[Federal Register Volume 69, Number 191 (Monday, October 4, 2004)]
[Notices]
[Pages 59182-59183]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E4-2472]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. 04-040-2]


Old World Climbing Fern; Availability of an Environmental 
Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: We are advising the public that an environmental assessment 
and finding of no significant impact have been prepared by the Animal 
and Plant Health Inspection Service relative to issuing a permit for 
the environmental release of the nonindigenous moth Cataclysta 
camptozonale (Hampson) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae), a potential biological 
control agent of Old World climbing fern (Lygodium microphyllum). The 
environmental assessment documents our review and analysis of 
environmental impacts associated with, and alternatives to, issuing a 
permit for the environmental release of the moth in Florida. Based on 
its finding of no significant impact, the Animal and Plant Health 
Inspection Service has determined that an environmental impact 
statement need not be prepared.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the environmental assessment and finding of no 
significant impact are available for public inspection in our reading 
room. The reading room is located in room 1141 of the USDA South 
Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC. 
Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through 
Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, 
please call (202) 690-2817 before coming.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Robert Flanders, Branch Chief, 
Biological and Technical Service, Pest Permit Evaluations, PPQ, APHIS, 
4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1236; (301) 734-5930.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Old World climbing fern, Lygodium microphyllum (Cav.) R. Br. 
(Lygodiaceae), is a climbing fern that has a large native range that 
extends through much of the Old World tropics. It has become 
established in central and southern peninsular Florida where it grows 
in a number of wetland and mesic (having a moderate supply of moisture) 
habitats including hammocks, cypress swamps, flatwoods, bayheads, and 
disturbed sites.
    The climbing fern is a highly invasive, exotic weed that climbs 
over plants, including tall trees, to form massive walls of vegetation. 
It also forms thick mats on the ground that smother native plants. New 
infestations can arise great distances from existing populations 
because the weed produces millions of spores that are spread by wind 
and other physical carriers. A single spore is capable of starting a 
new infestation.
    In Florida, the potential distribution of this weed includes all 
habitats from Lake Okeechobee south. It also has the potential to 
invade the Gulf Coast of Mexico and southern Texas.
    On July 1, 2004, we published in the Federal Register (69 FR 39894-
39895, Docket No. 04-040-1) a notice in which we announced the 
availability, for public review and comment, of an environmental 
assessment documenting our review and analysis of environmental impacts 
associated with issuing a permit for the release of the nonindigenous 
moth Cataclysta camptozonale (Hampson) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) as a 
biological control agent of Old World climbing fern in the State of 
Florida. Larvae of the moth feed on the leaves of L. microphyllum for

[[Page 59183]]

approximately 11 to 12 days and older larvae spin a loose web of silk 
on leaves of the weed and pupate. Research suggests that the moth is 
host specific to only a few Lygodium species. Alternatives to issuing 
the permit were also examined in the environmental assessment, and 
included no action, herbicides, mechanical control, and flooding.
    We solicited comments on the environmental assessment for 30 days 
ending on August 2, 2004. We received five comments by that date. Four 
of the commenters supported the recommendations of the environmental 
assessment. The fifth commenter objected to APHIS' performance and 
programs in general, but did not address the environmental assessment. 
Therefore, we are making no changes to the environmental assessment in 
response to this comment.
    The environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact 
may be viewed on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ppq/. In the 
middle of that page, click on ``Document/Forms Retrieval System.'' At 
the next screen, click on the triangle beside ``Permits--Environmental 
Assessments.'' A list of documents will appear; the environmental 
assessment and finding of no significant impact for Old World climbing 
fern are document number 0038. You may request paper copies of the 
environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact by 
calling or writing to the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT. Please refer to the title of the environmental assessment and 
finding of no significant impact when requesting copies. The 
environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact are also 
available for review in our reading room (information on the location 
and hours of the reading room is listed under the heading ADDRESSES at 
the beginning of this notice).
    The environmental assessment and finding of no significant impact 
have been prepared in accordance with: (1) The National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), (2) 
regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality for implementing 
the procedural provisions of NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), (3) USDA 
regulations implementing NEPA (7 CFR part 1), and (4) APHIS' NEPA 
Implementing Procedures (7 CFR part 372).

    Done in Washington, DC, this 28th day of September 2004 .
Elizabeth E. Gaston,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
 [FR Doc. E4-2472 Filed 10-1-04; 8:45 am]
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