FWD[Columbian Sharp-tailed Grouse: notice of conservation agreement]

Mike Patterson celata at pacifier.com
Wed Aug 2 08:33:31 PDT 2000

Ellen Paul wrote:
> Below is an example of a Candidate Conservation Agreement, a device that
> permits state and private landowners to implement voluntary conservation
> measures in exchange for an assurance from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
> Service that they will not later be subjected to increased restrictions
> on the use of their property should the species later be listed as
> threatened or endangered.
> Ellen
> --
> Ellen Paul
> Executive Director
> The Ornithological Council
> Mailto:epaul at dclink.com
> Ornithological Council Website:  http://www.nmnh.si.edu/BIRDNET
> "Providing Scientific Information about Birds"
> [Federal Register: August 2, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 149)]
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> Fish and Wildlife Service
> Availability of an Environmental Assessment and Receipt of an
> Application for a Permit to Enhance the Survival of the Columbian
> Sharp-tailed Grouse in Wallowa County, Oregon Through a Candidate
> Conservation Agreement With Assurances
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> SUMMARY: The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has applied
> to the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for an enhancement of
> survival permit pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered
> Species Act of 1973, as amended. The permit application includes a
> proposed Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (Agreement)
> between the ODFW and the Service. The Agreement and permit application
> are available for public comment.
>     The purpose of the Agreement is for the ODFW and the Service to
> implement conservation measures for the Columbian sharp-tailed grouse
> (Tympanuchus phasianellus) in Wallowa County, Oregon, in support of
> ODFW's on-going efforts to reintroduce this species to areas that it
> historically occupied. The conservation measures would be implemented by
> the ODFW,
> Service, and by Participating Landowners, and would generally consist
> of continued implementation of ODFW's Columbian sharp-tailed grouse
> reintroduction program, and protection and enhancement of sharp-tailed
> grouse habitat. Consistent with the Service's Candidate Conservation
> Agreement with Assurances Final Policy, the Agreement is intended to
> facilitate the conservation of Columbian sharp-tailed grouse by giving
> the State of Oregon and cooperating private landowners incentives to
> implement conservation measures. Participating Landowners would receive
> regulatory certainty concerning land use restrictions that might
> otherwise apply should the Columbian sharp-tailed grouse become listed
> under the Endangered Species Act. Participating Landowners, with
> property in an approximately 161,000-acre area, could sign up under the
> Agreement and the associated permit through a Certificate of Inclusion.
> The proposed term of the Agreement and the permit is 20 years. The
> Service has prepared an Environmental Assessment for approval of the
> Agreement and issuance of the permit.
>     We request comments from the public on the permit application,
> Agreement, and the Environmental Assessment. All comments we receive,
> including names and addresses, will become part of the administrative
> record and may be released to the public.
> DATES: Written comments should be received on or before September 1,
> 2000.
> ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Dennis Mackey, Project
> Biologist, Fish and Wildlife Service, 1387 S. Vinnell Way, Room 368,
> Boise, Idaho 83709 (telephone: 208/378-5267; facsimile: 208/378-5262).
> FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dennis Mackey at the above address or
> telephone 208/378-5267.
> Document Availability
>     You may obtain copies of the documents for review by contacting the
> individual named above. You also may make an appointment to view the
> documents at the above address during normal business hours. The
> documents are also available electronically on the World Wide Web at
> http://www.fws.gov/r1srbo.
> Background
>     Under a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances,
> participating landowners voluntarily implement conservation activities
> on their property to benefit species that are proposed for listing
> under the Endangered Species Act, candidate species, or other sensitive
> species. Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances encourage
> private and other non-Federal property owners to implement conservation
> efforts and reduce threats to unlisted species by assuring them they
> will not be subjected to increased property use restrictions if the
> species is listed in the future under the Endangered Species Act.
> Application requirements and issuance criteria for enhancement of
> survival permits through Candidate Conservation Agreements with
> Assurances are found in 50 CFR 17.22(d) and 17.32(d).
>     On October 26, 1999, the Service found that listing the Columbian
> sharp-tailed grouse under the Endangered Species Act may be warranted,
> and initiated a review of the species' status. The Columbian sharp-
> tailed grouse was extirpated from Oregon by the 1960's. The species
> persisted in Wallowa County until the late 1940's, and the last
> Columbian sharp-tails probably occurred in Baker County in northeast
> Oregon. Reintroduction of the Columbian sharp-tailed grouse in Oregon
> began in the spring of 1991. From 1991 through 1997, ODFW released a
> total of 179 Columbian sharp-tailed grouse in Wallowa County. Currently
> all known Columbian sharp-tailed grouse occur on private land. To date,
> landowners have been supportive of the Columbian sharp-tailed grouse
> reintroduction program, have cooperated with ODFW, and are providing
> habitat to support the birds. The ODFW is concerned that reintroduction
> efforts could result in land-use restrictions on cooperating landowners
> if this species is listed under the Endangered Species Act. Should this
> happen, landowners would have a disincentive to cooperate in future
> reintroduction efforts or to provide suitable grouse habitat. As a
> result of this potential regulatory concern of landowners, ODFW has
> developed a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances for the
> Columbian sharp-tailed grouse in cooperation with the Service, and has
> applied to the Service for a permit under section 10(a) of the
> Endangered Species Act, which would authorize future incidental take of
> the birds by cooperating landowners.
>     Under the Agreement and permit, Participating Landowners would
> provide certain Columbian sharp-tailed grouse habitat protection or
> enhancement measures on their lands. Protection and enhancement
> measures will be directed towards sharp-tailed grouse lek, nest, roost,
> and/or winter habitat. If the Columbian sharp-tailed grouse is listed
> under the Endangered Species Act, and after a Participating Landowner
> has provided the agreed upon habitat conditions for the specified
> period of time, the permit would authorize incidental take of Columbian
> sharp-tailed grouse as a result of the landowner's agricultural-related
> activities: crop cultivation and harvesting, livestock grazing, and
> farm equipment operation.
>     We are providing this notice pursuant to section 10(c) of the
> Endangered Species Act and implementing regulations for the National
> Environmental Policy Act (40 CFR 1506.6). We will evaluate the permit
> application, associated documents, and comments submitted thereon to
> determine whether the permit application meets the requirements of
> section 10(a) of the Endangered Species Act and National Environmental
> Policy Act regulations. If we determine that the requirements are met,
> we will sign the Agreement and issue an enhancement of survival permit
> under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act to ODFW for
> take of Columbian sharp-tailed grouse incidental to otherwise lawful
> activities in accordance with the terms of the Agreement. We will not
> make our final decision until after the end of the 30-day comment
> period and will fully consider all comments received during the comment
> period.

Mike Patterson               Alas, to wear the mantle of Galileo,
Astoria, OR                  it is not enough to be persecuted    
celata at pacifier.com            by an unkind establishment,
                             you must also be right. 
                                                     ---Robert Park

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