[Federal Register: October 6, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 194)]
[Page 58263-58264]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 58263]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-ES-2008-N00172; 10120-1112-0000-F2]

Proposed Willamette Valley Native Prairie Habitat Programmatic 
Safe Harbor Agreement for the Fender's Blue Butterfly in Benton, Lane, 
Linn, Marion, Polk, and Yamhill Counties, OR

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; receipt of application.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) proposes to issue 
itself an enhancement of survival permit pursuant to section 
10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), 
for a programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement (Agreement). The proposed term 
of the Agreement is 15 years, and the proposed term of the permit is 25 
years. In accordance with regulation, the Service is completing the 
application process for this proposed permit. The requested permit 
would authorize the Service to extend incidental take coverage with 
assurances to eligible landowners who are willing to carry out habitat 
management measures that would benefit the federally-listed endangered 
Fender's blue butterfly (Icaricia icarioides fenderi) and the 
threatened Kincaid's lupine (Lupinus sulphureus ssp. kincaidii) by 
enrolling them under the Agreement as Cooperators through issuance of 
Certificates of Inclusion. The covered area or geographic scope of this 
Agreement includes the known and potential range of the Fender's blue 
butterfly, which occurs on prairie habitat within Benton, Lane, Linn, 
Marion, Polk, and Yamhill counties of Oregon. We request comments from 
the public on the permit application, proposed Agreement and related 
documents, which are available for review (see ADDRESSES below).

DATES: Comments must be received from interested parties on or before 
November 5, 2008.

ADDRESSES: You may submit your written comments to: Project Leader, 
Fish and Wildlife Service, 2600 S.E. 98th Ave., Suite 100, Portland, 
Oregon 97266, or facsimile (503) 231-6195. Include your name and 
address in your comments and refer to the ``Willamette Valley 
Programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement.'' Copies of the draft documents are 
available for public inspection, by appointment, at the above address 
during normal business hours. You may also view the documents on the 
Internet at http://www.fws.gov/oregonfwo/species/.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information or to receive 
copies of the documents on CD ROM, please contact Richard Szlemp at 
(503) 231-6179.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under a Safe Harbor Agreement, participating 
landowners voluntarily undertake management activities on their 
property to enhance, restore, or maintain habitat benefiting species 
listed under the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Safe Harbor Agreements, 
and the subsequent enhancement of survival permits that are issued 
pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Act, encourage private and other 
non-federal property owners to implement conservation efforts for 
listed species by assuring that they will not be subjected to increased 
property use restrictions as a result of their efforts to attract 
listed species to their property, or to increase the numbers or 
distribution of listed species already on their property. Application 
requirements and issuance criteria for enhancement of survival permits 
through Safe Harbor Agreements are found in 50 CFR 17.22(c). These 
permits allow future incidental take of covered species above the 
mutually agreed upon baseline conditions for those species in 
accordance with the terms of the permit and accompanying agreement.
    The Service has developed the proposed Agreement for the 
conservation of the Fender's blue butterfly. The Fender's blue 
butterfly was listed as an endangered species by the Service in 2000 
(65 FR 3875). As of the time of its listing, it was known to occupy 
only 32 sites across 408 acres (165 hectares). Of the 32 sites found to 
support Fender's blue butterfly, Kincaid's lupine (Lupinus sulphureus 
ssp. kincaidii) has been documented as co-occurring as a larval host 
plant at 27 of the sites (65 FR 3875).
    The geographical area covered by this Agreement includes the known 
and potential range of the Fender's blue butterfly within the 
Willamette Valley in Benton, Lane, Linn, Marion, Polk, and Yamhill 
counties of Oregon. Properties that are eligible for enrollment are 
non-Federal lands where the butterfly occurs or could occur through 
colonization, translocation, or reintroduction. Activities under the 
Agreement are also expected to benefit Kincaid's lupine, a federally-
listed as threatened plant. However, Kincaid's lupine is not included 
as a ``covered species.''
    The Fender's blue butterfly is threatened due to few populations, 
low numbers, and habitat fragmentation. Conserving existing populations 
and actively maintaining, enhancing, and expanding the size of existing 
butterfly-occupied habitat patches is essential for recovery. In 
addition, reestablishing habitat connectivity by creating stepping 
stones of habitat between existing butterfly populations will improve 
the prospects for individuals to reach other suitable 9 habitats for 
reproduction, dispersal, and recolonization (71 FR 63874). This 
Agreement is intended to encourage non-federal landowners to undertake 
proactive conservation and restoration actions for the Fender's blue 
butterfly (and Kincaid's lupine).
    Site-specific plans will be developed for each property to be 
enrolled. In addition to the monitoring, one or more of the following 
on-the-ground activities will be included in the plans: (a) Removal of 
invasive, non-native herbaceous plants and woody vegetation; (b) 
revegetation with native species; (c) collection of Kincaid's lupine 
seed and plant material for use in species recovery efforts; (d) 
reintroduction and augmentation of Kincaid's lupine; and (e) reducing 
threats. Environmental baseline conditions for the Fender's blue 
butterfly will be established on each property as lands are enrolled.
    The programmatic nature of the Agreement provides eligible 
landowners with a streamlined process for obtaining assurances that 
specified actions taken to benefit the Fender's blue butterfly will not 
result in additional regulatory obligations under the Act. Without the 
regulatory assurances provided through the Agreement and permit, 
landowners may otherwise be unwilling or reluctant to engage in 
activities that would benefit the Fender's blue butterfly on their 
    A draft Environmental Action Statement now available for public 
review (see ADDRESSES ) indicates that the proposed Agreement and 
permit decision may be eligible for a categorical exclusion under the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et 
    The Service will evaluate the permit application, associated 
documents, and comments submitted thereon to determine whether the 
permit application meets the requirements of section 10(a) of the Act 
and the requirements under NEPA. All comments received, including names 
and addresses, will become part of the administrative record and will 
be available for review pursuant to section

[[Page 58264]]

10(c) of the Act. Individual respondents may request that we withhold 
their home addresses and telephone numbers to the extent allowable by 
law. If you wish us to withhold this personal information, you must 
state this prominently at the beginning of your comment. Anonymous 
comments will not be considered. All submissions from organizations or 
businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as 
representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, are 
available for public inspection in their entirety.
    If we determine that all requirements are met, we will sign the 
Agreement and issue an enhancement of survival permit under section 
10(a)(1)(A) of the Act to the Service's Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office 
(OFWO). The OFWO will serve as the permit holder, and may extend 
coverage to interested, eligible landowners for the take of Fender's 
blue butterfly, incidental to otherwise lawful activities in accordance 
with the terms of the Agreement, Certificates of Inclusion and permit. 
Please note that the Service will not be receiving any assurances as 
holder of the permit, but permitted landowners will. This notice is 
provided pursuant to section 10(c) of the Act and NEPA regulations (40 
CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: August 8, 2008.
David J. Wesley,
Deputy Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 1, 
Portland, Oregon.
 [FR Doc. E8-23556 Filed 10-3-08; 8:45 am]