South Florida Ecological Services Field Office
Southeast Region

 

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USFWS Approves Coral Reef Commons Habitat Conservation Plan;
Issues Incidental Take Permit


Contacts:
USFWS Ken Warren, (772) 469-4323

December 5, 2017

VERO BEACH, Florida – After a thorough review, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has approved the Coral Reef Commons (CRC) Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and issued an Incidental Take Permit to the applicants, Coral Reef Retail LLC, Coral Reef Resi PhI LLC, Ramdev LLC and the University of Miami, for their development in Miami-Dade County.

With the permit in hand, the applicants have satisfied requirements under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and can move forward subject to any applicable state and local building requirements.

Earlier this year, the Service sought public comment on the HCP during Spring 2017 over a 60-day period, and it received about 3,000 comments. In the lengthy and detailed review, the Service determined the HCP meets issuance criteria for an ITP under the ESA. If the criteria outlined below are met and the HCP’s supporting information are complete, the permit must be issued.

The criteria are as follows:

  • The taking will be incidental. (Under the ESA, “take” means to harass, harm, kill, trap, capture, or collect a species protected by the ESA.)The applicants will, to the maximum extent practicable, minimize and mitigate the impacts of such taking.
  • The applicants will ensure that adequate funding for the HCP and procedures to deal with unforeseen circumstances will be provided.
  • The taking will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of survival and recovery of the species in the wild.
  • The applicants will ensure that other measures that the Service may require as being necessary or appropriate will be provided.
  • The Service has received assurances that the HCP will be implemented as specified.

“The ESA isn’t intended to be a roadblock to how private property owners develop or use their land,” said Roxanna Hinzman, field supervisor of the Service’s South Florida Ecological Services Office. “And it is not a substitute for local planning and zoning action. Section 10 of the ESA and the HCP is a tool available to the Service to work with developers to comply with the ESA.”

“In this instance, the HCP stipulates that the applicants will actively manage conservation areas designed to offset the impacts of the development,” she added. “This HCP also includes long-term monitoring to verify it’s being implemented properly and is meeting conservation goals. Our relationship with the applicants has just begun.”

Hinzman added that the Service believes the HCP’s implementation will offset negative impacts to wildlife listed below and the agency’s biologists believe the habitat will benefit from active long-term management outlined in the HCP.

In the associated biological opinion (BO), the Service concluded that this project is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any the covered species and is not likely to adversely modify any designated critical habitats. The length of the ITP is 30 years. The ITP addresses the following eight animal species:

Common Name ESA Classification
Bartram’s scrub-hairstreak butterfly
Eastern indigo snake
Florida bonneted bat
Florida leafwing butterfly
Gopher tortoise
Miami tiger beetle
Rim rock crowned snake
White-crowned pigeon
endangered
threatened
endangered
endangered
candidate
endangered
none - listing petition pending
none - Florida threatened

In addition to the eight covered species, the Service considered the effects of the action on 13 plant species, which occur within pine rockland habitat:

Common Name ESA Classification
Blodgett’s silver bush
Carter’s small-flowered flax
Crenulate lead-plant
Deltoid spurge
Tiny polygala
Everglades bully
Florida brickell bush
Florida bristle fern
Florida pineland crabgrass
Florida prairie clover
Garber’s spurge
Sand flax
Small’s milkpea
threatened
endangered
endangered
endangered
endangered
threatened
endangered
endangered
threatened
endangered
threatened
endangered
endangered

The BO also considers the effects of the action on critical habitat that the Service has designated within areas included in the HCP for two of the covered species and for two of the listed plant species:

  • Bartram’s scrub-hairstreak butterfly;
  • Florida leafwing butterfly;
  • Carter’s small-flowered flax; and
  • Florida brickell bush.

The HCP, ITP, BO, Environmental Assessment and findings document (as well a list of answers to questions related to CRC) can be found on the South Florida Ecological Services Office’s web site at: www.fws.gov/verobeach.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information on our work and the people who can make it happen, visit www.fws.gov. Connect with our Facebook page at https://facebook.com/usfwssoutheast, follow our tweets at https://twitter.com/usfwssoutheast, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwssoutheast.



Documents may be downloaded at the following links:

Frequently Asked Questions

Incidential Take Permit

Set of Findings

Biological Opinion

Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP)

Environmental Assessment (EA)

 

Last updated: December 28, 2017