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Notice

Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Permits for Incidental Taking of Endangered or Threatened Species

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law 104-13 (44 U.S.C. 3506 (c)(2)(A)).

DATES:

Written comments must be submitted on or before October 1, 2001.

ADDRESSES:

Direct all written comments to Madeleine Clayton, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6086, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington DC 20230 (or via Internet at MClayton@doc.gov).

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument(s) and instructions should be directed to Lamont Jackson, F/PR3 Room 13632, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring MD 20910-3282 (phone 301-713-1401, ext. 150).

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Abstract

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et. seq.) imposed prohibitions against the taking of endangered species. In 1982, Congress revised the ESA to allow permits authorizing the taking of endangered species incidental to otherwise lawful activities. The corresponding regulations (50 CFR 222.222) established procedures for persons to apply for such a permit. In addition, the regulations set forth specific reporting requirements for such permit holders.

The regulations contain three sets of information collections: (l) applications for incidental take permits, (2) applications for certificates of inclusion, and (3) reporting requirements for permits issued. Certificates of inclusion are only required if a general permit is issued to a representative of a group of potential permit applicants, rather than requiring each entity to apply for and receive a permit. There are currently no general incidental take permits, and no certificates of inclusion, and none are expected in the next 3 years.

The required information is used to evaluate the impacts of the proposed activity on endangered species, to make the determinations required by the ESA prior to issuing a permit, and to establish appropriate permit conditions.

When a species is listed as threatened, section 4(d) of the ESA requires the Secretary to issue whatever regulations are deemed necessary or advisable to provide for conservation of the species. In many cases those regulations reflect blanket application of the section 9 take prohibition. However, in an interim rule for protection of listed coho salmon, NMFS recognized certain exceptions to that prohibition, including one for restoration actions taken in accord with approved watershed action plans in Oregon or California. While watershed plans are prepared for other purposes in coordination with or fulfillment of various state programs, a watershed group wishing to take advantage of the exception for restoration activities (rather than obtaining a section 10 permit) would have to submit the plan for NMFS review.

II. Method of Collection

Permit or certificate applicants must submit an application to NMFS, including all appropriate information listed on the instructions. These instructions are a user-friendly version of the requirements at 50 CFR 222.22 (b) for applications for incidental take permits.

Once issued, the permit requires that permit holders submit an annual report on activities. These reports must include information on: the activity causing incidental take, any endangered species taken (species, dates, location, and condition of animal), and the status of implementing a conservation plan to offset the impact to the species.

For watershed plans, a watershed council or other local group would submit its watershed plan to NMFS (and the state) for review against state guidance which meets the standards of 50 CFR 222.22 (c). If the plan is found consistent with the state guidance, the group would not need to apply for a section 10 permit for any incidental take that might be associated with a restoration action called for in the plan. No annual or other reporting is associated with the restoration activity exception.

III. Data

OMB Number: 0648-0230.

Form Number: None.

Type of Review: Regular submission.

Affected Public: Individuals or households, business or other for-profit organizations, not-for-profit institutions, and state, local, or tribal government.

Estimated Number of Respondents: 11.

Estimated Time Per Response: 80 hours for a permit application (including Habitat Conservation Plans), 30 minutes for an application for a Certificate of Inclusion; 8 hours for a permit report, and 10 hours for a watershed plan.

Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 880.

Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $15,840.

IV. Request for Comments

Comments are invited on: (a) whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record.

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Dated: July 27, 2001.

Madeleine Clayton,

Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Office of the Chief Information Officer.

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[FR Doc. 01-19357 Filed 8-1-01; 8:45 am]

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