[Federal Register: June 1, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 105)]
[Page 31199-31200]
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 Commercial Building in Brevard County, FL

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: Generation Builders (Applicant) requests an incidental take 
permit (ITP) pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species 
Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The Applicant anticipates taking about 
0.77 acre of Florida scrub-jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens)(scrub-jay) 
foraging and sheltering habitat for a one-year term, incidental to lot 
preparation for the construction of a commercial building and 
supporting infrastructure in Brevard County, Florida (Project). The 
Applicant's 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 

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 July 3, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Persons wishing to review the application and HCP may obtain 
a copy by writing the Service's Southeast Regional Office, Atlanta, 
Georgia. Please reference permit number TE104318-0 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, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 6620 
Southpoint Drive South, Suite 310, Jacksonville, Florida 32216-0912.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Dell, Regional HCP Coordinator, 
(see ADDRESSES above), telephone: 404/679-7313, facsimile: 404/679-
7081; or 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 
TE104318-0 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 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.

[[Page 31200]]

    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 (predominantly in oak-dominated scrub). 
Increasing urban and agricultural development have 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. Based on existing soils data, much of the historic 
and current scrub-jay habitat of coastal east-central Florida occurs 
proximal to the current shoreline and larger river basins. Much of this 
area of Florida was settled early because few wetlands restricted urban 
and agricultural development. Due to the effects of urban and 
agricultural development over the past 100 years, much of the remaining 
scrub-jay habitat is now relatively small and isolated. What remains is 
largely degraded due to the exclusion of fire which is needed to 
maintain xeric uplands in conditions suitable for scrub-jays.
    The proposed commercial construction would take place within 
Section 05, Township 29 South, Range 37 East, Palm Bay, Brevard County, 
Florida. Scrub-jays were located within the lot during a site visit in 
October 2004. Scrub-jays using the subject commercial lot and adjacent 
properties are part of a larger complex of scrub-jays located in a 
matrix of urban and natural settings in areas of southern Brevard and 
northern Indian River counties.
    Construction of the Project's infrastructure and facilities would 
result in harm to scrub-jays, incidental to the carrying out of these 
otherwise lawful activities. Habitat alteration associated with the 
proposed commercial construction would reduce the availability of 
foraging and sheltering habitat for one family of scrub-jays. The lot 
encompasses about 0.77 acre and the footprint of the building, 
infrastructure, and landscaping preclude retention of scrub-jay 
habitat. On-site minimization may not be a biologically viable 
alternative due to increasing negative demographic effects caused by 
    The Applicant proposes to mitigate for the loss of 0.77 acre of 
scrub-jay habitat by purchasing approximately 1.5 acres of occupied 
scrub-jay habitat off of the project site, which will be deeded over to 
Brevard County Environmental Lands Program (EELS) for perpetual 
management and conservation. The acquisition of 1.5 acres is sufficient 
to replace the occupied scrub-jay habitat at a 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 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. We do not anticipate 
significant direct or cumulative effects to the Florida scrub-jay 
population as a result of the construction 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 National Environmental Policy Act regulations (40 CFR 

    Dated: May 1, 2006.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Acting Regional Director, Southeast Region.
[FR Doc. E6-8452 Filed 5-31-06; 8:45 am]