[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 43 (Tuesday, March 5, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 14245-14259]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-04785]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2009-0062; 4500030114]
RIN 1018-AW85


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of 
Critical Habitat for the Buena Vista Lake Shrew

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; revision and reopening of comment period.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
reopening of the comment period on the July 10, 2012, revised proposal 
to designate critical habitat for the Buena Vista Lake shrew (Sorex 
ornatus relictus) (shrew) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended (Act). We announce a revision of the unit map labels. We 
provide maps with correct labels for all proposed units herein. We also 
announce the availability of a draft economic analysis (DEA) of the 
revised critical habitat proposal, and of an amended required 
determinations section of the revised proposal. We are reopening the 
comment period for an additional 60 days to allow all interested 
parties an opportunity to comment on the revised proposed rule, the 
associated DEA, and the amended required determinations section. 
Furthermore, we announce a public hearing for the purpose of taking 
oral or written comments on those documents. Comments previously 
submitted need not be resubmitted, as they will be fully considered in 
preparation of the final rule.

DATES: Written Comments: We will consider comments received on or 
before May 6, 2013. Comments must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern 
Time on the closing date. Any comments that we receive after the 
closing date may not be

[[Page 14246]]

considered in the final decision on this action.
    Public Hearing: We will hold the public hearing on March 28, 2013. 
The first hearing session will start at 1:00 p.m. Pacific Time with 
doors opening at 12:30, and the second session at 6 p.m. with doors 
opening at 5:30. The location of the hearing is under ADDRESSES, below.

ADDRESSES: Document availability: You may obtain copies of the DEA and 
the revised proposed rule on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov 
at Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2009-0062, or by mail from the Sacramento Fish 
and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).
    Written Comments: You may submit written comments by one of the 
following methods:
    (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Search for FWS-R8-ES-2009-0062, which is the 
docket number for this rulemaking.
    (2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public 
Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R8-ES-2009-0062; Division of Policy and 
Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax 
Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203. Or deliver them by hand at the 
public hearing (see Public Hearing, below).
    We request that you send comments only by the methods described 
above. We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This 
generally means that we will post any personal information you provide 
us (see the Public Comments section below for more information).
    Public hearing: We will hold a public hearing at the Doubletree 
Hotel, 3100 Camino Del Rio Court, Bakersfield, California. The hearing 
will take place on the date and times indicated above under DATES. 
People needing reasonable accommodations in order to attend and 
participate should contact Robert Moler, External Affairs Supervisor, 
Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, as soon as possible (see FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jan Knight, Acting Field Supervisor, 
or Karen Leyse, Listing Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, 2800 Cottage Way, Room W-2605, 
Sacramento, CA 95825; by telephone (916) 414-6600; or by facsimile 
(916) 414-6713. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the 
deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 
(800) 877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Public Comments

