[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 134 (Wednesday, July 13, 2011)]
[Pages 41288-41293]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-17419]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R3-ES-2011-N109; 30120-1122-0000-F2]

Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Multi-Species Habitat 
Conservation Plan; Receipt of Application for Incidental Take Permit; 
NiSource, Inc.

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have received an 
application from NiSource, Inc. (Applicant), for an incidental take 
permit under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA). If approved, the 
permit would be for a 50-year period and would authorize incidental 
take of 10 species, 9 of which are federally listed and 1 of which is 
    The applicant has prepared a multispecies habitat conservation plan 
(MSHCP) to cover a suite of activities associated with operation of a 
natural gas pipeline system; the MSHCP also analyzes 33 additional 
species and provides for measures to avoid take of those species. The 
Applicant has requested concurrence with their determination that 
activities will not take these 33 species if implemented in accordance 
with their MSHCP. We request public comment on the application and 
associated documents.

DATES: To ensure consideration, please send your written comments on or 
before October 11, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments via U.S. mail to the Regional 
Director, Midwest Region, Attn: Lisa Mandell, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Ecological Services, 5600 American Blvd. West, Suite 990, 
Bloomington, MN 55437-1458, or by electronic mail to 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lisa Mandell, (612) 713-5343.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We have received an application from 
NiSource, Inc., for an incidental take permit (ITP) (TE02636A) under 
the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.; ESA). If 
approved, the permit would be for a 50-year period and

[[Page 41289]]

would authorize incidental take of the following 10 species:

               Species                      Current listing status
Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis)........  Endangered.
Bog Turtle (Glyptemys muhlenbergii).  Threatened.
Madison cave isopod (Antrolana lira)  Threatened.
Nashville crayfish (Orconectes        Endangered.
Clubshell (Pleurobema clava)........  Endangered.
Fanshell (Cyprogenia stegaria)......  Endangered.
James spinymussel (Pleurobema         Endangered.
Northern riffleshell (Epioblasma      Endangered.
 torulosa rangiana).
Sheepnose (Plethobasus cyphyus).....  Proposed for listing.
American burying beetle (Nicrophorus  Endangered.

    The Applicant has prepared an MSHCP to cover a suite of activities 
associated with operation of a natural gas pipeline system in the 
States of Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, 
Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, 
Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
    The MSHCP also analyzes 33 additional species and provides for 
measures to avoid take of those species. The Applicant has requested 
concurrence with their determination that activities will not take 
these 33 species if implemented in accordance with their MSHCP:

               Species                      Current listing status
Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel       Endangered.
 (Sciurus niger cinereus).
Gray bat (Myotis grisescens)........  Endangered.
Louisiana black bear (Ursus           Threatened.
 americanus luteolus).
Virginia big-eared bat (Plecotus      Endangered.
 townsendii virginianus).
West Indian manatee (Trichechus       Endangered.
Interior least tern (Sterna           Endangered.
Lake Erie water snake (Nerodia        Threatened.
 spiedon insularum).
Shenandoah salamander (Plethodon      Threatened.
Cheat Mountain salamander (Plethodon  Threatened.
Blackside dace (Phoximus              Threatened.
Cumberland snubnose darter            Candidate.
 (Etheostoma susanae).
Gulf sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus   Threatened.
Maryland darter (Etheostoma sellare)  Endangered.
Scioto madtom (Noturus trautmani)...  Endangered.
Slackwater darter (Etheostoma         Threatened.
Birdwing pearlymussel (Lemiox         Endangered.
Cracking pearlymussel (Hemistena      Endangered.
Cumberland bean pearlymussel          Endangered.
 (Villosa trabalis).
Cumberland monkeyface pearlymussel    Endangered.
 (Quadrula rafinesque).
Dromedary pearlymussel (Dromus        Endangered.
Louisiana pearlshell (Margaritifera   Endangered.
Oyster mussel (Epioblasma             Endangered.
Pale Lilliput pearlymussel            Endangered.
 (Toxolasma cylindrellus).
Purple cat's paw pearlymussel.......  Endangered.
(Epioblasma obliquata)..............  Endangered.
Tan riffleshell (Epioblasma           Endangered.
 florentina walkeri).
White cat's paw pearlymussel          Endangered.
 (Epioblasma obliquata perobliqua).
White wartyback pearlymussel          Endangered.
 (Plethobasus cicatriocosus).
Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides      Endangered.
 melissa samuelis).
Mitchell's satyr butterfly            Endangered.
 (Neonympha mitchellii mitchellii).
Puritan tiger beetle (Cicindela       Threatened.
Braun's rock cress (Arabis            Endangered.
Pitcher's (sand dune) thistle         Threatened.
 (Cirsium pitcheri).
Mead's milkweed (Asclepias meadii)..  Threatened.

