[Federal Register: July 25, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 142)]
[Page 42115-42116]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



 Fish and Wildlife Service

 Receipt of Five Applications for Incidental Take Permits for 
Construction of Single-Family Homes in Brevard County, FL

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: Robert Catlow, Ali Markieh, Dustin Stone, Pete Knudsen, and 
Peter Intoccia (Applicants) each request an incidental take permit 
(ITP) pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (Act). The requested term for each is one year, except 
for Markieh who requests a two-year permit term. The Applicants 
anticipate taking a total of about 1.21 acres of Florida scrub-jay 
(Aphelocoma coerulescens)(scrub-jay) foraging and sheltering habitat 
incidental to lot preparation for the construction of five single-
family homes and supporting infrastructure in Brevard County, Florida 
(Project). The destruction of 1.21 acres of foraging and sheltering 
habitat is expected to result in the take of three families of scrub-
jays. The Applicants' Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) describe the 
mitigation and minimization measures proposed to address the effects of 
the Projects to the Florida scrub-jay. These measures are outlined in 

DATES: Written comments on the ITP applications and HCPs should be sent 
to the Service's Regional Office (see ADDRESSES) and should be received 
on or before August 24, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Persons wishing to review the applications and HCPs may 
obtain a copy by writing the Service's Southeast Regional Office, 
Atlanta, Georgia. Please reference permit number TE111876-0, for 
Catlow, number TE111609-0, for Markieh, number TE111610-0, for Stone, 
number TE111875-0, for Knudsen, and number TE111608-0, for Intoccia in 
such requests. 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), or Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 6620 Southpoint Drive South, Suite 310, Jacksonville, 
Florida 32216-0912.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Dell, Regional HCP Coordinator, 
(see ADDRESSES above), telephone: 404/679-7313, facsimile: 404/679-
7081; or Erin Gawera, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, Jacksonville Field 
Office, Jacksonville, Florida (see ADDRESSES above), telephone: 904/
232-2580, ext. 121.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: If you wish to comment, you may submit 
comments by any one of several methods. Please reference permit number 
TE111876-0, for Catlow, number TE111609-0, for Markieh, number 
TE111610-0, for Stone, number TE111875-0, for Knudsen, and number 
TE111608-0, for Intoccia in such requests. You may mail comments to the 
Service's Regional Office (see ADDRESSES). You may also comment via the 
Internet to ``david_dell@fws.gov''. Please include your name and 
return address in your Internet message. If you do not receive a 
confirmation from us that we have received your Internet message, 
contact us directly at either telephone number listed below (see 
FURTHER INFORMATION). Finally, you may hand deliver comments to either 
Service office listed below (see ADDRESSES). Our practice is to make 
comments, including names and home addresses of respondents, available 
for public review during regular business hours.

[[Page 42116]]

