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Notice

Habitat Conservation Plan for Pacific Gas & Electric Company's Operation, Maintenance, and Minor New Construction Activities in the North Coast, Central Coast, Sacramento Valley, Sierra, and Mojave Regions, CA

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AGENCY:

Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION:

Revised notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement and notice of public scoping meeting.

SUMMARY:

We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), intend to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regarding an expected application from Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) for a permit authorizing incidental take Start Printed Page 66782of Federally listed species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA).We are revising our previous notice of intent (NOI) of November 2008 in order to gather information necessary to prepare a joint EIS/environmental impact report (EIR) on the habitat conservation plan (HCP) for PG&E's operation, maintenance, and minor new construction activities in the North Coast, Central Coast, Sacramento Valley, and Sierra regions.

DATES:

Please send written comments on or before November 29, 2010. A public meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 17, 2010, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Sacramento, CA.

ADDRESSES:

The public meeting will be held at the South Notamas Community Center—Conference Room, 2921 Truxel Road, Sacramento, CA. Submit information, written comments, or questions related to the preparation of the EIS/EIR and NEPA process by U.S. mail to Mike Thomas, Branch Chief, Conservation Planning, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, 2800 Cottage Way, W-2605, Sacramento, CA 95825; or by facsimile to (916) 414-6713.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Mike Thomas, Branch Chief, Conservation Planning; or Eric Tattersall, Deputy Assistant Field Supervisor/Division Chief, Conservation Planning and Recovery, at the address above or at (916) 414-6600 (telephone).

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

We intend to prepare an EIS under NEPA regarding an expected application from PG&E for a permit authorizing incidental take of Federally listed species under the ESA. We are revising our previously published NOI (November 25, 2008; 73 FR 71668) to gather information necessary to prepare, in coordination with the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) and PG&E, a joint EIS/EIR on the HCP for PG&E's operation, maintenance, and minor new construction activities in the North Coast, Central Coast, Sacramento Valley, and Sierra regions. This revised notice describes the two main changes to the proposed action, which are the addition of the Mojave Region (Figure 1) to the study area and a change in proposed covered species list (Table 1).

We are providing this notice to: (1) Describe revisions to the proposed action; (2) update other Federal and State agencies, affected Tribes, and the public of the revised scope of the environmental review for this EIS/EIR; (3) announce the initiation of a new public scoping period; and (4) obtain suggestions and information on the scope of issues and alternatives to be included in the EIS/EIR.

The following table (Table 1) shows the changes by status and number of proposed covered species for which PG&E is anticipating requesting a permit:

Table 1—Changes in Proposed Covered Species

Species categoryNumbers of species
November 2008Revised
Federally listed as threatened or endangered7585
Candidates04
Unlisted species that may become listed during permit term3491
Total numbers of species109180

Background Information

The 2008 NOI specified that the plan area encompassed approximately 550,000 acres, including the right of way surrounding PG&E's gas and electric transmission and distribution facilities, lands owned by PG&E and/or subject to PG&E easements for these facilities, private access routes associated with PG&E's activities, future minor new construction areas, and mitigation areas for impacts resulting from PG&E's covered activities. The plan area included the network of PG&E facilities in 36 counties, including 18 counties within the Sacramento Valley Region, 20 counties within the Sierra Region (of which 12 overlap with the Sacramento Valley), 6 counties within the Central Coast Region, and 4 counties within the North Coast Region (of which 1 overlaps with the Sacramento Valley). PG&E originally intended to request a permit for 109 species under the HCP: 75 Federally listed and 34 unlisted species (covered species). We anticipated that PG&E would request a permit duration of 50 years. We held a public scoping meeting and Web conference in Sacramento, California, on December 4, 2008. We received public and agency comments through December 26, 2008.

Revisions to Project/Proposed Action

PG&E proposes to add approximately 23,000 acres to the plan area with the inclusion of the Mojave Region, which would increase the total plan area to approximately 573,000 acres in 36 counties. Within the 23,000 acres of the Mohave Region, PG&E proposes to implement operations and maintenance activities along an existing gas transmission line, which stretches from central Kern County to eastern San Bernardino County. A map of the new region to be added is attached (see Figure 1). Activities that may be covered under the HCP in the Mojave Region include a variety of tasks associated with the operation and maintenance of PG&E's gas transmission system, as mandated for public safety by the California Public Utilities Commission, the California Energy Commission, and the California Department of Transportation. More specifically, these activities would be restricted to: Gas pipeline protection, recoating, repair, and replacement, and vegetation management to maintain clearances around facilities. Preliminary analysis conducted by PG&E to date suggests that up to 5 acres of permanent impacts and 555 acres of temporary impacts are likely to occur as a result of proposed covered activities in the Mojave Region over a 50-year timeframe.

