[Federal Register: August 4, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 149)]
[Page 45849-45850]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of a Safe Harbor Agreement With Assurances 
and Receipt of Application for an Enhancement of Survival Permit for 
Activities on the Robert K. Long Ranch in Bastrop County, TX

AGENCY: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that Robert K. Long, Sr. 
(Applicant) has applied to the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for 
an enhancement of survival permit pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) of 
the Endangered Species Act (Act) of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.). The permit application includes a proposed Safe Harbor Agreement 
(SHA) for the endangered Houston toad (Bufo houstonensis) for a period 
of 10 years.

[[Page 45850]]

DATES: Written comments must be received within 30 days of the date of 
this publication.

ADDRESSES: Persons wishing to review the application may obtain a copy 
by writing to the Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
P.O. Box 1306, Room 4102, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87103. Persons 
wishing to review the SHA may obtain a copy by contacting Paige Najvar, 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 10711 Burnet Road, Suite 200, Austin, 
Texas 78758 (512-490-0057). Documents will be available for public 
inspection by written request, by appointment only, during normal 
business hours (8 to 4:30) at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Austin, Texas. Written data or comments concerning the application and 
SHA should be submitted to the Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 10711 Burnet Road, Suite 200, Austin, Texas 78758 Austin, 
Texas. Please refer to permit number TE-074530-0 when submitting 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paige Najvar at 10711 Burnet Road, 
Suite 200, Austin, Texas 78758 (512-490-0057; Fax 512-490-0974).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We (the Service) announce the opening of a 
30-day comment period and request comments from the public on the 
Applicant's enhancement of survival permit application and the 
accompanying proposed SHA. All comments we receive, including names and 
addresses, will become part of the administrative record and may be 
released to the public.
    Under a Safe Harbor Agreement, participating property owners 
voluntarily undertake management activities on their property to 
enhance, restore, or maintain habitat benefitting species listed under 
the Act. Safe Harbor Agreements encourage private and other non-Federal 
property owners to implement conservation efforts for listed species by 
assuring property owners they will not be subjected to increased 
property use restrictions due to their efforts to attract listed 
species to their property or increase the numbers or distribution of 
listed species already on their property. Application requirements and 
issuance criteria for enhancement of survival permits through Safe 
Harbor Agreements are found in 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32.
    The Service worked with the Applicant to design and implement 
conservation measures that are expected to provide a net conservation 
benefit to the Houston toad in Bastrop County, Texas. Conservation 
measures the Applicant will undertake according to the Agreement are: 
(1) Fence an existing pond and an ephemeral wetland so as to exclude 
cattle during the breeding season, (2) install fencing in a manner that 
protects important habitat areas and facilitates herd rotation, (3) 
create a shallow ephemeral pond designed to facilitate and enhance toad 
breeding success, (4) install alternative water sources for the cattle, 
(5) thin understory vegetation in woodlands and forests, (6) link ponds 
and woodlands through strategic location of brush piles and (where 
feasible) establishment of woodland corridors, (7) develop and 
implement a prescribed fire plan for the entire Ranch, (8) plant and 
protect native bunchgrasses, and (9) treat imported red fire ant 
    The incidental take of toads may occur from (1) habitat management 
actions conducted in accordance with the conservation measures in the 
Agreement, (2) ongoing ranch activities that may have an increased 
chance of taking a toad if toad numbers increase, as expected, and (3) 
removal of the improvements, at some point in the future, if the 
Applicant exercises his authorization to do so under the permit.
    We provide this notice pursuant to section 10(c) of the Endangered 
Species Act and pursuant to implementing regulations for the National 
Environmental Policy Act (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: July 11, 2003.
Stuart C. Leon,
Acting Regional Director, Southwest Region, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
[FR Doc. 03-19684 Filed 8-1-03; 8:45 am]