[Federal Register: October 18, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 201)]
[Page 61503-61504]
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 
Construction of Four Single-Family Homes in Brevard County, Florida

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


[[Page 61504]]

SUMMARY: Laura and Tariq Hussain (Applicants) request an incidental 
take permit (ITP) for a duration of one year, pursuant to section 
10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). 
The Applicants anticipate removal of about 0.97 acre of Florida scrub-
jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) (scrub-jay) foraging, sheltering, and 
possibly nesting habitat, incidental to lot preparation for the 
construction of four single-family homes and supporting infrastructure 
in Brevard County, Florida (Project). 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.

DATES: Written comments on the ITP application and HCP should be sent 
to the Service's Regional Office (see ADDRESSES) and should be received 
on or before November 17, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Persons wishing to review the application and HCP may obtain 
a copy by writing the Service's Southeast Regional Office, 1875 Century 
Boulevard, Suite 200, Atlanta, Georgia 30345 (Attn: Endangered Species 
Permits), or the Service's Jacksonville Field Office, Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 6220 Southpoint Drive, Suite 310, Jacksonville, Florida 32216-
0912. Please reference permit number TE118200-0 in such requests. 
Documents will also be available for public inspection by appointment 
during normal business hours at the Southeast Regional Office or the 
Jacksonville Field Office.

Coordinator, (see ADDRESSES above), telephone: 404/679-7313, facsimile: 
404/679-7081; or 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 
TE118200-0 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 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 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 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 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.
    According to scrub-jay surveys accomplished from 1999 through 2003, 
proposed residential construction on the Applicants' four lots in the 
City of Palm Bay (Port Malibar Subdivision) would take place within 438 
feet of locations where scrub-jays were sighted. 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.
    Since the Applicants' four residential lots fall within the 438-
foot buffer established for two known scrub-jay territories, the lots 
likely provide scrub-jays with foraging, sheltering, and possibly 
nesting habitat. Accordingly, loss of this habitat due to residential 
construction could result in the take of two scrub-jay families, by 
reducing the amount of available habitat.
    The Applicants propose to minimize impacts to the scrub-jay by 
avoiding land clearing activities on any lot during the nesting season 
(March 1 through June 30) if active nests are found. The Applicants 
propose to mitigate the take of scrub-jays through contribution of 
$16,296 to The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Fund for the 
management and conservation of the Florida scrub-jay. Funds in this 
account are earmarked for use in the conservation and recovery of 
scrub-jays, including habitat acquisition, restoration, and management.
    The Service has determined that the Applicants' proposal, including 
the proposed mitigation and minimization measures, would 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 
would qualify as a categorical exclusion under the National 
Environmental Policy Act, as provided by the Department of the 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.
    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 would be issued for incidental take of the Florida scrub-jay. 
The Service 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 an ITP. This notice is 
provided pursuant to section 10 of the Endangered Species Act and 
National Environmental Policy Act regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: September 21, 2006.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Deputy Regional Director, Southeast Region.
 [FR Doc. E6-17341 Filed 10-17-06; 8:45 am]