[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 248 (Tuesday, December 28, 2010)]
[Notices]
[Pages 81637-81639]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-32666]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-ES-2010-N247; 40120-1113-0000-C2]


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Notice of 
Availability of the St. Andrew Beach Mouse Recovery Plan

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability.

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SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the availability 
of the recovery plan for the St. Andrew beach mouse (Peromyscus 
polionotus peninsularis). The recovery plan includes specific recovery 
objectives and criteria to be met in order to reclassify this species 
to threatened status and delist it under the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (Act).

ADDRESSES: You can obtain copies of the St. Andrew beach mouse recovery 
plan by contacting the Panama City Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 1601 Balboa Avenue, Panama City, FL 32405 (telephone (850) 
769-0552) or by visiting our Web site at http://endangered.fws.gov/recovery/index.html#plans or http://fws.gov/panamacity/.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ben Frater at the above address 
(telephone 850/769-0552, ext. 248; TTY users may contact Mr. Frater 
through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The St. Andrew beach mouse was listed as endangered on December 18, 
1998 (63 FR 70053). The endangered St. Andrew beach mouse is now found 
in two populations: East Crooked Island, Bay County, Florida, and St. 
Joseph Peninsula, Gulf County, Florida.
    The St. Andrew beach mouse inhabits the frontal dunes (which are 
composed of the primary and secondary dunes) and adjacent inland scrub 
dunes within the coastal ecosystem. Beach mice

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require well-developed dune systems in which to live out their life 
cycle. They dig their burrows into the face of the dunes near 
vegetative cover. Their diet is comprised primarily of the seeds and 
fruits of plants within their dune habitat, with insects providing 
seasonal supplements.
    Threats to the St. Andrew beach mouse include habitat loss/
alteration from land development and associated human use, hurricanes 
and other tropical storm events, nonnative predators, and recreational 
activities associated with development and tourism that weaken and 
encroach on the dune ecosystem. Availability of suitable habitat may be 
a limiting factor during periods of population expansion or following 
catastrophic weather events. Due to the species' limited range and 
fragmentation of its habitat, these threats combined continue to 
present a threat to the species' existence.
    Restoring an endangered or threatened animal or plant to the point 
where it is again a secure, self-sustaining member of its ecosystem is 
a primary goal of our endangered species program. To help guide the 
recovery effort, we are preparing recovery plans for most listed 
species. Recovery plans describe actions considered necessary for 
conservation of the species, establish criteria for downlisting or 
delisting, and estimate time and cost for implementing recovery 
measures.
    The Act (16 U.S.C. 1533 et seq.) requires the development of 
recovery plans for listed species, unless such a plan would not promote 
the conservation of a particular species. Section 4(f) of the Act 
requires us to provide a public notice and an opportunity for public 
review and comment during recovery plan development. We made the draft 
St. Andrew beach mouse recovery plan available for public comment from 
April 22, 2009 through June 22, 2009 (74 FR 18403). We considered 
information we received during the public comment period and 
information from peer reviewers in our preparation of this final 
recovery plan. We will forward substantive comments to other Federal 
agencies so that each agency can consider these comments in 
implementing approved recovery plans.

