[Federal Register Volume 68, Number 27 (Monday, February 10, 2003)]
[Notices]
[Pages 6756-6757]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 03-3133]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service


Notice of Availability of a Draft Habitat Conservation Plan and 
Receipt of an Application for an Incidental Take Permit for the City 
and County of Denver's Board of Water Commissioners, Denver, CO

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability and receipt of application.

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SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the City and County of 
Denver, acting by and through its Board of Water Commissioners (Denver 
Water) has applied to the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for an 
Incidental Take Permit (ITP) pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The permit would 
authorize the loss and modification of habitat associated with Denver 
Water's Operations and Maintenance (O&M) activities and the incidental 
take of Preble's meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius preblei) 
(``Preble's''), federally listed as threatened. The permit would be in 
effect for 30 years from the date of issuance.
    The Service received Denver Water's ITP Application that includes a 
proposed Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and Environmental Assessment 
(EA) for the Preble's on Denver Water properties. The proposed HCP/EA 
is available for public comments. It fully describes the proposed O&M 
activities and the measures Denver Water would undertake to avoid, 
minimize, and mitigate project impacts to the Preble's.
    The Service requests comments on the HCP/EA for the proposed 
issuance of an ITP. Pursuant to notice requirements under section 10(c) 
of the Act and the National Environmental Policy Act regulations (40 
CFR 1406.6), all comments on the HCP/EA and permit application will 
become part of the administrative record and will be available to the 
public.

DATES: Written comments on the permit application and the HCP/EA should 
be received on or before April 11, 2003.

ADDRESSES: Comments regarding the permit application and the HCP/EA 
should be addressed to LeRoy Carlson, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Colorado Field Office, 755 Parfet Street, Suite 361, 
Lakewood, Colorado 80215.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kathleen Linder, Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist, Colorado Field Office, telephone (303) 275-2370.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Document Availability

    Individuals wishing copies of the HCP/EA and associated documents 
for review should immediately contact the above office. Documents also 
will be available for public inspection by appointment, during normal 
business hours, at the Lakewood, Colorado, Field Office (See ADDRESSES 
above).

Background

    Section 9 of the Act and Federal Regulation prohibits the ``take'' 
of a species listed as endangered or threatened. Take is defined under 
the Act, in part, as to kill, harm, or harass a federally listed 
species. However, the Service may issue permits to authorize 
``incidental take'' of listed species under limited circumstances. 
Regulations governing permits for threatened species are promulgated in 
50 CFR 17.32.
    The applicant's plan to conduct O&M activities necessary for Denver 
Water to meet its mission of providing a safe and high quality water 
supply to its customers covers properties that may constitute Preble's 
habitat in Boulder, Jefferson, and Douglas Counties in Colorado. Such 
activities would include repair and maintenance of infrastructures and 
facilities (e.g., conduits, siphons), ditch/canal maintenance, road 
repair and maintenance, construction of new

[[Page 6757]]

conduits, burial of pipeline, and other activities necessary for 
municipal water supply. The planning area for the permit application 
covers approximately 2,428 hectares (6,000 acres) of properties that 
may constitute Preble's habitat. The O&M activities could permanently 
alter no more than 4 hectares (10 acres) of potential Preble's habitat, 
but are estimated to only permanently impact 0.4 hectare (1 acre). 
Additionally, up to 30 hectares (74 acres) of potential Preble's 
habitat could be temporarily impacted, with total impacts not to exceed 
30 hectares (75 acres) (either 0.4 hectare (1 acre) permanent and 30 
hectares (74 acres) temporary or ranging up to no more than 4 hectares 
(10 acres) permanent and 26 hectares (65 acres) of temporary 
disturbance). As discussed below, Denver Water proposes a number of 
measures to mitigate possible impacts of the proposed action.
    Alternatives considered were--No Action; individual ITPs on a site-
by-site/project-by-project basis, as needed; waiting for approval of 
and participating in three separate countywide HCPs; waiting for and 
participating in a single Statewide HCP; and the Preferred 
Alternative--a single incidental take permit held by Denver Water, 
achieved through the proposed HCP. None of these alternatives, except 
No Action, eliminated potential take of Preble's.
    To mitigate impacts that may result from incidental take the HCP 
provides mitigation that includes--restoration of temporary disturbance 
to a specified level of success, creation of riparian shrub and upland 
habitat, revegetation of social trails no longer in use, weed 
management, education to Denver Water employees conducting O&M 
activities, maintenance and management of a potential Preble's habitat 
linkage corridor, population monitoring, and conducting Preble's 
trapping to assess status. All efforts will be made to avoid and 
minimize disturbances to Preble's habitat according to Best Management 
Practices specified in the HCP.
    Denver Water is committed to providing the necessary funding to 
support the implementation of the HCP/EA. Denver Water will allocate 
necessary funds into its budget under an account that is established 
specifically for the HCPs mitigation, monitoring, and compliance 
requirements.
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(c) of the Act. The 
Service will evaluate the permit application, the EA/HCP, and comments 
submitted therein to determine whether the application meets the 
requirements of section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act. If it is determined 
that those requirements are met, a permit will be issued for the 
incidental take of the Preble's in conjunction with Denver Water's 
activities on properties that may constitute Preble's habitat. The 
final permit decision will be made no sooner than 60 days from the date 
of this notice.

    Dated: January 29, 2003.
John A. Blankenship,
Deputy Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 03-3133 Filed 2-7-03; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P