[Federal Register: November 13, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 219)]
[Page 67753-67754]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of a Draft Revised Environmental 
Assessment/Habitat Conservation Plan Related to Application for an 
Incidental Take Permit for the Magic Carpet Woods Association Project, 
Leelanau Township, Leelanau County, Michigan

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior

ACTION:  Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public and other agencies of the 
availability for review and comment of a Environmental Assessment/
Habitat Conservation Plan (EA/HCP) and Implementing Agreement. On March 
29, 2000 Magic Carpet Woods Association (Applicant) applied for an 
Incidental Take Permit pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act, 16 U.S.C. 1531, et 
seq.) from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). This notice is 
provided pursuant to section 10(c) of the Act and National 
Environmental Policy Act regulations (40 CFR 1506.6). An April 20, 2000 
Notice made available for a permit to authorize the incidental take 
associated with harassment (i.e., harm) of the pipping plover 
(Charadrius melodus; bird) which is federally listed as endangered. The 
take would occur as a result of residential construction adjacent to 
Lake Michigan beachfront in Leelanau Township, Leelanau County, 
Michigan. That application has been assigned permit number TE-025433.
    Copies of the revised EA/HCP and Implementing Agreement may be 
obtained by making a request to the Regional Office address below. 
Comments on the EA/HCP must be submitted in writing. All comments 
received, including names and addresses, will become part of the public 
record and will be available for review pursuant to section 10(c) of 
the Act. The comment period is 30 days because the application was 
received prior to issuance of the ``Five-Point Policy'' (June 1, 2000; 
65 FR 35242).

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before COB December 13, 

ADDRESSES:  Persons wishing to review the documents may obtain copies 
by writing, telephoning, fax, or e-mail to either of the two Service 
positions listed in the following paragraphs. The EA/HCP is also 
available at the following Internet address: www/midwest.fws.gov/nepa/
    Documents will be available for public inspection during normal 
business hours (8:00-4:30), at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Regional Office in Fort Snelling, Minnesota, and at the East Lansing 
Field Office in East Lansing, Michigan. Written comments should be 
submitted to the Regional HCP Coordinator at the address or via FAX 
listed below. All comments received will become part of the 
administrative record and may be released to the public. Please refer 
to permit number TE-025433 when submitting comments.
    Regional HCP Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, 1 
Federal Drive, Fort Snelling, MN 55111-4056, Telephone: 612/713-5343, 
Fax: 612/713-5292
    Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, East Lansing 
Field Office, 2651 Coolidge Rd., Suite 101, East Lansing, Michigan 
48823-6316, Telephone: 517/351-2555

Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fort Snelling, Minnesota, 
telephone (612) 713-5343, or email peter__fasbender@fws.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 9 of the Act and federal regulations 
prohibit ``take'' of fish or wildlife species listed as endangered or 
threatened. Take of listed fish or wildlife is defined under the Act to 
mean harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, 
collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct. However, the 
Service, under limited circumstances, may issue permits to take listed 
species, provided such take is incidental to, and not the purpose of, 
an otherwise lawful activity. Regulations governing permits for 
threatened species are found in 50 CFR 17.32.


    The proposed Magic Carpet Woods Association residential 
construction is located on approximately 91 acres at the north end of 
Kehl Road in Leelanau Township, Leelanau Township, Leelanau County, 
Michigan. The beachfront of the property is part of the Lake Michigan 
Cathead Bay shoreline. Magic Carpet Woods Association is requesting a 
25-year incidental take permit for potential take (harassment) of the 
piping plover on the beach of the Association property. The beach/dune 
portion of the property is the only part potentially containing piping 
plover habitat. This area consists of open, unvegetated beach and 
grassy low dunes that abuts a forested portion. The beach/dune is 
narrow and averages about 85 feet wide.
    Piping plovers have nested in recent years at the adjacent Leelanau 
State Park, although none nested there or elsewhere in Cathead Bay in 
2000. No plovers have been known to nest on or as near as one-half mile 
of the Association beach, nor have they ever been recorded using the 
Association beach. The beach currently does not have characteristics of 
good nesting habitat. There may be potential for plovers to nest on the 
property in the future if an expanded plover population exhibits 
variation in acceptable breeding habitat characteristics or natural 
forces alter current beach characteristics. On July 6, 2000, the 
Service published a proposal to designate critical habitat for the 
piping plover. All of the Cathead Bay shoreline is included in a 
proposed 3.7 mile long unit potentially containing primary constituent 
elements of critical habitat. The open dune portion of the project site 
contains several hundred individual Pitcher's thistle (Cirsium 
pitcheri) plants, a threatened species.
    Piping plovers are known to be extremely sensitive to disturbance 
by human activity. Direct and indirect effects of human activity 
throughout the Great lakes and Atlantic coast breeding range is 
strongly implicated in the species decline that lead to its listing as 
an endangered species in 1985. The project involves construction of 13 
single family residences within the forested portion of the property 
adjacent to and parallel with the one-half mile long beach. Broadwalk 
may be constructed through the vegetated dunes, but otherwise the 
project will not result in any construction on, or other physical 
alteration of the beach portion of the property. Construction of the 
proposed project would result in human activity along a section of 
beach presently associated with undeveloped land.
    Potential take of piping plovers would occur through harassment of 
adults and chicks. The HCP provides conservation and protective 
measures to minimize and mitigate such take to a level that will not 
reduce productivity to slow progress toward recovery. The HCP provides 
for seasonally restructions of human presence on the beach, control of 
all pets during the critical nesting and rearing period, control of 

[[Page 67754]]

presence during selected periods of a piping plover steward, access to 
the beach by Service biologists or designees for annual monitoring on 
the property regardless of whether piping plovers next there, provide 
funding for a piping plover captive rearing program, and other 
measures. In the event piping plovers next on the property in the 
future, nests will be fully protected with predator exclosures, 
signing, monitoring and all other measures normally taken for next 
protection on public lands. The presence of Association residence 
owners is likely to eliminate unregulated trespass on the property. 
Take that may occur as a result of the permit issued, will not include 
direct mortality of adults or chicks.
    As a result of comments received on the original draft EA/HCP, the 
Service and Applicant have revised the EA/HCP. The Proposed Action 
consists of the issuance of an incidental take permit and 
implementation of the HCP. The revised EA considers four action 
alternatives and the ``No Action'' Alternative. The NEPA process will 
be completed after the comment period. After completing the NEPA 
process, the Service will evaluate the permit application (if 
appropriate to the selected Alternative), the HCP, and comments 
submitted thereon to determine whether the application meets the 
requirements of section 10(a) of the Act. If the requirements are met, 
the Service will issue a permit to magic Carpet Woods Association for 
the incidental take of the piping plover from human activity associated 
with residential development on the Association property. The final 
permit decision will be made no sooner than 30 days from the date of 
this notice.

    Dated: November 6, 2000.
Charles M. Wooley,
Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Region 3, Fort 
Snelling, Minnesota.
[FR Doc. 00-28900 Filed 11-9-00; 8:45 am]