The U.S. Forest Service (Forest Service) is requesting to initiate formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), pursuant to Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), as amended, because the proposed Rosemont Copper Project (proposed project) in the Santa Rita Mountains may affect listed species, as well as designated and proposed critical habitat. This biological assessment was prepared as part of ESA consultation for the proposed federal action and to establish a foundation to support the requested Section 7 consultation for listed species. The most recent USFWS species lists for Pima and Santa Cruz Counties (Appendix A) were reviewed, and on the basis of this review, a search of the Heritage Data Management System (Appendix B) and pertinent literature, correspondence with the Forest Service, and meetings between the Forest Service and USFWS, it was determined that 10 threatened or endangered species have a reasonable potential to occur in the action area and thus are included in the biological assessment: Chiricahua Leopard Frog (Lithobates chiricahuensis), Gila Chub (Gila intermedia), Gila Topminnow (Poeciliopsis occidentalis occidentalis), Huachuca water umbel (Lilaeopsis schaffneriana var. recurva), Jaguar (Panthera onca), Lesser Long-nosed Bat (Leptonycteris curasoae yerbabuenae), Mexican Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis lucida), Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), Pima pineapple cactus (Coryphantha scheeri var. robustispina), and Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus). Three of the 10 species have designated critical habitat (Chiricahua Leopard Frog, Gila Chub, and Mexican Spotted Owl), and one of the 10 species has proposed critical habitat within the action area (Southwestern Willow Flycatcher). Table ES1 summarizes the effects determinations for the 10 species. For the remaining nine species listed as threatened or endangered by USFWS for Pima and/or Santa Cruz Counties, the action area is either clearly beyond the known geographic or elevational range of these species and/or it does not contain vegetation or landscape features known to support these species.
SWCA Environmental Consultants. 2012b. Biological Assessment, Rosemont Copper Company Project, Santa Rita Mountains, Nogales Ranger District. Project No. 11204. Prepared for U.S. Forest Service, Coronado National Forest. Submitted to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Tucson, AZ: SWCA Environmental Consultants. June.