    Under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 
et seq.) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), 
we announce that we have gathered the information necessary to:
    (1) Determine the impacts and formulate alternatives for an 
environmental impact statement related to:
    (a) Issuance of an incidental take permit to the Applicant for the 
take of nine federally listed species and one species that is proposed 
for listing and
    (b) Implementation of the associated MSHCP, which includes the 
evaluation of 33 other listed species that may occur in the MSHCP 
covered lands; and
    (2) Evaluate the application for permit issuance, including the 
MSHCP, which provides measures to minimize and mitigate the effects of 
the proposed incidental take of the 10 species and to avoid take of the 
remaining 33 species included in the MSHCP.


    NiSource Inc., headquartered in Merrillville, Indiana, is engaged 
in natural gas transmission, storage, and

[[Page 41290]]

distribution, as well as electric generation, transmission, and 
distribution. NiSource Inc.'s wholly owned pipeline subsidiaries, 
Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC; Columbia Gulf Transmission Company; 
Crossroads Pipeline Company; Central Kentucky Transmission Company; and 
NiSource Gas Transmission and Storage Company (companies referred to 
collectively as ``NiSource'' throughout the MSHCP), are interstate 
natural gas companies whose primary operations are subject to the 
Natural Gas Act (15 U.S.C. 717) and fall under the jurisdiction of the 
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the U.S. Department of 
Transportation (USDOT). NiSource is seeking coverage under an 
Incidental Take Permit under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA to take 
species in the course of engaging in gas transmission and storage 
operations activities (``activities'').
    NiSource contacted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) in 
late 2005 to discuss options under which it could receive authorization 
under the ESA to take federally listed species incidental to engaging 
in certain natural gas transmission activities. Operation and 
maintenance of NiSource's facilities requires numerous activities 
conducted on an annual basis. On average, NiSource has approximately 
400 projects annually that require some form of review pursuant to the 
ESA, typically under Section 7 of the ESA. Most of these consultations 
have resulted in a determination that projects either would not affect 
or would not likely adversely affect listed species or critical 
habitat. The majority of these projects have been addressed through 
informal consultations with the Service Field Offices. These activities 
include routing right-of-way (ROW) maintenance; facility inspection, 
upgrade, and replacement; forced relocations; and expansion projects.
    Specifically, NiSource wanted to explore options for ESA compliance 
because it believes that its numerous individual project-focused ESA 
Section 7 consultations are inefficient and time consuming, and that 
the traditional consultation approach to regulatory compliance may be 
too limited a tool to achieve the ESA's conservation goals. For 
example, when the impacts of natural gas pipeline activities on 
protected species are quantified for a discrete project, the 
conservation benefits provided to the species are similarly discrete. 
Further, the project-by-project approach does not provide the tools 
necessary to take a holistic, landscape approach to species protection.
    NiSource's MSHCP analyzes impacts to the 43 species resulting from 
three general categories of activities related to NiSource's natural 
gas systems: (1) General operation and maintenance; (2) safety-related 
repairs, replacements, and maintenance; and (3) expansion. The covered 
activities addressed in the MSHCP are those activities necessary for 
safe and efficient operation of NiSource's pipeline system, many of 
which are performed pursuant to the regulations and guidance of the 
FERC and the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), and other 
regulatory authorities. The geographic scope of this MSHCP will extend 
across the Service's Midwest, Southeast, and Northeast Regions, 
covering the general area stretching from Louisiana northeastward to 
New York where NiSource natural gas systems are in place. For purposes 
of this MSHCP, NiSource's natural gas pipeline system does not include 
any electric transmission lines that support the transmission of 
natural gas.
    The MSHCP provides both enhanced conservation of listed species and 
streamlined regulatory compliance requirements for NiSource's 
activities, as well as a means to avoid, minimize, and/or mitigate for 
take of the 10 species caused by covered activities. It also documents 
measures to be undertaken to avoid adverse effects to the remaining 33 
species for which take is not anticipated. The goals of the MSHCP's 
conservation strategy are to protect MSHCP species and their habitats 
through the implementation of an environmental compliance program 
(e.g., practices, standards, training, etc.) that meets or exceeds 
Federal, State, and local regulations and requirements; to enhance the 
conservation of MSHCP species through the application of rigorous 
planning, adaptive management, and sound scientific principles; and to 
support species conservation actions using a landscape approach, 
maximizing conservation benefits to take species and the ecosystems 
that support them. The MSHCP is intended to satisfy applicable 
provisions of the ESA pertaining to federally listed species 
protection, while improving the permitting efficiency for the 
construction, operation, and maintenance of NiSource's natural gas 
pipelines and ancillary facilities through a predictable and accepted 
structure under which its activities may proceed.

