[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 102 (Thursday, May 28, 2015)]
[Pages 30483-30485]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-12849]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2015-N107; FXES11120800000-156-FF08EVEN00]

Habitat Conservation Plan for the Morro Shoulderband Snail; Kroll 
Parcel, Community of Los Osos, San Luis Obispo County, California

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comment.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have 
received an application for a 10-year incidental take permit under the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. The application addresses 
the potential for ``take'' of the federally endangered Morro 
shoulderband snail likely to result incidental to the construction of a 
single-family residence, barn, septic system, and improved residential 
access; management of an existing open space area; and implementation 
of a conservation strategy. We invite comments from the public on the 
application package, which includes a habitat conservation plan (HCP) 
for the Morro shoulderband snail.

DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments by 
June 29, 2015.

ADDRESSES: You may download a copy of the draft HCP and draft low-
effect screening form and environmental action statement on the 
internet at http://www.fws.gov/ventura/, or you may request copies of 
the documents by U.S. mail or phone (see below). Please address written 
comments to Stephen P. Henry, Field Supervisor, Ventura Fish and 
Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2493 Portola Road, 
Suite B, Ventura, CA 93003. You may alternatively send comments by 
facsimile to (805) 644-3958.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Julie M. Vanderwier, Senior Fish and 
Wildlife Biologist, at the above address or by phone at (805) 644-1766.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We have received an application from James 
and Sharon Kroll for an incidental take permit (ITP) pursuant to 
section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act (Act; 16 U.S.C. 1531 
et seq.). The application addresses take of the federally endangered 
Morro shoulderband snail (Helminthoglypta walkeriana) likely to occur 
incidental to the construction and maintenance of a single-family 
residence, barn, septic system, and improved road access; management of 
an existing open space area; and implementation of a conservation 
strategy on 3.09 acres within an existing legal 5.08-acre parcel 
located in western San Luis Obispo County, California. The requested 
permit term is 10 years. We invite comments from the public on the 
application package. Issuance of an ITP pursuant to this HCP has been 
determined to be eligible for a categorical exclusion under National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).


    The Morro shoulderband snail was listed as endangered on December 
15, 1994 (59 FR 64613). Section 9 of the Act and its implementing 
regulations (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) prohibit the take of fish or 
wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened. Under the Act, 
``take'' is defined to include the following activities: ``to harass, 
harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or 
to attempt to engage in any such conduct'' (16 U.S.C. 1532). Under 
section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act, we may issue permits to authorize take 
of listed species if it is incidental to other lawful activities and 
not the

[[Page 30484]]

purpose of carrying out that activity. The Code of Federal Regulations 
provides those regulations governing incidental take permits for 
threatened and endangered species at 50 CFR 17.32 and 17.22. Issuance 
of an incidental take permit must not jeopardize the existence of any 
federally listed fish, wildlife or plant species.