Because some species were inadvertently omitted from the original NOI and the present addition of the Mojave Region to the proposed action, PG&E added 71 species to the proposed covered species list since the 2008 NOI. The proposed covered species list has increased from a total of 109 species to 180 species. The 180 species PG&E currently proposes to address in the HCP include 57 animal species and 123 plant species (Table 2). Additional changes to the proposed covered species list may occur during the development of the HCP.

TABLE 2—Revised Proposed Covered Species List

Scientific nameCommon nameFederal Status
Invertebrates:
BranchinectaconservatioConservancy fairy shrimpE
BranchinectalongiantennaLonghorn fairy shrimpE
BranchinectalynchiVernal pool fairy shrimpT
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BranchinectamesovallensisMidvalley fairy shrimp
DesmoceruscalifornicusdimorphusValley elderberry longhorn beetleT
EuphilotesenoptessmithiSmith's blue butterflyE
EuproserpinuseuterpeKern primrose sphinx mothT
HelminthoglyptawalkerianaMorro shoulderbandE
LepiduruspackardiVernal pool tadpole shrimpE
LycaeidesargyrognomonlotisLotis blue butterflyE
PacifastacusfortisShasta crayfishE
PolyphyllabarbataMount Hermon (=barbate) june beetleE
SpeyeriazerenebehrensiiBehren's silverspot butterflyE
TrimerotropisinfantilisZayante band-winged grasshopperE
Amphibians:
AmbystomacalifornienseCalifornia tiger salamander—Central Distinct Population SegmentT
AmbystomacalifornienseCalifornia tiger salamander—Santa Barbara County Distinct Population SegmentE
AmbystomamacrodactylumcroceumSanta Cruz long-toed salamanderE
AnaxyruscalifornicusArroyo toadE
BatrachosepsstebbinsiTehachapi slender salamander
BufocanorusYosemite toadC
HydromantesshastaeShasta salamander
RanaboyliiFoothill yellow-legged frog
RanadraytoniiCalifornia red-legged frogT
RanamuscosaSouthern mountain (=Sierra Madre) yellow-legged frogE
RanasierraeSierra Nevada yellow-legged frogC
RhyacotritonvariegatusSouthern torrent salamander
ScaphiopushammondiWestern spadefoot toad
Reptiles:
Emys(=Clemmys)marmorataWestern pond turtle
GambeliasilaBlunt-nosed leopard lizardE
GopherusagassiziiDesert tortoiseT
ThamnophisgigasGiant garter snakeT
ThamnophissirtalistetrataeniaSan Francisco garter snakeE
Birds:
Agelaius tricolorTricolored blackbird
Aquila chrysaetosGolden eagle
AthenecuniculariaWestern burrowing owl
BrachyramphusmarmoratusMarbled murreletT
ButeoswainsoniSwainson's hawk
CoccyzusamericanusoccidentalisWestern yellow-billed cuckooC
EmpidonaxtrailliiWillow flycatcher
EmpidonaxtrailliiextimusSouthwestern willow flycatcher (CA)E
Falco peregrinusanatumAmerican peregrine falcon
GruscanadensistabidaGreater sandhill crane
HaliaeetusleucocephalusBald eagle
LaterallusjamaicensiscoturniculusBlack rail (CA)
PrognesubisPurple martin
StrixnebulosaGreat gray owl
StrixoccidentaliscaurinaNorthern spotted owlT
Vireo belliipusillusLeast Bell's vireoE
Mammals:
Ammospermophilus nelsonNelson's antelope squirrel
AplodontiarufanigerPoint Arena mountain beaverE
DipodomysingensGiant kangaroo ratE
DipodomysnitratoidesnitratoidesTipton kangaroo ratE
MartesamericanahumboldtensisHumboldt marten
MartespennantiFisher—west coast Distinct Population SegmentC
VulpesmacrotismuticaSan Joaquin kit foxE
VulpesvulpesnecatorSierra Nevada red fox
XerospermophilusmohavensisMohave ground squirrel
Plants:
Abroniaumbellata ssp. brevifloraPink sand-verbena
AncistrocarphuskeiliiSanta Ynezgroundstar
ArabisconstanceiConstance's rock cress
