[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 57 (Monday, March 25, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 17999-18082]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-06458]



[[Page 17999]]

Vol. 78

Monday,

No. 57

March 25, 2013

Part II





Department of the Interior





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 Fish and Wildlife Service





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50 CFR Part 17





 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical 
Habitat for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean Distinct Population Segment of 
the Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta); Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 78 , No. 57 / Monday, March 25, 2013 / 
Proposed Rules

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[FWS-R4-ES-2012-0103; 4500030114]
RIN 1018-AY71


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of 
Critical Habitat for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean Distinct Population 
Segment of the Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, propose to designate 
specific areas in the terrestrial environment as critical habitat for 
the Northwest Atlantic Ocean Distinct Population Segment of the 
loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) under the Endangered Species 
Act (Act). The proposed critical habitat is located in coastal counties 
in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and 
Mississippi. The intended effect of this regulation is to assist with 
the conservation of the loggerhead sea turtle's habitat under the Act.

DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before May 
24, 2013. Comments submitted electronically using the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES section, below) must be received by 
11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date. We must receive requests 
for public hearings, in writing, at the address shown in ADDRESSES by 
May 9, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
    (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-
2012-0103, which is the docket number for this rulemaking. Then, in the 
Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type 
heading, click on the Proposed Rules link to locate this document. You 
may submit a comment by clicking on ``Comment Now!''
    (2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public 
Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R4-ES-2012-0103; Division of Policy and 
Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax 
Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
    We request that you send comments only by the methods described 
above. We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This 
generally means that we will post any personal information you provide 
us (see the Information Requested section below for more information).
    The coordinates or plot points or both from which the maps are 
generated are included in the supporting record for this critical 
habitat designation and are available at http://www.fws.gov/northflorida, http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2012-
0103, and at the North Florida Ecological Services Office (see FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Any additional tools or supporting 
information that we may develop for this critical habitat designation 
will also be available at the Fish and Wildlife Service Web site and 
Field Office set out above, and may also be included in the preamble 
and/or at http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dawn P. Jennings, Deputy Field 
Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, North Florida Ecological 
Services Office, 7915 Baymeadows Way, Suite 200, Jacksonville, FL 
32256; telephone 904-731-3336. If you use a telecommunications device 
for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) 
at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Executive Summary

    Why we need to publish a rule. Under the Endangered Species Act 
(Act), critical habitat must be designated for any endangered or 
threatened species, to the maximum extent prudent and determinable. 
Designations of critical habitat can only be completed through 
rulemaking. This is a proposed rule by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (USFWS) to designate specific areas in the terrestrial 
environment as critical habitat for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean 
Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of the loggerhead sea turtle. The 
National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is reviewing specific areas in 
the marine environment as potential critical habitat for the DPS and, 
consistent with their distinct authority with respect to such areas, 
may propose to designate such areas in a separate rulemaking. A 
critical habitat designation does not signal that habitat outside the 
designated area is unimportant or may not be needed for recovery of the 
species. Areas that are important to the conservation of the species, 
both inside and outside the critical habitat designation, may continue 
to be the subject of conservation actions implemented under section 
7(a)(1) of the Act, and the species in those areas are subject to the 
regulatory protections afforded by the requirement in section 7(a)(2) 
of the Act for Federal agencies to ensure their actions are not likely 
to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened 
species, and section 9 of the Act's prohibitions on taking any 
individual of the species, including taking caused by actions that 
affect habitat.
    The purpose of this rule. We are proposing to designate specific 
areas in the terrestrial environment as critical habitat for the 
Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS of the loggerhead sea turtle.
    The basis for our action. Section 4(b)(2) of the Act states that 
the Secretary shall designate and make revisions to critical habitat on 
the basis of the best available scientific data after taking into 
consideration the economic impact, national security impact, and any 
other relevant impact of specifying any particular area as critical 
habitat. The Secretary may exclude a particular area from critical 
habitat if he determines that the benefits of such exclusion outweigh 
the benefits of specifying such area as part of the critical habitat, 
unless he determines, based on the best scientific data available, that 
the failure to designate such area as critical habitat will result in 
the extinction of the species.

Description of Proposed Critical Habitat

     In total, 1,189.9 kilometers (km) (739.3 miles) of 
loggerhead sea turtle nesting beaches are being proposed for 
designation as critical habitat in the States of North Carolina, South 
Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. These beaches 
account for 48 percent of an estimated 2,464 km (1,531 miles) of 
coastal beach shoreline, and account for approximately 84 percent of 
the documented nesting (numbers of nests) within these six States. The 
proposed critical habitat is located in Brunswick, Carteret, New 
Hanover, Onslow, and Pender Counties, North Carolina; Beaufort, 
Charleston, Colleton, and Georgetown Counties, South Carolina; Camden, 
Chatham, Liberty, and McIntosh Counties, Georgia; Bay, Brevard, 
Broward, Charlotte, Collier, Duval, Escambia, Flagler, Franklin Gulf, 
Indian River, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Monroe, Palm Beach, Sarasota, St. 
Johns, St. Lucie, and Volusia Counties, Florida; Baldwin County, 
Alabama; and Jackson County, Mississippi.
     The proposed critical habitat has been identified by the 
recovery unit in which they are located. Recovery units are management 
subunits of a listed entity that are geographically or otherwise 
identifiable and essential to

[[Page 18001]]

the recovery of the listed entity. Within the United States, four 
recovery units have been identified for the Northwest Atlantic 
population of the loggerhead sea turtle. The four recovery units for 
which we propose to designate terrestrial critical habitat are the 
Northern Recovery Unit, Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit, Dry Tortugas 
Recovery Unit, and Northern Gulf of Mexico Recovery Unit.
     For the Northern Recovery Unit, we propose to designate 
393.7 km (244.7 miles) of Atlantic Ocean shoreline in North Carolina, 
South Carolina, and Georgia, encompassing approximately 86 percent of 
the documented nesting (numbers of nests) within the recovery unit. For 
the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit, we propose to designate 364.9 km 
(226.7 miles) of Atlantic Ocean shoreline and 198.8 km (123.5 miles) of 
Gulf of Mexico shoreline totaling 563.7 km (350.2 miles) of shoreline 
in Florida, encompassing approximately 87 percent of the documented 
nesting (numbers of nests) within the recovery unit. For the Dry 
Tortugas Recovery Unit, we propose to designate 14.5 km (9.0 miles) of 
Gulf of Mexico shoreline in Florida, encompassing 100 percent of the 
nesting (numbers of nests) where loggerhead nesting is known to occur 
within the recovery unit. For the Northern Gulf of Mexico Recovery 
Unit, we propose to designate 218.0 km (135.5 miles) of Gulf of Mexico 
shoreline in Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle, 
encompassing approximately 75 percent of the documented nesting 
(numbers of nests) within the recovery unit. We do not propose to 
designate any critical habitat in Virginia, Louisiana, and Texas 
because of the very low number of nests (less than 10 annually in each 
State from 2002 to 2011) known to be laid in these States.
     The proposed designation includes occupied critical 
habitat that contains the physical and biological features essential to 
the conservation of the species in the terrestrial environment. No 
unoccupied habitat is being proposed as critical habitat.
     We are exempting the following Department of Defense 
installations from critical habitat designation because their 
Integrated Natural Resources Management Plans (INRMPs) incorporate 
measures that provide a benefit for the conservation of the loggerhead 
sea turtle: Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune (Onslow Beach), Cape 
Canaveral Air Force Station, Patrick Air Force Base, and Eglin Air 
Force Base (Cape San Blas).
     Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we are considering 
excluding from critical habitat designation areas in St. Johns, 
Volusia, and Indian River Counties, Florida, that are covered under 
habitat conservation plans (HCP), because the HCPs incorporate measures 
that provide a benefit for the conservation of the loggerhead sea 
turtle.
     We are not considering for exclusion any additional areas 
from critical habitat based on economic, national security, or other 
relevant impacts at this time. However, we are seeking comments on 
economic, national security, and other relevant impacts, and may decide 
to exclude additional areas from the final rule based on information 
received during the public comment period.
     Nesting loggerhead turtles, their nests, eggs, and 
hatchlings, as well as any of their nesting habitat not designated as 
critical habitat, are still protected under the Act via section 7 where 
they may be the subject of conservation actions and regulatory 
protection ensuring Federal agency actions do not jeopardize their 
continued existence and section 9 that prohibits the taking of any 
individual of a species, including taking caused by actions that affect 
its habitat.
    We are preparing an economic analysis of the proposed designations 
of terrestrial critical habitat. In order to consider economic impacts, 
we are preparing an economic analysis of the proposed critical habitat 
designation. We will announce the availability of the draft economic 
analysis as soon as it is completed, at which time we will seek 
additional public review and comment.
    We will seek peer review during public comment. As part of the 
public notice, we are seeking comments from independent specialists to 
ensure that our proposal to designate critical habitat is based on 
scientifically sound data and analyses. We have invited these peer 
reviewers to comment on our specific assumptions and conclusions in 
this critical habitat proposal. Because we will consider all comments 
and information received during the comment period, our final 
determinations may differ from this proposal.

Information Requested

    We intend that any final action resulting from this proposed rule 
will be based on the best scientific data available and be as accurate 
and as effective as possible. Therefore, we request comments or 
information from other concerned government agencies, the scientific 
community, industry, or any other interested party concerning this 
proposed rule. We particularly seek comments concerning:
    (1) The reasons whether it would or would not be prudent to 
designate habitat as ``critical habitat'' under section 4 of the Act, 
including whether there are threats to the species from human activity, 
the degree of which can be expected to increase due to the designation, 
and whether that increase in threat outweighs the benefit of 
designation such that the designation of critical habitat may not be 
prudent.
    (2) Specific information on:
    (a) The amount and distribution of loggerhead sea turtle 
terrestrial habitat,
    (b) Which areas, that were occupied at the time of listing (or are 
currently occupied) and that contain features essential to the 
conservation of the species, should be included in the designation and 
why,
    (c) Special management considerations or protection that may be 
needed for the nesting beach habitat in critical habitat areas we are 
proposing, including managing for the potential effects of climate 
change, and
    (d) Which areas not occupied at the time of listing are essential 
for the conservation of the species and why.
    (3) Land use designations and current or planned activities in the 
subject areas and their possible impacts on proposed critical habitat.
    (4) Information on the projected and reasonably likely impacts of 
climate change on the loggerhead sea turtle and proposed terrestrial 
critical habitat.
    (5) Any probable economic, national security, or other relevant 
impacts of designating any area that may be included in the final 
designation; in particular, any impacts on small entities or families, 
and the benefits of including or excluding areas that exhibit these 
impacts.
    (6) Whether any of the exemptions we are considering, under section 
4(a)(3)(B) of the Act, of land on Department of Defense property at 
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune (Onslow Beach), Cape Canaveral Air Force 
Station, Patrick Air Force Base, and Eglin Air Force Base (Cape San 
Blas) are or are not appropriate, and why.
    (7) Whether any of the areas we are considering for exclusion under 
section 4(b)(2) of the Act in St. Johns, Volusia, and Indian River 
Counties, Florida, because they are covered by an HCP that incorporates 
measures that provide a benefit for the conservation of the loggerhead 
sea turtle, are or are not appropriate, and why. The St. Johns County, 
Florida, Habitat Conservation Plan (``A Plan for the Protection of Sea 
Turtles and Anastasia Island Beach Mice on the Beaches of St. Johns 
County, Florida'') is available at http://www.co.st-johns.fl.us/HCP/

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HabitatConservation.aspx, the Volusia County, Florida, Habitat 
Conservation Plan (``A Plan for the Protection of Sea Turtles on the 
Beaches of Volusia County, Florida'') is available at http://www.volusia.org/core/fileparse.php/4145/urlt/VolusiaHCPDec2007small2.pdf, and the Indian River County, Florida, 
Habitat Conservation Plan (``Habitat Conservation Plan for the 
Protection of Sea Turtles on the Eroding Beaches of Indian River 
County, Florida'') is available at http://www.ecological-associates.com/IRC-Final-HCP-July-2003.pdf.
    (8) Whether we could improve or modify our approach to designating 
critical habitat in any way to provide for greater public participation 
and understanding, or to better accommodate public concerns and 
comments.
    You may submit your comments and materials concerning this proposed 
rule by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. We request that you 
send comments only by the methods described in the ADDRESSES section.
    We will post your entire comment--including your personal 
identifying information--on http://www.regulations.gov. You may request 
at the top of your document that we withhold personal information such 
as your street address, phone number, or email address from public 
review; however, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
    Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting 
documentation we used in preparing this proposed rule, will be 
available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, or by 
appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, North Florida Ecological Services Office (see FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

Previous Federal Actions

    The loggerhead sea turtle was originally listed worldwide under the 
Act as a threatened species on July 28, 1978 (43 FR 32800). No critical 
habitat was designated for the loggerhead at that time. Pursuant to a 
joint memorandum of understanding, USFWS has jurisdiction over sea 
turtles in the terrestrial environment and NMFS has jurisdiction over 
sea turtles in the marine environment. On July 16, 2007, USFWS and NMFS 
(collectively the Services) received a petition to list the North 
Pacific populations of the loggerhead sea turtle as an endangered 
species under the Act. NMFS published a notice in the Federal Register 
on November 16, 2007 (72 FR 64585), concluding that the petition 
presented substantial scientific information indicating that the 
petitioned action may be warranted. On November 15, 2007, we received a 
petition to list the Western North Atlantic populations of the 
loggerhead sea turtle as an endangered species under the Act. NMFS 
published a notice in the Federal Register on March 5, 2008 (73 FR 
11849), concluding that the petition presented substantial scientific 
information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted.
    On March 12, 2009, the petitioners (Center for Biological Diversity 
(CBD), Turtle Island Restoration Network, and Oceana) sent a 60-day 
notice of intent to sue to USFWS and NMFS for failure to make 12-month 
findings on the petitions by the statutory deadlines (July 16, 2008, 
for the North Pacific petition and November 16, 2008, for the Northwest 
Atlantic petition). On May 28, 2009, the petitioners filed a Complaint 
for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief to compel the Services to 
complete the 12-month findings. On October 8, 2009, the petitioners and 
the Services reached a settlement in which the Services agreed to 
submit to the Federal Register a 12-month finding on the two petitions 
on or before February 19, 2010. On February 16, 2010, the United States 
District Court for the Northern District of California modified the 
February 19, 2010, deadline to March 8, 2010.
    On March 16, 2010 (75 FR 12598), the Services published in the 
Federal Register combined 12-month findings on the petitions to list 
the North Pacific populations and the Northwest Atlantic populations of 
the loggerhead sea turtle as endangered DPSs, along with a proposed 
rule to designate nine loggerhead sea turtle DPSs worldwide and to list 
two of the DPSs as threatened species and seven as endangered species.
    On March 22, 2011 (76 FR 15932), the Services published in the 
Federal Register a notice announcing a 6-month extension of the 
deadline for a final listing decision to address substantial 
disagreement on the interpretation of data related to the status and 
trends for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS of the loggerhead sea 
turtle and its relevance to the assessment of risk of extinction.
    On September 22, 2011 (76 FR 58868), the Services jointly published 
a final rule revising the loggerhead's listing from a single worldwide 
threatened species to nine DPSs listed as either endangered or 
threatened species (50 CFR 17.11(h)). At that time, we lacked the 
comprehensive data and information necessary to identify and describe 
physical and biological features of the terrestrial and marine habitats 
of the loggerhead and found critical habitat to be ``not 
determinable.'' However, we stated that we would later propose to 
designate critical habitat for the two DPSs (Northwest Atlantic Ocean 
and North Pacific Ocean) in which loggerheads occur within the United 
States' jurisdiction. USFWS has jurisdiction over sea turtles on the 
land, and loggerheads come on land only to nest; therefore, the only 
terrestrial habitat they use is for nesting. Since no loggerhead 
nesting occurs within U.S. jurisdiction for the North Pacific Ocean 
DPS, no critical habitat is being proposed for that DPS in the 
terrestrial environment. Because critical habitat can only be 
designated in areas under U.S. jurisdiction (50 CFR 424.12(h)) and 
because loggerhead sea turtle nesting in the United States occurs only 
within the Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS, we are only proposing to 
designate specific areas in the terrestrial environment as critical 
habitat for this one DPS. The petitioners filed a notice of intent to 
sue on October 11, 2012, and a complaint for declaratory and injunctive 
relief on January 8, 2013, to both USFWS and NMFS for failure to 
designate critical habitat.

Background

    It is our intent to discuss only those topics directly relevant to 
the designation of terrestrial critical habitat for the loggerhead sea 
turtle in this proposed rule. For more information on the taxonomy, 
biology, and ecology of the loggerhead sea turtle, refer to the final 
listing rule published in the Federal Register on September 22, 2011 
(76 FR 58868), and the Recovery Plan for the Northwest Atlantic 
Population of the Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) finalized on 
December 31, 2008 (NMFS and USFWS 2008, entire), which are available 
from the North Florida Ecological Services Office (see FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT).

Species Description

    The loggerhead sea turtle belongs to the family Cheloniidae along 
with all other sea turtle species except the leatherback (Dermochelys 
coriacea). The genus Caretta is monotypic (one representative in the 
group). The loggerhead sea turtle is characterized by a large head with 
blunt jaws. The carapace (shell) of adult and juvenile loggerheads is 
reddish-brown. Dorsal (top) and lateral (side) head scales and dorsal 
scales of the flippers are also reddish-brown, but with light to medium 
yellow margins. Mean straight carapace length (SCL) of nesting females

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in the southeastern United States, the location where the vast majority 
of loggerheads nest in the United States, is approximately 92 
centimeters (cm) (36 inches (in)); corresponding weight is 
approximately 116 kilograms (kg) (256 pounds (lb)) (Ehrhart and Yoder 
1978, p. 29). Hatchlings vary from light to dark brown to dark gray 
dorsally and lack the reddish-brown coloration of adults and juveniles. 
Flippers are dark gray to brown above with distinct white margins. At 
emergence, hatchlings average 45 millimeters (mm) (1.8 in) SCL and 
weigh approximately 20 grams (g) (0.7 ounces (oz)) (Dodd 1988, pp. 50, 
52).

Life History and Habitat

    Loggerheads are long-lived, slow-growing animals that use multiple 
habitats across entire ocean basins throughout their life history. This 
complex life history encompasses terrestrial, nearshore, and open ocean 
habitats. The three basic ecosystems in which loggerheads live are the 
following:
    1. Terrestrial zone (supralittoral [area above the spring high tide 
line that is regularly splashed, but not submerged by ocean water])--
the nesting beach where both oviposition (egg laying) and embryonic 
development and hatching occur.
    2. Neritic zone--the nearshore marine environment (from the surface 
to the sea floor) where water depths do not exceed 200 meters (m) (656 
feet (ft)). The neritic zone generally includes the continental shelf 
(the sea bed surrounding a continent), but in areas where the 
continental shelf is very narrow or nonexistent, the neritic zone 
conventionally extends from the shore to areas where water depths reach 
200 m (656 ft).
    3. Oceanic zone--the vast open ocean environment (from the surface 
to the sea floor) where water depths are greater than 200 m (656 ft).
    The loggerhead occurs throughout the temperate and tropical regions 
of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans (Dodd 1988, p. 16). 
However, the majority of loggerhead nesting is at the western rims of 
the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The most recent reviews show that only 
two loggerhead nesting aggregations have greater than 10,000 females 
nesting per year: Peninsular Florida, United States, and Masirah 
Island, Oman (Baldwin et al. 2003, p. 219; Ehrhart et al. 2003, p. 169; 
Kamezaki et al. 2003, pp. 213-214; Limpus and Limpus, 2003, p. 200; 
Margaritoulis et al. 2003, p. 177). Thus, loggerhead nesting within the 
Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS is 
significant for the conservation of loggerheads worldwide. From a 
global perspective, this U.S. nesting aggregation is of paramount 
importance to the survival of the species as is the population that 
nests on islands in the Arabian Sea off Oman. The loggerhead nesting 
aggregations in Oman and the United States account for the majority of 
nesting worldwide.
    Nesting aggregations with 1,000 to 9,999 females nesting annually 
include Georgia through North Carolina (United States), Quintana Roo 
and Yucatan (Mexico), Brazil, Cape Verde Islands (Cape Verde), Western 
Australia (Australia), and Japan. Smaller nesting aggregations with 100 
to 999 nesting females annually occur in the Northern Gulf of Mexico 
(United States), Dry Tortugas (United States), Cay Sal Bank (The 
Bahamas), Tongaland (South Africa), Mozambique, Arabian Sea Coast 
(Oman), Halaniyat Islands (Oman), Cyprus, Peloponnesus (Greece), 
Zakynthos (Greece), Crete (Greece), Turkey, and Queensland (Australia) 
(NMFS and USFWS 2008, p. I-3).
    In the Northwest Atlantic, the majority of loggerhead nesting is 
concentrated along the coast of the United States from North Carolina 
through Mississippi, although a small amount of nesting also occurs 
regularly in Virginia, Louisiana, Texas, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 
Additional nesting beaches are found along the eastern Mexico coast, 
particularly the eastern Yucatan Peninsula coast; in The Bahamas; in 
Cuba; and along the coasts of Central America, Colombia, Venezuela, and 
some of the eastern Caribbean Islands (Addison and Morford 1996, pp. 
32-35; Addison 1997, entire; Ehrhart et al. 2003, p. 160). As post-
hatchlings, Northwest Atlantic loggerheads use the North Atlantic Gyre 
and enter Northeast Atlantic waters (Carr 1987, pp. 111-118). They are 
also found in the Mediterranean Sea (Carreras et al. 2006, p. 1274; 
Eckert et al. 2008, pp. 305-306). In these areas, they overlap with 
other loggerheads originating from the Northeast Atlantic and the 
Mediterranean Sea (Laurent et al. 1993, p. 1234; Bolten et al. 1998, 
pp. 3-5; Laurent et al. 1998, pp. 1535-1537; LaCasella et al. 2005, 
entire; Carreras et al. 2006, p. 1274; Monz[oacute]n-Arg[uuml]ello et 
al. 2006, entire; Revelles et al. 2007, pp. 268-269; Eckert et al. 
2008, pp. 305-306; Monz[oacute]n-Arg[uuml]ello et al. 2010, p. 1878).
    Sea turtles spend the majority of their lives in the ocean. 
However, they are intimately tied to the land where they must lay their 
nests. Loggerheads nest on ocean beaches and occasionally on estuarine 
shorelines. Sea turtle eggs require a high-humidity substrate that 
allows for sufficient gas exchange and temperatures conducive to egg 
development (Miller 1997, pp. 67-68; Miller et al. 2003, pp. 129-130). 
Loggerhead nests incubate for variable periods of time depending on 
sand temperatures (Mrosovsky and Yntema 1980, p. 272). Hatchlings 
emerge from their nests en masse almost exclusively at night 
(Hendrickson 1958, pp. 513-514; Mrosovsky 1968, entire; Witherington et 
al. 1990, pp. 1166-1167; Moran et al. 1999, p. 260), although secondary 
emergences from nests may occur on subsequent nights (Carr and Ogren 
1960, p. 23; Witherington 1986, p. 36; Ernest and Martin 1993, pp.10-
11; Houghton and Hays 2001, p. 134). Hatchlings then use a progression 
of seafinding orientation cues to guide their movement from the nest to 
the marine environments where they spend their early years (Lohmann and 
Lohmann 2003, entire).
    In the Northwest Atlantic, the nesting season extends from about 
late April through early September with nesting occurring primarily at 
night. Clutch frequency for loggerheads has been reported as 3 to 5.5 
nests per female per season (Murphy and Hopkins 1984, p. 10; Frazer and 
Richardson 1985, p. 248; Hawkes et al. 2005, pp. 68, 70; Scott 2006, 
pp. 51, 70; Tucker 2008, pers. comm.; L. Ehrhart, University of Central 
Florida, unpublished data). Nests are laid at intervals of 
approximately 12 to 15 days (Caldwell 1962, pp. 294-295; Dodd 1988, p. 
36). Mean clutch size varies from about 100 to 126 eggs (Dodd 1988, p. 
40). Egg incubation duration varies depending on time of year and 
latitude but typically ranges from about 42 to 75 days (Dodd and 
Mackinnon 2006, pp. 7, 19; Witherington 2006, pers. comm.; Dodd and 
Mackinnon 2007, pp. 7, 17; Dodd and Mackinnon 2008, pp. 7, 17; Dodd and 
Mackinnon 2009, p. 14; Dodd and Mackinnon 2010, p. 15; Dodd 2011, p. 
15). Remigration intervals (number of years between successive nesting 
migrations) typically range from 2.5 to 3.7 years (Richardson et al. 
1978, pp. 40-42; Bjorndal et al. 1983, pp. 68-70; L. Ehrhart, 
University of Central Florida, unpublished data). Age at sexual 
maturity is believed to be about 32 to 35 years (NMFS and USFWS 2008, 
pp. I-18, V-13).
    Immediately after hatchlings emerge from the nest, they begin a 
period of frenzied activity. During this active period, hatchlings move 
from their nest to the surf, swim and are swept through the surf zone, 
and continue swimming away from land for approximately 20 to 30 hours 
(Carr and Ogren 1960, pp. 23-

[[Page 18004]]

24; Carr 1962, pp. 364-365; Carr 1982, p. 22; Wyneken and Salmon 1992, 
p. 482; Witherington 1995, p. 154). Hatchlings swimming from land rely 
on an approximately 5-day store of energy and nutrients within their 
retained yolk sac (Kraemer and Bennett 1981, pp. 407-409). Orientation 
cues used by hatchlings as they crawl, swim through the surf, and 
migrate offshore are discussed in detail by Lohmann and Lohmann (2003, 
entire) and include visual cues on the beach, wave orientation in the 
nearshore, and later magnetic field orientation as they proceed further 
toward open water.
    Post-hatchling sea turtles are young turtles that have matured to 
the point beyond the period of frenzied swimming (Wyneken and Salmon 
1992, p. 478). Post-hatchling loggerheads are largely inactive, exhibit 
infrequent low-energy swimming, and have begun to feed, no longer 
relying on their retained yolk (Witherington 2002, p. 850). As post-
hatchlings, loggerheads are pelagic (spend time more at the surface 
than sea bottom) and are best known from neritic waters along the 
continental shelf. They often inhabit areas where surface waters 
converge to form downwellings, which are associated with linear 
accumulations of floating material like Sargassum (Witherington 2002, 
p. 844). This neritic post-hatchling stage is weeks or months long and 
may be a transition to the oceanic stage that loggerheads enter as they 
grow and are carried by ocean currents (Witherington 2002, p. 850; 
Bolten 2003, p. 65). Bolten (2003, p. 65) notes that the post-hatchling 
transition stage occurs in the neritic environment, and ends when the 
small turtles enter the oceanic zone.
    The oceanic juvenile stage begins when loggerheads first enter the 
oceanic zone (Bolten 2003, p. 66). Juvenile loggerheads originating 
from nesting beaches in the Northwest Atlantic appear to use oceanic 
developmental habitats and move with the predominant ocean gyres for 
several years before returning to their neritic foraging and nesting 
habitats (Musick and Limpus 1997, pp. 140-142; Bolten 2003, p. 66). The 
presence of Sargassum is also important for the oceanic juvenile life 
stage, as it offers a concentrated, protected foraging area, with 
facilitated dispersal by the associated oceanic currents. Turtles in 
this stage use active and passive movements relative to oceanic 
currents and winds, with 75 percent of their time spent in the top 5 m 
(16 ft) of the water column (Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle 
Research, unpublished data, as cited in NMFS and USFWS 2008, p. I-24).
    The actual duration of the oceanic juvenile stage varies, with the 
size of loggerheads leaving the oceanic zone varying widely (Bjorndal 
et al. 2000, pp. 270-271). In the Atlantic, Bjorndal and colleagues 
(Bjorndal et al. 2000, p. 270; Bjorndal et al. 2003, p. 1246) estimated 
the duration of the oceanic juvenile stage to be between 7 and 11.5 
years, with juveniles recruiting to neritic habitats in the western 
Atlantic over a size range of 46-64 cm (18-25 in) CCL (Bolten et al. 
1993, p. 50; Turtle Expert Working Group 2009, p. 2). However, Snover 
(2002, p. 66) suggests a much longer oceanic juvenile stage duration 
for Northwest Atlantic loggerheads with a range of 9-24 years and a 
mean of 14.8 years over similar size classes.
    The neritic juvenile stage begins when loggerheads exit the oceanic 
zone and enter the neritic zone (Bolten 2003, p. 66). After migrating 
to the neritic zone, juvenile loggerheads continue maturing until they 
reach adulthood. Some juveniles may periodically move between neritic 
and oceanic zones (Witzell 2002, p. 267; Bolten 2003, p. 66; Morreale 
and Standora 2005, p. 874; Mansfield 2006, p. 124; McClellan and Read 
2007, pp. 592-593; Eckert et al. 2008, p. 306).
    The neritic zone also provides important foraging habitat, 
internesting (between nest-laying events) habitat, breeding habitat, 
overwintering habitat, and migratory habitat for adult loggerheads. 
Some adults may also periodically move between neritic and oceanic 
zones (Harrison and Bjorndal 2006, pp. 220-221). See Schroeder et al. 
(2003, pp. 119-122) for a review of the neritic adult life stage for 
the Atlantic Ocean.
    The duration of the adult stage can be estimated for females from 
tag return data at nesting beaches. For the Northwest Atlantic nesting 
assemblages, data from Little Cumberland Island, Georgia, show 
reproductive longevity, and hence duration of the adult female stage, 
as long as 25 years (Dahlen et al. 2000, p. 62). This is likely an 
underestimate of the average reproductive life span given tag loss and 
incomplete surveys of nesting beaches at night. Comparable data for 
adult males do not exist.
    In both oceanic and neritic zones, loggerheads are primarily 
carnivorous, although they do consume some plant matter as well (see 
Bjorndal 1997, pp. 202-204, and Dodd 1988, pp. 60-66, for reviews). 
Loggerheads feed on a wide variety of food items with ontogenetic 
(developmental) and regional differences in diet. Loggerhead diets have 
been described from just a few coastal regions, and little information 
is available about differences or similarities in diet at various life 
stages.

Recovery Units

    Five recovery units (management subunits of a listed entity that 
are geographically or otherwise identifiable and essential to the 
recovery of the listed entity) have been identified for the Northwest 
Atlantic population of the loggerhead sea turtle (NMFS and USFWS 2008, 
pp. II-2-II-6). Four of these recovery units represent nesting 
assemblages in the southeastern United States and were delineated based 
on genetic differences and a combination of geographic distribution of 
nesting densities, geographic separation, and geopolitical boundaries. 
The fifth recovery unit includes all other nesting assemblages within 
the Northwest Atlantic.
    The five recovery units for Northwest Atlantic loggerheads are:
    Northern Recovery Unit: The Northern Recovery Unit is defined as 
loggerheads originating from nesting beaches from southern Virginia 
(the northern extent of the U.S. nesting range) south through the 
Florida-Georgia border.
    Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit: The Peninsular Florida Recovery 
Unit is defined as loggerheads originating from nesting beaches from 
the Florida-Georgia border south through Pinellas County on the west 
coast of Florida, excluding the islands west of Key West, Florida.
    Dry Tortugas Recovery Unit: The Dry Tortugas Recovery Unit is 
defined as loggerheads originating from nesting beaches throughout the 
islands located west of Key West, Florida, because these islands are 
geographically separated from other recovery units.
    Northern Gulf of Mexico Recovery Unit: The Northern Gulf of Mexico 
Recovery Unit is defined as loggerheads originating from nesting 
beaches from Franklin County on the northwest Gulf coast of Florida 
through Texas (the western extent of the U.S. nesting range).
    Greater Caribbean Recovery Unit: The Greater Caribbean Recovery 
Unit is composed of loggerheads originating from all other nesting 
assemblages within the Greater Caribbean (Mexico through French Guiana, 
The Bahamas, Lesser Antilles, and Greater Antilles).

Critical Habitat

Background

    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the Act as:
    (1) The specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the 
species, at the time it is listed in

[[Page 18005]]

accordance with the Act, on which are found those physical or 
biological features
    (a) Essential to the conservation of the species and
    (b) Which may require special management considerations or 
protection; and
    (2) Specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the 
species at the time it is listed, upon a determination that such areas 
are essential for the conservation of the species.
    Conservation, as defined under section 3 of the Act, means to use 
and the use of all methods and procedures that are necessary to bring 
an endangered or threatened species to the point at which the measures 
provided pursuant to the Act are no longer necessary. Such methods and 
procedures include, but are not limited to, all activities associated 
with scientific resources management such as research, census, law 
enforcement, habitat acquisition and maintenance, propagation, live 
trapping, and transplantation, and, in the extraordinary case where 
population pressures within a given ecosystem cannot be otherwise 
relieved, may include regulated taking.
    Critical habitat receives protection under section 7 of the Act 
through the requirement that Federal agencies ensure, in consultation 
with USFWS or NMFS, that any action they authorize, fund, or carry out 
is not likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification of 
critical habitat. The designation of critical habitat does not affect 
land ownership or establish a refuge, wilderness, reserve, preserve, or 
other conservation area. Such designation does not allow the government 
or public to access private lands. Such designation does not require 
implementation of restoration, recovery, or enhancement measures by 
non-Federal landowners. Where a landowner requests Federal agency 
funding or authorization for an action that may affect a listed species 
or critical habitat, the consultation requirements of section 7(a)(2) 
of the Act would apply, but even in the event of a destruction or 
adverse modification finding, the obligation of the Federal action 
agency and the landowner is not to restore or recover the species, but 
to implement reasonable and prudent alternatives to avoid destruction 
or adverse modification of critical habitat.

Prudency Determination

    Section 4(a)(3) of the Act, as amended, and implementing 
regulations (50 CFR 424.12), require that, to the maximum extent 
prudent and determinable, the Secretary shall designate critical 
habitat at the time the species is determined to be an endangered or 
threatened species. Our regulations (50 CFR 424.12(a)(1)) state that 
the designation of critical habitat is not prudent when one or both of 
the following situations exist:
    (1) The species is threatened by taking or other human activity, 
and identification of critical habitat can be expected to increase the 
degree of threat to the species, or
    (2) such designation of critical habitat would not be beneficial to 
the species.
    On September 22, 2011 (76 FR 58868), the Services jointly published 
a final rule revising the loggerhead's listing from a single worldwide 
threatened species to nine DPSs listed as either endangered or 
threatened species. While we did not publish a prudency determination, 
we did find that critical habitat was not determinable and stated that 
we would propose to designate critical habitat for the two DPSs 
(Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS and North Pacific Ocean DPS) in which 
loggerheads occur within the United States' jurisdiction in a future 
rulemaking.
    There is currently no identified imminent threat of take attributed 
to collection or vandalism of nesting beaches within the Northwest 
Atlantic Ocean DPS, and identification and mapping of specific areas in 
the terrestrial environment as critical habitat is not expected to 
create or increase any such threat. In the absence of finding that the 
designation of critical habitat would increase threats to a species, a 
prudent finding is warranted if there are any benefits to a critical 
habitat designation. Here, the potential benefits of designation 
include: (1) Focusing conservation activities on the most essential 
features and areas; (2) providing educational benefits to State or 
county governments or private entities; and (3) preventing people from 
causing inadvertent harm to the species and beaches with active 
nesting. In short, because we have determined that the designation of 
critical habitat is not likely to increase the degree of threat to the 
species and may provide some benefit, we find that designation of 
terrestrial critical habitat is prudent for the Northwest Atlantic 
Ocean DPS.

Critical Habitat Determinability

    Having determined that designation is prudent, under section 
4(a)(3) of the Act we must find whether critical habitat for the 
species is determinable. Our regulations at 50 CFR 424.12(a)(2) state 
that critical habitat is not determinable when one or both of the 
following situations exist:
    (i) Information sufficient to perform required analyses of the 
impacts of the designation is lacking, or
    (ii) The biological needs of the species are not sufficiently well 
known to permit identification of an area as critical habitat.
    When critical habitat is not determinable, the Act allows the 
Services an additional year to publish a critical habitat designation 
(section 4(b)(6)(C)(ii)).
    When the Services jointly published a final rule revising the 
loggerhead's listing from a single worldwide threatened species to nine 
DPSs, we lacked the comprehensive data and information necessary to 
identify and describe physical and biological features of the 
terrestrial and marine habitats of the loggerhead. Thus, we found 
designation of critical habitat to be ``not determinable.'' 
Accordingly, USFWS has reviewed the available information pertaining to 
the biological needs of the species and habitat characteristics where 
the loggerheads in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS nest on U.S. 
beaches. This and other information represent the best scientific data 
available and have led us to conclude that the designation of 
terrestrial critical habitat is determinable for the Northwest Atlantic 
Ocean DPS.
    Under the first prong of the Act's definition of critical habitat, 
areas within the geographical area occupied by the species at the time 
it was listed are included in a critical habitat designation if they 
contain physical or biological features (1) which are essential to the 
conservation of the species and (2) which may require special 
management considerations or protection. For these areas, critical 
habitat designations identify, to the extent known using the best 
scientific and commercial data available, those physical or biological 
features that are essential to the conservation of the species (such as 
space, food, cover, and protected habitat). In identifying those 
physical and biological features within an area, we focus on the 
principal biological or physical constituent elements (primary 
constituent elements such as roost sites, nesting grounds, seasonal 
wetlands, water quality, tide, soil type) that are essential to the 
conservation of the species. Primary constituent elements are those 
specific elements of the physical or biological features that provide 
for a species' life-history processes and are essential to the 
conservation of the species.
    Under the second prong of the Act's definition of critical habitat, 
we can

[[Page 18006]]

designate critical habitat in areas outside the geographical area 
occupied by the species at the time it is listed, upon a determination 
that such areas are essential for the conservation of the species. For 
example, an area currently occupied by the species but that was not 
occupied at the time of listing may be essential to the conservation of 
the species and may be included in the critical habitat designation. 
Pursuant to our regulations, we designate critical habitat in areas 
outside the geographical area presently occupied by a species only when 
a designation limited to its present range would be inadequate to 
ensure the conservation of the species (50 CFR 424.12(e)).
    Section 4 of the Act requires that we designate critical habitat on 
the basis of the best scientific data available. Further, our Policy on 
Information Standards under the Endangered Species Act (published in 
the Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34271)), the Information 
Quality Act (section 515 of the Treasury and General Government 
Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Pub. L. 106-554; H.R. 5658)), 
and our associated Information Quality Guidelines provide criteria, 
establish procedures, and provide guidance to ensure that our decisions 
are based on the best scientific data available. They require our 
biologists, to the extent consistent with the Act and with the use of 
the best scientific data available, to use primary and original sources 
of information as the basis for recommendations to designate critical 
habitat.
    When we are determining which areas should be designated as 
critical habitat, our primary source of information is generally the 
information developed during the listing process for the species. 
Additional information sources may include the recovery plan for the 
species, articles in peer-reviewed journals, conservation plans 
developed by States and counties, scientific status surveys and 
studies, biological assessments, other unpublished materials, or 
experts' opinions or personal knowledge.
    Habitat is dynamic, and species may move from one area to another 
over time. We recognize that critical habitat designated at a 
particular point in time may not include all of the habitat areas that 
we may later determine are necessary for the recovery of the species. 
For these reasons, a critical habitat designation does not signal that 
habitat outside the designated area is unimportant or may not be needed 
for recovery of the species. Areas that are important to the 
conservation of the species, both inside and outside the critical 
habitat designation, may continue to be the subject of: (1) 
Conservation actions implemented under section 7(a)(1) of the Act, (2) 
regulatory protections afforded by the requirement in section 7(a)(2) 
of the Act for Federal agencies to ensure their actions are not likely 
to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened 
species, and (3) section 9 of the Act's prohibitions on taking any 
individual of the species, including taking caused by actions that 
affect habitat. Federally funded or permitted projects affecting listed 
species outside their designated critical habitat areas may still 
result in jeopardy findings in some cases. These protections and 
conservation tools will continue to contribute to recovery of this 
species. Similarly, critical habitat designations made on the basis of 
the best available information at the time of designation will not 
control the direction and substance of future recovery plans, HCPs, or 
other species conservation planning efforts if new information 
available at the time of these planning efforts calls for a different 
outcome.

