[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 132 (Thursday, July 10, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 39755-39854]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-15725]



[[Page 39755]]

Vol. 79

Thursday,

No. 132

July 10, 2014

Part III





Department of the Interior





-----------------------------------------------------------------------





Fish and Wildlife Service





-----------------------------------------------------------------------





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; Final Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 79 , No. 132 / Thursday, July 10, 2014 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 39756]]


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. 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

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, designate specific 
areas in the terrestrial environment of the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf of 
Mexico coasts as critical habitat for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean 
distinct population segment of the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta 
caretta) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. In 
total, approximately 1,102 kilometers (685 miles) fall within the 
boundaries of the critical habitat designation.

DATES: This rule is effective on August 11, 2014.

ADDRESSES: This final rule and the associated final economic analysis 
are available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov and http://www.fws.gov/northflorida. Comments and materials we received, as well 
as supporting documentation we used in preparing this rule, are 
available for public inspection at http://www.regulations.gov. All of 
the comments, materials, and documentation that we considered in this 
rulemaking are available by appointment, during normal business hours 
at: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, North Florida Ecological Services 
Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).
    The coordinates, plot points, or both from which the maps are 
generated are included in the administrative record for this critical 
habitat designation and are available at http://www.fws.gov/northflorida, at 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 developed for this critical habitat designation 
will also be available at the Fish and Wildlife Service Web site and 
Field Office listed above, and may also be included in the preamble of 
this rule and at http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For general information about this 
rule, and information about the final designation in northeastern 
Florida, contact Jay B. Herrington, 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; facsimile 904-731-3045. If you use a telecommunications device 
for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) 
at 800-877-8339.
    For information about the final designation in Alabama, contact 
Bill Pearson, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Alabama 
Ecological Services Field Office, 1208 Main Street, Daphne, AL 36526; 
telephone 251-441-5181; facsimile 251-441-6222.
    For information about the final designation in southern Florida, 
contact Craig Aubrey, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
South Florida Ecological Services Field Office, 1339 20th Street, Vero 
Beach, FL 32960; telephone 772-469-4309; facsimile 772-562-4288.
    For information about the final designation in northwestern 
Florida, contact Catherine Philips, Acting Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, Panama City Ecological Services Field Office, 
1601 Balboa Avenue, Panama City, FL 32405; telephone 850-769-0552; 
facsimile 850-763-2177.
    For information about the final designation in Georgia, contact Don 
Imm, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Coastal Georgia 
Ecological Services Field Office, 4980 Wildlife Drive NE., Townsend, GA 
31331; telephone 912-832-8739; facsimile 912-832-8744.
    For information about the final designation in Mississippi, contact 
Stephen Ricks, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Mississippi Ecological Services Field Office, 6578 Dogwood View 
Parkway, Suite A, Jackson, MS 39123; telephone 601-965-4900; facsimile 
601-965-4340.
    For information about the final designation in North Carolina, 
contact Pete Benjamin, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Raleigh Ecological Services Field Office, Post Office Box 
33726, Raleigh, NC 33726; telephone 919-856-4520; facsimile 919-856-
4556.
    For information about the final designation in South Carolina, 
contact Thomas McCoy, Acting Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, South Carolina Ecological Services Field Office, 176 Croghan 
Spur Road, Suite 200, Charleston, SC 29407; telephone 843-727-4707; 
facsimile 843-727-4218.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Executive Summary

    Why we need to publish a rule. Under the Endangered Species Act 
(Act), when we determine that a species is endangered or threatened, we 
are required to designate critical habitat, to the maximum extent 
prudent and determinable. Designations of critical habitat can only be 
completed by issuing a rule. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS 
or Service) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) listed the 
Northwest Atlantic Ocean distinct population segment (DPS) of the 
loggerhead sea turtle as threatened on September 22, 2011 (76 FR 
58868). The USFWS and NMFS share jurisdiction under the Act for the 
protection and conservation of sea turtles, including the loggerhead. 
USFWS has jurisdiction over sea turtles on the land; NMFS has 
jurisdiction over sea turtles in the water.
    This rule consists of: A final rule designating areas in the 
terrestrial environment as critical habitat for the Northwest Atlantic 
Ocean DPS of the loggerhead sea turtle. NMFS will be designating areas 
in the marine environment as critical habitat for the DPS and, 
consistent with their distinct authority with respect to such areas, 
will designate such areas in a separate rulemaking. In this rule, 
``critical habitat'' refers to the areas we are designating in the 
DPS's terrestrial environment unless otherwise specified.
    The areas we are designating in this rule constitute our current 
best assessment of the areas that meet the definition of critical 
habitat for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS of the loggerhead sea 
turtle. We are designating:
     In total, approximately 1,102 kilometers (km) (685 miles 
(mi)) of loggerhead sea turtle nesting beaches as critical habitat in 
the States of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, 
Alabama, and Mississippi. These beaches account for 45 percent of an 
estimated 2,464 km (1,531 mi) of coastal beach shoreline and 
approximately 84 percent of the documented nesting (numbers of nests) 
within these six States. The 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

[[Page 39757]]

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.
     We are exempting the following Department of Defense (DOD) 
installations from critical habitat designation because their 
integrated natural resources management plans (INRMPs) incorporate 
measures that provide a benefit for the loggerhead sea turtle: Marine 
Corps Base Camp Lejeune (Onslow Beach), North Carolina, and Cape 
Canaveral Air Force Station, Patrick Air Force Base, and Eglin Air 
Force Base (Cape San Blas), Florida.
     Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we are excluding from 
critical habitat designation areas in St. Johns, Volusia, and Indian 
River Counties, Florida, that are covered under a habitat conservation 
plan (HCP), because the Secretary finds that the benefits of excluding 
these areas outweigh the benefits of including them in the critical 
habitat designation.
     We are not excluding any additional areas from critical 
habitat based on economic, national security, or other relevant 
impacts.
    We have prepared an economic analysis of the designation of 
critical habitat. In order to consider economic impacts under 4(b)(2) 
of the Act, we prepared an economic analysis of the critical habitat 
designations and related factors. We announced the availability of the 
draft economic analysis (DEA) in the Federal Register on July 18, 2013 
(78 FR 42921), and sought comments from the public. We have 
incorporated the comments and have completed the final economic 
analysis (FEA) concurrently with this final determination.
    Peer review and public comment. We sought comments from four 
independent specialists to ensure that our designation is based on 
scientifically sound data and analyses. We requested opinions from 
these four knowledgeable individuals on our technical assumptions, 
analysis, and whether or not we had used the best available 
information. We received responses from three of the peer reviewers. 
These peer reviewers concurred with our methods and conclusions, and 
provided additional information, clarifications and suggestions to 
improve this final rule. Information we received from peer review is 
incorporated in this final designation. We also considered all comments 
and information received from the public during the two comment periods 
and three public hearings.

Previous Federal Actions

    Please refer to the final rule revising the loggerhead sea turtle's 
listing from a single worldwide threatened species to nine DPSs, 
published in the Federal Register on September 22, 2011 (76 FR 58868), 
for a detailed description of previous Federal actions concerning this 
species and protection under the Act.

Summary of Comments and Recommendations

    We requested written comments from the public on the proposed 
designation of critical habitat for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS of 
the loggerhead sea turtle during two comment periods. The first comment 
period opened with the publication of the proposed rule on March 25, 
2013 (78 FR 17999), and closed on May 24, 2013. The second comment 
period, during which we requested comments on the proposed critical 
habitat designation and associated draft economic analysis (DEA), 
opened on July 18, 2013 (78 FR 42921), and closed on September 16, 
2013. We held three public hearings in August 2013: Wilmington, North 
Carolina; Morehead City, North Carolina; and Charleston, South 
Carolina. We also contacted appropriate Federal, State, county, and 
local agencies; scientific organizations; and other interested parties 
and invited them to comment on the proposed rule and the DEA during 
these comment periods.
    During the first comment period, we received 19,969 comment letters 
addressing the proposed critical habitat designation. The majority of 
these comments were form letters and letters with multiple signatures. 
During the second comment period, we received 2,206 comment letters 
addressing the proposed critical habitat designation, the DEA, or both. 
The majority of these comments were also form letters and letters with 
multiple signatures. Comments on the proposed critical habitat rule 
were also submitted to NMFS during the comment period for its proposed 
designation of critical habitat in the marine environment for the 
Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS. During the three public hearings held on 
August 6, 7, and 8, 2013, 47 individuals or organizations made comments 
on the proposed designation or DEA. Comments received were grouped into 
general issues specifically relating to the proposed designation. These 
and other substantive information are addressed in the following 
summary and incorporated into the final rule as appropriate.

Peer Reviewer Comments

    In accordance with our peer review policy published on July 1, 1994 
(59 FR 34270), we solicited expert opinion from four knowledgeable 
individuals with scientific expertise that included familiarity with 
the loggerhead sea turtle and its terrestrial habitat, biological 
needs, and threats. We received responses from three of the peer 
reviewers.
    We reviewed all comments we received from the peer reviewers for 
substantive issues and new information regarding the proposed 
designation. The peer reviewers generally concurred with our methods 
and conclusions, and provided additional information, clarifications, 
and suggestions to improve this final critical habitat rule. Peer 
reviewer comments are addressed in the following summary and 
incorporated into the final rule as appropriate.
    (1) Comment: One peer reviewer commented on the justification for 
our proposed exemption of military installations and exclusion of areas 
with existing habitat conservation plans (HCPs), emphasizing the 
importance of all areas to the recovery of the species.
    Our Response: The USFWS acknowledges that all nesting beaches 
support the conservation and recovery of the species. All areas 
including military installations and areas with existing HCPs were 
evaluated according to the selection criteria. Section 4(a)(3)(B)(i) of 
the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(3)(B)(i)) was amended in 2004 through the 
National Defense Authorization Act of 2004 (Pub. L. 108-136) to provide 
that: ``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.''
    The USFWS analyzed the INRMPs developed by military installations 
located within the range of the proposed critical habitat designation 
for the loggerhead sea turtle to determine if they would meet the 
exemption criteria under section 4(a)(3) of the Act. Marine Corps Base 
Camp Lejeune, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Patrick Air Force Base, 
and Eglin Air Force Base are DOD lands with completed INRMPs that 
provide benefits to the loggerhead sea

[[Page 39758]]

turtle. Accordingly, we are exempting those areas from the designation.
    Regarding areas with existing HCPs, per section 4(b)(2) of the Act 
the Secretary may exclude an area from critical habitat if she 
determines that the benefits of such exclusion outweigh the benefits of 
specifying such area as part of the critical habitat, unless she 
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, 
as well as the legislative history is clear that the Secretary has 
broad discretion regarding which factor(s) to use and how much weight 
to give to any factor. The USFWS conducted this analysis on the areas 
with existing HCPs and did decide to exclude three areas covered by 
HCPs. We provide additional details later in this final rule (see 
Exclusions section).
    (2) Comment: One peer reviewer commented on the availability of 
recent study results, ongoing work, and information on loggerhead sea 
turtles.
    Our Response: The final rule has been updated as appropriate 
throughout the document with the new information.
    (3) Comment: One peer reviewer commented on the difficulty to 
assess the analysis and assumptions without the specific datasets 
available in the proposed rule.
    Our Response: As stated in the proposed rule, all supporting 
documentation, such as the nesting densities used in the critical 
habitat selection process, were available during the open comment 
periods for the proposed rule and are currently 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).

General Comments Provided by Multiple Commenters

    (4) Comment: A number of Federal and State agencies, local 
municipalities, and several other commenters expressed concern about 
the economic impacts of the critical habitat designation.
    Our Response: As described in Section 2.3.2 of the FEA, it is 
unlikely that the critical habitat designation will result in 
additional management efforts resulting from future section 7 
consultations with the USFWS. 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 
regardless of whether or not critical habitat is designated. They 
receive protection 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 via section 9, 
which prohibits ``take'' of individuals, including take caused by 
actions that affect the DPS' habitat. Take can only be authorized 
through the processes provided in sections 7 and 10 of the Act, and 
their implementing regulations. In the FEA, we considered whether 
additional or different conservation measures would be needed to avoid 
destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat above and 
beyond those measures already needed to avoid jeopardizing the 
continued existence of the species, and found this to be unlikely. As a 
result, the quantified direct incremental impacts of the designation 
are expected to be limited to additional administrative costs to the 
USFWS, Federal agencies, and third parties of considering critical 
habitat as part of future section 7 consultations. These costs are 
borne by the USFWS, the Federal action agency, and the third-party 
participants (generally the project proponents), including State and 
local governments and private parties. In the areas proposed as 
critical habitat designation, these costs were estimated to total 
approximately $1,200,000 over the next 10 years ($160,000 annualized).
    In addition, the FEA acknowledges that, in some cases, critical 
habitat may generate indirect impacts including costs associated with 
project delay due to third-party litigation against the USFWS or the 
Federal action agency and the increased length of time it will take for 
the USFWS to review projects. Forecasting the likelihood of third-party 
litigation and potential length of associated project delays is 
considered too speculative to be quantified in the FEA. However, delays 
attributable to the additional time to consider critical habitat as 
part of future section 7 consultations, if any, would most likely be 
minor. This is because potential impacts to critical habitat are 
considered at the same time as impacts to the species.
    (5) Comment: A number of commenters expressed concern that areas 
outside of the critical habitat designation will receive less 
protection.
    Our Response: A critical habitat designation does not signal that 
habitat outside the designated area is unimportant or may not support 
the conservation 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. Turtles 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 
take caused by actions that affect habitat. Take can be authorized only 
through the processes provided in sections 7 and 10 of the Act, and 
their implementing regulations.

Federal Agency Comments

    (6) Comment: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration 
(NASA) commented that the proposed rule does not provide additional 
protection to loggerheads within the limits of the Kennedy Space 
Center's (KSC) coastline and that KSC meets the exemption criteria 
since NASA implements comprehensive conservation and habitat management 
plans that incorporate measures that provide a benefit for the 
conservation of the loggerheads.
    Our Response: Unlike DOD lands with approved INRMPs, there is no 
categorical exemption under the Act for areas with other types of 
habitat management plans.
    (7) Comment: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) expressed 
concern that the critical habitat designation will financially impact 
congressionally authorized projects and associated dredging activities 
for ports, navigation channels, and coastal storm damage reduction 
projects. Their concern extends to increased timeframes for 
consultations.
    Our Response: As described in section 2.3.2 of the FEA, it is 
unlikely that the critical habitat designation will result in 
additional management efforts resulting from future section 7 
consultations with the USFWS. The USFWS considered whether additional 
or different conservation measures would be needed to avoid destruction 
or adverse modification of critical habitat above and beyond those 
measures needed to avoid jeopardizing the continued existence of the 
species, and found this to be unlikely. As outlined in our response to 
Comment (4), designation of critical habitat delays attributable to the 
additional time to consider critical habitat as part of future section 
7 consultations, if any, would most likely be minor. Also, see our 
response to Comment (4), and the Economic Impacts portion of this rule, 
below, for a

[[Page 39759]]

discussion of indirect impacts associated with critical habitat 
designation.
    (8) Comment: The USACE expressed concern that if operation and 
maintenance dredging projects were determined to adversely modify 
critical habitat, it could result in substantial economic consequences. 
The USACE believes that these projects should be identified as 
``manmade structures'' and excluded from critical habitat designation. 
The USACE's responsibility is to maintain safe and adequate 
configurations and depths for commercial and recreational navigation, 
national defense, safety and refuge, and national economic development. 
``Excluding'' these congressionally authorized projects will enable 
USACE to fulfill is responsibilities efficiently and effectively.
    Our Response: We considered the economic impact, national security 
impact, and any other relevant impact of designating as critical 
habitat areas with projects that occur within operation and maintenance 
areas. In evaluating whether any such areas should be excluded due to 
economic impacts, we concluded that no change in economic activity 
levels or the management of economic activities, including dredging 
projects, is expected to result from the critical habitat designation. 
A key conclusion of the analysis is that the listing of the DPS may 
lead to additional conservation efforts that would not have been 
required otherwise. However, as outlined in our response to Comment 
(4), designation of critical habitat is not anticipated to generate 
additional conservation measures for the DPS beyond those generated by 
the species' listing. Section 7 consultation is required in occupied 
habitat with or without a critical habitat designation. Most of the 
forecast costs reflect additional administrative effort as part of 
future section 7 consultations in order to consider the potential for 
activities to result in adverse modification of critical habitat. That 
having been said, we acknowledge it is unlikely additional conservation 
measures beyond those identified to avoid jeopardy for the DPS would be 
required to avoid adverse modification.

State Agency Comments

    Section 4(i) of the Act states: ``the Secretary shall submit to the 
State agency a written justification for his failure to adopt 
regulations consistent with the agency's comments or petition.'' The 
designation of critical habitat for the DPS includes beaches in the 
States of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, and 
South Carolina. Comments from the States of North Carolina, South 
Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi regarding the proposal to 
designate critical habitat for the loggerhead sea turtle are addressed 
below.
    (9) Comment: A number of States, State agencies, and municipalities 
believe that USFWS should undergo a consistency determination under the 
Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA; 16 U.S.C. 1451 et seq.) for the 
proposed designation of critical habitat in each State that has a CZMA 
program.
    Our Response: The USFWS has determined that the designation of 
critical habitat does not require a consistency review under CZMA. 
Federal agencies are responsible for ensuring that consistency review 
under CZMA is completed as needed for each action they fund, authorize, 
or carry out. The designation of critical habitat is not a ``Federal 
agency activity'' as defined in the CZMA implementing regulations at 15 
CFR 930.31(a), but rather an establishment of Federal agency 
responsibility related to the conservation of federally protected 
endangered or threatened species. Thus, the designation is not an 
agency activity itself, but results in a requirement that Federal 
agencies ensure that any action they fund, authorize, or carry out is 
not likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification of 
designated critical habitat of any endangered or threatened species. 
Therefore, while we understand the commenters' position, the Service 
has determined that consistency review is not needed.
    (10) Comment: The North Carolina Department of Environment and 
Natural Resources (NCDNER) disagrees with the USFWS' assessment that 
``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.'' Similarly, while the North Carolina Wildlife Resources 
Commission (NCWRC) understands there is large uncertainty regarding 
``special management considerations'' or additional protections that 
may ensue from the critical habitat designation, it expresses concern 
that such management considerations or protections may have far-
reaching consequences that could reduce or restrict the effectiveness 
of the robust conservation measures already in place and may affect the 
public's ability to access and use existing public trust resources, 
including beaches and waterways. These agencies, as well as several 
other commenters, believe the USFWS should clarify the potential range 
of additional management efforts, regulatory reviews, and/or 
operational conditions that may be placed upon those activities listed 
as ``threats'' to designated critical habitats.
    Our Response: Section 7(a)(2) of the Act and its implementing 
regulations at 50 CFR part 402 require Federal agencies to consult with 
the USFWS to ensure that they are not undertaking, funding, permitting, 
or authorizing actions likely to jeopardize the continued existence of 
listed species or destroy or adversely modify designated critical 
habitat. Only projects that have a Federal nexus (e.g., projects that 
are funded, authorized, or carried out by Federal agencies) are subject 
to this requirement under section 7 consultation. 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 
land and does not require implementation of restoration, recovery, or 
enhancement measures by non-Federal parties. Where the States, local 
communities, or 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 would 
apply, but even in the event of a destruction or adverse modification 
finding, the obligation of the Federal action agency and the non-
Federal party is not to restore or recover the species, but to 
implement reasonable and prudent alternatives to avoid destruction or 
adverse modification of critical habitat.
    We identified 12 categories of threats that may require special 
management considerations or protection in the proposed critical 
habitat units. Most, if not all, of these threats already undergo 
special management considerations by Federal action agencies and have 
done so since the loggerhead sea turtle was initially listed in 1978. 
There are a number of options for management efforts determined to be 
necessary and will be considered on a unit by unit basis. Operational 
conditions can be incorporated into a project description or permit 
conditions to avoid or minimize these threats. However, the 
determination of which measure or combination of measures will depend 
on the site conditions; nature of the proposed action; duration and 
magnitude of potential impacts from the project; conservation measures 
already in place; and other site- and action-specific considerations. 
If additional

[[Page 39760]]

measures are determined to be necessary, they will be considered in 
order to minimize the impacts to the listed DPS and the nesting beach. 
Critical habitat will not, as noted in our proposed designation, change 
the consultation process (see also response to Comment (4)), nor would 
it likely make it more difficult to move a project forward within an 
area designated as critical habitat, or conversely make it easier to do 
so on nesting beaches outside such a designation.
    We do not expect the designation of critical habitat to result in 
changes to how the conservation efforts are currently implemented. Our 
proposal to designate critical habitat did not reflect an assessment 
that current nesting beach sea turtle conservation efforts are 
insufficient. Quite the opposite is true. Our focus is on those 
locations with the greatest nesting densities and, therefore, highest 
conservation value to loggerhead recovery and conservation. Most of the 
beaches proposed for designation have active sea turtle conservation 
efforts by Federal, State, local governments; private conservation 
organizations; and individuals within coastal communities.
    (11) Comment: The NCDNER and North Carolina Coastal Resources 
Commission (NCCRC) recommend that the USFWS prepare a comprehensive 
economic analysis of the potential impacts to coastal communities and 
stakeholders as a result of the additional management efforts the 
designation may require.
    Our Response: The Service's focus on the incremental impacts of the 
critical habitat rule is consistent with the U.S. Office of Management 
and Budget's (OMB's) guidelines for best practices concerning the 
method of conducting an economic analysis of Federal regulations. As 
described in section 2.1 of the FEA, OMB guidelines direct Federal 
agencies to measure the costs of a regulatory action against a 
baseline, which it defines as the ``best assessment of the way the 
world would look absent the proposed action.'' The baseline utilized in 
the FEA is the existing regulatory and socio-economic burden imposed on 
landowners, managers, or other resource users potentially affected by 
the designation of critical habitat absent the designation of critical 
habitat. The baseline includes protections afforded the species under 
the Act, as well as under other Federal, State, and local laws and 
guidelines.
    In recognition of the divergent opinions of the courts and to 
address the Presidential memorandum dated February 28, 2012, the 
Service promulgated final regulations specifying that the impact 
analysis of critical habitat designations should focus on incremental 
effects (78 FR 53058; August 28, 2013). This regulation now codifies 
the process of impact analysis for proposed critical habitat by 
completing an ``incremental analysis.'' This method of determining the 
probable impacts of the designation seeks to identify and focus solely 
on the impacts over and above those resulting from existing 
protections.
    Accordingly, the FEA employs ``without critical habitat'' 
(baseline) and ``with critical habitat'' (incremental) scenarios. The 
analysis qualitatively describes how baseline conservation efforts for 
the DPS may be implemented across the proposed designation, and, where 
possible, provides examples of the potential magnitude of costs of 
these baseline conservation efforts (Chapter 3). The FEA focuses, 
however, on the incremental analysis, describing and monetizing the 
incremental impacts due specifically to the designation of critical 
habitat for the DPS (Chapter 4). Sections 2.2 and 2.3 of the FEA 
describe in detail how the analysis defines and identifies incremental 
effects of the proposed designation.
    The incremental approach employed by the Service in its analyses of 
proposed critical habitat designations does not necessarily limit 
impacts to administrative costs of consultation. In some cases 
designation of critical habitat does result in new project 
modifications that need to be implemented to avoid possible adverse 
modification of the habitat. The costs of these project modifications 
would then be counted in the incremental analysis, regardless of who 
incurs the cost. In the case of the DPS, the entire proposed critical 
habitat is occupied by the species, and therefore any project 
modifications will be required even absent critical habitat (i.e., in 
the baseline) to avoid possibly jeopardizing the species' existence 
(see response to Comment (4)).
    (12) Comment: The NCDNER and NCCRC believe the USFWS should provide 
additional information on the data utilized for the proposed 
designations in North Carolina.
    Our Response: Supporting documentation we used in preparing the 
proposed and final rules, as well as comments and materials we received 
during the two public comments periods, is 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).
    (13) Comment: The South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation, 
and Tourism recommends language used in the proposed rule be refined to 
address all ambiguities and more clearly specify and define permissible 
and non-permissible activities in order to avoid unnecessary legal 
disputes. Specifically, in the sections pertaining to Special 
Management Considerations or Protection, the language is often 
ambiguous or vague, leaving it open to interpretation. For example, the 
language used for activities listed as primary threats, especially 
coastal development and beach renourishment, needs to be more clearly 
specified in terms of activity definitions and circumstances in order 
to prevent any party from using this rule change to unnecessarily 
impede non-threatening activities through legal action. These types of 
delays can ultimately drive up costs for ongoing beach preservation 
efforts and negatively impact local communities and their economies. In 
addition, in the aftermath of a severe tropical storm or hurricane, 
this language may be used to prevent rebuilding previously existing 
structures on public beaches such as Edisto Beach, effectively shutting 
off the beach for public use. Similarly, in the section regarding 
``Human Presence,'' while the majority of this section pertains to 
human presence at night, the statement referring to human foot traffic 
may also be interpreted to mean that protecting these habitats 
necessitates the removal of all human presence, regardless of time.
    Our Response: The USFWS has revised the language in this final rule 
to clarify the discussion and description of Special Management 
Considerations or Protection and threats to critical habitat.
    (14) Comment: South Carolina Department of Natural Resources 
(SCDNR) notes an apparent lack of clarity as to what critical habitat 
designation means. The agency is uncertain of the actual impact to 
properties titled to the State of South Carolina and would like further 
clarification as to what changes would occur if such designation is 
finalized and accepted.
    Our Response: See our response to Comment (10), above.
    (15) Comment: The Mississippi Development Authority commented that 
the reasoning for critical units along the shoreline of Mississippi was 
not apparent as there are far fewer nests compared to the southeast 
coast of Florida. They questioned the

