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Notice of Availability of an Environmental Assessment/Habitat Conservation Plan and Receipt of Application for an Incidental Take Permit for the Construction of One Single Family Residence on 0.5 acres of the 7.6-acre Lot 20, Section 2 in the Circle D Country Acres Subdivision in Bastrop County, Texas.

SUMMARY:

Paula Hanks and Jason Sims (Applicants) have applied to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for an incidental take permit pursuant to Section 10(a) of the Endangered Species Act (Act). The Applicants have been assigned permit number TE-024872-0. The requested permit, which is for a period of 5 years, would authorize the incidental take of the endangered Houston Toad (Bufo houstonensis). The proposed take would occur as a result of the construction and occupation of one single family residence on Lot 20, Section 2 of the Circle D Country Acres Subdivision, Bastrop County, Texas.

The Service has prepared the Environmental Assessment/Habitat Conservation Plan (EA/HCP) for the incidental take application. A determination of jeopardy to the species or a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) will not be made until at least 30 days from the date of publication of this notice. This notice is provided pursuant to Section 10(c) of the Act and National Environmental Policy Act regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

DATES:

Written comments on the application should be received on or before May 17, 2000.

ADDRESSES:

Persons wishing to review the application may obtain a copy by writing to the Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 1306, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87103. Start Printed Page 20483Persons wishing to review the EA/HCP may obtain a copy by written or telephone request to Tannika Engelhard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services Office, 10711 Burnet Road, Suite 200, Austin, Texas 78758 (512/490-0057, extension 242). Documents will be available for public inspection by written request or by appointment only during normal business hours (8:00 to 4:30) at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office, Austin, Texas. Data or comments concerning the application and EA/HCP should be submitted in writing to the Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office, Austin, Texas at the above address. Please refer to permit number TE-024872-0 when submitting comments.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Tannika Engelhard at the above U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service Office, Austin, TX.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Section 9 of the Act prohibits the “taking” of endangered species such as the Houston toad. However, the Service, under limited circumstances, may issue permits to take endangered wildlife species incidental to, and not the purpose of, otherwise lawful activities. Regulations governing permits for endangered species are at 50 CFR 17.22.

Applicant

Paula Hanks and Jason Sims plan to construct one single family residence on 0.5 acres of the 7.6-acre Lot 20, Section 2 in the Circle D Country Acres Subdivision, Bastrop County, Texas. This action will eliminate less than one acre of habitat and result in an unquantifiable amount of indirect impact. The applicants propose to compensate for this incidental take of the Houston Toad by providing $1,500.00 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for the specific purpose of land acquisition and management within Houston toad habitat, as identified by the Service.

Alternatives to this action were rejected because not developing the subject property with federally listed species present was not economically feasible and alteration of the project design would not alter the level of impacts.

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Geoffrey L. Haskett,

Acting Regional Director, Region 2, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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[FR Doc. 00-9356 Filed 4-14-00; 8:45 am]

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