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October 31, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 210)] [Rules and Regulations] [Page 63861-63977]
Thousands of acres in Oregon designated for butterflies with ESA
Designation of Critical Habitat for the Fender's blue butterfly (Icaricia icarioides fenderi), Lupinus sulphureus ssp. kincaidii (Kincaid's lupine), and Erigeron decumbens var. decumbens (Willamette daisy)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are designating critical habitat for the Fender's blue butterfly (Icaricia icarioides fenderi), Lupinus sulphureus ssp. kincaidii (Kincaid's lupine), and Erigeron decumbens var. decumbens (Willamette daisy) pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). Approximately 3,010 acres (ac) (1,218 hectares (ha)) for Fender's blue butterfly in Benton, Lane, Polk, and Yamhill Counties, Oregon; 585 ac
(237 ha) for L. sulphureus ssp. kincaidii in Benton, Lane, Polk, and Yamhill Counties, Oregon, and Lewis County, Washington; and 718 ac (291 ha) for E. decumbens var. decumbens in Benton, Lane, Linn, Marion, and Polk Counties, Oregon, fall within the boundaries of the critical habitat designation.

DATES: This rule becomes effective on November 30, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Comments and materials received, as well as supporting documentation used in the preparation of this final rule, will be available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Portland Fish and Wildlife Office, 2600 SE 98th Ave., Suite 100, Portland, OR 97266
(telephone (503) 231-6179). The final rule, economic analysis, and map will also be available via the Internet at http://www.fws.gov/oregonfwo/Species/ESA-Actions/WillValleyPage.asp
.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kemper McMaster, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Portland Fish and Wildlife Office, 2600 SE 98th Ave., Suite 100, Portland, OR 97266 (telephone 503/231-6179; facsimile 503/231-6195).

During the comment period that opened on November 2, 2005, and closed on January 3, 2006, we received 72 comments directly addressing the proposed critical habitat designation: 5 from peer reviewers, 3 from Federal agencies, and 64 from organizations or individuals. During the comment period that opened on April 21, 2006, and closed on May 19, 2006, we received an additional 11 comments directly addressing the proposed critical habitat designation: one from a peer reviewer, one from a Federal agency, and nine from organizations or individuals. During the comment period that opened on June 15, 2006, and closed on June 30, 2006, we received 12 comments directly addressing the proposed critical habitat designation and the draft economic analysis. Of these latter comments, one was from a peer reviewer and 11 were from organizations or individuals. The received comments were grouped into six general categories specifically relating to the proposed critical habitat designation or draft economic analysis for Fender's blue butterfly, L. sulphureus ssp. Kincaidii, and E. decumbens var. decumbens. The comments are addressed in the following summary and incorporated into the final rule as appropriate.

Small entities identified in the economic analysis included forestry, agriculture, and five cities. The potential impacts to the identified small entities are small. One family-owned forestry business was identified within the critical habitat designation and represents only one of 494 businesses within the eight-county critical habitat boundary that may be affected. It is estimated in the draft economic analysis that conservation activities may cost the company about $1,000 to $3,000 annually. The draft economic analysis also analyzed all agricultural operations and concluded that the impacts by conservation efforts are considered small (the potential farms to be impacted represent about 1.2 percent of the total small farms in the eight- county critical habitat boundary). Of the five small governments identified in the draft economic analysis, only Dallas was identified as an entity potentially impacted by conservation activities. The costs were estimated to be approximately 0.08 to 0.5 percent of the City's annual expenditures.

In general, two different mechanisms in section 7 consultations could lead to additional regulatory requirements for the approximately four small businesses, on average, that may be required to consult with us each year regarding their project's impact on Fender's blue butterfly, Lupinus sulphureus ssp. kincaidii, or Erigeron decumbens var. decumbens and their habitat.

First, if we conclude, in a biological opinion, that a proposed action is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a species or adversely modify its critical habitat, we can offer ``reasonable and prudent alternatives.'' Reasonable and prudent alternatives are alternative actions that can be implemented in a manner consistent with the scope of the Federal agency's legal authority and jurisdiction, that are economically and technologically feasible, and that would avoid jeopardizing the continued existence of listed species or result in adverse modification of critical habitat. A Federal agency and an applicant may elect to implement a reasonable and prudent alternative associated with a biological opinion that has found jeopardy or adverse modification of critical habitat. An agency or applicant could alternatively choose to seek an exemption from the requirements of the Act or proceed without implementing the reasonable and prudent alternative. However, unless an exemption were obtained, the Federal agency or applicant would be at risk of violating section 7(a)(2) of the Act if it chose to proceed without implementing the reasonable and prudent alternatives.

Second, if we find that a proposed action is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a listed animal or plant species, we may identify reasonable and prudent measures designed to minimize the amount or extent of take and require the Federal agency or applicant to implement such measures through nondiscretionary terms and conditions. We may also identify discretionary conservation recommendations designed to minimize or avoid the adverse effects of a proposed action on listed species or critical habitat, help implement recovery plans, or to develop information that could contribute to the recovery of the species.

 

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