[Federal Register: April 9, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 68)]
[Page 17089-17090]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of Environmental Assessment and Finding of 
No Significant Impact for Issuance of Incidental Take Permits to Gulf 
Highlands LLC and Fort Morgan Paradise Joint Venture on Privately Owned 
Lands in Alabama

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


    We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce our 
intent to issue incidental take permits to Gulf Highlands LLC and Fort 
Morgan Paradise Joint Venture (Applicants) for residential development 
in Alabama, pursuant to Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species 
Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The authorized take would be incidental 
to otherwise lawful activities, including construction of residential 
condominiums, commercial facilities, and recreational amenities on 
adjoining tracts of land owned by the Applicants. The proposed action 
includes implementation of the Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) jointly 
developed by the Applicants, as required by Section 10(a)(2)(B) of the 
Act, to minimize and mitigate for incidental take of the Federally-
listed, endangered Alabama beach mouse (Peromyscus polionotus 
ammobates)(ABM), the endangered Kemp's ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys 
kempii), the threatened green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), and the 
threatened loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). The subject permits 
would authorize take of ABM and the three sea turtles along 2,844 
linear feet of coastal dune habitat fronting the Gulf of Mexico in 
Baldwin County, Alabama.

[[Page 17090]]

    We published a notice in the Federal Register (66 FR 54020) on 
October 25, 2001 and again on December 28, 2001 (66 FR 67290) that 
these applications had been filed with the Service. At that time, we 
had not determined whether the proposed issuance of the permits would 
comprise a major Federal action. Following completion of our 
environmental review and consideration of public comments received, the 
Service has now determined that issuance of the incidental take permits 
would not be a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality 
of the human environment within the meaning of Section 102(2)(C) of the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA). The 
Service has prepared a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) based 
on the EA and public comment. This notice is provided pursuant to 
Section 10 of the Act.
    We have evaluated the issuance of section 10(a)(1)(B) permits under 
section 7 of the Act by conducting an intra-Service section 7 
consultation. We have determined that issuance of the permits will not 
jeopardize the continued existence of the affected species. We have 
presented this determination in the biological opinion prepared in our 
analysis of the incidental take permit applications.
    We have evaluated whether the proposed permits would meet the 
issuance criteria established by section 10(a)(2)(B) of the Act. We 
have determined, and outlined in our Set of Findings, that the 
incidental take permit applications meet these criteria for issuance.
    Copies of the FONSI, biological opinion, and Set of Findings have 
been forwarded to those people and groups who commented in response to 
our previous public notices. Copies of these documents are also 
available to those who have not commented on these applications before 
(see ADDRESSES below). Final permit issuance will occur no sooner than 
April 19, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Persons wishing to receive the application, HCP, EA, FONSI, 
biological opinion, and set of findings may obtain an electronic copy 
on compact disk by writing, telephoning, or e-mailing the Service's 
Southeast Regional Office, Atlanta, Georgia (see CONTACTS below). 
Documents will also be available for public inspection by appointment 
during normal business hours at the Regional Office, 1875 Century 
Boulevard, Suite 200, Atlanta, Georgia 30345 (Attn: Endangered Species 
Permits), Ecological Services Field Office, 1208-B Main Street, Daphne, 
Alabama 36526, or Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, 12295 State 
Highway 180, Gulf Shores, Alabama 35603. Please reference permit 
numbers TE007985-0 and TE031307-0 in requests for the documents 
discussed herein.

Coordinator, (see ADDRESSES above), telephone: 404/679-7313, facsimile: 
404/679-7081, e-mail: david_dell@fws.gov; or Ms. Celeste South, Fish 
and Wildlife Biologist, Daphne Field Office, Alabama (see ADDRESSES 
above), telephone: 251/441-5181.

    Dated: March 29, 2002.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 02-8491 Filed 4-8-02; 8:45 am]