    We will accept written comments and information during this 
reopened comment period on our revised proposed designation of critical 
habitat for the shrew that we published in the Federal Register on July 
10, 2012 (77 FR 40706), our DEA of the revised proposed designation, 
and the amended required determinations provided in this document. We 
will consider information and recommendations from all interested 
parties. We are particularly interested in comments concerning:
    (1) The reasons why we should or should not designate habitat as 
``critical habitat'' under section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.), including whether there are threats to the species from human 
activity, the degree of which can be expected to increase due to the 
designation, and whether that increase in threat outweighs the benefit 
of designation such that the designation of critical habitat is not 
prudent.
    (2) Specific information on:
    (a) The distribution of the shrew, including the locations of any 
additional populations of this species that would help us further 
refine boundaries of critical habitat;
    (b) The amount and distribution of shrew habitat, including areas 
that provide habitat for the shrew that we did not discuss in the 
revised proposed critical habitat rule;
    (c) Any areas occupied by the species at the time of listing that 
contain features essential for the conservation of the species that we 
should include in the designation, and why; and
    (d) Any areas not occupied at the time of listing that are 
essential to the conservation of the species, and why.
    (3) Land use designations and current or planned activities in the 
subject areas and their possible impacts on proposed revised critical 
habitat.
    (4) Any foreseeable economic, national security, or other relevant 
impacts that may result from designating any area that may be included 
in the final designation. We are particularly interested in any impacts 
on small entities, and the benefits of including or excluding areas 
from the proposed designation that are subject to these impacts.
    (5) Whether our approach to designating critical habitat could be 
improved or modified in any way to provide for greater public 
participation and understanding, or to assist us in accommodating 
public concerns and comments.
    (6) Information on the extent to which the description of economic 
impacts in the DEA is complete and accurate.
    (7) The likelihood of adverse social reactions to the designation 
of critical habitat, as discussed in the DEA, and how the consequences 
of such reactions, if likely to occur, would relate to the conservation 
and regulatory benefits of the proposed revised critical habitat 
designation.
    (8) Whether any specific areas being proposed as critical habitat 
should be excluded under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, and whether the 
benefits of potentially excluding any particular area outweigh the 
benefits of including that area under section 4(b)(2) of the Act. See 
Areas Previously Considered for Exclusion Under Section 4(b)(2) of the 
Act section below for further discussion.
    If you submitted comments or information on the 2009 proposed rule 
(74 FR 53999, Oct 21, 2009 and 76 FR 23781, April 28, 2011), or on the 
July 10, 2012, revised proposed rule (77 FR 40706) during any of the 
previous comment periods, please do not resubmit them. We will 
incorporate them into the public record as part of this comment period, 
and we will fully consider them in the preparation of our final 
determination. Our final determination concerning revised critical 
habitat will take into consideration all written comments and any 
additional information we receive during all comment periods. On the 
basis of public comments, we may, during the development of our final 
determination, find that some areas proposed are not essential, are 
appropriate for exclusion under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, or are not 
appropriate for exclusion.
    You may submit your comments and materials concerning the proposed 
rule or DEA by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. We 
request that you send comments only by the methods described in the 
ADDRESSES section.
    If you submit a comment via http://www.regulations.gov, your entire 
comment--including any personal identifying information--will be posted 
on the Web site. We will post all hardcopy comments on http://www.regulations.gov as well. If you submit a hardcopy comment that 
includes personal identifying information, you may request at the top 
of your document that we withhold this information from public review. 
However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
    Comments and materials we receive, the DEA, as well as supporting 
documentation we used in preparing the proposed rule, will be available 
for public inspection at http://

[[Page 14247]]

www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2009-0062, or by 
appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT).

Background

    It is our intent to discuss in this document only those topics 
directly relevant to the designation of revised critical habitat for 
the shrew. For more information on previous Federal actions concerning 
the shrew, refer to the proposed designation of critical habitat 
published in the Federal Register on October 21, 2009 (74 FR 53999). 
Additional relevant information may be found in the final rule to 
designate critical habitat for the Buena Vista Lake shrew published on 
January 24, 2005 (70 FR 3437). For more information on the shrew or its 
habitat, refer to the final listing rule published in the Federal 
Register on March 6, 2002 (67 FR 10101), which is available online at 
http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2009-0062, or by 
mail from the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT).

