[Federal Register Volume 60, Number 119 (Wednesday, June 21, 1995)]
[Pages 32337-32338]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 95-15149]


Fish and Wildlife Service

Endangered and Threatened Species Permit Application

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


    Availability of an Environmental Assessment and Receipt of an 
Application for a Permit to Allow Incidental Take of 3 Threatened and 
Endangered Species and 19 Other Species by the City of Poway and its 
Redevelopment Agency, in San Diego County, California.

SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the City of Poway and its 
Redevelopment Agency (applicants) have applied to the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service (Service) for an incidental take permit (PRT-803743) 
pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 
as amended (Act). The application package includes a Habitat 
Conservation Plan (HCP) and Implementing Agreement(IA). The proposed 
incidental take would occur as a result of habitat disturbance 
associated with residential and limited municipal development. The 
requested permit would authorize incidental take of the threatened 
coastal California gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica californica), 
endangered least Bell's vireo (Vireo bellii pusillus), and endangered 
southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus).
    The applicants also request coverage of an additional 19 unlisted, 
sensitive species (11 plant, 8 animal) that occur within the City's 
jurisdiction. The HCP proposes to conserve all 22 species according to 
standards required for listed species under the Act, such that, barring 
unforeseen circumstances, the unlisted species could be amended to the 
10(a)(1)(B) permit to authorize incidental take of these species should 
they be federally listed within the term of the 50-year permit. 
Concurrent with the proposed issuance of the Federal 10(a)(1)(B) 
permit, the California Department of Fish and Game proposes to issue a 
management authorization for the 22 species under section 2081 of the 
California Endangered Species Act.
    Preparation of the HCP is a condition of Service approval of a 
significant roadway extension project, which will require significant 
mitigation. Federal approval of the HCP also is required as part of the 
special 4(d) rule for the California gnatcatcher (58 FR 65088). 
Incidental take of the gnatcatcher is allowed under section 4(d) of the 
Act if take results from activities conducted pursuant to the 
California Natural Community Conservation Planning (NCCP) Act, NCCP 
Process Guidelines, and NCCP Southern California Coastal Sage Scrub 
Conservation Guidelines.
    In addition to the permit application, the Service also announces 
the availability of an Environmental Assessment (EA). The EA evaluates 
the effects on the human environment of the proposed action: issuance 
of the incidental take permit and approval of the HCP and IA. This 
notice is provided pursuant to section 10(c) of the Act and National 
Environmental Policy Act regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

DATES: Written comments on the permit application and EA should be 
received on or before July 21, 1995.

