[Federal Register: August 1, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 147)]
[Page 43512-43514]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Receipt of Two Applications for Incidental Take Permits for 
Construction of Four Single-Family Homes in Brevard County, FL

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: Ivania Castro and Edward Nissan (Applicants) each request an 
incidental take permit (ITP) pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The Applicants 
anticipate taking a total of about 0.97 acre of Florida scrub-jay 
(Aphelocoma coerulescens)(scrub-jay) foraging, sheltering, and 
potential nesting habitat incidental to lot preparation for the 
construction of four single-family homes and supporting infrastructure 
in Brevard County, Florida (Project). Each of the Applicants seek an 
incidental take permit for a one-year term. The destruction of 0.97 

[[Page 43513]]

of foraging, sheltering, and potential nesting habitat is expected to 
result in the take of two families of scrub-jays. The Applicants' 
Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP) describe the mitigation and 
minimization measures proposed to address the effects of the Projects 
to the Florida scrub-jay. These measures are outlined in the 

DATES: Written comments on the ITP applications and HCPs should be sent 
to the Service's Regional Office (see ADDRESSES) and should be received 
on or before August 31, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Persons wishing to review the applications and HCPs may 
obtain a copy by writing the Service's Southeast Regional Office, 
Atlanta, Georgia. Please reference permit numbers TE111606-0 for 
Castro, and TE111607-0 for Nissan, in such requests. Documents will 
also be available for public inspection by appointment during normal 
business hours at the Regional Office, 1875 Century Boulevard, Suite 
200, Atlanta, Georgia 30345 (Attn: Endangered Species Permits), or 
Field Supervisor, Fish and Wildlife Service, 6620 Southpoint Drive 
South, Suite 310, Jacksonville, Florida 32216-0912.

Coordinator, (see ADDRESSES above), telephone: 404/679-7313, facsimile: 
404/679-7081; or Ms. Paula Sisson, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, 
Jacksonville Field Office, Jacksonville, Florida (see ADDRESSES above), 
telephone: 904/232-2580, ext. 126.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: If you wish to comment, you may submit 
comments by any one of several methods. Please reference permit number 
TE111606-0, for Castro and TE111607-0, for Nissan, in such comments. 
You may mail comments to the 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 
below (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Finally, you may hand 
deliver comments to either Service office listed below (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 address 
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 
    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 (predominately in oak-dominated scrub). 
Increasing urban and agricultural development have 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.
    Residential construction for Ivania Castro will take place within 
Section 21, Township 29 South, Range 37 East, Palm Bay, Brevard County, 
Florida on lots 14, 15, and 16, Block 941. Residential construction for 
Edward Nissan will take place within Section 16, Township 29 South, 
Range 37 East, Palm Bay, Brevard County, Florida, lot 15, Block 777. 
The lots are within 438 feet of locations where scrub-jays were sighted 
during surveys for this species from 1999 to 2002. Scrub-jays using the 
subject residential lots and adjacent properties are part of a larger 
complex of scrub-jays located in a matrix of urban and natural settings 
in areas of southern Brevard and northern Indian River counties. Within 
the City of Palm Bay, 20 families of scrub-jays persist in habitat 
fragmented by residential development. Scrub-jays in urban areas are 
particularly vulnerable and typically do not successfully produce young 
that survive to adulthood. Persistent urban growth in this area will 
likely result in further reductions in 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 
within the City of Palm Bay are unlikely to persist, and conservation 
efforts for this species should target acquisition and management of 
large parcels of land outside the direct influence of urbanization.
    Construction of the Applicants' infrastructure and facilities will 
result in harm to scrub-jays, incidental to the carrying out of these 
otherwise lawful activities. The 0.97 acre of habitat alteration 
associated with the proposed residential construction projects will 
reduce the availability of foraging and sheltering habitat for two 
families of scrub-jays. On-site minimization measures are not 
practicable as the footprint of the four homes, infrastructure and 
landscaping will utilize all the available land area. However, both 
Applicants have agreed to avoid land clearing during the nesting season 
if any active nests are found on-site, but no other on-site 
minimization measures are proposed to reduce take of scrub-jays.
    The Applicants propose to mitigate for the loss of 0.97 acre of 
scrub-jay habitat by contributing a total of $13,648 to the Florida 
Scrub-jay Conservation Fund administered by The Nature Conservancy. 
Funds in this account are ear-marked for use in the conservation and 
recovery of scrub-jays and may include habitat acquisition, 
restoration, and/or management. The $13,648 is sufficient to acquire 
and perpetually manage 0.97 acre of suitable occupied scrub-jay habitat 
based on a replacement ratio of two mitigation acres per one impact 
acre. The cost is based on previous acquisitions of mitigation lands in 
southern Brevard County at an average $5,700 per acre, plus a $1,000 
per acre management endowment necessary to ensure future management of 
acquired scrub-jay habitat.
    We have determined that the Applicants' proposals, including the 
proposed mitigation and minimization measures, will individually and 
cumulatively have a minor or negligible effect on the species covered 
in the HCP. Therefore, the ITP is a ``low-effect'' project and 
qualifies as a categorical exclusion under the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA), as provided by the Department of Interior Manual 
(516 DM 2, Appendix 1 and 516 DM 6, Appendix 1). This preliminary 
information may be revised based on our review of public comments that 
we receive in response to this notice. Low-effect HCPs are those 
involving: (1) minor or negligible effects on federally listed or 
candidate species and their habitats, and (2) minor or negligible 
effects on other environmental values or resources.
    We will evaluate the HCPs and comments submitted thereon to 
determine whether the application meets the requirements of section 
10(a) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). If we determine that those 
requirements are

[[Page 43514]]

met, the ITPs will be issued for incidental take of the Florida scrub-
jay. We will also evaluate whether issuance of the section 10(a)(1)(B) 
ITPs comply 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 ITPs. This notice is provided 
pursuant to section 10 of the Endangered Species Act and National 
Environmental Policy Act regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: July 3, 2006.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Acting Regional Director, Southeast Region.
[FR Doc. E6-12309 Filed 7-31-06; 8:45 am]