[[Page 39761]]

significance of the two Mississippi units to the conservation of the 
species.
    Our Response: We understand that the beaches in Mississippi have 
lower nesting densities than in some of the other parts of the DPS's 
nesting range. The beaches that met the critical habitat criteria not 
only had the highest nesting densities within each of the four recovery 
units, but also represented a good spatial distribution that will help 
ensure the protection of genetic diversity, and collectively provide a 
good representation of total nesting. The distribution of designated 
critical habitat will conserve the habitat of this DPS by:
     Maintaining their existing nesting distribution;
     Allowing for movement between beach areas depending on 
habitat availability (response to changing nature of coastal beach 
habitat) and supporting genetic interchange;
     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
     Maintaining their ability to withstand local or unit level 
environmental fluctuations or catastrophes.
    (16) Comment: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission 
(FWC) commented that to provide more regulatory certainty, it would be 
helpful if the USFWS would provide details on what standards will be 
used to determine if a project will result in adverse modification. 
Some Florida stakeholders have expressed concern regarding the 
uncertainty of how this designation affects the section 7 review and 
approval process. To that end, FWC requests additional details on how 
the USFWS' section 7 consultation process will differ in areas that are 
designated as critical habitat as compared to those areas that are not 
designated. The FWC believes the USFWS should consider the effects of 
the designation of critical habitat on the State's ability to restore 
and maintain sandy beaches and maintain functioning inlets.
    Our Response: Federal action agencies, in coordination with the 
USFWS, will assess each project during the section 7 consultation 
process to determine whether the project may adversely modify the 
designated critical habitat (see Effects of Critical Habitat 
Designation). These determinations generally are project specific and 
dependent on the conservation measures incorporated in the project 
design. For some projects, such as sand placement and groin and jetty 
repair and replacement, the USFWS has determined that the terms and 
conditions incorporated in the Florida Statewide Programmatic Sand 
Placement Biological Opinion for the DPS and other listed species would 
also ensure that sand placement projects, including emergency response, 
would not adversely modify critical habitat. See also our response to 
Comments (4) and (10).
    (17) Comment: The FWC recommends further coordination between the 
USFWS and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) to 
avoid unintended consequences of the proposed critical habitat 
designation and existing State rules. In particular, current Florida 
law allows for the installation of coastal armoring protecting 
beachfront dwellings and infrastructure at risk to high frequency 
storms. However, the FDEP, through Florida Administrative code rule 
62B-41.0055, prohibits coastal armoring in any location that is 
federally designated as critical habitat for sea turtles. As such, if 
the proposed critical habitat is established, the State may need to 
consider revising this rule.
    Our Response: The USFWS is aware of the State regulation and is 
willing to work with the FDEP to provide any additional information 
needed regarding impacts to loggerhead sea turtles. If the State of 
Florida rescinds the regulation, the USFWS will also work with any 
Federal agency that may fund, construct, or authorize a coastal 
armoring project and to determine the need to undergo section 7 
consultation.

Public Comments

General
    (18) Comment: Several commenters, many from municipalities within 
proposed critical habitat units, requested that the USFWS extend the 
comment period to allow sufficient time to provide comments that 
balance the environmental and economic effects of the proposed rule.
    Our Response: After the close of the initial comment period, the 
USFWS reopened the comment period for an additional 60 days on July 18, 
2013 (78 FR 42921), with the announcement of the availability of the 
DEA of the proposed rule. We also held three public hearings to accept 
comments following announcement and reopening of the comment period.
    (19) Comment: The USFWS should make its final determination of 
loggerhead critical habitat on nesting beaches in conjunction with the 
NMFS designation in the marine environment. There is concern that the 
independent actions of the agencies may result in inconsistent 
designations that do not reflect the importance of the connection 
between the marine and terrestrial environments.
    Our Response: Although the proposed rules for critical habitat in 
the terrestrial and marine environments were not published at the same 
time, the USFWS and NMFS have been coordinating our efforts and sharing 
information throughout the rulemaking process. The agencies will 
continue to do so, and it is anticipated that the final rules for 
critical habitat in both the terrestrial and marine environments will 
be published, and become effective, simultaneously.
    (20) Comment: USFWS' failure to prepare an environmental impact 
statement (EIS) in connection with designating critical habitat is a 
violation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 
4321 et seq.), as designation of critical habitat significantly affects 
the quality of the human environment.
    Our Response: 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 NEPA in connection with 
designating critical habitat under the Act. See the Required 
Determinations section of the rule below for more about USFWS's 
position.
    (21) Comment: The USFWS should provide a detailed description of 
additional regulatory requirements associated with the planning, 
implementation, and maintenance of shoreline and inlet projects within 
the critical habitat area designation.
    Our Response: The USFWS does not anticipate any additional 
regulatory requirements associated for any inlet or shoreline projects 
within the critical habitat units over and above those that would be 
required for the listed DPS (see our response to Comment (4)).
    (22) Comment: The USFWS should provide a complete assessment of 
existing sea turtle management efforts by local, State, and Federal 
jurisdictions (including the USACE) affected by the proposed critical 
habitat designation area.
    Our Response: Within each critical habitat unit description, the 
USFWS identifies conservation or management plans that benefit the 
loggerhead sea turtle. We also identify specific sea turtle management 
efforts conducted on public lands as identified in the Federal, State 
and local management plans within that critical habitat unit. If a 
Federal agency is conducting, funding, or authorizing a project in the 
unit, we will, during section 7 consultation, include in the biological 
opinion terms

[[Page 39762]]

and conditions as appropriate to minimize the impacts of the project.
    (23) Comment: The USFWS should conduct an analysis as to whether 
assumptions used in the Statewide Programmatic Biological Opinion 
(SPBO) covering the state of Florida, including the reasonable and 
prudent measures, are truly satisfactory to avoid adverse modification 
of critical habitat.
    Our Response: The USFWS used the most updated information in the 
SPBO to minimize the impact of the sand placement projects on the 
loggerhead sea turtle and other listed species. Our responsibility for 
analysis of impacts includes the nesting beach. Since the listed sea 
turtle species must use the nesting beach for laying their nests, 
incubating their eggs, and the emergence and movement of hatchlings 
from the nest to the ocean, the terms and conditions in our SPBO also 
address minimizing impacts to the nesting beach. As the beaches 
designated as critical habitat are all nesting beaches, these terms and 
conditions will also minimize impacts to critical habitat.

Economic Impacts

    (24) Comment: The Town of Edisto Beach, South Carolina, requests 
that the USFWS withdraw the rule or eliminate the prohibitions due to 
significant adverse economic effects.
    Our Response: With regard to the commenter's reference to 
``prohibitions,'' we clarify that the 12 activities described in the 
rule as primary threats do not equate to prohibitions of the continued 
and future implementation of such activities. These primary threats are 
categories of activities that may impact the habitat and may require 
special management considerations or protection. However, this rule 
designating critical habitat does not dictate what those special 
management or protection measures will be. Rather, such measures will 
be considered project specific and will depend on the measures already 
in place or incorporated into proposed projects, and the potential 
impacts of a proposed Federal action (or an action that is funded or 
permitted by a Federal agency) to the critical habitat. We have revised 
the language in the Special Management Considerations or Protection 
section of this final rule to clarify this.
    In addition, the DEA did not indicate that there would be 
significant economic effects from the proposed designation (see our 
response to Comment (4)).
    (25) Comment: There are economic impacts to creating loggerhead 
habitat in the Gulf of Mexico shoreline of Florida. With the regional 
biological opinion for hopper dredging in the Gulf, communities and the 
USACE are able to dredge and restore beaches in Florida during the 
summer months. There is a prohibition of summer dredging elsewhere (in 
order to protect turtles). If critical habitat is designated, it is not 
clear if summer construction will be permitted to continue. Thus 
greater competition for dredges during the winter will occur and result 
in an increase in prices for shore protection efforts.
    Our Response: The regional biological opinion, which was prepared 
by NMFS to cover the offshore (marine) dredging portion of beach 
nourishment projects, includes terms and conditions intended to 
minimize impacts to sea turtles and other listed species in the Gulf of 
Mexico. Additionally, the USFWS' SPBO covers the onshore (terrestrial) 
portion of beach nourishment and also includes measures to minimize 
impacts of the sand placement on the nesting beach on sea turtles and 
other listed species. Neither set of terms and conditions is expected 
to change as a result of critical habitat designation because, due to 
the presence of the listed species, the required terms and conditions 
are expected to also avoid adverse modification of critical habitat.

Exclusions

    (26) Comment: The USFWS should minimize exclusions from critical 
habitat. Although economic impacts must be considered, the ultimate 
designation decision must be based on the biological and physical needs 
of the species and not economics. The commenter encourages the USFWS to 
fully consider the economic benefits of loggerhead critical habitat 
designation, including the tourism benefits of sea turtle habitat 
protection.
    Our Response: We are required by section 4(b)(2) of the Act to take 
into account national security, economic, and other relevant impacts of 
critical habitat designation. The Secretary may exclude an area from 
critical habitat if she determines that the benefits of such exclusion 
outweigh the benefits of specifying such area as part of the critical 
habitat, unless she 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.
    The primary goal of this critical habitat designation for the 
Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS of the loggerhead sea turtle is to support 
its long-term conservation and recovery. Conservation and recovery of 
the DPS may result in benefits, including use benefits (wildlife-
viewing), non-use benefits (existence values), and ecosystem service 
benefits (e.g., water quality improvements and enhanced habitat 
conditions for other species). In this rule, the economic analysis did 
evaluate such benefits of the proposed critical habitat designation but 
was unable to monetize their value. Since we do not anticipate that 
critical habitat designation will change the level or types of 
conservation efforts undertaken over and above those efforts already 
required for the listed species, we have no information on the 
incremental benefits that may be realized. Absent information on the 
incremental change in loggerhead population or recovery potential 
associated, we are unable to monetize associated incremental use and 
non-use benefits.
    When identifying the benefits of exclusion, we consider, among 
other things, whether exclusion of a specific area is likely to result 
in conservation; the continuation, strengthening, or encouragement of 
partnerships; or implementation of a management plan. The exclusions we 
identified in the proposed critical habitat rule were based on the 
presence of HCPs. When we evaluate the existence of a conservation or 
management plan when considering the benefits of exclusion, we consider 
a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, whether the plan 
is finalized; how it provides for the conservation of the essential 
physical or biological features; whether there is a reasonable 
expectation that the conservation management strategies and actions 
contained in a management plan will be implemented into the future; 
whether the conservation strategies in the plan are likely to be 
effective; and whether the plan contains a monitoring program or 
adaptive management to ensure that the conservation measures are 
effective and can be adapted in the future in response to new 
information.
    (27) Comment: A number of commenters believe that the USFWS should 
not exclude six of the proposed units (numbered in the proposed rule as 
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) pursuant to section 4(b)(2) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533(b)(2)). 
The proposed rule identified these units

[[Page 39763]]

as being considered for exclusion based on the rationale that they are 
covered by HCPs (78 FR 18000; March 25, 2013). Two commenters believe 
that although the HCPs are commendable, case law does not support this 
basis for exclusion (e.g., Cape Hatteras Access Pres. Alliance v. U.S. 
Dep't of Interior, 731 F. Supp. 2d 15, 28 (D.D.C. 2010), quoting 
Natural Res. Def. Council, 113 F.3d at 1127: ``. . . the [Act] does not 
authorize `nondesignation of habitat when designation would be merely 
less beneficial to the species than another type of protection' ''). 
Mandatory consultation for Federal actions is a valuable benefit for 
the species. Additionally, HCPs expire over time and are vulnerable to 
cut-backs. Many commenters believe that protections in the areas 
covered by HCPs are inadequate. For example, the St. Johns County HCP 
only covers beach driving; it does not include or protect against all 
the possible dangerous activities that occur on these beaches.
    Commenters further state that unlike DOD lands with approved 
INRMPs, there is no categorical exemption under the Act for areas with 
HCPs and there is no indication that the Secretary similarly has 
determined in writing that such a plan provides a benefit to the 
species for which critical habitat is proposed for designation. Because 
these plans can change over time, and assuming they meet the necessary 
biological criteria, all such areas should be included in the 
designation of critical habitat.
    Our Response: Using information collected during the public comment 
periods, as well as the HCP's annual reports and information already in 
our files, we evaluated whether these or other lands in the proposed 
critical habitat were appropriate for exclusion from this final 
designation pursuant to section 4(b)(2) of the Act. We evaluated 
whether the benefits of excluding the particular area outweigh the 
benefits of their inclusion, based on the ``other relevant factor'' 
provisions of section 4(b)(2) of the Act.
    We find that the St. Johns, Volusia, and Indian River Counties' 
HCPs meet the above criteria for exclusion. Therefore, we are excluding 
non-Federal lands covered by these HCPs in proposed Units 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 because those HCPs adequately provides for the long-term 
conservation of the loggerhead and the Secretary has determined that 
the benefits of excluding these areas outweigh the benefits of 
including them in critical habitat. (For further information, see 
Exclusions, below.)
    (28) Comment: Indian River County should be included in the 
designation of critical habitat, including currently unoccupied 
habitat, because a portion of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge 
occurs in the County. According to NMFS' Web site (http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/turtles/loggerhead.htm), this refuge 
provides habitat for 25 percent of nesting loggerheads in the United 
States.
    Our Response: As discussed above (see our response to Comment 
(27)), non-Federal lands in Indian River County are covered by a 
county-wide HCP and are being excluded from critical habitat. However, 
a portion of Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, which is located in 
Indian River County but not within the HCP, is included in the critical 
habitat (Units LOGG-T-FL-07 and LOGG-T-FL-08).

Recommendations for Expansion of Critical Habitat Designation

    (29) Comment: The USFWS must expand its proposal to include all 
areas containing the primary constituent elements that are essential to 
the conservation of the species. The USFWS's methodology of selecting 
the top 25 percent nesting density beaches and those adjacent to them 
does not appear to designate all areas occupied by the species on which 
the biological features essential to the conservation of the species 
are present. The USFWS must explain how its selection of more limited 
areas satisfies this legal requirement and provides for the 
conservation and recovery of the species.
    Our Response: Section 3(5)(C) of the Act states that ``[e]xcept in 
those circumstances determined by the Secretary, critical habitat shall 
not include the entire geographical area which can be occupied by the . 
. . species.'' Further, the USFWS is not required to designate all 
areas on which physical or biological features supporting the species 
are found. An area occupied by the species at the time of listing is 
eligible for designation of critical habitat if it contains ``physical 
and biological features (I) essential to the conservation of the 
species and (II) which may require special management considerations or 
protection'' (section 3(5)(A)(i) of the Act).
    All terrestrial units considered for designation as critical 
habitat are currently occupied by the loggerhead sea turtle and occur 
within the species' geographical range. They contain the physical and 
biological features essential to the conservation of the species and 
may require special management considerations or protection, and they 
contain the primary constituent elements sufficient to support the 
terrestrial life-history processes of the species sufficient for the 
conservation of the population. Of these beaches, the ones we 
designated are those that have the highest nesting densities within 
each of the four recovery units, have a good spatial distribution that 
will help ensure the protection of genetic diversity, and collectively 
provide a good representation of total nesting. The beaches adjacent to 
the primary high-density nesting beaches also 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 we are designating for 
terrestrial habitat will conserve recovery units of this DPS as 
described in our response to Comment (15).
    (30) Comment: The USFWS should consider designation of areas that 
would provide for resilience to the threat of climate change, 
especially sea level rise and increased temperatures. The USFWS should 
consider sea level rise and its effects on the loggerhead sea turtle. 
While accounting for the level of sea rise is a complex task, there is 
a broad consensus in the scientific community that sea level rise is 
imminent. This will pose a significant threat to the beaches the 
loggerhead sea turtles need for continuation of the species.
    Our Response: As the comment acknowledges, specific forecasts 
related to climate change are difficult. Furthermore, habitat is 
dynamic, and nesting beaches may accrete and erode 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 support the 
conservation 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, regulatory protections, and prohibitions on taking of the 
species, including taking caused by actions that affect habitat. The 
USFWS acknowledges that we cannot fully address the significant, long-
term threat of climate change to

[[Page 39764]]

loggerhead sea turtles. However, we can determine 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 
turtles and their habitat from the actions (e.g., coastal armoring, 
sand placement) undertaken to respond to climate change that may 
potentially impact the DPS. As more specific forecasts become available 
in the future, a revision of critical habitat may be required to more 
effectively provide for the conservation of the species. At this time, 
however, such forecasts are unavailable. For more information on our 
assessment of climate change, see the Climate Change discussion within 
the of the Special Management Considerations or Protection section of 
this rule.
    (31) Comment: Broward County Natural Resource Planning and 
Management Division and several other commenters believe that all or 
portions of Broward County should be considered for inclusion in the 
designation of critical habitat. Large areas of sea turtle nesting 
habitat exist in the County, particularly in the Fort Lauderdale, Dania 
Beach, North Hollywood Beach, and Hallandale areas. There is 
considerable nesting activity for the beaches between Hillsboro Inlet 
and Port Everglades. With a few exceptions (e.g., Port Everglades), the 
coastline has the appropriate physical and biological features as well 
as the primary threats requiring management. For example, in 2012, a 
volunteer organization in the County documented 20,000 disoriented 
hatchlings.
    Commenters believe that Broward County should be listed as critical 
habitat because Florida has the most nesting habitat in the world for 
loggerhead sea turtles, which makes this area extremely important. 
Furthermore, beach nourishment is allowed to continue through May, 
which is both mating and nesting season for this species. Due to over-
development of the coastal areas, the dunes have been removed, causing 
more beach erosion. Lastly, designation of critical habitat will help 
facilitate quicker compliance with the lighting laws and will ensure 
all future lights are up to code; critical habitat designation will 
help bring the County under one universal lighting code, which will 
help with enforcement.
    Our Response: The USFWS acknowledges the importance of the beaches 
in Broward County, including Fort Lauderdale, Dania Beach, North 
Hollywood Beach, and Hallandale Beach. However, only Unit LOGG-T-FL-
14--Boca Raton Inlet-Hillsboro Inlet in Palm Beach and Broward Counties 
met the selection criteria (see our responses to Comments (15) and 
(29), above), with a nesting density greater than 83 nests per 
kilometer. The adjacent beach selected to serve as an expansion area 
for this unit is Unit LOGG-T-FL-13--Boyton Inlet-Boca Raton Inlet in 
Palm Beach County. Other nesting beaches in Broward County did not meet 
the critical habitat selection criteria because the nesting density was 
not high enough. However, loggerhead sea turtle nesting along these 
beaches will continue to be protected, as the DPS is listed as 
threatened under the Act and Federal agencies are required to consult 
with the USFWS to ensure that they are not undertaking, funding, 
permitting, or authorizing actions likely to jeopardize the continued 
existence of listed species.
    (32) Comment: The USFWS should consider beaches from Doctor's Pass 
to Gordon Pass and Marco Island in Collier County, Florida, and the 
eastern end of Sanibel Island in Lee County, Florida, for inclusion in 
critical habitat. While these beaches are not the same nesting density 
as other beaches proposed for designation, they are currently occupied 
and do appear to contain the physical and biological features and PCEs. 
They have suitable nesting habitat that has relatively unimpeded access 
(PCE 1), appropriate sands to allow for nest building (PCE 2), and, 
when existing sea turtle protection ordinances are observed, sufficient 
darkness (PCE 3). Additionally, these beaches have supported 
considerable nesting and would support the USFWS's goal of designating 
beaches for resiliency and redundancy.
    Our Response: The USFWS acknowledges the importance of the beaches 
in Lee and Collier Counties. However, only Unit LOGG-T-FL-28--Keewaydin 
Island and Sea Oat Island from Gordon Pass to Big Marco Pass in Collier 
County met the selection criteria (see our responses to Comments (15) 
and (29) above) with a nesting density greater than 14.2 nests per km. 
The adjacent beach selected to serve as an expansion area for this unit 
is Unit LOGG-T-FL-27--Clam Pass to Doctors Pass in Collier County. 
Other nesting beaches in Lee and Collier Counties, such as the east end 
of Sanibel Island and Marco Island, did not meet the critical habitat 
selection criteria because the nesting density was not high enough. 
However, the loggerhead sea turtle nesting along these beaches will 
continue to be protected, as the DPS is listed as threatened under the 
Act and consultation between Federal action agencies and the USFWS is 
still required.
    (33) Comment: Additional areas should be designated as critical 
habitat for Georgia. Specifically, the commenter recommends inclusion 
of Little St. Simons and Jekyll islands in critical habitat.
    Our Response: These beaches (Little St. Simons and Jekyll islands) 
did not meet the critical habitat selection criteria because the 
nesting density was not high enough (greater than 11.34 nests per km) 
or the island was not adjacent to a high density nesting beach. The 
beaches that are being designated as critical habitat represent over 80 
percent of loggerhead sea turtle nesting in Georgia based on nest 
monitoring data from 2006 to 2011 provided by the State of Georgia.
    (34) Comment: A few comments encourage the USFWS to expand the 
designation areas in North Carolina and include more habitat in the 
designation. One comment suggests that the USFWS considers other 
factors as well as those described in the proposed rule, such as those 
listed as PCEs (e.g., unimpeded near-shore access located above mean 
high water mark, suitable sand, and suitable nesting beach habitat). 
Alternatively, the USFWS could broaden the habitat by selecting the top 
50 percent of high-density areas instead of adding beaches based on 
adjacency. The commenter also recommends that additional areas be 
designated as critical habitat for South Carolina. Specifically, the 
commenter recommends inclusion of the following beaches and islands: 
Bay Point, Hilton Head, North, Pritchards, Bull, and Hunting.
    Similarly, other comments recommend the inclusion of Cape Hatteras, 
Cape Lookout, Figure 8 Island, Ocean Isle, and Sunset Beach, North 
Carolina. They maintain that focusing on areas of greatest nest density 
per kilometer of beach ignores larger areas such as Cape Hatteras and 
Cape Lookout National Seashores, which have the highest total number of 
nests per beach in North Carolina.
    Another comment asked that areas to the north of Bogue Banks, North 
Carolina, be designated, as nesting is anticipated to increase in the 
north both due to warming and range expansion expected with an 
increasing population.
    Our Response: The USFWS acknowledges the importance of all 
loggerhead sea turtle nesting beaches. The recommended beaches did not 
meet the critical habitat selection criteria either because the nesting 
density was not high enough (greater than 2.38 nests per kilometers in 
North Carolina; greater than 13.97 nests per kilometer in South

[[Page 39765]]

Carolina) or the island was not adjacent to a high density nesting 
beach. The selected high density beaches and adjacent beaches represent 
over 75 and 96 percent of loggerhead nesting in North Carolina and 
South Carolina, respectively, based on data from 2006-2011. Loggerhead 
nests will continue to be protected along beaches that are not 
designated as critical habitat because the DPS is listed as threatened 
under the Act (see our responses to Comments (15) and (29), above).
    (35) Comment: It is important that the USFWS consider the benefits 
of designating critical habitat in Louisiana and Texas despite the 
current low number of nests because this designation requires agencies 
to ensure that their actions are ``not likely to jeopardize the 
continued existence of [the loggerhead sea turtle] . . . or result in 
the destruction or adverse modification of habitat of [the loggerhead 
sea turtle].'' If proactive measures are not taken to save the habitat 
of this species in Louisiana and Texas, the number of nests and turtles 
in these States may dwindle, causing further damage to this species.
    Another commenter asked that Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay be 
included in the final rule as critical habitat because they are 
specific regions within the geographical area occupied by loggerhead 
sea turtles that are essential to conservation and require special 
management consideration.
    Our Response: The USFWS agrees that nesting in the northern and 
western extent of the nesting range of the DPS is important to the 
conservation and recovery of the species. Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, 
and Delaware are not included in the designation based on the very low 
number of nests known to be laid in these States (less than 10 annually 
in each State from 2002 to 2011). However, protective measures are in 
place to protect the loggerhead sea turtle in these States because the 
species is listed under the Act. Federal agencies are already required 
to consult with the USFWS to ensure that they are not undertaking, 
funding, permitting, or authorizing actions likely to jeopardize the 
continued existence of loggerhead sea turtles.

