[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 89 (Thursday, May 7, 2020)]
[Pages 27236-27237]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-09804]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2020-0039; FF08ESMF00-FXES11140800000-189]

Dos Osos Reservoir Replacement Project, Contra Costa County, 
California; Draft Categorical Exclusion and Draft Habitat Conservation 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability of permit application; request for 


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the 
availability of a draft categorical exclusion under the National 
Environmental Policy Act. We also announce receipt of an application 
for an incidental take permit under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), 
and receipt of a draft habitat conservation plan. The East Bay 
Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) (applicant) has applied for an 
incidental take permit under the ESA for the Dos Osos Reservoir 
Replacement Project in Contra Costa County, California. The permit 
would authorize the take of one species incidental to the construction 
of the project. Incidental take coverage is not being sought for 
operation and maintenance of the project, as these activities are 
covered, analyzed, and mitigated for under the existing EBMUD Low-
Effect East Bay HCP. We invite the public and local, State, Tribal, and 
Federal agencies to comment on these applications. Before issuing the 
requested permit, we will take into consideration any information that 
we receive during the public comment period.

DATES: We must receive your written comments on or before June 8, 2020.

ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents: The draft categorical exclusion (draft 
CatEx), draft habitat conservation plan (HCP), and any comments and 
other materials that we receive are available for public inspection at 
http://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2020-0039.
    Submitting Comments: To submit comments, please use one of the 
following methods, and note that your information requests or comments 
are in reference to the draft CatEx, draft HCP, or both.
     Internet: Submit comments at http://www.regulations.gov 
under Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2020-0039.
     U.S. Mail: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. 
FWS-R8-ES-2020-0039; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: 
PRB/3W; 5275 Leesburg Pike; Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.
    For more information, see Public Comments and Public Availability 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jason Hanni, Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist, or Ryan Olah, Chief, Coast Bay Division, Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, by phone at 916-414-6600 
or via the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(Service), announce the availability of a draft categorical exclusion 
(CatEx), prepared pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969, as amended (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), and its implementing 
regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 40 CFR 1506.6. 
This notice also announces the receipt of an application from the East 
Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) (applicant) for a 15-year 
incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 
as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Application for the permit 
requires the preparation of an HCP with measures to avoid, minimize, 
and mitigate the impacts of incidental take to the maximum extent 
practicable. The applicant prepared the draft Los Osos Reservoir 
Replacement Project Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan (draft HCP) 
pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA. The purpose of the CatEx is 
to assess the effects of issuing the permit and implementing the draft 
HCP on the natural and human environment.


    Section 9 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544 et seq.) and Federal 
regulations (50 CFR 17) prohibit the taking of fish and wildlife 
species listed as endangered or threatened under section 4 of the ESA. 
Regulations governing permits for endangered and threatened species are 
at 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32. For more about the Federal habitat 
conservation plan (HCP) program, go to http://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/hcp.pdf.

National Environmental Policy Act Compliance

    The proposed permit issuance triggers the need for compliance with 
the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA; 42 
U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). The draft CatEx was prepared to analyze the 
impacts of issuing an ITP based on the draft HCP and to inform the 
public of the proposed action, any alternatives, and associated

[[Page 27237]]

impacts, and to disclose any irreversible commitments of resources.

Proposed Action Alternative

    Under the Proposed Action Alternative, the Service would issue an 
ITP to the applicant for a period of 15 years for certain covered 
activities (described below). The applicant has requested an ITP for 
one covered species (described below), which is listed as threatened 
under the ESA.
Habitat Conservation Plan Area
    The geographic scope of the draft HCP encompasses 2.98 acres, which 
encompasses both the 0.98-acre permanent impact and 2.00 acres of 
temporary impact areas. The project would result in the demolition of 
the existing water reservoir and replacing it with two new 120,000-
gallon steel-bolted reservoirs located at 263 El Toyonal, in the City 
of Orinda, Contra Costa County, California.
Covered Activities
    The proposed ESA section 10 ITP would allow take of one covered 
species from covered activities in the proposed HCP area. The applicant 
is requesting incidental take authorization for covered activities, 
including site preparation, construction, and access road maintenance 
in the project area. The applicant is proposing to implement a number 
of project design features, including best management practices, as 
well as general and species-specific avoidance and minimization 
measures to minimize the impacts of the take from the covered 
Covered Species
    The Alameda whipsnake (Masticophis lateralis euryxanthus), a 
species federally listed as threatened, is proposed to be included as a 
covered species in the proposed HCP:

No-Action Alternative

    Under the No-Action Alternative, the Service would not issue an ITP 
to the applicant, and the reservoir would not be constructed. The No-
Action Alternative is not feasible, based on the purpose and need of 
the project. The existing reservoir is at the end of its useful life, 
due to deterioration of the structural materials. The metal on the 
existing reservoir is corroding, the roof is deteriorating, and the 
entire aging structure will eventually will be unable to maintain an 
adequate water supply and serve its intended function. EBMUD must 
replace this critical water distribution facility and improve the level 
of service in the pressure zones by raising the elevation of the 
proposed new dual Dos Osos Reservoirs. In addition, the project is 
necessary to increase operational flexibility by replacing the existing 
single reservoir with new dual Dos Osos Reservoirs. For these reasons, 
the No-Action Alternative has been rejected.

Public Comments

    We request data, comments, new information, or suggestions from the 
public, other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific 
community, Tribes, industry, or any other interested party on this 
notice, the draft CatEx, and the draft HCP. We particularly seek 
comments on the following:
    1. Biological information concerning the species;
    2. Relevant data concerning the species;
    3. Additional information concerning the range, distribution, 
population size, and population trends of the species;
    4. Current or planned activities in the area and their possible 
impacts on the species;
    5. The presence of archeological sites, buildings and structures, 
historic events, sacred and traditional areas, and other historic 
preservation concerns, which are required to be considered in project 
planning by the National Historic Preservation Act; and
    6. Any other environmental issues that should be considered with 
regard to the proposed development and permit action.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, or other personal 
identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your 
entire comment--including your personal identifying information--might 
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.

Next Steps

    Issuance of an incidental take permit is a Federal proposed action 
subject to compliance with NEPA and section 7 of the ESA. We will 
evaluate the application, associated documents, and any public comments 
we receive as part of our NEPA compliance process to determine whether 
the application meets the requirements of section 10(a) of the ESA. If 
we determine that those requirements are met, we will conduct an intra-
Service consultation under section 7 of the ESA for the Federal action 
for the potential issuance of an ITP. If the intra-Service consultation 
confirms that issuance of the ITP will not jeopardize the continued 
existence of any endangered or threatened species, or destroy or 
adversely modify critical habitat, we will issue a permit to the 
applicant for the incidental take of the covered species.


    We publish this notice under the National Environmental Policy Act 
of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321-4347 et seq.), and its implementing 
regulations at 40 CFR 1500-1508, as well as in compliance with section 
10(c) of the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544 et seq.) and 
its implementing regulations at 40 CFR 17.22.

Jennifer Norris,
Field Supervisor, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Sacramento, California.
[FR Doc. 2020-09804 Filed 5-6-20; 8:45 am]