[Federal Register Volume 62, Number 110 (Monday, June 9, 1997)]
[Notices]
[Pages 31445-31447]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 97-14944]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service


Availability of a Habitat Conservation Plan and Receipt of an 
Application for an Incidental Take Permit for Raley's Landing Project, 
Yolo County, California

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service

ACTION: Notice of receipt.

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SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that Raley's has applied to the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for an incidental take permit 
pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 
as amended. The application has been assigned permit number PRT-829945. 
The proposed permit would authorize the incidental take of the valley 
elderberry longhorn beetle (Desmocerus californicus dimorphus), 
federally listed as threatened, and/or modification or degradation of 
its habitat during the development of a commercial center in Yolo 
County, California. The permit would be in effect for 5 years.

[[Page 31446]]

    The Service announces the receipt of the Raley's incidental take 
permit application and the availability of the proposed Raley's Landing 
Project Habitat Conservation Plan (Plan) which accompanies the 
incidental take permit application, for public comment. The Plan fully 
describes the proposed project and the measures Raley's will undertake 
to mitigate for project impacts to the valley elderberry longhorn 
beetle. The Service has determined that the Raley's Landing Project 
Plan qualifies as a ``Low Effect'' Plan as defined by the Fish and 
Wildlife Service's Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook (November 
1996). The Service has further determined that approval of the Plan 
qualifies as a categorical exclusion under the National Environmental 
Policy Act, as provided by the Department of Interior Manual (516 DM2, 
Appendix 1 and 516 DM 6, Appendix 1). This notice is provided pursuant 
to section 10(c) of the Endangered Species Act.
    Comments are specifically requested on the appropriateness of the 
No Surprises assurance contained in this application, specifically 
outlined in section 4.5 of the Plan. In the event of unforeseen or 
extraordinary circumstances affecting the valley elderberry longhorn 
beetle, Raley's will not be required to provide additional mitigation 
measures. If the Service makes a finding of extraordinary 
circumstances, which warrants requiring additional mitigation or 
compensation, the primary responsibility to provide this compensation 
rests with the Federal government. All comments received, including 
names and addresses, will become part of the official administrative 
record and may be made available to the public.

DATES: Written comments on the permit application and Plan should be 
received on or before July 9, 1997.

ADDRESS: Comments regarding the permit application or the Plan should 
be addressed to the Fish and Wildlife Service, Sacramento Fish and 
Wildlife Office, 3310 El Camino Avenue, Suite 130, Sacramento, 
California 95821-6340. Please refer to permit number PRT-829945 when 
submitting comments. Individuals wishing copies of the application and 
Plan for review should immediately contact the above office. Documents 
also will be available for public inspection, by appointment, during 
normal business hours at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. William Lehman or Ms. Tiki Baron, 
Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, 916-979-2725.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 9 of the Endangered Species Act and 
Federal regulation prohibits the ``taking'' of a species listed as 
endangered or threatened. However, the Service, under limited 
circumstances, may issue permits to ``incidentally take'' listed 
species, which is take that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, 
otherwise lawful activities. Regulations governing permits for 
threatened species are promulgated in 50 CFR 17.32; regulations 
governing permits for endangered species are promulgated in 50 CFR 
17.22.

Background

    Raley's proposes to develop a multi-use commercial center on a 
13.74-acre site in Yolo County. The project site, bordered on the east 
by the Sacramento River, is in an urbanized area of the City of West 
Sacramento; development of this parcel represents urban in-fill. The 
project site has been previously developed as evidenced by the remains 
of several building foundations and is now dominated by ruderal 
vegetation and invasive non-native trees. Two elderberry shrubs 
(Sambucus sp.), habitat for the valley elderberry longhorn beetle, 
occur in the northwestern corner of the site in an area approximately 
.002 acres in size. One of the two shrubs shows evidence of recent 
valley elderberry longhorn beetle activity.
    Raley's proposes to purchase habitat compensation credits for the 
valley elderberry longhorn beetle at Wildlands, Inc., a mitigation bank 
approved by the Service. Wildlands will transplant the two shrubs from 
the project site to Wildlands' mitigation bank site in accordance with 
procedures specified in the Service's Mitigation Guidelines for the 
Valley Elderberry Longhorn Beetle, dated September 19, 1996 
(Guidelines). Habitat compensation credits at the Wildlands' mitigation 
bank include planting of additional elderberry seedlings and associated 
native plants according to the ratios specified in the Guidelines. 
Monitoring, remedial measures, and reporting also will follow the 
recommendations provided in the Guidelines. Because the Raley's Landing 
Project site contains only two elderberry shrubs, and those shrubs are 
relatively isolated from other valley elderberry longhorn beetle 
habitat, the Service believes that the transplantation of the shrubs 
will result in negligible effects to the beetle. Maintenance of the 
elderberry shrubs at Wildlands' mitigation bank site may in fact 
provide a net benefit to the species. The proposed project will not 
affect any other listed species.
    The Service has determined that the Raley's Landing Project Plan 
qualifies as a ``Low Effect'' Plan as defined by the Service's Habitat 
Conservation Planning Handbook (November 1996). Low Effect Plans are 
those involving: (1) minor or negligible effects on federally listed 
and candidate species and their habitats; and (2) minor or negligible 
effects on other environmental values or resources. The Raley's Landing 
Project Plan qualifies as a Low Effect Plan for the following reasons:
    1. Approval of the Plan will result in minor or negligible effects 
on the valley elderberry longhorn beetle and its habitat. The Service 
does not anticipate significant direct or cumulative effects to the 
valley elderberry longhorn beetle resulting from the removal of low 
numbers of isolated elderberry shrubs within highly urbanized portions 
of its range.
    2. The project site is already highly disturbed; therefore, site 
development will not have adverse effects on unique geographic, 
historic or cultural sites, or involve unique or unknown environmental 
risks.
    3. This project will result in minor development within an existing 
urban area. Approval of the Plan will not result in any cumulative or 
growth inducing impacts and, therefore, will not result in significant 
adverse effects on public health or safety.
    4. The project does not require compliance with Executive Order 
11988 (Floodplain Management), Executive Order 11990 (Protection of 
Wetlands), or the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, nor does it 
threaten to violate a Federal, State, local or tribal law or 
requirement imposed for the protection of the environment.
    5. Approval of this Plan will not establish a precedent for future 
action or represent a decision in principle about future actions with 
potentially significant environmental effects.
    The Service has therefore determined that approval of the Raley's 
Landing Project Plan qualifies as a categorical exclusion under the 
National Environmental Policy Act, as provided by the Department of 
Interior Manual (516 DM2, Appendix 1 and 516 DM 6, Appendix 1). No 
further National Environmental Policy Act documentation will therefore 
be prepared.
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(c) of the Endangered 
Species Act. The Service will evaluate the permit application, Habitat 
Conservation Plan, and comments

[[Page 31447]]

submitted thereon to determine whether the application meets the 
requirements of section 10(a) of the Endangered Species Act. If it is 
determined that the requirements are met, a permit will be issued for 
the incidental take of the valley elderberry longhorn beetle. The final 
permit decision will be made no sooner than 30 days from the date of 
this notice.

    Dated: May 30, 1997.
David L. McMullen,
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. 97-14944 Filed 6-6-97; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P