[Federal Register: September 6, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 172)]
[Page 51241-51242]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Construction of a Residential Community in Lake County, FL

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice: Receipt of application for an incidental take permit; 
request for comments.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of an Incidental Take Permit (ITP) Application and Habitat 
Conservation Plan (HCP). Zenodro Homes, Inc. (applicant) requests an 
ITP for a duration of 10 years under the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (Act). The applicant anticipates taking approximately 
3.5 acres of sand skink (Neoseps reynoldsi)--occupied habitat 
incidental to constructing a 100-unit multi-family development in Lake 
County, Florida (project). The applicant's HCP describes the mitigation 
and minimization measures the applicant proposes to address the effects 
of the project to the sand skink.

DATES: We must receive any written comments on the ITP application and 
HCP on or before October 9, 2007.

ADDRESSES: If you wish to review the application and HCP, you may write 
the Field Supervisor at our Jacksonville Field Office, 6620 Southpoint 
Drive South, Suite 310, Jacksonville, FL 32216, or make an appointment 
to visit during normal business hours. If you wish to comment, you may 
mail or hand deliver comments to the Jacksonville Field Office, or you 
may e-mail comments to paula_sisson@fws.gov. For more information on 
reviewing documents and public comments and submitting comments, see 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paula Sisson, Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist, Jacksonville Field Office (see ADDRESSES); telephone: 904/
232-2580, ext. 126.


Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.
    Please reference permit number TE132333-0 for Zenodro Homes, Inc. 
in all requests or comments. Please include your name and return 
address in your e-mail message. If you do not receive a confirmation 
from us that we have received your e-mail message, contact us directly 
at the telephone number listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

[[Page 51242]]


    The sand skink is known to occur in Lake County, primarily within 
the Lake Wales Ridge, and much less frequently within the Mt. Dora 
Ridge. Although originally thought to inhabit xeric, scrub habitat 
exclusively, the sand skink is currently being identified in 
nontraditional areas with sub-marginal habitat, including pine 
plantation, abandoned citrus groves, and disturbed areas. Sand skinks 
require soil moisture for thermoregulation, egg incubation, and prey 
habitat. High activity periods, which have been associated with the 
breeding season for this species, range from mid-February to early May, 
with egg-hatching typically occurring from June through July. Due to 
the reduction in quality and acreage and the rapid development of xeric 
upland communities, the sand skink is reportedly declining throughout 
most of its range. However, biological information regarding the sand 
skink is limited, due to the cryptic nature of the species.

Applicant's Proposal

    The applicant is requesting take of approximately 3.5 ac of 
occupied sand skink habitat incidental to the project. The 10-acre 
project is located approximately 1.25 miles northeast of the 
intersection of U.S. Highway 192 and U.S. Highway 27 within Section 25, 
Township 24 South, Range 26 East. The project currently includes 100 
units (25 buildings with 4 units per building), associated 
infrastructure, and a stormwater retention pond encompassing 10.0 ac. 
The applicant proposes to mitigate for 3.5 ac of impacts by purchasing 
7.0 ac of occupied sand skink habitat at the Morgan Lake Wales Preserve 
(Preserve) in Polk County. The Preserve lies within the boundaries of 
the Lake Wales Ridge and covers approximately 487 ac. The occupied sand 
skink habitat identified for this project will be protected under a 
conservation easement and a trust fund has been established for 
perpetual management.
    We have determined that the applicant's proposal, including the 
proposed mitigation and minimization measures, would have minor or 
negligible effects on the species covered in the HCP. Therefore, the 
ITP is a ``low-effect'' project and qualifies for categorical 
exclusions under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as 
provided by the Department of the 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. A low-effect HCP is one 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 
    We 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 we determine that the 
application meets those requirements, we will issue the ITP for 
incidental take of the sand skink. We 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. We will use 
the results of this consultation, in combination with the above 
findings, in the final analysis to determine whether or not to issue 
the ITP.

    Authority: We provide this notice under Section 10 of the Act 
and NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: August 30, 2007.
David L. Hankla,
Field Supervisor, Jacksonville Field Office.
[FR Doc. E7-17598 Filed 9-5-07; 8:45 am]