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Notice

Agency Information Collection Activities; Policy Regarding Voluntary Prelisting Conservation Actions

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AGENCY:

Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION:

Notice of information collection; request for comment.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service, we), are proposing a new information collection in use without an OMB Control Number.

DATES:

Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before October 8, 2019.

ADDRESSES:

Send your comments on the information collection request (ICR) by mail to the Service Information Collection Clearance Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803 (mail); or by email to Info_Coll@fws.gov. Please reference OMB Control Number 1018-VPCA in the subject line of your comments.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

To request additional information about this ICR, contact Madonna L. Baucum, Service Information Collection Clearance Officer, by email at Info_Coll@fws.gov, or by telephone at (703) 358-2503.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we provide the general public and other Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on new, proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps us assess the impact of our information collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. It also helps the public understand our information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format.

We are soliciting comments on the proposed ICR that is described below. We are especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is the collection necessary to the proper functions of the Service; (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) how might the Service enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) how might the Service minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology.

Comments that you submit in response to this notice are a matter of public record. We will include or summarize each comment in our request to OMB to approve this ICR. Before including your address, phone number, email 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.

Abstract: The Service is charged with implementing the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The goal of the Act is to provide a means to conserve the ecosystems upon which listed species depend and a program for listed species conservation. Through our Candidate Conservation program, we encourage the public to take conservation actions for species prior to them being listed under the Act. Doing so may result in precluding the need to list a species, may result in listing a species as threatened instead of endangered, or, if a species becomes listed, may provide the basis for its recovery and eventual removal from the protections of the Act.

This policy gives landowners, government agencies, and others incentives to carry out voluntary conservation actions for unlisted species. It allows the use of any benefits to the species from voluntary conservation actions undertaken prior to listing under the Act—by the person who undertook such actions or by third parties—to mitigate or offset the detrimental effects of other actions undertaken after listing. The policy requires participating States to track the voluntary conservation actions and provide this information to us on an annual basis. We require this information in order to provide the entities that have taken the conservation actions with proper credit that can later be used to mitigate for any detrimental actions they take after the species is listed.

We plan to collect the following information:

  • Description of the prelisting conservation action being taken.
  • Location of the action (does not include a specific address).Start Printed Page 39363
  • Name of the entity taking the action and their contact information (email address only).
  • Frequency of the action (ongoing for X years, or one-time implementation) and an indication if the action is included in a State Wildlife Action Plan.
  • Any transfer to a third party of the mitigation or compensatory measure rights.

Each State that chooses to participate will collect this information from landowners, businesses and organizations, and tribal and local governments that wish to receive credit for voluntary prelisting conservation actions. States may collect this information via an Access database, Excel spreadsheet, or other database of their choosing and submit the information to the Fish and Wildlife Service (via email) annually. We will use this information to calculate the number of credits that the entity taking the conservation action will receive. We will keep track of the credits and notify the entity of how much credit they have earned. The entity can then use these credits to mitigate or offset the detrimental effects of other actions they take after the species is listed (assuming it is listed).

Title of Collection: Policy Regarding Voluntary Prelisting Conservation Actions.

OMB Control Number: 1018—New.

Form Number: None.

Type of Review: Existing collection in use without an OMB Control Number.

Respondents/Affected Public: Individuals; businesses and organizations; and State, local, and Tribal governments.

Respondent's Obligation: Required to obtain or retain a benefit.

Frequency of Collection: Ongoing for recordkeeping and annually for reporting.

Total Estimated Annual Nonhour Burden Cost: None.

RequirementAnnual number of respondentsAverage number of responses eachAnnual number of responsesAverage completion time per response (hours)Estimated annual burden hours *
Collect and Report Information on Voluntary Prelisting Conservation Actions:
Government1112020
Report Information on Voluntary Prelisting Conservation Actions to States:
Individuals111.25.25
Private Sector111.25.25
Government111.25.25
Development of Conservation Strategy:
Government111200200
States Develop a Voluntary Conservation-Action Program:
Government111320320
Site Agreement:
Individuals111100100
Private Sector111100100
Government111100100
Management Plan:
Individuals111120120
Private Sector111120120
Government111120120
Credit Agreement:
Individuals1118080
Private Sector1118080
Government1118080
Total:15151,361
* Rounded

An agency may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

The authority for this action is the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.).

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Dated: August 6, 2019.

Madonna Baucum,

Information Collection Clearance Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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[FR Doc. 2019-17057 Filed 8-8-19; 8:45 am]

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