[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 30 (Wednesday, February 13, 2013)]
[Pages 10202-10203]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-03287]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-ES-2013-N032; FXES11120400000-134-FF04EF2000]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Receipt of an 
Application for an Incidental Take Permit; Availability of Proposed 
Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan; Martin County, FL

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comment/information.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of an incidental take permit (ITP) application and a 
Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). SP Behavioral, LLC (the applicant) 
requests an ITP under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended 
(Act). The applicant anticipates taking about 2.99 acres of foraging, 
breeding, and sheltering habitat used by the Florida scrub-jay 
(Aphelocoma coerulescens) (scrub-jay), Eastern indigo snake (Drymarchon 
courais cooperii) (indigo snake), and gopher tortoise (Gopherus 
polyphemus), incidental to land preparation and for the construction of 
the Sandy Pines Residential Treatment Center Addition in Martin County, 
Florida. The applicant's HCP describes the minimization and mitigation 
measures proposed to address the effects of the project on the covered 

DATES: We must receive your written comments on the ITP application and 
HCP on or before March 15, 2013.

information on how to submit your comments on the ITP application and 
HCP. You may obtain a copy of the ITP application and HCP by writing 
the South Florida Ecological Services Office, Attn: Permit number 
TE95653A-0, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1339 20th Street, Vero 
Beach, FL 32960-3559. In addition, we will make the ITP application and 
HCP available for public inspection by appointment during normal 
business hours at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Elizabeth Landrum, Fish and 
Wildlife Biologist, South Florida Ecological Services Office (see 
ADDRESSES); telephone: 772-469-4304.


Submitting Comments

    If you wish to comment on the ITP application and HCP, you may 
submit comments by any one of the following methods:
    Email: [email protected]. Use Attn: Permit number 
``TE95653A-0'' as your message subject line.
    Fax: Elizabeth Landrum, 772-562-4288, Attn.: Permit number 
    U.S. mail: Elizabeth Landrum, South Florida Ecological Services 
Field Office, Attn: Permit number ``TE95653A-0,'' U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 1339 20th Street, Vero Beach, FL 32960-3559.
    In-person drop-off: You may drop off comments or request 
information during regular business hours at the above office address.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comments, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
request in your comments that your personal identifying information be 
withheld from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able 
to do so.

Applicant's Proposed Project

    We received an application from the applicant for an incidental 
take permit, along with a proposed habitat conservation plan. The 
applicant requests a 15-year permit under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the 
Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). If we approve the permit, the applicant 
anticipates taking a total of approximately 2.99 acres of scrub-jay, 
indigo snake, and gopher tortoise breeding, feeding, and sheltering 
habitat, incidental to land preparation and construction of additional 
residential and educational facilities, installation of associated 
infrastructure, construction of courtyards for recreation, expansion of 
the parking area and storm water management facility, and construction 
of a stabilized service road, in Martin County, Florida. Construction 
activities associated with the project will take place within Section 
24, Township 40S, Range 42E, Martin County, Florida.
    The applicant proposes to mitigate for impacts by one of the three 
following methods: (1) Establish and manage in perpetuity a 6-acre on-
site conservation area; (2) establish and manage in perpetuity a 4.54-
acre on-site conservation area and contribute $53,375 to the Florida 
Scrub-jay Conservation Program Fund; or (3) contribute $219,348 to the 
Florida Scrub-jay Conservation Program Fund. The Service listed the 
scrub-jay as threatened in 1987 (June 3, 1987; 52 FR 20715), effective 
July 6, 1987. The Service listed the indigo snake as threatened in 1978 
(January 31, 1978; 43 FR 4028), effective March 3, 1978. The Service 
identified the gopher tortoise as a candidate species in the eastern 
portion of its range in 2011 (July 27, 2011; 76 FR 45130) and 
determined that listing this species as threatened was warranted but 
precluded by higher priority listing actions.

Our Preliminary Determination

    The Service has made a preliminary determination that the 
applicant's project, including the mitigation measures, will 
individually and cumulatively have a minor or negligible effect on the 
species covered in the HCP. Therefore, issuance of the ITP is a ``low-
effect'' project and qualifies as a categorical exclusion under the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as provided by the Department 
of the Interior Manual (516 DM 2 Appendix 1

[[Page 10203]]

and 516 DM 6 Appendix 1). We base our preliminary determination that 
issuance of the ITP qualifies as a low-effect action on the following 
three criteria: (1) Implementation of the project would result in minor 
or negligible effects on federally listed, proposed, and candidate 
species and their habitats; (2) Implementation of the project would 
result in minor or negligible effects on other environmental values or 
resources; and (3) Impacts of the project, considered together with the 
impacts of other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable similarly 
situated projects, would not result, over time, in cumulative effects 
to environmental values or resources that would be considered 
significant. This preliminary determination may be revised based on our 
review of public comments that we receive in response to this notice.

Next Steps

    The Service will evaluate the HCP and comments submitted thereon to 
determine whether the application meets the requirements of section 
10(a) of the Act. The Service 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. The results of this 
consultation, in combination with the above findings, will be used in 
the final analysis to determine whether or not to issue the ITP. If it 
is determined that the requirements of the Act are met, the ITP will be 

    We provide this notice under Section 10 of the Endangered Species 
Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: February 6, 2013.
Larry Williams,
Field Supervisor, South Florida Ecological Services Office.
[FR Doc. 2013-03287 Filed 2-12-13; 8:45 am]