[Federal Register: October 19, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 202)]
[Page 59302-59303]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Draft Environmental Assessment and Receipt of Application for an 
Enhancement of Survival Permit Associated With the Reintroduction of 
Black-Footed Ferrets on Private Land in Logan County, KS

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior

ACTION: Notice of availability and receipt of application.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has prepared a 
draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed use of an 
Enhancement of Survival Permit (ESP) for the reintroduction of black-
footed ferrets on private land in Logan County, Kansas, pursuant to 
section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973. as amended 
(Act). The Service requests information, views, and opinions from the 
public via this notice.

DATES: Written comments on the permit application must be received by 
November 19, 2007.

ADDRESSES: Written data or comments should be submitted to the 
Assistant Regional Director, Fisheries-Ecological Services, U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 25486, Denver Federal Center, Denver, 
Colorado 80225-0486; facsimile 303-236-0027. Documents and other 
information submitted with these applications are available for review, 
subject to the requirements of the Privacy Act [5 U.S.C. 552A] and 
Freedom of Information Act [5 U.S.C. 552], by any party who submits a 
request for a copy of such documents within 30 days of the date of 
publication of this notice to Kris Olsen, by mail or by telephone at 
303-236-4256. You also may obtain copies of the permit application and 
the draft EA by visiting our Web site at http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/species/mammals/blackfootedferret/.
 All comments 

received from individuals become part of the official public record.

Coordinator (ADDRESSES above), telephone 303-236-4256, or Mike 
LeValley, Project Leader, Kansas Ecological Services Office, 2609 
Anderson Avenue, Manhattan, Kansas 66502, telephone 785-539-3474, 
extension 105.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The applicant, Ecological Services, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Manhattan, Kansas, TE-139523, has requested 
issuance of an enhancement of survival permit to conduct certain 
activities with endangered species pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) of 
the Act. Our draft EA has been conducted pursuant to the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
    The black-footed ferret is one of the rarest mammals in North 
America. Formerly co-occurring across the ranges of all prairie dog 
species, its distribution has been greatly reduced due to disease 
(plague), poisoning of prairie dogs, and human-related habitat 
alteration. The only known current populations are those in captivity 
and those started through reintroduction of captive-bred individuals. 
Protection of this species and enhancement of its habitat on private 
land will benefit recovery efforts.
    The primary objections of the proposed action are--(a) to 
experiment with reintroduction of ferrets into much smaller prairie dog 
colonies than has traditionally been attempted; and (b) to attempt to 
establish a self-sustaining population outside the known active 
occurrence of sylvatic plague. This action could result in the 
accidental taking of individual ferrets on or off the release 
properties, from normal agricultural activities and vehicular traffic, 
and the permit will cover that take. The property upon which ferrets 
will be reintroduced is currently used as grazing land and cropland and 
is bordered by private lands. At the present time, each property 
supports several active prairie dog colonies, which have been evaluated 
and determined potentially suitable for the support of ferrets. The 
proposed reintroduction experiment would continue for 5 years, after 
which it may be terminated or continued indefinitely depending upon 
success and cooperating landowner desires. For more information 
regarding specifics of the experiment, contact the Kansas Field Office 
    We have made the determination that the proposed activities will 
enhance survival and recovery of the black-footed ferret. This notice 
is provided pursuant to NEPA and section 10 of the Act.
    The Service has evaluated the impacts of this action under the NEPA 
and determined that it is not a major Federal action which would 
significantly affect the quality of the human environment within the 
meaning of section 102(s)(C) of the NEPA. The Service has also 
evaluated whether the activity complies with section 7 of the Act by 
conducting an intra-Service section 7 consultation on the issuance of 
the permit. The result of the biological opinion, in combination with 
the above finding and

[[Page 59303]]

any public comments, will be used in the final analysis to determine 
whether or not to finalize or amend the draft EA and to issue the 
    We will evaluate the permit application, the draft EA, and comments 
submitted therein to determine whether the application meets the 
requirements of section 10(a) of the Act. If it is determined that 
those requirements are met, a permit will be issued for the 
reintroduction of the black-footed ferret. The final permit decision 
will be made no sooner than 30 days after the date of this notice.

    Authority: The authority of this action is the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and the 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (42 U.S.C. 
4321 et seq.).

    Dated: October 15, 2007.
Stephen Guertin,
Acting Regional Director, Denver, Colorado.
[FR Doc. E7-20669 Filed 10-18-07; 8:45 am]