[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 26 (Thursday, February 7, 2013)]
[Pages 9066-9067]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-02728]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R6-ES-2012-N305; FF06E13000-123-FXES11130600000D2]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Enhancement of 
Survival Permit Application; Draft Greater Sage-Grouse Umbrella 
Candidate Conservation Agreement With Assurances for Wyoming Ranch 
Management, and Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are 
announcing the availability of the following documents for review and 
comment by the public and Federal, Tribal, State, and local 
     Draft Greater Sage-grouse Umbrella Candidate Conservation 
Agreement with Assurances for Wyoming Ranch Management (Umbrella CCAA), 
     Draft Environment Assessment of the Greater Sage-grouse 
Umbrella Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances for Wyoming 
Ranch Management (EA).
    The Service and several State, Federal, and local partners prepared 
the draft Umbrella CCAA to provide

[[Page 9067]]

Wyoming ranchers with the opportunity to voluntarily conserve greater 
sage-grouse and its habitat while carrying out their ranching 
activities. Ranchers may apply for an enhancement of survival permit 
under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA), by agreeing 
to implement certain conservation measures in the Umbrella CCAA that 
apply to their properties. Pursuant to the National Environmental 
Policy Act, we also prepared a draft environmental assessment (EA) that 
analyzes the potential impacts to the human environment from the 
proposed Umbrella CCAA and alternatives to the action.

DATES: Written comments must be submitted by March 11, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments by U.S. mail to Tyler Abbott, Deputy 
Field Supervisor, Wyoming Ecological Services Field Office, U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, 5353 Yellowstone Road, Suite 308A, Cheyenne, WY 
82009, or via email to WYSagegrouseCCAA@fws.gov. You also may send 
comments by facsimile to 307-772-2358. The draft CCAA and EA are 
available on our Mountain-Prairie Region Ecological Services Web site 
at www.fws.gov/wyominges/. You also may review copies of these 
documents during regular business hours at the Wyoming Ecological 
Services Field Office (see address above). If you do not have access to 
the Web site or cannot visit our office, you may request copies by 
telephone at 307-772-2374 ext. 231 or by letter to the Wyoming Field 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tyler Abbott, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 307-772-2374 ext. 231; tyler_abbott@fws.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under a Candidate Conservation Agreement 
with Assurances (CCAA), participating landowners voluntarily undertake 
management activities on their property to enhance, restore, or 
maintain habitat benefiting species that are proposed for listing or 
candidates for listing under the ESA, or those species that may become 
candidates. A CCAA, and the subsequent permits that are issued pursuant 
to section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), encourage 
private and non-Federal property owners to implement conservation 
efforts for 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 if that species becomes listed under the ESA in the 
future. CCAA permit application requirements and issuance criteria are 
found in 50 CFR 17.22(d) and 17.32(d).
    On March 23, 2010, the Service determined that listing the greater 
sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) under the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1538) 
was warranted, but precluded by the need to address higher priority 
species first. As result, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in 
coordination with the Wyoming Governor's Office, the Bureau of Land 
Management, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Wyoming 
Department of Agriculture, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and the 
Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts, developed a draft 
statewide umbrella CCAA for ranch management. The intent of the 
umbrella CCAA is to use voluntary, proactive conservation measures to 
reduce or remove threats to the greater sage-grouse, thereby 
potentially reducing the need to list the species. The draft umbrella 
CCAA covers an area of approximately 17 million acres of privately 
owned lands within the range of the greater sage-grouse in Wyoming.
    The draft umbrella CCAA contains a comprehensive menu of 
conservation measures designed to reduce or remove each identified 
potential threat to the greater sage-grouse that may occur on a 
ranching operation in Wyoming. This approach allows each interested 
rancher to select conservation measures specific to their operation, 
rather than require each participant to conform to one prescriptive 
action. A private landowner who wishes to enroll in the umbrella CCAA 
would develop a streamlined individual CCAA for the enrolled property. 
Partner agencies would assist the landowner in selecting the 
conservation measures from the umbrella CCAA that would address threats 
occurring on the property to be enrolled. Each landowner would submit 
their individual CCAA to the Service to apply for a section 10(a)(1)(A) 
permit for take of the sage-grouse incidental to conservation and 
ranching activities, should the species become listed.
    The Service and other participating agencies have also prepared a 
draft EA that considers the potential impacts of implementing the 
umbrella CCAA and issuing assurances and individual permits to private 
landowners participating in the umbrella CCAA.

Public Availability of Comments

    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.

    Dated: January 23, 2013.
Michael Thabault,
Acting Regional Director, Mountain-Prairie Region, Denver, Colorado.
[FR Doc. 2013-02728 Filed 2-6-13; 8:45 am]