Recommendations of Areas To Exclude From Critical Habitat Designation

    (36) Comment: The Town of Holden Beach, North Carolina, contends 
that the specific areas proposed to be designated as critical habitat 
for the loggerhead sea turtle in North Carolina are arbitrary and 
capricious because (1) North Carolina's beaches' nesting density is low 
compared to South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, and (2) the USFWS did 
not provide any basis that North Carolina nesting beaches are required 
to provide genetic diversity. Other commenters contend that loggerhead 
sea turtle nesting density data do not support designation of critical 
habitat for any of North Carolina's beaches, and particularly not Bogue 
Banks, compared to South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Further, 
loggerhead sea turtle nesting in North Carolina represents a small 
fraction (approximately 1 percent) of not only the nesting by 
loggerhead sea turtles in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS, but also 
within the Northern Recovery Unit (approximately 13 percent) of the 
Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS.
    Our Response: We understand that the beaches in North Carolina have 
lower nesting densities than in some of the other parts of the species' 
nesting range. However, for recovery of the DPS, it is important to 
conserve:
     Beaches that have the highest nesting densities, by State 
or region within a State;
     Beaches that have a good spatial distribution to ensure 
protection of genetic diversity;
     Beaches that collectively provide a good representation of 
total nesting; and
     Beaches adjacent to the high-density nesting beaches that 
can serve as expansion areas.
    North Carolina falls within the Northern Recovery Unit. Within this 
Recovery Unit, we divided beach nesting densities into quartiles (four 
equal groups) by State and selected beaches that were within the upper 
quartile for designation as critical habitat. The reason we determined 
high nesting density beaches within each State (rather than the entire 
Northern Recovery Unit) was that it 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 in 
Georgia and South Carolina. This ensures good spatial distribution.
    (37) Comment: The Town of Edisto Beach, South Carolina, requests to 
be excluded from the designation of critical habitat because the beach 
supports an average of only 80 nests a year and the typical sand on the 
beach is medium-sized and coarse and does not fit the USFWS's 
description of ``deep, clean, relatively loose sand above high-tide 
level.''
    Our Response: The beaches within the Town of Edisto Beach, South 
Carolina, meet the criteria for critical habitat described in the 
Criteria Used to Identify Critical Habitat section of the proposed and 
final rule, and specifically, the Northern Recovery Unit (i.e., unit 
supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit that has high-
density nesting of loggerhead sea turtles in South Carolina, was 
occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied, and contains 
all the physical or biological features and primary constituent 
elements). We note that ``sand'' in the proposed rule is defined 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).'' Medium and coarse sand meets this definition. We have no 
other information to support excluding the beaches within the Town of 
Edisto Beach under section 4(b)(2) of the Act.
    (38) Comment: The Village of Bald Head Island, North Carolina, 
requests that the USFWS exclude Bald Head Island from critical habitat 
designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act. The commenter explains 
that although not recognized in the proposed rule, Bald Head Island has 
a well-established and respected sea turtle protection program and as 
such believes the Island should be excluded, as similar consideration 
is being given to St. Johns, Volusia, and Indian River Counties, 
Florida, based on established habitat conservation plans. As one of 
NMFS's ``index beaches,'' Bald Head Island is nationally recognized for 
its sea turtle nesting activity, and for the Bald Head Island 
Conservancy's efforts to protect this resource. At this point, no 
additional benefit would be gained by the designation, and additional 
regulatory burdens may hinder local efforts.
    Our Response: The beaches of Bald Head Island meet the criteria for 
critical habitat described in the Criteria Used to Identify Critical 
Habitat section of the proposed and final rule, and specifically, the 
Northern Recovery Unit (i.e., the unit has high-density nesting by 
loggerhead sea turtles in North Carolina, was occupied at the time of 
listing and is currently occupied, and contains all the physical or 
biological features and primary constituent elements). While Bald Head 
Island, like many of the beaches in this designation, has in place 
active sea turtle conservation efforts by Federal, State, local 
governments; private conservation organizations; and individuals, we 
have no knowledge of any plans that commit to dedicated funding of such 
efforts or that this program provides comprehensive sea turtle 
protection. Example programs could include beachfront lighting 
regulations,

[[Page 39766]]

managed beach access, beach and dune habitat protection and restoration 
programs, or coastal development regulations. We recognize the efforts 
on Bald Head Island, but are not excluding the area, because the 
benefits of designating critical habitat outweigh the benefits of 
exclusion.
    (39) Comment: The Escambia County Community and Environmental 
Department believes the areas jurisdictional to Escambia County on 
Perdido Key, Florida, within the Northern Gulf of Mexico Recovery Unit, 
should be considered for exclusion under section 4(b)(2) of the Act due 
to a pending programmatic HCP consistent with other communities such as 
St. Johns, Volusia, and Indian River Counties.
    Our Response: The beaches of Escambia County meet the criteria for 
critical habitat. Although an area may be excluded if it is covered by 
an HCP, we must assess each HCP to determine whether the implementation 
of the conservation efforts benefits loggerhead sea turtles. Since this 
HCP has not yet been approved by the USFWS, or implemented in 
accordance with a permit, we are not excluding units within the 
proposed HCP coverage area.

Best Available Information and Methods

    (40) Comment: The USFWS must include the most current nesting data 
through 2012.
    Our Response: The Northwest Atlantic Ocean loggerhead sea turtle 
DPS was listed in 2011 (76 FR 58868). 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 throughout the DPS' nesting range. 
Consistent with this definition, in the Northern Recovery Unit, 
Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit, and Northern Gulf of Mexico Recovery 
Unit (Florida and Alabama), we used loggerhead nests counts from 2006-
2011 to calculate mean nest density for each beach and select the high 
density nesting beaches within each recovery unit. However, even though 
we did not rely on the 2012 nesting data in the proposed rule, we now 
find that they support the high density nesting beaches selected using 
the 2006-2011 mean nest density.
    (41) Comment: The USFWS must incorporate any evidence about the 
impact of recent management changes, for example, the Cape Hatteras 
National Seashore Off-Road Vehicle Management Plan and Special 
Regulation, which was implemented in 2012.
    Our Response: While the USFWS may use information from management 
plans in discussing special management or protection considerations, we 
did not propose any critical habitat units within the Cape Hatteras 
National Seashore (CHNS). Therefore, discussion of the management 
changes at CHNS was not necessary because the changes do not affect any 
of the units in the designation.
    (42) Comment: One commenter concurred with the identification of 
the physical and biological features of critical habitat, the primary 
constituent elements of critical habitat, and the listed threats. 
However, the commenter believes the information cited is stale and 
sometimes cited references have been misinterpreted or their 
incorporation is misleading.
    Our Response: The USFWS updated the final rule with additional 
literature we received during the comment period and peer review. The 
USFWS collaborated with State technical advisors on the nesting data 
analysis. The peer review of the proposed rule did not indicate any of 
the references we used were misinterpreted or are misleading.
    (43) Comment: It seems awkward that the USFWS did not seek peer 
review before submitting the proposed rule for public comment. It is 
acknowledged that as a result, the final rule may differ significantly 
from what is proposed. The commenter asks whether the public will get a 
second chance to comment on the next version of a rule, especially if 
there are significant changes.
    Our Response: The USFWS conferred with scientific experts, 
including State technical advisors, during the development of the 
proposed rule and used the best scientific information available. 
Moreover, as discussed above, the peer review comments did not reflect 
suggestions for major changes to the rule. All revisions based on 
information we received during the public comment period are outlined 
in this final rule and do not represent any significant changes from 
the proposed rule.
    (44) Comment: The discussion of the effects of coastal structures 
is narrow and biased. The quoting of Kaufman and Pilkey (1979) 
demonstrates a narrow understanding of the use of coastal structures. 
While there are outfalls within the State of Florida, they are outdated 
facilities designed prior to our modern understanding of coastal 
biology and engineering. The outfalls are few and their impacts are 
insignificant to the health of the large-scale sea turtle nesting 
habitat. The FDEP and FWC utilize existing regulatory programs where 
possible to reduce the impact of existing outfalls. New outfalls are 
prohibited by rule (62b-33, Florida Administrative Code).
    Our Response: The USFWS verified that the information cited in 
Kaufman and Pilkey (1979) reflected our current understanding of 
coastal systems. There are existing outfalls along the loggerhead sea 
turtle nesting beach that create localized erosion channels, prevent 
natural dune establishment, and wash out sea turtle nests. The USFWS 
agrees that the design of new outfalls minimize the localized erosion; 
however, this impact continues for existing outfalls with the outdated 
design and is considered an impact to sea turtle nests.
    (45) Comment: The USFWS should provide a scientific basis for the 
argument that ``the presence of groins and jetties may . . . 
concentrate predatory fishes, resulting in higher probabilities of 
hatchling predation.'' While natural hard-bottom fishing piers and 
coastal structures may lead to higher concentrations of predatory 
fishes, there is little data (if any) that demonstrate that the 
concentration of predatory fishes leads to an increase in predation of 
recent hatchlings. With many of the beaches yielding low densities of 
hatchlings and coastal structures being sparse in Florida, the overlay 
of the probabilities of increased predation must be small or 
insignificant. Further, the concentration of predatory fishes by 
structures must indicate an abundant food source for them as sea turtle 
hatching occurs for just a short period of time throughout the year 
along any unit length of beach. For example, some Gulf of Mexico 
beaches may have nesting densities in the 10 nests per mile range, or 1 
per 500 feet. With shore-perpendicular coastal structures being only 
approximately 50 feet, in effect, the number of nests near any 
structure is only 0.1 nests per structure. The 0.1 nest will hatch on 
one night providing food for the predatory fish for, at most, that one 
night. For the remainder of the year, the predatory fish must be eating 
something else besides sea turtle hatchlings.
    Our Response: The USFWS has updated this rule to include additional 
citations to support the proposition that the concentration of 
predatory fish increases due to the presence of groins and jetties.
    (46) Comment: Given that the critical habitat designation is based 
solely upon a numerical standard, such as nest density, it is 
imperative that the USFWS

[[Page 39767]]

publicly discloses the data as well as cutoff top quartile thresholds 
that it used to determine designated areas.
    Our Response: Supporting documentation we used in preparing the 
proposed and final rules, as well as comments and materials we received 
during the two public comment periods, are 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).
    (47) Comment: Critical habitat units as proposed for Lee County, 
Florida, are flawed. Portions of these proposed units, in their natural 
state, do not contain the physical and biological features essential to 
conservation. Specifically, in the absence of directed human activity 
in the form of dredge spoil placement and beach nourishment, they did 
not and would not contain a beach sufficient to support a successful 
marine turtle nest. This PCE is only present because of designed and 
constructed public works projects of the type listed in the proposed 
rule as potential threats to loggerhead sea turtle conservation. This 
is a fundamental inconsistency that must be corrected.
    Our Response: The natural state of these beaches would consist of 
shoreline that does not contain any human-related development that 
would keep the dynamic coastal process from occurring (erosion and 
accretion). However, when the shoreline has been fixed in place because 
of human development, the natural dynamics of the shoreline are unable 
to occur. Therefore, beach nourishment and similar projects take the 
place of the natural process. As indicated in previous responses to 
comments, we have acknowledged the results of these activities as a 
physical and biological feature. As stated in both the proposed rule 
and this final rule: ``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.'' 
Accordingly, the units in Lee County meet the selection criteria and 
contain one or more of the PCEs.
    (48) Comment: The USFWS should be more consistent in its use of 20-
km segments to break up beach segments that are overly large in some 
areas for an accurate assessment of nesting densities.
    Our Response: Beach segments were identified as barrier islands or 
mainland beaches separated by creeks, inlets, or sounds. For beach 
segments that were overly large in some area, such as the Florida 
Peninsular Recovery Unit (excluding the Florida Keys) and the Northern 
Gulf of Mexico Recovery Unit (except Mississippi), we used nest site 
fidelity information to break up these beaches into 20-km segments. 
Calculating nesting densities for overly large areas would have 
resulted in some high-density nesting beaches not being identified 
because they would be averaged in with adjacent lower density nesting 
beaches. Segmenting these larger areas ensured the high density nesting 
beaches were represented throughout the DPS' nesting range. See also 
the descriptions for each recovery unit in the Critical Habitat section 
of this rule for further explanation of the methodology used to 
identify beach segments within each recovery unit.
    (49) Comment: Commenters expressed their concern on the method for 
selecting the entire 38.9-km shoreline of Bogue Banks in North Carolina 
as a critical habitat unit, because it is adjacent to a high-density 
nesting beach.
    Our Response: Loggerhead sea turtles nest on dynamic ocean beaches 
that may be significantly degraded or lost through natural processes 
(erosion) or development. We designated beaches adjacent to the high-
density nesting beaches as critical habitat to ensure the availability 
of nesting habitat if the high-density nesting beaches are temporarily 
or permanently lost. Loggerhead sea turtles 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 inter-nesting 
period used a single island for nesting while 40 percent (9 of 22) used 
two islands (Scott 2006). Protecting individual beaches adjacent to 
high-density nesting beaches should provide sufficient habitat to 
accommodate nesting females whose primary nesting beach has been lost. 
We selected the adjacent beaches by designating one beach to the north 
and one beach to the south of each of the high-density beaches as 
critical habitat. See also our response to Comment (36).

Erosion Management and Sand Placement

    (50) Comment: One commenter is concerned that this and other 
regulations do not make a distinction between erosion management 
structures that are harmful (e.g., ``hard forms'' such as seawalls, 
revetments, and groins) and those that are beneficial (e.g., erosion 
control structures such as breakwaters and some groin designs) to sea 
turtles. This is important because beneficial structures may not only 
facilitate habitat restoration efforts that might otherwise not be 
economically feasible due to high erosion rates in front of existing 
seawalls. It should also be considered that viable sand sources for 
beach nourishment are finite, and carefully designed erosion control 
structures reduce, and in some cases may eliminate, the need for future 
beach nourishment.
    Our Response: For this rule, we are unable to make such 
distinctions because these projects may vary considerably with 
corresponding positive and negative effects. Most projects with the 
appropriate conservation measures incorporated minimize negative 
effects to nesting sea turtles and may provide overall benefits (e.g., 
maintenance of nesting habitat) if properly designed, installed, and 
maintained.
    (51) Comment: One comment states that properly done and well-
scrutinized beach nourishment should not pose major threats to the 
species, and, therefore, the critical habitat designation will not 
affect the nourishment efforts taken by coastal towns. By looking at 
the nesting density data in North Carolina, it can be observed that 
most of the designated high-density beaches have been nourished in the 
past years. With the exception of Bear Island (a State park), all other 
designated high-density islands have been heavily nourished in the 
past.
    Our Response: The USFWS agrees that properly implemented, 
appropriate conservation measures incorporated in beach nourishment 
projects minimize impacts to loggerhead sea turtles and their habitat. 
As we have indicated in our response to Comment (4), we do not 
anticipate additional conservation measures over and above those 
already implemented for the listed DPS.
    (52) Comment: The USFWS is urged to include beach restoration as an 
approved ``special management consideration.'' Climate change is 
causing sea levels to rise and the rate of sea level rise may 
accelerate over the next century due to increased levels of carbon 
dioxide, which will increase with global warming. Higher sea levels 
cause beaches to erode and retreat, threatening habitat that is 
currently suitable for nesting of loggerhead sea turtles. Beach 
restoration and periodic nourishment restores and maintains nesting 
habitat and remains the most effective form of ``special management 
considerations'' over the next 50 years for managing the impacts of 
climate change. If the new critical habitat areas

[[Page 39768]]

are designated and rules imposed in those areas inhibit the 
continuation of cost-effective beach nourishment programs, the net 
impacts to the loggerhead sea turtles and their nests would be negative 
given the current and future projections of climate change.
    Our Response: Beach suitability depends mainly on four 
environmental factors (slope, temperature, moisture, and salinity). 
Both natural and human impacts to beaches affect their suitability for 
sea turtle nesting and egg incubation. For loggerhead sea turtle 
terrestrial habitat, special management considerations focus on 
reducing the threats to the suitability of the nesting beach. Human-
altered beaches do have direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts to sea 
turtles and thus are not considered a ``special management 
consideration.'' However, the USFWS acknowledges that properly 
implemented appropriate conservation measures in beach nourishment 
projects minimize impacts to sea turtles.
    (53) Comment: One commenter recommended that the USFWS consider the 
need for continued nourishment and structures as part of the 
community's efforts to protect critical habitat on Bald Head Island, 
North Carolina.
    Our Response: The USFWS has considered and taken into account the 
beneficial effects of beach nourishment and other beach stabilization 
projects as provided in our identification of PCE 4, which is ``natural 
coastal processes or artificially created or maintained habitat 
mimicking natural conditions'' (see also response to Comment (47)).
    (54) Comment: USFWS failed to use the best scientific data 
available. For example, in analyzing the potential impacts of beach 
sand placement activities, USFWS relied on publications from as long as 
26 years ago. More recent studies analyzing beach placement activities 
are available, and USFWS failed to rely on these studies.
    Our Response: For the final rule, we used the best and most current 
available data relevant to beach sand placement. We have defined the 
terrestrial portion of the geographical area occupied for the 
loggerhead sea turtle as those U.S. beaches 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 
throughout the DPS' nesting range. See also our response to Comment 
(40).
    Additionally, we received scientific references and literature from 
the peer reviewers and in comments from the public. Additions or 
updates to the rule using this information are summarized in the 
Summary of Changes From Proposed Rule section. The additional 
information did not change the critical habitat selection criteria or 
the units in the critical habitat designation.
    (55) Comment: The USFWS should consider changes in North Carolina's 
political environment that may soon reduce or eliminate existing laws 
that safeguard the terrestrial ecosystem along the coast. For example, 
legislation has been proposed that would repeal long-standing 
restrictions on the construction of jetties and groins. If this bill 
becomes law, structures that impede the natural flow of sand and alter 
the migration of barrier islands--and that present physical barriers to 
nesting turtles--may become commonplace along the oceanfront.
    Our Response: Federal agencies are required to consult with the 
USFWS to ensure that they are not undertaking, funding, permitting, or 
authorizing actions likely to jeopardize the continued existence of 
listed species or destroy or adversely modify designated critical 
habitat (see our response to Comment (4)). Projects that have a Federal 
nexus (e.g., projects that are funded, authorized, or carried out by 
Federal agencies) are subject to this requirement under the 
consultation provisions of section 7 of the Act. This would include 
construction of groins and jetties, which must be permitted by the 
USACE under appropriate Federal laws regardless of State law. Moreover, 
even where critical habitat has not been designated, loggerhead sea 
turtle nesting along these beaches will continue to be protected, as 
the DPS is listed under the Act notwithstanding the presence or absence 
of protections under State law.
    (56) Comment: Brevard County, Florida, and other commenters are 
concerned that the critical habitat designation may complicate or 
increase the cost of existing successful turtle-friendly coastal 
management projects or traditional use of the beach. The County 
believes that it could be confusing to list beach sand placement and 
recreational beach use as primary threats to the species, but also as a 
tool that defends against increased harm by other primary threats such 
as erosion and beach armoring. The County encourages USFWS to make 
clear and reinforce statements about beach nourishment and beach sand 
placement. They also believe that specific recreational activities 
should be addressed differently (i.e., beach cleaning and driving 
versus human foot traffic). Brevard County urges the USFWS to take all 
steps necessary to assure the critical habitat designation cannot be 
cited in a lawsuit to justify restrictions to traditional public use of 
the beach.
    St. Lucie County, Florida, asks if special management 
considerations and protection will be consistently applied throughout a 
recovery unit even though there may be varying nesting densities and 
beach nourishment frequencies within that unit, or if the actual 
habitat conditions (i.e., specific nesting conditions) will drive the 
process.
    Our Response: Only projects that have a Federal nexus (e.g., 
projects that are funded, authorized, or carried out by Federal 
agencies) are subject to the requirement for consultation under section 
7 of the Act. 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 restrict access to the beach. See also our response to 
Comment (10).
    In the proposed rule, we identified 12 categories of threats that 
may require special management considerations or protection in the 
critical habitat units. Threats in each critical habitat unit differ, 
therefore the special management considerations and protections will 
vary.

Clarifications and Corrections

    (57) Comment: The USFWS should clarify that while critical habitat 
does not include ``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,'' it does 
include human-altered beaches that still contain the PCEs identified 
for successful nesting.
    Our Response: The USFWS acknowledges that human-altered or 
engineered beaches may still contain the PCEs identifies for successful 
nesting. The final rule has been revised to include further explanation 
on human-altered beaches in the Primary Constituent Elements for the 
Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS of the Loggerhead Sea Turtle section. See 
also our responses to Comments (50) and (51), above.
    (58) Comment: It is not clear why the USFWS is not designating the 
critical habitat throughout the range of all global DPSs, especially 
the two DPSs (Northwest Atlantic and North Pacific) that can be found 
in the United States (terrestrial or aquatic).
    Our Response: Critical habitat may only be designated in areas 
under U.S. jurisdiction per the regulations implementing the Act at 50 
CFR 424.12(h). The USFWS has jurisdiction

[[Page 39769]]

over sea turtles on the land, and loggerhead sea turtles come on land 
only to nest; therefore, the only terrestrial habitat they use is for 
nesting. Because critical habitat can only be designated in areas under 
U.S. jurisdiction and because loggerhead sea turtle nesting in the 
United States occurs only within the Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS, we 
are only designating specific areas in the terrestrial environment as 
critical habitat for this one DPS. Since no loggerhead nesting occurs 
within U.S. jurisdiction for the North Pacific Ocean DPS, no critical 
habitat has been proposed for that DPS in the terrestrial environment. 
Similarly, NMFS has jurisdiction over sea turtles in the water. On July 
18, 2013 (78 FR 43006), NMFS published proposed critical habitat for 
the marine environment for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS and 
reviewed potential areas within U.S. jurisdiction for critical habitat 
in the North Pacific Ocean loggerhead DPS (no areas met the definition 
of critical habitat in this DPS; therefore none was proposed); again 
because these are the only DPSs that occur in areas under U.S. 
jurisdiction.
    (59) Comment: The USFWS needs to explain why critical habitat is 
not being designated for all recovery units of the Northwest Atlantic 
Ocean DPS. Contrary to the Executive Summary, which states ``[t]his is 
a proposed rule by the [USFWS] to designate specific areas in the 
terrestrial environment as critical habitat for the Northwest Atlantic 
Ocean [DPS] of the loggerhead sea turtle,'' the proposed designation 
does not include any within the range of the Caribbean recovery unit 
and evidently nothing within the Caribbean was considered.
    Our Response: The 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 did not propose to 
designate any critical habitat in this unit due to the very low number 
of nests laid there.
    (60) Comment: The Town of Holden Beach, North Carolina, and other 
commenters believes the USFWS should reassess its prudency 
determination pursuant to regulations implementing the Act (50 CFR 
424.12(a)(1)). Holden Beach believes a determination of ``not prudent'' 
is appropriate because there are already adequate measures in place to 
ensure the survival and recovery of the loggerhead sea turtle and 
designation would adversely impact these successful programs resulting 
in loss of habitat and an increase in the degree of threat to the 
species. Other commenters are concerned that the critical habitat 
designation is not prudent because it would make it more difficult for 
local governments and others to conduct active coastal shore damage 
reduction projects and that existing successful conservation programs 
will be burdened with additional and unnecessary measures and will 
become more costly to implement.
    Our Response: Our regulations (50 CFR 424.12(a)(1)) describe the 
conditions in which critical habitat could be determined to be ``not 
prudent;'' essentially, the designation of critical habitat is not 
prudent if the species is threatened by taking or other human activity, 
and identification of critical habitat can be expected to increase the 
threat, or because designation of critical habitat would not be 
beneficial to the species.
    There is currently no identified imminent threat of take attributed 
to collection or vandalism of nesting beaches within the 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. On the other hand, 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. Therefore, we found that designation of critical habitat is 
prudent for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS of the loggerhead sea 
turtle.
    The proposal to designate critical habitat did not reflect an 
assessment that current nesting beach sea turtle conservation efforts 
are insufficient. Most of the beaches proposed for designation have 
active sea turtle conservation efforts by Federal, State, local 
governments; private conservation organizations; and individuals within 
coastal communities. Most, if not all, beach projects already under go 
special management considerations by Federal action agencies and have 
since the species was listed. We do not expect the designation to 
result in changes to how the conservation efforts are currently 
implemented or project conservation measures (see our response to 
Comment (4)).
    (61) Comment: Several commenters contend that the specific areas 
proposed to be designated as critical habitat for the loggerhead sea 
turtle do not contain features that, now or in the future, may require 
special management considerations or protection measures beyond those 
that are already in place. The USFWS failed to adequately consider 
existing regulations and programs that ensure that loggerhead sea 
turtle habitat is protected and maintained, and failed to analyze the 
impacts of designating critical habitat on the effectiveness of these 
successful programs as required by the Act.
    Our Response: All of the beaches that we proposed for critical 
habitat designation contain the physical or biological features 
consisting of a beach that is:
     Capable of supporting a high density of nests or serving 
as an expansion area for beaches with a high density of nests and the 
beaches;
     Well distributed within each State or region within a 
State;
     Representative of total nesting; and
     Support natural coastal processes or activities that mimic 
these natural processes.

