[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 136 (Wednesday, July 16, 2014)]
[Pages 41592-41593]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-16721]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-ES-2014-N094; 40120-1112-0000-F2]

Incidental Take Permit and Environmental Assessment for Erosion 
Armoring and Beachfront Activities Regulated by the Walton County Board 
of County Commissioners in Walton County, Florida

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


[[Page 41593]]

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 
beachfront activities regulated by the Walton County Board of 
Commissioners (applicant), which would take the loggerhead sea turtle, 
green sea turtle, leatherback sea turtle, Kemp's ridley sea turtle, 
piping plover, and Choctawhatchee beach mouse, incidental to activities 
as conducted or permitted by the applicant in Walton County, Florida. 
We invite public comments on these documents.

DATES: We must receive any written comments at our Regional Office (see 
ADDRESSES) on or before September 15, 2014.

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 Ecological Services Field Office, Fish and Wildlife Service, 1601 
Balboa Avenue, Panama City, FL 32405.

Coordinator, (see ADDRESSES), telephone: 404-679-7313; or Ms. Kristi 
Yanchis, Field Office Project Manager, at the Panama City Field Office 
(see ADDRESSES), telephone: 850-769-0552.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We announce the availability of the proposed 
HCP, incidental take permit (ITP) application, and an environmental 
assessment (EA), which analyze the take of loggerhead sea turtle 
(Caretta caretta), green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), leatherback sea 
turtle (Dermochelys coriacea), Kemp's ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys 
kempii), the nonbreeding piping plover (Charadrius melodus), and the 
Choctawhatchee beach mouse (Peromyscus polionotus allophrys), 
incidental to activities as conducted or permitted by the applicant. 
The applicant requests a 25-year ITP under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973 (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 scientific or technical 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 
    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 
conducted or permitted by the applicant, and includes installation of 
beachfront armoring (temporary or permanent); beach crossovers at 
public access points; County and public beach driving and vehicular 
beach access-related activities; sale or rental of merchandise, 
services, goods, or property by beach vendors, as permitted by Walton 
County; and beach placement of temporary vending equipment storage 
boxes. Avoidance, minimization, and mitigation measures include: 
Providing a process for the permitting and implementation of emergency 
armoring measures initiated under the County's permitting authority; 
developing and implementing guidelines to minimize disturbances to sea 
turtles and their nests, shorebirds, and beach mice caused by the 
operation of official vehicles involved in public safety, beach 
maintenance, law enforcement, HCP implementation, and other official 
business on County beaches; implementing new requirements to minimize 
impacts to sea turtles and their nests caused by the operation of 
private vehicles on County beaches; developing and implementing 
guidelines for beach vendors regarding the transport, placement, and 
storage of merchandise, equipment, and supplies to reduce interference 
with sea turtle nest protection activities; developing and implementing 
a multi-faceted public awareness program to educate residents and 
visitors of the importance of the County's beaches to the conservation 
and recovery of protected species; adopting and enforcing a beachfront 
lighting ordinance to reduce nighttime disturbances to sea turtles, 
piping plovers, and beach mice; and implementing an effective 
monitoring program for all species covered under the ITP to identify 
and ameliorate factors impeding their recovery.

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 TE43711A-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 area encompassed under the HCP and ITP application consists of 
approximately 20 miles of beachfront along the Gulf of Mexico on non-
State lands, from the Bay/Walton to the Okaloosa/Walton County line.

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 the section 10(a)(1)(B) ITP complies with section 7 
of the Endangered Species 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 loggerhead 
sea turtle, green sea turtle, leatherback sea turtle, Kemp's ridley sea 
turtle, piping plover, and Choctawhatchee beach mouse.


    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 29, 2014.
Mike Oetker,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 2014-16721 Filed 7-15-14; 8:45 am]