[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 148 (Friday, July 31, 2020)]
[Pages 46164-46165]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-16505]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2020-0073; FXES11120800000-201-FF08E00000]

Sierra Pacific Industries Final Habitat Conservation Plan for 
Northern and California Spotted Owl and Final Environmental Impact 
Statement; Klamath, Cascade, and Sierra Nevada Mountains, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability of final environmental impact statement 
and final habitat conservation plan.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of a final environmental impact statement (EIS) under the 
National Environmental Policy Act. We also announce the availability of 
the final Habitat Conservation Plan for the Northern and California 
Spotted Owl (HCP). The documents were prepared in support of an 
application for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered 
Species Act (ESA). We will use these documents to inform our decision 
regarding issuance of the permit.

DATES: This notice makes available the final EIS. A record of decision 
will be signed no sooner than 30 days after the publication of this 
notice in the Federal Register.

ADDRESSES: Obtaining Documents: You may obtain copies of the final EIS 
and HCP in Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2020-0073 at http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kim S. Turner, Deputy Assistant Field 
Supervisor, by phone at 916-414-6600; via the Federal Information Relay 
Service at 800-877-8339; or via U.S. mail to U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 2800 Cottage Way, Suite 2605, Sacramento, CA 95825.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(Service), received an application submitted by Sierra Pacific 
Industries of Anderson, California (Applicant), for an incidental take 
permit under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act, as 
amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), along with a habitat conservation 
plan to support the ITP application. We are making the ITP application, 
HCP, and final environmental impact statement available for public 
comment. The final EIS analyzes the impacts of a issuing an ITP under 
the Endangered Species Act for implementation of the HCP for Northern 
and California Spotted Owl.

Habitat Conservation Plan

    The proposed ITP would cover two bird subspecies, the northern 
spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina), which is federally listed as 
threatened, and the California spotted owl (Strix occidentalis 
occidentalis), which is not federally listed.
    The HCP covers forest management, species management, and 
monitoring activities on commercial timberland in Amador, Butte, 
Calaveras, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, 
Sierra, Siskiyou, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolumne, and Yuba Counties, 
California. The HCP area encompasses 1,565,707 acres of commercial 
timberland in these counties.
    The HCP proposes conservation measures considered necessary to 
minimize and mitigate the impacts, to

[[Page 46165]]

the maximum extent practicable, of the potential taking of federally 
listed species to be covered by the HCP.

Final Environmental Impact Statement

    The EIS was developed in compliance with the Service's decision-
making requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 
42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and analyzes several alternatives, including 
the proposed action alternative involving implementation of the HCP 
submitted by the applicant.
    The EIS analyzes the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of 
several land management alternatives related to the Service's decision 
whether to issue an ITP in response to the SPI's application.


    Section 9 of the ESA prohibits the ``take'' of fish and wildlife 
species federally listed as endangered; by regulation, the Service has 
extended the take prohibitions to certain species listed as threatened. 
Take of federally listed fish or wildlife is defined under the ESA as 
to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or 
collect listed species, or attempt to engage in such conduct (16 U.S.C. 
1538). ``Harm'' includes significant habitat modification or 
degradation that actually kills or injures listed wildlife by 
significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including 
breeding, feeding, and sheltering (50 CFR 17.3). Under limited 
circumstances, we may issue permits to authorize incidental take that 
is incidental to and not the purpose of, otherwise lawful activities.

National Environmental Policy Act Compliance

    The EIS analyzes three land management alternatives. These include 
a ``no action'' alternative, under which the current management 
practices would be assumed to continue as guided by the California 
Forest Practice Rules. The proposed action consists of a two-subspecies 
HCP and associated permit with a 50-year term. One other ``action'' 
alternative is included. The Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP)/Sierra Nevada 
Forest Plan (SNFPA) Alternative (NWFP/SNFPA alternative) proposes the 
development of a different two-subspecies HCP that would manage known 
and suspected nest stands according to the NWFP within the range of the 
NSO and the SNFPA within the range of the CSO.

EPA's Role in the EIS Process

    In addition to this notice, the Environmental Protection Agency 
(EPA) is publishing a notice in the Federal Register announcing this 
EIS, as required under section 309 of the Clean Air Act. The 
publication date of EPA's notice of availability is the official 
beginning of the public comment period. EPA's notices are published on 
    EPA serves as the repository (EIS database) for EISs prepared by 
Federal agencies. All EISs must be filed with EPA. You may search for 
EPA comments on EISs, along with EISs themselves, at https://cdxnodengn.epa.gov/cdx-enepa-public/action/eis/search.

Public Review

    Any comments we receive will become part of the decision record 
associated with this action. 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 request in your comment that we withhold 
your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot 
guarantee that we will be able to do so. All submissions from 
organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying 
themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or 
businesses, will be made available for public disclosure in their 

Next Steps

    Issuance of an ITP is a Federal proposed action subject to 
compliance with NEPA. We will evaluate the application, associated 
documents, and the public comments we receive to determine whether the 
requirements of the NEPA regulations and section 10(a) of the ESA have 
been met. If we determine that those requirements are met, we will 
issue a record of decision no sooner than 30 days after the EPA 
publishes notice of the final EIS in the Federal Register and will 
issue a permit to the applicant for the incidental take of the covered 


    We provide this notice under section 10(c) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 
1531 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.32), and NEPA 
(42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and NEPA implementing regulations (40 CFR 

Daniel Cox,
Acting Assistant Regional Director, California-Great Basin Region, 
Sacramento, California.
[FR Doc. 2020-16505 Filed 7-30-20; 8:45 am]