Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
We request comments on the permit application, including the HCP, and our preliminary determination that the plan qualifies as a "low-effect" habitat conservation plan, eligible for a categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA). We explain the basis for this determination in our environmental action statement (EAS), which is also available for public review.
You may obtain copies of the permit application, HCP, and EAS from the individual listed under
Before including your address, phone number, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—might be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
Section 9 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act; 16 U.S.C. 1531
However, under specified circumstances, the Service may issue permits that authorize the take of federally listed species, provided the take that occurs is incidental to, but not the purpose of, an otherwise lawful activity. Regulations governing permits for endangered and threatened species are at 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32, respectively.
Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act contains provisions for issuing such permits to non-Federal entities for the take of endangered and threatened species, provided the following criteria are met:
1. The taking will be incidental;
2. The applicant will, to the maximum extent practicable, minimize and mitigate the impact of such taking;
3. The applicant will develop a habitat conservation plan and ensure that adequate funding for the plan will be provided;
4. The taking will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and recovery of the species in the wild; and
5. The applicant will carry out any other measures that the Service may require as being necessary or appropriate for the purposes of the habitat conservation plan.
The applicant is seeking a permit with a 4-year term for the incidental take of the Mojave desert tortoise (
To avoid, minimize, and mitigate adverse effects to desert tortoise from the construction of the proposed raceway expansion project, the applicant proposes to fully implement the conservation measures described in the HCP. Conservation measures include: (1) Fencing the perimeter of the project area with desert tortoise-proof fencing; (2) surveying and removing all desert tortoises from the property by qualified desert tortoise biologists prior to the commencement of surface disturbing activities; (3) educating construction workers, employees, and customers on the status of the tortoise and measures that can be implemented to minimize impacts to tortoise; (4) ensuring trash and food items are disposed of properly to avoid attracting predators; and (5) providing funding in the amount of $550 per acre of habitat disturbed to the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center in Clark County, Nevada, to support development and implementation of conservation and recovery actions for the tortoise under the guidance of the Service's Desert Tortoise Recovery Office in Reno, Nevada.
Our proposed action is approving the applicant's HCP and issuing an incidental take permit for the applicant's covered activities. As required by the Act, the applicant's HCP considers alternatives to the take expected under the proposed action. The HCP considers the environmental consequences of one alternative to the proposed action, the No-Action Alternative. Under the No-Action Alternative, we would not issue a permit, incidental take of desert tortoise associated with development of the Spring Mountain Raceway Expansion project would not be authorized, and minimization and mitigation measures proposed by the applicant would not be implemented. The No-Action Alternative is considered infeasible because the property was identified for disposal under the BLM's RMP, the applicant purchased the property from the BLM for the sole purpose of expanding an existing raceway facility, and desert tortoise habitat occurs throughout the 120-acre property; therefore, development could not move forward without affecting the tortoise.
Under the Proposed-Action Alternative, we would issue an incidental take permit for the applicant's proposed project, which includes the covered activities described above. The Proposed-Action
As described in our EAS, we have made the preliminary determination that approval of the proposed HCP and issuance of the permit would qualify as a categorical exclusion under NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321-4347
We request data, comments, new information, or suggestions from the public, other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific community, Tribes, industry, or any other interested party on this notice. If you wish to comment on the permit application, EAS, or proposed HCP, you may submit your comments to the address listed in the
We provide this notice pursuant to section 10(c) of the Act and the NEPA public-involvement regulations (40 CFR 1500.1(b), 1500.2(d), and 1506.6).