Arctostaphyloshookeri ssp. hearstiorumHearst's manzanita
ArctostaphylosmorroensisMorro manzanitaT
ArctostaphylosmyrtifoliaIone manzanitaT
ArctostaphylospajaroensisPajaromanzanita
ArctostaphylospurissimaLa Purisimamanzanita
Arctostaphylosstanfordiana ssp. raicheiRaiche's manzanita
Arctostaphylostomentosa ssp. daciticolaDacitemanzanita
ArctostaphyloswellsiiWells' manzanita
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AstragalusagnicidusHumboldt milk-vetch
AstragalusalbensCushenbury milk-vetchE
Astragalustener var. ferrisiaeFerris' milk-vetch
AtriplexparishiiParish's brittlescale
BensoniellaoregonaBensoniella
California macrophyllaRound-leaved filaree
CalycadeniavillosaDwarf calycadenia
CalystegiastebbinsiiStebbins' morning-gloryE
CamissoniabenitensisSan Benito evening-primroseT
CarpenteriacalifornicaTree-anemone
CaulanthuscalifornicusCalifornia jewel-flowerE
CeanothusconfususRincon Ridge ceanothus
CeanothusmaritimusMaritime ceanothus
CeanothusroderickiiPine Hill ceanothusE
ChamaesycehooveriHoover's spurgeT
Chlorogalumpurpureum var. purpureumPurple amoleT
ChorizanthehowelliiHowell's spineflowerE
Chorizanthepungens var. hartwegianaBen Lomond spineflowerE
Chorizanthepungens var. pungensMonterey spineflowerT
Chorizantherobusta var. robustaRobust spineflowerE
Cirsiumfontinale var. obispoenseSan Luis Obispo fountain thistleE
CirsiumrhothophilumSurf thistle
Clarkia amoena ssp. whitneyiWhitney's farewell-to-spring
Clarkia borealis ssp. aridaShasta clarkia
Clarkia mosquiniiMosquin's clarkia
Clarkia speciosa ssp. immaculataPismo clarkiaE
Cordylanthusmollis ssp. hispidusHispid bird's-beak
CordylanthuspalmatusPalmate-bracted bird's-beakE
Cordylanthusrigidus ssp. littoralisSeaside bird's-beak
Cryptanthaclevelandii var. dissitaSerpentine cryptantha
CupressusabramsianaSanta Cruz cypressE
Cupressusgoveniana ssp. govenianaGowen cypressT
DeinandrahallianaHall's tarplant
DithyreamaritimaBeach spectaclepod
Dudleyablochmaniae ssp. blochmaniaeBlochman's dudleya
EriastrumtracyiTracy's eriastrum
EricameriafasciculataEastwood's goldenbush
Erigeron parishiiParish's daisyT
EriodictyoncapitatumLompoc yerba santaE
Eriogonumapricum var. apricumIone buckwheatE
Eriogonumnudum var. decurrensBen Lomond buckwheat
Eryngiumaristulatum var. hooveriHoover's button-celery
EryngiumconstanceiLoch Lomond button-celeryE
EryngiumracemosumDelta button-celery
Erysimummenziesii ssp. eurekenseHumboldt Bay wallflowerE
Erysimummenziesii ssp. menziesiiMenzies' wallflowerE
ErysimumteretifoliumSanta Cruz wallflowerE
EschscholziarhombipetalaDiamond-petaled California poppy
FremontodendrondecumbensPine Hill flannelbushE
FritillariaroderickiiRoderick's fritillary
Galiumcalifornicum ssp. sierraeEl Dorado bedstrawE
Giliatenuiflora ssp. arenariaSand giliaE
GratiolaheterosepalaBoggs Lake hedge-hyssop
Guggolz' harmoniaHarmoniaguggolziorum
HolocarphamacradeniaSanta Cruz tarplantT
Horkeliacuneata ssp. puberulaMesa horkelia
Horkeliacuneata ssp. sericeaKellogg's horkelia
Juncusleiospermus var. leiospermusRed Bluff dwarf rush
LastheniaburkeiBurke's goldfieldsE
LastheniaconjugensContra Costa goldfieldsE
Lastheniaglabrata ssp. coulteriCoulter's goldfields
LayiacarnosaBeach layiaE
LayiadiscoideaRayless layia
LayiaheterotrichaPale-yellow layia
LegenerelimosaLegenere
LilaeopsismasoniiMason's lilaeopsis
LiliummaritimumCoast lily
LiliumoccidentaleWestern lilyE
LimnanthesbakeriBaker's meadowfoam
Limnanthesfloccosa ssp. californicaButte County meadowfoamE
LomatiumstebbinsiiStebbins' lomatium
