[Federal Register: April 24, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 78)]
[Page 21032-21033]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Receipt of Two Applications for Incidental Take Permits for Two 
Beachfront Developments in Escambia County, FL

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: Acropolis II Development Enterprises, L.L.C. (Applicants) 
request incidental take permits (ITP) pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) 
of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act), as amended. The Applicants 
anticipate taking Perdido Key beach mice (Peromyscus polionotus 
trissyllepsis) incidental to developing, constructing, and human 
occupancy of a two-condominium beachfront complex on Perdido Key in 
Escambia County, Florida (Projects). The Applicants' Habitat 
Conservation Plan (HCP) describes the mitigation and minimization 
measures proposed to address the effects of both Projects to the 
Perdido Key beach mouse.

DATES: Written comments on the ITP application, EA, and HCP should be 
sent to the Service's Regional Office (see ADDRESSES) and should be 
received on or before June 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 TE122397-0 and 
TE122398-0 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, GA 30345 
(Attn: Endangered Species Permits); or Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 1601 Balboa Avenue, Panama City, FL 32405.

Coordinator, at the Atlanta address in ADDRESSES, telephone 404/679-
4144, or facsimile: 404/679-7081; or Sandra Sneckenberger, Field Office 
Project Manager, at the Panama City address in ADDRESSES, or at 850/
769-0552, ext. 239.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We announce applications for ITPs and the 
availability of the HCP and EA. The EA is an assessment of the likely 
environmental impacts associated with these Projects. Copies of these 
documents may be obtained by making a request, in writing, to the 
Regional Office (see ADDRESSES). This notice is provided pursuant to 
section 10 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and National 
Environmental Policy Act regulations at 40 CFR 1506.6.
    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 measures 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 TE122397-0 and 

[[Page 21033]]

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 also 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 
    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 incidental take permits includes two 
individual parcels, Palazzo I and II, consisting of a total of 2.6 
acres, along the beachfront of the Gulf of Mexico. The projects are 
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 mouse.
    The Perdido Key beach mouse was listed as an endangered species 
under the Act in 1985 (June 6, 1985, 50 FR 23872). The 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 component of their diet.
    Beach mice along the Gulf Coasts of Florida and Alabama generally 
live about nine 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 eight months.
    The EA considers the environmental consequences of two alternatives 
and the proposed action. The proposed action alternative is issuance of 
the incidental take permit and implementation of the HCP as submitted 
by the Applicants. The HCP provides for: (1) Minimizing the footprint 
of both developments; (2) restoring, preserving, and maintaining onsite 
beach mouse habitat at both projects; (3) incorporating requirements in 
the operation of both condominium facilities that provide for the 
conservation of the beach mouse; (4) monitoring the status of the beach 
mouse at both projects 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.
    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.
    We will evaluate the HCP and comments submitted to determine 
whether the application meets the requirements of section 10(a) 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 ITPs.

    Dated: April 6, 2006.
Bud Oliveira,
Acting Regional Director, Southeast Region.
[FR Doc. E6-6057 Filed 4-21-06; 8:45 am]