Physical or Biological Features

    In accordance with section 3(5)(A)(i) and 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act and 
regulations at 50 CFR 424.12, in determining which areas within the 
geographical area occupied by the species at the time of listing to 
designate as critical habitat, we consider the physical or biological 
features (PBFs) that are essential to the conservation of the species 
and which may require special management considerations or protection. 
These include, but are not limited to:
    (1) Space for individual and population growth and for normal 
behavior;
    (2) Food, water, air, light, minerals, or other nutritional or 
physiological requirements;
    (3) Cover or shelter;
    (4) Sites for breeding, reproduction, or rearing (or development) 
of offspring; and
    (5) Habitats that are protected from disturbance or are 
representative of the historical, geographic, and ecological 
distributions of a species.
    We derive the specific physical or biological features essential 
for the loggerhead sea turtle from studies of this species' habitat, 
ecology, and life history as described below. Additional information 
can be found in the final listing rule published in the Federal 
Register on September 22, 2011 (76 FR 58868), and the Recovery Plan for 
the Northwest Atlantic Population of the Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta 
caretta) (NMFS and USFWS 2008, entire).
    Shaffer and Stein (2000, pp. 307-314) identify a methodology for 
conserving imperiled species known as the ``three Rs'': Representation, 
resiliency, and redundancy. Representation, or preserving some of 
everything, means conserving not just a species but its associated 
habitats. Resiliency and redundancy ensure there is enough of a species 
so it can survive into the future. Resiliency means ensuring that the 
habitat is adequate for a species and its representative components. 
Redundancy ensures an adequate number of sites and individuals. This 
methodology has been widely accepted as a reasonable conservation 
strategy (Tear et al. 2005, p. 841). In applying this strategy to 
terrestrial critical habitat for loggerheads, we have determined that 
it is important to conserve: (1) Beaches that have the highest nesting 
densities (representation); (2) beaches that have a good geographic 
spatial distribution to ensure protection of genetic diversity 
(resiliency and redundancy); (3) beaches that collectively provide a 
good representation of total nesting (representation); and (4) beaches 
adjacent to the high density nesting beaches that can serve as 
expansion areas and provide sufficient habitat to accommodate and 
provide a rescue effect for nesting females whose primary nesting beach 
has been lost (resiliency and redundancy). Therefore, we have 
determined that the following physical or biological features are 
essential for the loggerhead sea turtle:
Physical or Biological Feature 1--Sites for Breeding, Reproduction, or 
Rearing (or Development) of Offspring
    The production of the next generation of loggerhead sea turtles 
results from a synergism of the effects of the ecological conditions in 
the foraging area on the energetics of the female and of the beach 
environmental conditions on development of the embryos. To be 
successful, reproduction must occur when environmental conditions 
support adult activity (e.g., sufficient quality and quantity of food 
in the foraging area, suitable beach structure for digging, nearby 
internesting habitat) (Georges et al. 1993, p. 2). The environmental 
conditions of the nesting beach must favor embryonic development and 
survival (i.e., modest temperature fluctuation, low salinity, high 
humidity, well drained, well aerated) (Mortimer 1982, p. 49; Mortimer 
1990, pp. 809, 811). Additionally, the hatchlings must emerge to 
onshore and offshore conditions that enhance their chances of survival 
(e.g., less than 100 percent depredation, appropriate offshore

[[Page 18007]]

currents for dispersal) (Georges et al. 1993, p. 2).
    Terrestrial nesting habitat is the supralittoral zone of the beach 
where oviposition (egg laying), embryonic development, and hatching 
occur. Loggerheads nest on ocean beaches and occasionally on estuarine 
shorelines with suitable sand. For a beach to serve as nesting habitat, 
a nesting turtle must be able to access it. However, anthropogenic 
structures (e.g., groins, jetties, breakwaters), as well as natural 
features (e.g., offshore sand bars), can act as barriers or deterrents 
to adult females attempting to access a beach. Adult females 
approaching the nesting beach may encounter these structures and either 
crawl around them, abort nesting for that night, or move to another 
section of beach to nest. Nests are typically laid between the high 
tide line and the dune front (Routa 1968, p. 293; Witherington 1986, 
pp. 16, 27; Hailman and Elowson 1992, p. 5).
    Wood and Bjorndal (2000, entire) evaluated four environmental 
factors (slope, temperature, moisture, and salinity) and found that 
slope had the greatest influence on loggerhead nest-site selection on a 
beach in Florida. Loggerheads appear to prefer relatively narrow, 
steeply sloped, coarse-grained beaches, although nearshore contours may 
also play a role in nesting beach site selection (Provancha and Ehrhart 
1987, p. 42).
    Nest sites typically have steeper slopes than other sites on the 
beach, and steeper slopes usually indicate an area of the beach with a 
higher elevation (Wood and Bjorndal 2000, p. 126). Wood and Bjorndal 
(2000, p. 126) speculated that a higher slope could be a signal to 
turtles that they have reached an elevation where there is an increased 
probability of hatching success of nests. This is related to the nests 
being laid high enough on the beach to be less susceptible to repeated 
and prolonged tidal inundation and erosion. Nests laid at lower beach 
elevations are subject to a greater risk of repeated and prolonged 
tidal inundation and erosion, which can cause mortality of incubating 
egg clutches (Foley et al. 2006, pp. 38-39). Regardless, loggerheads 
will use a variety of different nesting substrates and beach slopes for 
nesting. They will also scatter their nests over the beach, likely to 
ensure that at least some nest sites will be successful as ``placement 
of nests close to the sea increases the likelihood of inundation and 
egg loss to erosion whereas placement of nests farther inland increases 
the likelihood of desiccation, hatchling misorientation, and predation 
on nesting females, eggs, and hatchlings'' (Wood and Bjorndal 2000).
    Loggerhead sea turtles spread their reproductive effort both 
temporally and spatially. Spatial clumping occurs because loggerheads 
concentrate their nesting to a few primary locations that are augmented 
by lower density, satellite sites. In addition, a few isolated, low-
density sites are known (Miller et al. 2003, p. 126). Loggerheads show 
a high degree of nesting site fidelity (Miller et al. 2003, p. 127). 
Once an adult female has returned to the region where it hatched and 
selected a nesting beach, she will tend to renest in relatively close 
proximity (0-5 km (0-3 miles)) during successive nesting attempts 
within the same and subsequent nesting seasons, although a small 
percentage of turtles will utilize more distant nesting sites in the 
general area (Miller et al. 2003, pp. 127-128). Thus, a high-density 
nesting beach is the product of site fidelity and nesting success. A 
high-density nesting beach produces a large number of hatchlings that 
are recruited to the population resulting in a relatively higher number 
of females that will return to nest on those same beaches.
    Sea turtles must have ``deep, clean, relatively loose sand above 
the high-tide level'' for successful nest construction (Hendrickson 
1982, p. 54). Sand is classified as material predominately composed of 
carbonate, quartz, or similar material with a particle size 
distribution ranging between 0.062 mm and 4.76 mm (0.002 in and 0.187 
in) (Wentworth and ASTM classification systems). Sea turtle eggs 
require a high-humidity substrate that allows for sufficient gas 
exchange for development (Mortimer 1990, p. 811; Miller 1997, pp. 67-
68; Miller et al. 2003, pp. 129-130). Ackerman (1980, p. 575) found 
that the rate of growth and mortality of sea turtle embryos is related 
to respiratory gas exchange with embryonic growth slowing and mortality 
increasing in environments where gas exchange is reduced below 
naturally occurring levels.
    Moisture conditions in the nest influence incubation period, 
hatching success, and hatchling size (McGehee 1990, pp. 254-257; 
Mortimer 1990, p. 811; Carthy et al. 2003, pp. 147-149). Laboratory 
experiments have shown that hatching success can be affected by 
unusually wet or dry hydric conditions (McGehee 1990, pp. 254-255). 
Proper moisture conditions are necessary for maximum hatching success 
(McGehee 1990, p. 251). In addition, water availability is known to 
influence the incubation environment of the embryos of turtles with 
flexible-shelled eggs by affecting nitrogen excretion (Packard et al. 
1984, pp. 198-201), mobilization of calcium (Packard and Packard 1986, 
p. 404), mobilization of yolk nutrients (Packard et al. 1985, p. 571), 
and energy reserves in the yolk at hatching (Packard et al. 1988, p. 
122).
    Loggerhead nests incubate for variable periods of time depending on 
sand temperatures (Mrosovsky and Yntema 1980, p. 272). The length of 
the incubation period (commonly measured from the time of egg 
deposition to hatchling emergence) is inversely related to nest 
temperature, such that between 26.0 [deg]C and 32.0 [deg]C (78.8 [deg]F 
and 89.6 [deg]F), a change of 1 [deg]C (33.8 [deg]F) adds or subtracts 
approximately 5 days (Mrosovsky 1980, p. 531). The warmer the sand 
surrounding the egg chamber, the faster the embryos develop (Mrosovsky 
and Yntema 1980, p. 272).
    Sand temperatures prevailing during the middle third of the 
incubation period also determine the gender of hatchling sea turtles 
(Mrosovsky and Yntema 1980, p. 276; Yntema and Mrosovsky 1982, pp. 
1014-1015). The pivotal temperature (i.e., the incubation temperature 
that produces equal numbers of males and females) in loggerheads is 
approximately 29.0 [deg]C (84.2 [deg]F) (Limpus et al. 1983, p. 3; 
Mrosovsky 1988, pp. 664-666; Marcovaldi et al. 1997, pp. 758-759). 
Incubation temperatures near the upper end of the tolerable range 
produce only female hatchlings while incubation temperatures near the 
lower end of the tolerable range produce only male hatchlings.
    Loggerhead hatchlings pip (break through the egg shell) and escape 
from their eggs over a 1- to 3-day interval and move upward and out of 
the nest over a 2- to 4-day interval (Christens 1990, p. 400). The time 
from pipping to emergence ranges from 4 to 7 days with an average of 
4.1 days (Godfrey and Mrosovsky 1997, p. 583). Hatchlings emerge from 
their nests en masse almost exclusively at night, likely using 
decreasing sand temperature as a cue (Hendrickson 1958, pp. 513-514; 
Mrosovsky 1968, entire; Witherington et al. 1990, pp. 1166-1167; Moran 
et al. 1999, p. 260). After an initial emergence, there may be 
secondary emergences on subsequent nights (Carr and Ogren 1960, p. 23; 
Witherington 1986, p. 36; Ernest and Martin 1993, pp. 10-11; Houghton 
and Hays 2001, p. 134).
    Hatchlings use a progression of seafinding orientation cues to 
guide their movement from the nest to the marine environments (Lohmann 
and Lohmann 2003, entire). Hatchlings first use light cues to find the 
ocean. On

[[Page 18008]]

natural beaches without artificial lighting, ambient light from the 
open sky creates a relatively bright horizon compared to the dark 
silhouette of the dune and vegetation landward of the nest. This 
contrast guides the hatchlings to the ocean (Daniel and Smith 1947, pp. 
414-415; Limpus 1971, p. 387; Salmon et al. 1992, pp. 72-75; 
Witherington and Martin 1996, pp. 5-12; Witherington 1997, pp. 311-
319). After reaching the surf, hatchlings swim and are swept through 
the surf zone, after which wave orientation occurs in the nearshore 
area and later magnetic field orientation as they proceed further 
toward open water (Lohmann and Lohmann 2003, entire).
    Both nesting and hatchling sea turtles are adversely affected by 
the presence of artificial lighting on or near the beach (Witherington 
and Martin 1996, pp. 2-5, 12-13). Artificial lighting deters adult 
female loggerheads from emerging from the ocean to nest, and 
loggerheads emerging onto a beach abort nesting attempts at a greater 
frequency in lighted areas (Witherington 1992, pp. 34-37). Because 
adult females rely on visual brightness cues to find their way back to 
the ocean after nesting, those turtles that nest on artificially 
lighted beaches may become disoriented by artificial lighting and have 
difficulty finding their way back to the ocean (Witherington 1992, p. 
38). Hatchling sea turtles have a robust seafinding behavior guided by 
visual cues (Mrosovsky and Carr 1967, pp. 228-230; Mrosovsky and 
Shettleworth 1968, pp. 214-218; Dickerson and Nelson 1989, entire; 
Witherington and Bjorndal 1991, pp. 146-148; Salmon et al. 1992, pp. 
72-75; Witherington and Martin 1996, pp. 6-12; Lohmann et al. 1997, pp. 
110-116; Lohmann and Lohmann 2003, pp. 45-47). Hatchlings unable to 
find the ocean, or delayed in reaching it, due to the presence of 
artificial beachfront lighting are likely to incur high mortality from 
dehydration, exhaustion, or predation (Carr and Ogren 1960, pp. 33-46; 
Ehrhart and Witherington 1987, pp. 97-98; Witherington and Martin 1996, 
pp. 12-13).
    For loggerheads, it is important to conserve: (1) Beaches that have 
the highest nesting densities (by State or region within a State); (2) 
beaches that have a good geographic spatial distribution to ensure 
protection of genetic diversity; (3) beaches that collectively provide 
a good representation of total nesting; and (4) beaches adjacent to the 
high-density nesting beaches that can serve as expansion areas. Since 
loggerheads nest on dynamic ocean beaches that may be significantly 
degraded or lost through natural processes (e.g., erosion) or upland 
development (e.g., armoring, lighting), the designation of occupied 
beaches adjacent to the highest density nesting beaches as critical 
habitat will help ensure the availability of nesting habitat if the 
primary high-density nesting beaches are temporarily or permanently 
lost.
    Therefore, based on the information above, we identify extra-tidal 
or dry sandy beaches from the mean high water (MHW) (see definition at 
http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/datum_options.html) line to the toe 
of the secondary dune that are capable of supporting a high density of 
nests or serving as an expansion area for beaches with a high density 
of nests and that are well distributed within each State or region 
within a State and representative of total nesting to be a physical or 
biological feature for the species.
Physical or Biological Feature 2--Habitats Protected From Disturbance 
or Representative of the Historical, Geographic, and Ecological 
Distributions of the Species
    Sea turtle nesting habitat is part of the highly dynamic and 
continually shifting coastal system, which includes oceanfront beaches, 
barrier islands, and inlets. These geologically dynamic coastal regions 
are controlled by natural coastal processes or activities that mimic 
these natural processes, including littoral or longshore drift (the 
process by which sediments move along the shoreline), onshore and 
offshore sand transport (natural erosion or accretion cycle), and tides 
and storm surge. The integrity of the habitat components depends upon 
daily tidal events; these processes are associated with the formation 
and movement of barrier islands, inlets, and other coastal landforms 
throughout the landscape.
    There has been considerable loss or degradation of such habitats by 
humans from development, armoring, sand placement, and other activities 
to prevent or forestall erosion or inundation from shifting shorelines, 
as well as coastal storms and sea level rise resulting from climate 
change. Coastal dynamic processes are anticipated to accelerate due to 
sea level rise and an increase in frequency and intensity of coastal 
storms as a result of climate change.
    Since sea turtles evolved in this dynamic system, they are 
dependent upon these ever-changing features for their continued 
survival and recovery. Sea turtles require nesting beaches where 
natural coastal processes or activities that mimic these natural 
processes will be able to continue well into the future to allow the 
formation of suitable beaches for nesting.
    These physical processes benefit sea turtles by maintaining the 
nesting beaches through repeated cycles of destruction, alteration, and 
recovery of the beach and adjacent dune habitats. Coastal processes 
happen over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales. Wind, waves, 
tides, storms, and stream discharge are important driving forces in the 
coastal zone (Dingler 2005, p. 163). Thus, it is important that, where 
it can be allowed, the natural processes be maintained or any projects 
that address erosion or shoreline protection contain measures to reduce 
negative effects or are temporary in nature.
    Therefore, based on the information above, we identify natural 
coastal processes or activities that mimic these natural processes to 
be a physical or biological feature for this species. It is important 
that loggerhead nesting beaches are allowed to respond naturally to 
coastal dynamic processes of erosion and accretion or mimic these 
processes.
Primary Constituent Elements for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS of 
the Loggerhead Sea Turtle
    Under the Act and its implementing regulations, we are required to 
identify the physical or biological features essential to the 
conservation of the loggerhead sea turtle in areas occupied at the time 
of listing, focusing on the features' primary constituent elements 
(PCEs). We consider primary constituent elements to be those specific 
elements of the physical or biological features that provide for a 
species' life-history processes and are essential to the conservation 
of the species.
    Based on our current knowledge of the physical or biological 
features and habitat characteristics required to sustain the species' 
life-history processes, we determine that the terrestrial primary 
constituent elements specific to the Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS of 
the loggerhead sea turtle are:
    (1) Primary Constituent Element 1--Suitable nesting beach habitat 
that has (a) relatively unimpeded nearshore access from the ocean to 
the beach for nesting females and from the beach to the ocean for both 
post-nesting females and hatchlings and (b) is located above mean high 
water to avoid being inundated frequently by high tides.
    (2) Primary Constituent Element 2--Sand that (a) allows for 
suitable nest construction, (b) is suitable for facilitating gas 
diffusion conducive to embryo development, and (c) is able to develop 
and maintain temperatures and

[[Page 18009]]

a moisture content conducive to embryo development.
    (3) Primary Constituent Element 3--Suitable nesting beach habitat 
with sufficient darkness to ensure nesting turtles are not deterred 
from emerging onto the beach and hatchlings and post-nesting females 
orient to the sea.

Special Management Considerations or Protection

    When designating critical habitat, we assess whether the specific 
areas within the geographical area occupied by the species at the time 
of listing contain features essential to the conservation of the 
species which may require special management considerations or 
protection. We have determined not only that special management 
considerations or protection may be required, but that they are 
required within critical habitat areas to address these threats to the 
essential features of loggerhead sea turtle terrestrial habitat.
    For loggerhead sea turtle terrestrial habitat, we have grouped the 
primary threats that may impact the habitat, thus necessitating special 
management or protection, into 12 categories:
    (1) Recreational beach use (beach cleaning, human presence (e.g., 
dog beach, special events, piers, and recreational beach equipment));
    (2) Beach driving (essential and nonessential off-road vehicles, 
all-terrain vehicles, and recreational access and use);
    (3) Predation (depredation of eggs and hatchlings by native and 
nonnative predators);
    (4) Beach sand placement activities (beach nourishment, beach 
restoration, inlet sand bypassing, dredge material disposal, dune 
construction, emergency sand placement after natural disaster, berm 
construction, and dune and berm planting);
    (5) In-water and shoreline alterations (artificial in-water and 
shoreline stabilization measures (e.g., in-water erosion control 
structures, such as groins, breakwaters, jetties), inlet relocation, 
inlet dredging, nearshore dredging, and dredging and deepening 
channels);
    (6) Coastal development (residential and commercial development and 
associated activities including beach armoring (e.g., sea walls, 
geotextile tubes, rock revetments, sandbags, emergency temporary 
armoring); and activities associated with construction, repair, and 
maintenance of upland structures, stormwater outfalls, and piers);
    (7) Artificial lighting (direct and indirect lighting, skyglow, and 
bonfires);
    (8) Beach erosion (erosion due to aperiodic, short-term weather-
related erosion events, such as atmospheric fronts, northeasters, 
tropical storms, and hurricanes);
    (9) Climate change (includes sea level rise);
    (10) Habitat obstructions (tree stumps, fallen trees, and other 
debris on the beach; nearshore sand bars; and ponding along beachfront 
seaward of dry beach);
    (11) Human-caused disasters and response to natural and human-
caused disasters (oil spills, oil spill response including beach 
cleaning and berm construction, and debris cleanup after natural 
disasters); and
    (12) Military testing and training activities (troop presence, 
pyrotechnics and nighttime lighting, vehicles and amphibious watercraft 
usage on the beach, helicopter drops and extractions, live fire 
exercises, and placement and removal of objects on the beach).
Recreational Beach Use
    Beach cleaning: There is increasing demand in the southeastern 
United States, especially in Florida, for beach communities to carry 
out beach cleaning operations to improve the appearance of beaches for 
visitors and residents. Beach cleaning occurs on private beaches and on 
some municipal or county beaches that are used for nesting by 
loggerhead sea turtles. Beach cleaning activities effectively remove 
``seaweed, fish, glass, syringes, plastic, cans, cigarettes, shells, 
stone, wood, and virtually any unwanted debris'' (H. Barber and Sons 
2012, entire). This can include wrack material (organic material that 
is washed up onto the beach by surf, tides, and wind), the removal of 
which reduces the natural sand-trapping abilities of beaches and 
contributes to their destabilization. As beach cleaning vehicles and 
equipment move over the sand, sand is displaced downward, lowering the 
substrate. Although the amount of sand lost due to single sweeping 
actions may be small, it adds up considerably over a period of years 
(Neal et al. 2007, p. 219). In addition, since the beach cleaning 
vehicles and equipment also inhibit plant growth and open the area to 
wind erosion, the beach and dunes may become unstable. Beach cleaning 
``can result in abnormally broad unvegetated zones that are 
inhospitable to dune formation or plant colonization, thereby enhancing 
the likelihood of erosion'' (Defeo et al. 2009, p. 4). This is also a 
concern because dunes and vegetation play an important role in 
minimizing the impacts of artificial beachfront lighting, which causes 
disorientation of sea turtle hatchlings and nesting turtles, by 
creating a barrier that prevents residential and commercial business 
lighting from being visible on the beach.
    Beach cleaning occurs in a few locations in South Carolina and 
Alabama, but the most extensive beach cleaning activities occur in 
Florida, particularly southern Florida. However, a Florida Department 
of Environmental Protection permit, which includes conditions to 
protect sea turtles, is required. These permit conditions restrict the 
timing and nature of beach cleaning to ensure these activities avoid or 
minimize the potential for impacts to sea turtles and their nesting 
habitat.
    Human presence: Human presence on the beach at night during the 
nesting season can reduce the quality of nesting habitat by deterring 
or disturbing nesting turtles and causing them to avoid otherwise 
suitable habitat. In addition, human foot traffic can make a beach less 
suitable for nesting and hatchling emergence by increasing sand 
compaction and creating obstacles to hatchlings attempting to reach the 
ocean (Hosier et al. 1981, p. 160).
    Some beach communities, local governments, and State and Federal 
lands have management plans or agreements that include addressing human 
disturbance to minimize impacts to nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea 
turtles. Other beach communities and Federal, State, and local 
governments have best addressed human disturbance and presence on the 
beach with generally successful ``Share the Beach'' educational 
campaigns. The educational message in the campaigns focuses on beach 
user behavior when encountering a turtle on the beach--enjoy the 
experience but do not disturb the turtle.
    Recreational beach equipment: The use and storage of lounge chairs, 
cabanas, umbrellas, catamarans, and other types of recreational 
equipment on the beach at night can also make otherwise suitable 
nesting habitat unsuitable by hampering or deterring nesting by adult 
females and trapping or impeding hatchlings during their nest-to-sea 
migration. The documentation of nonnesting emergences (also referred to 
as false crawls) at these obstacles is becoming increasingly common as 
more recreational beach equipment is left on the beach at night. Sobel 
(2002, p. 311) describes nesting turtles being deterred by wooden 
lounge chairs that prevented access to the upper beach.
    Some beach communities, local governments, and State and Federal 
lands have management plans, agreements, or ordinances that address 
recreational equipment on the beach to minimize impacts to nesting and

[[Page 18010]]

hatchling loggerhead sea turtles. Other beach communities and Federal, 
State, and local governments address recreational beach equipment with 
generally successful ``Leave No Trace'' and ``Share the Beach'' 
educational campaigns. The educational message in the campaigns focuses 
on removing recreational equipment from the nesting beach each night 
during the nesting season.
Beach Driving
    Beach driving has been found to reduce the quality of loggerhead 
nesting habitat in several ways. In the southeastern United States, 
vehicle ruts on the beach have been found to prevent or impede 
hatchlings from reaching the ocean following emergence from the nest 
(Hosier et al. 1981, p. 160; Cox et al. 1994, p. 27; Hughes and Caine 
1994, p. 237). Sand compaction by vehicles has been found to hinder 
nest construction and hatchling emergence from nests (Mann 1977, p. 
96). Vehicle lights and vehicle movement on the beach after dark 
results in reduced habitat suitability, which can deter females from 
nesting and disorient hatchlings. If driving occurs at night, sea 
turtles could be run over and injured. Additionally, vehicle traffic on 
nesting beaches contributes to erosion, especially during high tides or 
on narrow beaches where driving is concentrated on the high beach and 
foredune.
    Beach driving is prohibited on the majority of nesting beaches in 
the southeastern United States by law, regulation, management plan, or 
agreement. However, some vehicular driving is still allowed on private, 
local, State, and Federal beaches for recreation, commercial, or beach 
and natural resource management activities. In 1985, the Florida 
Legislature severely restricted vehicular driving on Florida's beaches, 
except for cleanup, repair, or public safety. Five counties were 
exempted from the legislation and are allowed to continue vehicular 
access on coastal beaches due to the availability of less than 50 
percent of its peak user demand for off-beach parking. The counties 
affected by this exception are Volusia, St. Johns, Gulf, Nassau, and 
Flagler Counties, as well as limited vehicular access on Walton County 
beaches for boat launching. Volusia and St. Johns Counties, Florida, 
developed HCPs that minimize and mitigate the impacts of County-
regulated driving and USFWS issued incidental take permits under 
section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act. Gulf County has submitted an HCP to the 
Service in conjunction with an application for a section 10(a)(1)(B) 
permit that minimizes and mitigates the impacts of County-regulated 
driving on the beach.
Predation
    Predation of sea turtle eggs and hatchlings by native and nonnative 
species occurs on almost all nesting beaches. Predation by a variety of 
predators can considerably decrease sea turtle nest hatching success. 
The most common predators in the southeastern United States are ghost 
crabs (Ocypode quadrata), raccoons (Procyon lotor), feral hogs (Sus 
scrofa), foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus and Vulpes vulpes), coyotes 
(Canis latrans), armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus), and fire ants 
(Solenopsis invicta) (Stancyk 1982, p. 145; Dodd 1988, p. 48). In the 
absence of nest protection programs in a number of locations throughout 
the southeastern United States, raccoons may depredate up to 96 percent 
of all nests deposited on a beach (Davis and Whiting 1977, p. 20; 
Stancyk et al. 1980, p. 290; Talbert et al. 1980, p. 712; Hopkins and 
Murphy 1981, p. 67; Schroeder 1981, p. 35; Labisky et al. 1986, pp. 14-
15). In addition, nesting turtles harassed by predators (e.g., coyotes, 
red foxes) on the beach may abort nesting attempts (Hope 2012, pers. 
comm.). Thus, the presence of predators can affect the suitability of 
nesting habitat.
    The most longstanding beach management program in the southeastern 
United States has been to reduce the destruction of nests by natural 
and introduced predators. Most major nesting beaches in the 
southeastern United States employ some type of lethal (trapping, 
hunting) or nonlethal (screen, cage) control of mammalian predators to 
reduce nest loss. Overall, nest protection activities have 
substantially reduced loggerhead nest depredations, although the 
magnitude of the reduction has not been quantified.
Beach Sand Placement Activities
    Substantial amounts of sand are deposited along Gulf of Mexico and 
Atlantic Ocean beaches to protect coastal properties in anticipation of 
preventing erosion and what otherwise would be considered natural 
processes of overwash and island migration. Constructed beaches tend to 
differ from natural beaches in several important ways for sea turtles. 
They are typically wider, flatter, and more compact, and the sediments 
are moister than those on natural beaches (Nelson et al. 1987, p. 51; 
Ackerman et al. 1991, p. 22; Ernest and Martin 1999, pp. 8-9). On 
severely eroded sections of beach, where little or no suitable nesting 
habitat previously existed, sand placement can result in increased 
nesting (Ernest and Martin 1999, p. 37). The placement of sand on a 
beach with reduced dry foredune habitat may increase sea turtle nesting 
habitat if the placed sand is highly compatible (i.e., grain size, 
shape, color, etc.) with naturally occurring beach sediments in the 
area, and compaction and escarpment remediation measures are 
incorporated into the project. In addition, a nourished beach that is 
designed and constructed to mimic a natural beach system may benefit 
sea turtles more than an eroding beach it replaces. However, beach sand 
placement projects conducted under the USFWS's Statewide Programmatic 
Biological Opinion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers planning and 
regulatory sand placement activities (including post-disaster sand 
placement activities) in Florida and other individual biological 
opinions throughout the loggerhead's nesting range include required 
terms and conditions that minimize incidental take of turtles.
    There are, however, a few important ephemeral impacts associated 
with beach sand placement activities. In most cases, a significantly 
larger proportion of turtles emerging on engineered beaches abandon 
their nesting attempts than turtles emerging on natural or prenourished 
beaches, even though more nesting habitat is available (Trindell et al. 
1998, p. 82; Ernest and Martin 1999, pp. 47-49; Herren 1999, p. 44), 
with nesting success approximately 10 to 34 percent lower on nourished 
beaches than on control beaches during the first year post-nourishment. 
This reduction in nesting success is most pronounced during the first 
year following project construction and is most likely the result of 
changes in physical beach characteristics (beach profile, sediment 
grain size, beach compaction, frequency and extent of escarpments) 
associated with the nourishment project (Ernest and Martin 1999, p. 
48). During the first postconstruction year, the time required for 
turtles to excavate an egg chamber on untilled, hard-packed sands 
increases significantly relative to natural beach conditions. Also 
during the first postconstruction year, nests on nourished beaches are 
deposited significantly more seaward of the toe of the dune than nests 
on natural beaches. More nests are washed out on the wide, flat beaches 
of the nourished treatments than on the narrower steeply sloped natural 
beaches. This phenomenon may persist through the second 
postconstruction year and result from

[[Page 18011]]

the placement of nests near the seaward edge of the beach berm where 
dramatic profile changes, caused by erosion and scarping, occur as the 
beach equilibrates to a more natural contour.
In-Water and Shoreline Alterations
    Many navigable mainland or barrier island tidal inlets along the 
Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts are stabilized with jetties or 
groins. Jetties are built perpendicular to the shoreline and extend 
through the entire nearshore zone and past the breaker zone to prevent 
or decrease sand deposition in the channel (Kaufman and Pilkey 1979, 
pp. 193-195). Groins are also shore-perpendicular structures that are 
designed to trap sand that would otherwise be transported by longshore 
currents and can cause downdrift erosion (Kaufman and Pilkey 1979, pp. 
193-195).
    These in-water structures have profound effects on adjacent beaches 
(Kaufman and Pilkey 1979, p. 194). Jetties and groins placed to 
stabilize a beach or inlet prevent normal sand transport, resulting in 
accretion of sand on updrift beaches and acceleration of beach erosion 
downdrift of the structures (Komar 1983, pp. 203-204; Pilkey et al. 
1984, p. 44). Witherington et al. (2005, p. 356) found a significant 
negative relationship between loggerhead nesting density and distance 
from the nearest of 17 ocean inlets on the Atlantic coast of Florida. 
The effect of inlets in lowering nesting density was observed both 
updrift and downdrift of the inlets, leading researchers to propose 
that beach instability from both erosion and accretion may discourage 
loggerhead nesting.
    Following construction, the presence of groins and jetties may 
interfere with nesting turtle access to the beach, result in a change 
in beach profile and width (downdrift erosion, loss of sandy berms, and 
escarpment formation), trap hatchlings, and concentrate predatory 
fishes, resulting in higher probabilities of hatchling predation. In 
addition to decreasing nesting habitat suitability, construction or 
repair of groins and jetties during the nesting season may result in 
the destruction of nests, disturbance of females attempting to nest, 
and disorientation of emerging hatchlings from project lighting.
    However, groins and jetties constructed in appropriate high erosion 
areas, or to offset the effects of shoreline armoring, may reestablish 
a beach where none currently exists, stabilize the beach in rapidly 
eroding areas and reduce the potential for escarpment formation, reduce 
destruction of nests from erosion, and reduce the need for future sand 
placement events by extending the interval between sand placement 
events. USFWS includes terms and conditions in its biological opinions 
for groin and jetty construction projects to eliminate or reduce 
impacts to nesting and hatchling sea turtles, sea turtle nests, and sea 
turtle nesting habitat.
Coastal Development
    Coastal development not only causes the loss and degradation of 
suitable nesting habitat, but can result in the disruption of powerful 
coastal processes accelerating erosion and interrupting the natural 
shoreline migration. This may in turn cause the need to protect upland 
structures and infrastructure by armoring, which causes changes in, 
additional loss of, or impact to the remaining sea turtle habitat.
    In the southeastern United States, numerous armoring or erosion 
control structures (e.g., bulkheads, seawalls, soil retaining walls, 
rock revetments, sandbags, geotextile tubes) that create barriers to 
nesting have been constructed to protect upland residential and 
commercial development. Armoring is any rigid structure placed parallel 
to the shoreline on the upper beach to prevent both landward retreat of 
the shoreline and inundation or loss of upland property by flooding and 
wave action (Kraus and McDougal 1996, p. 692). Although armoring 
structures may provide short-term protection to beachfront property, 
they do little to promote or maintain sandy beaches used by loggerhead 
sea turtles for nesting. These structures influence natural shoreline 
processes and the physical beach environment, but the effects are not 
well understood. However, it is clear that armoring structures prevent 
long-term recovery of the beach and dune system (i.e., building of the 
back beach) by physically prohibiting dune formation from wave uprush 
and wind-blown sand. The proportion of coastline that is armored is 
approximately 3 percent (9 km (5.6 miles)) in North Carolina (Godfrey 
2009, pers. comm.), 12 percent (29 km (18.0 miles)) in South Carolina 
(Griffin 2009, pers. comm.), 9 percent (14 km (8.7 miles)) in Georgia 
(Dodd 2009, pers. comm.), 18 percent (239 km (148.4 miles)) in Florida 
(Schroeder and Mosier 2000, p. 291), 6 percent (7.5 km (4.7 miles)) in 
Alabama (Morton and Peterson 2005, entire), and 0 percent along the 
Mississippi barrier islands (Morton and Peterson 2005, entire).
    In addition to coastal armoring, there are a variety of other 
coastal construction activities that may affect sea turtles and their 
nesting habitat. These include construction, repair, and maintenance of 
upland structures and dune crossovers; installation of utility cables; 
installation and repair of public infrastructure (such as coastal 
highways and emergency evacuation routes); and construction equipment 
and lighting associated with any of these activities. Many of these 
activities alter nesting habitat, as well as directly harm adults, 
nests, and hatchlings. Most direct construction-related impacts can be 
avoided by requiring that nonemergency activities be performed outside 
of the nesting and hatching season. However, indirect effects can also 
result from the postconstruction presence of structures on the beach. 
The presence of these structures may cause adult females to return to 
the ocean without nesting, deposit their nests lower on the beach where 
they are more susceptible to frequent and prolonged tidal inundation, 
or select less suitable nesting sites.
    Coastal development also contributes to habitat degradation by 
increasing light pollution. Both nesting and hatchling sea turtles are 
adversely affected by the presence of artificial lighting on or near 
the beach (Witherington and Martin 1996, pp. 2-5). See the threat 
category for Artificial lighting below for additional information.
    Stormwater and other water source runoff from coastal development, 
including beachfront parking lots, building rooftops, roads, decks, and 
draining swimming pools adjacent to the beach, is frequently discharged 
directly onto Northwest Atlantic beaches and dunes either by sheet 
flow, through stormwater collection system outfalls, or through small 
diameter pipes. These outfalls create localized erosion channels, 
prevent natural dune establishment, and wash out sea turtle nests 
(Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, unpublished data).
Artificial Lighting
    Experimental studies have shown that artificial lighting deters 
adult female turtles from emerging from the ocean to nest (Witherington 
1992, pp. 36-38). Witherington (1986, p. 71) also found that 
loggerheads aborted nesting attempts at a greater frequency in lighted 
areas. In addition, because adult females rely on visual brightness 
cues to find their way back to the ocean after nesting, those turtles 
that nest on lighted beaches may become disoriented by artificial 
lighting and have difficulty finding their way back to the ocean. 
Although loggerhead turtles prefer dark beaches for nesting, many do 
nest in

[[Page 18012]]

lighted areas. In doing so, they place the lives of their offspring at 
risk as artificial lighting can impair the ability of hatchlings to 
properly orient to the ocean once they leave their nests (Witherington 
and Martin 1996, pp. 7-13). Hatchlings, unable to find the ocean or 
delayed in reaching it, are likely to incur high mortality from 
dehydration, exhaustion, or predation (Carr and Ogren 1960, p. 23; 
Ehrhart and Witherington 1987, pp. 66-67; Witherington and Martin 1996, 
p. 11).
    Based on hatchling orientation index surveys at nests located at 23 
representative beaches in six counties around Florida in 1993 and 1994, 
Witherington et al. (1996, entire) found that, by county, approximately 
10 to 30 percent of nests showed evidence of hatchlings disoriented by 
lighting. From this survey and from measures of hatchling production 
(Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, unpublished data), 
the actual number of hatchlings disoriented by lighting in Florida is 
likely in the hundreds of thousands per year. Mortality of disoriented 
hatchlings is likely very high (NMFS and USFWS 2008, p. I-43).
    Efforts are underway to reduce light pollution on sea turtle 
nesting beaches. In the southeastern United States, the effects of 
light pollution on sea turtles are most extensive in Florida due to 
dense coastal development. Enforcement of mandatory lighting ordinances 
in Florida and other States has increased. In addition, the Florida 
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, working in close 
coordination with USFWS, has developed a sea turtle lighting 
certification program that involves conducting workshops to educate all 
interested parties about the effects of lighting on sea turtles, the 
best lighting options to use near sea turtle nesting beaches, and the 
wide variety of light fixtures and bulbs available to manage lighting 
on their properties without negatively impacting sea turtles. In 
addition, sand placement projects typically include dune construction 
and these created dunes help minimize the effects of landward 
artificial lighting by blocking some of the light and creating a dark 
silhouette for nesting and hatchling turtle crawling to the ocean.
Beach Erosion
    Natural beach erosion events may influence the quality of nesting 
habitat. Short-term erosion events (e.g., atmospheric fronts, 
northeasters, tropical storms, and hurricanes) are common phenomena 
throughout the Northwest Atlantic loggerhead nesting range and may vary 
considerably from year to year. Although these erosion events may 
affect loggerhead hatchling production, the results are generally 
localized and they rarely result in whole-scale losses over multiple 
nesting seasons. The negative effects of hurricanes on low-lying and 
developed shorelines used for nesting by loggerheads may be longer-
lasting and a greater threat overall.
    Hurricanes and other storm events can result in the direct loss of 
sea turtle nests, either by erosion or washing away of the nests by 
wave action and inundation or ``drowning'' of the eggs or preemergent 
hatchlings within the nest, or indirectly affect sea turtles by causing 
the loss of nesting habitat. Depending on their frequency, storms can 
affect sea turtles on either a short-term basis (nests lost for one 
season and temporary loss of nesting habitat) or a long-term basis 
(habitat unable to recover due to frequent storm events). The manner in 
which hurricanes affect sea turtle nesting also depends on their 
characteristics (winds, storm surge, rainfall), the time of year 
(within or outside of the nesting season), and where the northeast edge 
of the hurricane crosses land.
    Climate change studies have indicated a trend toward increasing 
hurricane intensity (Emanuel 2005, p. 686; Webster et al. 2005, p. 
1846; Karl et al. 2009, p. 114). When combined with the effects of sea 
level rise (see the threat category for Climate change below for 
additional information), there may be increased cumulative impacts from 
future storms.
    USFWS acknowledges that we cannot fully address the threat of 
natural beach erosion facing loggerheads. However, we can determine how 
we respond to beach erosion events working with the States, local 
governments, and Federal agencies such as the Federal Emergency 
Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 
Emergency beach sand placement activities conducted under the USFWS's 
Statewide Programmatic Biological Opinion for the U.S. Army Corps of 
Engineers planning and regulatory sand placement activities include 
requirements for post-disaster sand placement activities in Florida. In 
addition, USFWS and FEMA have two programmatic consultations for post-
disaster response in Florida that cover replacement of pre-existing 
facilities and berm construction. These consultations have enabled a 
faster response to complete shore protection activities and protect sea 
turtle nesting.
Climate Change
    Climate change has the potential to impact loggerhead sea turtles 
in the Northwest Atlantic. The decline in loggerhead nesting in Florida 
from 1998 to 2007, as well as the recent increase, appears to be tied 
to climatic conditions (Van Houtan and Halley 2011, p. 3). Global sea 
level during the 20th century rose at an estimated rate of about 1.7 
millimeters (mm) (0.7 in) per year or an estimated 17 cm (6.7 in) over 
the entire 100-year period, a rate that is an order of magnitude 
greater than that seen during the several millennia that followed the 
end of the last ice age (Bindoff et al. 2007, p. 409). Global sea level 
is projected to rise in the 21st century at an even greater rate. In 
the southeastern United States, the U.S. Global Change Research Program 
stated that sea level is likely to increase on average up to 0.61 m (2 
ft) or more by the end of the 21st century (Karl et al. 2009, p. 114). 
Although rapid changes in sea level are predicted, estimated timeframes 
and resulting water levels vary due to the uncertainty about global 
temperature projections and the rate of ice sheets melting and slipping 
into the ocean (Bindoff et al. 2007, pp. 409, 421).
    Potential impacts of climate change to Northwest Atlantic 
loggerheads include beach erosion from rising sea levels, repeated 
inundation of nests, skewed hatchling sex ratios from rising incubation 
temperatures, and abrupt disruption of ocean currents used for natural 
dispersal during the complex life cycle (Fish et al. 2005, pp. 489-490; 
Fish et al. 2008, p. 336; Hawkes et al. 2009, pp. 139-141; Poloczanska 
et al. 2009, pp. 164-175). Along developed coastlines, and especially 
in areas where shoreline protection structures have been constructed to 
limit shoreline movement, rising sea levels will cause severe effects 
on loggerhead nesting habitat and nesting females and their eggs. The 
loss of habitat as a result of climate change could be accelerated due 
to a combination of other environmental and oceanographic changes such 
as an increase in the intensity of storms and/or changes in prevailing 
currents, both of which could lead to increased beach loss via erosion 
(Kennedy et al. 2002, pp. 7, 14, 23, 40; Meehl et al. 2007, pp. 783, 
788). Thus, climate change impacts could have profound long-term 
impacts on loggerhead nesting populations in the Northwest Atlantic 
Ocean, but it is not possible to project the impacts at this point in 
time.
    USFWS acknowledges that we cannot fully address the significant, 
long-term threat of climate change to loggerhead sea turtles. However, 
we can determine

