[Federal Register: August 29, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 166)]


[Page 51083-51084]

From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]




Fish and Wildlife Service


Receipt of an Application for an Incidental Take Permit for the 

Florida Scrub-jay Resulting From Construction of a Single-Family Home 

in Charlotte County, FL

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Tamburri (Applicants) request an 

incidental take permit (ITP) for a period of one year, pursuant to 

section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act), as 

amended (U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The Applicants anticipate removal of 

about 1.2 acres of occupied Florida scrub-jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) 

(scrub-jay) nesting, foraging, and sheltering habitat, incidental to 

partial land clearing of their 5-acre lot and subsequent residential 

construction of a single-family home and supporting infrastructure in 

Charlotte County, Florida. Up to three scrub-jay individuals could be 

taken as a result of the Applicants' proposed action. It is not 

currently known if these three scrub-jays are part of the same scrub-

jay family.

    The Applicants' Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) describes the 

mitigation and minimization measures proposed to address the effects of 

the project to the scrub-jay. These measures are outlined in the 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below. We announce the availability 

of the ITP application, HCP, and accompanying Environmental Assessment 

(EA). Copies of the application, HCP, and EA may be obtained by making 

a request to the Southeast Regional Office (see ADDRESSES). Requests 

must be in writing to be processed. This notice is provided pursuant to 

section 10 of the Act and National Environmental Policy Act regulations 

(40 CFR 1506.6).

DATES: Written comments on the ITP application and HCP, and EA should 

be sent to the Service's Southeast Regional Office (see ADDRESSES) and 

should be received on or before October 28, 2005.

ADDRESSES: Persons wishing to review the application, HCP, and EA may 

obtain a copy by writing the Service's Southeast Regional Office at the 

address below. Please reference permit number TE093169-0 in such 

requests. Documents will also be available for public inspection by 

appointment during normal business hours at the Southeast Regional 

Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1875 Century Boulevard, Suite 

200, Atlanta, Georgia 30345 (Attn: Endangered Species Permits), or also 

at the South Florida Ecological Services Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 

Service, 1339 20th Street, Vero Beach, Florida 32960-3559 (Attn: Field 



Coordinator, Southeast Regional Office (see ADDRESSES above), 

telephone: 404/679-7313, facsimile: 404/679-7081; or Ms. Constance 

Cassler, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, South Florida Ecological Services 

Office (see ADDRESSES above), telephone: 772/562-3909, ext. 243.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: If you wish to comment, you may submit 

comments by any one of several methods. Please reference permit number 

TE093169-0 in such comments. You may mail comments to the Service's 

Southeast Regional Office (see ADDRESSES). You may also comment via the 

Internet to david_dell@fws.gov. Please submit comments over the 

Internet as an ASCII file, avoiding the use of special characters and 

any form of encryption. Please also include your name and return 

address in your e-mail message. If you do not receive a confirmation 

from us that we have received your e-mail message, contact us directly 

at either telephone number listed above (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 

CONTACT). Finally, you may hand-deliver comments to either Service 

office listed above (see ADDRESSES). Our practice is to make comments, 

including names and home addresses of respondents, available for public 

review during regular business hours. Individual respondents may 

request that we withhold their home addresses from the administrative 

record. We will honor such requests to the extent allowable by law. 

There may also be other circumstances in which we would withhold from 

the administrative record a respondent's identity, as allowable by law. 

If you wish us to withhold your name and address, you must state this 

prominently at the beginning of your comments. We will not, however, 

consider anonymous comments. We will make all submissions from 

organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying 

themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or 

businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety.

    The Florida scrub-jay (scrub-jay) is geographically isolated from 

other species of scrub-jays found in Mexico and the western United 

States. The scrub-jay is found exclusively in peninsular Florida and is 

restricted to xeric uplands (well-drained, sandy soil habitats 

supporting a growth of oak-dominated scrub). Increasing urban and 

agricultural development has resulted in habitat loss and 

fragmentation, which has adversely affected the distribution and 

numbers of scrub-jays. The total estimated population is between 7,000 

and 11,000 individuals. The decline in the number and distribution of 

scrub-jays in Florida has been exacerbated by tremendous urban growth 

in the past 50 years.