ADDRESSES: Comments regarding the adequacy of the HCP, IA, and EA 
should be addressed to Mr. Gail Kobetich, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, 2730 Loker Avenue West, Carlsbad, CA 92008; FAX 
(619) 431-9618. Please refer to permit No. PRT-803743 when submitting 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nancy Gilbert, Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist, at the above address, telephone (619) 431-9440. Individuals 
wishing copies of the application and EA for review should immediately 
contact Ms. Gilbert.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The ``take'' of threatened and endangered 
species is prohibited under section 9 of the Act and its implementing 
regulations. Take is defined, in part, as killing, harming, or 
harassing listed species, including significant habitat modification 
that results in death of or injury to listed species. Under limited 
circumstances, the Service may issue permits to take listed species if 
such taking is incidental to otherwise lawful activities. Regulations 
governing permits are in 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32.
    The proposed action would allow incidental take of 3 listed animal 
species and up to 19 other species within the City of Poway. The City 
has jurisdiction over 24,999 acres, of which approximately 16,678 acres 
are natural habitats. To minimize and mitigate the impacts of the 
proposed take, the applicants propose to implement the HCP within an 
approximate 13,000-acre Resource Conservation Area (RCA). The RCA 
includes 78 percent of all remaining undeveloped habitat and 85 percent 
of the California gnatcatcher habitat (coastal sage scrub) under City 
jurisdiction. Nearly the entire extant gnatcatcher population within 
the planning area occurs within the RCA. The endangered southwestern 
willow flycatcher and least Bell's vireo potentially occur within the 
riparian [[Page 32338]] habitat of the RCA, proposed for nearly 100 
percent conservation.
    Residential, limited commercial, and limited public infrastructure 
development is planned within and beyond the RCA. Some of these 
projects will result in loss of natural habitats.
    An estimated 200 pairs of gnatcatchers occur within the RCA on 
6,210 of the remaining 7,300 acres of coastal sage scrub within the 
planning area. Approximately 90 percent of the coastal sage scrub 
within the RCA is proposed to be conserved through various measures, 
resulting in a net loss of approximately 20 pairs.
    The applicants propose to mitigate for take of the gnatcatcher by 
preserving the above mentioned amount of habitat through direct 
acquisition of habitat and through protective restrictions or easements 
on lands remaining in private ownership. Acquisition revenues are 
expected from mitigation fees for development of coastal sage scrub 
within and beyond the RCA, through a provision of the NCCP process. 
Mitigation credits also are anticipated to be sold to parties outside 
of the City of Poway's jurisdiction, as approved by the Service. The 
level of allowable residential development within the RCA would be 
determined by existing low-density zoning (various levels) and by the 
availability of municipal water supply (the lack of which would prevent 
higher building densities). Currently, the majority of the RCA is not 
served by municipal water. Existing land-use restrictions would limit 
the amount of development to 2 acres per parcel. Mitigation areas for 
these impacts would be preserved in a natural state by resource-
management zoning. The balance of mitigation lands remaining in private 
ownership would be protected by ordinance.
    The potential multiple-species preserve system would be built by 
incremental additions at the parcel level. These additions are proposed 
to augment and connect an existing system of currently disjunct, 
publicly owned lands via resource-management zoning. Other elements of 
the HCP address preserve planning in a regional context: currently, 
private lands with especially high biological value have been 
identified for priority acquisition so as to ensure the preservation of 
unconstrained wildlands and their linkage within and beyond the RCA. 
Selective siting of development at the parcel level is further proposed 
to minimize impacts to relatively rare and sensitive biological 
habitats and features. The achievement of a viable, connected natural 
preserve system is proposed under the HCP. The HCP includes 
alternatives ranging from complete preservation of native habitats 
within the RCA to separate, project-level efforts.
    The EA considers the environmental consequences of four 
alternatives, including the proposed action. Under the no action 
alternative, the proposed HCP would not be implemented. The applicants 
would either avoid take of listed species within the planning area, or 
apply for individual 10(a)(1)(B) permits on a project-by-project basis. 
Existing land use and environmental regulations would apply to all 
projects proposed within the planning area. Existing regulatory 
practices require mitigation for impacts to sensitive species and 
habitats resulting in lands being set aside for open-space 
preservation. However, under the no action alternative, greater habitat 
fragmentation would likely occur because the lands set aside for open-
space preservation would not be assembled in a coordinated preserve 
system. Under a third alternative, the proposed RCA boundary would 
consist only of lands already preserved in Poway; i.e., cornerstone 
lands as identified in the HCP, the parcels purchased for mitigation of 
the Scripps-Poway Parkway Extension project, and slopes over 45 percent 
within the RCA. No other lands would be included in the RCA or added to 
the preserve. The fourth alternative would preserve all identified 
habitat and species within the RCA. Development would be prohibited 
within the proposed RCA boundary except on already disturbed areas 
where such development would not impact the viability of the proposed 

(Application for a Permit to Allow Incidental Take of 3 Threatened 
and Endangered Species and 19 Other Species by the City of Poway and 
its Redevelopment Agency, in San Diego County, California)

    Dated: June 15, 1995.
William F. Shake,
Acting Deputy Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. 95-15149 Filed 6-20-95; 8:45 am]