Purpose and Need for Action

    In accordance with NEPA, we have prepared an Environmental Impact 
Statement (EIS) to analyze the impacts to the human environment that 
would occur if the requested permit were issued and the associated 
MSHCP were implemented. The EIS for this action is intended to function 
programmatically. Specifically, it will provide a general evaluation of 
impacts. Due to the broad scope of the action, however, future, site-
specific evaluations of impacts will be more fully evaluated and 
analyzed later through the tiering process. Traditionally, tiered NEPA 
analyses are completed by the agency that issues the programmatic EIS 
and Record of Decision (ROD). Here, the Service will issue a ROD on the 
environmental impacts of the proposed action, i.e., issuance of the 
incidental take permit.
    We do not anticipate that the cooperating agencies responsible for 
authorizing, permitting, or licensing aspects of NiSource's future 
activities, such as FERC, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the 
U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and the National Park Service (NPS), will 
sign or adopt that ROD. Rather, pursuant to the Council on 
Environmental Quality's NEPA regulations, such agencies will be 
encouraged to ``tier'' off the programmatic EIS by adopting relevant 
portions of that document. Given the very general nature of the EIS' 
analysis, cooperating agencies will be required to analyze project 
impacts more comprehensively as part of their respective permitting 
processes. The level of such review will depend on the scope and 
impacts of the specific NiSource project under consideration.

 Proposed Action

    Section 9 of the Act prohibits the ``taking'' of threatened and 
endangered species. However, provided certain criteria are met, we are 
authorized to issue permits under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act for 
take of federally listed species, when, among other things, such a 
taking is incidental to, and not the purpose of, otherwise lawful 
activities. Under the Act, the term ``take'' means to harass, harm, 
pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect endangered 
and threatened species, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct. 
Our implementing regulations define ``harm'' as significant habitat 
modification or degradation that results in death or injury to listed 
species by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, 
including breeding, feeding, or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3). Harass, as 
defined, means ``an intentional or negligent act or omission which 
creates the likelihood of injury to wildlife by annoying it to such an 
extent as to significantly disrupt normal behavioral patterns which 
include, but

[[Page 41291]]

