[Federal Register: October 8, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 196)]
[Page 58975-58976]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-ES-2008-N0199; 10120-1112-0000-F2]

Receipt of an Application for an Enhancement of Survival Permit 
for the Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbit

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of receipt of application.


[[Page 58976]]

SUMMARY: The Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces the receipt 
of an application for an Enhancement of Survival Permit that would be 
issued pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (Act). The application was developed in accordance 
with the Template Safe Harbor Agreement (Template SHA) for the Columbia 
Basin pygmy rabbit (Brachylagus idahoensis). The permit applicant is 
the Washington Department of Natural Resources (WDNR). Issuance of a 
permit to WDNR would exempt incidental take of the Columbia Basin pygmy 
rabbit, which would otherwise be prohibited by section 9 of the Act, 
that is above the baseline conditions of WDNR properties enrolled under 
the Template SHA and that may result from the permittee's otherwise 
lawful management activities. The Service requests comments from the 
public regarding the proposed issuance of a permit to WDNR. All 
comments received will become part of the public record. 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 information from public review, we 
cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. All comments received 
from organizations, businesses, or individuals representing 
organizations or businesses are available for public inspection in 
their entirety.

DATES: To be fully considered, written comments from interested parties 
must be received on or before November 7, 2008.

ADDRESSES: Written comments concerning this notice should be addressed 
to Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Upper Columbia Fish and 
Wildlife Office, 11103 East Montgomery Drive, Spokane, Washington 
99206. You may also send comments by facsimile, at (509) 891-6748, or 
by electronic mail, at: fw1cbprabbit@fws.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Chris Warren at (509) 893-8020.


Availability of Documents

    Copies of the WDNR permit application, the Template SHA, and other 
relevant documents addressing the Service's proposed issuance of the 
subject permit are available for public inspection, by appointment, 
during normal business hours at the Upper Columbia Fish and Wildlife 
Office (see ADDRESSES), or they may be viewed on the internet at the 
following address: http://www.fws.gov/easternwashington/. You may also 
request copies of the documents by contacting the Service's Upper 
Columbia Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT) 
. The Service is furnishing this notice to provide the public, other 
State and Federal agencies, and interested Tribes an opportunity to 
review and comment on the Service's proposed issuance of a permit to 
the WDNR.


    On September 7, 2006, the Service announced the availability for 
public review and comment of a draft Template SHA, which was jointly 
developed by the Service and the Washington Department of Fish and 
Wildlife (WDFW), and a draft Environmental Assessment, which was 
developed by the Service pursuant to Federal responsibilities under the 
National Environmental Policy Act (71 FR 52816). The final Template SHA 
was signed by the Service and WDFW on October 24, 2006. To date, the 
Service has issued 16 Permits under the Template SHA, which cover 
109,425 acres that fall within the historic distribution of the 
Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit. The WDNR has requested to enroll an 
additional 11,148 acres of State trust lands under the Template SHA.
    The primary objective of the Template SHA is to facilitate 
collaboration between the Service, WDFW, and prospective participants 
to voluntarily implement conservation measures to benefit the Columbia 
Basin pygmy rabbit. Another objective of the Template SHA is to 
facilitate the processing of enhancement of survival permits that will 
provide incidental take coverage for participants to relieve them of 
additional section 9 liability under the Act if implementation of their 
conservation measures results in increased numbers or distribution of 
Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits on their enrolled properties.
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(c) of the Act. The 
Service has previously determined that implementation of the Template 
SHA will result in conservation benefits to the Columbia Basin pygmy 
rabbit and will not result in significant effects to the human 
environment. The Service will evaluate the permit application noticed 
herein, related documents, and any comments submitted thereon to 
determine whether the permit application is consistent with the 
measures prescribed by the Template SHA and whether it complies with 
relevant statutory and regulatory requirements. If it is determined 
that the requirements are met, a permit to exempt incidental take of 
the Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit will be issued to the applicant. The 
final permit determination will not be made until after the end of the 
30-day comment period, and will fully consider all comments received.

    Dated: September 29, 2008.
David J. Wesley,
Deputy Regional Director, Region 1, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Portland, Oregon.
 [FR Doc. E8-23557 Filed 10-7-08; 8:45 am]