[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 139 (Thursday, July 21, 2005)]
[Notices]
[Pages 42085-42087]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-14374]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service


Application for an Incidental Take Permit for the Lockheed Martin 
Corporation Project, Riverside County, CA

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of receipt of application; notice of availability.

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SUMMARY: In response to an application from the Lockheed Martin 
Corporation (applicant), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (we, 
Service) is considering issuance of a 5-year incidental take permit for 
1 covered species pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). In response to this application, 
we are making it available for public review and comment. If approved, 
the permit would authorize take of species listed under the ESA 
incidental to otherwise lawful activities associated with proposed 
groundwater and soil contamination investigations on the 9,117-acre 
Potrero Creek and 2,500-acre

[[Page 42086]]

Laborde Canyon sites, located in Beaumont, Riverside County, 
California.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before August 22, 
2005.

ADDRESSES: Please address written comments to Mr. Jim Bartel, Field 
Supervisor, Fish and Wildlife Service, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife 
Office, 6010 Hidden Valley Rd., Carlsbad, California 92009. You may 
also send comments by facsimile to (760) 918-0638.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Karen Goebel, Assistant Field 
Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES); 
telephone: (760) 431-9440.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The permit application and Environmental 
Action Statement (EAS) are available for public review and comment. The 
application includes a proposed habitat conservation plan (HCP).
    Documents are posted on the Intranet at http://carlsbad.fws.gov. 
Alternatively, you may obtain copies of these documents by calling the 
person named in the section of this notice titled FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT, or by writing to the person named in the section 
titled ADDRESSES. Copies of these documents also are available for 
public inspection and review during normal business hours at the office 
listed under ADDRESSES.
    We specifically request information, views, and opinions from the 
public on the proposed Federal action of issuing a permit, including 
the identification of any aspects of the human environment not already 
analyzed in our EAS. Further, we specifically solicit information 
regarding the adequacy of the proposed HCP as measured against our 
permit issuance criteria found in 50 CRF 13.21, 17.22, and 17.32.
    Our practice is to make comments, including names and home 
addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular 
business hours. Individual respondents may request that we withhold 
their identity from the administrative record. We will honor such 
requests to the extent allowed by law. If you wish to withhold your 
identity (e.g., individual name, home address and home phone number), 
you must state this prominently at the beginning of your comments. We 
will make all submissions from organizations, agencies or businesses, 
and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives of 
officials of such entities, available for public inspection in their 
entirety.

