[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 241 (Wednesday, December 16, 2015)]
[Pages 78246-78247]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-31595]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-ES-2015-N231; FXES11120400000-167-FF04EF2000]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Receipt of 
Application for an Incidental Take Permit; Availability of Low-Effect 
Habitat Conservation Plan and Associated Documents; Highlands County, 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comment/information.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of an incidental take permit (ITP) and a Habitat 
Conservation Plan (HCP). Palmetto Lake Placid, LLC (applicant) requests 
ITP TE63688B-0 under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended 
(Act). The applicant anticipates taking about 0.87 acres of feeding, 
breeding, and sheltering habitat used by the sand skink (Neoseps 
reynoldsi) and blue-tailed mole skink (Eumeces egregius lividus) 
(skinks) incidental to land preparation and construction in Highlands 
County, Florida. The applicant's HCP describes proposed minimization 
measures and mitigation measures to address the effects of development 
on the covered species.

DATES: We must receive your written comments on the ITP application and 
HCP on or before January 15, 2016.

information on how to submit your comments on the ITP application and 
HCP. You may obtain a copy of the ITP application and HCP by writing 
the South Florida Ecological Services Office, Attn: Permit number 
TE63688B-0, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1339 20th Street, Vero 
Beach, FL 32960-3559. In addition, we will make the ITP application and 
HCP available for public inspection by appointment during normal 
business hours at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Elizabeth Landrum, South Florida 
Ecological Services Office (see ADDRESSES); telephone: 772-469-4304.


Submitting Comments

    If you wish to comment on the ITP application or HCP, you may 
submit comments by any one of the following methods:
    Email: elizabeth_landrum@fws.gov. Use ``Attn: Permit number 
``TE63688B-0'' as your message subject line.
    Fax: Elizabeth Landrum, 772-469-4304, Attn.: Permit number 
    U.S. mail: Elizabeth Landrum, South Florida Ecological Services 
Field Office, Attn: Permit number ``TE63688B-0,'' U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 1339 20th Street, Vero Beach, FL 32960-3559.
    In-person drop-off: You may drop off comments or request 
information during regular business hours at the above office address.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email 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 
request in your comments that your personal identifying information be 
withheld from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able 
to do so.

[[Page 78247]]

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 an ITP under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act (16 
U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). If we approve the application, the applicant 
anticipates taking a total of approximately 0.87 acres of skink 
breeding, feeding, and sheltering habitat, incidental to land 
preparation and construction in Section 17, Township 37 South, Range 30 
East, Highlands County, Florida. The applicant plans to begin 
construction as soon as the ITP is approved. Development of this parcel 
will include construction of one structure, parking areas, stormwater 
retention areas, and installation of associated utilities.
    The applicant proposes to minimize impacts to skinks by preserving 
a total of 1.80 acres of skink-occupied habitat at a Service-approved 
conservation bank. The Service listed the skinks as threatened in 1987 
(November 6, 1987; 52 FR 20715), effective December 7, 1987.

Our Preliminary Determination

    The Service has made a preliminary determination that the 
applicant's project, including the mitigation measures, will 
individually and cumulatively have a minor or negligible effect on the 
species covered in the HCP. Therefore, issuance of the ITP is a ``low-
effect'' action 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). We base our preliminary determination that issuance 
of the ITP qualifies as a low-effect action on the following three 
criteria: (1) Implementation of the project would result in minor or 
negligible effects on federally listed, proposed, and candidate species 
and their habitats; (2) Implementation of the project would result in 
minor or negligible effects on other environmental values or resources; 
and (3) Impacts of the project, 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. 
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 application meets the requirements of section 
10(a) of the Act. 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, in combination with the above findings, will be used in 
the final analysis to determine whether or not to issue the ITP. If it 
is determined that the requirements of the Act are met, the ITP will be 

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

    Dated: December 7, 2015.
Roxanna Hinzman,
Field Supervisor, South Florida Ecological Services Office.
[FR Doc. 2015-31595 Filed 12-15-15; 8:45 am]