Previous Federal Actions

    On August 19, 2004, we proposed critical habitat for the shrew on 
approximately 4,649 acres (ac) (1,881 hectares (ha)) in Kern County, 
California (69 FR 51417). On January 24, 2005, we published in the 
Federal Register a final rule (70 FR 3437) designating 84 ac (34 ha) of 
critical habitat for the shrew in Kern County, California. The decrease 
in acreage between the proposed rule and final rule resulted from 
exclusions under section 4(b)(2) of the Act and, to a small degree, 
refinements in our mapping of critical habitat boundaries.
    On October 2, 2008, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a 
complaint, challenging the Service's designation of critical habitat 
for the shrew, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of 
California (Center for Biological Diversity v. United States Fish and 
Wildlife, et al., Case No. 08-CV-01490-AWI-GSA). On July 9, 2009, the 
Court approved a stipulated settlement agreement in which the Service 
agreed to submit a new proposed rule to the Federal Register within 90 
days of the signed agreement. The new proposed rule was to encompass 
the same geographic area as the August 19, 2004 (69 FR 51417), proposed 
critical habitat designation.
    In accordance with the settlement agreement, on October 21, 2009, 
we published a new proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the 
Buena Vista Lake shrew (74 FR 53999) encompassing the same geographic 
area as our August 19, 2004 (69 FR 51417), proposed designation. On 
April 28, 2011 (76 FR 23781), we announced the availability of a draft 
economic analysis (DEA) showing the economic impacts of the proposed 
critical habitat designation. In that document we invited comments on 
the DEA and amended required determinations, and we reopened the 
comment period for the proposed critical habitat designation. The 
document also announced a public hearing, which was held in 
Bakersfield, California, on June 8, 2011.
    On March 6, 2012, the Service was granted an extension by the Court 
to consider additional information on the shrew that was identified 
during the 5-year review process (Center for Biological Diversity v. 
Kempthorne et al., Case 1:08-cv-01490-AWI-GSA, filed March 7, 2012). 
The extension provided for submission of a revised proposed rule to the 
Federal Register on or before June 29, 2012, with submission of a final 
rule on or before June 29, 2013. The revised proposed rule was 
published in the Federal Register on July 10, 2012 (77 FR 40706), with 
a 60-day comment period ending September 10, 2012. We will submit for 
publication in the Federal Register a final critical habitat 
designation for the Buena Vista Lake shrew on or before June 29, 2013.

Correction to Maps

    In the revised proposed rule to designated critical habitat for the 
Buena Vista Lake shrew (77 FR 40706; July 10, 2012), we inadvertently 
mislabeled the unit names on the maps for units 4-7; the labels for 
Units 4 and 5 were inadvertently reversed in the revised proposal, as 
were the labels for Units 6 and 7. The correct index and unit maps are 
included in the Proposed Regulation Promulgation section of this 
notice. The correct unit names and unit numbers include: Unit 1, Kern 
National Wildlife Refuge (Subunits 1A, 1B, and 1C); Unit 2, Goose Lake; 
Unit 3, Kern Fan Recharge; Unit 4, Coles Levee; Unit 5, Kern Lake; Unit 
6, Semitropic; and Unit 7, Lemoore. Please see the July 10, 2012, 
Federal Register notice on the revised proposed designation of critical 
habitat for the Buena Vista Lake shrew (77 FR 40706) for additional 
information on the units proposed as critical habitat. The changes set 
forth in the rule portion of this document are basically administrative 
and do not add or subtract any proposed critical habitat.

Critical Habitat

    Section 3 of the Act defines critical habitat as the specific areas 
within the geographical area occupied by a species, at the time it is 
listed in accordance with the Act, on which are found those physical or 
biological features essential to the conservation of the species and 
that may require special management considerations or protection, and 
specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by a species at 
the time it is listed, upon a determination that such areas are 
essential for the conservation of the species. If the July 10, 2012, 
revised proposed rule is made final, section 7 of the Act will prohibit 
destruction or adverse modification of the designated critical habitat 
by any activity funded, authorized, or carried out by any Federal 
agency. Federal agencies proposing actions affecting critical habitat 
must consult with us on the effects of their proposed actions, under 
section 7(a)(2) of the Act.

Consideration of Impacts Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act

    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act requires that we designate or revise 
critical habitat based upon the best scientific data available, after 
taking into consideration the economic impact, impact on national 
security, or any other relevant impact of specifying any particular 
area as critical habitat. The Secretary may exclude an area from 
critical habitat if he determines that the benefits of excluding the 
area outweigh the benefits of including the area as critical habitat, 
provided such exclusion will not result in the extinction of the 
species.
    When considering the benefits of inclusion for an area, we consider 
the additional regulatory benefits that area would receive from the 
protection from adverse modification or destruction as a result of 
actions with a Federal nexus (activities conducted, funded, permitted, 
or authorized by Federal agencies), the educational benefits of mapping 
areas containing essential features that aid in the recovery of the 
listed species, and any benefits that may result from designation due 
to State or Federal laws that may apply to critical habitat.
    When considering the benefits of exclusion, we consider, among 
other things, whether exclusion of a specific area is likely to result 
in conservation; the continuation, strengthening, or encouragement of 
partnerships; or implementation of a management plan. In the case of 
the shrew, the benefits of critical habitat include public awareness of 
the presence of the shrew and the importance of habitat protection, 
and,

