[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 55 (Wednesday, March 21, 2012)]
[Pages 16554-16556]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-6776]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-ES-2012-N057: 40120-1112-0000-F2]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Receipt of 
Applications for Incidental Take Permits; Availability of Proposed Low-
Effect Habitat Conservation Plan and Associated Documents; Sarasota 
County, FL

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

[[Page 16555]]

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comment/information.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of incidental take permit (ITP) applications and a Habitat 
Conservation Plan (HCP). Walter and Marilyn Krieseder, Brian and Pamela 
Sullivan, and Fritz and Ping Faulhaber (applicants) request ITPs under 
the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The applicants 
anticipate taking approximately 0.43 acres of nesting habitat of 
endangered and threatened sea turtle species in Sarasota County, 
Florida, for the construction of a shoreline armoring structure. The 
applicants' HCP describes the minimization and mitigation measures 
proposed to address the effects of the project on nesting sea turtles.

DATES: Written comments on the ITP applications and HCP should be sent 
to the South Florida Ecological Services Office (see ADDRESSES) and 
should be received on or before April 20, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may request documents by email, U.S. mail, or fax (see 
below). These documents are also available for public inspection by 
appointment during normal business hours at the office below. Send your 
comments or requests by any one of the following methods.
    Email: Trish_Adams@fws.gov. Use ``Attn: Permit numbers TE65165A-0, 
TE65167A-0, and TE65168A-0'' as your message subject line.
    Fax: Trish Adams, (772) 562-4288, Attn: Permit numbers TE65165A-0, 
TE65167A-0, and TE65168A-0.
    U.S. mail: Trish Adams, HCP Coordinator, South Florida Ecological 
Services Field Office, Attn: Permit numbers TE65165A-0, TE65167A-0, and 
TE65168A-0, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1339 20th Street, Vero 
Beach, FL 32960-3559.
    In-person drop-off: You may drop off information during regular 
business hours at the above office address.

South Florida Ecological Services Office, Vero Beach, Florida (see 
ADDRESSES); telephone: 772-562-3909, extension 232.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The applicants anticipate taking beach 
nesting habitat of the threatened loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta 
caretta), endangered leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), 
endangered green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), endangered hawksbill sea 
turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), and endangered Kemp's ridley sea 
turtle (Lepidochelys kempii) in Sarasota County, Florida. The Service 
listed both the leatherback and hawksbill sea turtle as endangered on 
June 2, 1970 (35 FR 8491), and the Kemp's Ridley sea turtle as 
endangered on December 2, 1970 (35 FR 18320). The Service listed the 
loggerhead as threatened and the green sea turtle as endangered in the 
same final rule, on July 28, 1978 (43 FR 32800).

