[Federal Register: June 4, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 106)]
[Page 26882-26883]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-ES-2009-N0089; 41910-1112-0000-F2]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Permit(s); Road 
Construction and Associated Storm Water Retention Pond in Lake County, 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of receipt of application for an incidental take permit 
(ITP); availability of proposed low-effect habitat conservation plans 
(HCP); request for comment/information.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of an incidental take permit (ITP) application and habitat 
conservation plan (HCP). Lake County Public Works (applicant) requests 
a 5-year ITP under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended 
(Act). The applicant anticipates taking approximately 0.19 acres (ac) 
of sand skink (Neoseps reynoldsi)--occupied habitat incidental to 
realignment of a county road (CR) and construction of a storm water 
retention pond 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 July 6, 2009.

ADDRESSES: If you wish to review the application and HCP, you may write 
the Field Supervisor at our Jacksonville Field Office, 7915 Baymeadows 
Way, Suite 200, Jacksonville, FL 32256, 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-


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 TE211384-0 for Lake County Public 
Works in all requests or comments. 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.


    Due to the reduction in quality and acreage of xeric (bare, scrub-
like areas with sandy soils, open canopies) upland communities, and the 
rapid development occurring in these areas, the sand skink is 
reportedly declining

[[Page 26883]]

throughout most of its range. By some estimates, as much as 90 percent 
of the scrub ecosystem has already been lost to residential development 
and conversion to agriculture, including citrus groves.

Applicant's Proposal

    The applicant is requesting take of approximately 0.19 ac of 
occupied sand skink habitat incidental to the project. The 1.06-ac 
project is located east of State Road 455 within Section 17, Township 
21 South, Range 26 East, Lake County, Florida. The proposed project 
currently includes realignment of a portion of CR 455 that does not 
meet government safety standards and will include construction of a 
stormwater retention pond to address runoff associated with the 
realigned roadway. The applicant proposes to mitigate for the take of 
the sand skink at a ratio of 2:1 based on Service Mitigation 
Guidelines. The applicant proposes to mitigate for 0.19 ac of impacts 
by purchasing 0.40 ac of occupied sand skink habitat in Polk County, 
Florida, within the boundaries of the Lake Wales Ridge.
    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, we are 
making a preliminary determination that the ITP is a ``low-effect'' 
project and qualifies for categorical exclusion 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). We may 
revise this preliminary determination based on our review of public 
comments 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 resources.
    We will evaluate the HCP and comments we receive to determine 
whether the ITP 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 our final 
analysis to determine whether or not to issue the ITP.


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

    Dated: May 28, 2009.
David L. Hankla,
Field Supervisor, Jacksonville Field Office.
[FR Doc. E9-13033 Filed 6-3-09; 8:45 am]