[Federal Register: November 23, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 225)]
[Page 65763-65764]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Receipt of an Application and Availability of an Environmental 
Assessment for an Incidental Take Permit for Capital Improvement 
Projects within Charlotte County, FL

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: The Charlotte County Board of Commissioners (Applicant) 
requests an incidental take permit (ITP) pursuant to section 
10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act) for 
the take of the Florida scrub-jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) (scrub-
jay). The Applicant anticipates taking 84.2 acres of occupied scrub-jay 
breeding, foraging, and sheltering habitat, incidental to otherwise 
lawful activities of road construction and community redevelopment 
(Projects) in Charlotte County, Florida. The development of this 
habitat is expected to result in the take of 11 families of scrub-jays. 
The Applicant's habitat conservation plan (HCP) describes the 
mitigation and minimization measures proposed to address the effects of 
the Projects to the scrub-jay. These measures are outlined in the 

DATES: Written comments on the ITP application, HCP, and environmental 
assessment (EA) should be sent to the Fish and Wildlife Service's 
Regional Office (see ADDRESSES) and should be received on or before 
January 22, 2008.

ADDRESSES: Persons wishing to review the ITP application, EA, and HCP 
may obtain a copy by writing the Fish and Wildlife Service's Southeast 
Regional Office. Please reference permit number TE135674-0 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, or the South 
Florida Ecological Services Office, Fish and Wildlife Service, 1339 
20th Street, Vero Beach, Florida 32960-3559.

Coordinator, Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Office (see ADDRESSES), 
telephone: 404/679-7313, facsimile 404/679-7081; or Mr. George Dennis, 
Ecologist, South Florida Ecological Services Office (see ADDRESSES), 
telephone: 772/562-3909 ext. 309, facsimile 772/562-4288.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: If you wish to comment, you may submit 
written comments by any one of several methods. Please reference permit 
number TE135674-0 in such comments. You may mail comments to the Fish 
and Wildlife 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 above (see FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Finally, you may hand deliver comments to 
either Fish and Wildlife 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 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

[[Page 65764]]

representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, available 
for public inspection in their entirety.
    The 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 
that has adversely affected the distribution and numbers of scrub-jays. 
The total estimated population is between 7,000 and 11,000 individuals.
    Four Projects are proposed including three road extensions at 
Winchester Boulevard, Edgewater Drive, and Solomon Drive, and a 
community redevelopment project at Murdock Village. All Projects are 
within the previously subdivided, partly developed urban areas of 
Charlotte County. The Applicant has identified 11 scrub-jay families 
within the Project areas. The four Projects are expected to destroy 
84.2 acres of occupied scrub-jay habitat. Scrub-jays using the Project 
areas are part of two scrub-jay metapopulations in Charlotte County: 
The Sarasota-western Charlotte metapopulation, which occurs on the Cape 
Haze peninsula, and the northwestern Charlotte metapopulation, which 
occurs between the Myakka and Peace Rivers. The continued persistence 
of scrub-jays in this area may be dependent on the maintenance of 
suitable habitat and the restoration of unsuitable habitat.
    Construction of the Projects will result in harm to scrub-jays, 
incidental to the carrying out of these otherwise lawful activities. 
Habitat alteration associated with the proposed road construction and 
community redevelopment will reduce the availability of nesting, 
foraging, and sheltering habitat for 11 families of scrub-jays. The 
Applicant proposes to mitigate take of scrub-jays by preserving, 
restoring, and managing in perpetuity 275 acres of scrub-jay habitat 
within the affected scrub-jay meta-populations.
    The Fish and Wildlife Service has made a preliminary determination 
that issuance of the requested ITP is not a major Federal action 
significantly affecting the quality of the human environment within the 
meaning of Section 102(2)(C) of National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA). 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 Fish and Wildlife Service will evaluate the HCP and comments 
submitted thereon to determine whether the ITP application meets the 
requirements of section 10(a) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). If 
the Fish and Wildlife Service determines that those requirements are 
met, an ITP will be issued for the incidental take of the Florida 
scrub-jay. The Fish and Wildlife Service will also evaluate whether 
issuance of this 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. This notice is provided pursuant to section 10 of the Endangered 
Species Act and NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: October 26, 2007.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Acting Regional Director, Southeast Region.
[FR Doc. E7-22815 Filed 11-21-07; 8:45 am]