[Federal Register: October 17, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 202)]
[Page 61896-61897]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-ES-2008-N0276; 40120-1112-0000-F2]

Receipt of Application for an Incidental Take Permit for the City 
Gate Project in Collier County, FL

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: Citygate Development, LLC and CG II, LLC (Applicants) request 
an incidental take permit (ITP) pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act) for the take of the 
red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis) and the Florida panther 
(Puma (=Felis) concolor coryi). The Applicants propose to develop 240 
acres of occupied red-cockaded woodpecker and Florida panther habitat 
to construct a mixed-use, nonresidential, commercial/industrial office 
park complex (Project) in Collier County, Florida. The modification of 
this habitat is expected to result in incidental take, in the form of 
harm, of one group of red-cockaded woodpeckers and harassment of the 
Florida panther. The Applicants' Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) 
describes the mitigation and minimization measures proposed to address 
the effects of the Project on the red-cockaded woodpecker and Florida 
panther. These measures are outlined in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION 
section below.

DATES: Written comments on the ITP application and HCP should be sent 
to the Southeast Regional Office (see ADDRESSES) and should be received 
on or before December 16, 2008.

ADDRESSES: Persons wishing to review the ITP application, Environmental 
Assessment (EA), and HCP may obtain a copy by writing the Service's 
Southeast Regional Office. Please reference permit number TE145823-0 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, or Field 
Supervisor, South Florida Ecological Services Office, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 1339 20th Street, Vero Beach, Florida 32960-3559.

Coordinator (see ADDRESSES), telephone: 404/679-7313; or George Dennis, 
Ecologist, South Florida Ecological Services Office (see ADDRESSES), 
telephone: 772/562-3909 ext. 309.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: If you wish to comment, you may submit 
comments by any one of several methods. Please reference permit 
application number TE145823-0 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 include your name and 
return address in your Internet message. If you do not receive a 
confirmation from the Service that we have received your Internet 
message, contact us directly at either telephone number listed above 
(see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Finally, you may hand deliver 
comments to either Service office listed above (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 
    The red-cockaded woodpecker is the only North American woodpecker 
that excavates its roost and nest cavities in living trees. It is 
nonmigratory, territorial, and lives in cooperative breeding social 
units, usually comprising two to six birds, called groups. Nest and 
roost cavities are almost always excavated in old-age living pines. In 
south Florida, hydric slash pine flatwoods provide the preferred 
nesting and foraging habitat for red-cockaded woodpeckers. The most 
recent surveys estimate the rangewide population of the red-cockaded 
woodpecker at 4,919 active groups. The estimated breeding population of 
the red-cockaded woodpecker in Florida is 1,500 groups, with about 75 
percent occurring in the Florida Panhandle.
    The Florida panther is the last subspecies of Puma still surviving 
in the eastern United States. Historically occurring throughout the 
southeastern United States, today the Florida panther is restricted to 
less than 5 percent of its historical range in one breeding population 
of approximately 100 animals, located in south Florida. Florida 
panthers are wide ranging, secretive, and occur at low densities. They 
require large contiguous areas to meet their social, reproductive, and 
energetic needs.
    Limiting factors for the Florida panther are habitat availability, 
prey availability, and lack of human tolerance. Habitat loss, 
degradation, and fragmentation are among the greatest threats to 
Florida panther survival, while lack of human tolerance is one of the 
greatest threats to Florida panther recovery.
    The Project proposes construction of a mixed-use, nonresidential, 
commercial/industrial office park complex that will substantially 
modify 240 acres comprising primarily pine flatwoods, and will result 
in take in the form of harm to red-cockaded woodpecker and harassment 
of the Florida panther, incidental to the carrying out of these 
otherwise lawful activities. Habitat alteration associated with the 
proposed development activities will reduce the availability of 
nesting, foraging, and sheltering habitat for one group of red-cockaded 
woodpecker. In addition, the loss of this habitat may result in take in 
the form of harassment of Florida panthers. The Applicants propose to 
mitigate take of

[[Page 61897]]

red-cockaded woodpeckers by acquiring, preserving, restoring, and 
managing in perpetuity 102 acres of occupied habitat. In addition, 336 
acres of red-cockaded woodpecker habitat at another site in south 
Florida will be restored and four recruitment groups established. 
Subadult red-cockaded woodpeckers fledged in the Project area will be 
translocated to the recruitment clusters for 3 consecutive years. After 
3 years the remaining adult red-cockaded woodpeckers will be 
translocated to the established recruitment clusters.
    The acquired 102 acres and restored habitat within the red-cockaded 
woodpecker recruitment site will benefit the Florida panther through 
further habitat protection and enhancement. In addition the Applicants 
will partially fund a study to identify wildlife crossing sites to 
reduce Florida panther vehicular mortality in Collier County. Finally, 
the Applicants will construct a Florida panther wildlife crossing along 
County Road 846 in the Okaloacoochee Slough at a location known for 
high Florida panther vehicular mortality.
    The Service has made a preliminary determination that the issuance 
of the ITP is not a major Federal action significantly affecting the 
quality of the human environment within the meaning of section 
102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This 
preliminary information may be revised due to public comment received 
in response to this notice and is based on information contained in the 
EA and HCP.
    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 red-cockaded woodpecker and Florida panther. 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: September 26, 2008.
Sam D. Hamilton,
Regional Director.
[FR Doc. E8-24770 Filed 10-16-08; 8:45 am]