[Federal Register: August 12, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 155)]
[Page 47223-47224]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Assessment/
Habitat Conservation Plan Related to Application for an Incidental Take 
Permit for the Predevelopment LTD Development

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

[[Page 47224]]

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public and other agencies of the 
availability of a draft Environmental Assessment (EA)/Habitat 
Conservation Plan (HCP) and Incidental Take Permit (ITP) application 
for review and comment. The draft EA/HCP and ITP application were 
submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) by 
Predevelopment LTD proposing residential development of a 6.45-acre 
property on Long Point, Kelleys Island, Erie County, Ohio. Federally 
threatened Lake Erie watersnakes (Nerodia sipedon insularum) occupy the 
project area, and it has been determined that the proposed actions will 
result in incidental take of this species. Predevelopment LTD submitted 
an ITP application to the Service 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 requires the development of an HCP by the applicant 
detailing measures to be taken to avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts 
to Lake Erie Watersnakes. This notice is provided pursuant to section 
10(a) of the Act and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) 
regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

DATES: Written data or comments must be received on or before October 
11, 2005.

ADDRESSES: Send written data or comments to the Regional Director, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, 1 Federal Drive, Fort 
Snelling, Minnesota 55111-4056.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Peter Fasbender, (612) 713-5343.


Availability of Documents

    Individuals requesting copies of the applications and proposed Plan 
should contact the Service by telephone at (612) 713-5343 or by letter 
(see ADDRESSES). Copies of the proposed Plan also are available for 
public inspection during regular business hours at the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Ecological Services office located at 6950 Americana 
Parkway, Suite H, Reynoldsburg, Ohio, or at the Service's Regional Web 
site at: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.fws.gov/midwest/NEPA. 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.


    Section 9 of the Act and its implementing Federal regulations 
prohibit the take of animal species listed as endangered or threatened. 
The definition of take under the Act includes the following activities: 
To harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or 
collect listed animal species, or attempt to engage in such conduct (16 
U.S.C. 1538). However, under section 10(a) of the Act, the Service may 
issue permits to authorize incidental take of listed species. 
``Incidental take'' is defined by the Act as take that is incidental 
to, and not the purpose of, carrying out an otherwise lawful activity. 
Regulations governing incidental take permits for threatened species 
are found in the Code of Federal Regulations at 50 CFR 17.32.
    Predevelopment LTD proposes to develop the 6.45-acre property on 
Long Point, Kelleys Island, Erie County, Ohio. The Lake Erie watersnake 
and its habitat occur on the 6.45-acre tract. Within the HCP boundary, 
2.5 acres would be cleared and 2.0 acres of these permanently 
maintained for the proposed development of one seasonal residence. 
Incidental take of Lake Erie watersnakes is expected to occur through 
loss and degradation of habitat and increased human activity in the 
project area. Loss of suitable habitat would likely reduce overwinter 
survival due to hibernacula loss and increased predation due to the 
loss of shelter. More human activity on the 6.45-acre property would 
increase human-related disturbance and disruption of snakes, vehicular 
strikes, harassment and/or predation of snakes by pets, and mortality 
of snakes caused by mowing.
    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. Predevelopment LTD designed the HCP in 
consultation with the Service to ensure the project area will continue 
to support suitable habitat for the species, while allowing for 
incidental take of Lake Erie watersnakes from the proposed activities. 
Measures in the HCP designed to avoid, minimize, and mitigate the 
impacts of the proposed action on Lake Erie Watersnakes include: (1) 
Seasonal and temperature restrictions on ground disturbing activities 
including construction and mowing; (2) establishment of a 3.95-acre 
conservation area; (3) restrictions on pesticide and fertilizer use; 
(4) restrictions on size and placement of structures including the 
residence, garage, decks, driveway, and septic system; and (5) 
monitoring the Lake Erie Watersnake population response to the proposed 
construction and mitigation for 15 years.
    The Proposed Action consists of issuing an ITP and implementing 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 Predevelopment LTD for take of Lake 
Erie watersnakes associated with the proposed activities on Kelleys 
Island, Erie County, Ohio. The final permit decision will be made no 
sooner than 60 days after the date of this notice.
    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 that 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: July 19, 2005.
Robert Krska,
Acting Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Region 3, Fort 
Snelling, Minnesota.
[FR Doc. 05-16005 Filed 8-11-05; 8:45 am]