Recovery Plan Components

    The objective of this plan is to provide a framework for the 
recovery of the St. Andrew beach mouse, so that protection under the 
Act is no longer necessary. The plan presents criteria for 
reclassifying and delisting the beach mouse. As these criteria are met, 
the status of the species will be reviewed and it will be considered 
for reclassification or removal from the Federal List of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife.
    The St. Andrew beach mouse will be considered for downlisting to 
threatened status when the following criteria are achieved:
    1. Stable or increasing population trends are maintained at St. 
Joseph Peninsula State Park and East Crooked Island on Tyndall Air 
Force Base over a 10-year period based on data obtained from accepted 
standardized monitoring methods.
    2. An additional viable or self sustaining population is 
reestablished at St. Joe Beach that shows a stable or increasing trend, 
after the initial repopulation of unoccupied habitat, over a 10-year 
period based on data obtained from accepted standardized monitoring 
methods.
    3. At least 87 percent of designated St. Andrew beach mouse 
critical habitat is protected and under a management plan that 
addresses conservation of beach mice. The plans, at a minimum, address 
the following:
    (a) Impact of commercial/residential development and recreational 
use, including that of pedestrians and motorized vehicles, to beach 
mouse habitat.
    (b) Impact of shoreline erosion to beach mouse habitat.
    (c) Impact of artificial lighting on beach mouse habitat.
    (d) Control of feral cats and hogs in beach mouse habitat.
    4. In areas with known populations of beach mice (Tyndall Air Force 
Base's property at East Crooked Island, St. Joseph Peninsula State 
Park, and their respective adjacent private lands), non-native 
predators, including free roaming cats and cat colonies, are controlled 
at levels in which they do not pose a threat to beach mice.
    5. County or local government, within the range of the St. Andrew 
beach mouse, have regulations or other protection mechanisms that:
    (a) Minimize impacts to dunes in beach mouse habitat due to 
recreational use.
    (b) Prohibit free-roaming cats and cat colonies.
    (c) Minimize impacts of commercial and residential developments in 
primary, secondary, and scrub dunes. Measures include minimizing 
footprints; preserving connectivity between primary, secondary and 
scrub dunes; using native landscaping; and constructing boardwalks over 
dunes for beach access.
    (d) Minimize impacts of artificial lighting in beach mouse habitat 
by requiring sea turtle lighting, in areas visible from the beach and 
wildlife lighting, in areas not visible from the beach.
    6. An emergency response plan is prepared to prevent extirpation of 
any population of St. Andrew beach mice from tropical storms/hurricanes 
and other disasters.
    7. If determined to be necessary, an Action Plan is prepared to 
address the potential threat of cross-breeding with Choctawhatchee 
beach mice from West Crooked Island.
    8. House mice are controlled in areas with known populations of 
beach mice at levels in which they do not pose a threat to the 
population(s).
    The St. Andrew beach mouse will be considered for removal from the 
Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife when the following 
criteria are achieved:
    1. Stable or increasing population trends are maintained at St. 
Joseph Peninsula State Park, East Crooked Island on Tyndall Air Force 
Base, and St. Joe Beach over a 20-year period based on data obtained 
from accepted standardized monitoring methods.
    2. An additional viable population is reestablished at Cape San 
Blas, Eglin Air Force Base, and has a stable or increasing population 
trend over a 10-year period based on data obtained from standardized 
monitoring methods.
    3. All designated St. Andrew beach mouse critical habitat on public 
land is protected and under a management plan that addresses 
conservation of beach mice, priority is given to those lands that 
provide connectivity. The plans, at a minimum, manage for the 
following:
    (a) Impact of commercial/residential development and recreational 
use, including that of pedestrians and motorized vehicles, to beach 
mouse habitat.
    (b) Impact of shoreline erosion to beach mouse habitat.
    (c) Impact of artificial lighting on beach mouse habitat.
    (d) Control of feral cats and hogs, including free ranging cats in 
beach mouse habitat.
    4. Within all critical habitat that is protected and under a 
management plan, non-native predators, including free roaming cats and 
cat colonies, are controlled at levels in which they do not pose a 
threat to beach mice.
    5. County or local government regulations or other protection 
mechanisms as set forth in the downlisting criteria have adequate 
compliance and enforcement.
    6. House mice continue to be deemed a minimal or no threat to St. 
Andrew beach mouse populations.

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Authority

    The authority for this action is section 4(f) of the Endangered 
Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(f).

    Dated: October 25, 2010.
Mark J. Musaus,
Acting Regional Director, Southeast Region.
[FR Doc. 2010-32666 Filed 12-27-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P