All of the beaches have one or more threats that may require special 
management considerations or protection measures. Further, the 
statement of ``beyond those that are already in place'' reflects an 
incorrect understanding of the Act. The proposal did not reflect an 
assessment that current nesting beach sea turtle conservation efforts 
are insufficient. Most of the beaches proposed for designation have 
active sea turtle conservation efforts by Federal, State, local 
governments; private conservation organizations; and individuals within 
coastal communities. Most, if not all, beach projects already under go 
special management considerations by Federal action agencies and have 
since the species was listed. We are designating as critical habitat 
those locations that met the selection criteria and, therefore, 
represent the highest conservation value to loggerhead sea turtle 
recovery and conservation.
    (62) Comment: The location of the Intracoastal Waterway shown on 
the map of Units LOGG-T-FL-23, 24, 25, and 26 is inaccurate and should 
be

[[Page 39770]]

corrected for accuracy or removed from the map.
    Our Response: We understand that the critical habitat as depicted 
on the background layer of the maps may not appear to align with the 
shoreline or other features such as the Intracoastal Waterway. The 
background layer shown in the rule is for display purposes only and may 
not accurately represent these features because of the dynamic coastal 
process and the inability of mapping data acquisition efforts to keep 
up with the changes. The data layers defining map units were created 
using Google Earth imagery, then refined using Bing imagery, and unit 
descriptions were then mapped using North America Lambert Conformal 
Conic coordinates; maps generated in this way do not provide a legible 
print in black and white as printed in the Federal Register. However, 
the coordinates, plot points, or both on which each map is based are 
available to the public at the USFWS's Internet site at http://www.fws.gov/northflorida, at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. 
FWS-R4-ES-2012-0103, and at the North Florida Ecological Services 
Office (see ADDRESSES).

Summary of Changes From Proposed Rule

    The following changes have been made to the final rule from the 
proposed rule:
    1. Based on comments from peer and public review, we have updated 
the information in the Background, Physical or Biological Features, and 
Special Management Considerations or Protection sections with updated 
information from recommended literature.
    2. In response to concerns and confusion regarding beach 
stabilization projects, we have added a fourth PCE to the final rule: 
Natural coastal processes or artificially created or maintained habitat 
mimicking natural conditions.
    3. In accordance with section 4(b)(2) of the Act, based on the 
information provided in the HCP annual reports, as well as additional 
public comments received and information in our files, we are excluding 
all or portions of proposed Units LOGG-T-FL-01, LOGG-T-FL-02, LOGG-T-
FL-03, LOGG-T-FL-05, and LOGG-T-FL-10 in St. Johns, Volusia, and Indian 
River Counties, Florida, that are covered under those HCPs. (See 
Exclusions section below for more explanation).
    4. We have made changes to maps, units, and the rule itself. In 
total, the final critical habitat designation has decreased from the 
proposed rule by 87.8 km (54.5 mi). The new unit descriptions are 
provided below in the Final Critical Habitat Designation section:
     For the units in Florida, the originally numbered Units 
LOGG-T-FL-01 to LOGG-T-FL-47 have been renumbered in the final rule as 
Units LOGG-T-FL-01 to LOGG-T-FL-45 by shifting up one to two numbers. 
This is due to the exclusion of the entire originally proposed Units 
LOGG-T-FL-02 and LOGG-T-FL-05 based on their inclusion in HCPs (see 
above). In addition, these exclusions resulted in a decrease from the 
proposed rule of 87.2 km (54.3 mi) of designated critical habitat for 
the DPS (see Table 2 in the Exclusions section).
     Based on information we received from the NPS regarding 
Garden Key in the LOGG-T-FL-34--Dry Tortugas, Monroe County, Florida, 
we revised the unit description and corresponding map to more 
accurately reflect the availability of nesting habitat for the DPS. 
This revision resulted in a 0.6 km (0.2 mi) decrease in the total 
length of the unit.

Background

    It is our intent to discuss in this final rule only those topics 
directly relevant to the designation of critical habitat. Please refer 
to the final listing rule for the DPS published on September 22, 2011 
(76 FR 58868), and proposed critical habitat designation for the DPS 
published March 25, 2013 (78 FR 18000), for a summary of the species 
and habitat information. Additional information on the associated draft 
economic analysis for the designation was published in the Federal 
Register on July 18, 2013 (78 FR 42921). For more information on the 
taxonomy, biology, and ecology of the loggerhead sea turtle, refer to 
the Recovery Plan for the Northwest Atlantic Population of the 
Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) (NMFS and USFWS 2008, entire), 
which is available from the North Florida Ecological Services Office 
(see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

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 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 take.
    Critical habitat receives protection under section 7 of the Act 
through the requirement that Federal agencies ensure that, in 
consultation with USFWS or NMFS, 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.
    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

[[Page 39771]]

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 or 
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 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. We designate critical habitat in areas outside the 
geographical area occupied by a species only when a designation limited 
to its range would be inadequate to ensure the conservation of the 
species.
    Section 4 of the Act requires that we designate critical habitat on 
the basis of the best scientific and commercial 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, will continue to be subject to: (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 insure 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 PBFs 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, we have 
determined that it is important to conserve:
    (1) Beaches that have the highest nesting densities 
(representation);
    (2) Beaches that have a good 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 PBFs are essential 
for the loggerhead sea turtle.

PBF 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

[[Page 39772]]

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 inter-nesting 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 currents for dispersal) (Georges et al. 1993, p. 
2).
    Terrestrial nesting habitat is the supralittoral zone (area above 
the spring high tide line) 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 (Witherington et al. 2006, entire). 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 re-nest in relatively close 
proximity (0-5 km (0-3 mi)) 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 
(Addison 1996, p. 76; Miller et al. 2003, pp. 127-128). On a regional 
level, in the southeastern U.S., nesting density can also be influenced 
by the distance to the Gulf Stream System (Putman et al. 2010, p. 4). 
Thus, a high-density nesting beach is the product of the distance from 
the Gulf Stream, site fidelity and nesting success. A spatiotemporal 
analysis of the Florida Index Nesting Beaches concluded that fine scale 
high and low density nesting zones were consistent over the 17-year 
time series. This suggests that nesting density distribution is a 
product of both nest site fidelity and specific beach attributes 
(Witherington et al. 2009, entire). 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[emsp14][deg]F and 89.6[emsp14][deg]F), a change of 1 [deg]C 
(33.8[emsp14][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[emsp14][deg]F) (Limpus et al. 1983, p. 
3; Mrosovsky 1988, pp. 664-666; Marcovaldi et al. 1997, pp. 758-759).

[[Page 39773]]

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 sea-finding 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 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 sea-finding 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).
    Since loggerheads nest on dynamic ocean beaches that may be 
significantly degraded or lost through natural processes (e.g., 
erosion) or human-related actions (e.g., development, armoring, 
lighting), the designation of currently occupied nesting beaches 
adjacent to the highest density nesting beaches as critical habitat 
will help ensure the availability of nesting habitat if the 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 well distributed within the four recovery units in which 
critical habitat is being designated and are representative of total 
nesting to be a PBF for the species.

PBF 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 (Daniels et al. 1993, pp. 380-384; 
Fuentes et al. 2009, pp. 136-137; Poloczanska et al. 2009, pp. 160-161; 
Bender et al. 2010, p. 458).
    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 (Hawkes et al. 2009, pp. 139-
140; Poloczanska et al. 2009, p. 169).
    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 PBF 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 PBFs 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 PCEs to be 
those specific elements of the PBFs that provide for a species' life-
history processes and are essential to the conservation of the species.
    Based on our current knowledge of the PBFs and habitat 
characteristics required to sustain the species' life-history 
processes, we determine that the terrestrial PCEs specific to the DPS 
are the extra-tidal or dry sandy beaches

[[Page 39774]]

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 four components:
    (1) PCE 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) PCE 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.
    (3) PCE 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.
    (4) PCE 4--Natural coastal processes or artificially created or 
maintained habitat mimicking natural conditions. This includes 
artificial habitat types that mimic the natural conditions described in 
PCEs 1 to 3 above for beach access, nest site selection, nest 
construction, egg deposition and incubation, and hatchling emergence 
and movement to the sea. Habitat modification and loss occurs with 
beach stabilization activities that prevent the natural transfer and 
erosion and accretion of sediments along the ocean shoreline. Beach 
stabilization efforts that may impact loggerhead nesting include beach 
nourishment, beach maintenance, sediment dredging and disposal, inlet 
channelization, and construction of jetties and other hard structures. 
However, when sand placement activities result in beach habitat that 
mimics the natural beach habitat conditions, impacts to sea turtle 
nesting habitat are minimized.

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 and which may require special management considerations or 
protection.
    For loggerhead sea turtle terrestrial habitat, the features 
essential to the conservation of this species may require special 
management considerations or protection to reduce the following 
threats, which we have grouped 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) Lights on land or in the adjacent water, which can deter 
nesting and disorient hatchlings and nesting females, direct or 
indirect lighting visible from the nesting beach, including skyglow and 
bonfires, particularly artificial lighting that has an unshielded lamp 
and a short wave length (below 540 nm).
    (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).
    The threats described above do not equate to prohibitions of the 
continued and future implementation of such activities. These primary 
threats are categories of activities that may impact the habitat and 
its physical or biological features, and may require special management 
considerations or protection. Such measures will be considered on a 
unit by unit basis and will be dependent on what measures are already 
in place and the potential impacts to the habitat by a proposed Federal 
action (or an action that is funded or permitted by a Federal agency).

Recreational Beach Use

    Beach cleaning: There is increasing demand in the southeastern 
U.S., 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

[[Page 39775]]

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 FDEP 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 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 non-nesting 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 
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 U.S., 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 U.S. 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 Walton County, which allows limited 
vehicular access on beaches for boat launching. Volusia and St. Johns 
Counties 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 
USFWS 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 U.S. 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 U.S., 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 longest standing beach management programs in the southeastern 
U.S. have focused on reducing the destruction of nests by natural and 
introduced predators. Most major nesting beaches in the southeastern 
U.S. 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

[[Page 39776]]

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 SPBO for the USACE 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 pre-
nourished 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; Brock et al. 2009, p. 302), 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; Mota 2009, p. 
129). During the first post-construction 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 post-construction 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 post-
construction year and result from 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 (Ernest and Martin 1999, p. 85).

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. Breakwaters placed parallel to the shore have been used as 
well. 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 
(Kaufman and Pilkey 1979, p. 194; Komar 1983, p. 191; National Research 
Council 1987, pp. 73-74; Howard and Davis 1999, pp. 6-7).
    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.
    Nesting beach may be lost due to the dredging of spits that have 
accreted and become a hindrance to navigation. The sand may not be lost 
from the system if appropriate best management practices are used. For 
example, sand elsewhere in the system will continue to play a role in 
downdrift habitat protection.

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 U.S., 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 mi)) in North Carolina (Godfrey 
2013, pers. comm.), 12 percent (29 km (18.0 mi)) in South Carolina 
(Griffin 2009, pers. comm.), 9 percent (14 km (8.7 mi)) in Georgia 
(Dodd 2013, pers. comm.), 18 percent (239 km (148.4 mi)) in Florida 
(Schroeder and Mosier 2000, p. 291), 6 percent (7.5 km (4.7 mi)) in

[[Page 39777]]

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 post-construction 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 (FWC, 
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 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 6 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 
(FWC, 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 U.S., 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. The FWC, 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 Ocean 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 pre-emergent 
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 (Milton et al. 1994, pp. 978-980; Pike 
and Stiner 2007, p. 2).
    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 USACE. Emergency beach sand placement 
activities conducted under the USFWS's SPBO for the USACE 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.

[[Page 39778]]

Climate Change

    Climate change has the potential to impact loggerhead sea turtles 
in the Northwest Atlantic, affecting nesting habitat availability, 
temperature dependent sex ratios, timing of the nesting season, and 
increased erosion from frequent intense storm events (Bender et al. 
2010, p. 458; Weishampel et al. 2004, p. 1426; Hawkes et al. 2009, pp. 
139-141; Reese et al. 2013, pp. 269-271). 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). Another study suggested that annual nesting numbers represent a 
delayed response in association with the onset of protection efforts 
(Arendt et al. 2013, p. 7). 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; Fuentes et al. 2009, p. 137). Global sea level is 
projected to rise in the 21st century at an even greater rate. In the 
southeastern U.S., 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; Witt et al. 2009, p. 
901).
    Potential impacts of climate change to the Northwest Atlantic Ocean 
loggerhead DPS 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 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 Ocean. 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.
    Juvenile loggerhead turtles and adult females have been tracked and 
known to forage in the Gulf of Mexico (Mansfield

[[Page 39779]]

2006, p. 4; Foley et al. 2008, pp. 75-76; Turtle Expert Working Group 
2009, pp. 30-39). 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 DOD under section 7 of the Act on INRMPs, 
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. In accordance 
with the Act and our implementing regulation at 50 CFR 424.12(b) we 
review available information pertaining to the habitat requirements of 
the species and identify occupied areas at the time of listing that 
contain the features essential to the conservation of the species. 
Here, we are designating 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 designating 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 U.S. 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; this time period represents the most consistent and 
standardized nest count surveys (FWC 2012, entire; GDNR 2012, entire; 
Gulf Islands National Seashore 2012a, entire; Gulf Islands National 
Seashore 2012b, entire; NCWRC 2012, entire; Share the Beach 2012, 
entire; SCDNR 2012, entire). Nesting data were collected through a 
network of volunteers, private conservation groups, consultants, 
academics, local governments, Federal agencies, and Park Services. We 
collaborated with our State Technical Advisors in North Carolina, South 
Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. As the coordinators of the nesting 
surveys in those states, they provided information on the survey 
efforts and consistency for those specific locations to ensure our 
analysis accurately reflected the nesting survey effort for those 
states. We collected information on nesting data directly from one 
organization of volunteers in Alabama and the National Park Service in 
Mississippi.
    As described in the Background section above, five recovery units 
have been identified for the Northwest Atlantic DPS 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 U.S. 
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 since 2003 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). 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 designate any 
critical habitat there due to the very low number of nests laid there. 
Therefore, the four recovery units for which we designate 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 designated as critical habitat are currently 
occupied by the loggerhead sea turtle, occur within the species' 
geographical range,

[[Page 39780]]

and contain the PBFs, as well as the PCEs sufficient to support the 
terrestrial life-history processes of the species.
    Within each of the four recovery units, the beaches having the 
highest nesting densities were selected. The selected beaches represent 
a good spatial distribution that will help ensure the protection of 
genetic diversity, and collectively provide a good representation of 
total nesting. In addition, the beaches adjacent to the high-density 
nesting beaches were selected because they 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 designated for terrestrial 
habitat will conserve recovery units of the DPS 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 each recovery 
unit, we looked at nesting densities as described below 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. For the Dry Tortugas Recovery 
Unit, all islands west of Key West where loggerhead nesting has been 
documented has been designated as 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 island 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 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 did not 
designate any critical habitat there due to the very low number of 
nests (less than 10 annually from 1992 to 2011) laid in the State 
(Mansfield 2006, pp. 131-133).
    We also identified adjacent beaches for each of the high-density 
nesting beaches based on current knowledge about nest site fidelity 
(Ehrhart 1980, p. 87; Murphy and Hopkins-Murphy 1990, 123-124; 
Schroeder et al. 2003, pp. 118-119). 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 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 mi) 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 that used for the Northern Recovery Unit using nest counts 
from 2006-2011 collected under the Florida Statewide Index Nesting 
Beach program. 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 U.S., 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 et al. 2012, p. 158). 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 et al. 2012, p. 158).
    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 et al. 
2012, p. 158):
    (1) Northern Florida--Florida-Georgia border to Ponce Inlet;
    (2) Central Eastern Florida--Ponce Inlet to Fort Pierce Inlet;

[[Page 39781]]

    (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 
mi). In Southwest Florida, Tucker (2010, p. 51) reported a mean nest 
site fidelity of 28.1 km (17.5 mi) for all nests, but 16.9 km (10.5 mi) 
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 mi) to further separate out 
beach segments. We used this 20.0-km (12.4-mi) 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 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 
mi) to the north and 20.0 km (12.4 mi) 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 designating as critical habitat address 
this need for good spatial distribution of nesting. In addition, these 
beaches are unique from the other beaches we are designating 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 (Putman et al. 
2010, p. 3634; Mansfield and Putman 2013, pp. 192-193).
    We identified 37 units in the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit for 
designation as 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). 
Additionally, we have excluded two units and portions of three others 
per the Secretary's discretion under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see 
Exclusions section below). The remaining 33 units encompass 277.6 km 
(172.5 mi) of Atlantic Ocean shoreline and 198.8 km (123.5 mi) of Gulf 
of Mexico shoreline totaling 426.4 km (296 mi) of shoreline in this 
recovery unit: 16 units occur along the Atlantic Ocean coast, and 17 
units occur along the Gulf of Mexico coast. These 33 units encompass 
approximately 86 percent of the documented nesting (numbers of nests) 
within the recovery unit.

Dry Tortugas Recovery Unit

    For the Dry Tortugas Recovery Unit, we designate as critical 
habitat all islands west of Key West, Florida, where loggerhead nesting 
has been documented due to the extremely small size of this recovery 
unit. We identified four units in the Dry Tortugas Recovery Unit for 
designation as critical habitat for the loggerhead sea turtle. These 
four units encompass 14.0 km (8.7 mi) 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.

[[Page 39782]]

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. 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 because 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 each location, 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. During the selection process, there was preliminary 
information on nest site fidelity available for the Northern Gulf of 
Mexico Recovery Unit, but 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 mi) to further separate out beach segments 
based on available information on nest site fidelity. We used this 
20.0-km (12.4-mi) target in concert with sea turtle permit holder 
nesting survey area boundaries to delineate beaches for the nesting 
density analysis. Since then, Hart et al. (2013, pp. 11-12) found the 
mean distances between the nest sites of individual loggerhead sea 
turtles; with the reported average of females nesting on the Gulf of 
Mexico coast as 27.5 km (14.8 mi) with a range of 0.1 to 402.1 km (0.1 
to 217.1 mi). Even though nest site fidelity for the Northern Gulf of 
Mexico Recovery Unit is slightly higher than the Peninsula Florida 
Recovery Unit, our use of the 20.0 km (12.4 mi) for nest site fidelity 
falls within the realm of acceptable site fidelity in this Recovery 
Unit considering outliers and is considered sufficient for 
conservation.
    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 
NPS 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 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 did not 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 mi) to 
the west and 20.0 km (12.4 mi) 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 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 mi) 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.
    For all units, when determining 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 
PBFs 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 final rule have been excluded by 
text in the final rule and are not designated as critical habitat. A 
Federal action involving these lands would not trigger

[[Page 39783]]

section 7 consultation with respect to critical habitat and the 
requirement of no adverse modification unless the specific action would 
affect the PBFs in the adjacent critical habitat.
    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 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.

Final Critical Habitat Designation

    We are designating approximately 1,102.1 km (684.8 mi) in 88 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 
areas owned or controlled by DOD that are subject to INRMP's determined 
to provide a benefit to the species (see Exemptions section below). 
Additionally, under 4(b)(2) of the Act, we are excluding 2 units and 
portions of 3 units that were identified in the proposed rule for 
possible inclusion as critical habitat (see Exclusions 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 DPS. The 88 areas we designate 
as critical habitat and the approximate shoreline length and Federal, 
State, and private and other (counties and municipalities) ownership of 
each critical habitat unit are shown in Table 1.
    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/, and at the field office responsible for the 
designation at http://www.fws.gov/northflorida, (see FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT above).

