[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 146 (Friday, July 29, 2011)]
[Pages 45602-45603]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-19204]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2011-N144; 81440-1113-0000-F3]

Proposed Safe Harbor Agreement for California Red-Legged Frog, at 
Swallow Creek Ranch, San Luis Obispo County, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; receipt of permit application.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have 
received, from Swallow Creek Ranch (Applicant), an application for an 
enhancement of survival permit for the Federally threatened California 
red-legged frog (Rana draytonii), under the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (Act). This permit application includes a proposed 
Safe Harbor Agreement (Agreement) between the Applicant and the 
Service. The Agreement and permit application are available for public 

DATES: To ensure we are able to consider your comments, please send 
them to us by August 29, 2011.

ADDRESSES: The documents are available on our Web site: http://www.fws.gov/ventura. A limited number of printed copies are available 
by request. You may request the documents or submit comments by any of 
the following methods.
     E-mail: fw8SHA_swallowcreekranch@fws.gov. Include 
``Swallow Creek Ranch SHA'' in the subject line of the message.
     U.S. Mail: Field Supervisor; U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service; Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office; 2493 Portola Road, Suite B; 
Ventura, CA 93003.
     Fax: Attn: Field Supervisor, (805) 644-3958.

Coordinator, Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office at the address above or 
by telephone at (805) 644-1766.


Availability of Documents

    You may obtain copies of the documents for review by using one of 
the methods in ADDRESSES, or by contacting the individual named in the 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. You also may make an 
appointment to view the documents at the Ventura Fish and Wildlife 
Office (see ADDRESSES) during normal business hours.


    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 permits that 
are issued under 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 property owners that they will not be 
subjected to increased land use restrictions as a result of efforts to 
attract or increase the numbers or distribution of a listed species on 
their property. Application requirements and issuance criteria for 
permits through Safe Harbor Agreements are found in 50 CFR 17.32(c).
    We have worked with the Applicant to develop this proposed 
Agreement for the conservation of the California red-legged frog on the 
property subject to the Agreement (Enrolled Property), which is owned 
and managed by the Applicant. The Enrolled Property is Swallow Creek 
Ranch in San Luis Obispo County, California. Within the 620 acres of 
land comprising the Enrolled Property, habitat for the California red-
legged frog will be restored, enhanced, and managed under a written 
agreement between the Applicant and Service. We expect that the 
activities proposed in the Agreement will result in an increase in 
suitable habitat for this species and provide for its increase in 
number and its expansion into additional areas that are currently not 
occupied, thus resulting in a net conservation benefit for the species.
    This Agreement provides for the restoration, enhancement, and 
management of aquatic, riparian, and upland habitat suitable for the 
California red-legged frog on the Enrolled Property. The proposed 
duration of the Agreement is 30 years, and the proposed term of the 
enhancement of survival permit is 30 years. The Agreement fully 
describes the proposed management activities to be undertaken by the 
Applicant and the net conservation benefits expected to be gained for 
the California red-legged frog.
    Upon approval of this Agreement and satisfactory completion of all 
other applicable legal requirements, and consistent with the Service's 
Safe Harbor Policy published in the Federal Register on June 17, 1999 
(64 FR 32717), the Service would issue a permit to the Applicant 
authorizing take of the California red-legged frog incidental to the 
implementation of the management activities specified in the Agreement; 
incidental to other lawful uses of the Enrolled Property, including 
normal, routine land management activities; and incidental to the 
return to pre-Agreement conditions (baseline).
    Management activities included in the Agreement will provide for 
the restoration, enhancement, and management of native riparian 
habitats within the Enrolled Property. The objective of such activities 
is to enhance the population of California red-legged frogs by 
increasing the quality and quantity of suitable habitat on the Enrolled 
Property. Take of California red-legged frogs incidental to the 
aforementioned activities is unlikely; however, it is possible that in 
the course of such activities or other lawful activities on the 
Enrolled Property, the Applicant could incidentally take California 
red-legged frog, thereby

[[Page 45603]]

necessitating take authority under the permit.
    Baseline conditions have been determined for the Enrolled Property 
based on the occurrence of California red-legged frog and the extent of 
suitable habitat as provided in the Agreement. The Applicant must 
maintain baseline on the Enrolled Property in order to receive coverage 
regarding incidental take of California red-legged frogs. The Agreement 
and requested permit would allow the Applicant to return the Enrolled 
Property to baseline conditions after the end of the term of the 
Agreement and prior to the expiration of the 30-year permit, if so 
desired by the Applicant.

Public Review and Comments

    The Service has made a preliminary determination that the proposed 
Agreement and permit application are eligible for categorical exclusion 
under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 
4321 et seq.). We explain the basis for this determination in an 
Environmental Action Statement, which also is available for public 
    Individuals wishing copies of the permit application, copies of our 
draft Environmental Action Statement, and copies of the Agreement, 
including a map of the proposed permit area, should contact the Ventura 
Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES).
    If you wish to comment on the permit application or the Agreement, 
you may submit your comments to one of the addresses listed in the 
ADDRESSES section of this document. Comments and materials received, 
including names and addresses of respondents, will be available for 
public review, by appointment, during normal business hours at the 
address in the ADDRESSES section above and will become part of the 
public record, under section 10(c) of the Act.
    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.
    We will evaluate this permit application, associated documents, and 
comments we receive to determine whether the permit application meets 
the requirements of section 10(a) of the Act and NEPA regulations. If 
we determine that the requirements are met, we will sign the proposed 
Agreement and issue an enhancement of survival permit under section 
10(a)(1)(A) of the Act to the Applicant for take of the California red-
legged frog incidental to otherwise lawful activities in accordance 
with the terms of the Agreement. We will not make our final decision 
until after the end of the 30-day comment period and will fully 
consider all comments we receive during the comment period.
    The Service provides this notice under section 10(c) of the Act and 
under implementing regulations for NEPA (40 CFR 1506.6).

Diane K. Noda,
Field Supervisor, Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office.
[FR Doc. 2011-19204 Filed 7-28-11; 8:45 am]