[Federal Register: January 28, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 18)]
[Page 4581-4582]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-ES-2009-N269; 41910-1112-0000-F2]

Endangered [and Threatened] Wildlife and Plants; Permit(s); Land 
Clearing Associated With Phosphate Mining in Manatee County, FL

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of receipt of application for an incidental take permit 
(ITP); availability of proposed low-effect habitat conservation plans 
(HCP); request for comment/information.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of an incidental take permit (ITP) application and habitat 
conservation plan (HCP). Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC (applicant) requests a 
24-year ITP under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). 
The applicant anticipates taking approximately 100 acres (ac) of 
Florida scrub-jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens)--occupied habitat 
incidental to land clearing and phosphate mining in Manatee County, 
Florida (project). The applicant's HCP describes the mitigation and 
minimization measures the applicant proposes to address the effects of 
the project to the Florida scrub-jay.

DATES: We must receive any written comments on the ITP application and 
HCP on or before March 1, 2010.

ADDRESSES: If you wish to review the application and HCP, you may write 
the Field Supervisor at our Jacksonville Field Office, 7915 Baymeadows 
Way, Suite 200, Jacksonville, FL 32256 or make an appointment to visit 
during normal business hours. If you wish to comment, you may mail or 
hand deliver comments to the Jacksonville Field Office, or you may e-
mail comments to paula_sisson@fws.gov. For more information on 
reviewing documents and public comments and submitting comments, see 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paula Sisson, Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist, Jacksonville Field Office (see ADDRESSES); telephone: 904/


Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.
    Please reference permit number TE236128-0 for Mosaic Fertilizer, 
LLC in all requests or comments. If you do not receive a confirmation 
from us that we have received your e-mail message, contact us directly 
at the telephone number listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.


    The Florida scrub-jay (scrub-jay) is found exclusively in 
peninsular Florida and is restricted to xeric upland communities 
(predominately in oak-dominated scrub with open canopies) of the 
interior and Atlantic coast sand ridges. Increasing urban and 
agricultural development has resulted in habitat loss and 
fragmentation, which have adversely affected the distribution and 
numbers of scrub-jays. Remaining habitat is largely degraded due to the 
exclusion of fire, which is needed to maintain xeric uplands in 
conditions suitable for scrub-jays. The total estimated population is 
between 7,000 and 11,000 individuals.

Applicant's Proposal

    The applicant is requesting take of approximately 100 ac of 
occupied Florida scrub-jay habitat incidental to the project. The 
4,345-ac project is located on the Texaco Tract in Sections 22-27, 34, 
and portions of Section 13, Township 34 South, Range 22 East, in 
Manatee County, Florida. The proposed project includes land clearing 
activities associated with phosphate mining which will result in the 
take of 100 ac of occupied scrub-jay habitat, including four scrub-jay 
families. The applicant proposes to mitigate for the take of the sand 
skink at a ratio of 2:1 based on Service Mitigation Guidelines. The 
applicant proposes to mitigate for 100 ac of impacts by establishing a 
conservation easement capturing 200 ac of scrub-jay within the Mosaic 
    We have determined that the applicant's proposal, including the 
proposed mitigation and minimization measures, would have minor or

[[Page 4582]]

negligible effects on the species covered in the HCP. Therefore, we are 
making a preliminary determination that the ITP is a ``low-effect'' 
project and qualifies for categorical exclusion under the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), as provided by 
the Department of the Interior Manual (516 DM 2 Appendix 1 and 516 DM 6 
Appendix 1). We may revise this preliminary determination based on our 
review of public comments we receive in response to this notice. A low-
effect HCP is one 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 HCP and comments we receive to determine 
whether the ITP application meets the requirements of section 10(a) of 
the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). If we determine that the application 
meets those requirements, we will issue the ITP for incidental take of 
the sand skink. We 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. We will use the results of this 
consultation, in combination with the above findings, in our final 
analysis to determine whether or not to issue the ITP.


    We provide this notice under Section 10 of the Act and NEPA 
regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 40 CFR 1506.6.

    Dated: January 12, 2010.
David L. Hankla,
Field Supervisor, Jacksonville Field Office.
[FR Doc. 2010-1730 Filed 1-27-10; 8:45 am]