The Applicants' Proposed Project

    James and Sharon Kroll (hereafter, the applicants) own a 5.08-acre 
residential suburban-zoned parcel legally described as County of San 
Luis Obispo Assessor Parcel Number 074-022-041 and located at 302/304 
Madera Street in the western portion of Los Osos, an unincorporated 
community of San Luis Obispo County, California. The applicants have 
submitted a HCP in support of their application for an ITP to address 
take of Morro shoulderband snail likely to occur as the result of 
project activities that would occur within a 3.09-acre permit area 
within the larger parcel area. Proposed covered activities include 
direct impacts to up to 0.63 acre of predominantly nonnative grassland 
habitat associated with the construction and maintenance of a single-
family residence, barn, septic system, and improved residential access; 
maintenance of a 0.93-acre open space area; and the restoration, 
monitoring, and management of 1.1 acres of habitat for Morro 
shoulderband snail.
    The applicants propose to minimize and mitigate take of Morro 
shoulderband snail associated with the covered activities by fully 
implementing the HCP. The following minimization measures would be 
implemented: (1) Development and delivery of an environmental training 
program for Morro shoulderband snail to all personnel working onsite, 
(2) pre-construction and concurrent construction monitoring surveys for 
Morro shoulderband snail, (3) capture and moving out of harm's way all 
identified individuals of any life stage of Morro shoulderband snail to 
a Service-approved receptor site by an individual in possession of a 
current valid recovery permit for the species, (4) use of temporary 
construction fencing to prevent accidental egress into mitigation 
areas; and (5) installation of permanent fencing to separate use areas 
from conservation areas. To mitigate for unavoidable take of Morro 
shoulderband snail, the applicants would conserve and manage 1.1 acres 
of habitat for Morro shoulderband snail. This 1.1-acre area would be 
recorded under a conservation easement with the County of San Luis 
Obispo and restored to native coastal dune scrub following control of 
non-native grasses and removal of orchard plantings. The applicants 
have committed to fund up to $33,368 to ensure implementation of all 
minimization, mitigation, and reporting requirements identified in the 
    In the proposed HCP, the applicants consider two alternatives to 
the proposed action: ``No Action'' and ``Alternate Project Design.'' 
Under the ``No Action'' alternative, the Service would not issue an 
ITP, and the legal construction of a single-family residence and barn 
would not occur. Absent the ITP, there would be no conservation and 
restoration of habitat for the Morro shoulderband snail that would, in 
concert with nearby habitat, provide a benefit to the species. Since 
the property is privately owned, there are ongoing economic 
considerations associated with continued ownership absent its ability 
to realize its intended use upon purchase (e.g., payment of associated 
taxes). The sale of this property for other than the currently zoned 
and identified purpose is not considered biologically meaningful or 
economically feasible. Because of economic considerations and because 
the proposed action results in a net benefit for the Morro shoulderband 
snail, the No Action Alternative has been rejected.
    Under the ``Alternate Project Design'' alternative, the residence 
and barn would be located elsewhere within the parcel. No other 
configuration would result in a substantial increase in the net benefit 
to the species or better achieve the applicants' needs. As such, the 
Alternate Project Design alternative is also rejected.

Our Preliminary Determination

    We have determined the applicants' proposal will have a minor or 
negligible effect on the Morro shoulderband snail, and the HCP 
qualifies for processing as a low-effect plan consistent with our 
Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook (November 1996). Three criteria 
form the basis for our determination: (1) the proposed project as 
described in the HCP would result in minor or negligible effects on 
federally listed, proposed, and/or candidate species and their 
habitats; (2) implementation of the HCP would result in minor 
negligible effects on other environmental values or resources; and (3) 
HCP impacts, considered together with those of other past, present, and 
reasonably foreseeable future projects, would not result in 
cumulatively significant effects. It is our preliminary determination 
that HCP approval and ITP issuance qualify for categorical exclusion 
under the NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), as provided by the Department 
of the Interior Manual (516 DM 2 Appendix 2 and 516 DM 8); however, we 
may revise our determination based upon review of public comments 
received in response to this notice.

Next Steps

    We will evaluate the permit application, including the HCP and 
comments we receive, to determine whether it meets the requirements of 
section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act. We will also evaluate whether issuance 
of the ITP would comply with section 7(a)(2) of the Act by conducting 
an intra-Service consultation pursuant to section 7(a)(2) of the Act.

Public Review

    We request comments from the public regarding our preliminary 
determination that the applicants' proposal will have a minor or 
negligible effect on the Morro shoulderband snail and that the plan 
qualifies as a low-effect HCP. We will evaluate the comments we receive 
and make a final determination regarding whether the application meets 
the requirements of section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act. We will incorporate 
the results of our intra-Service consultation, in combination with the 
above findings, in our final analysis to determine whether to issue the 
ITP. If all of our requirements are met, we will issue the ITP to the 
applicants. Permit issuance would not occur less than 30 days from the 
date of this notice.

Public Comments

    If you wish to comment on the permit application, HCP, and 
associated documents, you may submit comments by any one of the methods 
provided in ADDRESSES.

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 view, we cannot guarantee that we will be able 
to do so.


    We provide this notice under section 10(c) of the Act and the NEPA 
public involvement regulations (40 CFR 1500.1(b), 1500.2(d), and 

[[Page 30485]]

    Dated: May 21, 2015.
Stephen P. Henry,
Field Supervisor, Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office, Ventura, 
[FR Doc. 2015-12849 Filed 5-27-15; 8:45 am]