[Federal Register: January 29, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 19)]
[Page 4839-4840]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-ES-2010-N014; 40120-1112-0000-F2]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Permit, St. Lucie 
County, FL

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of receipt of application for incidental take permit; 
availability of proposed low-effect habitat conservation plan and 
associated documents; request for comment/information.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of incidental take permit (ITP) and Habitat Conservation 
Plan (HCP). V.P. Properties (under the name of International Airport 
Business Park) (applicant) requests an ITP under section 10(a)(1)(B) of 
the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The applicant 
anticipates taking about 1.0 acre of Florida scrub-jay (Aphelocoma 
coerulescens) (scrub-jay) breeding, feeding, and sheltering habitat 
incidental to lot preparation for the construction of a gas station, 
convenience store, several light industrial warehouse condominiums, and 
supporting infrastructure in St. Lucie County, Florida (Project). The 
destruction of 1.0 acre of foraging and sheltering habitat is expected 
to result in the take of one family of scrub-jays. 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.

DATES: Written comments on the ITP application and HCP should be sent 
to the South Florida Ecological Services Office (see ADDRESSES) and 
should be received on or before March 1, 2010.

ADDRESSES: You may request documents by U.S. mail, e-mail, or phone 
(see below). These documents are also available for public inspection 
by appointment during normal business hours at the office below. Send 
your comments or requests by any one of the following methods.
    E-mail: Trish_Adams@fws.gov. Use ``Attn: Permit number TE214678-
0'' as your message subject line.

[[Page 4840]]

    Fax: Trish Adams, (772) 562-4288, Attn: Permit number TE214678-0.
    U.S. mail: Trish Adams, HCP Coordinator, South Florida Ecological 
Services Field Office, Attn: Permit number TE214678-0, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 1339 20th Street, Vero Beach, FL 32960-3559.
    In-person drop-off: You may drop off information during regular 
business hours at the above office address.

South Florida Ecological Services Office, Vero Beach, Florida (see 
ADDRESSES), telephone: 772-562-3909, extension 232.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: If you wish to submit comments or 
information, you may do so by any one of several methods. Please 
reference permit number TE214678-0, in such comments. You may mail 
comments to the Service's South Florida Ecological Services Office (see 
ADDRESSES). You may also comment via the Internet to trish_
adams@fws.gov. Please also 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 the 
telephone number listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Finally, 
you may hand deliver comments to the Service office listed under 
    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comments, 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.
    Applicant's Proposed Project: We received an application from the 
applicant for an incidental take permit, along with a proposed habitat 
conservation plan. The applicant requests a 5-year permit under section 
10(a)(1)(B) of the Act. If we approve the permit, the applicant 
anticipates taking approximately 1 acre (0.4 hectares (ha)) of Florida 
scrub-jay breeding, feeding and sheltering habitat incidental to land 
preparation for construction of a gas station, convenience store, 
several light industrial warehouse condominiums, and supporting 
infrastructure in St. Lucie County, Florida. In 1987, we listed this 
species as threatened (June 3, 1987; 52 FR 20715). The listing became 
effective July 6, 1987.
    Project construction would take place at latitude 27.4833, 
longitude -80.3577, St. Lucie County, Florida, at St. Lucie Boulevard, 
Lots 1 through 18 and north half of Hawthorn Road adjacent on south 
side of Lot 18, Block 37, and Lot 1 and south half of Hawthorn Road 
adjacent on north side of Lot 1, Block 15A, San Lucie Plaza Unit One, 
Florida. Parts of these lots are within scrub-jay-occupied habitat.
    The parcels encompass about 2.92 acres (1.18 ha), and the footprint 
of the commercial buildings, paved areas, infrastructure, and 
landscaping precludes retention of viable scrub-jay habitat on this 
lot. In order to minimize take on site, the applicant proposes to 
mitigate for the loss of 1.0 acres (0.4 ha) of occupied scrub-jay 
habitat by contributing $82,904.00 to a Service-approved scrub-jay 
conservation fund, or purchase the equivalent amount of credit in an 
appropriate Service-approved scrub-jay conservation bank within 180 
days of permit issuance or before the commencement of clearing and 
construction activities, whichever is sooner.
    Our Preliminary Determination: The Service has made a preliminary 
determination that the applicant's Project, 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) (40 CFR 1506.6), as provided by the Department of the 
Interior Manual (516 DM 2 Appendix 1 and 516 DM 6 Appendix 1), and as 
defined in our Habitat Conservation Planning Handbook (November 1996). 
We base our determination that the plan qualifies as a low-effect plan 
on the following three criteria: (1) Implementation of the plan would 
result in minor or negligible effects on federally listed, proposed, 
and candidate species and their habitats; (2) Implementation of the 
plan would result in minor or negligible effects on other environmental 
values or resources; and (3) Impacts of the plan, considered together 
with the impacts of other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable 
similarly situated projects, would not result, over time, in cumulative 
effects to environmental values or resources that would be considered 
significant. As more fully explained in our environmental action 
statement and associated Low Effect Screening Form, the applicant's 
proposed plan qualifies as a ``low-effect'' plan. This preliminary 
determination may be revised based on our review of public comments 
that we receive in response to this notice.
    Next Steps: The Service will evaluate the HCP and comments 
submitted thereon to determine whether the applications meet the 
requirements of section 10(a) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et. seq.). If 
it is determined that those requirements are met, the ITP will be 
issued for the incidental take of the Florida scrub-jay. The Service 
will also evaluate whether issuance of the section 10(a)(1)(B) ITP 
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 ITP.

    Authority: This notice is provided pursuant to Section 10 of the 
Endangered Species Act and NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: January 15, 2010.
Paul Souza,
Field Supervisor, South Florida Ecological Services Office.
[FR Doc. 2010-1808 Filed 1-28-10; 8:45 am]