            Table 1--Designated 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 by the loggerhead sea turtle. Note: For units in Florida, originally
numbered Units LOGG-T-FL-01 to LOGG-T-FL-47 have been renumbered in the final rule as Units LOGG-T-FL-01 to LOGG-
                                                    T-FL-45]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                   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)

[[Page 39784]]

 
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-County      11.5 (7.1)           0 (0)           0 (0)       11.5 (7.1)
 line at Duval and St. Johns Counties..........
LOGG-T-FL-02: Fort Matanzas National Monument,        1.4 (0.9)       1.4 (0.9)           0 (0)            0 (0)
 St. Johns County..............................
LOGG-T-FL-03: 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-04: Canaveral National Seashore           18.2 (11.3)     18.2 (11.3)           0 (0)            0 (0)
 North, Volusia County.........................
LOGG-T-FL-05: 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-06: Central Brevard Beaches, Brevard      19.5 (12.1)           0 (0)           0 (0)      19.5 (12.1)
 County........................................
LOGG-T-FL-07: South Brevard Beaches, Brevard        20.8 (12.9)       4.2 (2.6)       1.5 (1.0)       15.0 (9.3)
 County........................................
LOGG-T-FL-08: Sebastian Inlet State Park-Archie       4.1 (2.5)       0.9 (0.6)       3.2 (2.0)            0 (0)
 Carr NWR South, Indian River County...........
LOGG-T-FL-09: 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-10: 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-11: 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-12: Lake Worth Inlet-Boynton Inlet,       24.3 (15.1)           0 (0)           0 (0)      24.3 (15.1)
 Palm Beach County.............................
LOGG-T-FL-13: Boynton Inlet-Boca Raton Inlet,       22.6 (14.1)           0 (0)           0 (0)      22.6 (14.1)
 Palm Beach County.............................
LOGG-T-FL-14: 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-15: Long Key, Monroe County..........       4.2 (2.6)           0 (0)       4.2 (2.6)            0 (0)
LOGG-T-FL-16: Bahia Honda Key, Monroe County...       3.7 (2.3)           0 (0)       3.7 (2.3)            0 (0)
LOGG-T-FL-17: Longboat Key, Manatee and              16.0 (9.9)           0 (0)           0 (0)       16.0 (9.9)
 Sarasota Counties.............................
LOGG-T-FL-18: Siesta and Casey Keys, Sarasota       20.8 (13.0)           0 (0)           0 (0)      20.8 (13.0)
 County........................................
LOGG-T-FL-19: 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-20: 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-21: Gasparilla Island, Charlotte and       11.2 (6.9)           0 (0)       1.5 (1.0)        9.6 (6.0)
 Lee Counties..................................
LOGG-T-FL-22: Cayo Costa, Lee County...........      13.5 (8.4)           0 (0)      13.2 (8.2)        0.3 (0.2)
LOGG-T-FL-23: Captiva Island, Lee County.......       7.6 (4.7)           0 (0)           0 (0)        7.6 (4.7)
LOGG-T-FL-24: Sanibel Island West, Lee County..      12.2 (7.6)           0 (0)           0 (0)       12.2 (7.6)
LOGG-T-FL-25: Little Hickory Island, Lee and          8.7 (5.4)           0 (0)           0 (0)        8.7 (5.4)
 Collier Counties..............................
LOGG-T-FL-26: Wiggins Pass-Clam Pass, Collier         7.7 (4.8)           0 (0)       2.0 (1.2)        5.7 (3.6)
 County........................................
LOGG-T-FL-27: Clam Pass-Doctors Pass, Collier         4.9 (3.0)           0 (0)           0 (0)        4.9 (3.0)
 County........................................
LOGG-T-FL-28: 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-29: Cape Romano, Collier County......       9.2 (5.7)           0 (0)       7.2 (4.5)        2.0 (1.2)
LOGG-T-FL-30: Ten Thousand Islands North,             7.8 (4.9)       2.9 (1.8)       4.9 (3.1)            0 (0)
 Collier County................................
LOGG-T-FL-31: Highland Beach, Monroe County....       7.2 (4.5)       7.2 (4.5)           0 (0)            0 (0)

[[Page 39785]]

 
LOGG-T-FL-32: Graveyard Creek-Shark Point,            0.9 (0.6)       0.9 (0.6)           0 (0)            0 (0)
 Monroe County.................................
LOGG-T-FL-33: Cape Sable, Monroe County........     21.3 (13.2)     21.3 (13.2)           0 (0)            0 (0)
                                                ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Florida State Totals.......................   476.4 (296.0)     90.3 (56.1)     69.8 (43.4)    316.3 (196.5)
                                                ----------------------------------------------------------------
        Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit Totals   476.4 (296.0)     90.3 (56.1)     69.8 (43.4)    316.3 (196.5)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           Dry Tortugas Recovery Unit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                     Florida
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LOGG-T-FL-34: Dry Tortugas, Monroe County......       5.7 (3.6)       5.7 (3.6)           0 (0)            0 (0)
LOGG-T-FL-35: Marquesas Keys, Monroe County....       5.6 (3.5)       5.6 (3.5)           0 (0)            0 (0)
LOGG-T-FL-36: Boca Grande Key, Monroe County...       1.3 (0.8)       1.3 (0.8)           0 (0)            0 (0)
LOGG-T-FL-37: Woman Key, Monroe County.........       1.3 (0.8)       1.3 (0.8)           0 (0)            0 (0)
                                                ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Florida State Totals.......................      14.0 (8.7)      14.0 (8.7)           0 (0)            0 (0)
                                                ----------------------------------------------------------------
        Dry Tortugas Recovery Unit Totals......      14.0 (8.7)      14.0 (8.7)           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..........................
                                                ----------------------------------------------------------------
    Alabama State Totals.......................     42.0 (26.1)       5.4 (3.4)       8.2 (5.1)      28.3 (17.6)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                     Florida
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LOGG-T-FL-38: Perdido Key, Escambia County.....     20.2 (12.6)      11.0 (6.8)       2.5 (1.6)        6.7 (4.2)
LOGG-T-FL-39: 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-40: St. Joseph Peninsula, Gulf County     23.5 (14.6)           0 (0)      15.5 (9.7)        8.0 (4.9)
LOGG-T-FL-41: Cape San Blas, Gulf County.......      11.0 (6.8)           0 (0)       0.1 (0.1)       10.8 (6.7)
LOGG-T-FL-42: St. Vincent Island, Franklin           15.1 (9.4)      15.1 (9.4)           0 (0)            0 (0)
 County........................................
LOGG-T-FL-43: Little St. George Island,              15.4 (9.6)           0 (0)      15.4 (9.6)            0 (0)
 Franklin County...............................
LOGG-T-FL-44: St. George Island, Franklin           30.7 (19.1)           0 (0)      14.0 (8.7)      16.7 (10.4)
 County:.......................................
LOGG-T-FL-45: 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. All units were occupied at the time of listing and are currently 
occupied. All units contain all of the PBFs and PCEs.

Northern Recovery Unit

North Carolina

    LOGG-T-NC-01--Bogue Banks, Carteret County: This unit consists of 
38.9 km (24.2 mi) 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 supports expansion of nesting from an 
adjacent unit (LOGG-T-NC-02) that has high-density nesting by 
loggerhead

[[Page 39786]]

sea turtles in North Carolina. 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 mi) 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 has high-
density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in North Carolina. 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 mi) 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 has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea 
turtles in North Carolina. 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 mi) 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 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 supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit 
(LOGG-T-NC-03) that has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles 
in North Carolina. 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 mi) 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 supports expansion of 
nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-NC-06) that has high-density 
nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in North Carolina. 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 mi) 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, 77.94408W (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 has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea 
turtles in North Carolina. 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 mi) 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

[[Page 39787]]

secondary dune or developed structures. Land in this unit is in private 
and other ownership (see Table 1). This unit has high-density nesting 
by loggerhead sea turtles in North Carolina. 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 mi) 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 supports expansion of nesting from 
an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-NC-07) that has high-density nesting by 
loggerhead sea turtles in North Carolina. 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 mi) 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 SCDNR. 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. 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. 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 mi) 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 SCDNR. This unit has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles 
in South Carolina. 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 mi) 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 SCDNR. This unit has high-density 
nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in South Carolina. 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 mi) 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 SCDNR. 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. 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 (SCDNR 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 mi) 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 SCDNR. This unit

[[Page 39788]]

supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-SC-06) that 
has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in South Carolina. 
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 
(SCDNR 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 mi) 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 has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in South 
Carolina. It is the highest nesting density beach in the Northern 
Recovery Unit. 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 (CCP) 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-07--Lighthouse Island, Charleston County: This unit 
consists of 5.3 km (3.3 mi) 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 has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in 
South Carolina. 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 CCP 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 mi) 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 supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-
SC-07) that has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in South 
Carolina. 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 CCP 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 mi) 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 supports expansion of nesting 
from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-SC-10) that has high-density nesting by 
loggerhead sea turtles in South Carolina. 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 mi) 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 has high-density 
nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in South Carolina. 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).

[[Page 39789]]

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 mi) 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 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. 
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 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 mi) 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 SCDNR.
    This unit has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in 
South Carolina. 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 (SCDNR 2009, p. 12).
    LOGG-T-SC-13--Interlude Beach, Charleston County: This unit 
consists of 0.9 km (0.6 mi) 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 
SCDNR. 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. 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 (SCDNR 2009, p. 12).
    LOGG-T-SC-14--Edingsville Beach, Charleston County: This unit 
consists of 2.7 km (1.7 mi) 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 
has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in South Carolina. 
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 mi) 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 has 
high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in South Carolina. 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 mi) 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

[[Page 39790]]

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 supports expansion of 
nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-SC-15) that has high-density 
nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in South Carolina. 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, 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 mi) 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 SCDNR as part of the Ashepoo-Combahee-
Edisto (ACE) Basin National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR). 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. 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 mi) 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 SCDNR. 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. 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 mi) 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 supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit 
(LOGG-T-SC-18) that has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles 
in South Carolina. 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 mi) 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 
supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-SC-21) that 
has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in South Carolina. 
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 mi) 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 has high-density nesting by 
loggerhead sea turtles in South Carolina. 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 mi) 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, 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

[[Page 39791]]

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 supports 
expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-SC-21) that has 
high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in South Carolina. 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 mi) 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 GDNR and 
managed by The Nature Conservancy as the Little Tybee Island Natural 
Heritage Preserve. 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. 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 GDNR signed a Memorandum of Agreement with 
the USFWS, NPS, 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 (GDRN 1994, pp. 
6-9).
    LOGG-T-GA-02--Wassaw Island, Chatham County: This unit consists of 
10.1 km (6.3 mi) 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 has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea 
turtles in Georgia. 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 CCP 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 GDNR, NPS, 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 (GDNR 1994, pp. 6-9).
    LOGG-T-GA-03--Ossabaw Island, Chatham County: This unit consists of 
17.1 km (10.6 mi) 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 GDNR. This unit has high-density 
nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in Georgia. 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 (GDNR 2001, pp. 
37, 40, 43). The GDNR signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the USFWS, 
NPS, 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 (GDNR 1994, pp. 6-9).
    LOGG-T-GA-04--St. Catherines Island, Liberty County: This unit 
consists of 18.4 km (11.5 mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
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 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. 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 GDNR, USFWS, NPS, Jekyll Island Authority, City of Tybee Island, 
Glynn County, Little Cumberland Island Homeowners Association, and 
Little St. Simons

[[Page 39792]]

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 (GDNR 1994, pp. 6-9).
    LOGG-T-GA-05--Blackbeard Island, McIntosh County: This unit 
consists of 13.5 km (8.4 mi) 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 has high-density 
nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in Georgia. 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 CCP 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 GDNR, NPS, 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 (GDNR 1994, pp. 6-9).
    LOGG-T-GA-06--Sapelo Island, McIntosh County: This unit consists of 
9.3 km (5.8 mi) 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 GDNR. 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. 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 (GDNR 1998, pp. 
5, 36, 55). The GDNR signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the USFWS, 
NPS, 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 (GDNR 1994, pp. 6-9).
    LOGG-T-GA-07--Little Cumberland Island, Camden County: This unit 
consists of 4.9 km (3.0 mi) 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 NPS. 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. 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 GDNR, USFWS, NPS, 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 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 (GDNR 1994, pp. 6-9).
    LOGG-T-GA-08--Cumberland Island, Camden County: This unit consists 
of 29.7 km (18.4 mi) 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 NPS. This unit has high-density nesting by 
loggerhead sea turtles in Georgia. 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 (NPS 
1984, pp. 22-23). The NPS signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the 
GDNR, USFWS, 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

[[Page 39793]]

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 (GDNR 1994, pp. 6-9).

Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit

    Because of the removal of the originally proposed Unit LOGG-T-FL-02 
and LOGG-T-FL-04 from the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit, originally 
numbered Units LOGG-T-FL-01 to LOGG-T-FL-35 in this Recovery Unit have 
been renumbered in the final rule as Units LOGG-T-FL-01 to LOGG-T-FL-
33.

Northern Florida Region

    LOGG-T-FL-01--South Duval County Beaches--Duval and St. Johns 
County line: This unit consists of 11.5 km (7.1 mi) 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 Duval-St. Johns County line. 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 supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent beach (St. 
Johns County beaches) that has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea 
turtles in the Northern Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida 
Recovery Unit. 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.
    This unit originally included the adjacent beaches in St. Johns 
County. However, those beaches have been excluded under Section 4(b)(2) 
of the Act because of their inclusion in the HCP for St. Johns County 
(see Exclusions Based on Other Relevant Impacts discussion below).
    LOGG-T-FL-02--Fort Matanzas National Monument, St. Johns County: 
This unit consists of 1.4 km (0.9 mi) 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 the northern boundary of Fort Matanzas National 
Monument to the southern boundary of Fort Matanzas National Monument. 
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 Fort Matanzas National Monument is managed by the 
NPS. This unit supports expansion of nesting from adjacent units (St. 
Johns County beaches and LOGG-T-FL-03) that have high-density nesting 
by loggerhead sea turtles in the Northern Florida Region of the 
Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. 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.
    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 (NPS 1982a, p. 
27). This Management Plan is being revised.
    This unit originally included the adjacent beaches in St. Johns 
County. However, those beaches have been excluded under Section 4(b)(2) 
of the Act because of their inclusion in the HCP for St. Johns County 
(see Exclusions Based on Other Relevant Impacts discussion below).
    LOGG-T-FL-03--River to Sea Preserve at Marineland--North Peninsula 
State Park, Flagler and Volusia Counties: This unit consists of 31.8 km 
(19.8 mi) 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 has high-density 
nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Northern Florida Region of the 
Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. 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).

Central Eastern Florida Region

    LOGG-T-FL-04--Canaveral National Seashore North, Volusia County: 
This unit consists of 18.2 km (11.3 mi) 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 is in Federal ownership (see Table 1). It 
is part of the Canaveral National Seashore, which is managed by the 
NPS. This unit supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit 
(LOGG-T-FL-05) that has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles 
in the Central Eastern Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida 
Recovery Unit. 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 (NPS 
1982b, p. 52).
    LOGG-T-FL-05--Canaveral National Seashore South-Merritt Island NWR-
Kennedy Space Center, Brevard County: This unit consists of 28.4 km 
(17.6 mi) 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

[[Page 39794]]

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 
NPS. The southern portion is part of Merritt Island NWR-Kennedy Space 
Center, which is managed by USFWS. 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.)
    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 (NPS 
1982b, p. 52). Merritt Island NWR has a CCP 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-06--Central Brevard Beaches, Brevard County: This unit 
consists of 19.5 km (12.1 mi) 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 has high-density nesting by loggerhead 
sea turtles in the Central Eastern Florida Region of the Peninsular 
Florida Recovery Unit. 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-07--South Brevard Beaches, Brevard County: This unit 
consists of 20.8 km (12.9 mi) 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 has high-
density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Central Eastern 
Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. 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 CCP 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-08--Sebastian Inlet State Park-Archie Carr NWR South, 
Indian River County: This unit consists of 4.1 km (2.6 mi) 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 includes Sebastian Inlet State Park and parcels within the 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 Federal 
and State 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 the FDEP. 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. 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 CCP 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).

Southeastern Florida Region

    LOGG-T-FL-09--Fort Pierce Inlet-St. Lucie Inlet, St. Lucie and 
Martin Counties: This unit consists of 35.2 km (21.9 mi) 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

[[Page 39795]]

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 has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the 
Southeastern Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. 
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-10--St. Lucie Inlet-Jupiter Inlet, Martin and Palm Beach 
Counties: This unit consists of 24.9 km (15.5 mi) 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 has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the 
Southeastern Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit.
    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 CCP 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-11--Jupiter Inlet-Lake Worth Inlet, Palm Beach County: 
This unit consists of 18.8 km (11.7 mi) 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 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. 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-12--Lake Worth Inlet-Boynton Inlet, Palm Beach County: 
This unit consists of 24.3 km (15.1 mi) 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 has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles 
in the Southeastern Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery 
Unit. 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-13--Boynton Inlet-Boca Raton Inlet, Palm Beach County: 
This unit consists of 22.6 km (14.1 mi) 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

[[Page 39796]]

municipality portion includes Spanish River Park, Red Reef Park, and 
South Beach Park, which are managed by the City of Boca Raton. This 
unit supports expansion of nesting from adjacent units (LOGG-T-FL-12 
and LOGG-T-FL-14) that have high-density nesting by loggerhead sea 
turtles in the Southeastern Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida 
Recovery Unit. 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-14--Boca Raton Inlet-Hillsboro Inlet, Palm Beach and 
Broward Counties: This unit consists of 8.3 km (5.2 mi) 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 has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the 
Southeastern Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. 
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--Long Key, Monroe County: This unit consists of 4.2 km 
(2.6 mi) 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 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. 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 2004, pp. 
18-19).
    LOGG-T-FL-16--Bahia Honda Key, Monroe County: This unit consists of 
3.7 km (2.3 mi) 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 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 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. 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-17--Longboat Key, Manatee and Sarasota Counties: This 
unit consists of 16.0 km (9.9 mi) 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 supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-
FL-18) that has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the 
Central Western Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. 
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-18--Siesta and Casey Keys, Sarasota County: This unit 
consists of 20.8 km (13.0 mi) 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 has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea 
turtles in the Central Western Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida 
Recovery Unit. The PBFs in this unit may require special management 
considerations or protections to ameliorate the threats of recreational

[[Page 39797]]

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-19--Venice Beaches and Manasota Key, Sarasota and 
Charlotte Counties: This unit consists of 26.0 km (16.1 mi) 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 has 
high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Central Western 
Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. 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-20--Knight, Don Pedro, and Little Gasparilla Islands, 
Charlotte County: This unit consists of 10.8 km (6.7 mi) 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 has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea 
turtles in the Central Western Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida 
Recovery Unit. 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 anthropogenic disturbances (FDEP 2001a, pp. 
16-20).
    LOGG-T-FL-21--Gasparilla Island, Charlotte and Lee Counties: This 
unit consists of 11.2 km (6.9 mi) 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 has high-density 
nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Central Western Florida Region 
of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. 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-22--Cayo Costa, Lee County: This unit consists of 13.5 km 
(8.4 mi) 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 
supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-FL-21) that 
has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Central 
Western Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. 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-23--Captiva Island, Lee County: This unit consists of 7.6 
km (4.7 mi) 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 supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit 
(LOGG-T-FL-24) that has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles 
in the Central Western Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida 
Recovery Unit. 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-24--Sanibel Island West, Lee County: This unit consists 
of 12.2 km (7.6 mi) 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

[[Page 39798]]

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 has high-
density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Central Western 
Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. 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-25--Little Hickory Island, Lee and Collier Counties: This 
unit consists of 8.7 km (5.4 mi) 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 
supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-FL-24) that 
has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Southwestern 
Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. 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-26--Wiggins Pass--Clam Pass, Collier County: This unit 
consists of 7.7 km (4.8 mi) 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 (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 supports 
expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-FL-28) that has 
high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Southwestern 
Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. 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 2009, pp. 16-23).
    LOGG-T-FL-27--Clam Pass--Doctors Pass, Collier County: This unit 
consists of 4.9 km (3.0 mi) 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 supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-
FL-28) that has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the 
Southwestern Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. 
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-28-Keewaydin Island and Sea Oat Island, Collier County: 
This unit consists of 13.1 km (8.1 mi) 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 has high-density 
nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Southwestern Florida Region of 
the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. 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-29--Cape Romano, Collier County: This unit consists of 
9.2 km (5.7 mi) 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 mi) 
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 mi) of 
shoreline. Morgan

[[Page 39799]]

Key is in State ownership (as part of Rookery Bay NERR) and other 
ownership. It has 0.7 km (0.4 mi) of shoreline. Carr Island is in State 
ownership and is part of Rookery Bay NERR. It has 0.3 km (0.2 mi) of 
shoreline. Cape Romano is in State ownership (as part of Rookery Bay 
NERR) and other ownership. It has 2.9 km (1.8 mi) 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 has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the 
Southwestern Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. 
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 such as the Conservancy of Southwest Florida 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-30--Ten Thousand Islands North, Collier County: This unit 
consists of 7.8 km (4.9 mi) 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 
mi) of shoreline. Brush Island is in State ownership and is part of 
Rookery Bay NERR. It has 0.6 km (0.4 mi) 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 mi) 
of shoreline. Turtle Key is in State ownership and is part of Rookery 
Bay NERR. It has 0.5 km (0.3 mi) of shoreline. Gullivan Key is in State 
ownership and is part of Rookery Bay NERR. It has 1.1 km (0.7 mi) of 
shoreline. White Horse Key is in State ownership and is part of Rookery 
Bay NERR. It has 1.6 km (1.0 mi) 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 mi) of shoreline. Panther Key is 
in Federal ownership and is part of Ten Thousand Islands NWR. It has 
2.0 km (1.3 mi) of shoreline. Round Key is in Federal ownership and is 
part Ten Thousand Islands NWR. It has 0.3 km (0.2 mi) 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 supports 
expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-FL-29) that has 
high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Southwestern 
Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. 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 CCP 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-31--Highland Beach, Monroe County: This unit consists of 
7.2 km (4.5 mi) 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 NPS. This unit supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent 
unit (LOGG-T-FL-32) that has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea 
turtles in the Southwestern Florida Region of the Peninsular Florida 
Recovery Unit. 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-32--Graveyard Creek-Shark Point, Monroe County: This unit 
consists of 0.9 km (0.6 mi) 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 NPS. This unit has high-density 
nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Southwestern Florida Region of 
the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit. 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-33--Cape Sable, Monroe County: This unit consists of 21.3 
km (13.2 mi) 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 NPS. The unit 
includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the secondary dune or 
developed structures. This unit has high-density nesting by loggerhead 
sea turtles in the Southwestern Florida Region of the Peninsular 
Florida Recovery Unit. 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

[[Page 39800]]

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

    Because of the removal of the originally proposed Unit LOGG-T-FL-02 
and LOGG-T-FL-04 from the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit, originally 
numbered Units LOGG-T-FL-36 to LOGG-T-FL-39 in the Dry Tortugas 
Recovery Unit have been renumbered in the final rule as Units LOGG-T-
FL-34 to LOGG-T-FL-37.
    LOGG-T-FL-34--Dry Tortugas, Monroe County: This unit consists of 
5.7 km (3.6 mi) 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 mi) 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 
mi) of beach. Garden Key, the second largest island in the chain, is 
4.0 km (2.5 mi) east of Loggerhead Key and has 0.2 km (0.1 mi) of 
beach. Bush Key is located 0.1 km (0.1 mi) east of Garden Key and has 
2.0 km (1.3 mi) of beach; Bush Key is occasionally connected to Garden 
Key by a sand bar. Long Key is located 0.1 km (0.1 mi) south of the 
eastern end of Bush Key and has 0.3 km (0.2 mi) of beach; Long Key is 
occasionally connected to Bush Key by a sand bar. Hospital Key is 
located 2.5 km (1.6 mi) northeast of Garden Key and Bush Key and has 
0.2 km (0.1 mi) of beach. East Key is located 0.6 km (0.3 mi) east of 
Middle Key (Middle Key is not included in the unit) and has 0.6 km (0.3 
mi) of beach.
    The unit includes lands from the MHW line to the toe of the 
secondary dune or developed structures (such as a sea plane landing 
area, fort walls). 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 NPS. This unit was included because of the extremely small size of 
the Dry Tortugas Recovery Unit. The PBFs in this unit may require 
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 (NPS 2000, p. 38).
    LOGG-T-FL-35--Marquesas Keys, Monroe County: This unit consists of 
5.6 km (3.5 mi) 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 mi) 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 mi) 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 mi) of shoreline. Unnamed Key 2 is just south of 
Unnamed Key 1 and has 1.0 km (0.6 mi) of shoreline. Unnamed Key 3 is 
southwest of Unnamed Key 2 and has 0.5 km (0.3 mi) 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 included because of the 
extremely small size of the Dry Tortugas Recovery Unit. 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-36--Boca Grande Key, Monroe County: This unit consists of 
1.3 km (0.8 mi) 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 mi) 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 
included because of the extremely small size of the Dry Tortugas 
Recovery Unit. 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-37--Woman Key, Monroe County: This unit consists of 1.3 
km (0.8 mi) 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 mi) 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 included because of 
the extremely small size of the Dry Tortugas Recovery Unit. 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 mi) 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

[[Page 39801]]

by the NPS. 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.
    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 (NPS 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 (NPS 2011, p. 85).
    LOGG-T-MS-02--Petit Bois Island, Jackson County: This unit consists 
of 9.8 km (6.1 mi) 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 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 NPS. 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.
    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 (NPS 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 (NPS 2011, p. 85).

