[Federal Register: September 20, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 181)]
[Page 55158-55159]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of a Draft Safe Harbor Agreement and 
Receipt of an Application for an Enhancement of Survival Permit 
Associated With Proposed Restoration Activities for the Karner Blue 
Butterfly in the West Gary, Indiana Recovery Unit

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The Nature Conservancy (Applicant) has applied to the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for an Enhancement of Survival 
Permit Associated with proposed restoration activities for the Karner 
blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis) pursuant to section 
10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.), as amended (Act). This permit

[[Page 55159]]

application includes a draft Safe Harbor Agreement (SHA) between the 
Applicant and the Service. The proposed SHA and permit would become 
effective upon signature of the SHA and issuance of the permit and 
would remain in effect for 15 years. We are requesting comments on the 
permit application and on the Service's preliminary determination that 
the proposed SHA qualifies as a categorical exclusion (516 DM 6 
Appendix 1, 1.4C(1)) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) 
of 1969, as amended. Further, the Service is specifically soliciting 
information regarding the adequacy of the SHA as measured against the 
Service's Safe Harbor Policy and the implementing regulations.

DATES: Written data or comments must be received on or before October 
20, 2005.

ADDRESSES: 1. Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Ecological Services, 1 Federal Drive, Fort Snelling, Minnesota 55111-
    2. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, 620 South 
Walker Street, Bloomington, Indiana 47403-2121.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Peter Fasbender, (612) 713-5343.


Availability of Documents

    Individuals requesting copies of the enhancement of survival permit 
application and SHA should contact the Service by telephone at (612) 
713-5343 or by letter (see ADDRESSES). Copies of the proposed SHA also 
are available for public inspection during regular business hours at 
the Bloomington, Indiana, Field Office (see ADDRESSES) or at the 
Service's Regional Web site at: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/NEPA. All 

comments received from individuals become part of the official public 
record. Requests for such comments will be handled in accordance with 
the Freedom of Information Act and the Council on Environmental 
Quality's NEPA regulations [40 CFR 1506.6(f)]. 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 address from the record, which 
we will honor to the extent allowable by law. If a respondent wishes us 
to withhold his/her name and/or address, this must be stated 
prominently at the beginning of the comment.


    The Karner blue butterfly was once a locally common species ranging 
from New England across the Great Lakes Region, extending as far west 
as eastern Minnesota. In Indiana, the Karner was originally distributed 
across the northern tier of counties on outwash and lake deposited 
sands. Currently there are approximately 1,000 acres of dune and swale 
topography remaining in the West Gary Recovery Unit, of this 
approximately 650 acres is potential habitat. By 1990, the Karner blue 
butterfly survived at only two dune and swale remnants: Ivanhoe Nature 
Preserve and Tolleston Ridges Nature Preserve. At Ivanhoe Nature 
Preserve, the butterfly was found within scattered openings until it 
disappeared there in 1998. After several years of habitat restoration 
effort, the Nature Conservancy began a re-introduction program in 2001. 
Despite recent success, the Karner blue butterfly continues to persist 
at limited habitat patches within three relatively isolated natural 
areas. Ecological fragmentation, combined with complex landownership 
and land use patterns, has created a difficult landscape for developing 
and implementing conservation strategies in the West Gary Recovery 
    The purpose of the SHA is to allow the Applicant and the Service to 
address the regional needs of the species by working with individual 
landowners to develop site specific restoration and management plans 
for a variety of properties. These plans will be designed to maximize 
Karner blue butterfly habitat within the constraints of the site's 
landscape setting and current land use and management needs. In 
addition they will document baseline conditions, monitoring protocols, 
timeframes, legal and regulatory responsibilities of participants, and 
will serve as a framework for coordinating conservation work in the 
West Gary Recovery Unit.
    The SHA will allow willing property owners to enroll private and 
non-federal governmental lands into a regional program under an 
umbrella section 10(a)(1)(A) permit issued to the Applicant by means of 
a Certification of Inclusion. In addition, the Applicant will develop 
individual restoration and management plans to address the specific 
conservation benefits that enrolled properties contribute to 
establishing a viable metapopulation.
    The area encompassed by the SHA may contain facilities eligible to 
be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Additionally, 
other historical or archeological resources may be present. The 
National Historic Preservation Act and other laws require these 
properties and resources be identified and considered in project 
planning. The public is requested to inform the Service of concerns 
about archeological sites, buildings, and structures; historic events; 
sacred and traditional areas; and other historic preservation concerns.

    Dated: August 23, 2005.
Wendi Weber,
Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Region 3, Fort 
Snelling, Minnesota.
[FR Doc. 05-18682 Filed 9-19-05; 8:45 am]