are not limited to, breeding, feeding, or sheltering'' (50 CFR 17.3).
    The MSHCP analyzes, and the ITP would cover, the various 
manifestations of take attributable to NiSource activities. For the 10 
take species, this would primarily involve harassment, harm, and 
killing, and, for most species, the take that would occur would include 
all three subcategories depending on the specific action. If issued, 
the ITP would authorize incidental take consistent with the Applicant's 
MSHCP and the permit. To issue the permit, the Service must find that 
NiSource's application, including its MSHCP, satisfies the criteria of 
section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA and the Service's implementing 
regulations at 50 CFR 13, 17.22, and 17.32.
    The areas covered (``covered lands'') by the Applicant's MSHCP 
include much of NiSource's pipeline system. NiSource's operating 
territory traverses 14 States, ranging from New York to Louisiana. The 
covered lands overlay NiSource's onshore pipeline system in the States 
of Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New 
Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, 
Virginia, and West Virginia. This pipeline system includes 
approximately 15,562 miles of buried steel pipe ranging in diameter 
from 2 to 36 inches, 117 compressor stations, and 6,236 measuring and 
regulating stations. In addition, NiSource operates and maintains 
underground natural gas storage fields in conjunction with its pipeline 
system. Currently, NiSource operates 36 storage fields comprised of 
approximately 3,600 individual storage wells in Maryland, West 
Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. Approximately 95 percent of 
NiSource's annual projects will occur within its existing ROW 
(typically 50 feet wide, with the buried pipe(s) generally in the 
center) and result in little ground disturbance.
    A portion of NiSource's annual activities to operate, maintain, and 
expand its natural gas transmission system will likely deviate from 
NiSource's existing ROW. Therefore, NiSource has proposed a 1-mile-wide 
corridor centered on NiSource's existing facilities as the best 
approach for defining this portion of the covered lands. This 1-mile-
wide corridor encompasses all of NiSource's onshore pipeline facilities 
and the majority of its existing storage fields. However, 9 large 
storage fields that NiSource wishes to expand are located outside the 
corridor in 12 counties, namely Hocking, Fairfield, Ashland, Knox, and 
Richland Counties, Ohio; Bedford County, Pennsylvania; Allegany County, 
Maryland; and Kanawha, Jackson, Preston, Marshall and Wetzel Counties, 
West Virginia. NiSource has not identified, for the Service or the 
public, the locations of the storage fields in these counties, based on 
its determination that the information is highly sensitive (for 
Homeland Security purposes) and constitutes confidential business 
information. Therefore, the covered lands identified in the MSHCP and 
DEIS have been defined broadly to include, in their entirety, each of 
the 12 counties in which these storage fields occur.
    Although a 1-mile-wide corridor and the boundaries of the 12 
counties are used to delineate the covered lands and to identify the 
potential presence of threatened and endangered species for inclusion 
in this MSHCP, the MSHCP does not contemplate unlimited construction or 
other surface disturbance within the corridor or the counties. NiSource 
will not utilize, clear, or disturb the entire 1-mile-wide corridor or 
the storage field counties, or even a significant portion of such 
corridor or counties. The 1-mile-wide corridor and county boundaries 
were chosen to provide needed flexibility for both the realignment of 
existing facilities to accommodate future forced relocations (typically 
resulting from public road construction/maintenance projects) and the 
minimization of environmental impacts while aligning future replacement 
and expansion projects.
    Because of the nature of this MSHCP, in terms of the scope of 
covered lands and permit duration, NiSource has not been able to 
predict with certainty where or when a given covered activity would 
occur. Thus, the species analyses rely on multiple assumptions to 
estimate the reasonable worst-case-scenario take for each species 
considered. Given the uncertainty of certain assumptions, it is 
possible that the modeling may underestimate the amount of take. To 
address this, Chapter 7 of the MSHCP provides adaptive management to 
assess the validity of assumptions and implement specified 
contingencies. On the other hand, the reasonable worst case scenarios 
may err on the side of overestimating impacts of the covered activities 
on the take species. In practice, as the MSHCP is implemented, NiSource 
anticipates that by utilizing avoidance and minimization measures, the 
actual take numbers will be much less than the amount estimated. 
However, obtaining the take authorization and having a process to 
avoid, minimize, and mitigate the impact of take that does occur will 
provide NiSource with the flexibility to be efficient in its 
operations, while providing a benefit to the take species through the 
MSHCP's landscape-level conservation approach and mitigation strategy.
    NiSource's landscape-level mitigation goal for this MSHCP may be 
facilitated by the use of a green infrastructure assessment for 
strategic conservation planning developed for NiSource by The 
Conservation Fund (TCF), with input from all 14 cooperating States. 
Green infrastructure offers a conceptual approach for identifying 
mitigation opportunities at an ecosystem level. Specifically, it is a 
strategically planned and managed network of natural lands, working 
landscapes, and other open spaces that conserve ecosystem values and 
functions and provide associated incidental benefits to human 
populations. The MSHCP articulates strict criteria for the selection of 
future mitigation projects. The Green Infrastructure Assessment will 
assist NiSource in identifying the most beneficial projects to be 
implemented, consistent with the MSHCP's mitigation prescriptions.
    NiSource and the Service sought input from the Federal agency 
cooperators (the Service, FERC, USACE, USFS, and NPS) on the MSHCP and 
the agencies' NEPA approach. The MSHCP also has a variety of components 
for which we seek public review and input. The Madison Cave Isopod, for 
example, is an elusive underground species that dwells in karst (cave) 
habitats. The Service has limited understanding of the effect of 
pipeline activities on some species, such as Madison Cave Isopod, 
particularly with respect to such things as the reach of surface 
disturbance on the karst systems. Moreover, the large scale, both 
geographic and temporal, of the MSHCP brings with it uncertainty and 
the need to make assumptions in the absence of absolute scientific 
data. We, therefore, seek input on calculation of the reasonable worst-
case scenarios to assess the anticipated amount of take, the mitigation 
approach, specific criteria to be used to select future projects to 
compensate for the impacts of the takings, and the adequacy of the 
proposed funding mechanism, in addition to the adaptive management 
strategy and approach that NiSource will use to address changed 
circumstances over the life of the plan.

