 
50 CFR 17.22(b)(5) and 17.32(b)(5).
    The EIS analyzes the impacts of the proposed implementation of the 
CSI MSHCP by the Applicant (CSI). The Applicant seeks a 40-year 
incidental take permit for covered activities within a proposed 21,454-
acre development area located in southern Lincoln County, Nevada. The 
development area extends approximately nine miles north of the Lincoln 
County-Clark County line. The CSI MSHCP also would cover approximately 
13,767 acres of leased land in Lincoln County (approximately 7,548 
acres) and Clark County (approximately 6,219 acres). The leased lands 
would be designated as the CSICL and would be managed for the 
conservation of species, habitat, and waters of the United States 
    Land leased and owned by the Applicant occupies most of the eastern 
portion of Coyote Spring Valley straddling the Pahranagat Wash and the 
Kane Springs Wash in Lincoln County. This area is bordered by the 
Delamar Mountains to the north, the Meadow Valley Mountains to the 
east, and U.S. Highway 93 to the west. The leased land in Clark County 
is bordered by State Route 168 to the south. The surrounding land is 
primarily owned and managed by the BLM and Service. South of the 
development area, CSI privately-owned lands are being developed in 
Clark County and are covered under the existing Clark County Multiple 
Species Habitat Conservation Plan.
    The Applicant has requested a permit for two federally listed 
species, the threatened desert tortoise (Mojave population) and the 
endangered Moapa dace (Moapa coriacea) and three species that are not 
listed under the Federal ESA at the current time: banded Gila monster 
(Heloderma suspectum cinctum), Virgin River chub (Gila seminuda) (Muddy 
River population), and the Western burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia 
    Proposed covered activities and projects within the CSI MSHCP fall 
within six categories: Community development and construction 
activities; recreational facilities and open space; utility 
infrastructure; water supply infrastructure; flood control structures 
development and maintenance (including stormwater management); and 
resource management features (including re-alignment of the existing 
land ownership, subject to BLM approval and compliance with applicable 
laws, to minimize impacts to desert tortoise and management of the 
    The CSI MSHCP's proposed conservation strategy is designed to 
minimize and mitigate the impacts of covered activities, contribute to 
the recovery of listed covered species, and protect and enhance 
populations of non-listed covered species. The strategy provides for 
the designation and management of a conservation area for species, 
habitat and WOUS on approximately 13,767 acres. Other conservation 
measures include: (1) Development and implementation of a long-term 
protection plan for the Moapa dace and Virgin River chub; (2) payment 
of mitigation fees, in the amount of $800 per acre of disturbance for 
the development of private land, which would be used to fund research 
on the covered species and management of the CSICL, and other 
mitigation measures as described in the CSI MSHCP; and (3) creation of 
a wash buffer zone easement within the development area.

National Environmental Policy Act Compliance

    Proposed permit issuance triggers the need for compliance with 
NEPA. As lead agency, the Service has prepared an EIS that analyzes 
alternatives associated with issuance of the incidental take permit. 
Cooperating agencies to the final EIS include the Corps and BLM. The 
EIS analyzes the Corps' issuance of a section 404 permit to CSI under 
the Clean Water Act for the proposed urban development on 21,454-acres 
of private land and for the proposed detention basins on BLM-
administered land in Lincoln County. The EIS also addresses BLM's 
proposed reconfiguration of the CSI private and BLM leased lands and 
issuance of a right-of-way to CSI for the construction of detention 
basins on up to 244 acres of BLM-administered land within the utility 
corridor located west of U.S. Highway 93 in Lincoln County. The 
proposed detention basins on BLM-administered land are not included as 
a covered activity in the CSI MSHCP but would be subject to a section 7 
formal consultation under ESA.

Public Involvement

    A Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare an EIS was published in the 
Federal Register for this project on December 4, 2001 (66 FR 63065). A 
second NOI was published on September 12, 2006 (71 FR 53704) and 
scoping meetings were held on September 26 and 27, 2006, in Alamo and 
Moapa, Nevada, respectively. A third NOI was published on November 2, 
2006 (71 FR 64555) to reopen the public comment period and to correct 
inaccurate contact information provided in the September 12, 2006 
notice. On November 2, 2007, a NOA of the draft CSI MSHCP, draft EIS, 
and draft Implementing Agreement was published in the Federal Register 
(72 FR 62229). A 60-day public comment period on the draft documents 
closed on January 2, 2008, with individual extensions granted until

[[Page 53040]]

January 14, 2008, as requested by several entities.

Public Comments

    The Service and Applicant invite the public to comment on the final 
EIS, CSI MSHCP, and Implementing Agreement during a 30-day public 
comment period beginning on the date of this notice. 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 may 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.
    The Service will evaluate the application, associated documents, 
and comments submitted to determine whether the application meets the 
requirements of section 10(a) of the ESA. A permit decision will be 
made no sooner than 30 days after the publication of the EIS and 
completion of the Record of Decision.
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(a) of the Federal 
ESA and regulations for implementing NEPA, as amended (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: August 28, 2008.
Richard E. Sayers,
Acting Deputy Regional Director, California and Nevada Region, 
Sacramento, CA.
[FR Doc. E8-21284 Filed 9-11-08; 8:45 am]