[[Page 14248]]

where a Federal nexus exists, increased habitat protection for the 
shrew due to protection from adverse modification or destruction of 
critical habitat.
    As discussed in the revised proposed rule, we have not proposed to 
exclude any areas from critical habitat designation, although we are 
considering whether to exclude the Kern Fan Water Discharge (Unit 3) 
(2,687 ac (1,088 ha)). We also have received comments from several 
entities requesting to exclude other areas based on economic or other 
concerns. We will evaluate these additional exclusion requests during 
our development of a final designation. The final decision on whether 
to exclude any areas will be based on the best scientific data 
available at the time of the final designation, including information 
obtained during the various comment periods and information about the 
economic impact of designation. Accordingly, we have prepared a draft 
economic analysis (DEA) concerning the revised proposed critical 
habitat designation, which is available for review and comment at 
http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2009-0062 (see 
ADDRESSES section). A previous DEA analyzing the economic impacts of 
the 2009 proposed critical habitat designation (74 FR 53999) is also 
available at that site. The new DEA analyzes economic impacts from the 
revised proposed critical habitat designation, published in the Federal 
Register July 10, 2012 (77 FR 40706).

Draft Economic Analysis

    The purpose of the DEA is to identify and analyze the potential 
economic impacts associated with the proposed critical habitat 
designation for the shrew. The DEA separates conservation measures into 
two distinct categories according to ``without critical habitat'' and 
``with critical habitat'' scenarios. The ``without critical habitat'' 
scenario represents the baseline for the analysis, considering 
protections otherwise afforded to the shrew (e.g., under the Federal 
listing and other Federal, State, and local regulations). The ``with 
critical habitat'' scenario describes the incremental impacts 
specifically due to designation of critical habitat for the species. In 
other words, these incremental conservation measures and associated 
economic impacts would not occur but for the designation. Conservation 
measures implemented under the baseline (without critical habitat) 
scenario are described qualitatively within the DEA, but economic 
impacts associated with these measures are not quantified. Economic 
impacts are only quantified for conservation measures implemented 
specifically due to the designation of critical habitat (i.e., 
incremental impacts). For a further description of the methodology of 
the analysis, see Chapter 2 ``Framework of the Analysis,'' of the DEA.
    The DEA provides estimated costs of the foreseeable potential 
economic impacts of the proposed critical habitat designation for the 
Buena Vista Lake shrew over the next 20 years (2013 to 2032). This was 
determined to be an appropriate period for analysis because limited 
planning information is available for most economic activities in the 
area beyond a 20-year timeframe. It identifies potential incremental 
costs due to the proposed critical habitat designation; these are those 
costs attributed to critical habitat that are in addition to the 
baseline costs attributed to listing.
    The DEA quantifies economic impacts of Buena Vista Lake shrew 
conservation efforts associated with the following categories of 
activity: (1) Water availability and delivery; (2) agricultural 
production; and (3) energy development. The DEA considers both economic 
efficiency and distributional effects that may result from efforts to 
protect the shrew and its habitat. Economic efficiency effects 
generally reflect the ``opportunity costs'' associated with the 
commitment of resources required to accomplish species and habitat 
conservation. The DEA also addresses how potential economic impacts are 
likely to be distributed.
    The DEA concludes that incremental impacts resulting from the 
critical habitat designation are limited to additional administrative 
costs of section 7 consultation. There are two primary sources of 
uncertainty associated with the incremental effects analysis: (1) The 
actual rate of future consultation is unknown, and (2) future land use 
on private lands is uncertain. The analysis does not identify any 
future projects on private lands beyond those covered by existing 
baseline projections. Within critical habitat units, section 7 
consultation on the shrew has not occurred on private lands that are 
not covered by conservation plans (Units 2 and 5). As a result, the 