    Xeric upland vegetative communities in southwestern Florida are 

restricted primarily to ancient coastal dunes which are typically much 

dryer and less susceptible to flooding due to their deep, well-drained 

soils. Historically, these areas extended in a nearly continuous, 

narrow band along the western mainland portions of northern Charlotte 

to southern Hillsborough County. However, the same physical attributes 

that resulted in the evolution of xeric vegetation on these sandy dunes 

also provided sites for both agricultural and urban development. Over 

the past 50 years, these ancient dunes have served as the backbone of 

residential and commercial growth in southwestern Florida. The project 

area is under tremendous development pressure, as is much of Charlotte 

County. Much of the remaining scrub-jay habitat is now relatively small 

and isolated. What remains is largely degraded, due to interruption of 

the natural fire regime that is needed to maintain xeric uplands in 

conditions suitable for scrub-jays.

    Florida scrub-jays were documented using this residential lot on 

ten separate occasions between October 9 and October 16, 2002, by 

consultants from AMS Engineering and Environmental, Incorporated. Based 

on the consultant's report, it appears that at least three scrub-jays 

use this residential lot. It is not known whether these scrub-jays 

previously nested on the subject lot, though the birds roost regularly 

on a turkey oak there. Scrub-jays using the

[[Page 51084]]

project site are part of a metapopulation of scrub-jays in Charlotte 

County that occurs east of the Peace River and Punta Gorda. The 

continued survival and recovery of scrub-jays in this area may be 

dependent on the maintenance of suitable habitat and the restoration of 

unsuitable habitat.

    Scrub-jays in urban areas are particularly vulnerable and typically 

do not successfully produce young that survive to adulthood. Persistent 

urban growth in the vicinity of the project will likely continue to 

reduce the amount of suitable habitat for scrub-jays. Increasing urban 

pressures are also likely to result in the continued degradation of 

scrub-jay habitat, as fire exclusion slowly results in vegetative 

overgrowth. Thus, over the long-term, scrub-jays are unlikely to 

persist in urban settings, and conservation efforts for this species 

should include acquisition and management of large parcels of land 

outside the direct influence of urbanization.

    Construction of the project's infrastructure and facilities could 

result in harm to scrub-jays, incidental to the carrying out of these 

otherwise lawful activities. Habitat alteration associated with the 

proposed residential construction would reduce the availability of 

nesting, foraging, and sheltering habitat for three scrub-jays. The 

Applicants propose to minimize take of scrub-jays by avoiding land-

clearing activities during the breeding or nesting season (March 

through June), by not planting additional trees which would allow 

perching of predatory birds, by eliminating most predatory bird perches 

(slash pines) to possibly reduce the risk of scrub-jays being killed by 

raptors, and by preserving and maintaining 3.8 acres of scrub-jay 

habitat on their 5-acre lot in perpetuity. The preserve would be 

accomplished through recorded deed restriction which must be in place 

within 30 days of ITP issuance and prior to any land-clearing 


    The Applicants also propose to mitigate the take of scrub-jays 

through contribution of $1,200 to an approved scrub-jay mitigation 

fund. This contribution must be made within 30 days of ITP issuance and 

prior to any land-clearing activities. The fund would be used to 

acquire and manage larger tracts of scrub habitat in the County.

    The Service has made a preliminary determination that the issuance 

of the ITP is not a major Federal action significantly affecting the 

quality of the human environment within the meaning of section 

102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act. This preliminary 

information may be revised due to public comment received in response 

to this notice and is based on information contained in the EA and HCP.

    The Service will evaluate the HCP and comments submitted thereon to 

determine whether the application meets the requirements of section 

10(a) of the Act. If it is determined that those requirements are met, 

the ITP will be issued for the incidental take of the Florida scrub-

jay. We will also evaluate whether issuance of the section 10(a)(1)(B) 

ITP 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 ITP.

    Dated: August 4, 2005.

Cynthia K. Dohner,

Acting Regional Director.

[FR Doc. 05-17064 Filed 8-26-05; 8:45 am]