[Federal Register: January 14, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 9)]
[Page 2157-2158]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-ES-2009-N275; 41910-1112-0000-F2]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Permits; Timber 
Harvest in Williamsburg County, SC

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 plan 
(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). Virginia H. McIntosh (applicant) requests a 5-
year ITP under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). 
The applicant anticipates taking two red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides 
borealis) (RCW) groups incidental to timber harvesting in Williamsburg 
County, South Carolina (project). The applicant's HCP describes the 
mitigation and minimization measures the applicant proposes to address 
the effects of the project to the RCW.

DATES: We must receive any written comments on the ITP application and 
HCP on or before February 16, 2010.

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 TE236127-0 for the applicant for 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.


    The RCW is a territorial, nonmigratory species. It is the only 
North American woodpecker to excavate roost and nest cavities in living 
pine trees. This species' use of live pines may have evolved in 
response to living in a fire-maintained ecosystem where frequent fires, 
primarily in the growing season, eliminated most standing dead pines 
    The RCW has declined primarily due to conversion of mature pine 
forests to young pine plantations, agricultural fields, and residential 
and commercial development, and also because of hardwood encroachment 
in existing pine forests due to fire suppression. Presently, the 
largest known populations occur on federally owned lands such as 
military installations and national forests.

Applicant's Proposal

    The applicant is requesting take of two groups of RCWs incidental 
to the project. The 286-acre (ac) project is located on SC County Road 
158, 9.8 miles northwest of the Town of Kingstree, Williamsburg County, 
South Carolina. The proposed project includes the harvest of 73.8 ac of 
long leaf pine flatwoods mixed with isolated pond pine wetlands, pine 
flatwoods, and agricultural fields, which are currently the only 
remaining foraging habitat for the two groups of RCWs. The applicant 
proposes to mitigate for the take of the two groups by establishing two 
new groups at Brookgreen Gardens (Brookgreen), Georgetown County, South 
Carolina. The applicant will translocate the two existing RCW groups 
from the project site to Brookgreen after cavity inserts have been 
installed at the new site. The translocation process will continue 
until the two groups have been established at Brookgreen. As 
minimization for impacts to the species, timber harvesting activities 
will not be conducted until all RCWs have been relocated to Brookgreen.
    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; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), 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

[[Page 2158]]

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 RCW. 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: January 7, 2010.
David L. Hankla,
Field Supervisor, Jacksonville Field Office.
[FR Doc. 2010-577 Filed 1-13-10; 8:45 am]