Individual respondents may request that we withhold their home address 
from the administrative record. We will honor such requests to the 
extent allowable by law. There may also be other circumstances in which 
we would withhold from the administrative record a respondent's 
identity, as allowable by law. If you wish us to withhold your name and 
address, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your 
comments. We will not, however, consider anonymous comments. We will 
make all submissions from organizations or businesses, and from 
individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of 
organizations or businesses, available for public inspection in their 
    The Florida scrub-jay (scrub-jay) is geographically isolated from 
other species of scrub-jays found in Mexico and the western United 
States. The scrub-jay is found exclusively in peninsular Florida and is 
restricted to xeric uplands (predominately in oak-dominated scrub). 
Increasing urban and agricultural development has resulted in habitat 
loss and fragmentation which has adversely affected the distribution 
and numbers of scrub-jays. The total estimated population is between 
7,000 and 11,000 individuals.
    Residential construction for Catlow would take place within section 
05, Township 29 South, Range 37 East, Palm Bay, Brevard County, Florida 
on lot 17, Block 307. Residential construction for Markieh would take 
place within section 05, Township 29 South, Range 37 East, Palm Bay, 
Brevard County, Florida on lot 01, Block 357. Residential construction 
for Stone would take place within Section 05, Township 29 South, Range 
37 East, Palm Bay, Brevard County, Florida on Lot 15, Block 352. 
Residential construction for Knudsen would take place within section 
05, Township 29 South, Range 37 East, Palm Bay, Brevard County, Florida 
on Lot 06, Block 349. Residential construction for Intoccia would take 
place within Section 16, Township 29 South, Range 37 East, Palm Bay, 
Brevard County, Florida on Lot 7, Block 793. Each of these lots are 
within 438 feet of locations where scrub-jays were sighted during 
surveys for this species from 1999 to 2003.
    Scrub-jays using the subject residential lots and adjacent 
properties are part of a larger complex of scrub-jays located in a 
matrix of urban and natural settings in areas of southern Brevard and 
northern Indian River counties. Within the City of Palm Bay, 20 
families of scrub-jays persist in habitat fragmented by residential 
development. Scrub-jays in urban areas are particularly vulnerable and 
typically do not successfully produce young that survive to adulthood. 
Persistent urban growth in this area will likely result in further 
reductions in the amount of suitable habitat for scrub-jays. Increasing 
urban pressures are also likely to result in the continued degradation 
of scrub-jay habitat as fire exclusion slowly results in vegetative 
overgrowth. Thus, over the long-term, scrub-jays within the City of 
Palm Bay are unlikely to persist, and conservation efforts for this 
species should target acquisition and management of large parcels of 
land outside the direct influence of urbanization.
    The lots combined encompass about 1.21 acres and the footprint of 
the homes, infrastructure, and landscaping preclude retention of scrub-
jay habitat. On-site minimization may not be a biologically viable 
alternative due to increasing negative demographic effects caused by 
urbanization. Therefore, no on-site minimization measures are proposed 
to reduce take of scrub-jays.
    In combination, the Applicants propose to mitigate for the loss of 
1.21 acres of scrub-jay habitat by contributing a total of $17,024 
($3,236 for Catlow, $4,080 for Markieh, $3,236 for Stone, $3,236 for 
Knudsen, and $3,236 for Intoccia) to the Florida Scrub-jay Conservation 
Fund administered by The Nature Conservancy. Funds in this account are 
ear-marked for use in the conservation and recovery of scrub-jays and 
may include habitat acquisition, restoration, and/or management. The 
$17,024 is sufficient to acquire and perpetually manage 2.42 acres of 
suitable occupied scrub-jay habitat based on a replacement ratio of two 
mitigation acres per one impact acre. The cost is based on previous 
acquisitions of mitigation lands in southern Brevard County at an 
average $5,700 per acre, plus a $1,000 per acre management endowment 
necessary to ensure future management of acquired scrub-jay habitat. In 
addition, a 5 percent operating cost of $335 per acre will be included.
    The Service has determined that the Applicants' proposal, including 
the proposed mitigation and minimization measures, will individually 
and cumulatively have a minor or negligible effect on the species 
covered in the HCP. Therefore, the ITP is a ``low-effect'' project and 
qualifies as a categorical exclusion under the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA), as provided by the Department of Interior Manual 
(516 DM 2, Appendix 1 and 516 DM 6, Appendix 1). This preliminary 
information may be revised based on our review of public comments that 
we receive in response to this notice. Low-effect HCPs are those 
involving: (1) Minor or negligible effects on federally listed or 
candidate species and their habitats, and (2) minor or negligible 
effects on other environmental values or resources.
    The Service will evaluate the HCPs and comments submitted thereon 
to determine whether the application meets the requirements of section 
10(a) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). If it is determined that 
those requirements are met, the ITPs will be issued for incidental take 
of the Florida scrub-jay. The Service will also evaluate whether 
issuance of the section 10(a)(1)(B) ITPs comply with section 7 of the 
Act by conducting an intra-Service section 7 consultation. The results 
of this consultation, in combination with the above findings, will be 
used in the final analysis to determine whether or not to issue the 
ITPs. This notice is provided pursuant to section 10 of the Endangered 
Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act regulations (40 CFR 

     Dated: July 12, 2006.
 Cynthia K. Dohner,
 Acting Regional Director, Southeast Region.
 [FR Doc. E6-11802 Filed 7-24-06; 8:45 am]