Background

    Section 9 of the ESA and its implementing Federal regulations 
prohibit the ``take'' of fish and wildlife species listed as endangered 
or threatened (16 U.S.C. 1538). The term ``take'' means to harass harm, 
pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or collect listed 
animal species, or attempt to engage in such conduct (16 U.S.C. 1532). 
However, under section 10(a) of the ESA, we may issue permits to 
authorize ``incidental take'' of listed fish and wildlife species. 
``Incidental take'' is defined by the ESA as take that is incidental 
to, and not the purpose of, carrying out an otherwise lawful activity. 
Regulations governing incidental take permits for threatened and 
endangered species are found in the Code of Federal Regulations at 50 
CFR 17.22 and 50 CFR 17.32, respectively.
    The applicant has applied to the Service for a 5-year incidental 
take permit for the endangered Stephen's kangaroo rat (Dipodomys 
stephensi) (covered species, ``SKR''), pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) 
of the ESA. The activities proposed to be covered by the permit include 
groundwater and soil contaminants investigation activities at the 
Potrero Creek and Laborde Canyon sites. Investigation activities 
include: (1) Conducting groundwater level measurements and sampling at 
existing and future wells; (2) installing up to 50 additional 4-inch 
diameter groundwater wells for sampling and monitoring; (3) abandoning 
approximately 20 groundwater production and monitoring wells; (4) 
maintaining existing structures and groundwater pump and treat system 
on a daily basis; (5) drilling approximately 400 soil assessment bore 
holes (8-inch diameter) to sample soil contaminants; (6) installing and 
sampling up to 200 temporary soil gas probes; (7) conducting unexploded 
ordnance surveys; (8) conducting seismic reflection and/or refraction 
surveys; (9) maintaining roads (e.g., repair, limited grading, widening 
and create new routes if necessary); and (10) removing an old CatOx 
unit. In addition, measures to minimize and mitigate effects of the 
above activities to the covered species, are proposed to be covered by 
the permit.
    Incidental take of covered species may occur as a result of these 
proposed covered activities. The applicant proposes to avoid, minimize, 
and mitigate the impacts of the taking of this species by implementing 
the following measures: (1) Completing activities during daylight 
hours; (2) monitoring all activities by a permitted SKR biologist; (3) 
flagging burrows and guiding equipment by a biologist to avoid burrows 
as much as possible; (4) placing load-spreading measures over burrows 
that can not be avoided; (5) restricting parking of vehicles overnight 
to existing roads; (6) restricting drilling to the maximum extent 
possible, to 15 feet or more from burrows; and, if needed, (7) 
excluding SKR from, or trapping and moving SKR out of, densely occupied 
areas. Proposed mitigation would consist of refilling bore holes and 
smoothing of soils disturbed during investigation activities.
    Our EAS considers the direct, indirect, and cumulative effects of 
the proposed action of permit issuance, including the measures that 
would be implemented to minimize and mitigate such impacts. The EAS 
contains an analysis of three alternatives: (1) The No Action 
Alternative (no permit issuance and no investigation activities); (2) 
the Proposed Action Alternative (groundwater and soil contaminants 
investigation activities at the Potrero Creek and Laborde Canyon sites 
with issuance of the permit and implementation of the HCP); and (3) the 
Soil Assessment by Trenching Alternative (collection of soil samples by 
trenching instead of drilling for the soil assessment portion of the 
project). Under the No Action Alternative, no permit would be issued 
and no investigative activities would occur. Under the Proposed Action 
Alternative, drilling of bore holes would be utilized to collect soil 
samples for assessment. Under the Trenching Alternative, trenching 
would be utilized, instead of drilling, to collect soil samples for 
assessment. It was determined that trenching would result in greater 
impacts to biological resources at the sites than drilling.
    The Service has made a preliminary determination that approval of 
the proposed HCP qualifies for a categorical exclusion under NEPA, as 
provided by the Department of the Interior Manual (516 DM 2, Appendix 1 
and 516 DM 6, Appendix 1) and that the proposed HCP qualifies as a 
``low-effect'' plan as defined by the Habitat Conservation Planning 
Handbook (November 1996). Determination of whether an HCP is low-effect 
is are based on the following three criteria: (1) Implementation of the 
proposed HCP would result in minor or negligible effects on federally 
listed, proposed, and candidate species and their habitats; (2) 
implementation of the proposed HCP would result in minor or negligible 
effects on other environmental values or resources; and (3) impacts 
(positive or negative) of the proposed HCP, considered together with 
the impacts of other past, present and reasonably foreseeable similarly 
situated projects, would not result in cumulative effects to 
environmental values or

[[Page 42087]]

resources that would be considered significant over time.
    Based on this preliminary determination, we do not intend to 
prepare further NEPA documentation. We will consider public comments in 
making the final determination on whether to prepare such additional 
documentation.
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(c) of the ESA and 
the regulations of NEPA (40 CFR 1505.6). We will evaluate the permit 
application, the proposed HCP, and comments submitted thereon to 
determine whether the application meets the requirements of section 
10(a) of the ESA. If the requirements are met, we will issue a permit 
to the applicant.

    Dated: July 15, 2005.
Kenneth McDermond,
Deputy Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Sacramento, 
California.
[FR Doc. 05-14374 Filed 7-20-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P