[Federal Register: November 29, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 230)]
[Page 71192-71193]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: Notice of Receipt 
of an Application for an Incidental Take Permit and Availability and 
Opening of Comment Period for an Environmental Assessment/Habitat 
Conservation Plan (EA/HCP) for the West Virginia Northern Flying 
Squirrel in Association With Camp Wilderness Development Project at 
Snowshoe Mountain Resort, Pocahontas County, WV

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability and receipt of application.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that Intrawest Resorts, Inc. 
(IRI) and Snowshoe Mountain, Inc. (SMI), an affiliate of IRI have 
applied to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for an 
incidental take permit (ITP) pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act), as amended. The application has 
been assigned permit number TE-065121. The proposed permit would 
authorize the incidental take of a federally endangered species, the 
West Virginia northern flying squirrel (WVNFS) (Glaucomys sabrinus 
fuscus), known to occur on property owned by the Applicants at Snowshoe 
Mountain Resort, Pocahontas County, West Virginia. The proposed taking 
is incidental to the planned construction of approximately 55 
buildings, access road, shuttle terminal, ski trail and associated 
infrastructure of Camp Wilderness Development on approximately 51 acres 
owned by IRI. The permit would be in effect for up to 24 years 
depending on completion of final build out.
    The Service announces the receipt of the IRI/SMI ITP application 
and the availability of the proposed Camp Wilderness Development HCP 
which accompanies the ITP application, for public comment. In addition, 
the Service also announces the availability of a draft EA for the 
proposed issuance of the ITP. This notice is provided pursuant to 
section 10(c) of the Act and National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 
(NEPA) regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).
    The Service will evaluate the application, associated documents, 
and comments submitted thereon to determine whether the application 
meets the requirements of NEPA regulations and section 10(a) of the 
Act. If it is determined that the requirements are met, a permit will 
be issued for the incidental take of the WVNFS. The final NEPA and 
permit determinations will not be completed until after the end of the 
60-day comment period and will fully consider all public comments 
received during the comment period.

DATES: Written comments on the permit application, HCP, and EA should 
be sent to the West Virginia Field Office (see ADDRESSES) and should be 
received on or before January 28, 2003.

ADDRESSES: Persons wishing to review the permit application, HCP, and 
draft EA may obtain a copy by writing the Service's West Virginia Field 
Office, 694 Beverly Pike, Elkins, West Virginia 26241. Requests for the 
documentation must be in writing to be processed. Written data or 
comments concerning the permit application, draft EA, and/or HCP should 
also be addressed to the Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, West Virginia Field Office, Elkins, West Virginia. Please 
refer to permit TE-0651212 when submitting comments. Documents will 
also be available for public inspection by written request, by 
appointment only, during normal business hours (8 to 4:30).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Jeffrey Towner or Shane Jones, 
West Virginia Field Office (see ADDRESSES above), 304-636-6586.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 9 of the Act and Federal regulation 
prohibits the ``taking'' of a species listed as endangered or 
threatened. Under the Act, the term ``take'' means to harass, harm, 
pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect listed 
wildlife, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct. The Service may, 
under limited circumstances, issue permits to ``incidentally take'' 
listed species, if such taking is incidental to, and not the purpose 
of, otherwise lawful activities. Regulations governing permits for 
endangered species are promulgated in 50 CFR 17.22.


    IRI/SMI have applied to the Service for an incidental take permit 
pursuant to section 10(a) of the Act. The Applicants propose to 
implement an HCP for the WVNFS that will allow development construction 
and subsequent occupancy activities in WVNFS habitat. The Applicant's 
proposed development may result in take, as defined in the Act and its 
implementing regulations, of listed species. Authorized take would only 
affect WVNFS; take of other federally listed species is specifically 
excluded from the proposed action. This permit would authorize the 
incidental take of

[[Page 71193]]

WVNFS at Camp Wilderness Development through otherwise lawful 
activities, specifically the construction of the planned development, 
occurring in WVNFS habitat. The HCP and permit would be in effect for a 
maximum of 24 years upon issuance.
    The Applicant proposes the construction and subsequent occupancy of 
Camp Wilderness at Snowshoe Mountain. The proposed development consists 
of approximately 55 buildings containing privately owned residential 
units, a community building, other community facilities, a shuttle 
terminal, and a ski trail. Associated amenities (e.g., playground, a 
man-made pond and artificial stream, recreational trails) and 
infrastructure (e.g., streets and parking lots) are also planned. The 
proposed construction boundaries of Camp Wilderness encompass 
approximately 51 acres and are adjacent to and north of several 
existing condominium developments, and are located about 400 feet north 
of the Snowshoe Mountain ski slopes.
    The anticipated incidental take will be limited to harm through 
habitat loss as the result of the permanent loss of habitat on 22.5 
acres, and temporary loss of habitat on 17.3 acres. Other impacts to 
the WVNFS associated with the Camp Wilderness development do not rise 
to the level of take. IRI/SMI propose to implement measures to 
minimize, mitigate and monitor impacts to the WVNFS and include 
seasonal clearing restrictions, minimizing indirect effects on WVNFS by 
occupants of Camp Wilderness, minimizing the Camp Wilderness 
construction footprint, allowing natural forest regeneration in the 
Temporary Construction Zone, and establishing a permanent conservation 
area to provide refuge for the WVNFS.
    The draft EA considers the environmental consequences of five 
alternatives, including a no-action alternative, the proposed action, a 
high density alternative, a reduced impact alternative and an off-site 
development alternative.
    The Service provides this notice pursuant to section 10(c) of the 
Act. The Service will evaluate whether the issuance of a section 
10(a)(1)(B) ITP complies with section 7 of the Act by conducting an 
intra-Service section 7 consultation. The results of the biological 
opinion, in combination with the evaluation of the permit application, 
the HCP, EA and comments submitted thereon, will be used in the final 
analysis 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 IRI/SMI for the incidental take of WVNFS during the 
proposed construction of Camp Wilderness. We will make the final permit 
decision no sooner than 60 days from the date of this notice.

    Authority: The authority for this section is the Endagered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.)

    Dated: November 18, 2002.
Richard O. Bennett,
Acting Regional Director, Region 5.
[FR Doc. 02-30170 Filed 11-27-02; 8:45 am]