[Federal Register: July 26, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 144)]
[Page 39052-39053]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Intent To Hold a 30-Day Scoping Period To Solicit 
Public Comments for a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Decision 
on a Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan for the Lake Erie Water Snake

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent to conduct a 30-day scoping period to solicit 
public comments for a NEPA decision on a proposed Habitat Conservation 
Plan and Incidental Take Permit for the Lake Erie water snake.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (Service) intends to gather information relevant to the 
proposed Habitat Conservation Plan and Incidental Take Permit for the 
Lake Erie water snake. In addition, the Service is considering options 
for compliance with NEPA, which is required for completion of the 
Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and its associated Incidental Take 
Permit (ITP). Two options being considered to comply with NEPA are 
development of a categorical exclusion or an Environmental Assessment 
(EA). The Service is seeking substantive comments on several aspects of 
this proposed project: the appropriate level of NEPA review; 
identification of issues with the proposed development that should be 
considered in regard to the Lake Erie water snake; and identification 
of any other environmental issues that should be considered with regard 
to the proposed development and permit action. These comments will be 
considered by the Service in complying with the requirements of NEPA 
and in the development of an HCP.
    A private developer is seeking an ITP for development of eight 
residential sites on 17 acres located on Long Point, Kelley's Island, 
Erie County, Ohio, which is located approximately 3 miles northeast of 
Marblehead, Ohio. Development is proposed to include eight primary 
residences, associated outbuildings, construction of a new access road, 
individual septic systems, and associated amenities.
    A number of actions are proposed to minimize and mitigate taking 
and harming Lake Erie water snakes and their habitat. These measures 
include: seasonal restrictions on development and construction 
activities; a 125-foot protective setback from the ordinary high water 
mark of Lake Erie to remain in its current natural state for the 
protection and recovery of the Lake Erie water snake; abandonment of 
the west shoreline access road to increase shoreline shelter for the 
Lake Erie water snake; development of a new Long Point access road away 
from the Lake Erie shoreline to reduce road-kill mortality of Lake Erie 
water snakes; preservation of old foundations, concrete slabs, and 
piles of limestone rocks that presently occur on the Long Point, LLC 
property; placement of rocks and vegetation on the abandoned access 
road to increase shoreline shelter for Lake Erie water snakes and to 
prevent vehicle use; monetary support for Lake Erie water snake studies 
and monitoring; usage of architectural designs with minimal footprints; 
construction of an access road and driveways with minimal widths; and 
usage of signs posting speed restrictions along the Long Point access 
road. These measures are proposed to minimize and mitigate the effects 
of potential incidental take of Lake Erie water snakes to the maximum 
extent practicable, consistent with the otherwise lawful activity of 
residential construction on the Long Point, LLC property.
    This notice is being furnished as provided for by the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Regulations (40 CFR1501.7 and 1508.22). 
The intent of the notice is to obtain suggestions and additional 
information from other agencies and the public on the scope of issues 
to be considered. Comments and participation in this scoping process 
are solicited.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before August 27, 
2001. All comments received from individuals become part of the 
official public record. Requests for such comments will be handled in 
accordance with the Freedom of Information Act and the Council on 
Environmental Quality's NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6(f)). Our 
practice is to make comments, including names and home addresses of 
respondents, available for public review during regular business hours. 
Individual respondents may request that we withhold their home address 
from the record, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. If 
a respondent wishes us to withhold his/her name and/or address, this 
must be stated prominently at the beginning of the comment.
    Public Involvement: The public is invited to participate in the 
scoping process. No public meetings are planned for this project but 
submission of written comments by either mail, facsimile, or electronic 
mail are encouraged. Comments should be submitted to the appropriate 
address shown below. Written scoping comments should be received by the 
closing date stated in the section above.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to: Ms. Angela Boyer, U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, Reynoldsburg Field Office, 6950 Americana 
Parkway, Suite H, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068-4127. Electronic mail comments 
may also be submitted within the comment period to: 
lewatersnake@fws.gov or by facsimile to: (614) 469-6919.

Wildlife Service, Reynoldsburg Field Office, 6950 Americana Parkway, 
Suite H, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068-4127, telephone: (614) 469-6923 
extension 22, facsimile: (614) 469-6919.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Lake Erie water snake (Nerodia sipedon 
insularum) was listed on August 30, 1999, by the Service as a 
threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended 
(ESA). The population decline of this snake species is attributed to 
loss of shoreline habitat and the killing of snakes by people. The Lake 
Erie water snakes are an important member of Lake Erie's aquatic 
ecosystem. They live along shorelines of the western basin Lake Erie 
islands where they feed on small fish and amphibians. The snakes 
usually grow from 1 to 3.5 feet, in length.
    The Service currently has no information regarding whether the 
approximately 17 acres site contains facilities which are eligible to 
be listed on the National Register of Historic Places or whether other 
historical, archaeological, or traditional cultural properties may be 
present. The National Historic Preservation Act and other laws require 
that any such properties and resources be identified and considered in 
project planning. The public is requested to inform the Service of 
concerns about archaeological sites, buildings and structures, historic 
events, sacred and traditional areas, and other historic preservation 

[[Page 39053]]

    Dated: July 2, 2001.
Robert Krska,
Acting Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Region 3, Fort 
Snelling, MN.
[FR Doc. 01-18600 Filed 7-25-01; 8:45 am]