[[Page 18013]]

how we respond to the threat of climate change by providing protection 
to the known nesting sites of the turtle. We can also identify measures 
to protect nesting habitat from the actions (e.g., coastal armoring, 
sand placement) undertaken to respond to climate change that may 
potentially impact the Northwest Atlantic Ocean loggerhead DPS.
Habitat Obstructions
    Both natural and anthropogenic features (e.g., offshore sand bars, 
ponding along the beachfront) can act as barriers or deterrents to 
adult females attempting to access a beach. In addition, hatchlings 
often must navigate through a variety of obstacles before reaching the 
ocean. These include natural (e.g., tree stumps, fallen trees) and 
human-made debris. Debris on the beach may interfere with a hatchling's 
progress toward the ocean. Research has shown that travel times of 
hatchlings from the nest to the water may be extended when traversing 
areas of heavy foot traffic or vehicular ruts (Hosier et al. 1981); the 
same is true of debris on the beach. Hatchlings may be upended and 
spend both time and energy in righting themselves. Some beach debris 
may have the potential to trap hatchlings and prevent them from 
successfully reaching the ocean. In addition, debris over the tops of 
nests may impede or prevent hatchling emergence.
Human-Caused Disasters and Response to Natural and Human-Caused 
Disasters
    Oil spills threaten loggerhead sea turtles in the Northwest 
Atlantic. Oil spills in the vicinity of nesting beaches just prior to 
or during the nesting season place nesting females, incubating egg 
clutches, and hatchlings at significant risk from direct exposure to 
contaminants (Fritts and McGehee 1982, p. 38; Lutcavage et al. 1997, p. 
395; Witherington 1999, p. 5), as well as negative impacts on nesting 
habitat. Annually about 1 percent of all sea turtle strandings along 
the U.S. east coast have been associated with oil, but higher rates of 
3 to 6 percent have been observed in South Florida and Texas (Rabalais 
and Rabalais 1980, p. 126; Plotkin and Amos 1990, p. 742; Teas 1994, p. 
9). Oil cleanup activities can also be harmful. Earth-moving equipment 
can dissuade females from nesting and destroy nests, containment booms 
can entrap hatchlings, and lighting from nighttime activities can 
misdirect turtles (Witherington 1999, p. 5).
    Deepwater Horizon (Mississippi Canyon 252) Oil Spill: The Deepwater 
Horizon (Mississippi Canyon 252) oil spill, which started April 20, 
2010, discharged oil into the Gulf of Mexico through July 15, 2010. 
According to government estimates, between 379 and 757 million liters 
(100 and 200 million gallons) of oil were released into the Gulf of 
Mexico during this time. The U.S. Coast Guard estimates that more than 
189 million liters (50 million gallons) of oil have been removed from 
the Gulf, or roughly a quarter of the spill amount. Additional impacts 
to natural resources may be attributed to the 7 million liters (1.84 
million gallons) of dispersant that were applied to the spill. The U.S. 
Coast Guard, the States, and Responsible Parties that formed the 
Unified Area Command (with advice from Federal and State natural 
resource agencies) initiated protective measures and cleanup efforts by 
preparing contingency plans to deal with petroleum and other hazardous 
chemical spills for each State's coastline. These plans identified 
sensitive habitats, including all federally listed species' habitats, 
which received a higher priority for response actions and allowed for 
immediate habitat protective measures coinciding with cleanup 
activities.
    Throughout the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response, the U.S. Coast 
Guard was responsible for and continues to oversee implementation and 
documentation of avoidance and minimization measures to protect trust 
resources, including sea turtles. Though containment of the well was 
completed in September 2010, other countermeasures, cleanup, and waste 
disposal are continuing and, therefore, a detailed analysis of the 
success of the avoidance and minimization measures has not been 
conducted. In addition, Natural Resource Damage Assessment studies 
regarding potential effects to fish and wildlife resources are 
currently being conducted along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast.
    It is not yet clear what the immediate and long-term impacts of the 
Deepwater Horizon oil well blowout and uncontrolled release has had, 
and will have, on loggerhead sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico.
Military Mission, Testing, and Training Activities
    Troop presence: The presence of soldiers and other personnel on the 
beach, particularly at night during nesting and hatching season, could 
result in harm or death to individual nesting turtles or hatchlings, as 
well as deter females from nesting. Training exercises require 
concentration and often involve inherently dangerous activities. A 
nesting sea turtle or emerging hatchling could be overlooked and 
injured or killed by training activities on the beach. Training 
activities also may require the use of pyrotechnics and lighting, and 
both nesting and hatchling sea turtles are adversely affected by the 
presence of artificial lighting on or near the beach (Witherington and 
Martin 1996, pp. 2-5). See the threat category for Artificial lighting 
above for additional information.
    Vehicles: The use of vehicles for amphibious assault training, 
troop transport, helicopter landing drops and extraction, search and 
rescue, and unmanned aerial vehicle use all have the potential to 
injure or kill nesting females and emerging hatchlings. In addition, 
heavy vehicles have the potential to compact sand that may affect the 
ability of hatchlings to climb out of nests or create ruts that entrap 
hatchlings after emergence. See the threat category for Beach driving 
above for additional information.
    Live fire exercises: Live fire exercises are inherently dangerous, 
and spent ammunition could injure or kill sea turtles and hatchlings, 
particularly at night. A nesting sea turtle or emerging hatchling could 
approach the beach area during an exercise and be harmed or killed.
    Placement or removal of objects on the beach: Digging into the sand 
to place or remove objects (e.g., mine placement and extraction) could 
result in direct mortality of developing embryos in nests within the 
training area for those nests that are missed during daily nesting 
surveys and thus not marked for avoidance. The exact number of these 
missed nests is not known. However, in two separate monitoring programs 
on the east coast of Florida where hand digging was performed to 
confirm the presence of nests and thus reduce the chance of missing 
nests through misinterpretation, trained observers still missed about 6 
to 8 percent of the nests because of natural elements (Martin 1992, p. 
3; Ernest and Martin 1993, pp. 23-24). This must be considered a 
conservative number, because missed nests are not always accounted for. 
In another study, Schroeder (1994, p. 133) found that, even under the 
best of conditions, about 7 percent of nests can be misidentified as 
false crawls by highly experienced sea turtle nest surveyors. Signs of 
hatchling emergence are very easily obliterated by the same elements 
that interfere with detection of nests.
    USFWS consults with the Department of Defense under section 7 of 
the Act on their Integrated Natural Resources

[[Page 18014]]

Management Plans, military mission, testing, and training activities 
that may affect nesting and hatchling sea turtles, sea turtle nests, 
and sea turtle nesting habitat. Efforts to minimize the effects of 
these activities including natural resource management have focused on 
adjusting the activity timing to minimize encounters with loggerheads 
and adjusting locations of activities to reduce overlap with sea turtle 
habitats.

Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat

    As required by section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we use the best 
scientific data available to designate critical habitat. We review 
available information pertaining to the habitat requirements of the 
species. In accordance with the Act and its implementing regulation at 
50 CFR 424.12(e), we consider whether designating additional areas--
outside those currently occupied as well as those occupied at the time 
of listing--is necessary to ensure the conservation of the species. 
Here, we are proposing to designate critical habitat in areas within 
the geographical area occupied by the species at the time of listing in 
2011 (50 CFR 17.11(h)). We are not currently proposing to designate any 
areas outside the geographical area occupied by the species because 
occupied areas are sufficient for the conservation of the species.
    Although the loggerhead sea turtle occurs throughout the temperate 
and tropical regions of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans (Dodd 
1988, p. 16), under our regulations, critical habitat can only be 
designated in areas under U.S. jurisdiction (50 CFR 424.12(h)). Because 
loggerhead sea turtle nesting in the United States only occurs within 
the Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS, we have defined the terrestrial 
portion of the geographical area occupied for the loggerhead sea turtle 
as those U.S. areas in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS where nesting 
has been documented for the most part annually for the 10-year period 
from 2002 to 2011 as this time period represents the most consistent 
and standardized nest count surveys (Florida Fish and Wildlife 
Conservation Commission 2012, entire; Georgia Department of Natural 
Resources 2012, entire; Gulf Islands National Seashore 2012a, entire; 
Gulf Islands National Seashore 2012b, entire; North Carolina Wildlife 
Resources Commission 2012, entire; Share the Beach 2012, entire; South 
Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) 2012, entire).
    As described in the Background section above, five recovery units 
have been identified for the Northwest Atlantic population of the 
loggerhead sea turtle (NMFS and USFWS 2008, pp. II-2-II-6). Four of 
these recovery units represent nesting assemblages in the southeastern 
United States and were delineated based on genetic differences and a 
combination of geographic distribution of nesting densities, geographic 
separation, and geopolitical boundaries. The fifth recovery unit 
(Greater Caribbean Recovery Unit) includes all nesting assemblages 
within the Greater Caribbean, which includes Puerto Rico and the U.S. 
Virgin Islands. No loggerhead sea turtle nesting has ever been 
documented in Puerto Rico (Diez 2012, pers. comm.). Only two loggerhead 
sea turtles have been documented as nesting in the U.S. Virgin Islands, 
both on Buck Island Reef National Monument off the north coast of St. 
Croix (Pollock et al. 2009, entire) where nesting has been documented 
since 2003. Therefore, although some loggerhead sea turtle nesting has 
been documented on beaches under U.S. jurisdiction within the Greater 
Caribbean Recovery Unit, we do not propose to designate any critical 
habitat there due to the very low number of nests laid there. The four 
recovery units for which we propose to designate terrestrial critical 
habitat are the Northern Recovery Unit, Peninsular Florida Recovery 
Unit, Dry Tortugas Recovery Unit, and Northern Gulf of Mexico Recovery 
Unit.
    All terrestrial units proposed for designation as critical habitat 
are currently occupied by the loggerhead sea turtle and contain the 
physical and biological features, occur within the species' 
geographical range, and contain one or more of the PCEs sufficient to 
support the terrestrial life-history processes of the species.
    The selected primary beaches have the highest nesting densities 
within each of the four recovery units, have a good geographic spatial 
distribution that will help ensure the protection of genetic diversity, 
and collectively provide a good representation of total nesting. The 
selected beaches adjacent to the primary high-density nesting beaches 
currently support loggerhead nesting and can serve as expansion areas 
should the high-density nesting beaches be significantly degraded or 
temporarily or permanently lost through natural processes or upland 
development. Thus, the amount and distribution of critical habitat 
being proposed for designation for terrestrial habitat will conserve 
recovery units of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS of the loggerhead 
sea turtle by:
    (1) Maintaining their existing nesting distribution;
    (2) Allowing for movement between beach areas depending on habitat 
availability (response to changing nature of coastal beach habitat) and 
supporting genetic interchange;
    (3) Allowing for an increase in the size of each recovery unit to a 
level where the threats of genetic, demographic, and normal 
environmental uncertainties are diminished; and
    (4) Maintaining their ability to withstand local or unit level 
environmental fluctuations or catastrophes.
    We used the following process to select specific areas in the 
terrestrial environment as critical habitat units for the Northwest 
Atlantic Ocean DPS of the loggerhead sea turtle that contain the PBFs 
and PCEs. For each recovery unit, we looked at nesting densities by 
State or regions within a State (PBF 1) to ensure a good 
spatial distribution of critical habitat. This approach was relatively 
straightforward for the Northern Recovery Unit and the Northern Gulf of 
Mexico Recovery Unit, and for the Dry Tortugas Recovery Unit where we 
propose to designate all islands west of Key West where loggerhead 
nesting has been documented as terrestrial critical habitat based on 
the unit's small size. However, the approach used for the Peninsular 
Florida Recovery Unit was more complex. The methodology used for 
identifying critical habitat was developed with the assistance of five 
State agency technical consultants with sea turtle expertise in North 
Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. The methodology is 
described by recovery unit below.
Northern Recovery Unit
    For the Northern Recovery Unit, we used loggerhead nest counts from 
2006-2011 to calculate mean nesting density for each beach. We defined 
beach segments as islands or mainland beaches separated by creeks, 
inlets, or sounds. However, in some cases, for long contiguous 
stretches of habitat with no natural features, we used political 
boundaries to delineate beaches (e.g., Myrtle Beach).
    We divided beach nesting densities into four equal groups by State 
and selected beaches that were within the top 25 percent (highest 
nesting densities) for designation as critical habitat. These high 
nesting density beaches along with the beaches adjacent to them as 
described below encompassed the majority of nesting within the recovery 
unit. The reason we determined high-density nesting beaches within each 
State, rather than

[[Page 18015]]

the entire Northern Recovery Unit, was that doing so allowed for the 
inclusion of beaches near the northern extent of the range (North 
Carolina) that would otherwise be considered low density when compared 
with beaches further south (Georgia and South Carolina), ensuring a 
good spatial distribution. Although some loggerhead sea turtle nesting 
regularly occurs in Virginia, we do not propose to designate any 
critical habitat there due to the very low number of nests (less than 
10 annually from 2002 to 2011) laid in the State.
    We also identified adjacent beaches for each of the high-density 
nesting beaches based on current knowledge about nest site fidelity. 
Loggerheads are known to exhibit high site fidelity to individual 
nesting beaches. In a study in Georgia, 55 percent (12 of 22) of 
nesting females tracked during the internesting period used a single 
island for nesting, while 40 percent (9 of 22) used two islands (Scott 
2006, p. 51). Protecting beaches adjacent to high-density nesting 
beaches should provide sufficient habitat to accommodate and provide a 
rescue effect for nesting females whose primary nesting beach has been 
lost. Although these areas currently support nesting, they will 
facilitate recovery by providing additional nesting habitat for 
population expansion. Therefore, in the Northern Recovery Unit, we 
selected one island to the north and one island to the south, where 
appropriate, of each of the high-density nesting beaches identified for 
inclusion as critical habitat. Islands were selected because nesting 
occurs on the islands and not the mainland beaches.
    We identified 39 units in the Northern Recovery Unit for 
designation as terrestrial critical habitat for the loggerhead sea 
turtle. However, we have exempted one of the identified units (Marine 
Corps Base Camp Lejeune (Onslow Beach)) from critical habitat 
designation under section 4(a)(3) of the Act (see Exemptions section 
below). The remaining 38 units encompass 393.7 km (244.7 miles) of 
Atlantic Ocean shoreline: 8 units occur in North Carolina, 22 in South 
Carolina, and 8 in Georgia. These 38 areas encompass approximately 86 
percent of the documented nesting (numbers of nests) within the 
recovery unit.
Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit
    For the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit, we took a similar 
approach to the one used for the Northern Recovery Unit. However, we 
used recent information on loggerhead genetics within the recovery unit 
(Shamblin et al. 2011, entire) to break the unit into smaller regions 
for the purpose of assessing beach nesting densities (analogous to 
assessing nesting densities by State for the Northern Recovery Unit).
    Within the southeastern United States, Shamblin et al. (2011, p. 
585) supported recognition of a minimum of six distinct units based 
solely on genetics. Four of these genetic units occur fully or 
partially within the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit: (1) Northern, 
(2) central eastern Florida, (3) southern Florida (southeastern and 
southwestern), and (4) central western Florida. We used these four 
regions identified by Shamblin et al. (2011, p. 585) for our 
assessment, but split southern Florida into southeastern and 
southwestern regions based on additional genetic analyses (Shamblin 
2012, pers. comm.). We included the Florida Keys in Monroe County from 
Key West and east in the southeastern region because, even though the 
sample sizes for loggerhead genetics on these islands are too small to 
make any definitive determinations, they do indicate that loggerheads 
nesting in this area are least likely to group out with those in the 
southwestern region (Shamblin 2012, pers. comm.).
    Therefore, we split the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit into the 
following five regions for an assessment of nesting densities based on 
recovery unit boundaries (NMFS and USFWS 2008, pp. II-2-II-6) and 
recent genetic analyses (Shamblin et al. 2011, p. 585; Shamblin 2012, 
pers. comm.):
    (1) Northern Florida--Florida-Georgia border to Ponce Inlet;
    (2) Central Eastern Florida--Ponce Inlet to Fort Pierce Inlet;
    (3) Southeastern Florida--Fort Pierce Inlet to Key West in Monroe 
County;
    (4) Central Western Florida--Pinellas County to San Carlos Bay off 
Lee County; and
    (5) Southwestern Florida--San Carlos Bay off Lee County to Sandy 
Key in northwest Monroe County.
    The next step for the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit was to 
delineate beaches within these five regions. For the Florida Atlantic 
Coast from the Florida-Georgia border through central eastern Monroe 
County, and for the Florida Gulf Coast from the Pinellas County-Pasco 
County border through northwestern Monroe County, we first defined 
beach segments as islands or mainland beaches separated by inlets, 
cuts, rivers, creeks, bays, sounds, passes, and channels. Note that, 
for the Miami Beaches area, we did not use the Haulover Cut to 
delineate beaches north and south of this water feature. The reason for 
this is that the permit holder survey area for the Miami Beaches occurs 
both north and south of the Haulover Cut, and the nesting data could 
not readily be separated. In this situation, the nesting density 
analysis included data that covered the entire survey area from the 
south end of Golden Beach to Government Cut.
    After breaking out beach segments using inlets and other water 
features, we determined that the identified beach segments were overly 
large in some areas for an accurate assessment of nesting densities. 
Calculating nesting densities for overly large areas could result in 
some high-density nesting beaches not being identified because they 
would be averaged in with adjacent lower density nesting beaches. To 
address this issue, we next used information available on turtle nest 
site fidelity to further separate beach segments. Nest site fidelity 
varies among females, with some females laying multiple nests on a 
relatively small section of beach and some laying their nests over a 
much larger section of beach. Schroeder et al. (2003, p. 119) compiled 
reported information on mean distances between the nest sites of 
individual loggerheads, with the reported averages of females nesting 
on the Florida Atlantic coast varying from 3.0 to 17.48 km (1.9 to 10.9 
miles). In Southwest Florida, Tucker (2010, p. 51) reported a mean nest 
site fidelity of 28.1 km (17.5 miles) for all nests, but 16.9 km (10.5 
miles) if the first nests were omitted to account for each turtle's 
navigational correction. Based on this information, we decided to use 
distances of approximately 20.0 km (12.4 miles) to further separate out 
beach segments. We used this 20.0-km (12.4-mile) target in concert with 
sea turtle permit holder nesting survey area boundaries to delineate 
beaches for the nesting density analysis.
    For the Florida Keys in Monroe County, we grouped the islands from 
Key West and east where loggerhead nesting has been documented into 
three separate segments: (1) Upper segment consisting of Lower 
Matecumbe Key and Long Key; (2) Middle segment consisting of Little 
Crawl Key, Fat Deer Key, Key Colony Beach (formerly called Shelter 
Key), and Vaca Key; and (3) Lower segment consisting of Bahia Honda 
Key, Big Pine Key, and Key West. Note that Sandy Key in northwestern 
Monroe County was grouped with the Southwestern Florida Region.
    Once we defined the beaches by region within the Peninsular Florida 
Recovery Unit, we used the same approach described above for the 
Northern Recovery Unit. We divided beach nesting densities into four 
equal

[[Page 18016]]

groups by region and selected beaches that were within the top 25 
percent (highest nesting densities) for designation as critical 
habitat. These high density nesting beaches along with the beaches 
adjacent to them as described below encompassed the majority of nesting 
within the recovery unit. The reason we determined high-density nesting 
beaches within each region (rather than the entire Peninsular Florida 
Recovery Unit) was to ensure the inclusion of beaches that would 
otherwise be considered low density when compared with beaches along 
the southeastern Florida coast and thus ensure a good spatial 
distribution of critical habitat units within the recovery unit.
    We also identified adjacent areas for each of the high-density 
nesting beaches based on current knowledge about nest site fidelity. 
Protecting beaches adjacent to high-density nesting beaches should 
provide sufficient habitat to accommodate and provide a rescue effect 
for nesting females whose primary nesting beach has been lost. To 
identify adjacent beaches, we again used information available on 
turtle nest site fidelity. Therefore, for the Peninsular Florida 
Recovery Unit, we selected adjacent beaches approximately 20.0 km (12.4 
miles) to the north and 20.0 km (12.4 miles) to the south, where 
appropriate, of each of the high-density nesting beaches identified for 
inclusion as critical habitat. The selected adjacent beaches were based 
on permit holder survey area boundaries with one or more permit holder 
survey areas being included depending on the length of the survey 
areas. Within these adjacent areas for each of the high-density nesting 
beaches, we did not include segments that were highly urbanized, highly 
erosional, or prone to repeated flooding.
    Although no beaches in the Florida Keys east of Key West were 
selected using the above process, we decided to include beaches on two 
Keys to ensure good spatial distribution of loggerhead nesting in the 
southern portion of the range for this recovery unit. The Keys (Long 
Key and Bahia Honda Key) we are proposing to designate as terrestrial 
critical habitat address this need for good spatial distribution of 
nesting. In addition, these beaches are unique from the other beaches 
we are proposing to designate in that they are limestone islands with 
narrow, low-energy beaches (beaches where waves are not powerful); they 
have carbonate sands; and they are relatively close to the major 
offshore currents that are known to facilitate the dispersal of post-
hatchling loggerheads.
    We identified 37 units in the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit for 
designation as terrestrial critical habitat for the loggerhead sea 
turtle. However, we have exempted two of the identified units (Cape 
Canaveral Air Force Station and Patrick Air Force Base) from critical 
habitat designation under section 4(a)(3) of the Act (see Exemptions 
section below). The remaining 35 units encompass 364.9 km (226.7 miles) 
of Atlantic Ocean shoreline and 198.8 km (123.5 miles) of Gulf of 
Mexico shoreline totaling 563.7 km (350.2 miles) of shoreline in this 
recovery unit: 18 units occur along the Atlantic Ocean coast, and 17 
units occur along the Gulf of Mexico coast. These 35 units encompass 
approximately 87 percent of the documented nesting (numbers of nests) 
within the recovery unit.
Dry Tortugas Recovery Unit
    For the Dry Tortugas Recovery Unit, we propose to designate all 
islands west of Key West, Florida, where loggerhead nesting has been 
documented, as terrestrial critical habitat due to the extremely small 
size of this recovery unit. We identified four units in the Dry 
Tortugas Recovery Unit for designation as terrestrial critical habitat 
for the loggerhead sea turtle. These four units encompass 14.5 km (9.0 
miles) of Gulf of Mexico shoreline. These four units encompass 100 
percent of the nesting (numbers of nests) where loggerhead nesting is 
known to occur within the recovery unit.
Northern Gulf of Mexico Recovery Unit
    For the Northern Gulf of Mexico Recovery Unit, we used loggerhead 
nest counts from 2006-2011 to calculate mean nesting density for each 
beach. We defined beach segments as islands or mainland beaches 
separated by cuts, bays, sounds, or passes. Note that we did not use 
Crooked Island Sound, St. Andrews Bay Entrance Channel, and Destin Pass 
to delineate beaches west and east of these water features. The reason 
for this is that the permit holder survey areas for these three 
locations occur both west and east of the water feature, and the 
nesting data could not readily be separated. In these situations, the 
nesting density analysis included data that covered the entire survey 
areas on both sides of the water feature.
    After breaking out beach segments using cuts and other water 
features, we determined that the identified beach segments were overly 
large in some areas for an accurate assessment of nesting densities. 
Calculating nesting densities for overly large areas could result in 
some high-density nesting beaches not being identified because they 
would be averaged in with adjacent lower density nesting beaches. To 
address this issue, we used political boundaries and information 
available on turtle nest site fidelity to further separate beach 
segments. Although some preliminary information on nest site fidelity 
is available for the Northern Gulf of Mexico Recovery Unit, it was not 
sufficient to determine average distances between nest sites within a 
season for nesting females in this recovery unit. Therefore, as 
described in the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit section above, we 
decided to use distances of approximately 20.0 km (12.4 miles) to 
further separate out beach segments based on available information on 
nest site fidelity. We used this 20.0-km (12.4-mile) target in concert 
with sea turtle permit holder nesting survey area boundaries to 
delineate beaches for the nesting density analysis.
    Once we defined the beaches by State within the Northern Gulf of 
Mexico Recovery Unit, we used a similar approach as the one described 
above for the Northern Recovery Unit. For Mississippi, nesting data are 
not collected regularly or in a standardized manner. Prior to 2006, the 
National Park Service annually conducted aerial sea turtle nesting 
surveys once a week during the nesting season on the Mississippi 
District of Gulf Islands National Seashore. Aerial surveys were 
conducted over Cat, West Ship, East Ship, Horn, and Petit Bois Islands. 
All nests sighted during aerial surveys appeared to be loggerhead 
nests. The total number of nests for a season ranged from 0 to 
approximately 15, although aerial survey methods and frequency may have 
missed nests. Although regular surveys have not been conducted since 
2005, loggerhead nesting was documented in 2010 and 2011 during the 
Deepwater Horizon event response efforts. Horn and Petit Bois Islands 
have had the most nests; the other islands have had occasional nests. 
For Alabama and the Florida Panhandle, we divided beach nesting 
densities into four equal groups by State and selected beaches that 
were within the top 25 percent (highest nesting densities) for 
designation as critical habitat. These high density nesting beaches 
along with the beaches adjacent to them as described below encompassed 
the majority of nesting within the recovery unit. The reason we 
determined high-density nesting beaches within each State (rather than 
the entire Northern Gulf of Mexico Recovery Unit) was that it allowed 
consideration for the inclusion of

[[Page 18017]]

beaches near the western extent of the range that would otherwise be 
considered low density when compared with beaches in Alabama and the 
Florida Panhandle, thus ensuring a good spatial distribution. While 
nesting in Mississippi may be considered low density compared to 
Alabama and the Florida Panhandle, the nesting numbers were much higher 
than those in Louisiana and Texas. Thus, although some loggerhead sea 
turtle nesting likely regularly occurs in Louisiana and Texas, we do 
not propose to designate any critical habitat there due to the very low 
number of nests (less than 10 annually in each State from 2002 to 2011) 
known to be laid in these States.
    We also identified adjacent areas for each of the high-density 
nesting beaches in Alabama and the Florida Panhandle based on current 
knowledge about nest site fidelity. Protecting beaches adjacent to 
high-density nesting beaches should provide sufficient habitat to 
accommodate and provide a rescue effect for nesting females whose 
primary nesting beach has been lost. To identify adjacent beaches, we 
again used information available on turtle nest site fidelity. Although 
some preliminary information on nest site fidelity is available for the 
Northern Gulf of Mexico Recovery Unit, it was not sufficient to 
determine average distances between nest sites within a season for 
nesting females in this recovery unit. Therefore, we used available 
information on nest site fidelity for the Peninsular Florida Recovery 
Unit and selected adjacent beaches approximately 20.0 km (12.4 miles) 
to the west and 20.0 km (12.4 miles) to the east, where appropriate, of 
each of the high-density nesting beaches identified for inclusion as 
critical habitat. The selected adjacent beaches were based on permit 
holder survey area boundaries with one or more permit holder survey 
areas being included depending on the length of the survey areas. 
Within these adjacent areas for each of the high-density nesting 
beaches, we did not include segments that were highly urbanized, highly 
erosional, or prone to repeated flooding.
    We identified 14 units in the Northern Gulf of Mexico Recovery Unit 
for designation as terrestrial critical habitat for the loggerhead sea 
turtle. However, we have exempted one of the identified units (Eglin 
Air Force Base (Cape San Blas)) from critical habitat designation under 
section 4(a)(3) of the Act (see Exemptions section below). The 
remaining 13 units encompass 218.0 km (135.5 miles) of Gulf of Mexico 
shoreline: 2 units occur in Mississippi, 3 in Alabama, and 8 in the 
Florida Panhandle. These 13 units encompass approximately 75 percent of 
the documented nesting (numbers of nests) within the recovery unit. The 
percentage of nesting is based on data from the Florida Panhandle and 
Alabama only.
    When determining proposed critical habitat boundaries, we made 
every effort to avoid including developed areas such as lands covered 
by buildings, pavement, and other structures because such lands lack 
physical or biological features necessary for the loggerhead sea 
turtle. The scale of the maps we prepared under the parameters for 
publication within the Code of Federal Regulations may not reflect the 
exclusion of such developed lands. Any such lands inadvertently left 
inside critical habitat boundaries shown on the maps of this proposed 
rule have been excluded by text in the proposed rule and are not 
proposed for designation as critical habitat. Therefore, if the 
critical habitat is finalized as proposed, a Federal action involving 
these lands would not trigger section 7 consultation with respect to 
critical habitat and the requirement of no adverse modification unless 
the specific action would affect the physical or biological features in 
the adjacent critical habitat.
    The critical habitat designation is defined by the maps, as 
modified by any accompanying regulatory text, presented at the end of 
this document in the rule portion. We include more detailed information 
on the boundaries of the critical habitat designation in the preamble 
of this document. We will make the coordinates or plot points or both 
on which each map is based available to the public on http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2012-0103, on our Internet 
site http://www.fws.gov/northflorida, and at the field office 
responsible for the designation (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT 
above).
    In order to translate the selection process above to the areas on 
the ground, we used the following methodology to identify the mapped 
boundaries of critical habitat for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean 
loggerhead DPS:
    (1) Each unit was digitally mapped in Google Earth imagery using 
the unit boundary descriptions.
    (2) Where feasible, natural or artificial features (inlets, 
channels, creeks, bays and sounds), political boundaries (County or 
City), or map-depicted land ownership (Federal, State, or local) were 
used as unit boundaries.
    (3) Where features to be used as boundaries were highly dynamic, 
such as inlets, boundaries were distinguished using records of the sea 
turtle nesting in that area.
    (4) Where natural, artificial, or political features, or land 
ownership could not be used for unit boundaries, boundaries were 
delineated by geographic means (latitude and longitude, decimal degree 
points).
    (5) Data layers defining map units were created using Google Earth 
imagery, then refined using Bing imagery. Unit descriptions were then 
mapped using North America Lambert Conformal Conic coordinates.

Proposed Critical Habitat Designation

    We are proposing 1,189.9 km (739.3 miles) in 90 units in the 
terrestrial environment as critical habitat for the loggerhead sea 
turtle. Under section 4(a)(3) of the Act, we have exempted four 
additional units that were identified for inclusion as critical habitat 
(see Exemptions section below). The critical habitat areas we describe 
below constitute our current best assessment of areas that meet the 
definition of critical habitat in the terrestrial environment for the 
Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS of the loggerhead sea turtle. The 90 areas 
we propose as critical habitat and the approximate shoreline length and 
Federal, State, and private and other (counties and municipalities) 
ownership of each proposed critical habitat unit are shown in Table 1.

[[Page 18018]]



             Table 1--Proposed Critical Habitat Units for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle by Recovery Unit
  [Beach length estimates reflect the linear distance along the nesting beach shoreline within critical habitat
                                    unit boundaries. All units are occupied]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                   Private and
                                                 Length of unit                                       other
             Critical habitat unit                in kilometers      Federal          State       (counties and
                                                     (miles)                                     municipalities)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             Northern Recovery Unit
 
                                                 North Carolina
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LOGG-T-NC-01: Bogue Banks, Carteret County.....     38.9 (24.2)           0 (0)       4.6 (2.9)      34.3 (21.3)
LOGG-T-NC-02: Bear Island, Onslow County.......       6.6 (4.1)           0 (0)       6.6 (4.1)            0 (0)
LOGG-T-NC-03: Topsail Island, Onslow and Pender     35.0 (21.8)           0 (0)           0 (0)      35.0 (21.8)
 Counties......................................
LOGG-T-NC-04: Lea-Hutaff Island, Pender County.       6.1 (3.8)           0 (0)       0.5 (0.3)        5.6 (3.5)
LOGG-T-NC-05: Pleasure Island, New Hanover          18.6 (11.5)           0 (0)       6.8 (4.2)       11.8 (7.3)
 County........................................
LOGG-T-NC-06: Bald Head Island, Brunswick            15.1 (9.4)           0 (0)       5.8 (3.6)        9.3 (5.8)
 County........................................
LOGG-T-NC-07: Oak Island, Brunswick County.....     20.9 (13.0)           0 (0)           0 (0)      20.9 (13.0)
LOGG-T-NC-08: Holden Beach, Brunswick County...      13.4 (8.3)           0 (0)           0 (0)       13.4 (8.3)
                                                ----------------------------------------------------------------
    North Carolina State Totals................    154.6 (96.1)           0 (0)     24.3 (15.1)     130.3 (81.0)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                 South Carolina
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LOGG-T-SC-01: North Island, Georgetown County..      13.2 (8.2)           0 (0)      13.2 (8.2)            0 (0)
LOGG-T-SC-02: Sand Island, Georgetown County...       4.7 (2.9)           0 (0)       4.7 (2.9)            0 (0)
LOGG-T-SC-03: South Island, Georgetown County..       6.7 (4.2)           0 (0)       6.7 (4.2)            0 (0)
LOGG-T-SC-04: Cedar Island, Georgetown County..       4.1 (2.5)           0 (0)       4.1 (2.5)            0 (0)
LOGG-T-SC-05: Murphy Island, Charleston County.       8.0 (5.0)           0 (0)       8.0 (5.0)            0 (0)
LOGG-T-SC-06: Cape Island, Charleston County...       8.3 (5.1)       8.3 (5.1)           0 (0)            0 (0)
LOGG-T-SC-07: Lighthouse Island, Charleston           5.3 (3.3)       5.3 (3.3)           0 (0)            0 (0)
 County........................................
LOGG-T-SC-08: Raccoon Key, Charleston County...       4.8 (3.0)       4.8 (3.0)           0 (0)            0 (0)
LOGG-T-SC-09: Folly Island, Charleston County..      11.2 (7.0)           0 (0)           0 (0)       11.2 (7.0)
LOGG-T-SC-10: Kiawah Island, Charleston County.     17.0 (10.6)           0 (0)           0 (0)      17.0 (10.6)
LOGG-T-SC-11: Seabrook Island, Charleston             5.8 (3.6)           0 (0)           0 (0)        5.8 (3.6)
 County........................................
LOGG-T-SC-12: Botany Bay Island and Botany Bay        6.6 (4.1)           0 (0)       4.0 (2.5)        2.6 (1.6)
 Plantation, Charleston County.................
LOGG-T-SC-13: Interlude Beach, Charleston             0.9 (0.6)           0 (0)       0.9 (0.6)            0 (0)
 County........................................
LOGG-T-SC-14: Edingsville Beach, Charleston           2.7 (1.7)           0 (0)           0 (0)        2.7 (1.7)
 County........................................
LOGG-T-SC-15: Edisto Beach State Park, Colleton       2.2 (1.4)           0 (0)       2.2 (1.4)            0 (0)
 County........................................
LOGG-T-SC-16: Edisto Beach, Colleton County....       6.8 (4.2)           0 (0)           0 (0)        6.8 (4.2)
LOGG-T-SC-17: Pine Island, Colleton County.....       1.2 (0.7)           0 (0)       1.2 (0.7)            0 (0)
LOGG-T-SC-18: Otter Island, Colleton County....       4.1 (2.5)           0 (0)       4.1 (2.5)            0 (0)
LOGG-T-SC-19: Harbor Island, Beaufort County...       2.9 (1.8)           0 (0)           0 (0)        2.9 (1.8)
LOGG-T-SC-20: Little Capers Island, Beaufort          4.6 (2.9)           0 (0)           0 (0)        4.6 (2.9)
 County........................................
LOGG-T-SC-21: St. Phillips Island, Beaufort           2.3 (1.4)           0 (0)           0 (0)        2.3 (1.4)
 County........................................
LOGG-T-SC-22: Bay Point Island, Beaufort County       4.3 (2.7)           0 (0)           0 (0)        4.3 (2.7)
                                                ----------------------------------------------------------------
    South Carolina State Totals................    127.7 (79.3)     18.4 (11.4)     48.9 (30.4)      60.4 (37.5)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                     Georgia
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LOGG-T-GA-01: Little Tybee Island, Chatham            8.6 (5.3)           0 (0)       8.6 (5.3)            0 (0)
 County........................................
LOGG-T-GA-02: Wassaw Island, Chatham County....      10.1 (6.3)       9.8 (6.1)           0 (0)        0.3 (0.2)
LOGG-T-GA-03: Ossabaw Island, Chatham County...     17.1 (10.6)           0 (0)     17.1 (10.6)            0 (0)
LOGG-T-GA-04: St. Catherines Island, Liberty        18.4 (11.5)           0 (0)           0 (0)      18.4 (11.5)
 County........................................
LOGG-T-GA-05: Blackbeard Island, McIntosh            13.5 (8.4)      13.5 (8.4)           0 (0)            0 (0)
 County........................................
LOGG-T-GA-06: Sapelo Island, McIntosh County...       9.3 (5.8)           0 (0)       9.3 (5.8)            0 (0)
LOGG-T-GA-07: Little Cumberland Island, Camden        4.9 (3.0)           0 (0)           0 (0)        4.9 (3.0)
 County........................................
LOGG-T-GA-08: Cumberland Island, Camden County.     29.7 (18.4)     25.2 (15.7)           0 (0)        4.5 (2.8)
                                                ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Georgia State Totals.......................    111.5 (69.3)     48.4 (30.1)     34.9 (21.7)      28.1 (17.5)
                                                ----------------------------------------------------------------
        Northern Recovery Unit Totals..........   393.7 (244.7)     66.8 (41.5)    109.2 (67.9)    217.7 (135.3)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit
 
                                                     Florida
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LOGG-T-FL-01: South Duval County Beaches-Old        25.2 (15.6)           0 (0)           0 (0)      25.2 (15.6)
 Ponte Vedra, Duval and St. Johns Counties.....
LOGG-T-FL-02: Guana Tolomato Matanzas NERR-St.      24.1 (15.0)           0 (0)       7.2 (4.4)      17.0 (10.6)
 Augustine Inlet, St. Johns County.............
LOGG-T-FL-03: St. Augustine Inlet-Matanzas          22.4 (14.0)       1.4 (0.9)       5.6 (3.5)       15.4 (9.6)
 Inlet, St. Johns County.......................
LOGG-T-FL-04: River to Sea Preserve at              31.8 (19.8)           0 (0)       6.1 (3.8)      25.7 (16.0)
 Marineland-North Peninsula State Park, Flagler
 and Volusia Counties..........................
LOGG-T-FL-05: Ormond-by-the-Sea-Granada Blvd,        11.1 (6.9)           0 (0)           0 (0)       11.1 (6.9)
 Volusia County................................