Alabama

    LOGG-T-AL-01--Mobile Bay-Little Lagoon Pass, Baldwin County: This 
unit consists of 28.0 km (17.4 mi) 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. Bon Secour 
NWR assists in managing one of the BLM parcels; BLM manages their 
remaining three parcels. The State portion includes Fort Morgan State 
Park, which is managed by USFWS. This unit has high-density nesting by 
loggerhead sea turtles in Alabama. 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 CCP 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 mi) 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 has high-density 
nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in Alabama. 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 mi) 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/Florida 
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 
supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit (LOGG-T-AL-02) that 
has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in Alabama. 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

    Because of the removal of the originally proposed Unit LOGG-T-FL-02 
and LOGG-T-FL-04 from the Peninsular Florida Recovery Unit, originally 
numbered Units LOGG-T-FL-40 to LOGG-T-FL-47 in the Northern Gulf of 
Mexico Recovery Unit have been renumbered in the final rule as Units 
LOGG-T-FL-38 to LOGG-T-FL-45.
    LOGG-T-FL-38--Perdido Key, Escambia County: This unit consists of 
20.2 km (12.6 mi) 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

[[Page 39802]]

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 NPS. The State portion is Perdido Key State 
Park, which is managed by FDEP. 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. 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 (NPS 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 
(NPS 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-39--Mexico Beach and St. Joe Beach, Bay and Gulf 
Counties: This unit consists of 18.7 km (11.7 mi) 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 supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit 
(LOGG-T-FL-40) that has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles 
in the Florida portion of the Northern Gulf of Mexico Recovery Unit. 
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-40--St. Joseph Peninsula, Gulf County: This unit consists 
of 23.5 km (14.6 mi) 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 has high-density nesting 
by loggerhead sea turtles in the Florida portion of the Northern Gulf 
of Mexico Recovery Unit. 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-41--Cape San Blas, Gulf County: This unit consists of 
11.0 km (6.8 mi) 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 supports expansion of nesting from adjacent units (LOGG-T-FL-
40 and LOGG-T-FL-42) that have high-density nesting by loggerhead sea 
turtles in the Florida portion of the Northern Gulf of Mexico Recovery 
Unit. 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-42--St. Vincent Island, Franklin County: This unit 
consists of 15.1 km (9.4 mi) 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 has 
high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Florida portion 
of the Northern Gulf of Mexico Recovery Unit. 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 CCP 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-43--Little St. George Island, Franklin County: This unit 
consists of 15.4 km (9.6 mi) of island shoreline along the Gulf of 
Mexico. The

[[Page 39803]]

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 has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles in the Florida 
portion of the Northern Gulf of Mexico Recovery Unit. 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 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-44--St. George Island, Franklin County: This unit 
consists of 30.7 km (19.1 mi) 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 supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent unit 
(LOGG-T-FL-43) that has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea turtles 
in the Florida portion of the Northern Gulf of Mexico Recovery Unit. 
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-45--Dog Island, Franklin County: This unit consists of 
13.1 km (8.1 mi) 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 supports expansion of nesting from an adjacent 
unit (LOGG-T-FL-43) that has high-density nesting by loggerhead sea 
turtles in the Florida portion of the Northern Gulf of Mexico Recovery 
Unit. 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 the 
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 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 Appeal 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, 245 F.3d 434 (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 
USACE 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

[[Page 39804]]

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 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 PBFs 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 USFWS's Statewide 
Programmatic Biological Opinion for the USACE 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, pier 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 DOD, 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.

Approved INRMPs

    The following areas are DOD lands with completed, USFWS-approved 
INRMPs within the critical habitat designation.
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune (Onslow Beach), NC, 12.4 km (7.7 mi)
    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

[[Page 39805]]

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).
    Camp Lejeune encompasses an estimated 57,870 hectares (ha) (143,000 
acres (ac)), 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 mi) 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 for 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 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 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. We are 
not including 12.4 km (7.7 mi) of habitat in this critical habitat 
designation because of this exemption.
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Brevard County, FL, 21.0 km (13.0 mi)
    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 DOD, 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 ha (15,800 ac). The installation's beach consists of 
21.0 km (13.0 mi) 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-06) 
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 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

[[Page 39806]]

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:
    (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 Patrick Air Force Base; 
controlling raccoons, coyotes, and feral hogs within 0.8 km (0.5 mi) of 
the beach at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station; 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 (internal instructions for 
exterior lighting management on both Patrick Air Force Base and Cape 
Canaveral Air Force Station), 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 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. We are not including 21.0 
km (13.0 mi) of habitat in this critical habitat designation because of 
this exemption.
Patrick Air Force Base, Brevard County, FL, 6.6 km (4.1 mi)
    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 ha (2,002 ac) of developed land and some coastal dune 
and estuarine habitat. The installation's beach consists of 6.6 km (4.1 
mi) 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, 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. We are not including 6.6 km (4.1 mi) of habitat in 
this critical habitat designation because of this exemption.
Eglin Air Force Base (Cape San Blas), Gulf County, FL, 4.8 km (3.0 mi)
    Eglin Air Force Base is the largest forested military reservation 
in the U.S. 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 ha (464,000 ac). 
The Eglin Military Complex includes the mainland Reservation located in 
Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, and Walton Counties, as well as a small parcel 
(389 ha (962 ac)) on Cape San Blas in Gulf County, Florida. Eglin's 
Cape San Blas parcel consists of 4.8 km (3.0 mi) 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, 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. We are not including 4.8 
km (3.0 mi) of habitat in this critical habitat designation because of 
this exemption.

[[Page 39807]]

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 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 she determines 
that the benefits of such exclusion outweigh the benefits of specifying 
such area as part of the critical habitat, unless she 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, as well as the 
legislative history, is clear that the Secretary has broad discretion 
regarding which factor(s) to use and how much weight to give to any 
factor.
    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 her discretion to exclude the area only if such exclusion 
would not result in the extinction of the species.
    When identifying the benefits of inclusion for an area, we consider 
the additional regulatory benefits that area would receive from the 
protection from adverse modification or destruction as a result of 
actions with a Federal nexus; the educational benefits of mapping 
essential habitat for recovery of the listed species; and any benefits 
that may result from a designation due to State or Federal laws that 
may apply to critical habitat. When identifying the benefits of 
exclusion, we consider, among other things, whether exclusion of a 
specific area is likely to result in conservation; the continuation, 
strengthening, or encouragement of partnerships; or implementation of a 
management plan that provides equal to or more conservation than a 
critical habitat designation would provide.
    In the case of loggerhead sea turtle, the benefits of including an 
area in critical habitat include public awareness of its presence and 
the importance of habitat protection, and in cases where a Federal 
nexus exists, increased habitat protection for the loggerhead due to 
the protection from adverse modification or destruction of critical 
habitat.
    When we evaluate the existence of a conservation plan when 
considering the benefits of exclusion, we consider a variety of 
factors, including but not limited to: Whether the plan is finalized; 
how it provides for the conservation of the essential PBFs; whether 
there is a reasonable expectation that the conservation management 
strategies and actions contained in a management plan will be 
implemented into the future; whether the conservation strategies in the 
plan are likely to be effective; and whether the plan contains a 
monitoring program or adaptive management to ensure that the 
conservation measures are effective and can be adapted in the future in 
response to new information.
    After identifying the benefits of inclusion and the benefits of 
exclusion, we balance the benefits of each side to evaluate whether the 
benefits of exclusion outweigh those of inclusion. If our analysis 
indicates that the benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of 
inclusion, we then determine whether exclusion would result in 
extinction. If exclusion of an area from critical habitat will result 
in extinction, we will not exclude it from the designation.

Exclusions Based on 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 prepared a DEA of the proposed critical 
habitat designation and related factors (Industrial Economics, 
Incorporated (IEc) 2013, entire). The draft analysis, dated July 17, 
2013, was made available for public review from July 18, 2013, through 
September 16, 2013 (78 FR 42921). Following the close of the comment 
period, a final analysis (dated December 24, 2013) of the potential 
economic effects of the designation was developed taking into 
consideration the public comments and any new information (IEc 2013, 
entire).
    The intent of FEA is to quantify the economic impacts of all 
potential conservation efforts for the loggerhead sea turtle; some of 
these costs will likely be incurred regardless of whether we designate 
critical habitat. The economic impact of the final critical habitat 
designation is analyzed by comparing scenarios both ``with critical 
habitat'' and ``without critical habitat.'' The ``without critical 
habitat'' scenario represents the baseline for the analysis, 
considering protections already in place for the species (e.g., under 
the Federal listing and other Federal, State, and local regulations). 
The baseline, therefore, represents the costs incurred regardless of 
whether critical habitat is designated. The ``with critical habitat'' 
scenario describes the incremental impacts associated specifically with 
the designation of critical habitat for the species. The incremental 
conservation efforts and associated impacts are those not expected to 
occur absent the designation of critical habitat for the species. In 
other words, the incremental costs are those attributable solely to the 
designation of critical habitat above and beyond the baseline costs; 
these are the costs we consider in the final designation of critical 
habitat. The analysis looks retrospectively at baseline impacts 
incurred since the species was listed, and forecasts both baseline and 
incremental impacts likely to occur with the designation of critical 
habitat.
    The FEA also addresses how potential economic impacts are likely to 
be distributed, including an assessment of any local or regional 
impacts of habitat conservation and the potential effects of 
conservation activities on government agencies, private businesses, and 
individuals. The FEA measures lost economic efficiency associated with 
residential and commercial development and public projects and 
activities, such as economic impacts on water management and 
transportation projects, Federal lands, small entities, and the energy 
industry. Decision-makers can use this information to assess whether 
the effects of the designation might unduly burden a particular group 
or economic sector. Finally, the FEA looks retrospectively at costs 
that have been incurred since 2011 (year of the DPS' listing) (76 FR 
58868), and considers those costs that may occur in the 10 years 
following the designation of critical habitat, which was determined to 
be the appropriate period for analysis because limited planning 
information was available for most activities to forecast activity 
levels for projects beyond a 10-year timeframe. The FEA quantifies 
economic impacts of loggerhead sea turtle conservation efforts 
associated with the following categories of activity:
    (1) Species and Habitat Management;
    (2) In-water and Coastal Construction;
    (3) Sand Placement;
    (4) Recreation;
    (5) Lighting Management;
    (6) Disaster Response;
    (7) Oil and Gas Activities; and
    (8) Offshore Renewable Energy.
    Our economic analysis did not identify any disproportionate costs 
that are likely to result from the designation. Consequently, the 
Secretary is not

[[Page 39808]]

exercising her discretion to exclude any areas from this designation of 
critical habitat for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS of the loggerhead 
sea turtle based on economic impacts.
    A copy of the FEA with supporting documents may be obtained by 
contacting the North Florida Ecological Services Office (see ADDRESSES) 
or by downloading from the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov.

Exclusions Based on National Security Impacts

    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we consider lands where a 
national security impact may exist. As discussed above, we have 
exempted from the designation of critical habitat under section 4(a)(3) 
of the Act those DOD 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 DOD within the lands designated for critical habitat 
designation. Consequently, the Secretary is not exercising her 
discretion to exclude any areas from this final designation based on 
impacts on national security.

Exclusions Based on Other Relevant Impacts

    Based on the information provided by entities identified in the 
proposed rule for potential exclusion, as well as any additional public 
comments received, we considered whether certain lands covered in three 
HCPs in Florida were appropriate for exclusion from this final 
designation pursuant to section 4(b)(2) of the Act: (1) St. Johns 
County, numbered in the proposed rule as Units LOGG-T-FL-01, LOGG-T-FL-
02, and LOGG-T-FL-03; (2) Volusia County, numbered in the proposed rule 
as Unit LOGG-T-FL-05; and (3) Indian River County, numbered in the 
proposed rule as Unit LOGG-T-FL-10. As a result of our consideration, 
we are excluding the following areas within those units covered by all 
three Counties' HCPs from critical habitat designation for the 
loggerhead sea turtle. Table 2 below provides approximate areas of 
lands that are being excluded on this basis.

 Table 2--Lands Being Excluded From Critical Habitat Under Section 4(B)(2) of the Act Based on Coverage by HCPs
 [Note: The unit numbers in this table reflect the numbering used in the proposed rule. As noted in Table 1 and
      elsewhere in this rule, critical habitat unit numbers in Florida have been renumbered based on these
                                                  exclusions.]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                            Areas meeting the    Areas excluded
                                                                              definition of      from critical
                  Unit                              Specific area           critical habitat,     habitat, in
                                                                              in  kilometers       kilometers
                                                                                 (miles)            (miles)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LOGG-T-FL-01............................  South Duval County Beaches--Old         25.2 (15.6)         13.7 (8.5)
                                           Ponte Vedra, Duval and St.
                                           Johns Counties.
LOGG-T-FL-02............................  Guana Tolomato Matanzas National        24.1 (15.0)        24.1 (15.0)
                                           Estuarine Research Reserve--St.
                                           Augustine Inlet, St. Johns
                                           County.
LOGG-T-FL-03............................  St. Augustine Inlet--Matanzas           22.4 (14.0)        21.0 (13.1)
                                           Inlet, St. Johns County.
LOGG-T-FL-05............................  Ormond-by-the-Sea--Granada Blvd,         11.1 (6.9)         11.1 (6.9)
                                           Volusia County.
LOGG-T-FL-10............................  Sebastian Inlet--Indian River           21.4 (13.3)        17.3 (10.8)
                                           Shores, Indian River County.
                                                                           -------------------------------------
    Total...............................  ................................       104.2 (64.8)        87.2 (54.3)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Land and Resource Management Plans, Conservation Plans, or Agreements 
Based on Conservation Partnerships
    We consider a current land management or conservation plan (HCP as 
well as other types) to provide adequate management or protection if it 
meets the following criteria:
    (1) The plan is complete and provides a conservation benefit for 
the species and its habitat;
    (2) There is a reasonable expectation that the conservation 
management strategies and actions will be implemented for the 
foreseeable future, based on past practices, written guidance, or 
regulations; and
    (3) The plan provides conservation strategies and measures 
consistent with currently accepted principles of conservation biology.

St. Johns County HCP

    We believe that the HCP in St. Johns County, Florida, titled ``A 
Plan for the Protection of Sea Turtles and Anastasia Island Beach Mice 
on the Beaches of St. Johns County, Florida,'' fulfills the above 
criteria, and we therefore conducted a discretionary exclusion analysis 
for the HCP.
    The HCP in St. Johns County, Florida, covers approximately 66.1 k 
(41.1 mi) of beaches along the 67.6 k (42.0-mi) coastline in the 
County. This includes the beaches in Guana River State Park, Anastasia 
State Park, and the beaches within the municipalities of St. Augustine, 
St. Augustine Beach, and Marineland. Even though the County does not 
exercise regulatory authority in the State parks or the municipalities, 
these beaches are included, because the County performs beach services 
and operates safety and/or emergency vehicles in these areas. St. Johns 
County has regulatory authority over 46.0 k (28.6 mi) of beachfront. 
Therefore, the HCP includes all beaches along St. Johns County between 
the Duval County Line on the north and the Flagler County Line on the 
south, except for those beaches fronting Fort Matanzas National 
Monument. The eastern or waterward limit of the Plan Area is the Mean 
Low Water (MLW) line of the Atlantic Ocean, and the western or landward 
boundary follows the Coastal Construction Control Line.
    The HCP covers activities associated with public vehicular beach 
access and driving issued under the County's authorization and 
potential incidental take of, among other listed species, five species 
of sea turtles (loggerhead, leatherback, green, Kemp's ridley, and 
hawksbill) for a 20-year period. The over-arching biological goal of 
the HCP is to provide a net benefit to sea turtles throughout the life 
of the incidental take permit (ITP). The proposed critical habitat 
units within the HCP coverage area included the portions of LOGG-T-FL-
01--South Duval County Beaches-Old Ponte Vedra located in St. Johns 
County, all of LOGG-T-FL-02--Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine 
Research Reserve (GTMNERR)-St. Augustine Inlet, and portions of LOGG-T-
FL-03--St. Augustine Inlet-Matanzas

[[Page 39809]]

Inlet (Table 3). The three Units total 58 km (35.2 mi).
    The measures in the HCP are intended to minimize and mitigate 
impacts to nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles as a result of 
the County-authorized beach driving. The HCP measures to minimize the 
potential for impacts to sea turtles causally related to vehicular 
access to the beach allowed under the County's authorization include:
    (1) Reducing public vehicular beach access hours during the sea 
turtle nesting season.
    (2) Installing and maintaining traffic barricades at beach ramps 
and other points to regulate vehicular access.
    (3) Monitoring and conspicuous marking of all sea turtle nests in 
the Plan Area.
    (4) Developing a standard protocol to remove vehicle ruts seaward 
of sea turtle nests during periods when hatchlings are expected to 
emerge.
    (5) Increased and dedicated enforcement of beach driving policies 
and procedures.
    (6) Developing and implementing a public awareness program.
    (7) Elevating trash receptacles on posts along public driving 
areas.
    (8) Developing and instituting a training program that must be 
attended by drivers wishing to obtain a four-wheel drive permit for 
driving north of Vilano Ramp.
    (9) Reducing public beach driving along Summer Haven.
    In addition to the minimization measures described above, the 
County will mitigate unavoidable take that might occur as the result of 
County-authorized beach driving through the following: A proactive 
Beach Lighting Management Program to align the City of St. Augustine 
Beach's lighting regulations and the County's lighting regulations; 
developing and instituting a beach horseback riding registration and 
education program; restricting Porpoise Point vehicular access to allow 
re-establishment of natural dune features at certain locations; 
establishing a single, marked driving lane; restoring the primary dune 
along certain locations; implementing a uniform and consistent sea 
turtle monitoring program; and providing funding for the HCP.
    The ITP was issued by the USFWS in 2006; annual reports have been 
received for all the years since the ITP was issued. The reports 
summarize the programs, policies and procedures implemented by St. 
Johns County during each year in support of the ITP and HCP. It 
assesses the effectiveness of these measures, identifies program 
deficiencies and describes steps that will be taken by the County to 
further improve HCP/ITP performance. Each action is provided a summary 
of implementation and an assessment with corresponding solutions 
provided. Through the annual reports, St. Johns County has shown how 
successfully they are implementing the HCP and ITP and continuing to 
improve the programs as the need or opportunities arise. The 
implementation of the HCP has reached its sixth year and the County has 
been working diligently to reach compliance by increasing its 
enforcement capabilities and HCP support staff, improving its levels of 
communication with sea turtle survey permit holders and FWC staff 
involved in implementation of the Florida Fish and Wildlife sea turtle 
conservation guidelines. The County is able to spend more time 
evaluating areas of the HCP that are in need of special attention. The 
County has shown a clear commitment to implement the HCP and ITP.
Benefits of Inclusion--St. Johns County HCP
    As described above, the St. Johns County HCP has very narrow 
focused incidental take coverage and resultant conservation. Because of 
the narrow focus of the HCP coverage, projects that have a Federal 
nexus outside of the purview of the HCP activities would require 
section 7 consultation. Projects could include shoreline protection 
efforts, such as beach nourishment, armoring, disaster response, 
habitat restoration, and recovery grants to the State that are 
federally conducted, funded, or permitted. However, as indicated above, 
the USFWS does not anticipate additional requirements beyond those 
required for the species being listed. The incremental benefit to the 
species from the resultant section 7 consultation required by projects 
other than the subject HCP along the beachfront would be reduced but 
not eliminated. The inclusion of these areas as critical habitat could 
therefore provide some additional Federal regulatory benefits not found 
in the St. Johns County HCP. Another potential benefit of including 
lands in a critical habitat designation is that it serves to educate 
landowners, State and local governments, and the public regarding the 
potential conservation value of an area. A significant part of the HCP 
is to promote education of the beachfront landowners and users about 
sea turtles and other coastal species. There is a plethora of education 
material produced and distributed in this regard for the HCP. Through 
their public awareness program the County seeks to create an active 
community of stewards of the environment and protected species. This 
goal is achieved by providing education materials, developing science-
based school-age field trips, and attending periodic public events. 
Through this program, County staff is able to educate the community on 
beach driving policies, the traditional recreational uses on County 
beaches, and how they may impact sea turtles and other coastal species 
and their habitats. The public is reached through various media outlets 
including, local newspapers, news channels, Government television 
stations, radio, public service announcements, and the County Web site 
(St. Johns County 2010, pp. 33-34). Thus, the benefits of inclusion in 
critical habitat are further reduced based on the prior and ongoing 
educational efforts associated with the HCP.
Benefits of Exclusion--St. Johns County HCP
    The benefits of excluding the St. Johns HCP from critical habitat 
could include fostering more partnerships between the Service and the 
County and the County with the municipalities within its jurisdiction, 
sea turtle nest monitoring group, and the State of Florida. For 
example, the County works closely with local volunteers in their Sea 
Turtle Washback Program to assist with sea turtle conservation efforts 
while fostering their interest in sea turtles. The County has worked 
closely forming partnerships with the municipalities that are covered 
under the HCP although the County has no regulatory authority. In the 
2012 annual report (St. Johns County 2013, p. 53), summarizes the 
implementation of the HCP's light management to benefit loggerhead 
nesting habitat: ``In September 2006 the Beach Lighting Management Plan 
(BLMP), County Ordinance 99-33 was submitted and approved through the 
USFWS. In May 2007, the City of St. Augustine Beach officially adopted 
County Ordinance 99-33 allowing the Beach Lighting Officer to begin an 
education effort within the City limits and conduct surveys of the 
locale. Prior to the start of the 2007 nesting season a part time 
seasonal Beach Lighting Officer was employed to implement and enforce 
the BLMP in the City during the sea turtle season. The beaches of St. 
Johns County were surveyed seven nights a week throughout the entire 
nesting season of 2012.''
    According to the St. Johns County HCP, the beach lighting 
management plan is to be continually and consistently implemented. The

[[Page 39810]]

activities, under which the plan is conducted, directly benefit 
loggerhead terrestrial habitat by maintaining 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 and provide benefits over and above the 
narrow scope of the HCP.
    Other partnerships formed by St. Johns County have included the sea 
turtle survey permit holders and the FWC that manages the survey 
program. St. Johns County sea turtle patrol is coordinated by eight 
different permit holders and based solely on volunteer efforts with the 
exception of park rangers from Anastasia State Park and GTMNERR. 
Beaches are patrolled seven days a week from May 1st until 
approximately mid-September. The Standardized Sea Turtle Monitoring 
Protocol is used. Because of the number of reporting surveyors to the 
County and the amount of data, communication has been key to collecting 
good quality data and resolving issues related to the HCP 
implementation, allowing the County to make critical beach management 
decisions and analyze the effectiveness of the protection measures. 
Their goal is to work in a positive manner and as a team with the 
permit holders and their volunteers in order to move forward with the 
protection of the listed species. Fostering good working partnerships 
has also resulted in better data collection on sea turtle nesting 
activities and effects of beach driving and other activities authorized 
by the County.
    Additionally, the designation of critical habitat could have an 
unintended negative effect on the Service's relationship with non-
Federal landowners within and outside of the area covered by the HCP 
due to the perceived imposition of redundant government regulation. If 
lands within the area cover by the HCP for the benefit of the DPS are 
designated as critical habitat, it could have a dampening effect on our 
continued ability to seek new partnerships with future participants 
including States, counties, local jurisdictions, conservation 
organizations, and private landowners, which together can implement 
various conservation actions (such as safe harbor agreements (SHAs), 
HCPs, and other conservation plans, particularly large, regional 
conservation plans that involve numerous participants or address 
landscape-level conservation of species and habitats) that we would be 
unable to accomplish otherwise.
    The 2010 annual report (St. Johns County 2010, p. v) effectively 
summarizes the County's HCP and its implementation: ``The HCP is meant 
to create compatibility between protected species and beach user 
groups. For the program to work in its entirety, support and 
understanding from these user groups pertaining to all aspects of the 
HCP and ITP must be obtained. In addition, the management of County 
beaches is extremely challenging due to the number and types of 
activities governed by the HCP. The County must not only coordinate 
programs within and among numerous County departments, it is also 
responsible for training and coordinating the activities of outside 
contractors, commercial fishermen, north beach permittees, horseback 
riders and groups involved in protected species monitoring. Due to the 
complexity of the HCP, the diversity of program participants, the scope 
of activities and the limited staff, it is expected that difficult 
issues sometimes occur.'' Although the HCP is complex and the County 
acknowledges challenges may arise, the Service finds that the County 
has effectively implemented the HCP and will continue to do so in the 
future.
Benefits of Exclusion Outweigh Benefits of Inclusion--St. Johns County 
HCP
    The Secretary has determined that the benefits of excluding the St. 
Johns County HCP from the designation of critical habitat for the 
species outweigh the benefits of including this area in critical 
habitat. Any Federal nexus on these lands would likely result from 
actions not covered by the HCP. St. Johns County has shown in the 6 
years of implementing the HCP that they are committed to the HCP: 
Improving the process, fostering partnerships with involved parties, 
securing high quality data and scientific information to better inform 
decisions, and seeking compatibility with the beach user groups and 
conservation of nesting sea turtles and other coastal species. The HCP 
covers only non-Federal lands. Thus, there would still be need for 
section 7 consultation on projects outside of the purview of the HCP 
activities that have a Federal nexus as a result of Federal actions, 
authorizations, or funding. The benefits of inclusion in critical 
habitat at these sites would be minimized since they are occupied by 
the species and section 7 consultation would still be invoked to 
consider the project effects on the species.
    Exclusion of these lands from critical habitat would help foster 
the partnership we have developed with St. Johns County through the 
development and continuing implementation of the HCP. Exclusion of 
these lands will also help the County as they continue their 
partnerships with the local municipalities, sea turtle monitoring 
groups and the State of Florida. Recognizing the important 
contributions of our conservation partners through exclusion from 
critical habitat helps to preserve these partnerships, and helps foster 
future partnerships for the benefit of listed species, the majority of 
which do not occur on Federal lands; we consider this to be a 
substantial benefit of exclusion. For these reasons, we have determined 
that the benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of inclusion in 
this case.
Exclusion Will Not Result in the Extinction of the Species--St. Johns 
County HCP
    Because the HCP has a successful and committed record of 
implementation, the coverage area of the HCP includes the loggerhead 
sea turtle and its habitat, and the HCP specifically addresses the 
loggerhead sea turtle's habitat and meets the conservation needs of the 
species within the plan area, the Secretary has determined that 
exclusion of this area will not result in the extinction of the 
species. The shoreline covered under the St. Johns County HCP that are 
within the proposed critical habitat units LOGG-T-FL-01--South Duval 
County Beaches-Old Ponte Vedra, LOGG-T-FL-02--Guana Tolomato Matanzas 
National Estuarine Research Reserve-St. Augustine Inlet, and LOGG-T-FL-
03--St. Augustine Inlet-Matanzas Inlet compose 58.8 km (36.6 mi) of 
shoreline. This accounts for 5 percent of the total critical habitat 
shoreline proposed for the species. Proposed Unit LOGG-T-FL-02 is a 
high density nesting beach and proposed Units LOGG-T-FL-01 and LOGG-T-
FL-03 were units selected because they were adjacent to a high density 
nesting beach. The conservation under the HCP would continue for these 
beaches and, for activities not covered by the HCP, these beaches are 
occupied and therefore section 7 consultation would still be invoked to 
consider the project effects on the species. Based on the above 
discussion, the Secretary is exercising her discretion under section 
4(b)(2) of the Act to exclude from this final critical habitat 
designation portions of LOGG-T-FL-01 and LOGG-T-FL-03 and the entire 
LOGG-T-FL-02 critical habitat units totaling 58.8 km (36.6 mi).

