[Federal Register: May 11, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 91)]
[Page 27508-27509]
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 
Construction of Single-Family Homes in Brevard County, FL

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: Debra Jorden and Edward Webster (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 Applicants 
anticipate taking a total of about 0.48 acre of Florida scrub-jay 
(Aphelocoma coerulescens) (scrub-jay) foraging habitat incidental to 
lot preparation for the construction of two single-family homes and 
supporting infrastructure, each over a one-year term, in Brevard 
County, Florida (Projects). The destruction of 0.48 acre of foraging 
habitat is expected to result in the take of two families of scrub-
jays. The Applicants' Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP) 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 June 12, 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 TE111878-0 for Jorden, 
and permit number TE111877-0 for Webster, 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.

Coordinator, (see ADDRESSES above), telephone: 404/679-7313, facsimile: 
(404) 679-7081; or Ms. Paula Sisson, General Biologist, Jacksonville 
Field Office, Jacksonville, Florida (see ADDRESSES above), telephone: 
904/232-2580, ext. 126.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: If you wish to comment, you may submit 
comments by any one of several methods. Please reference permit number 
TE111878-0 for Jorden, and permit number TE111877-0 for Webster, in 
such comments. 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 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 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 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

[[Page 27509]]

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.
    The decline in the number and distribution of scrub-jays in east-
central Florida has been exacerbated by tremendous urban growth in the 
past 50 years. Much of the historic commercial and residential 
development has occurred on the dry soils which previously supported 
scrub-jay habitat.
    Residential construction for Debra Jorden is proposed within 
Section 05, Township 29 South, Range 37 East, Palm Bay, Brevard County, 
Florida. Lot 8, Block 339, is within 438 feet of locations where scrub-
jays were sighted during surveys for this species from 1999 to 2002. 
Residential construction for Edward Webster is proposed within Section 
16, Township 29 South, Range 37 East, Palm Bay, Brevard County, 
Florida. Lot 16, Block 765, is within 438 feet of locations where 
scrub-jays were sighted during surveys for this species from 1999-2000.
    Construction of the Applicants' infrastructure and facilities will 
result in harm to scrub-jays, incidental to the carrying out of these 
otherwise lawful activities. Habitat alteration associated with the 
proposed residential construction projects will reduce the availability 
of foraging habitat for two families of scrub-jays. On-site 
minimization measures are not practicable as the footprint of the two 
homes; infrastructure and landscaping will utilize all the available 
land area. The two lots encompass about 0.48 acre. Retention of scrub-
jay habitat on these two sites may not be a biologically viable 
alternative due to increasing negative demographic effects caused by 
    The Applicants propose to mitigate for the loss of 0.48 acre of 
scrub-jay habitat by contributing a total of $6,736 to the Florida 
Scrub-jay Conservation Fund administered by the National Fish and 
Wildlife Foundation. 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 $6,736 is sufficient 
to acquire and perpetually manage 0.96 acre of suitable occupied scrub-
jay habitat based on a replacement ratio of two mitigation acres per 
one impact acre.
    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 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 HCPs would result in minor or negligible effects 
on the Florida scrub-jay population as a whole. We do not anticipate 
significant direct or cumulative effects to the Florida scrub-jay 
population as a result of the construction projects.
    2. Approval of the HCPs would not have adverse effects on known 
unique geographic, historic or cultural sites, or involve unique or 
unknown environmental risks.
    3. Approval of the HCPs would not result in any significant adverse 
effects on public health or safety.
    4. The projects do not require compliance with Executive Order 
11988 (Floodplain Management), Executive Order 11990 (Protection of 
Wetlands), or the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act, nor do they 
threaten to violate a Federal, State, local or tribal law or 
requirement imposed for the protection of the environment.
    5. Approval of the Plans 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: April 13, 2006.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Acting Regional Director.
 [FR Doc. E6-7210 Filed 5-10-06; 8:45 am]