[Federal Register: July 21, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 139)]
[Page 43157-43158]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Proposed Martin Branch Woodland Safe Harbor Agreement, Covington 
County, MS

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that Dr. John Lambert 
(Applicant) has applied to the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for 
an enhancement of survival permit pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) of 
the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. The permit application 
includes a proposed Safe Harbor Agreement (Agreement) for the 
threatened gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) and the endangered 
red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis) for a period of 20 years. 
We (the Service) have made a preliminary determination that the 
proposed Agreement and permit application are eligible for categorical 
exclusions under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. We 
explain the basis for this determination in an Environmental Action 
    We announce the opening of a 30-day comment period and request 
comments from the public on the Applicants' enhancement of survival 
permit application, the accompanying proposed Agreement, and the 
Environmental Action Statement. All comments we receive, including 
names and addresses, will become part of the administrative record and 
may be released to the public. For further information and instructions 
on reviewing and commenting on this

[[Page 43158]]

application, see the ADDRESSES section, below.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before August 20, 

ADDRESSES: You may obtain a copy of the information available by 
contacting the Service's Regional Safe Harbor Coordinator, U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, 1875 Century Boulevard, Suite 200, Atlanta, 
Georgia 30345, or Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
6578 Dogwood View Parkway, Jackson, Mississippi 39213. Alternatively, 
you may set up an appointment to view these documents at either 
location during normal business hours. Written data or comments should 
be submitted to the Atlanta, Georgia, Regional Office. Requests for the 
documentation must be in writing to be processed, and comments must be 
written to be considered.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Rick Gooch, (telephone: 404/679-
7124; facsimile: 404/679-7081), or Mr. Will McDearman (telephone: 601/
965-4903 x 16; facsimile: 601/965-4340).



    Under a Safe Harbor Agreement, participating property owners 
voluntarily undertake management activities on their property to 
enhance, restore, or maintain habitat benefitting species listed under 
the Endangered Species Act. Safe Harbor Agreements encourage private 
and other non-Federal property owners to implement conservation efforts 
for listed species by assuring property owners they will not be 
subjected to increased property-use restrictions if their efforts 
attract listed species to their property or increase the numbers or 
distribution of listed species already on their property. Application 
requirements and issuance criteria for enhancement of survival permits 
through Safe Harbor Agreements are found in 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32.
    We have worked with the Applicant to design and implement 
conservation measures to benefit the gopher tortoise and red-cockaded 
woodpecker. Portions of the Applicant's property currently are 
inhabited by the gopher tortoise. No red-cockaded woodpeckers currently 
reside on the property. Under the Agreement, the Applicant will restore 
and enhance habitat by the following actions: (1) Reduce tree density 
and canopy cover, increase sunlight on the forest floor, and maintain 
an open pine forest by thinning timber and prescribing frequent fire; 
(2) Plant and/or naturally regenerate longleaf pine; (3) Grow and 
maintain trees of sufficient size and quantity for suitable nesting and 
foraging habitat for one or more groups of red-cockaded woodpeckers.
    Consistent with the Safe Harbor Policy and implementing 
regulations, we propose to issue an enhancement of survival permit to 
the Applicant. The permit will authorize the incidental take of the 
gopher tortoise and red-cockaded woodpecker as a result of lawful 
activities on enrolled lands, as long as baseline conditions are 
maintained and terms of the Agreement are implemented. Future 
activities by the Applicant could return these species and habitat to 
baseline conditions.
    We provide this notice pursuant to section 10(c) of the Endangered 
Species Act and the implementing regulations for the National 
Environmental Policy Act (40 CFR 1506.6). We will evaluate the proposed 
Agreement, associated documents, and submitted public comments to 
determine whether the requirements of section 10(a) of the Endangered 
Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act regulations are 
satisfied. Following the end of the 30-day public comment period, we 
will fully consider all comments received and make our final decision. 
If we determine that the requirements are met, we will issue an 
enhancement of survival permit under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the 
Endangered Species Act to the Applicant in accordance with the terms of 
the Agreement and specific terms and conditions of the authorizing 

    Dated: July 3, 2003.
J. Mitch King,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 03-18415 Filed 7-18-03; 8:45 am]