[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 245 (Wednesday, December 21, 2011)]
[Pages 79209-79211]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-32590]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2011-N226; FXHC-1113-0000-05D]

Proposed Safe Harbor Agreement for the Shasta Crayfish in Cassel, 
Shasta County, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; receipt of application.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that Michael, Melanie, and Paul 
Kerns (applicant) have applied to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(Service) for an Enhancement of Survival permit under the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The permit application includes 
a proposed safe harbor agreement (agreement) between the

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applicant and the Service for the federally endangered Shasta crayfish 
(Pacifastacus fortis). The agreement is available for public comment.

DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by 
January 20, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Send comments to Mr. Rick Kuyper, via U.S. mail at U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, 13501 Franklin Boulevard, Galt, California 95632, 
or via email at richard_kuyper@fws.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Rick Kuyper, Sacramento Fish and 
Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES); telephone: (916) 691-4531.


Availability of Documents

    You may obtain copies of the document for review by contacting the 
individual named above. You may also make an appointment to view the 
document at the above address 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 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 property 
owners 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 the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 
50 CFR 17.22(c) and 17.32(c). An enhancement of survival permit allows 
any necessary future incidental take of species above the mutually 
agreed upon baseline conditions for the species, as long as the take is 
in accordance with the terms and conditions of the permit and 
accompanying agreement. The federally endangered Shasta crayfish 
(Pacifastacus fortis) is also listed as endangered under the California 
Endangered Species Act, and the Service has worked closely with the 
California Department of Fish and Game during the development of this 
safe harbor agreement.

Proposed Safe Harbor Agreement for the Shasta Crayfish

    The agreement would cover a 0.25-acre pond located on the 
applicant's property. The pond has no direct inflow or outflow from 
surface waterways and is fed by an isolated spring that flows from an 
extensive basalt lava flow. The water from the spring is ponded by a 
levee that was originally built in the early 20th century. Water flows 
out of the pond through a drain pipe into a ditch and then goes 
subsurface. Therefore, the pond has barriers both upstream and 
downstream that prevent species that predate on, or compete with, 
Shasta crayfish from entering. Currently, the pond does not contain 
Shasta crayfish, predatory species, or nonnative crayfish that would 
compete with the Shasta crayfish. Because the pond does not contain 
Shasta crayfish the baseline for the Agreement would be zero. Other 
native aquatic flora and fauna, which could be important for Shasta 
crayfish, are present and plentiful. The applicant would undertake some 
enhancement of the pond by placing rock substrate along certain areas 
of the pond's bottom to create refugia and foraging habitat for Shasta 
crayfish. Some incidental take of Shasta crayfish could occur in the 
future during routine maintenance of a water intake pipe on the south 
side of the pond.
    Because all extant populations of Shasta crayfish are currently in 
rapid decline due to the presence of nonnative predators and 
competitors, the Service is working closely with the California 
Department of Fish and Game and others to determine the feasibility of 
relocating individual Shasta crayfish from existing populations to the 
applicant's pond to establish a new population. Once the safe harbor 
agreement is signed, the landowners will allow the Service to 
translocate individual Shasta crayfish from nearby populations to their 
pond. The pond would provide high-quality foraging and breeding habitat 
that is free of nonnative crayfish and predatory fish species, thus 
creating a high likelihood that the applicant's pond will support a 
self-sustaining population of Shasta crayfish throughout the duration 
of the safe harbor agreement. If Shasta crayfish are established in the 
applicant's pond, this population could potentially be used to 
repopulate extirpated populations in other suitable areas within the 
historic range of the species.
    Upon approval of this agreement and satisfactory completion of all 
other applicable legal requirements, and consistent with the Service's 
Safe Harbor Policy (64 FR 32717), the Service would issue an 
Enhancement of Survival permit to the applicant. This permit will 
authorize the applicant to take the covered species incidental to the 
following: (1) Implementation of the management activities specified in 
the agreement; (2) other lawful uses of the property, including normal 
routine land management activities; and, (3) a return to baseline 
conditions, if desired by the applicant.
    An applicant would receive assurances under our ``No Surprises'' 
regulations (50 CFR 17.22(c)(5) and 17.32(c)(5)) for all species 
included in the enhancement of survival permit. In addition to meeting 
other criteria, actions to be performed under an Enhancement of 
Survival permit must not jeopardize the existence of federally listed 
fish, wildlife, or plants.

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 that is also available for public 
    Individuals wishing copies of the Environmental Action Statement, 
and/or copies of the full text of the agreement, including a map of the 
proposed permit area, should contact the office and personnel listed in 
the ADDRESSES section above.
    Before including your address, phone number, email 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.
    The Service will evaluate this 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 NEPA regulations. If the Service determines 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 Covered Species incidental to otherwise 
lawful activities in accordance with the terms of the agreement. The 
Service will not make our final decision until after the

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end of the 30-day comment period and will fully consider all comments 
received during the comment period.


    The Service provides this notice pursuant to section 10(c) of the 
Act and pursuant to implementing regulations for NEPA (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: December 14, 2011.
Susan K. Moore,
Field Supervisor, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, Sacramento, 
[FR Doc. 2011-32590 Filed 12-20-11; 8:45 am]