[Federal Register: August 22, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 162)]
[Page 48939-48941]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



 Fish and Wildlife Service

Receipt of Application for Incidental Take Permit for One Single-
Family Residence in Escambia County, Florida

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the availability 
of an application, environmental assessment (EA), and Habitat 
Conservation Plan (HCP) for the taking Perdido Key beach mice 
(Peromyscus polionotus trissyllepsis) incidental to construction, and 
occupancy of a single-family residence on Perdido Key in Escambia 
County, Florida (Project). Mr. Norton Bond (Applicant) requests an 
incidental take permit (ITP) for a 30-year period

[[Page 48940]]

pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 
(Act), as amended.

DATES: Written comments on the ITP application and HCP should be sent 
to the Service's Regional Office (see ADDRESSES) and should be received 
on or before October 23, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Persons wishing to review the application, EA, and HCP may 
obtain a copy by writing the Service's Southeast Regional Office, 
Atlanta, Georgia. Please reference permit number TE-126078-0 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, Fish and Wildlife Service, 1601 
Balboa Avenue, Panama City, Florida 32405.

Coordinator (see ADDRESSES above), telephone: 404/679-4144; or Ms. 
Sandra Sneckenberger, Field Office Project Manager, at the Panama City 
Field Office (see ADDRESSES), or at 850/769-0552, ext. 239.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We announce the availability of an ITP 
application, HCP, and EA. The EA is an assessment of the likely 
environmental impacts associated with this Project. Copies of these 
documents may be obtained by making a request, in writing, to the 
Regional Office (see ADDRESSES). This notice is provided under section 
10 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and National Environmental 
Policy Act regulations at 40 CFR 1506.6. The Applicant's HCP describes 
the mitigation and minimization measures proposed to address the 
effects of the Project to the Perdido Key beach mouse.
    We specifically request information, views, and opinions from the 
public via this notice on the Federal action, including the 
identification of any other aspects of the human environment not 
already identified in the EA. Further, we specifically solicit 
information regarding the adequacy of the HCP as measured against our 
ITP issuance criteria found in 50 CFR parts 13 and 17.
    If you wish to comment, you may submit comments by any one of 
several methods. Please reference permit number TE-126078-0 in such 
comments. You may mail comments to the Service's Regional Office (see 
ADDRESSES). You may also comment via the internet to 
aaron_valenta@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 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).
    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. 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 entirety.
    The area encompassed under the ITP includes a 1.05-acre parcel 
along the beachfront of the Gulf of Mexico. The project is located on 
the western portion of Perdido Key, a 16.9-mile barrier island. Perdido 
Key constitutes the entire historic range of the Perdido Key beach 
    The Perdido Key beach mouse was listed as an endangered species 
under the Act on June 6, 1985 (50 FR 23872). The Perdido Key beach 
mouse is also listed as an endangered species by the State of Florida. 
Critical habitat was designated for the Perdido Key beach mouse at the 
time of listing (50 FR 23872). On December 15, 2005, we published a 
proposed revision of critical habitat for the Perdido Key beach mouse 
and Choctawhatchee beach mouse, and a proposed critical habitat 
designation for the St. Andrew beach mouse (70 FR 74426).
    The Perdido Key beach mouse is one of eight species of the old 
field mouse that occupy coastal rather than inland areas and are 
referred to as beach mice. It is one of five subspecies of beach mice 
endemic to the gulf coast of Alabama and northwestern Florida. Two 
other extant subspecies of beach mouse and one extinct subspecies are 
known from the Atlantic coast of Florida. As do other beach mouse 
subspecies, Perdido Key beach mice spend their entire lives within the 
coastal beach and dune ecosystem.
    Beach mouse habitat consists of a mix of interconnected habitats, 
including primary, secondary, and scrub dunes including interdunal 
areas. Beach mice are nocturnal and dig burrows within the dune system 
where vegetation provides cover. They forage for food throughout the 
dune system, feeding primarily on seeds and fruits of dune plants, 
including bluestem (Schizachyrium maritimum), sea oats (Uniola 
paniculata), and evening primrose (Oenothera humifusa). Insects are 
also an important part of their diet.
    Beach mice along the gulf coasts of Florida and Alabama generally 
live about 9 months and become mature between 25 and 35 days. Beach 
mice are monogamous, pairing for life. Gestation averages 24 days and 
the average litter size is three to four pups. Peak breeding season for 
beach mice is in autumn and winter, declining in spring, and falling to 
low levels in summer. In essence, mature female beach mice can produce 
a litter every month and live about 8 months.
    Several subspecies of beach mice have been listed as endangered 
species, primarily because of the fragmentation, adverse alteration, 
and loss of habitat due to coastal development. The threat of 
development-related habitat loss continues to increase. Other 
contributing factors include low population numbers, habitat loss from 
a variety of reasons (including hurricanes), predation or competition 
by animals related to human development (cats and house mice), and the 
existing strength or lack of regulations regarding coastal development.
    The EA considers the environmental consequences of two alternatives 
and the proposed action. The proposed action alternative is issuance of 
the ITP and implementation of the HCP as submitted by the Applicants. 
The HCP will provide for: (1) Minimizing the footprint of the 
development; (2) restoring, preserving, and maintaining onsite beach 
mouse habitat at the project site; (3) incorporating requirements in 
the operation of the residence that provide for the conservation of the 
beach mouse; (4) monitoring the status of the beach mouse at the 
project site post-construction; (5) donating funds initially and on an 
annual basis to Perdido Key beach mouse conservation efforts; (6) 
including conservation measures to protect nesting sea turtles and non-
breeding piping plover; and (7) funding the mitigation measures.
    We will evaluate the HCP and comments submitted thereon to 
determine whether the application meets the requirements of section 

[[Page 48941]]

of the Act. If it is determined that those requirements are met, the 
ITP will be issued for the incidental take of the Perdido Key beach 
mouse. We will also evaluate whether issuance of the section 
10(a)(1)(B) ITP complies with section 7 of the Endangered Species 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 ITP.

    Dated: August 8, 2006.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Acting Regional Director, Southeast Region.
[FR Doc. E6-13827 Filed 8-21-06; 8:45 am]