analysis does not forecast incremental impacts due to conservation 
measures being implemented as a result of the designation of critical 
habitat. However, if zoning of these lands changes in the future (such 
as for urban residential or commercial development) and new projects 
are identified, conservation measures for the shrew may change.
    The DEA estimates total potential incremental economic impacts in 
areas proposed as revised critical habitat over the next 20 years (2013 
to 2032) to be approximately $130,000 (rounded to two significant 
digits) ($11,000 annualized) in present-value terms applying a 7 
percent discount rate (Industrial Economics Inc. (IEc) 2013, p. 4-4). 
Administrative costs associated with section 7 consultations on a 
variety of activities (including pipeline construction and removal, 
delivery of water supplies under the Central Valley Project, pesticide 
applications for invasive species, and restoration activities) in 
proposed critical habitat Units 1, 2, and 3 are accounting for 
approximately 88 percent of the forecast incremental impacts (IEc 2012, 
p. 4-4). Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has facilities in three of the 
proposed critical habitat units. Impacts associated with section 7 
consultations on PG&E operations and maintenance activities represent 
approximately 31 percent of the total incremental costs and are 
expected to total $40,000 over the next 20 years. Incremental impacts 
due to costs of internal consultations at the Kern National Wildlife 
Refuge are expected to total $17,000 over the next 20 years, which 
represents approximately 13 percent of total incremental impacts. 
Incremental costs of section 7 consultations with the U.S. Army Corps 
of Engineers due to Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) permitting 
are estimated to total $15,000, and represent approximately 12 percent 
of total incremental costs. Finally, the present-value incremental 
impact of reviewing an update to the City of Bakersfield's management 
plan and one estimated formal section 7 consultation over the next 20 
years for the shrew at Unit 3 is estimated at $7,800, and represents 
approximately 6 percent of the overall incremental impacts. No 
incremental impacts are estimated to be incurred by Aera Energy LLC for 
their activities at the Coles Levee Ecosystem Preserve (IEc 2012, p. 4-
9).
    The incremental costs described above are further broken down by 
location of expected incremental costs within the seven proposed 
critical habitat units. The greatest incremental impacts are due to 
cost of section 7 consultations forecast to occur for activities within 
the Kern Fan Recharge area (proposed Unit 3) ($79,000), and make up 61 
percent of the overall incremental impacts. The second largest 
incremental impacts are predicted to occur within the Kern National 
Wildlife Refuge (proposed Unit 1) with present-

[[Page 14249]]

value impacts at $22,000, comprising just over 17 percent of the 
overall incremental impacts. Incremental impacts associated with 
section 7 consultations for activities occurring on the Goose Lake Unit 
(proposed Unit 2), are forecast at $14,000 of present-value impacts, 
and makes up 11 percent of the overall incremental impacts. Incremental 
impacts due to section 7 consultations occurring on the Coles Levee 
Unit (proposed Unit 4) are estimated to be $7,200 in present-value 
impacts, comprising 6 percent of total incremental impacts. No 
projected incremental impacts are forecast to occur on the Kern Lake 
Unit (proposed Unit 5). The consultations forecast for proposed 
critical habitat Units 2 and 5 are limited to those associated with 
occasional permitted pipeline, restoration, or water projects. The 
incremental impacts associated with section 7 consultations for 
activities occurring on the Semitropic unit (Unit 6) are forecast at 
$5,900 of present-value impacts and make up 5 percent of the overall 
incremental impacts. Incremental impacts due to section 7 consultations 
occurring on the Lemoore unit (Unit 7) are estimated to be $1,100 in 
present-value impacts, comprising less than 1 percent of total 
incremental impacts.
    As stated earlier, we are soliciting data and comments from the 
public on the DEA, as well as on all aspects of the proposed rule and 
our amended required determinations. We may revise the proposed rule or 
supporting documents to incorporate or address information we receive 
during the public comment period. In particular, we may exclude an area 
from critical habitat if we determine that the benefits of excluding 
the area outweigh the benefits of including the area, provided the 
exclusion will not result in the extinction of this species.

