[Federal Register: December 27, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 248)]
[Page 77784-77785]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Receipt of an Application for an Incidental Take Permit for 
Construction of a Single-Family Home in Charlotte County, FL

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: Carmen and John Wilson (Applicants) request an incidental take 
permit (ITP) for a duration of one year, pursuant to section 
10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). 
The Applicants anticipate removal of about 0.23 acre of Florida scrub-
jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) (scrub-jay) foraging, sheltering, and 
possibly nesting habitat, incidental to lot preparation for the 
construction of a single-family home and supporting infrastructure in 
Charlotte County, Florida (Project). The Applicants' Habitat 
Conservation Plan (HCP) describes the mitigation and minimization 
measures proposed to address the effects of the Project to the scrub-
jay. These measures are outlined in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION 
section below.

[[Page 77785]]

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 January 26, 2007.

ADDRESSES: Persons wishing to review the application and HCP may obtain 
a copy by writing the Service's Southeast Regional Office, 1875 Century 
Boulevard, Suite 200, Atlanta, Georgia 30345 (Attn: Endangered Species 
Permits), or the Service's South Florida Ecological Services Field 
Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1339 20th Street, Vero Beach, 
Florida 32960-3559. Please reference permit number TE118198-0 in such 
requests. Documents will also be available for public inspection by 
appointment during normal business hours at the Southeast Regional 
Office or the South Florida Ecological Services Field Office.

Coordinator, (see ADDRESSES above), telephone: 404/679-7313, facsimile: 
404/679-7081; or Elizabeth Landrum, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, South 
Florida Ecological Services Field Office, Vero Beach, Florida (see 
ADDRESSES above), telephone: 772/562-3909, ext. 304, facsimile: 772/

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: If you wish to comment, you may submit 
comments by any one of several methods. Please reference permit number 
TE118198-0 in such comments. You may mail comments to the Service's 
Southeast 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 above (see FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT). Finally, you may hand-deliver comments to either 
Service office listed above (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 addresses 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 Florida 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.
    Recent surveys by environmental consultants documented the presence 
of scrub-jays using the Applicants' property in Port Charlotte, Florida 
(Harbor Heights Subdivision). It was determined that one scrub-jay 
family, currently consisting of two adult birds, likely use the 
property as a portion of their territory. The scrub-jays using the 
subject residential lot and adjacent properties are part of a larger 
complex of scrub-jays located in a matrix of urban and natural settings 
in Charlotte County.
    Since the Applicants' residential lot falls within a known scrub-
jay territory, it likely provides a portion of the foraging, sheltering 
and possibly nesting habitat needs for one scrub-jay family. 
Construction of the proposed Project may result in harm to scrub-jays, 
incidental to the carrying out of otherwise lawful activities. The 
destruction of 0.23 acre of habitat associated with the proposed 
residential construction may result in the take of one family of scrub-
jays by reducing the amount of available habitat within their 
    The Applicants propose to minimize impacts to the scrub-jay by 
conducting land clearing activities outside of the nesting season 
(March 1 through June 30). In addition, the Applicants would landscape 
only with native scrub oaks and other native scrub vegetation, and 
would avoid planting tall growing trees that could serve as perches for 
scrub-jay predators. The Applicants would not keep and would try to 
prevent free-roaming cats from residing on the property as these may 
prey upon young scrub-jays. The Applicants propose to mitigate the take 
of scrub-jays through contribution of $12,190 to an approved scrub-jay 
conservation fund. Funds in this account would be earmarked for use in 
the conservation and recovery of scrub-jays, including habitat 
acquisition, restoration, and management.
    The Service has determined that the Applicants' proposal, including 
the proposed mitigation and minimization measures, would 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 
would qualify as a categorical exclusion under the National 
Environmental Policy Act, 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 HCP and comments submitted thereon to 
determine whether the application meets the requirements of section 
10(a)(1)(B) of the Act. If it is determined that those requirements are 
met, the ITP would be issued for incidental take of the Florida scrub-
jay. The Service will also evaluate whether issuance of the section 
10(a)(1)(B) ITP complies 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 an ITP. This notice is 
provided pursuant to section 10 of the Act and National Environmental 
Policy Act regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: November 9, 2006.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Acting Regional Director, Southeast Region.
[FR Doc. E6-22127 Filed 12-26-06; 8:45 am]