Volusia County HCP

    We believe the HCP in Volusia County, Florida; titled ``A Plan for 
the Protection of Sea Turtles on the Beaches of Volusia County, 
Florida,'' fulfills the above criteria, and we therefore

[[Page 39811]]

conducted a discretionary exclusion analysis for the HCP. For the 
purposes of this HCP, Volusia County's coastline is divided into two 
areas. The Plan Area, the area for which incidental take has been 
requested under the HCP/ITP, extends from the Volusia County/Flagler 
County Line on the north to the Volusia County/Brevard County line on 
the south. The Plan Area encompasses the entire 80.5 km (50.0 mi) of 
Atlantic Ocean beaches in the County, including those in the North 
Peninsula State Recreation Area and the Canaveral National Seashore, as 
well as the beaches on the north and south shores of Ponce Inlet from 
the jetties west to the intersection of the Inlet and Halifax River. 
Even though the County does not exercise regulatory authority in the 
State and Federal parks, they are included because County public safety 
or emergency vehicles may have to enter those areas under emergency 
conditions. The second area, a subset of the first and hereafter 
referred to as County Beaches, includes about 58.0 km (36.0 mi) of 
beaches over which Volusia County exercises sole beach management and 
regulatory authority. Both areas are bounded on the east by the MLW 
line and on the west by the bulkhead line or line of permanent 
vegetation.
    The HCP covers activities associated with the County's 
authorization of vehicles on the County Beaches by the public, as well 
as other associated activities by the County, including emergency 
operations, special events, scientific studies, and routine coastal 
construction projects. The primary goal of the HCP is to develop a 
comprehensive plan that will minimize the potential for harm to listed 
species covered under the ITP within the defined Plan Area while 
allowing for continued vehicular access to the County Beaches. The 
present HCP took into account the previous HCP/ITP (1995 to 2001), 
updated programs, policies, procedures, and management initiatives 
needed to continue to protect sea turtles, as well as piping plovers, 
into the future. Changes were made to eliminate measures that had 
little or no conservation benefit, reflect past HCP performance, and 
recognize past efforts undertaken by the County in fulfillment of its 
obligations under the ITP.
    The proposed critical habitat rule (78 FR 18000) described the 
units within the HCP Plan Area to include LOGG-T-FL-04--River to Sea 
Preserve at Marineland-North Peninsula State Park and LOGG-T-FL-05--
Ormond-by-the-Sea-Granada Blvd. However, in our July 18, 2013, notice 
of availability of the DEA and associated re-opening of the comment 
period (78 FR 42921), we announced that we were no longer considering 
proposed Unit LOGG-T-FL-04 for exclusion. The reason for this change, 
as described in the notice, was because the HCP covers only incidental 
take associated with County emergency vehicles accessing the North 
Peninsula State Park beaches and does not contain any specific 
conservation measures for the covered species, including the loggerhead 
sea turtle, within the park.
    Conservation of covered species and their habitat in the HCP will 
be achieved through good faith implementation of the minimization and 
mitigation measures along with active enforcement of those measures 
(EAI Inc. 2008, p. 6). The measures apply to non-Federal lands 
including private and County Beaches. The measures to minimize the 
potential for impacts to sea turtles causally related to vehicular 
access to the beach allowed under the County's authorization include:
     A plan that will encourage the development of off-beach 
parking alternatives and other facilities in those areas where 
vehicular access is prohibited so that public access is guaranteed.
     Establishment of programs to generate the requisite data 
needed to assess the effectiveness of the HCP in meeting its biological 
goal.
     Continuing to assign a staff person as the HCP Coordinator 
to administer the ITP and support a Protected Species Specialist to 
monitor and manage protected species on County Beaches.
     A scientifically based sea turtle monitoring program. The 
sea turtle program will be monitored to ensure that data collected in 
support of the HCP are consistent, reliable, and permit an accurate 
assessment of the effectiveness of protective measures implemented 
under the ITP.
     A public education program to include: Posting signage on 
the beach indicating driving restrictions and areas, and wildlife 
conservation, distributing brochures on driving and parking 
regulations, and sea turtles, developing and providing daily 
announcements, maintaining County Web site and public park kiosks about 
coastal wildlife.
     Maintaining a Committee in the County to facilitate inter-
departmental communication and coordination among the various County 
divisions, departments, and offices that have responsibilities under 
the HCP.
     An ancillary protective measure of rut removal to 
eliminate ruts that may impede or trap hatchlings crawling from the 
nest to the sea will be instituted.
     Systematic surveys for washback sea turtle hatchlings 
conducted by Beach Safety.
    In addition to the minimization measures described above, Volusia 
County is mitigating unavoidable take by:
     Minimizing take and allowing for potential growth in the 
nesting population of sea turtles by seeking methods to separate sea 
turtles and vehicular traffic;
     Conducting a professionally managed sea turtle monitoring 
and nest protection program;
     Regulating activities potentially impacting sea turtles;
     Having an active enforcement program;
     Creating and providing an HCP/ITP training program and 
manual; and
     Funding a sea turtle rehabilitation and public education 
center, Marine Science Center in the Town of Ponce Inlet, centrally 
located to County Beaches.
    Volusia County had or has implemented the following voluntary 
measures for the benefit of covered species as well as other protected 
species inhabiting County Beaches. Under its original ITP, Volusia 
County developed a Beach Lighting Management Plan (BLMP). The document 
characterized upland development, beachfront lighting, sea turtle 
nesting patterns, and disorientation trends. It identified the 
strategies, tools, policies, procedures, and resources needed to 
effectively manage artificial lighting along County Beaches. The County 
completed implementation of its BLMP. Although lighting problems 
persist, particularly in the highly urbanized areas of Daytona Beach 
and Daytona Beach Shores, the County believes the program currently in 
place is steadily improving the quality of sea turtle nesting habitat 
on County Beaches. The County has committed to continuation of its 
light management efforts on a policy, but not legal, basis by 
adequately staffing and funding this program into the future. This 
policy is independent of HCP and ITP requirements and represents a 
voluntary program.
    In addition to the systematic surveys for washback sea turtle 
hatchlings conducted by Beach Safety as a requirement of the ITP, the 
County has voluntarily developed and initiated a new proactive program, 
Washback Watchers, to help locate and remove even more washback 
hatchlings from County Beaches.
    The ITP was issued by the USFWS in 2005. Annual reports are 
available for the years 2006 through 2013 since the

[[Page 39812]]

present ITP has been issued. The Annual Reports provide documentation 
of the County's implementation of measures prescribed by the ITP. 
During the first ITP issued to Volusia County from 1996 to 2001 the HCP 
was diligently implemented. The success of the County's HCP in 
minimizing take resulted primarily from programs that spatially and 
temporally limited the potential for sea turtle-vehicle interactions. 
Public vehicles were prohibited from accessing the beach at night when 
the vast majority of sea turtle nesting and hatching occurs. 
Additionally, public no-driving zones, including the establishment of 
marked conservation areas in public driving areas, limit vehicle 
interactions with nests. Only about 5 percent of the nests deposited 
each year on County Beaches remain outside of these protected areas and 
these nests are conspicuously barricaded so vehicles can avoid them. 
During 2012, 77 percent of the total sea turtle nests deposited on 
Volusia County beaches occurred in Natural Beach Management Areas 
(BMAs) where public driving is prohibited. These nesting numbers and 
distribution are consistent with results from the previous 16 years 
that the original and current HCP had been in effect (1997 to 2013) and 
demonstrates the overall effectiveness of the Natural BMAs in 
protecting nests from vehicular traffic.
    The County has maintained adequate staff positions and County 
committees as required or provided for in the HCP. Enforcement of the 
HCP beach driving and other policies has remained in effect; while 
changes in enforcement personnel may change, the overall patrol and 
coverage of the beach is sustained. Volusia County Beach Safety issues 
warnings, parking tickets, and traffic citations for HCP-related 
enforcement actions, disobeying traffic devices, driving outside 
designated traffic lanes, or for towed vehicles left on the beach after 
closing hours. Review of the issued warnings, tickets, and citations 
between 2006 and 2011 indicates that while the numbers continue to 
range between 600 and 900 violations a year, the County has proceeded 
to address the areas where violations occur. For example, driving 
outside the driving lanes was a common violation and this became an 
issue for habitat conservation as well as human fatalities. Driving 
lanes are now clearly delineated on the beach and warnings, tickets, 
citations issued for this violation has decreased.
    The County's beach public awareness program developed pursuant to 
the HCP uses a variety of methods to reach beach drivers, the general 
public, and media including distribution of brochures at the beach 
access ramps (vehicle and pedestrian accesses), maintenance of a County 
Web site, participation in school and civic events, and signage on the 
beach and at County park kiosks. The County also has participated in 
television shows, written newspaper and magazine articles, and designed 
a public service announcement. The County also provides informational 
materials to beach hotels, motels, condominiums, and commercial 
vendors.
    Volusia County included light management within its original HCP as 
a mitigation measure for impacts to nesting and hatchling sea turtles 
from beach driving. In the present HCP Volusia County removed light 
management as a mitigation measure and replaced it with the 
establishment of a sea turtle rehabilitation facility. The present HCP 
included the County's commitment to maintaining its current Light 
Management Plan as part of its voluntary Conservation Measures. Light 
management on sea turtle nesting beaches provides significant 
conservation for nesting sea turtles and hatchlings, especially on 
urban beaches found in Volusia County.
    Until recently, the USFWS had been supportive of Volusia County's 
lighting ordinances. In May 2011, however, the USFWS became aware of a 
proposed revision to the 2008 lighting ordinance that would reduce 
protection to sea turtles by allowing lights of certain wavelengths 
that are disruptive to nesting and hatchling sea turtles to be visible 
from the beach if used for lighted signage and decorative lighting. On 
May 18, 2011, the USFWS sent a letter to the Volusia County Commission 
explaining the significant risk of adverse effects to sea turtles from 
such proposed lighting changes, as well as the liability to the County 
and others for any such effects as described under section 9 of the 
Act. Although the USFWS and FWC expressed similar concerns, Volusia 
County adopted the revised lighting ordinance with the above less 
restrictive provisions.
    At present, there are amusement rides adjacent to habitat that 
supports the nesting loggerhead turtles. The exterior lighting on these 
rides are permissible under the revised County's ordinance. However, 
the exterior lighting of these rides has negatively affected sea turtle 
nesting and hatchling sea-finding orientation. There have been two 
loggerhead nest disorientations attributed to the exterior lights on 
this amusement ride (Trindell 2013, pers. comm.). Beachfront lighting 
not only affects the nesting beaches directly seaward, but also 
adjacent beaches and, depending on the light type and location, may 
have effects on beaches miles away. Especially in areas where 
activities are clustered, the cumulative effect of the lighting 
contributes to sky glow, resulting in widespread effects of the 
lighting. While we acknowledge that light management is an on-going 
issue, it is outside the scope of the HCP. We will continue to work 
with Volusia County and the municipalities to find solutions to 
lighting issues.
Benefits of Inclusion--Volusia County HCP
    As described above, the Volusia County HCP has a very narrow 
focused incidental take coverage. While the range of incidental take 
granted is narrow, benefits from minimization and mitigative measures 
include sea turtle nest monitoring, education, and wildlife 
rehabilitation. There would still be need for section 7 consultation on 
projects outside of the purview of the HCP activities that have a 
Federal nexus. Such projects could include beach nourishment, disaster 
response, dune restoration, and recovery grants to the State. However, 
as indicated above, the USFWS does not anticipate additional 
requirements in designated critical habitat beyond those required for 
the DPS. The incremental benefit to the DPS from the resultant section 
7 consultations would be reduced but not eliminated. The inclusion of 
these areas as critical habitat could therefore provide some additional 
Federal regulatory benefits not found in the Volusia County HCP. For 
example, the loss of the BLMP as a mitigation measure reduces the 
beneficial effects of the HCP for the DPS. While the Marine Science 
Center provides educational benefits and turtle rehabilitation, the 
overall direct benefits to the species in Volusia County are less than 
what would be realized from a fully committed lighting management 
program.
    Another potential benefit of including lands in a critical habitat 
designation is that it serves to educate landowners, State and local 
governments, and the public regarding the potential conservation value 
of an area. On the other hand, a significant part of the Volusia County 
HCP is to promote education of the beach users and general public about 
sea turtles and other coastal species, so some of the educational 
benefits of inclusion would be reduced.

[[Page 39813]]

Benefits of Exclusion--Volusia County HCP
    The benefits of excluding the Volusia County HCP from critical 
habitat could include the improvement of the existing relationship 
between the County and the USFWS, which, as outlined above, has already 
led to many conservation benefits for the species. Exclusion would 
likewise improve the potential for the County to help foster 
partnerships among the municipalities within the County, which could 
lead to a better light management program. Appropriate beachfront 
lighting benefits the species by maintaining 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. A primary constituent element of the 
species' critical habitat is ``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.'' The positive effects of effective lighting management, 
compliance, and enforcement provide direct, on the ground, measurable 
benefits to nesting and hatchling turtles. While education and 
rehabilitation of injured turtles and washbacks may provide benefits as 
well, the actual on the ground results are much less than those 
provided by lighting management.
    Additionally, the designation of critical habitat could have an 
unintended negative effect on the Service's relationship with non-
Federal landowners within and outside of the area covered by the HCP 
due to the perceived imposition of redundant government regulation. If 
lands within the area cover by the HCP for the benefit of the DPS are 
designated as critical habitat, it could have a dampening effect on our 
continued ability to seek new partnerships with future participants 
including States, counties, local jurisdictions, conservation 
organizations, and private landowners, which together can implement 
various conservation actions (such as safe harbor agreements (SHAs), 
HCPs, and other conservation plans, particularly large, regional 
conservation plans that involve numerous participants or address 
landscape-level conservation of species and habitats) that we would be 
unable to accomplish otherwise.
Benefits of Exclusion Outweigh Benefits of Inclusion--Volusia County 
HCP
    The Secretary has determined that the benefits of excluding the 
Volusia County HCP from the designation of critical habitat for the DPS 
outweigh the benefits of including this area in critical habitat. 
Volusia County has shown in the 16 years of implementing the HCP that 
it is committed to the HCP: Improving the process, securing high 
quality data and scientific information to better inform decisions, and 
seeking compatibility with the beach user groups and conservation of 
nesting sea turtles and other coastal species. The HCP covers only non-
Federal lands. Thus, there would still be need for section 7 
consultation on projects outside of the purview of the HCP activities 
that have a Federal nexus as a result of Federal actions, 
authorizations, or funding. The benefits of inclusion in critical 
habitat at these sites would be minimized since the areas are occupied 
by the species and section 7 consultation would still be required for 
projects with a Federal nexus to consider the project's effects on the 
species (i.e., regardless of whether or not CH is designated).
    This HCP was intended to cover incidental take of sea turtles 
related to driving by the public and County as authorized or permitted 
by Volusia County. Overall, the measures provided for in the HCP 
address the intended purpose of the HCP.
    Exclusion of these lands from critical habitat would help foster 
the partnership we have developed with Volusia County through the 
development and continued implementation of the HCP. Exclusion of these 
lands will also help us support the County as they continue their 
partnership with the local municipalities, sea turtle monitoring 
groups, and the State of Florida. Recognizing the important 
contributions of our conservation partners through exclusion from 
critical habitat helps to preserve these partnerships, and helps foster 
future partnerships for the benefit of listed species, the majority of 
which do not occur on Federal lands; we consider this to be a 
substantial benefit of exclusion. For these reasons, we have 
determined, after careful balancing, that the benefits of exclusion of 
lands covered by the Volusia County HCP from critical habitat for the 
DPS outweigh the benefits of inclusion.
Exclusion Will Not Result in the Extinction of the Species--Volusia 
County HCP
    Because the HCP has a successful record of implementation, the 
coverage area of the HCP includes the loggerhead sea turtle and its 
habitat, and the HCP specifically addresses the loggerhead sea turtle's 
habitat and meets the conservation needs of the species within the plan 
area, the Secretary has determined that exclusion of this area will not 
result in the extinction of the species. The shoreline covered under 
the Volusia County HCP that is within the proposed critical habitat 
Unit LOGG-T-FL-05--Ormond-by-the-Sea-Granada Blvd. composes 11.1 km 
(6.9 mi) of shoreline. This accounts for less than 1 percent of the 
total critical habitat shoreline proposed for the species. Proposed 
Unit LOGG-T-FL-05 is a high density nesting beach. The conservation 
under the HCP would continue for these beaches and, for activities not 
covered by the HCP, these beaches are occupied and therefore section 7 
consultation would still be invoked to consider the project effects on 
the species. Based on the above discussion, the Secretary is exercising 
her discretion under section 4(b)(2) of the Act to exclude from this 
final critical habitat designation Unit LOGG-T-FL-05 in its entirely, 
totaling 11.1 km (6.9 mi).

Indian River County HCP

    We believe the HCP in Indian River County, Florida, titled 
``Habitat Conservation Plan for the Protection of Sea Turtles on the 
Eroding Beaches of Indian River County, Florida,'' fulfills the above 
criteria, and we therefore conducted a discretionary exclusion analysis 
for the HCP. The Plan Area covers approximately 35.4 km (22.0 mi) of 
coastline that is continuous beachfront property uninterrupted by any 
inlets or ocean passes. The HCP is bounded on the north by the 
Sebastian Inlet, the centerline of which separates Indian River County 
from Brevard County. On the south, the Plan Area is defined as the 
Indian River/St. Lucie County Line. The seaward and landward limits of 
the HCP Area are the MLW line of the Atlantic Ocean and Highway A1A, 
respectively. Within the Plan Area is the Archie Carr National Wildlife 
Refuge (ACNWR) designation, overlaying about 9.7 km (6.0 mi) of 
beachfront from Sebastian Inlet south. Also, within the Plan Area is 
the Sebastian Inlet State Park (3.4 km (2.1 mi)) managed by the State 
of Florida, FDEP, Division of Recreation and Parks, 1.6 km (1.0 mi) of 
the ACNWR managed by the USFWS, and approximately 1.6 km (1.0 mi) 
managed by the County, the remaining being private landowners. There 
are three municipalities that front the beach in Indian River County: 
The Town of Orchid, the Town of Indian River Shores, and the City of 
Vero Beach. Collectively, they comprise approximately 15.6 km (9.7 mi; 
43 percent) of the County's coastline. Vero Beach is the largest 
municipality within

[[Page 39814]]

Indian River County with 6.8 km (4.2 mi) of shoreline. The ITP does not 
include the beaches of USFWS-managed ACNWR or the State-managed 
Sebastian Inlet State Park; however, these areas fall within the HCP 
Plan Area because the County can carry out mitigation measures in these 
areas.
    The HCP covers activities associated with the County's Emergency 
Armoring Authorization Actions and potential take of five species of 
sea turtles (loggerhead, leatherback, green, Kemp's ridley, and 
hawksbill) for a 30-year period. It does not cover general development 
activities conducted outside of emergency protection actions during a 
designated disaster situation. The biological goal of the HCP is to 
increase the productivity of sea turtle nesting within the County's 
beaches included in the HCP. The proposed critical habitat unit within 
the coverage area of the HCP includes LOGG-T-FL-10--Sebastian Inlet-
Indian River Shores that includes 17.3 km (10.8 mi) of the total Plan 
Area of 35.4 km (22 mi) and was selected as a beach adjacent to a high 
density nesting beach. The measures in the HCP are intended to minimize 
and mitigate impacts to nesting and hatchling loggerhead sea turtles as 
a result of the County-authorized emergency beach armoring.
    The HCP minimization measures related to incidental take of sea 
turtles from shoreline protection activities initiated under the 
County's emergency authorization include:
     Implementation of a public awareness program advocating a 
proactive approach to shoreline protection;
     Establishment of specific conditions under which Emergency 
Permits will be issued;
     Regulation of the type and siting of temporary structures;
     Requirements for sea turtle monitoring and nest protection 
during implementation of emergency shoreline protection measures and/or 
construction of permanent structures resulting from temporary measures; 
and
     Implementation of a Memorandum of Agreement with FDEP to 
coordinate permitting activities and ensure compliance with State 
regulations regarding emergency shoreline protection activities.
    In addition to the minimization measures described above, the 
County is mitigating unavoidable take through the previous acquisition 
of coastal property and a predator control program on non-Federal lands 
that has and will continue to provide quantifiable benefits to sea 
turtles in excess of the amount of take likely to occur as the result 
of shoreline protection measures initiated under the County's emergency 
authorization. The County has also committed to a sea turtle monitoring 
program that has and will continue to help collect the data needed to 
better quantify current natural and human-related impacts to sea 
turtles on the County's beaches. The County coordinates the activities 
of the various groups monitoring sea turtle nesting activity in the 
County; standardizes data collection techniques, provides limited 
logistical support, and maintains a County-wide sea turtle database. 
The County is responsible for conducting sea turtle monitoring along 
approximately 8.0 km (5.0 mi) of coastline where no current monitoring 
program is in place. The County may also assume responsibilities of 
other entities currently monitoring County Beaches if it is deemed 
mutually beneficial to do so. This information will be used to better 
direct the County's limited resources toward those programs that are 
likely to have the greatest conservation value. Finally, the County 
will work to improve its light management program in unincorporated 
areas of the County to reduce the harmful effects of artificial light 
on sea turtles. The light management is only effective in the 
unincorporated areas of the County and is not enforceable within the 
local municipalities of the City of Vero Beach, and the towns of Orchid 
Beach and Indian River Shores. The overarching biological goal of the 
HCP is to increase the productivity of the County's beaches as sea 
turtle nesting habitat.
    Compliance with the ITP, issued by the Service in 2004 based on 
completion of the HCP, has generally been good, but some issues have 
been experienced in recent years. In general, Indian River County has 
worked diligently and supported the HCP. However, after the first few 
years, the budget for the program declined (Indian River County 2010, 
pp. 36-39). This has been largely due to the severe economic recession 
that began in 2008 and resulted in substantial budget cuts. The County 
made substantial gains through 2008 with the nest monitoring program, 
predator control and education program, but continues to fall short in 
other areas due to the lack of support staff. The HCP Coordinator 
position was filled at the start of the ITP and continues to be filled. 
However, the supervisor position (Coastal Resource Manager), who helped 
develop and guide the implementation of this HCP, was vacated in early 
2010 and the County has no immediate plans to re-fill the position. 
Furthermore, while annual reports are available for the years 2005, 
2006, 2008, 2009, and 2010, no reports have been received for the years 
covering 2011 through 2013 due to understaffing of the County HCP 
program.
    Under the provisions of the light management program, the County is 
required to enforce the lighting ordinance within unincorporated areas. 
The County's Light Management Program has experienced some difficulties 
largely due to lack of personnel. While lighting violations and 
disorientations are adequately reported, code enforcement action has 
been less effective. The number of environmental planning staff in the 
County that address lighting problems has been reduced. Even minor 
aspects of the HCP are affected by reduced budgets, support, and 
personnel. Required lighting notices to beachfront residences have been 
mailed late. Although the annual reports on the HCP have not been 
submitted in recent years, the sea turtle nesting report is provided in 
a timely manner and the County keeps the USFWS apprised of significant 
events throughout the nesting season. The current process to address 
lighting problems continues to face some challenges, and more work is 
needed for full implementation.
    If adequately enforced, the Indian River County HCP's beach 
lighting management plan is expected to benefit the loggerhead 
terrestrial habitat by maintaining 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. According to assessments of the beach lighting management 
plan provided in annual reports t, this mitigation measure is not 
always adequately implemented. A PCE of the species critical habitat is 
``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.'' Because of the 
shortfalls in budget and staff, the USFWS intends to work with the 
County to find solutions to overcome these issues and improve 
conservation related to light management.
    Education of beach users and property owners remains a constant 
activity and continues to be a primary tool to inform the public, 
generate interest in sea turtles, and help manage the nesting beaches. 
The education program has been getting significant help from partners 
in other agencies and non-profits. Every year newspaper articles, radio 
talk shows, public presentations,

