[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 111 (Monday, June 10, 2013)]
[Page 34669]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-13714]

[[Page 34669]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-ES-2013-N117; 40120-1112-0000-F2]

Incidental Take Permit and Environmental Assessment for Forest 
Management Activities, Southern Arkansas

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: Under the Endangered Species Act (Act), we, the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, announce the receipt and availability of a proposed 
habitat conservation plan (HCP) and accompanying documents for proposed 
forest management activities by Potlatch Forest Holdings, Inc. 
(Applicant) that would take the endangered red-cockaded Woodpecker 
(Picoides borealis) on the Applicant's lands in south Arkansas. We 
invite public comments on these documents.

DATES: We must receive any written comments at our Regional Office (see 
ADDRESSES) on or before August 9, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Documents are available for public inspection by appointment 
during normal business hours at the Fish and Wildlife Service's 
Regional Office, 1875 Century Boulevard, Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30345; 
or the Arkansas Ecological Services Field Office, 110 South Amity Road, 
Suite 300, Conway, AR 72032.

Coordinator, (see ADDRESSES), telephone: 404-679-7313; or Ms. Erin 
Leone, Field Office Project Manager, at the Arkansas Ecological 
Services Field Office (see ADDRESSES), telephone: 501-513-4472.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We announce the availability of the proposed 
HCP, accompanying incidental take permit (ITP) application, and an 
environmental assessment (EA), which analyze the take of the red-
cockaded woodpecker incidental to activities conducted by the 
Applicant. The Applicant requests a 30-year ITP under section 
10(a)(1)(B) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), as amended. The 
Applicant's HCP describes the mitigation and minimization measures 
proposed to address the impacts to the species.
    We specifically request information, views, and opinions from the 
public via this notice on our proposed Federal action, including 
identification of any other aspects of the human environment not 
already identified in the EA pursuant to National Environmental Policy 
Act (NEPA) regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 40 
CFR 1506.6. Further, we specifically solicit information regarding the 
adequacy of the HCP per 50 CFR parts 13 and 17.
    The EA assesses the likely environmental impacts associated with 
the implementation of the activities, including the environmental 
consequences of the no-action alternative and the proposed action. The 
proposed action alternative is issuance of the ITP and implementation 
of the HCP as submitted by the Applicant. The HCP covers activities 
associated with the translocation of the red-cockaded woodpecker into a 
proposed conservation area on the Applicant's lands in Calhoun County, 
Arkansas; timber harvesting activities on Potlatch lands in Arkansas; 
and provisioning and maintenance activities associated with red-
cockaded woodpecker groups within the conservation area. Avoidance, 
minimization, and mitigation measures include consolidation of red-
cockaded woodpecker groups into the conservation area, land management 
to maintain habitat, and management of additional red-cockaded 
woodpecker groups that may be available to use for mitigation by 
landowners besides the Applicant.

Public Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email 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.
    If you wish to comment, you may submit comments by any one of 
several methods. Please reference TE85629A-0 in such comments. You may 
mail comments to the Fish and Wildlife 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 us that we 
have received your internet message, contact us directly at either 
telephone number listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Finally, you may hand-deliver comments to either of our offices 
listed under ADDRESSES.

Covered Area

    The HCP and ITP application covers 419,278 acres of timberland in 
south Arkansas containing 21 red-cockaded woodpecker groups, 17 
potential breeding groups and four single bird groups. Six of these 
groups are currently located outside the proposed conservation area, 
which will encompass 13,122 acres of timberland and be the focus of 
red-cockaded woodpecker conservation activities. The red-cockaded 
woodpecker historically ranged throughout south Arkansas, but is now 
restricted to Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), Ouachita 
National Forest, Warren Prairie Natural Area, one privately-owned 
conservation area managed under a separate HCP adjacent to Felsenthal 
NWR, Potlatch lands, and up to eight isolated groups on other private 

Next Steps

    We will evaluate the ITP application, including the HCP and any 
comments we receive, to determine whether the application meets the 
requirements of section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act. We will also evaluate 
whether issuance of a 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. If we determine that the requirements are met, we will 
issue the ITP for the incidental take of red-cockaded woodpecker.

    Authority: We provide this notice under section 10 of the Act 
(16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: May 20, 2013.
Mike Oetker,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 2013-13714 Filed 6-7-13; 8:45 am]