Required Determinations--Amended

    In our July 10, 2012, revised proposed rule (77 FR 40706), we 
indicated that we would defer our determination of compliance with 
several statutes and executive orders until the information concerning 
potential economic impacts of the designation and potential effects on 
landowners and stakeholders became available in the DEA. We have now 
made use of the DEA data to make these determinations. In this 
document, we affirm the information in our proposed rule concerning 
Executive Order (E.O.) 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review), E.O. 
12630 (Takings), E.O. 13132 (Federalism), E.O. 12988 (Civil Justice 
Reform), E.O. 13211 (Energy, Supply, Distribution, and Use), the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.), the Paperwork 
Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), the National 
Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), and the President's 
memorandum of April 29, 1994, ``Government-to-Government Relations with 
Native American Tribal Governments'' (59 FR 22951). However, based on 
the DEA data, we are amending our required determination concerning the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.)

Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.)

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA; 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), 
as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 
1996 (SBREFA; 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), whenever an agency is required to 
publish a notice of rulemaking for any proposed or final rule, it must 
prepare and make available for public comment a regulatory flexibility 
analysis that describes the effects of the rule on small entities 
(i.e., small businesses, small organizations, and small government 
jurisdictions). However, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required 
if the head of the agency certifies the rule will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
The SBREFA amended the RFA to require Federal agencies to provide a 
certification statement of the factual basis for certifying that the 
rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities. Based on our DEA of the proposed designation, 
we provide our analysis for determining whether the proposed rule would 
result in a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities. Based on comments we receive, we may revise this 
determination as part of our final rulemaking.
    According to the Small Business Administration, small entities 
include small organizations such as independent nonprofit 
organizations; small governmental jurisdictions, including school 
boards and city and town governments that serve fewer than 50,000 
residents; and small businesses (13 CFR 121.201). Small businesses 
include manufacturing and mining concerns with fewer than 500 
employees, wholesale trade entities with fewer than 100 employees, 
retail and service businesses with less than $5 million in annual 
sales, general and heavy construction businesses with less than $27.5 
million in annual business, special trade contractors doing less than 
$11.5 million in annual business, and agricultural businesses with 
annual sales less than $750,000. To determine if potential economic 
impacts to these small entities are significant, we considered the 
types of activities that might trigger regulatory impacts under this 
designation as well as types of project modifications that may result. 
In general, the term ``significant economic impact'' is meant to apply 
to a typical small business firm's business operations.
    To determine if the proposed designation of critical habitat for 
the shrew would affect a substantial number of small entities, we 
considered the number of small entities affected within particular 
types of economic activities, such as water availability and delivery, 
agricultural production, or energy development. In order to determine 
whether it is appropriate for our agency to certify that this proposed 
rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities, we considered each industry or category 
individually. In estimating the numbers of small entities potentially 
affected, we also considered whether their activities have any Federal 
involvement. Critical habitat designation will not affect activities 
that do not have any Federal involvement; designation of critical 
habitat only affects activities conducted, funded, permitted, or 
authorized by Federal agencies. In areas where the shrew is present, 
Federal agencies already are required to consult with us under section 
7 of the Act on activities they fund, permit, or implement that may 
affect the species. If we finalize this proposed critical habitat 
designation, consultations to avoid the destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat would be incorporated into the 
existing consultation process.
    In the DEA, we evaluated the potential economic effects on small 
entities resulting from implementation of conservation actions related 
to the proposed designation of critical habitat for the shrew. The DEA 
did not identify any entities meeting the definition as small (IEc 
2012, pp. A-2-A-3). However, we acknowledge that third-party proponents 
of an action subject to Federal permitting or funding may be indirectly 
affected by critical habitat designation. The DEA, therefore, includes 
a brief evaluation of the potential number of third-party small 
business entities likely to be affected if this critical habitat 
designation is finalized. In total, the DEA estimates $26,000 in 
incremental impacts may be borne by third-party participants in section 
7 consultation. As shown in Exhibit A-1 of the DEA, none of these 
third-party entities meets SBA's definition of a small government or