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Lotus rubriflorusRed-flowered lotus
Lupinus milo-bakeriMilo Baker's lupine
LupinusnipomensisNipomo Mesa lupineE
LupinustidestromiiTidestrom's lupineE
MadiaradiataShowy madia
MalacothamnusabbottiiAbbott's bush mallow
Monardelladouglasii ssp. venosaVeiny monardella
MonolopiacongdoniiSan Joaquin woollythreadsE
Navarretialeucocephala ssp. bakeriBaker's navarretia
Navarretialeucocephala ssp. paucifloraFew-flowered navarretiaE
Navarretialeucocephala ssp. plieanthaMany-flowered navarretiaE
Navarretiamyersii ssp. deminutaSmall pincushion navarretia
Navarretiamyersii ssp. myersiiPincushion navarretia
NavarretiaprostrataProstrate navarretia
Oenotheradeltoidesssp. howelliiAntioch Dunes evening-primroseE
OenotherawolfiiWolf's evening-primrose
OrcuttiapilosaHairy orcutt grassE
OrcuttiatenuisSlender orcutt grassT
OrcuttiaviscidaSacramento orcutt grassE
PackeralayneaeLayne's ragwortT
Paronychia ahartiiAhart's paronychia
PentachaetabellidifloraWhite-rayed pentachaetaE
PinusradiataMonterey pine
PiperiayadoniiYadon's rein orchidE
PleuropogonhooverianusNorth Coast semaphore grass
PolygonumhickmaniiScotts Valley polygonumE
PseudobahiabahiifoliaHartweg's golden sunburstE
PuccinelliahowelliiHowell's alkali grass
RhynchosporacalifornicaCalifornia beaked-rush
SaniculamaritimaAdobe sanicle
SedellaleiocarpaLake County stonecropE
Sidalceahickmanii ssp. anomalaCuesta Pass checkerbloom
StyloclinemasoniiMason's neststraw
SuaedacalifornicaCalifornia seabliteE
Thlaspicalifornicum (=Noccaeafendleri ssp. californicum)Kneeland Prairie pennycressE
TrifoliumbuckwestiorumSanta Cruz clover
TrifoliumpolyodonPacific Grove clover
TrifoliumtrichocalyxMonterey cloverE
TropidocarpumcapparideumCaper-fruited tropidocarpum
TuctoriagreeneiGreene's tuctoriaE
Verbena californicaCalifornia vervainT
E = Federally listed as Endangered.
T = Federally listed as Threatened.
C = Federal candidate species.
— = no Federal listing status.

Comments

Please direct any comments to the Service contact listed in the ADDRESSES section, and any questions to the Service contacts listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section. All comments and materials we receive, including names and addresses, will become part of the administrative record and may be released to the public. Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may 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.

Reasonable Accommodation

Persons needing reasonable accommodations in order to attend and participate in the public meeting should contact Mike Thomas at 916-414-6600 as soon as possible. In order to allow sufficient time to process requests, please call no later than 1 week before the public meeting. Information regarding this proposed action is available in alternative formats upon request. Persons needing reasonable accommodations in order to view the proposed action should contact Mike Thomas at (916) 414-6600 as soon as possible.

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Authority: This notice is provided under Section 10(a) of the Act and Service regulations for implementing NEPA (40 CFR 1506.6).

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Dated: October 22, 2010.

Alexander Pitts,

Deputy Regional Director, Pacific Southwest Region, Sacramento, California.

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BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[FR Doc. 2010-27338 Filed 10-28-10; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C