Alternatives in the Draft EIS

    Three alternatives were fully evaluated in the environmental impact 
statement prepared for this action:
    (1) No Action Alternative--NiSource compliance with the ESA would

[[Page 41292]]

continue ``status quo'' through informal and formal Section 7 ESA 
consultations between cooperating agencies and the USFWS on a project-
by-project basis (FERC is the lead agency that regulates NiSource 
activities). NiSource activities with a Federal nexus (e.g., FERC 
authorizations, USACE authorizations, and USFS and NPS permitting) 
would continue to require individual Section 7 ESA consultations to 
comply with the ESA. NiSource activities with no Federal nexus would 
continue to be constrained by the lack of any authorization to take 
listed species protected by the ESA.
    (2) Issuance of a 50-year ITP and Approval of the NiSource MSHCP 
(Proposed Action)--NiSource has sought to address the full range of its 
ongoing activities holistically as well as identify and manage species 
and their habitat impacts systemwide. The Service agreed that a 
multispecies habitat conservation plan developed under Section 
10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA could provide a new opportunity to address and 
contribute to the conservation and recovery needs of listed species and 
habitats within the covered lands. Accordingly, NiSource coordinated 
with the Service to develop its MSHCP to cover a wide array of natural 
gas pipeline activities over a broad geographic region. Through the 
MSHCP, NiSource intends to implement a plan that:
     Identifies conservation measures and Best Management 
Practices to avoid and minimize impacts on species identified in 
NiSource's MSHCP;
     Identifies mitigation needs of populations where impacts 
occur; and
     Implements more comprehensive conservation actions and 
mitigation for its entire system for 50 years.
    Alternative 2 involves issuance of an ITP for the requested 50-year 
term, including approval of the NiSource MSHCP, associated IA, and 
acceptance by the Cooperating Agencies and the Service that ITP 
issuance and MSHCP compliance fulfill the agencies' obligations under 
Section 7 of the ESA. At this time, NiSource is requesting incidental 
take authorization for 10 species resulting from NiSource's activities 
within the specified operating territory. An ITP would be issued to 
NiSource for its activities specific to (1) General Operation and 
Maintenance (O&M) activities that do not require excavation or 
significant earth disturbance; (2) safety-related repairs, 
replacements, and maintenance; and (3) construction and expansion. The 
proposed area to be covered by the ITP and associated HCP would include 
a 1-mile-wide corridor centered upon a majority of NiSource's existing 
interstate natural gas transmission (INGT) system in 14 States 
(Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, 
North Carolina, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, 
Delaware and Maryland) for approximately 15,650 miles. In addition to 
the designated 1-mile-wide corridor, the ITP and associated MSHCP would 
also cover 12 counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West 
Virginia, in their entireties, where NiSource operates and intends to 
expand some of its underground natural gas storage fields. The specific 
counties this includes are Hocking, Fairfield, Ashland, Knox, and 
Richland Counties in Ohio; Bedford County in Pennsylvania; Allegany 
County in Maryland; and Kanawha, Jackson, Preston, Marshall, and Wetzel 
Counties in West Virginia.
    3. Issuance of a 10-year ITP and Approval of the NiSource MSHCP--
Alternative 3 involves the same issuance, approval, and acceptance 
actions detailed above in Alternative 2. However, Alternative 3 
considers a permit duration of 10 years, subject to ITP renewal and 
potential amendments to the MSHCP by NiSource. This alternative would 
cause a reduced amount of take over a shorter period of time. For a 
permit duration of 10 years, uncertainty about the MSHCP implementation 
and environmental consequences would be somewhat reduced. Upon receipt 
of a request to renew the permit, the Service would re-examine the 
operating conservation plan to determine whether the biological goals 
are being met, whether the mitigation approach is functioning as 
envisioned, whether mitigation is compensating for the take that has 
occurred over the first 10 years, and whether any adjustment to the 
incidental take authority may be required as a condition to permit 
renewal. One result of choosing this alternative, however, is that the 
mitigation strategy presented in the MSHCP would also be altered, thus 
involving fewer acres of mitigation for O&M activities at the outset of 
implementation of the plan. Under this alternative, there also would be 
a formalized application review process built in by regulation. The 
Service's permit regulations require that an application for permit 
renewal or amendment must be made available for public review and 
comment. The Service also would need to reevaluate the completed NEPA 
analysis to determine whether the EIS was sufficient in its analysis of 
project impacts beyond the initial term of the permit. Review of the 
EIS would be subject to public review concurrent with the permit 
renewal application.
    In addition to the three alternatives described above, the Service 
considered several alternatives in conjunction with MSHCP development 
that are described in the draft EIS but dismissed from further 
consideration. They include alternatives that considered such things as 
variations on the breadth of covered activities, implementation 
approach, and covered species.

