[Federal Register: March 10, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 46)]
[Page 11405-11406]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Proposed Chewacla Creek Safe Harbor Agreement, Lee County, AL

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that the landowners and 
cooperators (Applicants) identified in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION 
section of this Notice have applied to the Fish and Wildlife Service 
(Service) for enhancement of survival permits pursuant to section 
10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. The 
permit applications include a proposed Safe Harbor Agreement 
(Agreement) for the endangered ovate clubshell mussel (Pleurobema 
perovatum) and southern clubshell mussel (Pleurobema decisum), and the 
threatened fine-lined pocketbook mussel (Lampsilis altilis), for a 
period of 30 years.
    We (the Service) announce the opening of a 30-day comment period 
and request comments from the public on the Applicants' enhancement of 
survival permit applications, the accompanying proposed Agreement, and 
the Environmental Assessment. The Environmental Assessment identifies 
and describes five alternatives. All comments we receive, including 
names and addresses, will become part of the administrative record and 
may be released to the public. For further information and instructions 
on reviewing and commenting on this application, see the ADDRESSES 
section, below.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before April 9, 2003.

ADDRESSES: You may obtain a copy of the information available by 
contacting the Service's Regional Safe Harbor Coordinator, U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, 1875 Century Boulevard, Suite 200, Atlanta, 
Georgia 30345, or Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
1208-B Main St., Daphne, Alabama 36526. Alternatively, you may set up 
an appointment to view these documents at either location during normal 
business hours. Written data or comments should be submitted to the 
Atlanta, Georgia, Regional Office. Requests for the documentation must 
be in writing to be processed, and comments must be written to be 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Rick Gooch, (telephone: 404/679-
7124; facsimile: 404/679-7081), or Mr. Darren LeBlanc, (telephone: 251/
441-5859; facsimile: 251/441-6222).



    The Applicants for the Chewacla Creek Safe Harbor Agreement 
including the following landowners and cooperators:

    Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, 
Montgomery, Alabama.
    Bob and Fannie Harris, LLC, Silver Spring, Maryland.
    John W. Pace III, Mobile, Alabama.
    Phillips Family Partnership, Ltd., Auburn, Alabama.
    Water Works Board of the City of Auburn, Alabama.
    Martin Marietta Materials, Inc., Shorter, Alabama, 36075.
    The City of Auburn, Alabama.
    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 Endangered

[[Page 11406]]

Species 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 if their efforts 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.
    We have worked with the Applicants to design and implement 
conservation measures intended to benefit the above-listed mussels in 
Chewacla Creek. Under the Agreement, the Applicants will undertake the 
following actions: (1) Repair of existing and new subsidence features 
within ten feet of Chewacla Creek within the enrolled property 
boundaries; (2) Restore a more natural flow to Chewacla Creek 
downstream of Lake Ogletree by pumping quarry water into Lake Ogletree 
with a minimum guaranteed flow release from the dam into Chewacla 
Creek; (3) Monitor stream flow, water quality, and bioassessment 
    The subsidence features in and immediately adjacent to the Chewacla 
Creek act to funnel water into the ground causing a portion of the 
creek to become intermittent (dewatered) during most of the year. The 
lack of constant stream flow in the dewatered section of Chewacla 
Creek, downstream of the Pretty Hole to Martin Marietta's outfall 2, 
has made that section of the creek habitat unavailable to the ovate 
clubshell, southern clubshell and fine-lined pocketbook. It has also 
physically and genetically isolated the population of fine-lined 
pocketbook mussel which occurs upstream of the dewatered section. The 
proposed conservation measures, repair of subsidence features located 
within and immediately adjacent to the creek and restoration of a 
consistent stream flow, would increase the quantity and quality of 
available habitat for the covered species. Without the proposed 
Agreement, it would not be possible for the Applicants to undertake the 
proposed conservation measures and receive regulatory assurances from 
the Endangered Species Act.
    Consistent with the Safe Harbor Policy and implementing 
regulations, we propose to issue permits to the Applicants authorizing 
them to incidentally take these endangered and threatened species, 
which occur on the enrolled lands, as a result of lawful activities on 
enrolled lands, as long as baseline conditions are maintained and terms 
of the Agreement are implemented. Future activities of the Applicants 
could result in a return to the baseline condition of Chewacla Creek. 
However, the Applicants have stated that this is not anticipated, and, 
further, that the Applicants are not undertaking this Agreement for the 
purpose of obtaining such regulatory assurances.
    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). We will evaluate the proposed 
Agreement, associated documents, and comments submitted thereon to 
determine whether the requirements of section 10(a) of the Endangered 
Species Act and National Environmental Policy Act regulations have been 
met. If we determine that the requirements are met, we will issue an 
enhancement of survival permit under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the 
Endangered Species Act to the Applicants in accordance with the terms 
of the Agreement and specific terms and conditions of the authorizing 
permit. We will not make our final decision until after the end of the 
30-day comment period and will fully consider all comments received 
during the comment period.

    Dated: February 20, 2003.
J. Mitch King,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 03-5575 Filed 3-7-03; 8:45 am]