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Notice

Construction of a Single-Family-Home Subdivision

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION:

Notice: receipt of application for an incidental take permit; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of an incidental take permit (ITP) application and Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). Eber Cove, LLC (applicant) requests an incidental take permit (ITP) for a duration of 5 years pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The applicant anticipates taking approximately 1.55 acre (ac) of Florida scrub-jay (Alphelocoma coerulescens)—occupied habitat incidental to constructing a single-family-home subdivision in Brevard County, Florida (project). The applicant's HCP describes the mitigation and minimization measures the applicant proposes to address the effects of the project to the scrub-jay.

DATES:

We must receive any written comments on the ITP application and HCP on or before August 9, 2007.

ADDRESSES:

If you wish to review the application and HCP, you may write the Field Supervisor at our Jacksonville Field Office, 6620 Southpoint Drive South, Suite 310, Jacksonville, FL 32216, or make an appointment to visit during normal business hours. If you wish to comment, you may mail or hand deliver comments to the Jacksonville Field Office, or you may e-mail comments to erin_gawera@fws.gov. For more information on reviewing documents and public comments and submitting comments, see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Erin Gawera, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, Jacksonville Field Office (see ADDRESSES); telephone: 904/232-2580, ext. 121.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Public Review and Comment

Please reference permit number TE151089-0 for Eber Cove, LLC, in all requests or comments. Please include your name and return address in your e-mail message. If you do not receive a confirmation from us that we have received your e-mail message, contact us directly at the telephone number listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Our practice is to make comments, including names and home addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular business hours. We will make all submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety. 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.

Background

The Florida scrub-jay (scrub-jay) is found exclusively in peninsular Florida and is restricted to xeric uplands (predominately in oak-dominated scrub). Increasing urban and agricultural development has resulted in habitat loss and fragmentation, which have adversely affected the distribution and numbers of scrub-jays.

The total estimated population is between 7,000 and 11,000 individuals. The decline in the number and distribution of scrub-jays in east-central Florida has been exacerbated by tremendous urban growth in the past 50 years. Much of the historic commercial and residential development has occurred on the dry soils which previously supported scrub-jay habitat. Much of this area of Florida was settled early because few wetlands restricted urban and agricultural development. Due to the effects of urban and agricultural development over the past 100 years, much of the remaining scrub-jay habitat is now relatively small and isolated. What remains is largely degraded due to the exclusion of fire, which is needed to maintain xeric uplands in conditions suitable for scrub-jays. Start Printed Page 37539

Applicant's Proposal

The applicant is requesting take of approximately 1.55 ac of occupied scrub-jay habitat incidental to the construction of a single-family-home subdivision. The project is located within Section 17, Township 28 South, Range 37 East, Melbourne, Brevard County, Florida, south of Eber Rd, west of the Eber Rd-Dairy Rd interchange.

Development of the project, including infrastructure and landscaping, precludes retention of scrub-jay habitat on site. Therefore, the applicant proposes to mitigate for the loss of 1.55 ac of occupied scrub-jay habitat by donating $31,043 to the Florida Scrub-jay Fund administered by The Nature Conservancy. Funds in this account are earmarked for use in the conservation and recovery of scrub-jays and may include habitat acquisition, restoration, and/or management.

We have determined that the applicant's proposal, including the proposed mitigation and minimization measures, would have minor or negligible effects on the species covered in the HCP. Therefore, the ITP is a “low-effect” project and qualifies for categorical exclusions under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as provided by the Department of the Interior Manual (516 DM 2 Appendix 1 and 516 DM 6 Appendix 1). This preliminary information may be revised based on our review of public comments that we receive in response to this notice. A low-effect HCP is one involving (1) Minor or negligible effects on federally listed or candidate species and their habitats, and (2) minor or negligible effects on other environmental values or resources.

We will evaluate the HCP and comments submitted thereon to determine whether the application meets the requirements of section 10(a) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). If we determine that the application meets those requirements, we will issue the ITP for incidental take of the Florida scrub-jay. We 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. We will use the results of this consultation, in combination with the above findings, in our final analysis to determine whether or not to issue the ITP.

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Authority: We provide this notice under Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act and NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

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Dated: June 10, 2007.

David L. Hankla,

Field Supervisor, Jacksonville Field Office.

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[FR Doc. E7-13351 Filed 7-9-07; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-55-P