Reviewing Documents and Submitting Comments

    Please refer to TE02636A when submitting comments. The permit 
application and supporting documents (ITP application, MSHCP, draft 
EIS, Implementing Agreement, and summary documents) may be obtained on 
the Internet at the following address: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/permits/hcp/r3hcps.html.
    Please make it clear when commenting whether your comments address 
the HCP, the draft EIS, both the HCP and draft EIS, or other supporting 
    Persons without access to the Internet may obtain copies of the 
documents (application, draft HCP, and draft EIS) by contacting the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, 5600 American 
Blvd. W., Suite 990, Bloomington, MN 55437-1458 (612-713-5350, voice; 
612-713-5292, fax). The documents will also be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours (8 a.m. to 4 
p.m.) at the following Regional Offices:
    Midwest Region Office: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological 
Services, 10th Floor--5600 American Blvd. W., Bloomington, MN 55437 
(612-713-5350, voice; 612-713-5292, fax);
    Southeast Region: 1875 Century Blvd, Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30345-
3319 (404-679-7140, voice; 404-679-7081, fax);
    Northeast Region: 300 Westgate Center Drive, Hadley, MA 01035-9589 
(413-253-8304, voice; 413-253-8293, fax).
    Written comments will be accepted as described under ADDRESSES, 

Public Meetings

    Public meetings will be held at three locations in proximity to the 
proposed covered lands for this MSHCP. Meetings will be held in 
Columbus, Ohio; Lexington, Kentucky; and Charleston, West Virginia as 
     August 16, 2011, 7 p.m., University Plaza Hotel and 
Conference Center,

[[Page 41293]]

3110 Olentangy River Road, Columbus, OH 43202.
     August 17, 2011, 7 p.m., Ramada Conference Center, 2143 N. 
Broadway, Lexington, KY 40505.
     August 18, 2011, 7 p.m., Charleston Ramada Plaza, 400 2nd 
Ave., S. Charleston, WV 25303.

Public Availability of Comments

    Written comments we receive become part of the public record 
associated with this action. Before including your address, phone 
number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in 
your comment, you should be aware that the entire comment, including 
your personal identifying information, may be made 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.


    We provide this notice under section 10(c) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 
1531 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22), and NEPA 
(42 U.S.C. 4371 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 
1506.6; 43 CFR part 46).

    Dated: June 21, 2011.
Richard D. Schultz,
Acting Regional Director, Midwest Region, Fort Snelling, Minnesota.
[FR Doc. 2011-17419 Filed 7-12-11; 8:45 am]