Applicants' Proposed Project

    We have received applications for incidental take permits, along 
with a proposed habitat conservation plan. The applicants request 5-
year permits under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act (87 Stat. 884; 16 
U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). If we approve the permits, the applicants 
anticipate taking a total of 0.43 acres of sea turtle nesting habitat 
for the installation of a geotextile dune core system (an engineered 
dune feature constructed with tiered sand-filled geotextile containers 
as its core that is regularly maintained with 3 feet of beach 
compatible sand), dune crossovers (a stairway over the engineered dune 
to the beach), and native vegetation; post-construction maintenance 
throughout the life of the project (e.g., ongoing placement and regular 
maintenance of sand cover); and response to Emergency Management Events 
(e.g., events triggered by exposure or less than 3 feet of sand cover 
over the core). The project is located at latitude 27.1563, longitude -
82.4848, Sarasota County, Florida. The project includes Sarasota County 
Parcels 0159-25-0006, 0159-24-0003, and 0159-24-0001. Parts of these 
parcels include sea turtle nesting habitat.
    The applicants propose to mitigate for potential take of sea 
turtles as a result of the project through implementation of a predator 
control program. The applicants will contract with the U.S. Department 
of Agriculture to implement a trap and removal program targeting 
raccoons; this program would begin during the first nesting season post 
ITP issuance. The applicants' ability to financially cover the costs of 
implementing the HCP--such as mitigation, sea turtle monitoring, 
physical monitoring, maintenance of sand coverage, and removal of the 
dune core container system--are assured by: (a) Funds that will be 
placed annually in an escrow managed by the Coastal Engineer of Record 
(CEOR) in an amount equal to the estimated costs of mitigation, sea 
turtle monitoring, HCP Coordinator, and physical monitoring; and (b) a 
Financial Assurance Agreement between applicants, the State of Florida, 
and Sarasota County that is guaranteed by a major financial 
institution(s) in accordance with Chapter 62B-56.090 F.A.C.
    All annual fees are to be paid into an escrow account managed by 
the CEOR. The account will be managed in accordance with a Joint 
Maintenance Agreement signed by each applicant. Approximately $243,900 
has been committed for physical and biological monitoring, sand 
placement construction, and mitigation over the course of the requested 
5-year permit. In addition, $122,500 has been committed for anticipated 
removal/restoration costs for the entire project, including the small 
portion of the dune core system located on the Crouse (2315 Cay Key 
Road) and Meekison (2207 Casey Key Road) properties, to tie into the 
seawalls on these properties.

Our Preliminary Determination

    The Service has made a preliminary determination that the 
applicants' project, including the proposed minimization and mitigation 
measures, will individually and cumulatively have a minor or negligible 
effect on the species covered in the HCP. Therefore, issuance of the 
ITPs is a ``low-effect'' action and qualifies as a categorical 
exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (40 CFR 
1506.6), as provided by the Department of the Interior Manual (516 DM 2 
Appendix 1 and 516 DM 6 Appendix 1), and as defined in our Habitat 
Conservation Planning Handbook (November 1996).
    We base our determination that issuance of the ITPs qualifies as a 
low-effect action on the following three criteria: (1) Implementation 
of the project would result in minor or negligible effects on federally 
listed, proposed, and candidate species and their habitats; (2) 
Implementation of the project would result in minor or negligible 
effects on other environmental values or resources; and (3) Impacts of 
the project, considered together with the impacts of other past, 
present, and reasonably foreseeable similarly situated projects, would 
not result, over time, in cumulative effects to environmental values or 
resources that would be considered significant. As more fully explained 
in our environmental action statement and associated Low-Effect 
Screening Form, the applicants' proposed project qualifies as a ``low-
effect'' project. This preliminary determination may be revised based 
on our review of public comments that we receive in response to this 

[[Page 16556]]

Next Steps

    The Service will evaluate the HCP and comments received to 
determine whether the applications meet the requirements of section 
10(a) of the Act. The Service will also evaluate whether issuance of 
the section 10(a)(1)(B) ITPs 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 ITPs. If it 
is determined that the requirements of the Act are met, the ITPs will 
be issued for the incidental take of loggerhead, green, leatherback, 
hawksbill, and Kemp's Ridley sea turtles.

Submitting Comments

    If you wish to submit comments or information, you may do so by any 
one of several methods. Please reference permit numbers TE65165A-0, 
TE65167A-0, and TE65168A-0 in such comments. You may mail comments to 
the Service's South Florida Ecological Services Office (see ADDRESSES). 
You may also submit comments via email to trish_adams@fws.gov. Please 
also include your name and return address in your email message. If you 
do not receive a confirmation from us that we have received your email 
message, contact us directly at the telephone number listed under FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Finally, you may hand deliver comments to 
the Service office listed under ADDRESSES.

Availability of Public Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comments, 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.


    This notice is provided pursuant to Section 10 of the Act and NEPA 
regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: March 15, 2012.
Larry Williams,
Field Supervisor, South Florida Ecological Services Office.
[FR Doc. 2012-6776 Filed 3-20-12; 8:45 am]