[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 153 (Tuesday, August 9, 2011)]
[Page 48879]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-20140]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-ES-2011-N151; 40120-1112-0000-F2]

Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Alabama Beach Mouse 
General Conservation Plan for Incidental Take on the Fort Morgan 
Peninsula, Baldwin County, AL

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: Under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), 
we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the availability of a 
draft general conservation plan (GCP) and accompanying draft 
environmental impact statement (dEIS). If approved, the GCP would 
facilitate review of future incidental take applications. The take 
would affect the federally endangered Alabama beach mouse (Peromyscus 
polionotus ammobates) in Baldwin County, Alabama. The GCP analyzes the 
potential take incidental to construction, occupation, and maintenance 
of an estimated 500 single-family residences. We invite public comments 
on these documents.

DATES: We must receive any written comments on the GCP and dEIS at our 
Regional Office (see ADDRESSES) and on or before November 7, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Documents will be available for public inspection by 
appointment during normal business hours at the Regional Office, 1875 
Century Boulevard, Suite 200, Atlanta, GA 30345, or at the Fish and 
Wildlife Service Field Office, 1208-B Main Street, Daphne, AL 36526. 
For how to comment, see Public Comments under SUPPLEMENTARY 

Coordinator (see ADDRESSES), telephone: 404/679-4144, or Mr. Darren 
LeBlanc, Field Office Project Manager, at the Alabama Field Office (see 
ADDRESSES), telephone: 251/441-5868.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We announce the availability of the proposed 
GCP and the dEIS. These documents analyze the take of the Alabama beach 
mouse incidental to construction of up to 500 single-family 
developments potentially affecting an estimated total of 75 acres of 
Alabama beach mouse habitat. Individual land owners who would need 
incidental take permits (ITP) for single-family developments, and whose 
development proposal fits within limits evaluated in the GCP, could 
apply for ITPs using the GCP provisions instead of producing their own 
habitat conservation plans. The GCP evaluates issuance of ITPs with up 
to 50-year terms under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 
et seq.). The GCP describes the mitigation and minimization measures 
proposed to address the effects on the species.
    We specifically request information, views, and opinions from the 
public via this notice on our proposed Federal action, including 
identification of any other aspects of the human environment not 
already identified in the dEIS pursuant to National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA) regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 
at 40 CFR 1506.6. Further, we specifically solicit information 
regarding the adequacy of the GCP per 50 CFR parts 13 and 17.
    The dEIS analyzes the preferred alternative, as well as a range of 
reasonable alternatives and the associated impacts of each. Alternative 
3 (Preferred Alternative) is implementation of the GCP. Rejection of 
the GCP would not necessarily halt single-family lot development in the 
study area. One of the alternatives considered would be to continue 
individual permitting as is done currently.

Public 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.
    If you wish to comment, you may submit comments by any one of 
several methods. Please reference ``Alabama beach mouse GCP'' in such 
comments. You may mail comments to our Regional Office or the Alabama 
Field Office (see ADDRESSES). You may also comment via the Internet to 
david_dell@fws.gov or darren_leblanc@fws.gov. Please include your 
name and return mailing address in your e-mail message. If you do not 
receive a confirmation from us that we have received your e-mail, 
contact us directly at either telephone number listed (see FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT). Finally, you may hand-deliver comments to either 
of our offices listed under ADDRESSES.

Covered Area

    The GCP coverage area extends along the Gulf of Mexico for about 17 
miles, encompassing approximately 2,400 acres of open beach and 
associated nearshore coastal dune environments on the Fort Morgan 
Peninsula, Baldwin County, Alabama. The coverage area begins at Little 
Lagoon Pass, on State Highway 182 in Gulf Shores, and extends westward 
to the tip of the Fort Morgan State Historic site at the western 
terminus of the Fort Morgan Peninsula. The area is defined biologically 
as that area where an Alabama beach mouse population or subpopulation 
could be affected by residential single-family development.

Next Steps

    We will evaluate the GCP and its potential use by ITP applicants, 
as well as any comments we receive, to determine whether the GCP, when 
used by ITP applicants, would meet the requirements of section 
10(a)(1)(B) of the Act. We will also evaluate whether issuance of 
section 10(a)(1)(B) ITPs under the GCP would comply with section 7 of 
the Act by conducting an intra-Service section 7 consultation on 
anticipated ITP actions. We will consider the results of this 
consultation, in combination with the above findings, in our final 
analysis to determine whether or not to make the GCP available to ITP 
applicants and issue ITPs under the GCP. If we determine that the 
requirements are met, we will issue ITPs for the incidental take of the 
Alabama beach mouse to those applicants who meet the criteria 
established in the GCP.

    Authority We provide this notice under section 10 of the Act (16 
U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: July 8, 2011.
Mark J. Musaus,
Acting Regional Director, Southeast Region.
[FR Doc. 2011-20140 Filed 8-8-11; 8:45 am]