[Federal Register: November 20, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 224)]
[Page 58159-58160]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Assessment and 
Habitat Conservation Plan and Receipt of an Application for an 
Incidental Take Permit From the Interagency Task Force Proposing the 
Six Points Road Interchange and Related Development in Marion and 
Hendricks Counties, IN

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public and other agencies of the 
availability of a draft Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and Incidental 
Take Permit (ITP) application for review and comment. The HCP and ITP 
application were submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(Service) by an Interagency Task Force proposing to construct a new 
interchange on Interstate 70 (I-70) in the vicinity of Six Points Road 
and related development in Hendricks and Marion Counties, Indiana. A 
colony of federally-endangered Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis) occupies 
the project area during summer and it has been determined that the 
proposed actions will result in incidental take. On September 28, 2001 
the Task Force submitted an application to the Service for a permit for 
incidental take pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973 (Act), as amended (Act, 16 U.S.C. 1531, et seq.). 
The submission of the (ITP) application required the development of an 
HCP by the applicants detailing measures to be taken to avoid, 
minimize, and mitigate impacts to Indiana bats. If issued, the ITP 
would authorize incidental take of Indiana bats resulting from proposed 
road construction, commercial development, and airport expansion and 
improvements. The requested term of the permit is 15 years.
    Prior to issuing the ITP, the Service is required to analyze 
alternatives considered in the development of the HCP. This analysis is 
contained in a draft Environmental Assessment (EA), as required by the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), for the Federal action in 
issuance of a permit under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act. This draft 
EA is also available for public review and comment. This notice is 
provided pursuant to section 10(a) of the Act and National 
Environmental Policy Act regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).Copies of the 
draft HCP and EA may be obtained by making a request to Regional HCP 
Coordinator, at the address below.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before January 22, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Persons wishing to review the documents may obtain copies by 
writing, telephoning, faxing, or e-mailing: 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. The EA is 
also available at the following Internet address: http://
    Public Involvement: 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 Bloomington Field Office in Bloomington, Indiana. The draft HCP 
and EA are available for public review and comment for a period of 60 
    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.

Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fort Snelling, Minnesota, 
Telephone: (612) 713-5343, or e-mail 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 (16 U.S.C. 1538). 
Harm may include significant habitat modification where it actually 
kills or injures wildlife by significantly impairing essential 
behavioral patterns, including, breeding, feeding, and sheltering (50 
CFR 17.3(c)). The Service may, under limited circumstances, 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 endangered species are found in 50 CFR 17.22.

Background on Habitat Conservation Plan

    An Interagency Task Force composed of the Indianapolis Airport 
Authority, the Indianapolis Department of Public Works, the 
Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development, the Federal 
Highway Administration, the Indiana Department of Transportation, and 
the Hendricks County Board of County Commissioners proposes to 
construct a new interchange on I-70 and associated highway improvements 
near Six Points Road in Hendricks and Marion Counties, Indiana. 
Additional development will occur in the area in association with the 
road construction, including expansion and improvements at the 
Indianapolis International Airport, and commercial and industrial 
development within the AmeriPlex area south of I-70.
    At least one maternity colony of Indiana bats is known to utilize 
scattered patches of high quality habitat within the proposed project 
area during the summer. Within the HCP boundary, 343 acres will be 
cleared for the proposed project, including 146 acres of mature forest, 
119 acres of widely scattered trees (e.g., former residential lawns), 
69 acres of sparsely forested areas (e.g., wooded pasture) or immature 
woodlots, and 10 acres of linear forested habitat (e.g., fencerows). 
The mature forest provides high quality Indiana bat roosting and 
foraging habitat. Potential roosting habitat exists in those areas with 
mature trees, while foraging habitat is located throughout the project 
area. Incidental take of Indiana bats is expected to occur from the 
loss and degradation of roosting and foraging habitat, resulting in 
reduced reproduction and overwinter survival, and the decreased fitness 
of individuals.
    The purpose of the HCP is to ensure incidental take will be 
minimized and mitigated to the maximum extent practicable and will not 
appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and recovery of this 
species in the wild. The Task Force designed the HCP in

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consultation with the Service to ensure the project area and adjoining 
areas used by Indiana bats will continue to support suitable habitat 
for the species, while allowing for incidental take of Indiana bats 
from the proposed activities. Measures in the HCP designed to avoid, 
minimize, and mitigate the impacts of the proposed action on Indiana 
bats include: (1) No trees cleared when Indiana bats may occupy 
maternity roosts; (2) permanent protection of 373 acres of existing 
Indiana bat habitat; (3) 346 acres hardwood seedlings will be planted 
and protected in perpetuity; (4) the Indiana bat population response to 
the proposed construction and mitigation will be monitored for 15 years 
and mitigation plantings will be monitored for 5 years; and (5) the 
applicants will work with the Service to develop and implement an 
outreach program to educate the public regarding the Indiana bat.

Background on Environmental Assessment

    The Proposed Action consists of issuing an ITP and implementation 
of the HCP. The draft EA considers two action alternatives and the ``No 
Action'' alternative. The NEPA process will be completed after the 
comment period, at which time 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 the Interagency Task Force for 
the incidental take of Indiana bat associated with the proposed 
activities in Marion and Hendricks Counties, Indiana. The final permit 
decision will be made no sooner than 60 days from the date of this 
    The area encompassed by the HCP may contain facilities eligible to 
be listed on the National Register of Historic Places and other 
historical or archeological resources may be present. The National 
Historic Preservation Act and other laws require these properties and 
resources be identified and considered in project planning. The public 
is requested to inform the Service of concerns about archeological 
sites, buildings and structures, historic events, sacred and 
traditional areas, and other historic preservation concerns.

    Dated: November 9, 2001.
Charles M. Wooley,
Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Region 3, Fort 
Snelling, Minnesota.
[FR Doc. 01-28912 Filed 11-19-01; 8:45 am]