[[Page 18019]]

 
LOGG-T-FL-06: Canaveral National Seashore           18.2 (11.3)     18.2 (11.3)           0 (0)            0 (0)
 North, Volusia County.........................
LOGG-T-FL-07: Canaveral National Seashore South-    28.4 (17.6)     28.4 (17.6)           0 (0)            0 (0)
 Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (NWR)-
 Kennedy Space, Brevard County.................
LOGG-T-FL-08: Central Brevard Beaches, Brevard      19.5 (12.1)           0 (0)           0 (0)      19.5 (12.1)
 County........................................
LOGG-T-FL-09: South Brevard Beaches, Brevard        20.8 (12.9)       4.2 (2.6)       1.5 (1.0)       15.0 (9.3)
 County........................................
LOGG-T-FL-10: Sebastian Inlet-Indian River          21.4 (13.3)       0.9 (0.6)       3.2 (2.0)      17.4 (10.8)
 Shores, Indian River County...................
LOGG-T-FL-11: Fort Pierce Inlet-St. Lucie           35.2 (21.9)           0 (0)           0 (0)      35.2 (21.9)
 Inlet, St. Lucie and Martin Counties..........
LOGG-T-FL-12: St. Lucie Inlet-Jupiter Inlet,        24.9 (15.5)       4.8 (3.0)       3.7 (2.3)      16.4 (10.2)
 Martin and Palm Beach Counties................
LOGG-T-FL-13: Jupiter Inlet-Lake Worth Inlet,       18.8 (11.7)           0 (0)       2.5 (1.5)      16.3 (10.1)
 Palm Beach County.............................
LOGG-T-FL-14: Lake Worth Inlet-Boynton Inlet,       24.3 (15.1)           0 (0)           0 (0)      24.3 (15.1)
 Palm Beach County.............................
LOGG-T-FL-15: Boynton Inlet-Boca Raton Inlet,       22.6 (14.1)           0 (0)           0 (0)      22.6 (14.1)
 Palm Beach County.............................
LOGG-T-FL-16: Boca Raton Inlet-Hillsboro Inlet,       8.3 (5.2)           0 (0)           0 (0)        8.3 (5.2)
 Palm Beach and Broward Counties...............
LOGG-T-FL-17: Long Key, Monroe County..........       4.2 (2.6)           0 (0)       4.2 (2.6)            0 (0)
LOGG-T-FL-18: Bahia Honda Key, Monroe County...       3.7 (2.3)           0 (0)       3.7 (2.3)            0 (0)
LOGG-T-FL-19: Longboat Key, Manatee and              16.0 (9.9)           0 (0)           0 (0)       16.0 (9.9)
 Sarasota Counties.............................
LOGG-T-FL-20: Siesta and Casey Keys, Sarasota       20.8 (13.0)           0 (0)           0 (0)      20.8 (13.0)
 County........................................
LOGG-T-FL-21: Venice Beaches and Manasota Key,      26.0 (16.1)           0 (0)       1.9 (1.2)      24.1 (15.0)
 Sarasota and Charlotte Counties...............
LOGG-T-FL-22: Knight, Don Pedro, and Little          10.8 (6.7)           0 (0)       1.9 (1.2)        8.9 (5.5)
 Gasparilla Islands, Charlotte County..........
LOGG-T-FL-23: Gasparilla Island, Charlotte and       11.2 (6.9)           0 (0)       1.5 (1.0)        9.6 (6.0)
 Lee Counties..................................
LOGG-T-FL-24: Cayo Costa, Lee County...........      13.5 (8.4)           0 (0)      13.2 (8.2)        0.3 (0.2)
LOGG-T-FL-25: Captiva Island, Lee County.......       7.6 (4.7)           0 (0)           0 (0)        7.6 (4.7)
LOGG-T-FL-26: Sanibel Island West, Lee County..      12.2 (7.6)           0 (0)           0 (0)       12.2 (7.6)
LOGG-T-FL-27: Little Hickory Island, Lee and          8.7 (5.4)           0 (0)           0 (0)        8.7 (5.4)
 Collier Counties..............................
LOGG-T-FL-28: Wiggins Pass-Clam Pass, Collier         7.7 (4.8)           0 (0)       2.0 (1.2)        5.7 (3.6)
 County........................................
LOGG-T-FL-29: Clam Pass--Doctors Pass, Collier        4.9 (3.0)           0 (0)           0 (0)        4.9 (3.0)
 County........................................
LOGG-T-FL-30: Keewaydin Island and Sea Oat           13.1 (8.1)           0 (0)      12.4 (7.7)        0.7 (0.5)
 Island, Collier County........................
LOGG-T-FL-31: Cape Romano, Collier County......       9.2 (5.7)           0 (0)       7.2 (4.5)        2.0 (1.2)
LOGG-T-FL-32: Ten Thousand Islands North,             7.8 (4.9)       2.9 (1.8)       4.9 (3.1)            0 (0)
 Collier County................................
LOGG-T-FL-33: Highland Beach, Monroe County....       7.2 (4.5)       7.2 (4.5)           0 (0)            0 (0)
LOGG-T-FL-34: Graveyard Creek- Shark Point,           0.9 (0.6)       0.9 (0.6)           0 (0)            0 (0)
 Monroe County.................................
LOGG-T-FL-35: Cape Sable, Monroe County........     21.3 (13.2)     21.3 (13.2)           0 (0)            0 (0)
                                                ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Florida State Totals.......................   563.7 (350.2)     90.3 (56.1)     82.6 (51.3)    390.9 (242.9)
                                                ----------------------------------------------------------------
        Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit Totals   563.7 (350.2)     90.3 (56.1)     82.6 (51.3)    390.9 (242.9)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           Dry Tortugas Recovery Unit
 
                                                     Florida
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LOGG-T-FL-36: Dry Tortugas, Monroe County......       6.3 (3.9)       6.3 (3.9)           0 (0)            0 (0)
LOGG-T-FL-37: Marquesas Keys, Monroe County....       5.6 (3.5)       5.6 (3.5)           0 (0)            0 (0)
LOGG-T-FL-38: Boca Grande Key, Monroe County...       1.3 (0.8)       1.3 (0.8)           0 (0)            0 (0)
LOGG-T-FL-39: Woman Key, Monroe County.........       1.3 (0.8)       1.3 (0.8)           0 (0)            0 (0)
                                                ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Florida State Totals.......................      14.5 (9.0)      14.5 (9.0)           0 (0)            0 (0)
                                                ----------------------------------------------------------------
        Dry Tortugas Recovery Unit Totals......      14.5 (9.0)      14.5 (9.0)           0 (0)            0 (0)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                      Northern Gulf of Mexico Recovery Unit
 
                                                   Mississippi
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LOGG-T-MS-01: Horn Island, Jackson County......     18.6 (11.5)     17.7 (11.0)           0 (0)        0.8 (0.5)
LOGG-T-MS-02: Petit Bois Island, Jackson County       9.8 (6.1)       9.8 (6.1)           0 (0)            0 (0)
                                                ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Mississippi State Totals...................     28.4 (17.6)     27.5 (17.1)           0 (0)        0.8 (0.5)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                     Alabama
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LOGG-T-AL-01: Mobile Bay-Little Lagoon Pass,        28.0 (17.4)       5.4 (3.4)       3.1 (1.9)      19.5 (12.1)
 Baldwin County................................
LOGG-T-AL-02: Gulf State Park-Perdido Pass,          10.7 (6.7)           0 (0)       3.5 (2.2)        7.3 (4.5)
 Baldwin County................................
LOGG-T-AL-03: Perdido Pass-Florida-Alabama            3.3 (2.0)           0 (0)       1.7 (1.0)        1.6 (1.0)
 line, Baldwin County..........................
                                                ----------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 18020]]

 
    Alabama State Totals.......................     42.0 (26.1)       5.4 (3.4)       8.2 (5.1)      28.3 (17.6)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                     Florida
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LOGG-T-FL-40: Perdido Key, Escambia County.....     20.2 (12.6)      11.0 (6.8)       2.5 (1.6)        6.7 (4.2)
LOGG-T-FL-41: Mexico Beach and St. Joe Beach,       18.7 (11.7)           0 (0)           0 (0)      18.7 (11.7)
 Bay and Gulf Counties.........................
LOGG-T-FL-42: St. Joseph Peninsula, Gulf County     23.5 (14.6)           0 (0)      15.5 (9.7)        8.0 (4.9)
LOGG-T-FL-43: Cape San Blas, Gulf County.......      11.0 (6.8)           0 (0)       0.1 (0.1)       10.8 (6.7)
LOGG-T-FL-44: St. Vincent Island, Franklin           15.1 (9.4)      15.1 (9.4)           0 (0)            0 (0)
 County........................................
LOGG-T-FL-45: Little St. George Island,              15.4 (9.6)           0 (0)      15.4 (9.6)            0 (0)
 Franklin County...............................
LOGG-T-FL-46: St. George Island, Franklin           30.7 (19.1)           0 (0)      14.0 (8.7)      16.7 (10.4)
 County:.......................................
LOGG-T-FL-47: Dog Island, Franklin County......      13.1 (8.1)           0 (0)           0 (0)       13.1 (8.1)
                                                ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Florida State Totals.......................    147.7 (91.8)     26.1 (16.2)     47.5 (29.5)      74.0 (46.0)
                                                ================================================================
        Northern Gulf of Mexico Recovery Unit     218.0 (135.5)     59.0 (36.7)     55.8 (34.7)     103.2 (64.2)
         Totals................................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Linear distances may not sum due to rounding.

    We present brief descriptions of all units, and reasons why they 
meet the definition of critical habitat for the loggerhead sea turtle, 
below.

Northern Recovery Unit

North Carolina
    LOGG-T-NC-01--Bogue Banks, Carteret County: This unit consists of 
38.9 km (24.2 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean. The 
island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal 
Waterway and Bogue Sound. The unit extends from Beaufort Inlet to Bogue 
Inlet. The unit includes lands from the MHW line landward to the toe of 
the secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in 
State and private ownership (see Table 1). The State portion is Fort 
Macon State Park, which is managed by the North Carolina Division of 
Parks and Recreation. This unit was occupied at the time of listing and 
is currently occupied. This unit supports expansion of nesting from an 
adjacent unit (LOGG-T-NC-02) that has high-density nesting by 
loggerhead sea turtles in North Carolina. This unit contains all of the 
PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require special management 
considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational 
use, beach driving, predation, beach sand placement activities, in-
water and shoreline alterations, climate change, beach erosion, 
artificial lighting, human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. 
At this time, we are not aware of any management plans that address 
this species in this area.
    LOGG-T-NC-02--Bear Island, Onslow County: This unit consists of 6.6 
km (4.1 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean. The island 
is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway 
and salt marsh. The unit extends from Bogue Inlet to Bear Inlet. The 
unit includes lands from the MHW line landward to the toe of the 
secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in State 
ownership (see Table 1). The island is managed by the North Carolina 
Division of Parks and Recreation as Hammocks Beach State Park. This 
unit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. 
This unit has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in North 
Carolina. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protections to 
ameliorate the threats of recreational use, predation, beach sand 
placement activities, in-water and shoreline alterations, climate 
change, beach erosion, human-caused disasters, and response to 
disasters. At this time, we are not aware of any management plans that 
address this species in this area.
    LOGG-T-NC-03--Topsail Island, Onslow and Pender Counties: This unit 
consists of 35.0 km (21.8 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean. The island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic 
Intracoastal Waterway, Chadwick Bay, Alligator Bay, Goose Bay, Rogers 
Bay, Everett Bay, Spicer Bay, Waters Bay, Stump Sound, Banks Channel, 
and salt marsh. The unit extends from New River Inlet to New Topsail 
Inlet. The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the 
secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in private 
and other ownership (see Table 1). The local municipality portion is 
the North Topsail Beach Park, which is managed by the Town of North 
Topsail Beach. This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is 
currently occupied. This unit has high-density nesting by loggerhead 
sea turtles in North Carolina. This unit contains all of the PBFs and 
PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require special management 
considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational 
use, beach driving, predation, beach sand placement activities, in-
water and shoreline alterations, climate change, beach erosion, 
artificial lighting, human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. 
At this time, we are not aware of any management plans that address 
this species in this area.
    LOGG-T-NC-04--Lea-Hutaff Island, Pender County: This unit consists 
of 6.1 km (3.8 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean. 
Following the closure of Old Topsail Inlet in 1998, two islands, Lea 
Island and Hutaff Island, joined to form what is now a single island 
referred to as Lea-Hutaff Island. The island is separated from the 
mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Topsail Sound, Eddy 
Sound, Long Point Channel, Green Channel, and salt marsh. The unit 
extends from New Topsail Inlet to Rich Inlet. The unit includes lands 
from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed 
structures. Land in this unit is in State and private ownership (see 
Table 1). The State portion is part of the

[[Page 18021]]

Lea Island State Natural Area, which includes most of the original Lea 
Island, and is owned by the North Carolina Division of Parks and 
Recreation and managed by Audubon North Carolina. The remainder of the 
original Lea Island is privately owned. The original Hutaff Island is 
entirely privately owned. This unit was occupied at the time of listing 
and is currently occupied. This unit supports expansion of nesting from 
an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-NC-03) that has high-density nesting by 
loggerhead sea turtles in North Carolina. This unit contains all of the 
PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require special management 
considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational 
use, predation, in-water and shoreline alterations, climate change, 
beach erosion, human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. At 
this time, we are not aware of any management plans that address this 
species in this area.
    LOGG-T-NC-05--Pleasure Island, New Hanover County: This unit 
consists of 18.6 km (11.5 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean. The island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic 
Intracoastal Waterway, Cape Fear River, Upper Midnight Channel Range, 
Lower Midnight Channel Range, Reaves Point Channel Range, Horseshoe 
Shoal Channel Range, Snow Marsh Channel Range, and The Basin (bay). The 
unit extends from Carolina Beach Inlet to 33.91433 N, 77.94408 W 
(historic location of Corncake Inlet). The unit includes lands from the 
MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed structures. Land 
in this unit is in State, private, and other ownership (see Table 1). 
The State portion is Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, which is 
managed by the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation. The 
local municipality portion includes half of Freeman Park Recreation 
Area, which is managed by the Town of Carolina Beach. The County 
portion includes the other half of Freeman Park Recreation Area, which 
is also managed by the Town of Carolina Beach under an interlocal 
agreement with New Hanover County. This unit was occupied at the time 
of listing and is currently occupied. This unit supports expansion of 
nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-NC-06) that has high-density 
nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in North Carolina. This unit contains 
all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require special 
management considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of 
recreational use, beach driving, predation, beach sand placement 
activities, in-water and shoreline alterations, climate change, beach 
erosion, artificial lighting, human-caused disasters, and response to 
disasters. At this time, we are not aware of any management plans that 
address this species in this area.
    LOGG-T-NC-06--Bald Head Island, Brunswick County: This unit 
consists of 15.1 km (9.4 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean. The island is part of the Smith Island Complex, which is a 
barrier spit that includes Bald Head, Middle, and Bluff Islands. The 
island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal 
Waterway, Cape Fear River, Battery Island Channel, Lower Swash Channel 
Range, Buzzard Bay, Smith Island Range, Southport Channel, and salt 
marsh. The unit extends from 33.91433 N, 77.94408 W (historic location 
of Corncake Inlet) to the mouth of the Cape Fear River. The unit 
includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or 
developed structures. Land in this unit is in State and private and 
other ownership (see Table 1). The State portion is Bald Head State 
Natural Area. This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is 
currently occupied. This unit has high-density nesting by loggerhead 
sea turtles in North Carolina. This unit contains all of the PBFs and 
PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require special management 
considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational 
use, predation, beach sand placement activities, in-water and shoreline 
alterations, coastal development, climate change, beach erosion, 
artificial lighting, human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. 
At this time, we are not aware of any management plans that address 
this species in this area.
    LOGG-T-NC-07--Oak Island, Brunswick County: This unit consists of 
20.9 km (13.0 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean. The 
island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal 
Waterway, Cape Fear River, Eastern Channel, and salt marsh. The unit 
extends from the mouth of the Cape Fear River to Lockwoods Folly Inlet. 
The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary 
dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in private and other 
ownership (see Table 1). This unit was occupied at the time of listing 
and is currently occupied. This unit has high-density nesting by 
loggerhead sea turtles in North Carolina. This unit contains all of the 
PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require special management 
considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational 
use, predation, beach sand placement activities, in-water and shoreline 
alterations, climate change, beach erosion, artificial lighting, human-
caused disasters, and response to disasters. At this time, we are not 
aware of any management plans that address this species in this area.
    LOGG-T-NC-08--Holden Beach, Brunswick County: This unit consists of 
13.4 km (8.3 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean. The 
island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal 
Waterway, Elizabeth River, Montgomery Slough, Boone Channel, and salt 
marsh. The unit extends from Lockwoods Folly Inlet to Shallotte Inlet. 
The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary 
dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in private and other 
ownership (see Table 1). This unit was occupied at the time of listing 
and is currently occupied. This unit supports expansion of nesting from 
an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-NC-07) that has high-density nesting by 
loggerhead sea turtles in North Carolina. This unit contains all of the 
PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require special management 
considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational 
use, predation, beach sand placement activities, in-water and shoreline 
alterations, climate change, beach erosion, artificial lighting, human-
caused disasters, and response to disasters. At this time, we are not 
aware of any management plans that address this species in this area.
South Carolina
    LOGG-T-SC-01--North Island, Georgetown County: This unit consists 
of 13.2 km (8.2 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean. 
The island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal 
Waterway, Winyah Bay, Mud Bay, Oyster Bay, and salt marsh. The unit 
extends from North Inlet to Winyah Bay. The unit includes lands from 
the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed structures. 
Land in this unit is in State ownership (see Table 1). It is part of 
the Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center Heritage Preserve, which is managed by 
the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. This unit was 
occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit 
supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-SC-02) that 
has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in South Carolina. 
This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may 
require special management considerations or protections to ameliorate 
the threats of recreational

[[Page 18022]]

use, predation, beach erosion, climate change, artificial lighting, 
habitat obstructions, human-caused disasters, and response to 
disasters. The Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center has a management plan that 
includes procedures for the implementation of sea turtle nesting 
surveys, nest marking, feral hog removal, and beach management to 
protect nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles from anthropogenic 
disturbances (Dozier 2006, pp. 31, 64-65).
    LOGG-T-SC-02--Sand Island, Georgetown County: This unit consists of 
4.7 km (2.9 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and 
Winyah Bay. The island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic 
Intracoastal Waterway and salt marsh. The unit extends from Winyah Bay 
to 33.17534 N, 79.19206 W (northern boundary of an unnamed inlet 
separating Sand Island and South Island). The unit includes lands from 
the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed structures. 
Land in this unit is in State ownership (see Table 1). It is part of 
the Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center Heritage Preserve, which is managed by 
the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. This unit was 
occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit 
has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in South Carolina. 
This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may 
require special management considerations or protections to ameliorate 
the threats of predation, in-water and shoreline alterations, beach 
erosion, climate change, artificial lighting, human-caused disasters, 
and response to disasters. The Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center has a 
management plan that includes procedures for the implementation of sea 
turtle nesting surveys, nest marking, feral hog removal, and beach 
management to protect nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles from 
anthropogenic disturbances (Dozier 2006, pp. 31, 64-65).
    LOGG-T-SC-03--South Island, Georgetown County: This unit consists 
of 6.7 km (4.2 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean. The 
island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal 
Waterway, North Santee Bay, and salt marsh. The unit extends from 
33.17242 N, 79.19366 W (southern boundary of an unnamed inlet 
separating Sand Island and South Island) to North Santee Inlet. The 
unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune 
or developed structures. Land in this unit is in State ownership (see 
Table 1). It is part of the Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center Heritage 
Preserve, which is managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural 
Resources. This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is 
currently occupied. This unit has high-density nesting by loggerhead 
sea turtles in South Carolina. This unit contains all of the PBFs and 
PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require special management 
considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational 
use, predation, in-water and shoreline alterations, beach erosion, 
climate change, artificial lighting, human-caused disasters, and 
response to disasters. The Tom Yawkey Wildlife Center has a management 
plan that includes procedures for the implementation of sea turtle 
nesting surveys, nest marking, feral hog removal, and beach management 
to protect nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles from 
anthropogenic disturbances (Dozier 2006, pp. 31, 64-65).
    LOGG-T-SC-04--Cedar Island, Georgetown County: This unit consists 
of 4.1 km (2.5 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and 
North Santee Inlet. The island is separated from the mainland by the 
Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and salt marsh. The unit extends from 
North Santee Inlet to South Santee Inlet. The unit includes lands from 
the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed structures. 
Land in this unit is in State ownership (see Table 1). It is part of 
the Santee Coastal Reserve Wildlife Management Area, which is managed 
by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. This unit was 
occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit 
supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-SC-03) that 
has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in South Carolina. 
This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may 
require special management considerations or protections to ameliorate 
the threats of recreational use, predation, beach erosion, climate 
change, habitat obstructions, human-caused disasters, and response to 
disasters. The Santee Coastal Reserve Wildlife Management Area has a 
draft management plan that includes recommendations to reduce sea 
turtle nest depredation by raccoons (South Carolina Department of 
Natural Resources 2002, p. 21), but there is currently no other 
management for protection of loggerhead sea turtle nests.
    LOGG-T-SC-05--Murphy Island, Charleston County: This unit consists 
of 8.0 km (5.0 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and 
South Santee Inlet. The island is separated from the mainland by the 
Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and inland marsh. The unit extends from 
South Santee Inlet to 33.08335 N, 79.34285 W. The unit includes lands 
from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed 
structures. Land in this unit is in State ownership (see Table 1). It 
is part of the Santee Coastal Reserve Wildlife Management Area, which 
is managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. This 
unit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. 
This unit supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-
SC-06) that has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in South 
Carolina. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protections to 
ameliorate the threats of recreational use, predation, beach erosion, 
climate change, habitat obstructions, human-caused disasters, and 
response to disasters. The Santee Coastal Reserve Wildlife Management 
Area has a draft management plan that includes recommendations to 
reduce sea turtle nest depredation by raccoons (South Carolina 
Department of Natural Resources 2002, p. 21), but there is currently no 
other management for protection of loggerhead sea turtle nests.
    LOGG-T-SC-06--Cape Island, Charleston County: This unit consists of 
8.3 km (5.1 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean. The 
island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal 
Waterway, Cape Romain Harbor, coastal islands, and salt marsh. The unit 
extends from Cape Romain Inlet to 33.00988 N, 79.36529 W (northern 
boundary of an unnamed inlet between Cape Island and Lighthouse 
Island). The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the 
secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in Federal 
ownership (see Table 1). It is the northernmost island in the Cape 
Romain National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), which is managed by USFWS. This 
unit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. 
This unit has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in South 
Carolina. It is the highest nesting density beach in the Northern 
Recovery Unit. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in 
this unit may require special management considerations or protections 
to ameliorate the threats of predation, in-water and shoreline 
alterations, beach erosion, climate change, human-caused disasters, and 
response to disasters. Cape Romain NWR has a Comprehensive Conservation 
Plan that

[[Page 18023]]

includes working with partners on the implementation of sea turtle 
nesting surveys, nest marking, minimizing human disturbance, and 
predator removal intended to minimize impacts to nesting and hatchling 
loggerhead sea turtles (USFWS 2010a, pp. 45-46).
    LOGG-T-SC-07--Lighthouse Island, Charleston County: This unit 
consists of 5.3 km (3.3 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean. The island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic 
Intracoastal Waterway, a network of coastal islands, and salt marsh. 
The unit extends from 33.01306 N, 79.36659 W (southern boundary of an 
unnamed inlet between Cape Island and Lighthouse Island) to Key Inlet. 
The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary 
dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in Federal ownership 
(see Table 1). It is part of the Cape Romain NWR, which is managed by 
USFWS. This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently 
occupied. This unit has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles 
in South Carolina. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The 
PBFs in this unit may require special management considerations or 
protections to ameliorate the threats of predation, in-water and 
shoreline alterations, beach erosion, climate change, human-caused 
disasters, and response to disasters. Cape Romain NWR has a 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan that includes working with partners on 
the implementation of sea turtle nesting surveys, nest marking, 
minimizing human disturbance, and predator removal intended to minimize 
impacts to nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles (USFWS 2010a, 
pp. 45-46).
    LOGG-T-SC-08--Raccoon Key, Charleston County: This unit consists of 
4.8 km (3.0 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean. The 
island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal 
Waterway, a network of coastal islands, and salt marsh. The unit 
extends from Raccoon Creek Inlet to Five Fathom Creek Inlet. The unit 
includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or 
developed structures. Land in this unit is in Federal ownership (see 
Table 1). It is part of the Cape Romain NWR, which is managed by USFWS. 
This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently 
occupied. This unit supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit 
(LOGG-T-SC-07) that has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles 
in South Carolina. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The 
PBFs in this unit may require special management considerations or 
protections to ameliorate the threats of predation, in-water and 
shoreline alterations, beach erosion, climate change, human-caused 
disasters, and response to disasters. Cape Romain NWR has a 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan that includes working with partners on 
the implementation of sea turtle nesting surveys, nest marking, 
minimizing human disturbance, and predator removal intended to minimize 
impacts to nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles (USFWS 2010a, 
pp. 45-46).
    LOGG-T-SC-09--Folly Island, Charleston County: This unit consists 
of 11.2 km (7.0 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean. 
The island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal 
Waterway, Folly River, a network of coastal islands, and salt marsh. 
The unit extends from Lighthouse Inlet to Folly River Inlet. The unit 
includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or 
developed structures. Land in this unit is in State, and private and 
other ownership (see Table 1). The Lighthouse Inlet Heritage Preserve, 
is owned by the County, with a 10 percent undivided interest from the 
South Carolina Department of Natural Resource. The Folly Beach County 
Park is owned by the County. Both are managed by the Charleston County 
Park and Recreation Commission. This unit was occupied at the time of 
listing and is currently occupied. This unit supports expansion of 
nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-SC-10) that has high-density 
nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in South Carolina. This unit contains 
all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBF in this unit may require special 
management considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of 
recreational use, beach sand placement activities, in-water and 
shoreline alterations, coastal development, beach erosion, climate 
change, artificial lighting, human-caused disasters, and response to 
disasters. The City of Folly Beach has a beach management plan that 
includes measures to protect nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea 
turtles from anthropogenic disturbances (City of Folly Beach 1991, pp. 
32-35). These measures apply to both the private and other lands within 
this critical habitat unit.
    LOGG-T-SC-10--Kiawah Island, Charleston County: This unit consists 
of 17.0 km (10.6 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean 
and Stono Inlet. The island is separated from the mainland by the 
Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Wadmalaw Island, Johns Island, Kiawah 
River, and salt marsh. The unit extends from Stono Inlet to Captain 
Sam's Inlet. The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of 
the secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in 
private and other ownership (see Table 1). The County portion includes 
Kiawah Beachwalker Park and Isle of Palms County Park, which are 
managed by the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission. This 
unit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. 
This unit has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in South 
Carolina. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protections to 
ameliorate the threats of recreational use, predation, beach sand 
placement activities, beach erosion, climate change, human-caused 
disasters, and response to disasters. The Town of Kiawah Island has a 
Local Comprehensive Beach Management Plan that describes actions, such 
as nest monitoring, education, pet and vehicular restrictions, and a 
lighting ordinance, taken by the Town to minimize impacts to nesting 
and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles from anthropogenic disturbances 
(Town of Kiawah Island 2006, pp. 4-11-4-13). These measures apply to 
both the private and other lands within this critical habitat unit 
although the degree of implementation is uncertain.
    LOGG-T-SC-11--Seabrook Island, Charleston County: This unit 
consists of 5.8 km (3.6 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean and North Edisto Inlet. The island is separated from the mainland 
by the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Wadmalaw Island, Johns Island, 
and salt marsh. The unit extends from Captain Sam's Inlet to North 
Edisto Inlet. The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of 
the secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in 
private and other ownership (see Table 1). This unit was occupied at 
the time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit supports 
expansion of nesting from adjacent units (LOGG-T-SC-10 and LOGG-T-SC-
12) that have high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in South 
Carolina. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protections to 
ameliorate the threats of recreational use, predation, beach sand 
placement activities, in-water and shoreline alterations, coastal 
development, beach erosion, climate change, artificial lighting, human-
caused disasters, and response to disasters. The Town of Seabrook 
Island has a beach management plan that includes the implementation of 
sea turtle nesting

[[Page 18024]]

surveys, nest marking, and actions to minimize human disturbance 
impacts to nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles (Town Council 
of Seabrook 1991, p. 15). These measures apply to the private lands 
within this critical habitat unit although the degree of implementation 
is uncertain.
    LOGG-T-SC-12--Botany Bay Island and Botany Bay Plantation, 
Charleston County: This unit consists of 6.6 km (4.1 miles) of island 
shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and North Edisto Inlet. It includes 
the shoreline of Botany Bay Island and Botany Bay Plantation, which is 
located on the north end of Edisto Island. Botany Bay Island and Botany 
Bay Plantation were originally separated by South Creek Inlet. However, 
due to beach accretion on the south end of Botany Bay Island, it is now 
continuous with Botany Bay Plantation. This unit is separated from the 
mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Ocella Creek, Townsend 
River, South Creek Inlet, a network of coastal islands, and salt marsh. 
The unit extends from North Edisto Inlet to 32.53710 N, 80.24614 W 
(northern boundary of an unnamed inlet separating Botany Bay Plantation 
and Interlude Beach). The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the 
toe of the secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is 
in State and private and other ownership (see Table 1). The Botany Bay 
Island portion is privately owned; however, the owner has placed a 
conservation easement on the property with The Nature Conservancy. The 
State portion is part of the Botany Bay Plantation Wildlife Management 
Area Heritage Preserve, which is managed by the South Carolina 
Department of Natural Resources.
    This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently 
occupied. This unit has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles 
in South Carolina. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The 
PBFs in this unit may require special management considerations or 
protections to ameliorate the threats of predation, beach erosion, 
climate change, habitat obstructions, human-caused disasters, and 
response to disasters. The Botany Bay Plantation Wildlife Management 
Area Heritage Preserve has a management plan that includes the 
implementation of sea turtle nesting surveys, nest marking, actions to 
minimize human disturbance, and predator removal intended to minimize 
impacts to nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles (South Carolina 
Department of Natural Resources 2009, p. 12).
    LOGG-T-SC-13--Interlude Beach, Charleston County: This unit 
consists of 0.9 km (0.6 mile) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean. This unit includes a section of Edisto Island, which is 
separated from the mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, a 
network of coastal islands, and salt marsh. The unit extends from 
32.53636 N, 80.24647 W (southern boundary of an unnamed inlet 
separating Interlude Beach and Botany Bay Plantation) to Frampton 
Inlet. The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the 
secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in State 
ownership (see Table 1). It is part of the Botany Bay Plantation 
Wildlife Management Area Heritage Preserve, which is managed by the 
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. This unit was occupied 
at the time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit supports 
expansion of nesting from adjacent units (LOGG-T-SC-12 and LOGG-T-SC-
14) that have high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in South 
Carolina. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protections to 
ameliorate the threats of predation, beach erosion, climate change, 
human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. The Botany Bay 
Plantation Wildlife Management Area Heritage Preserve has a management 
plan that includes the implementation of sea turtle nesting surveys, 
nest marking, actions to minimize human disturbance, and predator 
removal intended to minimize impacts to nesting and hatchling 
loggerhead sea turtles (South Carolina Department of Natural Resources 
2009, p. 12).
    LOGG-T-SC-14--Edingsville Beach, Charleston County: This unit 
consists of 2.7 km (1.7 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean. This unit includes a section of Edisto Island, which is 
separated from the mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, a 
network of coastal islands, and salt marsh. The unit extends from 
Frampton Inlet to Jeremy Inlet. The unit includes lands from the MHW 
line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed structures. Land in 
this unit is in private and other ownership (see Table 1). This unit 
was occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. This 
unit has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in South 
Carolina. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protections to 
ameliorate the threats of predation, beach erosion, climate change, 
human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. At this time, we are 
not aware of any management plans that address this species in this 
area.
    LOGG-T-SC-15--Edisto Beach State Park, Colleton County: This unit 
consists of 2.2 km (1.4 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean. This unit includes a section of Edisto Island, which is 
separated from the mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, a 
network of coastal islands, and salt marsh. The unit extends from 
Jeremy Inlet to 32.50307 N, 80.29625 W (State Park boundary separating 
Edisto Beach State Park and the Town of Edisto Beach). The unit 
includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or 
developed structures. Land in this unit is in State ownership (see 
Table 1). It is managed by the South Carolina Department of Parks, 
Recreation, and Tourism as the Edisto Beach State Park. This unit was 
occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit 
has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in South Carolina. 
This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may 
require special management considerations or protections to ameliorate 
the threats of recreational use, predation, beach erosion, climate 
change, artificial lighting, human-caused disasters, and response to 
disasters. The Edisto Beach State Park has a General Management Plan 
that includes the implementation of sea turtle nesting surveys, nest 
marking, and education intended to minimize impacts to nesting and 
hatchling loggerhead sea turtles (Edisto Beach State Park 2010, pp. 17-
18, 21-22).
    LOGG-T-SC-16--Edisto Beach, Colleton County: This unit consists of 
6.8 km (4.2 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and 
South Edisto River. This unit includes a section of Edisto Island, 
which is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal 
Waterway, Big Bay Creek, a network of coastal islands, and salt marsh. 
The unit extends from 32.50307 N, 80.29625 W (State Park boundary 
separating Edisto Beach State Park and the Town of Edisto Beach) to 
South Edisto Inlet. The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the 
toe of the secondary dune or developed structures. The unit occurs 
within the town limits of Edisto Beach. Land in this unit is in private 
and other ownership (see Table 1). This unit was occupied at the time 
of listing and is currently occupied. This unit supports expansion of 
nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-SC-16) that has high-density 
nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in South Carolina. This unit contains 
all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require special 
management

[[Page 18025]]

considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational 
use, predation, beach sand placement activities, in-water and shoreline 
alterations, beach erosion, climate change, artificial lighting, human-
caused disasters, and response to disasters. The Town of Edisto Beach 
has a Local Comprehensive Beach Management Plan that includes the 
implementation of sea turtle nesting surveys, nest marking, and beach 
management to protect nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles from 
anthropogenic disturbances (Town of Edisto Beach 2011, p. 25). These 
measures apply to the private lands within this critical habitat unit 
although the degree of implementation is uncertain.
    LOGG-T-SC-17--Pine Island, Colleton County: This unit consists of 
1.2 km (0.7 mile) of island shoreline along the South Edisto Inlet. The 
island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal 
Waterway, Fish Creek, a network of coastal islands, and salt marsh. The 
unit extends from South Edisto River to 32.49266 N, 80.36846 W 
(northern boundary of an unnamed inlet to Fish Creek). The unit 
includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or 
developed structures. Land in this unit is in State ownership (see 
Table 1). It is managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural 
Resources as part of the Ashepoo-Combahee-Edisto (ACE) Basin National 
Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR). This unit was occupied at the time 
of listing and is currently occupied. This unit supports expansion of 
nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-SC-18) that has high-density 
nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in South Carolina. This unit contains 
all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require special 
management considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of 
recreational use, predation, beach erosion, climate change, habitat 
obstructions, human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. At 
this time, we are not aware of any management plans that address this 
species in this area.
    LOGG-T-SC-18--Otter Island, Colleton County: This unit consists of 
4.1 km (2.5 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and 
Saint Helena Sound. The island is separated from the mainland by the 
Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Ashepoo River, a network of coastal 
islands, and salt marsh. The unit extends from Fish Creek Inlet to 
Saint Helena Sound. The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the 
toe of the secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is 
in State ownership (see Table 1). It is part of the St. Helena Sound 
Heritage Preserve and the ACE Basin Estuarine Research Reserve, which 
are managed by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. This 
unit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. 
This unit has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in South 
Carolina. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protections to 
ameliorate the threats of predation, beach erosion, climate change, 
habitat obstructions, human-caused disasters, and response to 
disasters. At this time, we are not aware of any management plans that 
address this species in this area.
    LOGG-T-SC-19--Harbor Island, Beaufort County: This unit consists of 
2.9 km (1.8 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and 
Saint Helena Sound. The island is separated from the mainland by the 
Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, a network of coastal islands, and salt 
marsh. The unit extends from Harbor Inlet to Johnson Inlet. The unit 
includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or 
developed structures. Land in this unit is in private and other 
ownership (see Table 1). This unit was occupied at the time of listing 
and is currently occupied. This unit supports expansion of nesting from 
an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-SC-18) that has high-density nesting by 
loggerhead sea turtles in South Carolina. This unit contains all of the 
PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require special management 
considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational 
use, predation, beach erosion, climate change, artificial lighting, 
habitat obstructions, human-caused disasters, and response to 
disasters. Beaufort County has a Comprehensive Beach Management Plan 
that includes the implementation of sea turtle nesting surveys, nest 
marking, and beach management to protect nesting and hatchling 
loggerhead sea turtles from anthropogenic disturbances (Beaufort County 
Planning Board 2010, p. 5-19). These measures apply to the private 
lands within this critical habitat unit.
    LOGG-T-SC-20--Little Capers Island, Beaufort County: This unit 
consists of 4.6 km (2.9 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean. The island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic 
Intracoastal Waterway, a network of coastal islands, and salt marsh. 
The unit extends from ``Pritchards Inlet'' (there is some uncertainty 
about the true name of this water feature) located at 32.29009 N, 
80.54459 W to Trenchards Inlet. The unit includes lands from the MHW 
line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed structures. Land in 
this unit is in private and other ownership (see Table 1). This unit 
was occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. This 
unit supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-SC-21) 
that has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in South 
Carolina. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protections to 
ameliorate the threats of recreational use, predation, beach erosion, 
climate change, artificial lighting, habitat obstructions, human-caused 
disasters, and response to disasters. Beaufort County has a 
Comprehensive Beach Management Plan that includes the implementation of 
sea turtle nesting surveys, nest marking, and beach management to 
protect nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles from anthropogenic 
disturbances (Beaufort County Planning Board 2010, p. 5-19). These 
measures apply to the private lands within this critical habitat unit.
    LOGG-T-SC-21--St. Phillips Island, Beaufort County: This unit 
consists of 2.3 km (1.4 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean and Trenchards Inlet. The island is separated from the mainland 
by the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, a network of coastal islands, 
and salt marsh. The unit extends from Trenchards Inlet to Morse Island 
Creek Inlet East. The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe 
of the secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in 
private and other ownership (see Table 1). Although privately owned, 
the island is protected in perpetuity by a conservation easement with 
The Nature Conservancy. This unit was occupied at the time of listing 
and is currently occupied. This unit has high-density nesting by 
loggerhead sea turtles in South Carolina. This unit contains all of the 
PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require special management 
considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of predation, 
beach erosion, climate change, habitat obstructions, human-caused 
disasters, and response to disasters. At this time, we are not aware of 
any management plans that address this species in this area.
    LOGG-T-SC-22--Bay Point Island, Beaufort County: This unit consists 
of 4.3 km (2.7 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and 
Port Royal Sound. The island is separated from the mainland by the 
Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, a network of coastal islands,

[[Page 18026]]

and salt marsh. The unit extends from Morse Island Creek Inlet East 
along the Atlantic Ocean shoreline to Morse Island Creek Inlet West 
along the Port Royal Sound shoreline. The unit includes lands from the 
MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed structures. Land 
in this unit is in private and other ownership (see Table 1). This unit 
was occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. This 
unit supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-SC-21) 
that has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in South 
Carolina. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protections to 
ameliorate the threats of predation, beach driving, beach erosion, 
climate change, habitat obstructions, human-caused disasters, and 
response to disasters. At this time, we are not aware of any management 
plans that address this species in this area.
Georgia
    LOGG-T-GA-01--Little Tybee Island, Chatham County: This unit 
consists of 8.6 km (5.3 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean. Little Tybee Island is not a specific island, rather it is a 
complex of several small, low-lying islands, including Myrtle and 
Williamson Islands, that are separated by tidal flows, creeks, or 
sloughs. The island complex is separated from the mainland by the 
Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Tybee Creek, Bull River, a network of 
coastal islands, and salt marsh. The unit extends from Tybee Creek 
Inlet to Wassaw Sound. The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the 
toe of the secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is 
in State ownership (see Table 1). The island is owned by the Georgia 
Department of Natural Resources and managed by The Nature Conservancy 
as the Little Tybee Island Natural Heritage Preserve. This unit was 
occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit 
supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-GA-02) that 
has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in Georgia. This 
unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may 
require special management considerations or protections to ameliorate 
the threats of recreational use, predation, in-water and shoreline 
alterations, beach erosion, climate change, human-caused disasters, and 
response to disasters. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources 
signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, National Park Service, St. Catherines Island Foundation, 
Jekyll Island Authority, City of Tybee Island, Glynn County, Little 
Cumberland Island Homeowners Association, and Little St. Simons Island, 
Ltd. mandating that land owned by the State adhere to actions listed in 
the Management Plan for the Protection of Nesting Loggerhead Sea 
Turtles and their Habitat in Georgia. This includes working with 
partners on the implementation of sea turtle nesting surveys, nest 
marking and protection, education, and predator removal intended to 
minimize impacts to nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles 
(Georgia Department of Natural Resources 1994, pp. 6-9).
    LOGG-T-GA-02--Wassaw Island, Chatham County: This unit consists of 
10.1 km (6.3 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean. The 
island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal 
Waterway, Romerly Marshes, Odingsell River, and a network of coastal 
islands. The unit extends from Wassaw Sound to Ossabaw Sound. The unit 
includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or 
developed structures. Land in this unit is in Federal and private 
ownership (see Table 1). The majority of the island is managed by USFWS 
as the Wassaw NWR. This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is 
currently occupied. This unit has high-density nesting by loggerhead 
sea turtles in Georgia. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. 
The PBFs in this unit may require special management considerations or 
protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational use, predation, 
beach erosion, climate change, habitat obstructions, human-caused 
disasters, and response to disasters.
    Wassaw NWR is part of the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex, which 
has a draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan that includes working with 
partners on the implementation of sea turtle nesting surveys, nest 
marking, education, and predator removal intended to minimize impacts 
to nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles (USFWS 2010b, pp. 37, 
104). USFWS signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Georgia 
Department of Natural Resources, National Park Service, St. Catherines 
Island Foundation, Jekyll Island Authority, City of Tybee Island, Glynn 
County, Little Cumberland Island Homeowners Association, and Little St. 
Simons Island, Ltd. mandating that land owned by the Refuge adhere to 
actions listed in the Management Plan for the Protection of Nesting 
Loggerhead Sea Turtles and their Habitat in Georgia. This includes 
working with partners on the implementation of sea turtle nesting 
surveys, nest marking and protection, education, and predator removal 
intended to minimize impacts to nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea 
turtles (Georgia Department of Natural Resources 1994, pp. 6-9).
    LOGG-T-GA-03--Ossabaw Island, Chatham County: This unit consists of 
17.1 km (10.6 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean. The 
island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal 
Waterway, Bear River, a network of coastal islands, and extensive salt 
marshes. Ossabaw Island is divided into four contiguous sections of 
beach: Bradley (North), North Middle, South Middle, and South beaches. 
The unit extends from Ogeechee River to St. Catherines Sound. The unit 
includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or 
developed structures. Land in this unit is in State ownership (see 
Table 1). The island is managed by the Georgia Department of Natural 
Resources. This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is 
currently occupied. This unit has high-density nesting by loggerhead 
sea turtles in Georgia. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. 
The PBFs in this unit may require special management considerations or 
protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational use, predation, 
beach erosion, climate change, human-caused disasters, and response to 
disasters.
    A Comprehensive Management Plan for Ossabaw Island includes actions 
to minimize human disturbance and predator removal intended to minimize 
impacts to nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles (Georgia 
Department of Natural Resources 2001, pp. 37, 40, 43). The Georgia 
Department of Natural Resources signed a Memorandum of Agreement with 
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, St. 
Catherines Island Foundation, Jekyll Island Authority, City of Tybee 
Island, Glynn County, Little Cumberland Island Homeowners Association, 
and Little St. Simons Island, Ltd. mandating that land owned by the 
State adhere to actions listed in the Management Plan for the 
Protection of Nesting Loggerhead Sea Turtles and their Habitat in 
Georgia. This includes working with partners on the implementation of 
sea turtle nesting surveys, nest marking and protection, education, and 
predator removal intended to minimize impacts to nesting and hatchling 
loggerhead sea turtles (Georgia Department of Natural Resources 1994, 
pp. 6-9).
    LOGG-T-GA-04--St. Catherines Island, Liberty County: This unit 
consists of 18.4 km (11.5 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic

[[Page 18027]]

Ocean. The island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic 
Intracoastal Waterway, North Newport River, South Newport River, a 
network of coastal islands, and extensive salt marshes. The unit 
extends from St. Catherines Sound to Sapelo Sound. The unit includes 
lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed 
structures. Land in this unit is in private ownership (see Table 1). 
This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently 
occupied. This unit supports expansion of nesting from adjacent units 
(LOGG-T-GA-03 and LOGG-T-GA-05) that have high-density nesting by 
loggerhead sea turtles in Georgia. This unit contains all of the PBFs 
and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require special management 
considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational 
use, predation, habitat obstructions, beach erosion, climate change, 
human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. The St. Catherines 
Island Foundation signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Georgia 
Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
National Park Service, Jekyll Island Authority, City of Tybee Island, 
Glynn County, Little Cumberland Island Homeowners Association, and 
Little St. Simons Island, Ltd. mandating that land owned by the 
Foundation adhere to actions listed in the Management Plan for the 
Protection of Nesting Loggerhead Sea Turtles and their Habitat in 
Georgia. This includes working with partners on the implementation of 
sea turtle nesting surveys, nest marking and protection, education, and 
predator removal intended to minimize impacts to nesting and hatchling 
loggerhead sea turtles (Georgia Department of Natural Resources 1994, 
pp. 6-9).
    LOGG-T-GA-05--Blackbeard Island, McIntosh County: This unit 
consists of 13.5 km (8.4 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean. The island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic 
Intracoastal Waterway, Blackbeard Creek, Mud River, a network of 
coastal islands, and extensive salt marshes. The unit extends from 
Sapelo Sound to Cabretta Inlet. The unit includes lands from the MHW 
line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed structures. Land in 
this unit is in Federal ownership (see Table 1). The island is managed 
by USFWS as the Blackbeard Island NWR. This unit was occupied at the 
time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit has high-density 
nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in Georgia. This unit contains all of 
the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require special management 
considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational 
use, predation, habitat obstructions, beach erosion, climate change, 
human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. Blackbeard Island 
NWR is part of the Savannah Coastal Refuges Complex, which has a draft 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan that includes working with partners on 
the implementation of sea turtle nesting surveys, nest marking, 
education, and predator removal intended to minimize impacts to nesting 
and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles (USFWS 2010b, pp. 125, 136).
    USFWS signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Georgia Department 
of Natural Resources, National Park Service, St. Catherines Island 
Foundation, Jekyll Island Authority, City of Tybee Island, Glynn 
County, Little Cumberland Island Homeowners Association, and Little St. 
Simons Island, Ltd. mandating that land owned by the Refuge adhere to 
actions listed in the Management Plan for the Protection of Nesting 
Loggerhead Sea Turtles and their Habitat in Georgia. This includes 
working with partners on the implementation of sea turtle nesting 
surveys, nest marking and protection, education, and predator removal 
intended to minimize impacts to nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea 
turtles (Georgia Department of Natural Resources 1994, pp. 6-9).
    LOGG-T-GA-06--Sapelo Island, McIntosh County: This unit consists of 
9.3 km (5.8 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean. The 
island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal 
Waterway, Doboy Sound, Mud Creek, Teakettle Creek, a network of coastal 
islands, and extensive salt marshes. Sapelo Island is divided into two 
contiguous sections of beach: Nannygoat and Cabretta beaches. The unit 
extends from Cabretta Inlet to Doboy Sound. The unit includes lands 
from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed 
structures. Land in this unit is in State ownership (see Table 1). The 
island is managed by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. This 
unit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. 
This unit supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-
GA-05) that has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in 
Georgia. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protections to 
ameliorate the threats of recreational use, poaching, beach driving, 
predation, beach erosion, climate change, human-caused disasters, and 
response to disasters.
    A Comprehensive Management Plan for Sapelo Island includes actions 
to minimize human disturbance and predator removal intended to minimize 
impacts to nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles (Georgia 
Department of Natural Resources 1998, pp. 5, 36, 55). The Georgia 
Department of Natural Resources signed a Memorandum of Agreement with 
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, St. 
Catherines Island Foundation, Jekyll Island Authority, City of Tybee 
Island, Glynn County, Little Cumberland Island Homeowners Association, 
and Little St. Simons Island, Ltd. mandating that land owned by the 
State adhere to actions listed in the Management Plan for the 
Protection of Nesting Loggerhead Sea Turtles and their Habitat in 
Georgia. This includes working with partners on the implementation of 
sea turtle nesting surveys, nest marking and protection, education, and 
predator removal intended to minimize impacts to nesting and hatchling 
loggerhead sea turtles (Georgia Department of Natural Resources 1994, 
pp. 6-9).
    LOGG-T-GA-07--Little Cumberland Island, Camden County: This unit 
consists of 4.9 km (3.0 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean. The island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic 
Intracoastal Waterway, Cumberland River, and salt marsh. The unit 
extends from St. Andrew Sound to Christmas Creek. The unit includes 
lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed 
structures. Land in this unit is in private ownership (see Table 1). 
Although Little Cumberland Island is privately owned, it lies within 
the boundaries of Cumberland Island National Seashore and is recognized 
as a Special Use Zone where private property owners have entered into 
an agreement with the National Park Service. This unit was occupied at 
the time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit supports 
expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-GA-08) that has 
high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in Georgia. This unit 
contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require 
special management considerations or protections to ameliorate the 
threats of recreational use, beach driving, predation, beach erosion, 
climate change, human-caused disasters, and response to disasters.
    The Little Cumberland Island Homeowners Association signed a 
Memorandum of Agreement with the Georgia Department of Natural 
Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, St. 
Catherines Island Foundation, Jekyll

[[Page 18028]]

Island Authority, City of Tybee Island, Glynn County, and Little St. 
Simons Island, Ltd. mandating that land owned by the Association adhere 
to actions listed in the Management Plan for the Protection of Nesting 
Loggerhead Sea Turtles and their Habitat in Georgia. This includes 
working with partners on the implementation of sea turtle nesting 
surveys, nest marking and protection, education, and predator removal 
intended to minimize impacts to nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea 
turtles (Georgia Department of Natural Resources 1994, pp. 6-9).
    LOGG-T-GA-08--Cumberland Island, Camden County: This unit consists 
of 29.7 km (18.4 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean. 
The island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal 
Waterway, Cumberland River, Cumberland Sound, Brickhill River, a 
network of coastal islands, and extensive salt marsh. The unit extends 
from Christmas Creek to St. Marys River. The unit includes lands from 
the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed structures. 
Land in this unit is in Federal and private ownership (see Table 1). 
The Federal portion is part of Cumberland Island National Seashore, 
which is managed by the National Park Service. This unit was occupied 
at the time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit has high-
density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in Georgia. This unit 
contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require 
special management considerations or protections to ameliorate the 
threats of recreational use, beach driving, predation, beach erosion, 
climate change, human-caused disasters, and response to disasters.
    Cumberland Island National Seashore has a General Management Plan 
that includes predator removal and dune preservation intended to 
minimize impacts to nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles 
(National Park Service 1984, pp. 22-23). The National Park Service 
signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Georgia Department of Natural 
Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, St. Catherines Island 
Foundation, Jekyll Island Authority, City of Tybee Island, Glynn 
County, and Little St. Simons Island, Ltd. mandating that land owned by 
the Cumberland Island National Seashore adhere to actions listed in the 
Management Plan for the Protection of Nesting Loggerhead Sea Turtles 
and their Habitat in Georgia. This includes working with partners on 
the implementation of sea turtle nesting surveys, nest marking and 
protection, education, and predator removal intended to minimize 
impacts to nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles (Georgia 
Department of Natural Resources 1994, pp. 6-9).

Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit

Northern Florida Region
    LOGG-T-FL-01--South Duval County Beaches-Old Ponte Vedra, Duval and 
St. Johns Counties: This unit consists of 25.2 km (15.6 miles) of 
island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean. The island is separated from 
the mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Pablo Creek, and 
Lake Ponte Vedra. The unit extends from the south boundary of Kathryn 
Abbey Hanna Park in Duval County to the north boundary of the Guana 
Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve in St. Johns 
County. The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the 
secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in private 
ownership (see Table 1). This unit was occupied at the time of listing 
and is currently occupied. This unit supports expansion of nesting from 
an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-FL-02) that has high-density nesting by 
loggerhead sea turtles in the Northern Florida Region of the Peninsular 
Florida Recovery Unit. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The 
PBFs in this unit may require special management considerations or 
protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational use, beach 
driving, predation, beach sand placement activities, coastal 
development, climate change, beach erosion, artificial lighting, human-
caused disasters, and response to disasters.
    St. Johns County has an HCP titled ``A Plan for the Protection of 
Sea Turtles and Anastasia Island Beach Mice on the Beaches of St. Johns 
County, Florida'' that includes sea turtle monitoring, nest protection 
from vehicles on the beach, a beach lighting management plan, beach 
horseback riding registration and education, and reestablishment of a 
dune at Porpoise Point (St. Johns County Planning Division 2003, p. 
32). These measures apply to the private lands within this critical 
habitat unit and are intended to minimize and mitigate impacts to 
nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles as a result of the County-
authorized beach driving.
    LOGG-T-FL-02--Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research 
Reserve-St. Augustine Inlet, St. Johns County: This unit consists of 
24.1 km (15.0 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean. The 
island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal 
Waterway. The unit extends from the north boundary of the Guana 
Tolomato Matanzas NERR to St. Augustine Inlet. The unit includes lands 
from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed 
structures. Land in this unit is in State, private, and other ownership 
(see Table 1). The State portion is part of the Guana Tolomato Matanzas 
NERR, which is managed by the Florida Department of Environmental 
Protection (FDEP) Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas. The County portion 
is Vilano Oceanfront Park, which is managed by the St. Johns County 
Recreation and Parks Department. This unit was occupied at the time of 
listing and is currently occupied. This unit has high-density nesting 
by loggerhead sea turtles in the Northern Florida Region of the 
Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. This unit contains all of the PBFs 
and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require special management 
considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational 
use, beach driving, predation, beach sand placement activities, in-
water and shoreline alterations, coastal development, climate change, 
beach erosion, artificial lighting, human-caused disasters, and 
response to disasters.
    The Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve has 
a management plan that includes the implementation of nesting surveys, 
nest marking, education, and predator removal intended to minimize 
impacts to nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles (FDEP 2009a, 
pp. 81, 162). St. Johns County has an HCP titled ``A Plan for the 
Protection of Sea Turtles and Anastasia Island Beach Mice on the 
Beaches of St. Johns County, Florida'' that covers the remainder of the 
unit. The HCP includes sea turtle monitoring, nest protection from 
vehicles on the beach, a beach lighting management plan, beach 
horseback riding registration and education, and reestablishment of a 
dune at Porpoise Point (St. Johns County Planning Division 2003, p. 
32). These measures apply to both the private and other lands within 
this critical habitat unit and are intended to minimize and mitigate 
impacts to nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles as a result of 
the County-authorized beach driving.
    LOGG-T-FL-03--St. Augustine Inlet-Matanzas Inlet, St. Johns County: 
This unit consists of 22.4 km (14.0 miles) of island shoreline along 
the Atlantic Ocean. The island is separated from the mainland by the 
Matanzas River, which is part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. 
The unit extends from St. Augustine Inlet to Matanzas Inlet. The unit 
includes lands from the MHW line

[[Page 18029]]

to the toe of the secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this 
unit is in Federal, State, and private ownership (see Table 1). The 
Federal portion is Fort Matanzas National Monument, which is managed by 
the National Park Service. The State portion is Anastasia State Park, 
which is managed by FDEP. This unit was occupied at the time of listing 
and is currently occupied. This unit supports expansion of nesting from 
adjacent units (LOGG-T-FL-02 and LOGG-T-FL-04) that have high-density 
nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Northern Florida Region of the 
Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. This unit contains all of the PBFs 
and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require special management 
considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational 
use, beach driving, predation, beach sand placement activities, in-
water and shoreline alterations, coastal development, climate change, 
beach erosion, artificial lighting, human-caused disasters, and 
response to disasters.
    St. Johns County has an HCP titled ``A Plan for the Protection of 
Sea Turtles and Anastasia Island Beach Mice on the Beaches of St. Johns 
County, Florida'' that includes sea turtle monitoring, nest protection 
from vehicles on the beach, a beach lighting management plan, beach 
horseback riding registration and education, and reestablishment of the 
dune at Porpoise Point (St. Johns County Planning Division 2003, p. 
32). These measures apply to the private lands within this critical 
habitat unit and are intended to minimize and mitigate impacts to 
nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles as a result of the County-
authorized beach driving. The Anastasia State Park Unit Management Plan 
addresses the species in the State portion of the unit. The Unit 
Management Plan includes procedures for the implementation of sea 
turtle nesting surveys, nest marking, removal of nonnative species 
(feral cats, feral hogs, and nine-banded armadillos) when encountered 
and native species (raccoons) when excessive depredation is documented, 
and beach management to protect nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea 
turtles from anthropogenic disturbances (FDEP 2004a, pp. 5, 17-19). 
Fort Matanzas National Monument has a General Management Plan that 
includes exotic organism removal if necessary and possible, which may 
protect nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles (National Park 
Service 1982a, p. 27). This Management Plan is being revised.
    LOGG-T-FL-04--River to Sea Preserve at Marineland-North Peninsula 
State Park, Flagler and Volusia Counties: This unit consists of 31.8 km 
(19.8 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean. The island 
is separated from the mainland by the Matanzas River, which is part of 
the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, and Smith Creek. The unit extends 
from the north boundary of the River to Sea Preserve at Marineland to 
the south boundary of North Peninsula State Park. The unit includes 
lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed 
structures. Land in this unit is in State, private, and other ownership 
(see Table 1). The State portion is North Peninsula State Park, which 
is managed by FDEP. The County portion includes the River to Sea 
Preserve at Marineland and Varn Park, which are managed by the Flagler 
County Parks and Recreation Department. This unit was occupied at the 
time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit has high-density 
nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Northern Florida Region of the 
Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. This unit contains all of the PBFs 
and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require special management 
considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational 
use, beach driving, predation, beach sand placement activities, coastal 
development, climate change, beach erosion, artificial lighting, human-
caused disasters, and response to disasters.
    The North Peninsula State Park Unit Management Plan addresses the 
species in the State portion of the unit. The Unit Management Plan 
includes procedures for the implementation of sea turtle nesting 
surveys, nest marking, removal of nonnative species (feral cats, feral 
hogs, and nine-banded armadillos) when encountered, and beach 
management to protect nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles from 
anthropogenic disturbances (FDEP 2006a, pp. 15-16). Volusia County has 
an HCP titled ``A Plan for the Protection of Sea Turtles on the Beaches 
of Volusia County, Florida'' that includes sea turtle nest monitoring, 
nest protection from vehicles on the beach, the operation of a 
rehabilitation center, public education, dune restoration, artificial 
light management, and a washback watchers program (Volusia County 
Environmental Management 2008, pp. 164-170). Although no public beach 
driving occurs within the North Peninsula State Park in northern 
Volusia County, the HCP addresses potential incidental take of 
loggerhead sea turtles by county emergency vehicles. These measures 
apply to the private lands within this critical habitat unit and are 
intended to minimize and mitigate impacts to nesting and hatchling 
loggerhead sea turtles as a result of the County-authorized beach 
driving.
    LOGG-T-FL-05--Ormond-by-the-Sea-Granada Blvd., Volusia County: This 
unit consists of 11.1 km (6.9 miles) of island shoreline along the 
Atlantic Ocean. The island is separated from the mainland by the 
Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. The unit extends from the south 
boundary of North Peninsula State Park to Granada Boulevard in Ormond 
Beach. The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the 
secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in private 
ownership (see Table 1). This unit was occupied at the time of listing 
and is currently occupied. This unit has high-density nesting by 
loggerhead sea turtles in the Northern Florida Region of the Peninsular 
Florida Recovery Unit. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The 
PBFs in this unit may require special management considerations or 
protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational use, beach 
driving, predation, beach sand placement activities, coastal 
development, climate change, beach erosion, coastal development, 
artificial lighting, human-caused disasters, and response to disasters.
    Volusia County has an HCP titled ``A Plan for the Protection for 
Sea Turtles on the Beaches of Volusia County, Florida'' that includes 
sea turtle nest monitoring, nest protection from vehicles on the beach, 
the operation of a rehabilitation center, public education, dune 
restoration, artificial light management, and a washback watchers 
program (Volusia County Environmental Management 2008, pp. 164-170). 
These measures apply to the private lands within this critical habitat 
unit and are intended to minimize and mitigate impacts to nesting and 
hatchling loggerhead sea turtles as a result of the County-authorized 
beach driving.
Central Eastern Florida Region
    LOGG-T-FL-06--Canaveral National Seashore North, Volusia County: 
This unit consists of 18.2 km (11.3 miles) of island shoreline along 
the Atlantic Ocean. The island is separated from the mainland by the 
Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Mosquito Lagoon, and a network of 
coastal islands. The unit extends from the north boundary of Canaveral 
National Seashore to the Volusia-Brevard County line. The unit includes 
lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed 
structures. Land in this unit

[[Page 18030]]

is in Federal ownership (see Table 1). It is part of the Canaveral 
National Seashore, which is managed by the National Park Service. This 
unit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. 
This unit supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-
FL-07) that has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the 
Central Eastern Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. 
This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may 
require special management considerations or protections to ameliorate 
the threats of recreational use, predation, climate change, beach 
erosion, human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. Canaveral 
National Seashore has a General Management Plan that includes beach 
management to protect nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles from 
anthropogenic disturbances (National Park Service 1982b, p. 52).
    LOGG-T-FL-07--Canaveral National Seashore South-Merritt Island NWR-
Kennedy Space Center, Brevard County: This unit consists of 28.4 km 
(17.6 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean. The island 
is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, 
Mosquito Lagoon, Indian River Lagoon, Merritt Island, and scattered 
coastal islands. The unit extends from the Volusia-Brevard County line 
to the south boundary of Merritt Island NWR-Kennedy Space Center 
(Merritt Island NWR was established in 1963 as an overlay of the 
National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) John F. Kennedy 
Space Center). The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of 
the secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in 
Federal ownership (see Table 1). The northern portion is part of the 
Canaveral National Seashore in Brevard County, which is managed by the 
National Park Service. The southern portion is part of Merritt Island 
NWR-Kennedy Space Center, which is managed by USFWS. This unit was 
occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit 
has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Central 
Eastern Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. (Note: 
Although the mean nesting densities in this unit were not in the top 25 
percent of nesting for the Central Eastern Florida Region, the unit was 
included because of the still high nesting density that occurs here and 
to ensure a good spatial distribution of nesting within this region.)
    This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit 
may require special management considerations or protections to 
ameliorate the threats of predation, climate change, beach erosion, 
artificial lighting, human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. 
Canaveral National Seashore has a General Management Plan that includes 
beach management to protect nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea 
turtles from anthropogenic disturbances (National Park Service 1982b, 
p. 52). Merritt Island NWR has a Comprehensive Conservation Plan that 
includes working with partners on the implementation of sea turtle 
nesting surveys, nest marking, and predator removal intended to 
minimize impacts to nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles (USFWS 
2008a, pp. 82, 93-94).
    LOGG-T-FL-08--Central Brevard Beaches, Brevard County: This unit 
consists of 19.5 km (12.1 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean. The island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic 
Intracoastal Waterway, Indian River Lagoon, Banana River, and Merritt 
Island. The unit extends from the south boundary of Patrick Air Force 
Base to the north boundary of Archie Carr NWR. The unit includes lands 
from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed 
structures. Land in this unit is in private and other ownership (see 
Table 1). The County portion includes Paradise Beach North, Spessard 
Holland North Beach Park, Spessard Holland South Beach Park, and Ocean 
Ridge Sanctuary, which are managed by the Brevard County Parks and 
Recreation Department. This unit was occupied at the time of listing 
and is currently occupied. This unit has high-density nesting by 
loggerhead sea turtles in the Central Eastern Florida Region of the 
Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. This unit contains all of the PBFs 
and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require special management 
considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational 
use, predation, beach sand placement activities, coastal development, 
beach erosion, artificial lighting, human-caused disasters, and 
response to disasters. At this time, we are not aware of any management 
plans that address this species in this area.
    LOGG-T-FL-09--South Brevard Beaches, Brevard County: This unit 
consists of 20.8 km (12.9 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean. The island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic 
Intracoastal Waterway, Indian River Lagoon, and scattered coastal 
islands. The unit extends from the north boundary of Archie Carr NWR to 
Sebastian Inlet. The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe 
of the secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in 
Federal, State, private, and other ownership (see Table 1). The Federal 
portion is part of Archie Carr NWR, which is managed by USFWS. The 
State portion is part of Sebastian Inlet State Park, which is managed 
by FDEP. The Brevard County portion includes Sea Oats Park, Coconut 
Point Park, Ponce Landing and Coconut Point Sanctuary, Twin Shores 
Park, Hog Point Sanctuary, Apollo Eleven Park, Martine Hammock 
Sanctuary, Judith Resnick Memorial Park, Barrier Island Ecosystem 
Center, and Louis Bonsteel III Memorial Park, which are managed by the 
Brevard County Parks and Recreation Department. This unit was occupied 
at the time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit has high-
density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Central Eastern 
Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. This unit 
contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require 
special management considerations or protections to ameliorate the 
threats of recreational use, predation, beach sand placement 
activities, climate change, beach erosion, artificial lighting, human-
caused disasters, and response to disasters.
    Archie Carr NWR has a Comprehensive Conservation Plan that includes 
working with partners on the implementation of sea turtle nesting 
surveys, nest marking, minimizing human disturbance, and predator 
removal intended to minimize impacts to nesting and hatchling 
loggerhead sea turtles (USFWS 2008b, pp. 74-76). Sebastian Inlet State 
Park has a Unit Management Plan that includes procedures for the 
implementation of sea turtle nesting surveys, nest marking, nonnative 
species removal when encountered (feral cats, feral hogs, and nine-
banded armadillos), problem native species removal (raccoons), and 
beach management to protect nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea 
turtles from anthropogenic disturbances (FDEP 2008a, pp. 39-41).
    LOGG-T-FL-10--Sebastian Inlet-Indian River Shores, Indian River 
County: This unit consists of 21.4 km (13.3 miles) of island shoreline 
along the Atlantic Ocean. The island is separated from the mainland by 
the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Indian River Lagoon, Indian River 
Narrows, a network of coastal islands, and salt marsh. The unit extends 
from Sebastian Inlet to the Indian River Shores southern city limits. 
The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary 
dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in Federal, State, 
private, and other ownership (see Table 1). The Federal

[[Page 18031]]

portion is part of Archie Carr NWR, which is managed by USFWS. The 
State portion is part of Sebastian Inlet State Park, which is managed 
by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The County 
portion includes Treasure Shores Park, Golden Sands Park, and Captain 
Forster Hammock Preserve, which are managed by the Indian River County 
Public Works Division. This unit was occupied at the time of listing 
and is currently occupied. This unit supports expansion of nesting from 
an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-FL-09) that has high-density nesting by 
loggerhead sea turtles in the Central Eastern Florida Region of the 
Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. This unit contains all of the PBFs 
and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require special management 
considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational 
use, predation, beach sand placement activities, climate change, beach 
erosion, artificial lighting, human-caused disasters, and response to 
disasters.
    The Archie Carr NWR has a Comprehensive Conservation Plan that 
includes working with partners on the implementation of sea turtle 
nesting surveys, nest marking, minimizing human disturbance, and 
predator removal intended to minimize impacts to nesting and hatchling 
loggerhead sea turtles (USFWS 2008b, pp. 74-76). The Sebastian Inlet 
State Park has a Unit Management Plan that includes procedures for the 
implementation of sea turtle nesting surveys, nest marking, removal of 
nonnative species (feral cats, feral hogs, and nine-banded armadillos) 
when encountered and problem native species (raccoons), and beach 
management to protect nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles from 
anthropogenic disturbances (FDEP 2008a, pp. 39-41). Indian River County 
has an HCP titled ``Habitat Conservation Plan for the Protection of Sea 
Turtles on the Eroding Beaches of Indian River County, Florida'' that 
covers the beaches outside of the State Park and Refuge, and includes 
sea turtle nest monitoring, nest protection from armoring construction, 
artificial light management, education, land management, and predator 
control (Indian River County Public Works Department 2003, pp. 105-108, 
113-117, 123-126). These measures apply to both the private and other 
lands within this proposed critical habitat unit and are intended to 
minimize and mitigate impacts to nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea 
turtles as a result of the County-authorized emergency beach armoring.
Southeastern Florida Region
    LOGG-T-FL-11--Fort Pierce Inlet-St. Lucie Inlet, St. Lucie and 
Martin Counties: This unit consists of 35.2 km (21.9 miles) of island 
shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean. The island is separated from the 
mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and the Indian River 
Lagoon. The unit extends from Fort Pierce Inlet to St. Lucie Inlet. 
This unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary 
dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in private and other 
ownership (see Table 1). The St. Lucie County portion includes Blind 
Creek Natural Area and John Brooks Park, which are managed by the St. 
Lucie County Environmental Resources Department. The St. Lucie County 
portion also includes Fredrick Douglas Memorial Park, Ocean Bay, Blind 
Creek Beach, and Dollman Tract, which are managed by the St. Lucie 
Parks, Recreation, and Facility Department. The Martin County portion 
includes Glasscock Beach Park, Sea Turtle Park, Jensen Beach Park, 
Muscara, Bob Graham Beach Park, Curtis Beach Park, Beachwalk Pasley, 
Bryn Mawr Beach, Virginia Forrest Beach Park, Tiger Shores Beach, 
Stuart Beach Park and Addition, Santa Lucea, Olsen Property, Clifton S. 
Perry Beach, House of Refuge Park, Chastain Beach Park, and Bathtub 
Beach Park, which are managed by the Martin County Parks and Recreation 
Department.
    This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently 
occupied. This unit has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles 
in the Southeastern Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery 
Unit. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protections to 
ameliorate the threats of recreational use, predation, beach sand 
placement activities, in-water and shoreline alterations, coastal 
development, climate change, beach erosion, artificial lighting, human-
caused disasters, and response to disasters. John Brooks Park has a 
management plan that includes protection of nests and nonnative species 
removal to minimize impacts to nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea 
turtles (St. Lucie County Environmental Resources Department 2008, p. 
29). Blind Creek Natural Area has a draft management plan that includes 
nonnative plant (Casuarina equisetifolia (Australian pine)) removal to 
minimize impacts to nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles (St. 
Lucie County Environmental Resources Department 2011, p. 26).
    LOGG-T-FL-12--St. Lucie Inlet-Jupiter Inlet, Martin and Palm Beach 
Counties: This unit consists of 24.9 km (15.5 miles) of island 
shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean. The island is separated from the 
mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Great Pocket, Peck 
Lake, Hobe Sound, South Jupiter Narrows, Jupiter Sound, and a network 
of coastal islands. The unit extends from St. Lucie Inlet to Jupiter 
Inlet. This unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the 
secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in 
Federal, State, private, and other ownership (see Table 1). The Federal 
portion is Hobe Sound NWR, which is managed by USFWS. The State portion 
is St. Lucie Inlet Preserve State Park, which is managed by FDEP. The 
County portion is Coral Cove Park, which is managed by the Palm Beach 
County Parks and Recreation Department. A portion of the private lands 
includes Blowing Rocks Preserve, which is owned and managed by The 
Nature Conservancy. This unit was occupied at the time of listing and 
is currently occupied. This unit has high-density nesting by loggerhead 
sea turtles in the Southeastern Florida Region of the Peninsular 
Florida Recovery Unit.
    This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit 
may require special management considerations or protections to 
ameliorate the threats of recreational use, predation, beach sand 
placement activities, in-water shoreline alterations, coastal 
development, climate change, beach erosion, artificial lighting, human-
caused disasters, and response to disasters. Hobe Sound NWR has a 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan that includes working with partners on 
the implementation of sea turtle nesting surveys, nest marking, 
education, nonnative species removal, and minimizing human disturbance 
intended to minimize impacts to nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea 
turtles (USFWS 2006, pp. 81-86). St. Lucie Inlet Preserve State Park 
has a Unit Management Plan that includes maintaining a long-term data 
set of sea turtle nests, removal of nonnative species (feral cats) when 
encountered and problem native species (raccoons), and beach management 
to protect nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles from 
anthropogenic disturbances (FDEP 2002a, pp. 20-21).
    LOGG-T-FL-13--Jupiter Inlet-Lake Worth Inlet, Palm Beach County: 
This unit consists of 18.8 km (11.7 miles) of island shoreline along 
the Atlantic Ocean. The island is separated from the mainland by the 
Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Lake Worth Creek, Lake Worth, Munyon 
Island, Little Munyon

[[Page 18032]]

Island, Singer Island, and Peanut Island. The unit extends from Jupiter 
Inlet to Lake Worth Inlet. This unit includes lands from the MHW line 
to the toe of the secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this 
unit is in State, private, and other ownership (see Table 1). The State 
portion is John D. MacArthur Beach State Park, which is managed by 
FDEP. The County portion includes Jupiter Beach Park, Carlin Park, 
Radnor, Juno Dunes Natural Area, and Loggerhead Park, which are managed 
by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. This unit was 
occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit 
has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Southeastern 
Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. This unit 
contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require 
special management considerations or protections to ameliorate the 
threats of recreational use, predation, beach placement activities, in-
water and shoreline alterations, coastal development, climate change, 
beach erosion, artificial lighting, human-caused disasters, and 
response to disasters. John D. MacArthur Beach State Park has a Unit 
Management Plan that includes procedures for the implementation of sea 
turtle nesting surveys, nest marking, artificial lighting management, 
problem species removal, education, and beach management to protect 
nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles from anthropogenic 
disturbances (FDEP 2005a, pp. 20-21).
    LOGG-T-FL-14--Lake Worth Inlet-Boynton Inlet, Palm Beach County: 
This unit consists of 24.3 km (15.1 miles) of island shoreline along 
the Atlantic Ocean. The island is separated from the mainland by the 
Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Lake Worth, and scattered coastal 
islands. The unit extends from Lake Worth Inlet to Boynton Inlet. This 
unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune 
or developed structures. Land in this unit is in private ownership (see 
Table 1). This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is 
currently occupied. This unit has high-density nesting by loggerhead 
sea turtles in the Southeastern Florida Region of the Peninsular 
Florida Recovery Unit. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The 
PBFs in this unit may require special management considerations or 
protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational use, predation, 
beach sand placement activities, in-water and shoreline alterations, 
coastal development, climate change, beach erosion, artificial 
lighting, human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. At this 
time, we are not aware of any management plans that address this 
species in this area.
    LOGG-T-FL-15--Boynton Inlet-Boca Raton Inlet, Palm Beach County: 
This unit consists of 22.6 km (14.1 miles) of island shoreline along 
the Atlantic Ocean. The island is separated from the mainland by the 
Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, Lake Rogers, Lake Wyman, and Lake Boca 
Raton. The unit extends from Boynton Inlet to Boca Raton Inlet. This 
unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune 
or developed structures. Land in this unit is in private and other 
ownership (see Table 1). The County portion is Ocean Ridge Hammock 
Park, which is managed by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation 
Department. The municipality portion includes Spanish River Park, Red 
Reef Park, and South Beach Park, which are managed by the City of Boca 
Raton. This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently 
occupied. This unit supports expansion of nesting from adjacent units 
(LOGG-T-FL-14 and LOGG-T-FL-16) that have high-density nesting by 
loggerhead sea turtles in the Southeastern Florida Region of the 
Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. This unit contains all of the PBFs 
and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require special management 
considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational 
use, predation, beach sand placement activities, in-water shoreline 
alterations, coastal development, climate change, beach erosion, 
artificial lighting, human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. 
At this time, we are not aware of any management plans that address 
this species in this area.
    LOGG-T-FL-16--Boca Raton Inlet-Hillsboro Inlet, Palm Beach and 
Broward Counties: This unit consists of 8.3 km (5.2 miles) of island 
shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean. The island is separated from the 
mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and the Hillsboro River. 
The unit extends from Boca Raton Inlet to Hillsboro Inlet. This unit 
includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or 
developed structures. Land in this unit is in private and other 
ownership (see Table 1). The County portion is South Inlet Park, which 
is managed by the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department. 
This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently 
occupied. This unit has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles 
in the Southeastern Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery 
Unit. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protections to 
ameliorate the threats of recreational use, predation, beach sand 
placement activities, in-water and shoreline alterations, coastal 
development, climate change, beach erosion, artificial lighting, human-
caused disasters, and response to disasters. At this time, we are not 
aware of any management plans that address this species in this area.
    LOGG-T-FL-17--Long Key, Monroe County: This unit consists of 4.2 km 
(2.6 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean. The island is 
bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Florida Bay, 
and on the north and south by natural channels between Keys (Fiesta Key 
to the north and Conch Key to the south). This unit extends from the 
natural channel between Fiesta Key and Long Key to the natural channel 
between Long Key and Conch Key. This unit includes lands from the MHW 
line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed structures. Land in 
this unit is in State ownership (see Table 1). The island is managed by 
FDEP as Long Key State Park. This unit was occupied at the time of 
listing and is currently occupied. This unit was included to ensure 
conservation of the unique nesting habitat in the Florida Keys. Nesting 
beaches in the Florida Keys are unique from the other beaches in the 
Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit in that they are limestone islands 
with narrow, low-energy beaches (beaches where waves are not powerful); 
they have carbonate sands; and they are relatively close to the major 
offshore currents that facilitate the dispersal of post-hatchling 
loggerheads. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in 
this unit may require special management considerations or protections 
to ameliorate the threats of recreational use, predation, sand beach 
placement activities, climate change, beach erosion, human-caused 
disasters, and response to disasters. Long Key State Park has a Unit 
Management Plan that includes procedures for the implementation of sea 
turtle nesting surveys, nest marking, problem species removal, and 
beach management to protect nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea 
turtles from anthropogenic disturbances (FDEP 2004b, pp. 18-19).
    LOGG-T-FL-18--Bahia Honda Key, Monroe County: This unit consists of 
3.7 km (2.3 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean. The 
island is bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by 
Florida Bay, and on the north and south by natural channels between 
Keys (Ohio Key to the

[[Page 18033]]

north and Spanish Harbor Key to the south). This unit extends from the 
natural channel between Ohio Key and Bahia Honda Key to the natural 
channel between Bahia Honda Key and Spanish Harbor Key. This unit 
includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or 
developed structures. Land in this unit is in State ownership (see 
Table 1). The island is managed by FDEP as Bahia Honda State Park. This 
unit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. 
This unit was included to ensure conservation of the unique nesting 
habitat in this Florida Keys. Nesting beaches in the Florida Keys are 
unique from the other beaches in the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit 
in that they are limestone islands with narrow, low-energy beaches; 
they have carbonate sands; and they are relatively close to the major 
offshore currents that are known to facilitate the dispersal of post-
hatchling loggerheads. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The 
PBFs in this unit may require special management considerations or 
protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational use, predation, 
climate change, beach erosion, human-caused disasters, and response to 
disasters. Bahia Honda State Park has a Unit Management Plan that 
includes procedures for the implementation of sea turtle nesting 
surveys and nest marking intended to protect nesting and hatchling 
loggerhead sea turtles from anthropogenic disturbances (FDEP 2003a, pp. 
18-20).
Central Western Florida Region
    LOGG-T-FL-19--Longboat Key, Manatee and Sarasota Counties: This 
unit consists of 16.0 km (9.9 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf 
of Mexico. The island is separated from the mainland by Sarasota Pass. 
The unit extends from Longboat Pass to New Pass. This unit includes 
lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed 
structures. Land in this unit is in private ownership (see Table 1). 
This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently 
occupied. This unit supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit 
(LOGG-T-FL-20) that has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles 
in the Central Western Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida 
Recovery Unit. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in 
this unit may require special management considerations or protections 
to ameliorate the threats of recreational use, predation, beach sand 
placement activities, in-water shoreline alterations, climate change, 
beach erosion, artificial lighting, human-caused disasters, and 
response to disasters. At this time, we are not aware of any management 
plans that address this species in this area.
    LOGG-T-FL-20--Siesta and Casey Keys, Sarasota County: This unit 
consists of 20.8 km (13.0 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of 
Mexico. It includes the shoreline of Siesta Key and Casey Key, which 
were originally two separate islands divided by Midnight Pass. When 
Midnight Pass was closed in 1983, the two islands were combined into a 
single island. The island is separated from the mainland by the 
Intracoastal Waterway, Roberts Bay, Little Sarasota Bay, Dryman Bay, 
Blackburn Bay, and scattered coastal islands. The unit extends from Big 
Sarasota Pass to Venice Inlet. This unit includes lands from the MHW 
line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed structures. Land in 
this unit is in private and other ownership (see Table 1). The County 
portion includes Turtle Beach County Park and Palmer Point County Park, 
which are managed by the Sarasota County Parks and Recreation 
Department. This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is 
currently occupied. This unit has high-density nesting by loggerhead 
sea turtles in the Central Western Florida Region of the Peninsular 
Florida Recovery Unit. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The 
PBFs in this unit may require special management considerations or 
protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational use, predation, 
beach sand placement activities, coastal development, climate change, 
beach erosion, artificial lighting, human-caused disasters, and 
response to disasters. At this time, we are not aware of any management 
plans that address this species in this area.
    LOGG-T-FL-21--Venice Beaches and Manasota Key, Sarasota and 
Charlotte Counties: This unit consists of 26.0 km (16.1 miles) of 
island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico. The island is separated from 
the mainland by the Intracoastal Waterway, Roberts Bay, Red Lake, Lemon 
Bay, and scattered coastal islands. The unit extends from Venice Inlet 
to Stump Pass. This unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of 
the secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in 
State, private, and other ownership (see Table 1). The State portion is 
Stump Pass Beach State Park, which is managed by FDEP. The Sarasota 
County portion includes Service Club Park, Brohard Beach, Paw Beach, 
Caspersen Beach County Park, and Blind Pass Park, which are managed by 
the Sarasota County Parks and Recreation Department. This unit was 
occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit 
has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Central 
Western Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. This 
unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may 
require special management considerations or protections to ameliorate 
the threats of recreational use, predation, beach sand placement 
activities, in-water shoreline alterations, coastal development, 
climate change, beach erosion, artificial lighting, human-caused 
disasters, and response to disasters. Stump Pass Beach State Park has a 
Unit Management Plan that includes procedures for the implementation of 
sea turtle nesting surveys, nest marking, education, problem species 
(raccoons) removal, and beach management to protect nesting and 
hatchling loggerhead sea turtles from anthropogenic disturbances (FDEP 
2003b, pp. 4-5).
    LOGG-T-FL-22--Knight, Don Pedro, and Little Gasparilla Islands, 
Charlotte County: This unit consists of 10.8 km (6.7 miles) of island 
shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico. It includes the shoreline of Knight 
Island, Don Pedro Island, and Little Gasparilla Island, which were 
originally three separate islands divided by passes. When the passes 
closed during the 1960s, the three islands were combined into a single 
island. The island is separated from the mainland by the Intracoastal 
Waterway, Lemon Bay, Placida Harbor, and scattered keys and islands. 
The unit extends from Stump Pass to Gasparilla Pass. This unit includes 
lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed 
structures. Land in this unit is in State and private ownership (see 
Table 1). The State portion is Don Pedro Island State Park, which is 
managed by FDEP. This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is 
currently occupied. This unit has high-density nesting by loggerhead 
sea turtles in the Central Western Florida Region of the Peninsular 
Florida Recovery Unit. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The 
PBFs in this unit may require special management considerations or 
protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational use, predation, 
beach sand placement activities, in-water and shoreline alterations, 
climate change, beach erosion, artificial lighting, human-caused 
disasters, and response to disasters. Don Pedro Island State Park has a 
Unit Management Plan that includes procedures for the implementation of 
nesting surveys, nest marking, education, problem species removal, and 
beach management to protect nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea 
turtles from