[[Page 14250]]

business (IEc 2012, pp. A-4--A-6). Please refer to the DEA of the 
proposed critical habitat designation for a more detailed discussion of 
potential economic impacts.
    In summary, we have considered whether the proposed designation 
would result in a significant economic impact on a substantial number 
of small entities. Information for this analysis was gathered from the 
Small Business Administration, stakeholders, and the Service. We 
estimate that no (roughly zero as identified in the DEA) small business 
will be affected annually by designation of this proposed critical 
habitat. However, based on comments we receive, we may revise this 
estimate as part of our final rulemaking. For the above reasons and 
based on currently available information, we certify that, if 
promulgated, the proposed critical habitat designation would not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small business 
entities. Therefore, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not 
required.

References Cited

    A complete list of all references we cited in the proposed rule and 
in this document is available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov or by contacting the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife 
Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

Authors

    The primary authors of this notice are the staff members of the 
Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, Region 8, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service.

Authority

    The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

Proposed Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, we propose to further amend part 17, subchapter B of 
chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as proposed to 
be revised at 77 FR 40706 (July 10, 2012), as set forth below:

PART 17--[AMENDED]

0
1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 1361-1407, 1531-1544, and 4201-4245, 
unless otherwise noted.

0
2. In Sec.  17.95, the critical habitat designation for ``Buena Vista 
Lake Shrew (Sorex ornatus relictus)'' is proposed to be amended by 
revising paragraphs (a)(4) through (15) to read as follows:


Sec.  17.95  Critical habitat--fish and wildlife.

    (a) Mammals.
* * * * *
    Buena Vista Lake Shrew (Sorex ornatus relictus)
* * * * *
    (4) Critical habitat map units. Data layers defining map units were 
created on a base of USGS digital ortho-photo quarter-quadrangles, and 
critical habitat units were then mapped using Universal Transverse 
Mercator (UTM) Zone 11 coordinates.
    (5) The coordinates for these maps are available on the Internet at 
http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2009-0062, at http://www.fws.gov/sacramento/, or at the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife 
Office. Field office location information may be obtained at the 
Service regional offices, the addresses of which are at 50 CFR 2.2.

[[Page 14251]]

    (6) The index map of critical habitat units for the Buena Vista 
Lake shrew (Sorex ornatus relictus) in Kern and Kings Counties, 
California, follows:

BILLING CODE 4310-55-P
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP05MR13.000


[[Page 14252]]


    (7) Subunit 1A: Kern National Wildlife Refuge, Kern County, 
California. Map of Subunits 1A, 1B, and 1C follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP05MR13.001


[[Page 14253]]


    (8) Subunit 1B: Kern National Wildlife Refuge, Kern County, 
California. Map of Subunits 1A, 1B, and 1C is provided at paragraph (7) 
of this entry.
    (9) Subunit 1C: Kern National Wildlife Refuge, Kern County, 
California. Map of Subunits 1A, 1B, and 1C is provided at paragraph (7) 
of this entry.
    (10) Unit 2: Goose Lake, Kern County, California. Map follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP05MR13.002
    

[[Page 14254]]


    (11) Unit 3: Kern Fan Recharge, Kern County, California. Map 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP05MR13.003


[[Page 14255]]


    (12) Unit 4: Coles Levee, Kern County, California. Map follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP05MR13.004
    

[[Page 14256]]


    (13) Unit 5: Kern Lake, Kern County, California. Map follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP05MR13.005
    

[[Page 14257]]


    (14) Unit 6: Semitropic, Kern County, California. Map follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP05MR13.006
    

[[Page 14258]]


    (15) Unit 7: Lemoore, Kings County, California. Map follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP05MR13.007
    
* * * * *

    Dated: February 19, 2013.
Rachel Jacobsen,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2013-04785 Filed 3-4-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-C