[Federal Register: December 27, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 248)]
[Page 77785-77787]
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 Multi-family Residences in Charlotte County, 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: Results Builders, Inc. (Applicant) requests an incidental take 
permit (ITP) for a duration of two years, pursuant to section 
10(a)(1)(B) of the

[[Page 77786]]

Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The Applicant 
anticipates removal of about 1.6 acres of Florida scrub-jay (Aphelocoma 
coerulescens)(scrub-jay) foraging, sheltering, and possibly nesting 
habitat, incidental to lot preparation for the construction of four 
multi-family residences and supporting infrastructure on four lots in 
Charlotte County, Florida (Project). The Applicant's 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 January 26, 2007.

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 South Florida Ecological Services Field 
Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1339 20th Street, Vero Beach, 
Florida 32960-3559. Please reference permit number TE108858-0 in such 
requests. Documents will also be available for public inspection by 
appointment during normal business hours at the Southeast Regional 
Office or the South Florida Ecological Services Field Office.

Coordinator, (see ADDRESSES above), telephone: 404/679-7313, facsimile: 
404/679-7081; or Connie Cassler, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, South 
Florida Ecological Services Field Office, Vero Beach, Florida (see 
ADDRESSES above), telephone: 772/562-3909, ext. 243, facsimile 772/562-

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: If you wish to comment, you may submit 
comments by any one of several methods. Please reference permit number 
TE108858-0 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.
    Recent surveys by environmental consultants documented the presence 
of scrub-jays using the Applicant's property in Punta Gorda, Florida 
(Punta Gorda Isles Subdivision). It was determined that one scrub-jay 
family, currently consisting of four birds, likely use the Applicant's 
four lots as a portion of their territory. The 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 southern Sarasota and western Charlotte Counties.
    Since the Applicant's residential lots fall within a known scrub-
jay territory, it likely provides a portion of the foraging, sheltering 
and possibly nesting habitat needs for one scrub-jay family. 
Construction of the proposed Project may result in harm to scrub-jays, 
incidental to the carrying out of otherwise lawful activities. The 
destruction of 1.6 acres of habitat associated with the proposed multi-
family residential construction may result in the take of one family of 
scrub-jays by reducing the amount of available habitat within their 
    The Applicant proposes to mitigate for the loss of 1.6 acres of 
scrub-jay habitat by contribution to an authorized scrub-jay fund. 
Contribution to a scrub-jay fund would be $84,800, ear-marked for use 
in the conservation and recovery of scrub-jays and may include habitat 
acquisition, restoration, and management. This contribution would be 
sufficient to acquire and perpetually manage about 3.2 acres of 
suitable occupied scrub-jay habitat based on a replacement ratio of two 
mitigation acres per one impact acre. The Applicant proposes to 
minimize impacts to the scrub-jay by conducting land clearing 
activities outside of the nesting season (March 1 through June 30) and 
to remove any exotic vegetation from the lot. The Applicant also 
proposes to landscape with native scrub oaks and other native species 
to maintain as natural a habitat as possible. The Applicant has 
proposed the footprint of all four dwellings on each lot as close to 
the road as possible, so that the largest possible area of vegetation 
will exist in the rear of the properties following landscaping. Since 
the rear of each lot is adjacent to the rear of one or two of the other 
lots, a continuous strip of vegetation would be created. The Applicant 
would avoid planting perch trees for predators that could prey on 
scrub-jays in the surrounding unimproved lots.
    The Service has determined that the Applicant's 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 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)(1)(B) 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, 

[[Page 77787]]

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 Act and National Environmental Policy Act 
regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: November 9, 2006.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Acting Regional Director, Southeast Region.
 [FR Doc. E6-22136 Filed 12-26-06; 8:45 am]