[Federal Register Volume 67, Number 241 (Monday, December 16, 2002)]
[Notices]
[Pages 77074-77075]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 02-31565]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service


Notice of Availability of an Environmental Assessment/Habitat 
Conservation Plan and Receipt of Application for an Incidental Take 
Permit for the Development and Operation of a High Adventure Boy Scout 
Camp on the 4,848-Acre Griffith League Ranch, Bastrop County, TX

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

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SUMMARY: The Boy Scouts of America Capitol Area Council 564 
(Applicant) has 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 Applicant has been assigned permit 
number TE-065406-0. The requested permit, which is for a period of 50 
years, would authorize the incidental take of the endangered Houston 
toad (Bufo houstonensis). The proposed take would occur as a result of 
the development and operation of a high adventure Boy Scout Camp on the 
4,848-acre Griffith League Ranch,

[[Page 77075]]

Bastrop County, Texas. The Service has prepared the Environmental 
Assessment/Habitat Conservation Plan (EA/HCP) for the incidental take 
application.

DATES: Written comments on the application should be received within 60 
days of the date of this publication.

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. Persons wishing to review 
the EA/HCP may obtain a copy by written or telephone request to Sybil 
Vosler, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services Office, 
10711 Burnet Road, Suite 200, Austin, Texas 78758 (512/490-0057). 
Documents will be available for public inspection by written request or 
by appointment only during normal business hours (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) 
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-
065406-0 when submitting comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sybil Vosler at the above U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service Office, Austin, Texas.

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: The Boy Scouts of America Capitol Area Council 
564 plans to develop and operate a high adventure Boy Scout 
Camp on the 4,848-acre Griffith League Ranch, Bastrop County, Texas. 
This action would eliminate up to approximately 498 acres of habitat 
and moderately impact up to 416 acres of Houston toad habitat resulting 
in take of the Houston toad. The Applicant proposes to compensate for 
this incidental take of the Houston toad by setting aside and managing 
under a long-term conservation easement up to 748 acres of the Griffith 
League Ranch for the benefit of the toad depending on the actual acres 
impacted. The Boy Scouts expect that balance of the Houston toad 
habitat on the Griffith League Ranch will have little or no impact from 
activities such as day hiking, backpacking, orienteering and nature 
studies. The Boy Scouts of America Capitol Area Council 564 
believe they could use their resources to manage the Griffith League 
Ranch in such a manner as to avoid impacts and protect the toad as much 
as possible while carrying out their primary mission. They will also 
incorporate information regarding the conservation of the Houston toad 
into the educational program at Griffith League Ranch and facilitate 
scientific studies aimed at increasing the available information about 
the toad by making the Griffith League Ranch available for such 
studies.
    Alternatives to this action were rejected because not developing 
the subject property with federally listed species present was not 
economically feasible, would not provide a valuable social service, and 
would not contribute to positive management and increased knowledge of 
the Houston toad. Alteration of the project design increased the level 
of impacts and was rejected.
    A determination of jeopardy or non-jeopardy to the species and a 
decision pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act will not be 
made until at least 60 days from the date of publication of this 
notice. This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(c) of the Act 
and NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

Geoffrey L. Haskett,
Acting Regional Director, Region 2, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
[FR Doc. 02-31565 Filed 12-13-02; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4510-55-P