[Federal Register: April 6, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 66)]
[Page 17484-17485]
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 
Proposed Construction of a Single-Family Home in Charlotte County, FL

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: Robert Aulbach and Elizabeth Aulbach (Applicants) request an 
incidental take permit (ITP) for a one-year term pursuant to section 
10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). 
The Applicants anticipate taking about 0.46 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 Florida 
scrub-jay. These measures are outlined in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION 
section below.

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 May 8, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Persons wishing to review the application and HCP may obtain 
a copy by writing the Service's Southeast Regional Office at the 
address below. Please reference permit number TE113867-0 in such 
requests. Documents will also be available for public inspection by 
appointment during normal business hours at the Southeast Regional 
Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1875 Century Boulevard, Suite 
200, Atlanta, Georgia 30345 (Attn: Endangered Species Permits), or 
Field Supervisor, South Florida Ecological Services Field Office, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, 1339 20th Street, Vero Beach, Florida 32960-

Coordinator, Southeast Regional Office (see ADDRESSES above), 
telephone: 404/679-7313, facsimile: 404/679-7081; or Mr. Mark Salvato, 
Fish and Wildlife Biologist, South Florida Ecological Services Field 
Office, Vero Beach, Florida (see ADDRESSES above), telephone: 772/562-
3909, extension 340.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: If you wish to comment, you may submit 
written comments by any one of several methods. Please reference permit 
number TE113867-0 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 below (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 (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 (mostly consisting of 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 (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1990. 
Recovery plan for the Florida scrub-jay, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Atlanta, Georgia).
    The scrub-jays using the Applicants' 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. Construction 
of the Project's infrastructure and facilities will result in the 
destruction of 0.46 acre of foraging, sheltering, and possibly nesting 
habitat and is expected to result in the take, in the form of harm, of 
one family of scrub-jays, incidental to the carrying out of these 
otherwise lawful activities. The Applicants propose to minimize and 
avoid incidental take by conducting clearing activities outside of the 
nesting season, removal of exotic vegetation from the lot, and 
maintenance of the remaining area in native vegetation for use by the 
resident scrub-jays. The Applicants propose to replace any scrub oaks 
and wax myrtles that might be removed during land clearing. The 
Applicants propose to avoid landscaping with trees that will grow 
greater than 30 feet tall and potentially provide perch trees for 
predators that may prey on scrub-jays on this lot and surrounding 
unimproved lots. The Applicants propose to implement measures to remove 
and to discourage the presence of free-roaming cats on the lot as they 
can be a potential predator on young scrub-jays.
    The Applicants propose to mitigate the take of scrub-jays through 
contribution of $25,822 to the Charlotte County Florida Scrub-Jay 
Conservation Fund or other appropriate conservation fund approved by 
the Service. Funds in this account are earmarked for use in the 
conservation and recovery of scrub-jays and may include habitat 
acquisition, restoration, and management. A similar account is also in 
development between the Service and The Nature Conservancy.

[[Page 17485]]

    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 Applicants' HCP 
qualifies for the following reasons:
    1. Approval of the HCP would result in minor or negligible effects 
on the Florida scrub-jay population as a whole. The Service does not 
anticipate significant direct or cumulative effects to the Florida 
scrub-jay population as a result of the project.
    2. Approval of the HCP would not have adverse effects on known 
unique geographic, historic, or cultural sites, or involve unique or 
unknown environmental risks.
    3. Approval of the HCP would not result in any significant adverse 
effects on public health or safety.
    4. The project does not require compliance with Executive Order 
11988 (Floodplain Management), Executive Order 11990 (Protection of 
Wetlands), or the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, nor does it 
threaten to violate a Federal, State, local, or tribal law or 
requirement imposed for the protection of the environment.
    5. Approval of the Plan would not establish a precedent for future 
action or represent a decision in principle about future actions with 
potentially significant environmental effects.
    The Service will evaluate the HCP 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 ITP 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) 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 the 
ITP. This notice is provided pursuant to section 10 of the Endangered 
Species Act and NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: March 24, 2006.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Acting Regional Director, Southeast Region.
[FR Doc. E6-4988 Filed 4-5-06; 8:45 am]