[[Page 18034]]

anthropogenic disturbances (FDEP 2001a, pp. 16-20).
    LOGG-T-FL-23--Gasparilla Island, Charlotte and Lee Counties: This 
unit consists of 11.2 km (6.9 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf 
of Mexico. The island is separated from the mainland by the 
Intracoastal Waterway, Gasparilla Sound, Charlotte Harbor, Turtle Bay, 
Bull Bay, and a network of keys. The unit extends from Gasparilla Pass 
to Boca Grande Pass. This unit includes lands from the MHW line to the 
toe of the secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is 
in State and private ownership (see Table 1). The State portion is 
Gasparilla Island State Park, which is managed by FDEP. This unit was 
occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit 
has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Central 
Western Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. This 
unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may 
require special management considerations or protections to ameliorate 
the threats of recreational use, predation, beach sand placement 
activities, coastal development, climate change, beach erosion, 
artificial lighting, human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. 
Gasparilla Island State Park has a Unit Management Plan that includes 
procedures for the implementation of nesting surveys, nest marking, 
terrestrial predator control, education, and beach management to 
protect nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles from anthropogenic 
disturbances (FDEP 2002b, p. 4).
    LOGG-T-FL-24--Cayo Costa, Lee County: This unit consists of 13.5 km 
(8.4 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico. The island is 
separated from the mainland by the Intracoastal Waterway, Pine Island 
Sound, Matlacha Pass, Pelican Bay, Primo Bay, Pine Island, Little Pine 
Island, and numerous smaller keys and islands. The unit extends from 
Boca Grande Pass to Captiva Pass. This unit includes lands from the MHW 
line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed structures. Land in 
this unit is in State and private ownership (see Table 1). The State 
portion is Cayo Costa State Park, which is managed by FDEP. This unit 
was occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. This 
unit supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-FL-23) 
that has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Central 
Western Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. This 
unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may 
require special management considerations or protections to ameliorate 
the threats of recreational use, predation, in-water and shoreline 
alterations, climate change, beach erosion, human-caused disasters, and 
response to disasters. Cayo Costa State Park has a Unit Management Plan 
that includes procedures for the implementation of nesting surveys, 
nest marking, terrestrial predator control, and beach management to 
protect nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles from anthropogenic 
disturbances (FDEP 2005b, pp. 14, 30).
    LOGG-T-FL-25--Captiva Island, Lee County: This unit consists of 7.6 
km (4.7 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico. The island 
is separated from the mainland by the Intracoastal Waterway, Pine 
Island Sound, Matlacha Pass, San Carlos Bay, Pine Island, and scattered 
keys and islands. The unit extends from Redfish Pass to Blind Pass. 
This unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary 
dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in private ownership 
(see Table 1). This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is 
currently occupied. This unit supports expansion of nesting from an 
adjacent unit (LOGG-T-FL-26) that has high-density nesting by 
loggerhead sea turtles in the Central Western Florida Region of the 
Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. This unit contains all of the PBFs 
and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require special management 
considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational 
use, predation, beach sand placement activities, in-water shoreline 
alterations, coastal development, climate change, beach erosion, 
artificial lighting, human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. 
At this time, we are not aware of any management plans that address 
this species in this area.
    LOGG-T-FL-26--Sanibel Island West, Lee County: This unit consists 
of 12.2 km (7.6 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico. 
The island is separated from the mainland by the Intracoastal Waterway, 
San Carlos Bay, Pine Island Sound, Matlacha Pass, Pine Island, and 
numerous keys and islands. The unit extends from Blind Pass to Tarpon 
Bay Road. This unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the 
secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in private 
and other ownership (see Table 1). The municipality portion includes 
Silver Key and Bowman's Beach Regional Park, which are managed by the 
City of Sanibel Natural Resources Department. This unit was occupied at 
the time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit has high-
density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Central Western 
Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. This unit 
contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require 
special management considerations or protections to ameliorate the 
threats of recreational use, predation, beach sand placement 
activities, climate change, beach erosion, artificial lighting, human-
caused disasters, and response to disasters. At this time, we are not 
aware of any management plans that address this species in this area.
Southwestern Florida Region
    LOGG-T-FL-27--Little Hickory Island, Lee and Collier Counties: This 
unit consists of 8.7 km (5.4 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf 
of Mexico. The island is separated from the mainland by Estero Bay, 
Hogue Channel, Fish Trap Bay, Little Hickory Bay, Big Hickory Island, 
and extensive mangroves and mangrove islands. The unit extends from Big 
Hickory Pass to Wiggins Pass. This unit includes lands from the MHW 
line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed structures. Land in 
this unit is in private and other ownership (see Table 1). The Collier 
County portion is Barefoot Beach County Preserve Park, which is managed 
by the Collier County Parks and Recreation Department. This unit was 
occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit 
supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-FL-26) that 
has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Southwestern 
Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. This unit 
contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require 
special management considerations or protections to ameliorate the 
threats of recreational use, predation, beach sand placement 
activities, in-water shoreline alterations, coastal development, 
climate change, beach erosion, artificial lighting, habitat 
obstructions, human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. At 
this time, we are not aware of any management plans that address this 
species in this area.
    LOGG-T-FL-28--Wiggins Pass-Clam Pass, Collier County: This unit 
consists of 7.7 km (4.8 miles) of mainland shoreline along the Gulf of 
Mexico. This section of the mainland is bounded on the west by 
Vanderbilt Channel, Vanderbilt Lagoon, Inner Clam Bay, and extensive 
mangrove vegetative shorelines. The unit extends from Wiggins Pass to 
Clam Pass. This unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the 
secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in State, 
private, and other ownership

[[Page 18035]]

(see Table 1). The State portion is Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, 
which is managed by FDEP. The County portion is Vanderbilt Beach County 
Park, which is managed by the Collier County Parks and Recreation 
Department. This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is 
currently occupied. This unit supports expansion of nesting from an 
adjacent unit (LOGG-T-FL-30) that has high-density nesting by 
loggerhead sea turtles in the Southwestern Florida Region of the 
Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. This unit contains all of the PBFs 
and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require special management 
considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational 
use, predation, beach sand placement activities, in-water and shoreline 
alterations, climate change, beach erosion, artificial lighting, human-
caused disasters, and response to disasters. Delnor-Wiggins Pass State 
Park has a Unit Management Plan that includes procedures for the 
implementation of nesting surveys, nest marking, terrestrial predator 
control, education, and beach management to protect nesting and 
hatchling loggerhead sea turtles from anthropogenic disturbances (FDEP 
2009b, pp. 16-23).
    LOGG-T-FL-29--Clam Pass-Doctors Pass, Collier County: This unit 
consists of 4.9 km (3.0 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of 
Mexico. The island is separated from the mainland by Moorings Bay, 
Outer Doctors Bay, Inner Doctors Bay, Venetian Bay, and Outer Clam Bay. 
The unit extends from Clam Pass to Doctors Pass. This unit includes 
lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed 
structures. Land in this unit is in private ownership (see Table 1). 
This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently 
occupied. This unit supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit 
(LOGG-T-FL-30) that has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles 
in the Southwestern Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery 
Unit. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protections to 
ameliorate the threats of recreational use, predation, beach sand 
placement activities, climate change, beach erosion, artificial 
lighting, human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. At this 
time, we are not aware of any management plans that address this 
species in this area.
    LOGG-T-FL-30--Keewaydin Island and Sea Oat Island, Collier County: 
This unit consists of 13.1 km (8.1 miles) of island shoreline along the 
Gulf of Mexico. These islands are separated from the mainland by Dollar 
Bay, Bartell Bay, Periwinkle Bay, Rookery Bay, Hall Bay, Nature 
Conservancy Bay, Johnson Bay, Shell Bay, Sand Hill Bay, Hall Bay, 
Little Marco Pass, and a network of mangroves, coastal islands, and 
salt marsh. The unit extends from Gordon Pass to Big Marco Pass. This 
unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune 
or developed structures. Land in this unit is in State and private 
ownership (see Table 1). The State and part of the private ownership 
(National Audubon Society) portions are part of the Rookery Bay 
National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), which is managed by FDEP's 
Office of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas. This unit was occupied at 
the time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit has high-
density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Southwestern Florida 
Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. This unit contains all 
of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require special 
management considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of 
recreational use, predation, in-water and shoreline alterations, beach 
sand placement activities, climate change, beach erosion, artificial 
lighting, human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. Rookery 
Bay NERR has a management plan that includes working with partners for 
the implementation of nesting surveys, nest marking, terrestrial 
predator control, education, and beach management to protect nesting 
and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles from anthropogenic disturbances 
(FDEP 2012a, pp. 62-77, 223, 269).
    LOGG-T-FL-31--Cape Romano, Collier County: This unit consists of 
9.2 km (5.7 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and 
Gullivan Bay. Cape Romano is a coastal island complex within the 
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) and is located 
off the southwest coast of Florida in Collier County. Loggerhead sea 
turtle nesting has been regularly monitored and documented within this 
island complex. This island complex is separated from the mainland by 
Caxambas Bay, Grassy Bay, Barfield Bay, Goodland Bay, Gullivan Bay, and 
a network of other keys and islands. From north to south, the islands 
and keys included in this unit are: Kice Island, Big Morgan Island, 
Morgan Keys, Carr Island, and Cape Romano Island. Kice Island is in 
State ownership and is part of Rookery Bay NERR. It has 3.9 km (2.4 
miles) of shoreline. Big Morgan Island is in State ownership (as part 
of Rookery Bay NERR) and other ownership. It has 1.4 km (0.9 miles) of 
shoreline. Morgan Key is in State ownership (as part of Rookery Bay 
NERR) and other ownership. It has 0.7 km (0.4 miles) of shoreline. Carr 
Island is in State ownership and is part of Rookery Bay NERR. It has 
0.3 km (0.2 miles) of shoreline. Cape Romano is in State ownership (as 
part of Rookery Bay NERR) and other ownership. It has 2.9 km (1.8 
miles) of shoreline. The unit extends from Caxambas Pass to Gullivan 
Bay. This unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the 
secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in State 
and other ownership (see Table 1). The State portion is part of the 
Rookery Bay NERR, which is owned by the State of Florida and managed by 
FDEP's Office of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas.
    This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently 
occupied. This unit has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles 
in the Southwestern Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery 
Unit. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this 
unit may require special management considerations or protections to 
ameliorate the threats of recreational use, predation, climate change, 
beach erosion, human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. 
Rookery Bay NERR has a management plan that includes working with 
partners for the implementation of nesting surveys, nest marking, 
terrestrial predator control, education, and beach management to 
protect nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles from anthropogenic 
disturbances (FDEP 2012a, pp. 62-77, 223, 269).
    LOGG-T-FL-32--Ten Thousand Islands North, Collier County: This unit 
consists of 7.8 km (4.9 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of 
Mexico. The Ten Thousand Islands are a chain of islands and mangrove 
islets off the southwest coast of Florida in Collier and Monroe 
Counties. This unit includes nine keys where loggerhead sea turtle 
nesting has been documented within the northern part of the Ten 
Thousand Islands in Collier County in both the Ten Thousand Islands NWR 
and the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR). These 
keys are separated from the mainland by Sugar Bay, Palm Bay, Blackwater 
Bay, Buttonwood Bay, Pumpkin Bay, Santina Bay, and a network of keys 
and islands. From west to east and north to south, these nine keys are: 
Coon Key, Brush Island, B Key, Turtle Key, Gullivan Key, White Horse 
Key, Hog Key, Panther Key, and Round Key.
    Coon Key is part of Ten Thousand Islands NWR and has 0.4 km (0.2 
mile) of shoreline. Brush Island is in State

[[Page 18036]]

ownership and is part of Rookery Bay NERR. It has 0.6 km (0.4 mile) of 
shoreline. B Key (25.89055 N, 81.59641 W) is in Federal and State 
ownership and is part of both Ten Thousand Islands NWR and Rookery Bay 
NERR. It has 0.5 km (0.3 mile) of shoreline. Turtle Key is in State 
ownership and is part of Rookery Bay NERR. It has 0.5 km (0.3 mile) of 
shoreline. Gullivan Key is in State ownership and is part of Rookery 
Bay NERR. It has 1.1 km (0.7 mile) of shoreline. White Horse Key is in 
State ownership and is part of Rookery Bay NERR. It has 1.6 km (1.0 
mile) of shoreline. Hog Key is in Federal and State ownership and is 
part of both Ten Thousand Islands NWR and Rookery Bay NERR. It has 0.9 
km (0.6 mile) of shoreline. Panther Key is in Federal ownership and is 
part of Ten Thousand Islands NWR. It has 2.0 km (1.3 miles) of 
shoreline. Round Key is in Federal ownership and is part Ten Thousand 
Islands NWR. It has 0.3 km (0.2 mile) of shoreline.
    The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the 
secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in Federal 
and State ownership (see Table 1). The Ten Thousand Islands NWR portion 
is managed by USFWS. The Rookery Bay NERR portion is managed by FDEP's 
Office of Coastal and Aquatic Managed Areas. This unit was occupied at 
the time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit supports 
expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-FL-31) that has 
high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Southwestern 
Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. This unit 
contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require 
special management considerations or protections to ameliorate the 
threats of recreational use, predation, climate change, beach erosion, 
human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. Rookery Bay NERR has 
a management plan that includes working with partners for the 
implementation of nesting surveys, nest marking, terrestrial predator 
control, education, and beach management to protect nesting and 
hatchling loggerhead sea turtles from anthropogenic disturbances (FDEP 
2012a, pp. 62-77, 223, 269). Thousand Islands NWR has a Comprehensive 
Conservation Plan that includes implementation of nesting surveys, nest 
marking, and predator removal intended to minimize impacts to nesting 
and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles (USFWS 2001, pp. 12, 20-22).
    LOGG-T-FL-33--Highland Beach, Monroe County: This unit consists of 
7.2 km (4.5 miles) of island (Key McLaughlin) shoreline along the Gulf 
of Mexico. The island is separated from the mainland by Rogers River 
Bay, Big Bay, Big Lostmans Bay, extensive salt marsh, and a network of 
keys and islands. The unit extends from First Bay to Rogers River 
Inlet. The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the 
secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in Federal 
ownership (see Table 1). It is part of the Everglades National Park, 
which is managed by the National Park Service. This unit was occupied 
at the time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit supports 
expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-FL-34) that has 
high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Southwestern 
Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. This unit 
contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require 
special management considerations or protections to ameliorate the 
threats of recreational use, climate change, beach erosion, human-
caused disasters, and response to disasters. At this time, we are not 
aware of any management plans that address this species in this area.
    LOGG-T-FL-34--Graveyard Creek-Shark Point, Monroe County: This unit 
consists of 0.9 km (0.6 mile) of mainland shoreline along the Gulf of 
Mexico. The unit extends from Shark Point (25.38796 N, 81.14933 W) to 
Graveyard Creek Inlet. The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the 
toe of the secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is 
in Federal ownership (see Table 1). It is part of the Everglades 
National Park, which is managed by the National Park Service. This unit 
was occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. This 
unit has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the 
Southwestern Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. 
This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may 
require special management considerations or protections to ameliorate 
the threats of recreational use, predation, climate change, beach 
erosion, human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. At this 
time, we are not aware of any management plans that address this 
species in this area.
    LOGG-T-FL-35--Cape Sable, Monroe County: This unit consists of 21.3 
km (13.2 miles) of mainland shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico. The 
unit extends from the north boundary of Cape Sable at 25.25924 N, 
81.16687 W to the south boundary of Cape Sable at 25.12470 N, 81.06681 
W. Land in this unit is in Federal ownership (see Table 1). It is part 
of the Everglades National Park, which is managed by the National Park 
Service. The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the 
secondary dune or developed structures. This unit was occupied at the 
time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit has high-density 
nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Southwestern Florida Region of 
the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. This unit contains all of the 
PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require special management 
considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational 
use, predation, climate change, beach erosion, human-caused disasters, 
and response to disasters. At this time, we are not aware of any 
management plans that address this species in this area.
Dry Tortugas Recovery Unit
    LOGG-T-FL-36--Dry Tortugas, Monroe County: This unit consists of 
6.3 km (3.9 miles) of shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico. The Dry 
Tortugas are a small group of seven islands located at the end of the 
Florida Keys about 108 km (67 miles) west of Key West. This unit 
includes six islands where loggerhead sea turtle nesting has been 
documented within the Dry Tortugas. From west to east, these six 
islands are: Loggerhead Key, Garden Key, Bush Key, Long Key, Hospital 
Key, and East Key. Loggerhead Key is the largest island in the chain 
and has 2.4 km (1.5 miles) of beach. Garden Key, the second largest 
island in the chain, is 4.0 km (2.5 miles) east of Loggerhead Key and 
has 0.8 km (0.5 mile) of beach. Bush Key is located 0.1 km (0.1 mile) 
east of Garden Key and has 2.0 km (1.3 mile) of beach; Bush Key is 
occasionally connected to Garden Key by a sand bar. Long Key is located 
0.1 km (0.1 mile) south of the eastern end of Bush Key and has 0.3 km 
(0.2 mile) of beach; Long Key is occasionally connected to Bush Key by 
a sand bar. Hospital Key is located 2.5 km (1.6 miles) northeast of 
Garden Key and Bush Key and has 0.2 km (0.1 mile) of beach. East Key is 
located 0.6 km (0.3 miles) east of Middle Key (Middle Key is not 
included in the unit) and has 0.6 km (0.3 mile) of beach.
    The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the 
secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in Federal 
ownership (see Table 1). It is part of the Dry Tortugas National Park, 
which is managed by the National Park Service. This unit was occupied 
at the time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit was 
included because of the extremely small size of the Dry Tortugas 
Recovery Unit. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in 
this unit may require

[[Page 18037]]

special management considerations or protections to ameliorate the 
threats of recreational use, predation, climate change, beach erosion, 
habitat obstructions, human-caused disasters, and response to 
disasters. Dry Tortugas National Park has a General Management Plan 
that includes special protection zones intended to manage the beach to 
protect nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles from anthropogenic 
disturbances (National Park Service 2000, p. 38).
    LOGG-T-FL-37--Marquesas Keys, Monroe County: This unit consists of 
5.6 km (3.5 miles) of shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico. The Marquesas 
Keys are a small group of eight islands located at the end of the 
Florida Keys about 29.3 km (18.2 miles) west of Key West. This unit 
includes four islands where loggerhead sea turtle nesting has been 
documented within the Marquesas Keys: Marquesas Key, Unnamed Key 1, 
Unnamed Key 2, and Unnamed Key 3. Marquesas Key is the largest key in 
the northeastern region of the island group and has 3.8 km (2.4 miles) 
of shoreline. Unnamed Keys 1, 2, and 3 are at the far westernmost side 
of the island group. Unnamed Key 1 is the northernmost key of the three 
and has 0.4 km (0.2 mile) of shoreline. Unnamed Key 2 is just south of 
Unnamed Key 1 and has 1.0 km (0.6 mile) of shoreline. Unnamed Key 3 is 
southwest of Unnamed Key 2 and has 0.5 km (0.3 mile) of shoreline.
    The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the 
secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in Federal 
ownership (see Table 1). The Marquesas Keys are part of the Key West 
NWR, which is managed by USFWS. This unit was occupied at the time of 
listing and is currently occupied. This unit was included because of 
the extremely small size of the Dry Tortugas Recovery Unit. This unit 
contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require 
special management considerations or protections to ameliorate the 
threats of recreational use, climate change, beach erosion, human-
caused disasters, and response to disasters. Key West NWR is included 
within the Lower Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Comprehensive 
Conservation Plan, which includes implementation of nesting surveys, 
nest marking, debris removal, and predator removal intended to minimize 
impacts to nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles (USFWS 2009, 
pp. 67-68).
    LOGG-T-FL-38--Boca Grande Key, Monroe County: This unit consists of 
1.3 km (0.8 mile) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico. Boca 
Grande Key is one of the outlying islands of the Florida Keys and is 
located about 18.9 km (11.7 miles) west of Key West. The unit extends 
from 24.53767 N, 82.00763 W (at the northern end of the key) to 
24.52757 N, 82.00581 W (at the southern end of the key). The unit 
includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or 
developed structures. Land in this unit is in Federal ownership (see 
Table 1). It is part of the Key West NWR, which is managed by USFWS. 
This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently 
occupied. This unit was included because of the extremely small size of 
the Dry Tortugas Recovery Unit. This unit contains all of the PBFs and 
PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require special management 
considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational 
use, climate change, beach erosion, human-caused disasters, and 
response to disasters. Key West NWR is included within the Lower 
Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Comprehensive Conservation Plan, 
which includes implementation of nesting surveys, nest marking, debris 
removal, and predator removal intended to minimize impacts to nesting 
and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles (USFWS 2009, pp. 67-68).
    LOGG-T-FL-39--Woman Key, Monroe County: This unit consists of 1.3 
km (0.8 mile) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico. Woman Key 
is one of the outlying islands of the Florida Keys and is located about 
15.9 km (9.9 miles) west of Key West. The unit extends from 24.52452 N, 
81.97893 W (at the western end of the key) to 24.52385 N, 81.96680 W 
(at the eastern end of the key). The unit includes lands from the MHW 
line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed structures. Land in 
this unit is in Federal ownership (see Table 1). It is part of the Key 
West NWR, which is managed by USFWS. This unit was occupied at the time 
of listing and is currently occupied. This unit was included because of 
the extremely small size of the Dry Tortugas Recovery Unit. This unit 
contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require 
special management considerations or protections to ameliorate the 
threats of recreational use, climate change, beach erosion, human-
caused disasters, and response to disasters. Key West NWR is included 
within the Lower Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Comprehensive 
Conservation Plan, which includes implementation of nesting surveys, 
nest marking, debris removal, and predator removal intended to minimize 
impacts to nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles (USFWS 2009, 
pp. 67-68).

Northern Gulf of Mexico Recovery Unit

Mississippi
    LOGG-T-MS-01--Horn Island, Jackson County: This unit consists of 
18.6 km (11.5 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico. The 
island is separated from the mainland by the Gulf Intracoastal 
Waterway, Mississippi Sound, Pascagoula Bay, and scattered coastal 
islands. The unit extends from Dog Keys Pass to the easternmost point 
of the ocean facing island shore. The unit includes lands from the MHW 
line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed structures. Land in 
this unit is in Federal and private ownership (see Table 1). The 
Federal portion is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, 
Mississippi District, which is managed by the National Park Service. 
This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently 
occupied. Nesting was confirmed by weekly aerial surveys prior to 2006. 
Although regular surveys have not been conducted since 2005, loggerhead 
nesting was documented in 2010 and 2011 during the Deepwater Horizon 
event response efforts. This unit was included because Horn Island has 
been documented as one of two islands in Mississippi with the greatest 
number of nests.
    This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit 
may require special management considerations or protections to 
ameliorate the threats of recreational use, predation, climate change, 
beach erosion, human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. The 
existing Gulf Islands National Seashore General Management Plan 
includes controlling nonnative species to protect nesting and hatchling 
loggerhead sea turtles from anthropogenic disturbances (National Park 
Service 1978, p. 46). The management plan is being revised and a draft 
is under review. The draft Gulf Islands National Seashore General 
Management Plan includes management efforts that would emphasize sea 
turtle nest monitoring and closure areas around nests intended to 
protect nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles from anthropogenic 
disturbances (National Park Service 2011, p. 85).
    LOGG-T-MS-02--Petit Bois Island, Jackson County: This unit consists 
of 9.8 km (6.1 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico. The 
island is separated from the mainland by the Gulf Intracoastal 
Waterway, Mississippi Sound, Point Aux Chenes Bay, scattered coastal 
islands, and salt marsh. The unit extends from Horn Island Pass to 
Petit Bois Pass. The unit includes lands from

[[Page 18038]]

the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed structures. 
Land in this unit is in Federal ownership (see Table 1). Petit Bois 
Island is part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, Mississippi 
District, which is managed by the National Park Service. This unit was 
occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. Nesting was 
confirmed by weekly aerial surveys prior to 2006. Although regular 
surveys have not been conducted since 2005, loggerhead nesting was 
documented in 2010 and 2011 during Deepwater Horizon event response 
efforts. This unit was included because Petit Bois Island has been 
documented as one of two islands in Mississippi with the greatest 
number of nests.
    This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit 
may require special management considerations or protections to 
ameliorate the threats of recreational use, predation, climate change, 
beach erosion, human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. The 
existing Gulf Islands National Seashore General Management Plan 
includes controlling nonnative species to protect nesting and hatchling 
loggerhead sea turtles from anthropogenic disturbances (National Park 
Service 1978, p. 46). The management plan is being revised, and a draft 
is under review. The draft Gulf Islands National Seashore General 
Management Plan includes management efforts that would emphasize sea 
turtle nest monitoring and closure areas around nests intended to 
protect nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles from anthropogenic 
disturbances (National Park Service 2011, p. 85).
Alabama
    LOGG-T-AL-01--Mobile Bay-Little Lagoon Pass, Baldwin County: This 
unit consists of 28.0 km (17.4 miles) of island shoreline along the 
Gulf of Mexico. The island is separated from the mainland by the Gulf 
Intracoastal Waterway, Bon Secour Bay, and Little Lagoon. The unit 
extends from Mobile Bay Inlet to Little Lagoon Pass. The unit includes 
lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed 
structures. Land in this unit is in Federal, State, and private 
ownership (see Table 1). The Federal portion includes part of the Bon 
Secour NWR and four Bureau of Land Management (BLM) parcels, which are 
managed by USFWS. The State portion includes Fort Morgan State Park, 
which is managed by USFWS. This unit was occupied at the time of 
listing and is currently occupied. This unit has high-density nesting 
by loggerhead sea turtles in Alabama. This unit contains all of the 
PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require special management 
considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational 
use, predation, climate change, beach erosion, artificial lighting, 
human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. Bon Secour NWR has a 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan that includes working with partners for 
the implementation of nesting surveys, nest marking, education, 
minimizing human disturbance, predator removal, and other conservation 
efforts intended to minimize impacts to nesting and hatchling 
loggerhead sea turtles (USFWS 2005, pp. 54-55).
    LOGG-T-AL-02--Gulf State Park-Perdido Pass, Baldwin County: This 
unit consists of 10.7 km (6.7 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf 
of Mexico. The island is separated from the mainland by the Gulf 
Intracoastal Coastal Waterway, Shelby Lakes, Little Lake, Portage 
Creek, Wolf Bay, Bay La Launch, Cotton Bayou, and Terry Cove. The unit 
extends from the west boundary of Gulf State Park to Perdido Pass. The 
unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune 
or developed structures. Land in this unit is in State and private 
ownership (see Table 1). The State portion is part of Gulf State Park, 
which is managed by the Alabama State Parks. This unit was occupied at 
the time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit has high-
density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in Alabama. This unit 
contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require 
special management considerations or protections to ameliorate the 
threats of recreational use, predation, in-water and shoreline 
alterations, coastal development, climate change, beach erosion, 
artificial lighting, human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. 
At this time, we are not aware of any management plans that address 
this species in this area.
    LOGG-T-AL-03--Perdido Pass-Florida-Alabama line, Baldwin County: 
This unit consists of 3.3 km (2.0 miles) of island shoreline along the 
Gulf of Mexico. The island is separated from the mainland by the Gulf 
Intracoastal Waterway, Old River, Bayou St. John, Terry Cover, Amica 
Bay, and coastal islands. The unit extends from Perdido Pass to the 
Alabama-Florida border. This area is referred to as Alabama Point. The 
unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune 
or developed structures. Land in this unit is in State and private 
ownership (see Table 1). The State portion is part of Gulf State Park, 
which is managed by the Alabama State Parks. This unit was occupied at 
the time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit supports 
expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-AL-02) that has 
high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in Alabama. This unit 
contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require 
special management considerations or protections to ameliorate the 
threats of recreational use, predation, in-water and shoreline 
alterations, beach sand placement activities, climate change, beach 
erosion, artificial lighting, human-caused disasters, and response to 
disasters. At this time, we are not aware of any management plans that 
address this species in this area.
Florida
    LOGG-T-FL-40--Perdido Key, Escambia County: This unit consists of 
20.2 km (12.6 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico. The 
island is separated from the mainland by the Gulf Intracoastal 
Waterway, Old River, Perdido Bay, Big Lagoon, and coastal islands. The 
unit extends from the Alabama-Florida border to Pensacola Pass. The 
unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune 
or developed structures. Land in this unit is in Federal, State, and 
private ownership (see Table 1). The Federal portion is part of Gulf 
Islands National Seashore, Florida District, which is managed by the 
National Park Service. The State portion is Perdido Key State Park, 
which is managed by FDEP. This unit was occupied at the time of listing 
and is currently occupied. This unit supports expansion of nesting from 
an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-AL-02) that has high-density nesting by 
loggerhead sea turtles in the Alabama portion of the Northern Gulf of 
Mexico Recovery Unit. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The 
PBFs in this unit may require special management considerations or 
protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational use, predation, 
beach sand placement activities, in-water and shoreline alterations, 
climate change, beach erosion, artificial lighting, human-caused 
disasters, and response to disasters.
    The existing Gulf Islands National Seashore General Management Plan 
includes controlling nonnative species to protect nesting and hatchling 
loggerhead sea turtles from anthropogenic disturbances (National Park 
Service 1978, p. 46). The management plan is being revised, and a draft 
is under review. The draft Gulf Islands National Seashore General 
Management Plan includes management efforts that would emphasize sea 
turtle nest monitoring and closure areas

[[Page 18039]]

around nests intended to protect nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea 
turtles from anthropogenic disturbances (National Park Service 2011, p. 
77). Perdido Key State Park has a Unit Management Plan that includes 
procedures for the implementation of nesting surveys, nest marking, 
terrestrial predator control, debris removal, artificial light 
reduction in adjacent developed areas, education, and beach management 
to protect nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles from 
anthropogenic disturbances (FDEP 2006b, p. 5).
    LOGG-T-FL-41--Mexico Beach and St. Joe Beach, Bay and Gulf 
Counties: This unit consists of 18.7 km (11.7 miles) of mainland 
shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico. The unit extends from the eastern 
boundary of Tyndall Air Force Base to Gulf County Canal in St. Joseph 
Bay. The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the 
secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in private 
ownership (see Table 1). This unit was occupied at the time of listing 
and is currently occupied. This unit supports expansion of nesting from 
an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-FL-42) that has high-density nesting by 
loggerhead sea turtles in the Florida portion of the Northern Gulf of 
Mexico Recovery Unit. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The 
PBFs in this unit may require special management considerations or 
protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational use, predation, 
in-water and shoreline alterations, beach sand placement activities, 
climate change, beach erosion, artificial lighting, human-caused 
disasters, and response to disasters. At this time, we are not aware of 
any management plans that address this species in this unit.
    LOGG-T-FL-42--St. Joseph Peninsula, Gulf County: This unit consists 
of 23.5 km (14.6 miles) of a spit shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico. 
The spit is separated from the mainland by St. Joseph Bay. The unit 
extends from St. Joseph Bay to the west boundary of Eglin Air Force 
Base. The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the 
secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in State 
and private ownership (see Table 1). The State portion includes T.H. 
Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park and part of the St. 
Joseph Bay Aquatic Preserve, which are managed by FDEP. This unit was 
occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit 
has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Florida 
portion of the Northern Gulf of Mexico Recovery Unit. This unit 
contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require 
special management considerations or protections to ameliorate the 
threats of recreational use, beach sand placement activities, beach 
driving, predation, climate change, beach erosion, artificial lighting, 
human-caused disasters, and response to disasters.
    T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park has a Unit 
Management Plan that includes procedures for the implementation of 
nesting surveys, nest marking, terrestrial predator control, and beach 
management to protect nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles from 
anthropogenic disturbances (FDEP 2001b, pp. 4-5, 18). The St. Joseph 
Bay Aquatic Preserve Management Plan includes working with partners on 
the implementation of nesting surveys, nest marking, education, and 
beach management to protect nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea 
turtles from anthropogenic disturbances (FDEP 2008b, pp. 50-51, 77). 
Gulf County has a draft HCP that could include sea turtle nest 
monitoring, nest protection from vehicles on the beach, public 
education, artificial light management, land acquisition, beach 
horseback riding ordinance enforcement, and predator control. These 
measures apply to the private lands within this critical habitat unit 
and are intended to minimize and mitigate impacts to nesting and 
hatchling loggerhead sea turtles as a result of the County-authorized 
beach driving (Gulf County Board of County Commissioners 2004, pp. 5-6-
5-10).
    LOGG-T-FL-43--Cape San Blas, Gulf County: This unit consists of 
11.0 km (6.8 miles) of mainland and spit shoreline along the Gulf of 
Mexico. The unit extends from the east boundary of Eglin Air Force Base 
to Indian Pass. The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of 
the secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in 
State, private, and other ownership (see Table 1). The State portion is 
part of St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve, which is managed by FDEP. 
The County portion is Salinas Park, which is managed by Gulf County. 
This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently 
occupied. This unit supports expansion of nesting from adjacent units 
(LOGG-T-FL-42 and LOGG-T-FL-44) that have high-density nesting by 
loggerhead sea turtles in the Florida portion of the Northern Gulf of 
Mexico Recovery Unit. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The 
PBFs in this unit may require special management considerations or 
protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational use, beach 
driving, predation, coastal development, climate change, beach erosion, 
artificial lighting, habitat obstructions, human-caused disasters, and 
response to disasters. The draft St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve 
Management Plan includes predator control (FDEP 2012b, p. 33).
    LOGG-T-FL-44--St. Vincent Island, Franklin County: This unit 
consists of 15.1 km (9.4 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of 
Mexico. The island is separated from the mainland by St. Vincent Sound. 
The unit extends from Indian Pass to West Pass. The unit includes lands 
from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed 
structures. Land in this unit is in Federal ownership (see Table 1). 
This unit is managed by USFWS as the St. Vincent NWR. This unit was 
occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. This unit 
has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Florida 
portion of the Northern Gulf of Mexico Recovery Unit. This unit 
contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may require 
special management considerations or protections to ameliorate the 
threats of recreational use, predation, climate change, beach erosion, 
artificial lighting, human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. 
St. Vincent NWR has a draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan that 
includes the implementation of nesting surveys, nest marking, 
education, minimizing human disturbance, predator removal, and other 
conservation efforts intended to minimize impacts to nesting and 
hatchling loggerhead sea turtles (USFWS 2012, pp. 64-65).
    LOGG-T-FL-45--Little St. George Island, Franklin County: This unit 
consists of 15.4 km (9.6 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of 
Mexico. The island is separated from the mainland by Apalachicola Bay 
and St. Vincent Sound. The unit extends from West Pass to Bob Sikes 
Cut. The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the 
secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in State 
ownership (see Table 1). This unit is managed by FDEP as the 
Apalachicola NERR. This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is 
currently occupied. This unit has high-density nesting by loggerhead 
sea turtles in the Florida portion of the Northern Gulf of Mexico 
Recovery Unit. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in 
this unit may require special management considerations or protections 
to ameliorate the threats of recreational use, predation, climate 
change, beach erosion, artificial lighting, human-caused disasters, and 
response to disasters. The existing Apalachicola NERR Management Plan 
includes

[[Page 18040]]

working with partners on the implementation of nesting surveys and 
controlling nonnative species to protect nesting and hatchling 
loggerhead sea turtles from anthropogenic disturbances (FDEP 1998, pp. 
78, 126, 161). The management plan is being revised, and a draft is 
under review. The draft management plan includes working with partners 
on the implementation of nesting surveys, nest marking, predator 
removal, education, and beach management to protect nesting and 
hatchling loggerhead sea turtles from anthropogenic disturbances (FDEP 
2011, pp. 48-49, 73-76).
    LOGG-T-FL-46--St. George Island, Franklin County: This unit 
consists of 30.7 km (19.1 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of 
Mexico. The island is separated from the mainland by the Intracoastal 
Waterway, Apalachicola Bay, and East Bay. The unit extends from Bob 
Sikes Cut to East Pass. The unit includes lands from the MHW line to 
the toe of the secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this 
unit is in State and private ownership (see Table 1). The State portion 
is Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park, which is managed 
by FDEP. This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently 
occupied. This unit supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit 
(LOGG-T-FL-45) that has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles 
in the Florida portion of the Northern Gulf of Mexico Recovery Unit. 
This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The PBFs in this unit may 
require special management considerations or protections to ameliorate 
the threats of recreational use, predation, climate change, beach 
erosion, artificial lighting, human-caused disasters, and response to 
disasters. The Dr. Julian G. Bruce St. George Island State Park has a 
Unit Management Plan that includes procedures for the implementation of 
nesting surveys, nest marking, terrestrial predator control, debris 
removal, artificial light reduction in adjacent developed areas, 
education, and beach management to protect nesting and hatchling 
loggerhead sea turtles from anthropogenic disturbances (FDEP 2003c, pp. 
16-18).
    LOGG-T-FL-47--Dog Island, Franklin County: This unit consists of 
13.1 km (8.1 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico. The 
island is separated from the mainland by St. George Sound. The unit 
extends from East Pass to St. George Sound. The unit includes lands 
from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or developed 
structures. Land in this unit is in private conservation ownership (The 
Nature Conservancy) (see Table 1). The unit includes the Jeff Lewis 
Wilderness Preserve, which is owned and managed by The Nature 
Conservancy. This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is 
currently occupied. This unit supports expansion of nesting from an 
adjacent unit (LOGG-T-FL-45) that has high-density nesting by 
loggerhead sea turtles in the Florida portion of the Northern Gulf of 
Mexico Recovery Unit. This unit contains all of the PBFs and PCEs. The 
PBFs in this unit may require special management considerations or 
protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational use, beach 
driving, predation, climate change, beach erosion, artificial lighting, 
human-caused disasters, and response to disasters. At this time, we are 
not aware of any management plans that address this species in this 
area.

Effects of Critical Habitat Designation

Section 7 Consultation

    Section 7(a)(2) of the Act requires Federal agencies, including 
USFWS, to ensure that any action they fund, authorize, or carry out is 
not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered 
species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse 
modification of designated critical habitat of such species. In 
addition, section 7(a)(4) of the Act requires Federal agencies to 
confer with USFWS on any agency action which is likely to jeopardize 
the continued existence of any species proposed to be listed under the 
Act or result in the destruction or adverse modification of proposed 
critical habitat.
    Decisions by the 5th and 9th Circuit Courts of Appeals have 
invalidated our regulatory definition of ``destruction or adverse 
modification'' (50 CFR 402.02) (see Gifford Pinchot Task Force v. U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, 378 F. 3d 1059 (9th Cir. 2004) and Sierra 
Club v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service et al., 245 F.3d 434, 442 (5th 
Cir. 2001)), and we do not rely on this regulatory definition when 
analyzing whether an action is likely to destroy or adversely modify 
critical habitat. Under the provisions of the Act, we determine 
destruction or adverse modification on the basis of whether, with 
implementation of the proposed Federal action, the affected critical 
habitat would continue to serve its intended conservation role for the 
species.
    If a Federal action may affect a listed species or its critical 
habitat, the responsible Federal agency (action agency) must enter into 
consultation with us. Examples of actions that are subject to the 
section 7 consultation process are actions on State, tribal, local, or 
private lands that require a Federal permit (such as a permit from the 
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under section 404 of the Clean Water Act 
(33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) or a permit from USFWS under section 10 of the 
Act) or that involve some other Federal action (such as funding from 
the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, or 
the Federal Emergency Management Agency). Federal actions not affecting 
listed species or critical habitat, and actions on State, tribal, 
local, or private lands that are not federally funded or authorized, do 
not require section 7 consultation.
    As a result of section 7 consultation, we document compliance with 
the requirements of section 7(a)(2) through our issuance of:
    (1) A concurrence letter for Federal actions that may affect, but 
are not likely to adversely affect, listed species or critical habitat; 
or
    (2) A biological opinion for Federal actions that may affect, or 
are likely to adversely affect, listed species or critical habitat.
    When we issue a biological opinion concluding that a project is 
likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species and/or 
destroy or adversely modify critical habitat, we provide reasonable and 
prudent alternatives to the project, if any are identifiable, that 
would avoid the likelihood of jeopardy and/or destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat. We define ``reasonable and prudent 
alternatives'' (at 50 CFR 402.02) as alternative actions identified 
during consultation that:
    (1) Can be implemented in a manner consistent with the intended 
purpose of the action;
    (2) Can be implemented consistent with the scope of the Federal 
agency's legal authority and jurisdiction;
    (3) Are economically and technologically feasible; and
    (4) Would, in the Director's opinion, avoid the likelihood of 
jeopardizing the continued existence of the listed species and/or avoid 
the likelihood of destroying or adversely modifying critical habitat.
    Reasonable and prudent alternatives can vary from slight project 
modifications to extensive redesign or relocation of the project. Costs 
associated with implementing a reasonable and prudent alternative are 
similarly variable.
    Regulations at 50 CFR 402.16 require Federal agencies to reinitiate 
consultation on previously reviewed actions in instances where we have 
listed a new species or subsequently

[[Page 18041]]

designated critical habitat that may be affected and the Federal agency 
has retained discretionary involvement or control over the action (or 
the agency's discretionary involvement or control is authorized by 
law). Consequently, Federal agencies sometimes may need to request 
reinitiation of consultation with us on actions for which formal 
consultation has been completed, if those actions with discretionary 
involvement or control may affect subsequently listed species or 
designated critical habitat.

Application of the ``Adverse Modification'' Standard

    The key factor related to the adverse modification determination is 
whether, with implementation of the proposed Federal action, the 
affected critical habitat would continue to serve its intended 
conservation role for the species. Activities that may destroy or 
adversely modify critical habitat are those that alter the physical or 
biological features to an extent that appreciably reduces the 
conservation value of critical habitat for the loggerhead sea turtle. 
As discussed above, the role of critical habitat is to support life-
history needs of the species and provide for the conservation of the 
species.
    Section 4(b)(8) of the Act requires us to briefly evaluate and 
describe, in any proposed or final regulation that designates critical 
habitat, activities involving a Federal action that may destroy or 
adversely modify such habitat, or that may be affected by such 
designation.
    Activities that may affect critical habitat, when carried out, 
funded, or authorized by a Federal agency, should result in 
consultation for the loggerhead sea turtle. These activities include, 
but are not limited to:
    (1) Actions that would significantly alter beach sand 
characteristics. Such activities could include, but are not limited to, 
beach sand placement and beach driving. These activities may lead to 
changes to the nest incubation environment by altering gas exchange, 
moisture content, temperature, and hardness of the nesting substrate to 
levels that eliminate or reduce the suitability of habitat necessary 
for successful reproduction of the loggerhead sea turtle. However, 
beach sand placement projects conducted under the FWS's Statewide 
Programmatic Biological Opinion for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
planning and regulatory sand placement activities (including post-
disaster sand placement activities) in Florida and other individual 
biological opinions throughout the loggerhead's nesting range include 
required terms and conditions that minimize incidental take of turtles 
and, if incorporated, the sand placement projects are not expected to 
result in adverse modification of critical habitat.
    (2) Actions that would significantly decrease adult female access 
to nesting habitat or hinder hatchling sea turtles emerging from the 
nest from reaching the ocean. Such activities could include, but are 
not limited to, coastal residential and commercial development, beach 
armoring, groin construction, and construction of other erosion control 
devices. These structures could act as barriers or deterrents to adult 
females attempting to access a beach to levels that eliminate or reduce 
the suitability of habitat necessary for successful reproduction of the 
loggerhead sea turtle.
    (3) Actions that would significantly alter natural lighting levels. 
Such activities could include, but are not limited to, lighting of 
coastal residential and commercial structures, street lighting, bridge 
lighting, and other development or road infrastructure. These 
activities could increase the levels of artificial lighting visible 
from the beach and act as a deterrent to adult females attempting to 
access a beach or disorient hatchlings emerging from the nest and 
crawling to the ocean. Increased levels may eliminate or reduce the 
suitability of habitat necessary for successful reproduction of the 
loggerhead sea turtle.

Exemptions

Application of Section 4(a)(3) of the Act

    The Sikes Act Improvement Act of 1997 (Sikes Act) (16 U.S.C. 670a) 
required each military installation that includes land and water 
suitable for the conservation and management of natural resources to 
complete an integrated natural resources management plan (INRMP) by 
November 17, 2001. An INRMP integrates implementation of the military 
mission of the installation with stewardship of the natural resources 
found on the base. Each INRMP includes:
    (1) An assessment of the ecological needs on the installation, 
including the need to provide for the conservation of listed species;
    (2) A statement of goals and priorities;
    (3) A detailed description of management actions to be implemented 
to provide for these ecological needs; and
    (4) A monitoring and adaptive management plan.
    Among other things, each INRMP must, to the extent appropriate and 
applicable, provide for fish and wildlife management; fish and wildlife 
habitat enhancement or modification; wetland protection, enhancement, 
and restoration where necessary to support fish and wildlife; and 
enforcement of applicable natural resource laws.
    The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 (Pub. 
L. 108-136) amended the Act to limit areas eligible for designation as 
critical habitat. Specifically, section 4(a)(3)(B)(i) of the Act (16 
U.S.C. 1533(a)(3)(B)(i)) now provides: ``The Secretary shall not 
designate as critical habitat any lands or other geographic areas owned 
or controlled by the Department of Defense, or designated for its use, 
that are subject to an integrated natural resources management plan 
prepared under section 101 of the Sikes Act (16 U.S.C. 670a), if the 
Secretary determines in writing that such plan provides a benefit to 
the species for which critical habitat is proposed for designation.''
    We consult with the military on the development and implementation 
of INRMPs for installations with listed species. We analyzed INRMPs 
developed by military installations located within the range of the 
proposed critical habitat designation for the loggerhead sea turtle to 
determine if they are exempt under section 4(a)(3) of the Act. The 
following areas are Department of Defense lands with completed, USFWS-
approved INRMPs within the proposed critical habitat designation.
Approved INRMPs
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune (Onslow Beach), NC, 12.4 km (7.7 Miles)
    Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is the Marine Corps' largest 
amphibious training base and is home to 47,000 marines and sailors, the 
largest single concentration of marines in the world. The mission of 
Camp Lejeune is to train and maintain combat-ready units for 
expeditionary deployment anywhere in the world. Onslow Beach, one of 
two stretches of beach on the base, is used to support amphibious 
operations. Operations at the beach range from daily exercises by 2nd 
Amphibious Assault Battalion and Joint Armed Services training to 
periodic, large-scale training such as the quarterly Capability 
Exercises, which include explosives on the beach, inland artillery 
fire, and three Landing Craft Air Cushioned and 10 to 12 Amphibious 
Assault Vehicle landings (Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune 2006, p. 1-10 
and Appendix E).

[[Page 18042]]

    Camp Lejeune encompasses an estimated 57,870 hectares (143,000 
acres), including the onshore, nearshore, and surf areas in and 
adjacent to the Atlantic Ocean and the New River, in Onslow County, 
North Carolina. Onslow Beach consists of 12.4 km (7.7 miles) of island 
shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean. The island on which Onslow Beach is 
located is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal 
Waterway, Banks Channel, Salliers Bay, Wards Channel, and salt marsh. 
The boundaries of the island are from Browns Inlet to New River Inlet. 
Onslow Beach, which has been monitored for sea turtle nesting since 
1979, has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in North 
Carolina.
    The Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune INRMP is a planning document 
that guides the management and conservation of natural resources under 
the installation's control. The INRMP was prepared to assist 
installation staff and users in managing natural resources more 
effectively so as to ensure that installation lands remain available 
and in good condition to support the installation's military mission. 
Camp Lejeune published its first INRMP in 2001 to guide resources 
management on the installation for the years 2002-2006. A revised INRMP 
was prepared in 2006 for the years 2007-2011. The existing INRMP will 
remain in use until its next revision, which the installation is 
preparing to initiate.
    The 2006 INRMP includes the implementation of sea turtle nesting 
surveys, nest marking, and beach management to protect nesting and 
hatchling loggerhead sea turtles from anthropogenic disturbances 
(Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune 2006, pp. 4-14-4-15). The INRMP 
identifies the goal of contributing to the recovery of the loggerhead 
sea turtle through development of ecosystem management-based 
strategies. The INRMP identifies the following management and 
protective measures to achieve this goal:
    (1) Conduct nightly or morning ground sea turtle nest surveys on 
Onslow Beach during the nesting season;
    (2) Conduct aerial surveys for sea turtle nests on Brown's Island 
and North Onslow Beach;
    (3) Protect sea turtle nest sites with cages and restrictive 
signage;
    (4) Move sea turtle nests that are in the amphibious training 
beach;
    (5) Impose driving restrictions on Onslow Beach during the sea 
turtle nesting season, including restrictions to protect sensitive 
habitat south of Onslow South Tower;
    (6) Rake ruts in front of sea turtle nests;
    (7) Reduce sources of artificial lighting on Onslow Beach; and
    (8) Monitor recreational or training impacts to Onslow Beach during 
the sea turtle nesting season.
    In a letter dated October 25, 2012, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune 
provided information detailing its commitments to conduct additional 
activities that will benefit loggerhead sea turtles on Onslow Beach and 
Brown's Island. The commitments listed above will continue and will be 
added to the base's next INRMP. In addition, the following activities 
will be conducted and added to the next INRMP:
    (1) Control sea turtle nest predators by implementing trapping to 
ensure that the annual rate of mammalian predator rate is 10 percent or 
lower; and
    (2) Manage lighting by ensuring that all fixtures and bulbs conform 
to the guidelines in the technical report titled ``Understanding, 
Assessing, and Resolving Light Pollution Problems on Sea Turtle Nesting 
Beaches'' (Witherington and Martin 1996, pp. 20-27). Marine Corps Base 
Camp Lejeune will conduct a sea turtle lighting survey and submit a 
plan to retrofit any lights visible from the nesting beach. The plan 
will be reviewed and approved by USFWS prior to installation or 
replacement of lights.
    Based on the above considerations, and in accordance with section 
4(a)(3)(B)(i) of the Act, we have determined that the identified lands 
are subject to the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune INRMP and that 
conservation efforts identified in the INRMP will provide a benefit to 
the loggerhead sea turtle. Therefore, lands within this installation 
are exempt from critical habitat designation under section 4(a)(3) of 
the Act. We are not including 12.4 km (7.7 miles) of habitat in this 
proposed critical habitat designation because of this exemption.
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Brevard County, FL, 21.0 km (13.0 
Miles)
    Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is part of the 45th Space Wing, a 
unit of Air Force Space Command, whose mission is to assure access to 
the high frontier and to support global operations. The 45th Space Wing 
currently operates a number of rockets and missiles, including the 
Delta IV and Atlas V, and provides support for the Department of 
Defense, NASA, and commercial manned and unmanned space programs.
    Cape Canaveral Air Force Station is situated on the Canaveral 
Peninsula along the Atlantic Coast in Brevard County, Florida, and 
occupies 6,394 hectares (15,800 acres). The installation's beach 
consists of 21.0 km (13.0 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean. The island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic 
Intracoastal Waterway, the Barge Channel, Banana River, Indian River 
Lagoon, Merritt Island, and Harrison Island. The boundaries of the 
installation are from the south boundary of Merritt Island NWR-Kennedy 
Space Center (Merritt Island NWR was established in 1963 as an overlay 
of NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center) to Port Canaveral. Cape 
Canaveral Air Force Station is adjacent to a critical habitat unit 
(LOGG-T-FL-07) that has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles 
in the Central Eastern Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida 
Recovery Unit.
    Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) is covered by the 45th 
Space Wing 2008 INRMP, a planning document that guides the management 
and conservation of natural resources under the Space Wing's control. 
The INRMP was prepared to manage natural resources in compliance with 
relevant statutes, executive orders, Presidential memoranda, 
regulations, and Air Force-specific requirements. The INRMP integrates 
the 45th Space Wing's natural resources management program with ongoing 
mission activities for sustainability while conserving and protecting 
natural resources. The 45th Space Wing is committed to a proactive, 
interdisciplinary management strategy focused on an ecosystem-based 
approach to natural resources management. This strategy includes the 
Air Force objective of sustaining and restoring natural resources to 
uphold operational capabilities while complying with Federal, State, 
and local standards that protect and conserve wildlife, habitat, and 
the surrounding watershed.
    The 2008 INRMP includes the implementation of sea turtle nesting 
surveys, nest marking, predator control, and exterior lighting 
management to conserve loggerhead sea turtles and their habitat (45th 
Space Wing 2008, pp. 64-71 and Tab A). The INRMP identifies the need to 
develop and implement programs to protect and conserve federally listed 
threatened and endangered plants and wildlife, including the loggerhead 
sea turtle. The INRMP identifies the following management and 
protective measures to achieve this goal:

[[Page 18043]]

    (1) Monitor sea turtle nesting activities;
    (2) Manage lighting (i.e., use of sea turtle friendly low pressure 
sodium and amber light-emitting diode (LED) shielded lighting in 
compliance with the Endangered Species Act for facilities that require 
illumination); and
    (3) Control sea turtle nest predators.
    In a letter dated October 10, 2012, the 45th Space Wing provided 
information detailing its commitments to conduct activities that 
benefit loggerheads on the beaches of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station 
and Patrick Air Force Base. These commitments will be added to their 
next INRMP and include:
    (1) Monitor sea turtle nesting activities by participating in the 
Statewide Nesting Beach Survey and Index Nesting Beach Survey programs 
and conducting hatchling productivity assessments;
    (2) Control sea turtle nest predators by implementing trapping at 
the first sign of tracks on the beach at PAFB; controlling raccoons, 
coyotes, and feral hogs within 0.8 km (0.5 mile) of the beach at CCAFS; 
and installing predator-proof trash receptacles if needed; and
    (3) Manage lighting by ensuring that all fixtures and bulbs follow 
the Space Wing Instruction (SWI) 32-7001, which has been reviewed and 
approved by USFWS, prior to installation or replacement. Any lights 
that do not follow the SWI 32-7001 require a USFWS-approved Light 
Management Plan.
    Based on the above considerations, and in accordance with section 
4(a)(3)(B)(i) of the Act, we have determined that the identified lands 
are subject to the 45th Space Wing INRMP and that conservation efforts 
identified in the INRMP will provide a benefit to the loggerhead sea 
turtle. Therefore, lands within this installation are exempt from 
critical habitat designation under section 4(a)(3) of the Act. We are 
not including 21.0 km (13.0 miles) of habitat in this proposed critical 
habitat designation because of this exemption.
Patrick Air Force Base, Brevard County, FL, 6.6 km (4.1 Miles)
    Patrick Air Force Base is also part of the 45th Space Wing (see 
discussion for Cape Canaveral above) and is presently the home of 
Headquarters, 45th Space Wing. Patrick Air Force Base is located on a 
barrier island on the central east coast of Florida in Brevard County 
and covers 810 hectares (2,002 acres) of developed land and some 
coastal dune and estuarine habitat. The installation's beach consists 
of 6.6 km (4.1 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean. The 
island is separated from the mainland by the Atlantic Intracoastal 
Waterway, Indian River Lagoon, Banana River, and Merritt Island. The 
boundaries of the installation are from the south boundary of the city 
of Cocoa Beach (28.2720 N, 80.6055 W) to the north boundary of the town 
of Satellite Beach (28.2127 N, 80.5973 W). Patrick Air Force Base has 
high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Central Eastern 
Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit.
    Like Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Patrick Air Force Base is 
governed by the 45th Space Wing 2008 INRMP. As with Cape Canaveral Air 
Force Station, and in accordance with section 4(a)(3)(B)(i) of the Act, 
we have determined that the identified lands are subject to the 45th 
Space Wing INRMP and that conservation efforts identified in the INRMP 
will provide a benefit to the loggerhead sea turtle. Therefore, lands 
within this installation are exempt from critical habitat designation 
under section 4(a)(3) of the Act. We are not including 6.6 km (4.1 
miles) of habitat in this proposed critical habitat designation because 
of this exemption.
Eglin Air Force Base (Cape San Blas), Gulf County, FL, 4.8 km (3.0 
Miles)
    Eglin Air Force Base is the largest forested military reservation 
in the United States and supports a multitude of military testing and 
training operations, as well as many diverse species and habitats. 
Eglin's missions include the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne) 
beddown, Amphibious Ready Group/Marine Expeditionary Unit, Stand-off 
Precision Guided Missile, and Massive Ordnance Air Blast.
    Eglin Air Force Base, also known as the Eglin Military Complex, is 
located in Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, and Gulf Counties in Northwest 
Florida and the Gulf of Mexico and occupies 261,428 hectares (464,000 
acres). The Eglin Military Complex includes the mainland Reservation 
located in Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton Counties, as well as a 
small parcel (389 hectares (962 acres)) on Cape San Blas in Gulf 
County, Florida. Eglin's Cape San Blas parcel consists of 4.8 km (3.0 
miles) of spit shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico. The spit is 
separated from the mainland by St. Joseph Bay. The boundaries of 
Eglin's Cape San Blas parcel are from 29.67680 N 85.36351 W to 29.67608 
N 85.33394 W. Eglin's Cape San Blas parcel also contains U.S. Federal 
Reserve property, but the entire parcel is under Eglin's management. 
Eglin's Cape San Blas parcel has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea 
turtles in the Florida portion of the Northern Gulf of Mexico Recovery 
Unit.
    The 2012 Eglin Air Force Base INRMP is a planning document that 
guides the management and conservation of natural resources under the 
installation's control. It provides interdisciplinary strategic 
guidance for the management of natural resources in support of the 
military mission within the land and water ranges of the Eglin Military 
Complex. The Eglin Air Force Base INRMP integrates and prioritizes 
wildlife, fire, and forest management activities to protect and 
effectively manage the Complex's aquatic and terrestrial environments, 
and ensure ``no net loss'' in the operational capability of these 
resources to support Eglin test and training missions.
    The 2012 INRMP has a revised sea turtle chapter that includes the 
implementation of sea turtle nesting surveys, nest marking, predator 
control, and exterior lighting management to conserve loggerhead sea 
turtles and their habitat (Eglin Air Force Base 2012, pp. 8-7-8-16). 
The INRMP identifies the need to develop and implement programs to 
protect and conserve federally listed endangered and threatened plants 
and wildlife, including the loggerhead sea turtle. The INRMP identifies 
the following management and protective measures to achieve this goal:
    (1) Monitor sea turtle nesting activities;
    (2) Manage lighting (i.e., using sea turtle friendly, low-pressure 
sodium lighting at all test sites, turning off lights not necessary for 
safety, lowering lights, or properly shielding lights);
    (3) Implement dune protection as needed; and
    (4) Control sea turtle nest predators by implementing trapping 
either as soon as a nest is found to have been depredated or if deemed 
necessary by biologists.
    Based on the above considerations, and in accordance with section 
4(a)(3)(B)(i) of the Act, we have determined that the identified lands 
are subject to the Eglin Air Force Base INRMP and that conservation 
efforts identified in the INRMP will provide a benefit to the 
loggerhead sea turtle. Therefore, lands within this installation are 
exempt from critical habitat designation under section 4(a)(3) of the 
Act. We are not including 4.8 km (3.0 miles) of habitat in this 
proposed critical habitat designation because of this exemption.

Exclusions

Application of Section 4(b)(2) of the Act

    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act states that the Secretary shall 
designate and make

[[Page 18044]]

revisions to critical habitat on the basis of the best available 
scientific data after taking into consideration the economic impact, 
national security impact, and any other relevant impact of specifying 
any particular area as critical habitat. The Secretary may exclude an 
area from critical habitat if he determines that the benefits of such 
exclusion outweigh the benefits of specifying such area as part of the 
critical habitat, unless he determines, based on the best scientific 
data available, that the failure to designate such area as critical 
habitat will result in the extinction of the species. In making that 
determination, the statute on its face, as well as the legislative 
history, are clear that the Secretary has broad discretion regarding 
which factor(s) to use and how much weight to give to any factor.
    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we may exclude an area from 
designated critical habitat based on economic impacts, impacts on 
national security, or any other relevant impacts. In considering 
whether to exclude a particular area from the designation, we identify 
the benefits of including the area in the designation, identify the 
benefits of excluding the area from the designation, and evaluate 
whether the benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of inclusion. 
If the analysis indicates that the benefits of exclusion outweigh the 
benefits of inclusion, the Secretary may exercise his discretion to 
exclude the area only if such exclusion would not result in the 
extinction of the species. We will consider whether to exclude from 
critical habitat designation areas in St. Johns, Volusia, and Indian 
River Counties, Florida, that are covered under habitat conservation 
plans that include the loggerhead sea turtle as a covered species.
Economic Impacts
    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we consider the economic impacts 
of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. In order to 
consider economic impacts, we are preparing an analysis of the economic 
impacts of the proposed critical habitat designation.
    The proposed critical habitat areas include Federal, State, 
private, and other (local government) lands, where shoreline protection 
activities (e.g., sand placement, coastal armoring, groin installation) 
and recreational activities may occur and may be affected by the 
designation. In addition, activities, such as bridge and highway 
construction and beachfront lighting projects, on lands adjacent to 
proposed critical habitat areas may be affected. Other land uses that 
may be affected will be identified as we develop the draft economic 
analysis for the proposed designation.
    We will announce the availability of the draft economic analysis as 
soon as it is completed, at which time we will seek public review and 
comment. At that time, copies of the draft economic analysis will be 
available for downloading from the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov, or by contacting the North Florida Ecological 
Services Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). During the 
development of a final designation, we will consider economic impacts 
based on information in our economic analysis, public comments, and 
other new information, and areas may be excluded from the final 
critical habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act and our 
implementing regulations at 50 CFR 424.19.
National Security Impacts
    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we consider whether there are 
lands owned or managed by the Department of Defense where a national 
security impact might exist. As discussed above, we have exempted from 
the proposed designation of critical habitat under section 4(a)(3) of 
the Act those Department of Defense lands with completed INRMPs 
determined to provide a benefit to the loggerhead sea turtle but where 
a national security impact may exist. We have not identified any other 
lands owned or managed by the Department of Defense within the lands 
proposed for critical habitat designation. Accordingly, we are not 
proposing to exclude any lands based on national security impacts under 
section 4(b)(2) of the Act in this proposed critical habitat rule.
Other Relevant Impacts
    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we consider any other relevant 
impacts, in addition to economic impacts and impacts on national 
security. We consider a number of factors, including whether the 
landowners have developed any HCPs or other management plans for the 
area, or whether there are conservation partnerships that would be 
encouraged by designation of, or exclusion from, critical habitat. In 
addition, we look at any tribal issues, and consider the government-to-
government relationship of the United States with tribal entities. We 
also consider any social impacts that might occur because of the 
designation.
    We are considering for exclusion from critical habitat areas (all 
or portions of LOGG-T-FL-01, LOGG-T-FL-02, LOGG-T-FL-03, LOGG-T-FL-04, 
LOGG-T-FL-05, and LOGG-T-FL-10) in St. Johns, Volusia, and Indian River 
Counties, Florida, that are covered under an HCP, because the HCPs 
incorporate measures that provide a benefit for the conservation of the 
loggerhead sea turtle. We are not considering any additional exclusions 
at this time from the proposed designation under section 4(b)(2) of the 
Act based on partnerships, management, or protection afforded by 
cooperative management efforts. In this proposed rule, we are seeking 
input from the public as to whether or not the Secretary should 
exercise his discretion to exclude the HCP areas or other such areas 
under management that benefit the loggerhead sea turtle from the final 
critical habitat designation. (Please see the Information Requested 
section of this proposed rule for instructions on how to submit 
comments.)

Peer Review

    In accordance with our joint policy on peer review published in the 
Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we will seek the expert 
opinions of at least three appropriate and independent specialists 
regarding this proposed rule. The purpose of peer review is to ensure 
that our critical habitat designation is based on scientifically sound 
data, assumptions, and analyses. We have invited these peer reviewers 
to comment during this public comment period.
    We will consider all comments and information received during this 
comment period on this proposed rule during our preparation of a final 
determination. Accordingly, the final decision may differ from this 
proposal.

Public Hearings

    Section 4(b)(5) of the Act provides for one or more public hearings 
on this proposal, if requested. Requests must be received within 45 
days after the date of publication of this proposed rule in the Federal 
Register. Such requests must be sent to the address shown in the 
ADDRESSES section. We will schedule public hearings on this proposal, 
if any are requested, and announce the dates, times, and places of 
those hearings, as well as how to obtain reasonable accommodations, in 
the Federal Register and local newspapers at least 15 days before the 
hearing.

Required Determinations

Regulatory Planning and Review--Executive Order 12866

Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

    Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) will review all significant

[[Page 18045]]

rules. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has determined 
that this rule is not significant.
    Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 12866 while 
calling for improvements in the nation's regulatory system to promote 
predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most 
innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. 
The executive order directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches 
that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for 
the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and 
consistent with regulatory objectives. E.O. 13563 emphasizes further 
that regulations must be based on the best available science and that 
the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open 
exchange of ideas. We have developed this rule in a manner consistent 
with these requirements.

Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.)

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA; 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) as 
amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 
1996 (SBREFA; 5 U.S.C 801 et seq.), whenever an agency must publish a 
notice of rulemaking for any proposed or final rule, it must prepare 
and make available for public comment a regulatory flexibility analysis 
that describes the effects of the rule on small entities (small 
businesses, small organizations, and small government jurisdictions). 
However, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required if the head of 
the agency certifies the rule will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. The SBREFA amended 
the RFA to require Federal agencies to provide a certification 
statement of the factual basis for certifying that the rule will not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities.
    According to the Small Business Administration, small entities 
include small organizations such as independent nonprofit 
organizations; small governmental jurisdictions, including school 
boards and city and town governments that serve fewer than 50,000 
residents; and small businesses (13 CFR 121.201). Small businesses 
include such businesses as manufacturing and mining concerns with fewer 
than 500 employees, wholesale trade entities with fewer than 100 
employees, retail and service businesses with less than $5 million in 
annual sales, general and heavy construction businesses with less than 
$27.5 million in annual business, special trade contractors doing less 
than $11.5 million in annual business, and forestry and logging 
operations with fewer than 500 employees and annual business less than 
$7 million. To determine if potential economic impacts on these small 
entities are significant, we will consider the types of activities that 
might trigger regulatory impacts under this designation as well as 
types of project modifications that may result. In general, the term 
``significant economic impact'' is meant to apply to a typical small 
business firm's business operations.
    Importantly, the incremental impacts of a rule must be both 
significant and substantial to prevent certification of the rule under 
the RFA and to require the preparation of an initial regulatory 
flexibility analysis. If a substantial number of small entities are 
affected by the proposed critical habitat designation, but the per-
entity economic impact is not significant, USFWS may certify. Likewise, 
if the per-entity economic impact is likely to be significant, but the 
number of affected entities is not substantial, USFWS may also certify.
    The USFWS's current understanding of recent case law is that 
Federal agencies are only required to evaluate the potential impacts of 
rulemaking on those entities directly regulated by the rulemaking; 
therefore, they are not required to evaluate the potential impacts to 
those entities not directly regulated. The designation of critical 
habitat for an endangered or threatened species only has a regulatory 
effect where a Federal action agency is involved in a particular action 
that may affect the designated critical habitat. Under these 
circumstances, only the Federal action agency is directly regulated by 
this designation, and, therefore, USFWS may limit its evaluation of the 
potential impacts to those identified for Federal action agencies. 
Under this interpretation, there is no requirement under the RFA to 
evaluate the potential impacts to entities not directly regulated, such 
as small businesses. However, Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct 
Federal agencies to assess costs and benefits of available regulatory 
alternatives in quantitative (to the extent feasible) and qualitative 
terms. Consequently, it is the current practice of USFWS to assess to 
the extent practicable these potential impacts if sufficient data are 
available, whether or not this analysis is believed by USFWS to be 
strictly required by the RFA. In other words, while the effects 
analysis required under the RFA is limited to entities directly 
regulated by the rulemaking, the effects analysis under the Act, 
consistent with the Executive Order regulatory analysis requirements, 
can take into consideration impacts to both directly and indirectly 
impacted entities, where practicable and reasonable.
    We acknowledge, however, that in some cases, third-party proponents 
of the action subject to permitting or funding may participate in a 
section 7 consultation, and thus may be indirectly affected. We believe 
it is good policy to assess these impacts if we have sufficient data 
before us to complete the necessary analysis, whether or not this 
analysis is strictly required by the RFA. While this regulation does 
not directly regulate these entities, in our draft economic analysis we 
will conduct a brief evaluation of the potential number of third 
parties participating in consultations on an annual basis in order to 
ensure a more complete examination of the incremental effects of this 
proposed rule in the context of the RFA.
    In conclusion, we believe that, based on our interpretation of 
directly regulated entities under the RFA and relevant case law, this 
designation of critical habitat will only directly regulate Federal 
agencies, which are not by definition small business entities. And as 
such, we certify that, if promulgated, this designation of critical 
habitat would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small business entities. Therefore, an initial regulatory 
flexibility analysis is not required. However, though not necessarily 
required by the RFA, in our draft economic analysis for this proposal 
we will consider and evaluate the potential effects to third parties 
that may be involved with consultations with Federal action agencies 
related to this action.

Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use--Executive Order 13211

    Executive Order 13211 (Actions Concerning Regulations That 
Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use) requires 
agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking 
certain actions. Natural gas and oil activities in State and Federal 
waters occur offshore of the States of Alabama, Mississippi, and 
Florida in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) where critical habitat is proposed 
for the species. Potential direct and indirect affects to proposed 
critical habitat could result from associated oil and gas activities, 
including but not limited to pipeline installation and maintenance, 
coastal based facilities, boat vessel

[[Page 18046]]

traffic, and spills. USFWS and the Bureau of Ocean Energy and 
Management (BOEM) have a long history of intra-agency coordination and 
consultation under the Act on offshore outer continental shelf (OCS) 
oil and gas since the 1970s. Consultation occurs on the Five-year 
Multi-lease Sale Program and then on each individual lease sale in the 
Program as they occur. As a result, regulations and other measures are 
in place to minimize impacts of natural gas and oil exploration, 
development, production, and abandonment in the GOM OCS. The 
regulations and measures are generally not considered a substantial 
cost compared with overall project costs and are already being 
implemented by oil and gas companies.
    The most recent consultation completed was for the GOM OCS 2007-
2012 Program and Supplemental Lease Sales 2009-2012 and the initial 
coordination on the proposed 2012-2017 Programs. Individual lease sales 
consultations have been completed for the 2007-2012 and 2009-2012 
Programs. Most of the eastern GOM, including the Straits of Florida 
(Alabama and Florida), remains under a Congressionally mandated 
moratorium and is not proposed for new leasing in either the 2007-2012 
or 2012-2017 Programs. BOEM will move forward with an environmental 
analysis for potential seismic studies in the Mid- and South Atlantic 
planning areas (Florida Atlantic coast, Georgia, South Carolina, and 
North Carolina), but no lease sales will be scheduled in the Atlantic 
until at least mid-2017.
    The States of Mississippi and Alabama have oil and gas programs in 
their respective State waters. USFWS only conducts consultation in 
accordance with the Act on oil and gas activities within State waters 
where there is a Federal nexus (discharge, wetland impacts, or 
navigation permits).
    No other activities associated with energy supply, distribution, or 
use are anticipated within the proposed critical habitat. We do not 
expect the designation of this proposed critical habitat to 
significantly affect energy supplies, distribution, or use. Therefore, 
this action is not a significant energy action, and no Statement of 
Energy Effects is required. However, we will further evaluate this 
issue as we conduct our economic analysis, and review and revise this 
assessment as warranted.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.)

    In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 
et seq.), we make the following findings:
    (1) This rule will not produce a Federal mandate. In general, a 
Federal mandate is a provision in legislation, statute, or regulation 
that would impose an enforceable duty upon State, local, or tribal 
governments, or the private sector, and includes both ``Federal 
intergovernmental mandates'' and ``Federal private sector mandates.'' 
These terms are defined in 2 U.S.C. 658(5)-(7). ``Federal 
intergovernmental mandate'' includes a regulation that ``would impose 
an enforceable duty upon State, local, or tribal governments'' with two 
exceptions. It excludes ``a condition of Federal assistance.'' It also 
excludes ``a duty arising from participation in a voluntary Federal 
program,'' unless the regulation ``relates to a then-existing Federal 
program under which $500,000,000 or more is provided annually to State, 
local, and tribal governments under entitlement authority,'' if the 
provision would ``increase the stringency of conditions of assistance'' 
or ``place caps upon, or otherwise decrease, the Federal Government's 
responsibility to provide funding,'' and the State, local, or tribal 
governments ``lack authority'' to adjust accordingly. At the time of 
enactment, these entitlement programs were: Medicaid; Aid to Families 
with Dependent Children work programs; Child Nutrition; Food Stamps; 
Social Services Block Grants; Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants; 
Foster Care, Adoption Assistance, and Independent Living; Family 
Support Welfare Services; and Child Support Enforcement. ``Federal 
private sector mandate'' includes a regulation that ``would impose an 
enforceable duty upon the private sector, except (i) a condition of 
Federal assistance or (ii) a duty arising from participation in a 
voluntary Federal program.''
    The designation of critical habitat does not impose a legally 
binding duty on non-Federal Government entities or private parties. 
Under the Act, the only regulatory effect is that Federal agencies must 
ensure that their actions do not destroy or adversely modify critical 
habitat under section 7. While non-Federal entities that receive 
Federal funding, assistance, or permits, or that otherwise require 
approval or authorization from a Federal agency for an action, may be 
indirectly impacted by the designation of critical habitat, the legally 
binding duty to avoid destruction or adverse modification of critical 
habitat rests squarely on the Federal agency. Furthermore, to the 
extent that non-Federal entities are indirectly impacted because they 
receive Federal assistance or participate in a voluntary Federal aid 
program, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act would not apply, nor would 
critical habitat shift the costs of the large entitlement programs 
listed above onto State governments.
    (2) We do not believe that this rule will significantly or uniquely 
affect small governments. A portion of the lands being proposed for 
critical habitat designation are owned by State, County, or local 
municipalities. Small governments will be affected only to the extent 
that any programs having Federal funds, permits, or other authorized 
activities must ensure that their actions will not adversely affect the 
critical habitat. Therefore, a Small Government Agency Plan is not 
required. However, we will further evaluate this issue as we conduct 
our economic analysis, and review and revise this assessment if 
appropriate.

Takings--Executive Order 12630

    In accordance with Executive Order 12630 (``Government Actions and 
Interference with Constitutionally Protected Private Property 
Rights''), this rule is not anticipated to have significant takings 
implications. As discussed above, the designation of critical habitat 
affects only Federal actions. Critical habitat designation does not 
affect landowner actions that do not require Federal funding or 
permits, nor does it preclude development of habitat conservation 
programs or issuance of incidental take permits to permit actions that 
do require Federal funding or permits to go forward. Due to current 
public knowledge of the species protections and the prohibition against 
take of the species both within and outside of the proposed areas we do 
not anticipate that property values will be affected by the critical 
habitat designation. However, we have not yet completed the economic 
analysis for this proposed rule. Once the economic analysis is 
available, we will review and revise this preliminary assessment as 
warranted, and prepare a Takings Implication Assessment.

Federalism--Executive Order 13132

    In accordance with Executive Order 13132 (Federalism), this 
proposed rule does not have significant Federalism effects. A 
Federalism summary impact statement is not required. In keeping with 
Department of the Interior and Department of Commerce policy, we 
requested information from, and

[[Page 18047]]

coordinated development of, this proposed critical habitat designation 
with appropriate State resource agencies in North Carolina, South 
Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. The designation 
of critical habitat in areas currently occupied by the loggerhead sea 
turtle may impose nominal additional regulatory restrictions to those 
currently in place and, therefore, may have little incremental impact 
on State and local governments and their activities. The designation 
may have some benefit to these governments because the areas that 
contain the physical or biological features essential to the 
conservation of the species are more clearly defined, and the elements 
of the features necessary to the conservation of the species are 
specifically identified. This information does not alter where and what 
federally sponsored activities may occur. However, it may assist local 
governments in long-range planning (rather than having them wait for 
case-by-case section 7 consultations to occur).
    Where State and local governments require approval or authorization 
from a Federal agency for actions that may affect critical habitat, 
consultation under section 7(a)(2) would be required. While non-Federal 
entities that receive Federal funding, assistance, or permits, or that 
otherwise require approval or authorization from a Federal agency for 
an action, may be indirectly impacted by the designation of critical 
habitat, the legally binding duty to avoid destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat rests squarely on the Federal agency.

Civil Justice Reform--Executive Order 12988

    In accordance with Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform), 
the Office of the Solicitor has determined that the rule does not 
unduly burden the judicial system and that it meets the applicable 
standards set forth in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of the Order. To 
assist the public in understanding the habitat needs of the species, 
the rule identifies the elements of physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the species. The designated areas of 
critical habitat are presented on maps, and the rule provides several 
options for the interested parties to obtain more detailed location 
information, if desired.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.)

    This rule does not contain any new collections of information that 
require approval by OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 
U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). This rule will not impose recordkeeping or 
reporting requirements on State or local governments, individuals, 
businesses, or organizations. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and 
a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information 
unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.)

    It is our position that, outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. Court 
of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, we do not need to prepare 
environmental analyses pursuant to the National Environmental Policy 
Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) in connection with designating 
critical habitat under the Act. We published a notice outlining our 
reasons for this determination in the Federal Register on October 25, 
1983 (48 FR 49244). This position was upheld by the U.S. Court of 
Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Douglas County v. Babbitt, 48 F.3d 1495 
(9th Cir. 1995), cert. denied 516 U.S. 1042 (1996)).

Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994 
(Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal 
Governments; 59 FR 22951), Executive Order 13175 (Consultation and 
Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments), and the Department of the 
Interior's manual at 512 DM 2, we readily acknowledge our 
responsibility to communicate meaningfully with recognized Federal 
Tribes on a government-to-government basis. In accordance with 
Secretarial Order 3206 of June 5, 1997 (American Indian Tribal Rights, 
Federal-Tribal Trust Responsibilities, and the Endangered Species Act), 
we readily acknowledge our responsibilities to work directly with 
tribes in developing programs for healthy ecosystems, to acknowledge 
that tribal lands are not subject to the same controls as Federal 
public lands, to remain sensitive to Indian culture, and to make 
information available to tribes. We determined that there are no tribal 
lands that were occupied by the loggerhead sea turtle at the time of 
listing that contain the features essential for conservation of the 
species. Therefore, we are not proposing to designate critical habitat 
for the loggerhead sea turtle on tribal lands.

Clarity of the Rule

    We are required by Executive Orders 12866 and 12988 and by the 
Presidential Memorandum of June 1, 1998, to write all rules in plain 
language. This means that each rule we publish must:
    (1) Be logically organized;
    (2) Use the active voice to address readers directly;
    (3) Use clear language rather than jargon;
    (4) Be divided into short sections and sentences; and
    (5) Use lists and tables wherever possible.
    If you feel that we have not met these requirements, send us 
comments by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. To 
better help us revise the rule, your comments should be as specific as 
possible. For example, you should tell us the numbers of the sections 
or paragraphs that are unclearly written, which sections or sentences 
are too long, the sections where you feel lists or tables would be 
useful, etc.

References Cited

    A complete list of references cited in this rulemaking is available 
on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov and upon request from the 
North Florida Ecological Services Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT).

Authors

    The primary authors of this package are the staff members of the 
North Florida Ecological Services Office.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

Proposed Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, we propose to amend part 17, subchapter B of chapter 
I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as set forth below:

PART 17--ENDANGERED AND THREATENED WILDLIFE AND PLANTS

0
1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 16 U.S.C. 1531-1544; 16 U.S.C. 
4201-4245; Pub. L. 99-625, 100 Stat. 3500; unless otherwise noted.

0
2. In Sec.  17.11(h), revise the entry for ``Sea turtle, loggerhead, 
Northwest Atlantic Ocean'' under ``Reptiles'' in the List of Endangered 
and Threatened Wildlife to read as follows:


Sec.  17.11  Endangered and threatened wildlife.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

[[Page 18048]]



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                        Species                                                    Vertebrate
--------------------------------------------------------                        population where                                  Critical     Special
                                                            Historic range       endangered or         Status      When listed    habitat       rules
           Common name                Scientific name                              threatened
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
REPTILES
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Sea turtle, loggerhead, Northwest  Caretta caretta.....  Northwest Atlantic   Northwest Atlantic   T.............          794     17.95(c)           NA
 Atlantic Ocean.                                          Ocean Basin.         Ocean north of the
                                                                               equator, south of
                                                                               60[deg] N. Lat.,
                                                                               and west of
                                                                               40[deg] W. Long.
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

0
3. In Sec.  17.95, amend paragraph (c) by adding an entry for 
``Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Northwest Atlantic Ocean (Caretta caretta),'' 
in the same alphabetical order that the species appears in the table at 
Sec.  17.11(h), to read as follows:


Sec.  17.95  Critical habitat--fish and wildlife.

* * * * *
    (c) Reptiles.
* * * * *
Loggerhead Sea Turtle, Northwest Atlantic Ocean (Caretta caretta)
    (1) Critical habitat units are depicted for the following areas on 
the maps below:
    (i) North Carolina--Brunswick, Carteret, New Hanover, Onslow, and 
Pender Counties;
    (ii) South Carolina--Beaufort, Charleston, Colleton, and Georgetown 
Counties;
    (iii) Georgia--Camden, Chatham, Liberty, and McIntosh Counties;
    (iv) Florida--Bay, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Collier, Duval, 
Escambia, Flagler, Franklin, Gulf, Indian River, Lee, Manatee, Martin, 
Monroe, Palm Beach, Sarasota, St. Johns, St. Lucie, and Volusia 
Counties;
    (v) Alabama--Baldwin County; and
    (vi) Mississippi--Jackson County.
    (2) Within these areas, the primary constituent elements of the 
physical or biological features essential to the conservation of the 
Northwest Atlantic Ocean distinct population segment of the loggerhead 
sea turtle are the extra-tidal or dry sandy beaches from the mean high-
water line to the toe of the secondary dune, which are capable of 
supporting a high density of nests or serving as an expansion area for 
beaches with a high density of nests and that are well distributed 
within each State, or region within a State, and representative of 
total nesting, consisting of three components:
    (i) Primary Constituent Element 1--Suitable nesting beach habitat 
that (A) Has relatively unimpeded nearshore access from the ocean to 
the beach for nesting females and from the beach to the ocean for both 
postnesting females and hatchlings and (B) Is located above mean high 
water to avoid being inundated frequently by high tides.
    (ii) Primary Constituent Element 2--Sand that (A) Allows for 
suitable nest construction, (B) Is suitable for facilitating gas 
diffusion conducive to embryo development, and (C) Is able to develop 
and maintain temperatures and a moisture content conducive to embryo 
development.
    (iii) Primary Constituent Element 3--Suitable nesting beach habitat 
with sufficient darkness to ensure that nesting turtles are not 
deterred from emerging onto the beach and hatchlings and postnesting 
females orient to the sea.
    (3) Critical habitat does not include manmade structures (such as 
buildings, aqueducts, runways, roads, and other paved areas) and the 
land on which they are located existing within the legal boundaries on 
[INSERT DATE 30 DAYS AFTER PUBLICATION DATE FOR THE FINAL RULE].
    (4) Critical habitat map units. Data layers defining map units were 
created using Google Earth imagery, then refined using Bing imagery. 
Unit descriptions were then mapped using North America Lambert 
Conformal Conic coordinates. The maps in this entry, establish the 
boundaries of the critical habitat designation. The coordinates or plot 
points or both on which each map is based are available to the public 
at the Service's Internet site (http://www.fws.gov/northflorida), 
http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2012-0103, and at 
the field office responsible for this designation. You may obtain field 
office location information by contacting one of the USFWS regional 
offices, the addresses of which are listed at 50 CFR 2.2.
    (5) Note: Index Map follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-22-P

[[Page 18049]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.000

    (6) Index Map of Critical Habitat Units in the Northern Recovery 
Unit:

[[Page 18050]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.001

    (7) Units:
    (i) LOGG-T-NC-01--Boque Banks, Carteret County, North Carolina.
    (ii) LOGG-T-NC-02--Bear Island, Onslow County, North Carolina.
    (iii) LOGG-T-NC-03--Topsail Island, Onslow and Pender Counties, 
North Carolina.
    (iv) LOGG-T-NC-04--Lea-Hutaff Island, Pender County, North 
Carolina.
    (A) (1) LOGG-T-NC-01--Boque Banks: This unit consists of 38.9 km 
(24.2 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends 
from Beaufort Inlet to Bogue Inlet.
    (2) LOGG-T-NC-02--Bear Island: This unit consists of 6.6 km (4.1 
miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends from 
Bogue Inlet to Bear Inlet.
    (3) LOGG-T-NC-03--Topsail Island: This unit consists of 35.0 km 
(21.8 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends 
from New River Inlet to New Topsail Inlet.
    (4) LOGG-T-NC-04--Lea-Hutaff Island: This unit consists of 6.1 km 
(3.8 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends 
from New Topsail Inlet to Rich Inlet.
    (B) Note: Map of Units LOGG-T-NC-01, LOGG-T-NC-02, LOGG-T-NC-03, 
and LOGG-T-NC-04: North Carolina Terrestrial Critical Habitat Units for 
the Loggerhead Sea Turtle: Boque Banks, Bear Island, Topsail Island, 
and Lea-Hutaff Island, follows:

[[Page 18051]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.002

    (8) Units:
    (i) LOGG-T-NC-05--Pleasure Island, New Hanover County, North 
Carolina.
    (ii) LOGG-T-NC-06--Bald Head Island, Brunswick County, North 
Carolina.
    (iii) LOGG-T-NC-07--Oak Island, Brunswick County, North Carolina.
    (iv) LOGG-T-NC-08--Holden Beach, Brunswick County, North Carolina.
    (A) (1) LOGG-T-NC-05--Pleasure Island: This unit consists of 18.6 
km (11.5 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and 
extends from Carolina Beach Inlet to 33.91433 N, 77.94408 W (historic 
location of Corncake Inlet).
    (2) LOGG-T-NC-06--Bald Head Island: This unit consists of 15.1 km 
(9.4 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends 
from 33.91433 N, -77.94408 W (historic location of Corncake Inlet) to 
the mouth of the Cape Fear River.
    (3) LOGG-T-NC-07--Oak Island: This unit consists of 20.9 km (13.0 
miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends from 
the mouth of the Cape Fear River to Lockwoods Folly Inlet.
    (4) LOGG-T-NC-08--Holden Beach: This unit consists of 13.4 km (8.3 
miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends from 
Lockwoods Folly Inlet to Shallotte Inlet.
    (B) Note: Map of Units LOGG-T-NC-05, LOGG-T-NC-06, LOGG-T-NC-07, 
and LOGG-T-NC-08: North Carolina Terrestrial Critical Habitat Units for 
the Loggerhead Sea Turtle follows:

[[Page 18052]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.003

    (9) Units:
    (i) LOGG-T-SC-01--North Island, Georgetown County, South Carolina.
    (ii) LOGG-T-SC-02--Sand Island, Georgetown County, South Carolina.
    (iii) LOGG-T-SC-03--South Island, Georgetown County, South 
Carolina.
    (iv) LOGG-T-SC-04--Cedar Island, Georgetown County, South Carolina.
    (v) LOGG-T-SC-05--Murphy Island, Charleston County, South Carolina.
    (A) (1) LOGG-T-SC-01--North Island: This unit consists of 13.2 km 
(8.2 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends 
from North Inlet to Winyah Bay.
    (2) LOGG-T-SC-02--Sand Island: This unit consists of 4.7 km (2.9 
miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and Winyah Bay and 
extends from Winyah Bay to 33.17534 N, 79.19206 W (northern boundary of 
an unnamed inlet separating Sand Island and South Island).
    (3) LOGG-T-SC-03--South Island: This unit consists of 6.7 km (4.2 
miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends from 
33.17242 N, 79.19366 W (southern boundary of an unnamed inlet 
separating Sand Island and South Island) to North Santee Inlet.
    (4) LOGG-T-SC-04--Cedar Island: This unit consists of 4.1 km (2.5 
miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and North Santee 
Inlet and extends from North Santee Inlet to South Santee Inlet.
    (5) LOGG-T-SC-05--Murphy Island: This unit consists of 8.0 km (5.0 
miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and South Santee 
Inlet and extends from South Santee Inlet to 33.08335 N, 79.34285 W.

[[Page 18053]]

    (B) Note: Map of Units LOGG-T-SC-01, LOGG-T-SC-02, LOGG-T-SC-03, 
LOGG-T-SC-04, and LOGG-T-SC-05: South Carolina Terrestrial Critical 
Habitat Units for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.004

    (10) Units:
    (i) LOGG-T-SC-06--Cape Island, Charleston County, South Carolina.
    (ii) LOGG-T-SC-07--Lighthouse Island, Charleston County, South 
Carolina.
    (iii) LOGG-T-SC-08--Raccoon Key, Charleston County, South Carolina.
    (A) (1) LOGG-T-SC-06--Cape Island: This unit consists of 8.3 km 
(5.1 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends 
from Cape Romain Inlet to 33.00988 N, 79.36529 W (northern boundary of 
an unnamed inlet between Cape Island and Lighthouse Island).
    (2) LOGG-T-SC-07--Lighthouse Island: This unit consists of 5.3 km 
(3.3 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends 
from 33.01306 N, 79.36659 W (southern boundary of an unnamed inlet 
between Cape Island and Lighthouse Island) to Key Inlet.
    (3) LOGG-T-SC-08--Raccoon Key: This unit consists of 4.8 km (3.0 
miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends from 
Raccoon Creek Inlet to Five Fathom Creek Inlet.
    (B) Note: Map of Units LOGG-T-SC-06, LOGG-T-SC-07, and LOGG-T-SC-
08: South Carolina Terrestrial Critical

[[Page 18054]]

Habitat Units for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.005

    (11) Units:
    (i) LOGG-T-SC-09--Folly Island, Charleston County, South Carolina.
    (ii) LOGG-T-SC-10--Kiawah Island, Charleston County, South 
Carolina.
    (iii) LOGG-T-SC-11--Seabrook Island, Charleston County, South 
Carolina.
    (A) (1) LOGG-T-SC-09--Folly Island: This unit consists of 11.2 km 
(7.0 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends 
from Lighthouse Inlet to Folly River Inlet.
    (2) LOGG-T-SC-10--Kiawah Island: This unit consists of 17.0 km 
(10.6 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and Stono 
Inlet and extends from Stono Inlet to Captain Sam's Inlet.
    (3) LOGG-T-SC-11--Seabrook Island: This unit consists of 5.8 km 
(3.6 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and North 
Edisto Inlet and extends from Captain Sam's Inlet to North Edisto 
Inlet.
    (B) Note: Map of Units LOGG-T-SC-09, LOGG-T-SC-10, and LOGG-T-SC-
11: South Carolina Terrestrial Critical Habitat Units for the 
Loggerhead Sea Turtle follows:

[[Page 18055]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.006

    (12) Units:
    (i) LOGG-T-SC-12--Botany Bay Island and Botany Bay Plantation, 
Charleston County, South Carolina.
    (ii) LOGG-T-SC-13--Interlude Beach, Charleston County, South 
Carolina.
    (iii) LOGG-T-SC-14--Edingsville Beach, Charleston County, South 
Carolina.
    (iv) LOGG-T-SC-15--Edisto Beach State Park, Colleton County, South 
Carolina.
    (v) LOGG-T-SC-16--Edisto Beach, Colleton County, South Carolina.
    (A) (1) LOGG-T-SC-12--Botany Bay Island and Botany Bay Plantation: 
This unit consists of 6.6 km (4.1 miles) of island shoreline along the 
Atlantic Ocean and North Edisto Inlet and extends from North Edisto 
Inlet to 32.53710 N, 80.24614 W (northern boundary of an unnamed inlet 
separating Botany Bay Plantation and Interlude Beach).
    (2) LOGG-T-SC-13--Interlude Beach: This unit consists of 0.9 km 
(0.6 mile) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends 
from 32.53636 N, 80.24647 W (southern boundary of an unnamed inlet 
separating Interlude Beach and Botany Bay Plantation) to Frampton 
Inlet.
    (3) LOGG-T-SC-14--Edingsville Beach: This unit consists of 2.7 km 
(1.7 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends 
from Frampton Inlet to Jeremy Inlet.
    (4) LOGG-T-SC-15--Edisto Beach State Park: This unit consists of 
2.2 km (1.4 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and 
extends from Jeremy Inlet to 32.50307 N, 80.29625 W (State Park 
boundary separating Edisto Beach

[[Page 18056]]

State Park and the Town of Edisto Beach).
    (5) LOGG-T-SC-16--Edisto Beach: This unit consists of 6.8 km (4.2 
miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and South Edisto 
River and extends from 32.50307 N, 80.29625 W (State Park boundary 
separating Edisto Beach State Park and the Town of Edisto Beach) to 
South Edisto Inlet.
    (B) Note: Map of Units LOGG-T-SC-12, LOGG-T-SC-13, LOGG-T-SC-14, 
LOGG-T-SC-15, and LOGG-T-SC-16: South Carolina Terrestrial Critical 
Habitat Units for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.007

    (13) Units:
    (i) LOGG-T-SC-17--Pine Island, Colleton County, South Carolina.
    (ii) LOGG-T-SC-18--Otter Island, Colleton County, South Carolina.
    (iii) LOGG-T-SC-19--Harbor Island, Beaufort County, South Carolina.
    (A) (1) LOGG-T-SC-17--Pine Island: This unit consists of 1.2 km 
(0.7 mile) of island shoreline along the South Edisto Inlet and extends 
from South Edisto River to 32.49266 N, 80.36846 W (northern boundary of 
an unnamed inlet to Fish Creek).
    (2) LOGG-T-SC-18--Otter Island: This unit consists of 4.1 km (2.5 
miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and Saint Helena 
Sound and extends from Fish Creek Inlet to Saint Helena Sound.

[[Page 18057]]

    (3) LOGG-T-SC-19--Harbor Island: This unit consists of 2.9 km (1.8 
miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and Saint Helena 
Sound and extends from Harbor Inlet to Johnson Inlet.
    (B) Note: Map of Units LOGG-T-SC-17, LOGG-T-SC-18, and LOGG-T-SC-
19: South Carolina Terrestrial Critical Habitat Units for the 
Loggerhead Sea Turtle follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.008

    (14) Units:
    (i) LOGG-T-SC-20--Little Capers Island, Beaufort County, South 
Carolina.
    (ii) LOGG-T-SC-21--St. Phillips Island, Beaufort County, South 
Carolina.
    (iii) LOGG-T-SC-22--Bay Point Island, Beaufort County, South 
Carolina.
    (A) (1) LOGG-T-SC-20--Little Capers Island: This unit consists of 
4.6 km (2.9 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and 
extends from ``Pritchards Inlet'' (there is some uncertainty about the 
true name of this water feature) located at 32.29009 N, 80.54459 W to 
Trenchards Inlet.
    (2) LOGG-T-SC-21--St. Phillips Island: This unit consists of 2.3 km 
(1.4 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and Trenchards 
Inlet and extends from Trenchards Inlet to Morse Island Creek Inlet 
East.
    (3) LOGG-T-SC-22--Bay Point Island: This unit consists of 4.3 km 
(2.7 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and Port Royal 
Sound and extends from Morse Island Creek Inlet East along the Atlantic 
Ocean

[[Page 18058]]

shoreline to Morse Island Creek Inlet West along the Port Royal Sound 
shoreline.
    (B) Note: Map of Units LOGG-T-SC-20, LOGG-T-SC-21, and LOGG-T-SC-
22: South Carolina Terrestrial Critical Habitat Units for the 
Loggerhead Sea Turtle follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.009

    (15) Units:
    (i) LOGG-T-GA-01--Little Tybee Island, Chatham County, Georgia.
    (ii) LOGG-T-GA-02--Wassaw Island, Chatham County, Georgia.
    (iii) LOGG-T-GA-03--Ossabaw Island, Chatham County, Georgia.
    (iv) LOGG-T-GA-04--St. Catherines Island, Liberty County, Georgia.
    (A) (1) LOGG-T-GA-01--Little Tybee Island: This unit consists of 
8.6 km (5.3 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and 
extends from Tybee Creek Inlet to Wassaw Sound.
    (2) LOGG-T-GA-02--Wassaw Island: This unit consists of 10.1 km (6.3 
miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends from 
Wassaw Sound to Ossabaw Sound.
    (3) LOGG-T-GA-03--Ossabaw Island: This unit consists of 17.1 km 
(10.6 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends 
from Ogeechee River to St. Catherines Sound.
    (4) LOGG-T-GA-04--St. Catherines Island: This unit consists of 18.4 
km (11.5 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and 
extends from St. Catherines Sound to Sapelo Sound.

[[Page 18059]]

    (B) Note: Map of Units LOGG-T-GA-01, LOGG-T-GA-02, LOGG-T-GA-03, 
and LOGG-T-GA-04: Georgia Terrestrial Critical Habitat Units for the 
Loggerhead Sea Turtle follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.010

    (16) Units:
    (i) LOGG-T-GA-05--Blackbeard Island, McIntosh County, Georgia.
    (ii) LOGG-T-GA-06--Sapelo Island, McIntosh County, Georgia.
    (A) (1) LOGG-T-GA-05--Blackbeard Island: This unit consists of 13.5 
km (8.4 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends 
from Sapelo Sound to Cabretta Inlet.
    (2) LOGG-T-GA-06--Sapelo Island: This unit consists of 9.3 km (5.8 
miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends from 
Cabretta Inlet to Doboy Sound.
    (B) Note: Map of Units LOGG-T-GA-05 and LOGG-T-GA-06: Georgia 
Terrestrial Critical Habitat Units for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle 
follows:

[[Page 18060]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.011

    (17) Units:
    (i) LOGG-T-GA-07--Little Cumberland Island, Camden County, Georgia.
    (ii) LOGG-T-GA-08--Cumberland Island, Camden County, Georgia.
    (A) (1) LOGG-T-GA-07--Little Cumberland Island: This unit consists 
of 4.9 km (3.0 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and 
extends from St. Andrew Sound to Christmas Creek.
    (2) LOGG-T-GA-08--Cumberland Island: This unit consists of 29.7 km 
(18.4 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends 
from Christmas Creek to St. Marys River.
    (B) Note: Map of Units LOGG-T-GA-07 and LOGG-T-GA-08: Georgia 
Terrestrial Critical Habitat Units for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle 
follows:

[[Page 18061]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.012

    (18) Index Map of Critical Habitat Units in the Peninsular Florida 
Recovery Unit.

[[Page 18062]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.013

    (19) Units:
    (i) LOGG-T-FL-01--South Duval County-Old Ponte Vedra, Duval and St. 
Johns Counties, Florida.
    (ii) LOGG-T-FL-02--Guana Tolomato Matanzas NERR-St. Augustine 
Inlet, St. Johns County, Florida.
    (iii) LOGG-T-FL-03--St. Augustine Inlet-Matanzas Inlet, St. Johns 
County, Florida.
    (iv) LOGG-T-FL-04--River to Sea Preserve at Marineland--North 
Peninsula State Park, Flagler and Volusia Counties, Florida.
    (v) LOGG-T-FL-05--Ormond-by-the-Sea-Granada Blvd., Volusia County, 
Florida.
    (A)(1) LOGG-T-FL-01--South Duval County-Old Ponte Vedra: This unit 
consists of 25.2 km (15.6 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean and extends from the south boundary of Kathryn Abbey Hanna Park 
in Duval County to the north boundary of the Guana Tolomato Matanzas 
National Estuarine Research Reserve in St. Johns County.
    (2) LOGG-T-FL-02--Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine 
Research Reserve-St. Augustine Inlet: This unit consists of 24.1 km 
(15.0 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends 
from the north boundary of the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National 
Estuarine Research Reserve to St. Augustine Inlet.
    (3) LOGG-T-FL-03--St. Augustine Inlet-Matanzas Inlet: This unit 
consists of 22.4 km (14.0 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean and extends from St. Augustine Inlet to Matanzas Inlet.
    (4) LOGG-T-FL-04--River to Sea Preserve at Marineland-North 
Peninsula

[[Page 18063]]

State Park: This unit consists of 31.8 km (19.8 miles) of island 
shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends from the north boundary 
of the River to Sea Preserve at Marineland to the south boundary of 
North Peninsula State Park.
    (5) LOGG-T-FL-05--Ormond-by-the-Sea-Granada: This unit consists of 
11.1 km (6.9 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and 
extends from the south boundary of North Peninsula State Park to 
Granada Boulevard in Ormond Beach.
    (B) Note: Map of Units LOGG-T-FL-01, LOGG-T-FL-02, LOGG-T-FL-03, 
LOGG-T-FL-04, and LOGG-T-FL-05: Florida Terrestrial Critical Habitat 
Units for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.014

    (20) Units:
    (i) LOGG-T-FL-06--Canaveral National Seashore North, Volusia 
County, Florida.
    (ii) LOGG-T-FL-07--Canaveral National Seashore South-Merritt Island 
NWR-Kennedy Space Center, Brevard County, Florida.
    (A)(1) LOGG-T-FL-06--Canaveral National Seashore North: This unit 
consists of 18.2 km (11.3 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean and extends from the north boundary of Canaveral National 
Seashore to the Volusia-Brevard County line.
    (2) LOGG-T-FL-07--Canaveral National Seashore South-Merritt Island

[[Page 18064]]

NWR-Kennedy Space Center: This unit consists of 28.4 km (17.6 miles) of 
island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends from the Volusia-
Brevard County line to the south boundary of Merritt Island NWR-Kennedy 
Space Center (Merritt Island NWR was established in 1963 as an overlay 
of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) John F. 
Kennedy Space Center).
    (B) Note: Map of Units LOGG-T-FL-06 and LOGG-T-FL-07: Florida 
Terrestrial Critical Habitat Units for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.015

    (21) Units:
    (i) LOGG-T-FL-08--Central Brevard Beaches, Brevard County, Florida.
    (ii) LOGG-T-FL-09--South Brevard Beaches, Brevard County, Florida.
    (iii) LOGG-T-FL-10--Sebastian Inlet-Indian River Shores, Indian 
River County, Florida.
    (A) (1) LOGG-T-FL-08--Central Brevard Beaches: This unit consists 
of 19.5 km (12.1 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean 
and extends from the south boundary of Patrick Air Force Base to the 
north boundary of Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge (NWR).
    (2) LOGG-T-FL-09--South Brevard: This unit consists of 20.8 km 
(12.9 miles) of island shoreline along the

[[Page 18065]]

Atlantic Ocean and extends from the north boundary of Archie Carr NWR 
to Sebastian Inlet.
    (3) LOGG-T-FL-10--Sebastian Inlet-Indian River Shores: This unit 
consists of 21.4 km (13.3 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean and extends from Sebastian Inlet to the Indian River Shores 
southern city limits.
    (B) Note: Map of Units LOGG-T-FL-08, LOGG-T-FL-09, and LOGG-T-FL-
10: Florida Terrestrial Critical Habitat Units for the Loggerhead Sea 
Turtle follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.016

    (22) Units:
    (i) LOGG-T-FL-11--Fort Pierce Inlet-St. Lucie Inlet, St. Lucie and 
Martin Counties, Florida.
    (ii) LOGG-T-FL-12--St. Lucie Inlet-Jupiter Inlet, Martin and Palm 
Beach Counties, Florida.
    (iii) LOGG-T-FL-13--Jupiter Inlet-Lake Worth Inlet, Palm Beach 
County, Florida.
    (iv) LOGG-T-FL-14--Lake Worth Inlet-Boynton Inlet, Palm Beach 
County, Florida.
    (v) LOGG-T-FL-15--Boynton Inlet-Boca Raton Inlet, Palm Beach 
County, Florida.
    (vi) LOGG-T-FL-16--Boca Raton Inlet-Hillsboro Inlet, Palm Beach and 
Broward Counties, Florida.
    (A)(1) LOGG-T-FL-11--Fort Pierce Inlet-St. Lucie Inlet: This unit 
consists

[[Page 18066]]

of 35.2 km (21.9 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean 
and extends from Fort Pierce Inlet to St. Lucie Inlet.
    (2) LOGG-T-FL-12--St. Lucie Inlet-Jupiter Inlet: This unit consists 
of 24.9 km (15.5 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean 
and extends from St. Lucie Inlet to Jupiter Inlet.
    (3) LOGG-T-FL-13--Jupiter Inlet-Lake Worth Inlet: This unit 
consists of 18.8 km (11.7 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean and extends from Jupiter Inlet to Lake Worth Inlet.
    (4) LOGG-T-FL-14--Lake Worth Inlet-Boynton Inlet: This unit 
consists of 24.3 km (15.1 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean and extends from Lake Worth Inlet to Boynton Inlet.
    (5) LOGG-T-FL-15--Boynton Inlet-Boca Raton Inlet: This unit 
consists of 22.6 km (14.1 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean and extends from Boynton Inlet to Boca Raton Inlet.
    (6) LOGG-T-FL-16--Boca Raton Inlet-Hillsboro Inlet: This unit 
consists of 8.3 km (5.2 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean and extends from Boca Raton Inlet to Hillsboro Inlet.
    (B) Note: Map of Units LOGG-T-FL-11, LOGG-T-FL-12, LOGG-T-FL-13, 
LOGG-T-FL-14, LOGG-T-FL-15, and LOGG-T-FL-16: Florida Terrestrial 
Critical Habitat Units for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.017


[[Page 18067]]


    (23) Unit LOGG-T-FL-17--Long Key, Monroe County, Florida.
    (i) LOGG-T-FL-17--Long Key, Monroe: This unit consists of 4.2 km 
(2.6 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends 
from the natural channel between Fiesta Key and Long Key to the natural 
channel between Long Key and Conch Key.
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit LOGG-T-FL-17: Florida Terrestrial Critical 
Habitat Units for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.018

    (24) Unit LOGG-T-FL-18--Bahia Honda Key, Monroe County, Florida.
    (i) LOGG-T-FL-18--Bahia Honda Key, Monroe: This unit consists of 
3.7 km (2.3 miles) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and 
extends from the natural channel between Ohio Key and Bahia Honda Key 
to the natural channel between Bahia Honda Key and Spanish Harbor Key.
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit LOGG-T-FL-18: Florida Terrestrial Critical 
Habitat Units for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle follows:

[[Page 18068]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.019

    (25) Units:
    (i) LOGG-T-FL-19--Longboat Key, Manatee and Sarasota Counties, 
Florida.
    (ii) LOGG-T-FL-20--Siesta and Casey Keys, Sarasota County, Florida.
    (iii) LOGG-T-FL-21--Venice Beaches and Manasota Key, Sarasota and 
Charlotte Counties, Florida.
    (iv) LOGG-T-FL-22--Knight, Don Pedro, and Little Gasparilla 
Islands, Charlotte County, Florida.
    (A)(1) LOGG-T-FL-19--Longboat Key: This unit consists of 16.0 km 
(9.9 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends 
from Longboat Pass to New Pass.
    (2) LOGG-T-FL-20--Siesta and Casey Keys: This unit consists of 20.8 
km (13.0 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and 
extends from Big Sarasota Pass to Venice Inlet.
    (3) LOGG-T-FL-21--Venice Beaches and Manasota Key: This unit 
consists of 26.0 km (16.1 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of 
Mexico and extends from Venice Inlet to Stump Pass.
    (4) LOGG-T-FL-22--Knight, Don Pedro, and Little Gasparilla Islands: 
This unit consists of 10.8 km (6.7 miles) of island shoreline along the 
Gulf of Mexico and extends from Stump Pass to Gasparilla Pass.
    (B) Note: Map of Units LOGG-T-FL-19, LOGG-T-FL-20, LOGG-T-FL-21, 
and LOGG-T-FL-22: Florida Terrestrial Critical Habitat Units for the 
Loggerhead Sea Turtle follows:

[[Page 18069]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.020

    (26) Units:
    (i) LOGG-T-FL-23--Gasparilla Island, Charlotte and Lee Counties, 
Florida.
    (ii) LOGG-T-FL-24--Cayo Costa, Lee County, Florida.
    (iii) LOGG-T-FL-25--Captiva Island, Lee County, Florida.
    (iv) LOGG-T-FL-26--Sanibel Island West, Lee County, Florida.
    (A)(1) LOGG-T-FL-23--Gasparilla Island: This unit consists of 11.2 
km (6.9 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends 
from Gasparilla Pass to Boca Grande Pass.
    (2) LOGG-T-FL-24--Cayo Costa: This unit consists of 13.5 km (8.4 
miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends from 
Boca Grande Pass to Captiva Pass.
    (3) LOGG-T-FL-25--Captiva Island: This unit consists of 7.6 km (4.7 
miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends from 
Redfish Pass to Blind Pass.
    (4) LOGG-T-FL-26--Sanibel Island West: This unit consists of 12.2 
km (7.6 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends 
from Blind Pass to Tarpon Bay Road.
    (B) Note: Map of Units LOGG-T-FL-23, LOGG-T-FL-24, LOGG-T-FL-25, 
and LOGG-T-FL-26: Florida Terrestrial Critical Habitat Units for the 
Loggerhead Sea Turtle follows:

[[Page 18070]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.021

    (27) Units:
    (i) LOGG-T-FL-27--Little Hickory Island, Lee and Collier Counties, 
Florida.
    (ii) LOGG-T-FL-28--Wiggins Pass-Clam Pass, Collier County, Florida.
    (iii) LOGG-T-FL-29--Clam Pass-Doctors Pass, Collier County, 
Florida.
    (iv) LOGG-T-FL-30--Keewaydin Island and Sea Oat Island, Collier 
County, Florida.
    (A)(1) LOGG-T-FL-27--Little Hickory Island: This unit consists of 
8.7 km (5.4 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and 
extends from Big Hickory Pass to Wiggins Pass.
    (2) LOGG-T-FL-28--Wiggins Pass-Clam Pass: This unit consists of 7.7 
km (4.8 miles) of mainland shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and 
extends from Wiggins Pass to Clam Pass.
    (3) LOGG-T-FL-29--Clam Pass-Doctors Pass: This unit consists of 4.9 
km (3.0 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends 
from Clam Pass to Doctors Pass.
    (4) LOGG-T-FL-30--Keewaydin Island and Sea Oat Island: This unit 
consists of 13.1 km (8.1 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of 
Mexico and extends from Gordon Pass to Big Marco Pass.
    (B) Note: Map of Units LOGG-T-FL-27, LOGG-T-FL-28, LOGG-T-FL-29, 
and LOGG-T-FL-30: Florida Terrestrial Critical Habitat Units for the 
Loggerhead Sea Turtle follows:

[[Page 18071]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.022

    (28) Units:
    (i) LOGG-T-FL-31--Cape Romano, Collier County, Florida.
    (ii) LOGG-T-FL-32--Ten Thousand Islands North, Collier County, 
Florida.
    (A) (1) LOGG-T-FL-31--Cape Romano: This unit consists of 9.2 km 
(5.7 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and Gullivan 
Bay and extends from Caxambas Pass to Gullivan Bay.
    (2) LOGG-T-FL-32--Ten Thousand Islands North: This unit consists of 
7.8 km (4.9 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and 
within Gullivan Bay.
    (B) Note: Map of Units LOGG-T-FL-31 and LOGG-T-FL-32: Florida 
Terrestrial Critical Habitat Units for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle 
follows:

[[Page 18072]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.023

    (29) Units:
    (i) LOGG-T-FL-33--Highland Beach, Monroe County, Florida.
    (ii) LOGG-T-FL-34--Graveyard Creek-Shark Point, Monroe County, 
Florida.
    (iii) LOGG-T-FL-35--Cape Sable, Monroe County, Florida.
    (A) (1) LOGG-T-FL-33--Highland Beach: This unit consists of 7.2 km 
(4.5 miles) of island (Key McLaughlin) shoreline along the Gulf of 
Mexico and extends from First Bay to Rogers River Inlet.
    (2) LOGG-T-FL-34--Graveyard Creek-Shark Point: This unit consists 
of 0.9 km (0.6 mile) of mainland shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and 
extends from Shark Point (25.38796 N, 81.14933 W) to Graveyard Creek 
Inlet.
    (3) LOGG-T-FL-35--Cape Sable: This unit consists of 21.3 km (13.2 
miles) of mainland shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends from 
the north boundary of Cape Sable at 25.25924 N, 81.16687 W to the south 
boundary of Cape Sable at 25.12470 N, 81.06681 W.
    (B) Note: Map of Units LOGG-T-FL-33, LOGG-T-FL-34, and LOGG-T-FL-
35: Florida Terrestrial Critical Habitat Units for the Loggerhead Sea 
Turtle follows:

[[Page 18073]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.024

    (30) Index Map of Critical Habitat Units in the Dry Tortugas 
Recovery Unit

[[Page 18074]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.025

    (31) Units:
    (i) LOGG-T-FL-36--Dry Tortugas, Monroe County, Florida.
    (ii) LOGG-T-FL-37--Marquesas Keys, Monroe County, Florida.
    (A) (1) LOGG-T-FL-36--Dry Tortugas: This unit consists of 6.3 km 
(3.9 miles) of shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and consists of 
Loggerhead Key, Garden Key, Bush Key, Long Key, Hospital Key, and East 
Key located in the Dry Tortugas about 108 km (67 miles) west of Key 
West.
    (2) LOGG-T-FL-37--Marquesas Keys: This unit consists of 5.6 km (3.5 
miles) of shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and consists of Marquesas 
Key, Unnamed Key 1, Unnamed Key 2, and Unnamed Key 3 located about 29.3 
km (18.2 miles) west of Key West.
    (B) Note: Map of Units LOGG-T-FL-36 and LOGG-T-FL-37: Florida 
Terrestrial Critical Habitat Units for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle 
follows:

[[Page 18075]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.026

    (32) Units:
    (i) LOGG-T-FL-38--Boca Grande Key, Monroe County, Florida.
    (ii) LOGG-T-FL-39--Woman Key, Monroe County, Florida.
    (A)(1) LOGG-T-FL-38--Boca Grande Key: This unit consists of 1.3 km 
(0.8 mile) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends 
from 24.53767 N, 82.00763 W (at the northern end of the key) to 
24.52757 N, 82.00581 W (at the southern end of the key).
    (2) LOGG-T-FL-39--Woman Key: This unit consists of 1.3 km (0.8 
mile) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends from 
24.52452 N, 81.97893 N (at the western end of the key) to 24.52385 N, 
81.96680 W (at the eastern end of the key).
    (B) Note: Map of Units LOGG-T-FL-38 and LOGG-T-FL-39: Florida 
Terrestrial Critical Habitat Units for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle 
follows:

[[Page 18076]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.027

    (33) Index Map of Critical Habitat Units in the Northern Gulf of 
Mexico Recovery Unit.

[[Page 18077]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.028

    (34) Units:
    (i) LOGG-T-MS-01--Horn Island, Jackson County, Mississippi.
    (ii) LOGG-T-MS-02--Petit Bois Island, Jackson County, Mississippi.
    (A)(1) LOGG-T-MS-01--Horn Island: This unit consists of 18.6 km 
(11.5 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends 
from Dog Keys Pass to the easternmost point of the ocean facing island 
shore.
    (2) LOGG-T-MS-02--Petit Bois Island: This unit consists of 9.8 km 
(6.1 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends 
from Horn Island Pass to Petit Bois Pass.
    (B) Note: Map of Units LOGG-T-MS-01 and LOGG-T-MS-02: Mississippi 
Terrestrial Critical Habitat Units for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle 
follows:

[[Page 18078]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.029

    (35) Units:
    (i) LOGG-T-AL-01--Mobile Bay-Little Lagoon Pass, Baldwin County, 
Alabama.
    (ii) LOGG-T-AL-02--Gulf State Park-Perdido Pass, Baldwin County, 
Alabama.
    (iii) LOGG-T-AL-03--Perdido Pass-Florida-Alabama line, Baldwin 
County, Alabama.
    (A) (1) LOGG-T-AL-01--Mobile Bay-Little Lagoon Pass: This unit 
consists of 28.0 km (17.4 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of 
Mexico and extends from Mobile Bay Inlet to Little Lagoon Pass.
    (2) LOGG-T-AL-02--Gulf State Park-Perdido Pass: This unit consists 
of 10.7 km (6.7 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and 
extends from the west boundary of Gulf State Park to Perdido Pass.
    (3) LOGG-T-AL-03--Perdido Pass-Florida-Alabama line: This unit 
consists of 3.3 km (2.0 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of 
Mexico and extends from Perdido Pass to the Alabama-Florida border.
    (B) Note: Map of Units LOGG-T-AL-01, LOGG-T-AL-02, and LOGG-T-AL-
03: Alabama Terrestrial Critical Habitat Units for the Loggerhead Sea 
Turtle follows:

[[Page 18079]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.030

    (36) Unit LOGG-T-FL-40--Perdido Key, Escambia County, Florida.
    (i) LOGG-T-FL-40--Perdido Key: This unit consists of 20.2 km (12.6 
miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends from 
the Alabama-Florida border to Pensacola Pass.
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit LOGG-T-FL-40: Florida Terrestrial Critical 
Habitat Units for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle follows:

[[Page 18080]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.031

    (37) Units:
    (i) LOGG-T-FL-41--Mexico Beach and St. Joe Beach, Bay and Gulf 
Counties, Florida.
    (ii) LOGG-T-FL-42--St. Joseph Peninsula, Gulf County, Florida.
    (iii) LOGG-T-FL-43--Cape San Blas, Gulf County, Florida.
    (A)(1) LOGG-T-FL-41--Mexico Beach and St. Joe Beach: This unit 
consists of 18.7 km (11.7 miles) of mainland shoreline along the Gulf 
of Mexico and extends from the eastern boundary of Tyndall Air Force 
Base to Gulf County Canal in St. Joseph Bay.
    (2) LOGG-T-FL-42--St. Joseph Peninsula: This unit consists of 23.5 
km (14.6 miles) of a spit shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and 
extends from St. Joseph Bay to the west boundary of Eglin Air Force 
Base.
    (3) LOGG-T-FL-43--Cape San Blas: This unit consists of 11.0 km (6.8 
miles) of mainland and spit shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and 
extends from the east boundary of Eglin Air Force Base to Indian Pass.
    (B) Note: Map of Units LOGG-T-FL-41, LOGG-T-FL-42, and LOGG-T-FL-
43: Florida Terrestrial Critical Habitat Units for the Loggerhead Sea 
Turtle follows:

[[Page 18081]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.032

    (38) Units:
    (i) LOGG-T-FL-44--St. Vincent Island, Franklin County, Florida.
    (ii) LOGG-T-FL-45--Little St. George Island, Franklin County, 
Florida.
    (iii) LOGG-T-FL-46--St. George Island, Franklin County, Florida.
    (iv) LOGG-T-FL-47--Dog Island, Franklin County, Florida.
    (A)(1) LOGG-T-FL-44--St. Vincent Island: This unit consists of 15.1 
km (9.4 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends 
from Indian Pass to West Pass.
    (2) LOGG-T-FL-45--Little St. George Island: This unit consists of 
15.4 km (9.6 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and 
extends from West Pass to Bob Sikes Cut.
    (3) LOGG-T-FL-46--St. George Island: This unit consists of 30.7 km 
(19.1 miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends 
from Bob Sikes Cut to East Pass.
    (4) LOGG-T-FL-47--Dog Island: This unit consists of 13.1 km (8.1 
miles) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends from 
East Pass to St. George Sound.
    (B) Note: Map of Units LOGG-T-FL-44, LOGG-T-FL-45, LOGG-T-FL-46, 
and LOGG-T-FL-47: Florida Terrestrial Critical Habitat Units for the 
Loggerhead Sea Turtle follows:

[[Page 18082]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP25MR13.033

* * * * *

    Dated: December 17, 2012.
 Michael J. Bean,
Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and 
Parks.
[FR Doc. 2013-06458 Filed 3-22-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-22-C