[[Page 39815]]

as well as on-the-beach talks, are given by the HCP coordinator and sea 
turtle permit surveyors. Educational signs have been created for marked 
nests. When possible, small grants were obtained for educational 
materials. The program is maintained by a few dedicated individuals, 
who continue to conduct public education at every opportunity. There 
remain many human activities on the beach with the potential to harm 
nests and turtles, and only some of these are illegal under local 
ordinances. Law enforcement has been sporadic. On the balance, however, 
the continual efforts by the County to increase sea turtle awareness 
have resulted in net positive, on-the-ground conservation benefits for 
the species.
    The Predator Control Plan (PCP) constituted the principal form of 
mitigation for the incidental take of sea turtles causally related to 
shoreline protection. The County has met the general intent of the PCP. 
In the areas where there has been raccoon predation, minimal trapping 
has been conducted by personnel from the USFWS (Refuges) or contractors 
with U.S. Department of Agriculture with some support from the County. 
Complicating predator control is canine predation of turtle nests by a 
mix of coyote and domestic dogs. Per the 2010 annual report, the issue 
of canine predation has been difficult to solve because coyotes are not 
easily trapped and there exists strong sentiments regarding the issue 
of curtailing the behavior of domestic dogs. However, the recent focus 
to address canine predation has met the intent of the predator control 
program. The County is committed to working with partners in animal 
control and wildlife offices as well as local communities in solving 
these complex issues. As such, the PCP, which was originally focused on 
raccoons, has evolved into an informal and diverse attempt to control 
predation from multiple sources and remains supported by the County. 
The current situation is unknown because the 2011 through 2013 annual 
reports have not been submitted.
    The sea turtle nest monitoring program has been the cornerstone of 
the HCP and has required the most time and effort. This is largely due 
to the high density nesting that occurs in Indian River County. 
Significant gains in this program have been made in terms of the 
collection of quality data from individual permit holder groups and the 
detail and accuracy of the data has remained at a fairly high level. 
During times when special projects are being conducted on the beach, 
for example beach nourishment, communication and data reporting 
problems occur because personnel completing sea turtle surveys and 
meeting nourishment reporting requirements are unable to keep up with 
all the permitting reporting and requirements. In addition, the HCP 
coordinator has increased responsibilities in conducting sea turtle 
monitoring with little additional support from the County; thus, most 
resources have been relegated to this effort.
    Other actions have been completed by the County in support of the 
HCP. The County obtained a grant through the National Fish and Wildlife 
Foundation (NFWF) in 2007 to re-plant dune vegetation, such as sea 
grapes (Coccoloba uvifera), and fix public beachfront lighting problems 
to improve sea turtle nesting habitat in the County. The grant began in 
2007 and was completed in 2009. The vegetation will provide a light 
screen in the future, provided the plants are not excessively trimmed. 
Interest in the planting program was lower than expected and only 15 
properties planted the sea grapes; the most common reason given for not 
participating in the project was a property owner's desire for an 
unobstructed view of the ocean. The second part of the grant consisted 
of modifying 84 percent of the public lights near the beach resulting 
in an 87.5 percent reduction in overall light trespass onto the beach. 
Light management techniques that were developed during this project 
have been disseminated to other Florida and international sea turtle 
nesting beach programs. The HCP Coordinator also obtained grants for 
updating their nest monitoring with geographic information system 
technology.
    Annual reports are to be submitted that describe efforts undertaken 
to implement the HCP. Since its inception, the annual reports have been 
delayed. The reports for 2011 through 2013 have not been completed due 
to lack of staff. However, as noted earlier, the County does work 
closely with the USFWS's South Florida Ecological Services Office, 
keeping them apprised on significant events during the nesting season. 
Monitoring results from the season have been sent to the USFWS in a 
timely manner, while completion of the annual report is delayed. 
Lateness or not completing reports are largely because of lack of 
resources and staff dedicated to working on the many HCP programs. The 
HCP Coordinator recommends a minimum of two additional staff to help 
with data reporting, nesting surveys and implementing the light 
management plan, predator control plan and education program.
    Recently, there have been gains in education and accountability. A 
2008 lighting workshop hosted by the County was considered a successful 
event. In addition, a significant number of public beachfront lighting 
problems have been solved through provision of outside grant funding. 
County staff continues to do the best it can even with significant 
shortfalls in the County's budget.
Benefits of Inclusion--Indian River County HCP
    As described above, the Indian River County HCP has a very narrow 
focused incidental take coverage. While the range of incidental take 
granted is narrow, benefits from minimization and mitigative measures 
include basic sea turtle nest monitoring, lighting management, predator 
control, and education. There would still be a need for section 7 
consultation on projects outside of the purview of the covered HCP 
activities that have a Federal nexus. Such projects could include beach 
nourishment, disaster response, dune restoration, and recovery grants 
to the State that are federally conducted, funded or permitted. 
However, as indicated above, the USFWS does not anticipate additional 
requirements for designated critical habitat beyond those required for 
the DPS being listed. The incremental benefit to the DPS from the 
resultant section 7 consultation would be reduced but not eliminated. 
The inclusion of these areas as critical habitat could therefore 
provide some additional Federal regulatory benefits not found in the 
Indian River County HCP. Another potential benefit of including lands 
in a critical habitat designation is that it serves to educate 
landowners, State and local governments, and the public regarding the 
potential conservation value of an area. On the other hand, a 
significant part of the Indian River County HCP is to promote education 
of the beachfront landowners and users about sea turtles and other 
coastal species, so some of the educational benefits of inclusion would 
be reduced.
Benefits of Exclusion--Indian River County HCP
    Exclusion of these lands from critical habitat would help maintain 
and foster the successful partnership we have with Indian River County 
through the development and continued implementation of the HCP. The 
benefits of excluding the Indian River County HCP from critical habitat 
also include developing additional partnerships beneficial to the DPS. 
For

[[Page 39816]]

example, the County has worked closely with the sea turtle surveyors to 
facilitate standardized nest monitoring data collection. The County has 
no regulatory authority over the surveyors, who provide their data to 
the County for the HCP; they are also invaluable to alerting the County 
to issues on the beach including impacts to sea turtle nests and 
lighting issues. Partnerships that could be but have not yet been 
developed include working with the Towns of Orchid Beach and Indian 
River Shores to facilitate lighting compliance. The County currently 
has no enforcement capabilities in these municipalities but does have 
influence and a close working relationship with the Towns. In addition, 
the County's HCP Coordinator has taken over sea turtle nesting surveys 
for the City of Vero Beach and South Indian River Shores. Fostering 
partnerships with these municipalities could result in assistance from 
the municipalities to complete the surveys. The County's HCP 
Coordinator essentially manages the HCP and conducts a large amount of 
the on the ground HCP work without sufficient support from the County. 
More partnerships could be developed with regard to education, sea 
turtle nest monitoring, and data collection.
    Additionally, the designation of critical habitat could have an 
unintended negative effect on the Service's relationship with non-
Federal landowners within and outside of the area covered by the HCP 
due to the perceived imposition of redundant government regulation. If 
lands within the area cover by the HCP for the benefit of the DPS are 
designated as critical habitat, it could have a dampening effect on our 
continued ability to seek new partnerships with future participants 
including States, counties, local jurisdictions, conservation 
organizations, and private landowners, which together can implement 
various conservation actions (such as safe harbor agreements (SHAs), 
HCPs, and other conservation plans, particularly large, regional 
conservation plans that involve numerous participants or address 
landscape-level conservation of species and habitats) that we would be 
unable to accomplish otherwise.
Benefits of Exclusion Outweigh Benefits of Inclusion--Indian River 
County HCP
    The Secretary has determined that the benefits of excluding the 
Indian River County HCP from the designation of critical habitat for 
the DPS outweigh the benefits of including this area in critical 
habitat. Indian River County has shown in the 9 years of implementing 
the HCP that when it has adequate resources, it is committed to the 
HCP: Improving the process, securing high quality data and scientific 
information to better inform decisions, and seeking compatibility with 
the beach user groups and conservation of nesting sea turtles and other 
coastal species. While there have been recent funding and staffing 
problems, resulting in some compliance issues, the County has had 
tremendous success on many fronts, especially nest monitoring and in 
general sea turtle education and awareness. These conservation efforts 
have directly benefitted sea turtles in Indian River County. There is a 
strong possibility that additional partnerships will be fostered as a 
result of the HCP and our partnership with the County that will further 
improve the current benefits to the species.
    The HCP covers only non-Federal lands. Thus, there would still be 
need for section 7 consultation on projects outside of the purview of 
the HCP activities that have a Federal nexus as a result of Federal 
actions, authorizations, or funding. The benefits of inclusion in 
critical habitat at these sites would be minimized since the area is 
occupied by the species and section 7 consultation would still be 
required for projects with a Federal nexus to consider the project's 
effects on the species (i.e., regardless of whether or not critical 
habitat is designated).
    This HCP was intended to cover incidental take of sea turtle 
related to emergency shoreline protection activities permitted by 
Indian River County, Florida, as provided by the Florida Statue 161. 
Overall, the measures provided for in the HCP address the intended 
purpose of the HCP. While the County has had budgetary and staffing 
challenges that have affected their ability to consistently support the 
HCP, they have continued to implement the minimization and mitigation 
measures to the best of their ability. The USFWS believes that these 
challenges can be overcome and intends to work with the County to do 
so.
    Exclusion of these lands from critical habitat would help foster 
the partnership we have developed with Indian River County through the 
development and continued implementation of the HCP. Exclusion of these 
lands will also help us maintain and improve an important and 
successful partnership with the County as it continues its partnership 
with the local municipalities, sea turtle monitoring groups and the 
State of Florida. Recognizing the important contributions of our 
conservation partners through exclusion from critical habitat helps to 
preserve these partnerships, and helps foster future partnerships for 
the benefit of listed species, the majority of which do not occur on 
Federal lands; we consider this to be a substantial benefit of 
exclusion. For these reasons, we have determined, after careful 
balancing, that the benefits of exclusion of lands covered by the 
Indian River County HCP from critical habitat for the DPS outweigh the 
benefits of inclusion.
Exclusion Will Not Result in the Extinction of the Species--Indian 
River County HCP
    Because the HCP has, for the most part, a successful and committed 
record of implementation despite the recent challenges, the coverage 
area of the HCP includes the loggerhead sea turtle and its habitat, and 
the HCP specifically addresses the loggerhead sea turtle's habitat and 
meets the conservation needs of the species within the plan area, the 
Secretary has determined that exclusion of this area will not result in 
the extinction of the species. The shoreline covered under the Indian 
River HCP is within the proposed critical habitat Unit LOGG-T-FL-10--
Sebastian Inlet--Indian River Shores, accounting for 17.3 km (10.8 mi) 
of shoreline with the unit. This accounts for less than 1 percent of 
the total critical habitat shoreline proposed for the species. Proposed 
Unit LOGG-T-FL-10 was selected as a critical habitat unit because it is 
adjacent to a high density nesting beach. The conservation under the 
HCP would continue for these beaches and, for activities not covered by 
the HCP, these beaches are occupied and therefore section 7 
consultation would still be invoked to consider the project effects on 
the species. Based on the above discussion, the Secretary is exercising 
her discretion under section 4(b)(2) of the Act to exclude from this 
final critical habitat designation portions of Unit LOGG-T-FL-10, 
totaling 17.3 km (10.8 mi).

Required Determinations

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 rules. The Office 
of Information and Regulatory Affairs has determined that this rule is 
significant because it will raise novel legal or policy issues.
    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,

[[Page 39817]]

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 is required to 
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 
(i.e., 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 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 agricultural businesses with 
annual sales less than $750,000. To determine if potential economic 
impacts to these small entities are significant, we considered 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.
    The Service's current understanding of the requirements under the 
RFA, as amended, and following recent court decisions, is that Federal 
agencies are only required to evaluate the potential incremental 
impacts of rulemaking on those entities directly regulated by the 
rulemaking itself, and therefore, not required to evaluate the 
potential impacts to indirectly regulated entities. The regulatory 
mechanism through which critical habitat protections are realized is 
section 7 of the Act, which requires Federal agencies, in consultation 
with the Service, to ensure that any action authorized, funded, or 
carried by the Agency is not likely to destroy or adversely modify 
critical habitat. Therefore, under section 7 only Federal action 
agencies are directly subject to the specific regulatory requirement 
(avoiding destruction and adverse modification) imposed by critical 
habitat designation. Consequently, it is our position that only Federal 
action agencies will be directly regulated by this designation. There 
is no requirement under RFA to evaluate the potential impacts to 
entities not directly regulated. Moreover, Federal agencies are not 
small entities. Therefore, because no small entities are directly 
regulated by this rulemaking, the Service certifies that the final 
critical habitat designation will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. However, it is the 
current practice of the USFWS to assess, to the extent practicable, 
these potential impacts if sufficient data are available, whether or 
not this analysis is believed by the Service to be strictly required by 
the RFA.
    During the development of this final rule we reviewed and evaluated 
all information submitted during the comment period that may pertain to 
our consideration of the probable incremental economic impacts of this 
critical habitat designation. Based on this information, we affirm our 
certification that this final critical habitat designation will not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities, and a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required.

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. OMB has provided guidance for implementing this 
Executive Order that outlines nine outcomes that may constitute ``a 
significant adverse effect'' when compared to not taking the regulatory 
action under consideration. 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 being 
designated for the species. Potential direct and indirect effects to 
designated critical habitat could result from associated oil and gas 
activities, including, but not limited to, pipeline installation and 
maintenance, coastal-based facilities, boat vessel traffic, and spills. 
USFWS and the Bureau of Ocean Energy and Management (BOEM) and the 
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) 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 5-year Multi-lease Sale Program and then on 
each individual lease sale in that 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 Multi-lease Sale Program. In 
2010, Minerals Management Service (as it was known at the time) 
reinitiated the 2007 consultation as a result of the Deep Water Horizon 
oil spill. Currently, BOEM and BSEE are working with the USFWS on a 
programmatic consultation. 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 Multi-lease Sale 
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,

[[Page 39818]]

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 critical habitat designation. We do not 
expect the designation of this critical habitat to significantly affect 
energy supplies, distribution, or use. Thus, based on information in 
the economic analysis, energy-related impacts associated with the 
loggerhead sea turtle conservation activities within critical habitat 
are not expected. As such, the designation of critical habitat is not 
expected 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.

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 designated for 
critical habitat is 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. Consequently, we do not believe that the critical habitat 
designation will significantly or uniquely affect small government 
entities. As such, a Small Government Agency Plan is not required.

Takings--Executive Order 12630

    In accordance with Executive Order 12630 (``Government Actions and 
Interference with Constitutionally Protected Private Property 
Rights''), we have analyzed the potential takings implications of 
designating critical habitat for the loggerhead sea turtle in a takings 
implications assessment. As discussed above, the designation of 
critical habitat affects only Federal actions. Although private parties 
that receive Federal funding or assistance, or 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. 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. The takings 
implications assessment concludes that this designation of critical 
habitat for the loggerhead sea turtle does not pose significant takings 
implications for lands within or affected by the designation.

Federalism--Executive Order 13132

    In accordance with Executive Order 13132 (Federalism), this final 
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 coordinated development of this critical habitat designation 
with, appropriate State resource agencies in North Carolina, South 
Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi. We received 
comments from North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural 
Resources' Division of Coastal Management, South Carolina Department of 
Health and Environmental Control, Governor of South Carolina, South 
Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, GDNR Coastal 
Resources Division, FDEP, FWC, and Mississippi Development Authority. 
We have addressed them in the Summary of Comments and Recommendations 
section of this rule. From a federalism perspective, the designation of 
critical habitat directly affects only the responsibilities of Federal 
agencies. The Act imposes no other duties with respect to critical 
habitat, either for States and local governments, or for anyone else. 
As a result, the rule does not have substantial direct effects either 
on the States, or on the relationship between the national government 
and the States, or on the distribution of powers and responsibilities 
among the various levels of government. The designation may have some 
benefit to these governments because the areas that contain the 
features essential to the conservation of the species are more

[[Page 39819]]

clearly defined, and the physical and biological features of the 
habitat 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 these local 
governments in long-range planning (because these local governments no 
longer have to 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 Executive 
Order. We are designating critical habitat in accordance with the 
provisions of the Act. To assist the public in understanding the 
habitat needs of the species, the rule identifies the elements of PBFs 
essential to the conservation of the loggerhead sea turtle. 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 (NEPA; 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 NEPA 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 designating critical habitat for the 
loggerhead sea turtle on tribal lands.

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.

Regulation Promulgation

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

PART 17--[AMENDED]

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

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 1531-1544; 4201-4245, unless 
otherwise noted.


0
2. Amend Sec.  17.11(h) by revising 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) * * *

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                         Species                                                      Vertebrate
----------------------------------------------------------                         population where                      When      Critical     Special
                                                              Historic range         endangered or         Status       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.
 

[[Page 39820]]

 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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 four components:
    (i) 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 
post-nesting females and hatchlings; and
    (B) Is located above mean high water to avoid being inundated 
frequently by high tides.
    (ii) 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) Suitable nesting beach habitat with sufficient darkness to 
ensure that nesting turtles are not deterred from emerging onto the 
beach and hatchlings and post-nesting females orient to the sea.
    (iv) Natural coastal processes or artificially created or 
maintained habitat mimicking natural conditions. This includes 
artificial habitat types that mimic the natural conditions described in 
paragraphs (2)(i), (2)(ii), and (2)(iii) of this entry for beach 
access, nest site selection, nest construction, egg deposition and 
incubation, and hatchling emergence and movement to the sea. Habitat 
modification and loss occurs with beach stabilization activities that 
prevent the natural transfer and erosion and accretion of sediments 
along the ocean shoreline. Beach stabilization efforts that may impact 
loggerhead nesting include beach nourishment, beach maintenance, 
sediment dredging and disposal, inlet channelization, and construction 
of jetties and other hard structures. However, when sand placement 
activities result in beach habitat that mimics the natural beach 
habitat conditions, impacts to sea turtle nesting habitat are 
minimized.
    (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 
August 11, 2014.
    (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, as modified by any 
accompanying regulatory text, 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 at http://www.fws.gov/northflorida, at 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 3510-22-P

[[Page 39821]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.295

    (6) Note: Index map of critical habitat units in the Northern 
Recovery Unit:

[[Page 39822]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.296

    (7)(i) Units:
    (A) LOGG-T-NC-01--Boque Banks, Carteret County, North Carolina.
    (B) LOGG-T-NC-02--Bear Island, Onslow County, North Carolina.
    (C) LOGG-T-NC-03--Topsail Island, Onslow and Pender Counties, North 
Carolina.
    (D) LOGG-T-NC-04--Lea-Hutaff Island, Pender County, North Carolina.
    (ii) General descriptions of units:
    (A) LOGG-T-NC-01--Boque Banks: This unit consists of 38.9 km (24.2 
mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends from 
Beaufort Inlet to Bogue Inlet.
    (B) LOGG-T-NC-02--Bear Island: This unit consists of 6.6 km (4.1 
mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends from Bogue 
Inlet to Bear Inlet.
    (C) LOGG-T-NC-03--Topsail Island: This unit consists of 35.0 km 
(21.8 mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends from 
New River Inlet to New Topsail Inlet.
    (D) LOGG-T-NC-04--Lea-Hutaff Island: This unit consists of 6.1 km 
(3.8 mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends from 
New Topsail Inlet to Rich Inlet.
    (iii) Map of Units LOGG-T-NC-01, LOGG-T-NC-02, LOGG-T-NC-03, and 
LOGG-T-NC-04 follows:

[[Page 39823]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.297

    (8)(i) Units:
    (A) LOGG-T-NC-05--Pleasure Island, New Hanover County, North 
Carolina.
    (B) LOGG-T-NC-06--Bald Head Island, Brunswick County, North 
Carolina.
    (C) LOGG-T-NC-07--Oak Island, Brunswick County, North Carolina.
    (D) LOGG-T-NC-08--Holden Beach, Brunswick County, North Carolina.
    (ii) General descriptions of units:
    (A) LOGG-T-NC-05--Pleasure Island: This unit consists of 18.6 km 
(11.5 mi) 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).
    (B) LOGG-T-NC-06--Bald Head Island: This unit consists of 15.1 km 
(9.4 mi) 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.
    (C) LOGG-T-NC-07--Oak Island: This unit consists of 20.9 km (13.0 
mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends from the 
mouth of the Cape Fear River to Lockwoods Folly Inlet.
    (D) LOGG-T-NC-08--Holden Beach: This unit consists of 13.4 km (8.3 
mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends from 
Lockwoods Folly Inlet to Shallotte Inlet.
    (iii) Map of Units LOGG-T-NC-05, LOGG-T-NC-06, LOGG-T-NC-07, and 
LOGG-T-NC-08 follows:

[[Page 39824]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.298

    (9)(i) Units:
    (A) LOGG-T-SC-01--North Island, Georgetown County, South Carolina.
    (B) LOGG-T-SC-02--Sand Island, Georgetown County, South Carolina.
    (C) LOGG-T-SC-03--South Island, Georgetown County, South Carolina.
    (D) LOGG-T-SC-04--Cedar Island, Georgetown County, South Carolina.
    (E) LOGG-T-SC-05--Murphy Island, Charleston County, South Carolina.
    (ii) General descriptions of units:
    (A) LOGG-T-SC-01--North Island: This unit consists of 13.2 km (8.2 
mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends from North 
Inlet to Winyah Bay.
    (B) LOGG-T-SC-02--Sand Island: This unit consists of 4.7 km (2.9 
mi) 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).
    (C) LOGG-T-SC-03--South Island: This unit consists of 6.7 km (4.2 
mi) 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.
    (D) LOGG-T-SC-04--Cedar Island: This unit consists of 4.1 km (2.5 
mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and North Santee Inlet 
and extends from North Santee Inlet to South Santee Inlet.
    (E) LOGG-T-SC-05--Murphy Island: This unit consists of 8.0 km (5.0 
mi) 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 39825]]

    (iii) Map of Units LOGG-T-SC-01, LOGG-T-SC-02, LOGG-T-SC-03, LOGG-
T-SC-04, and LOGG-T-SC-05 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.299

    (10)(i) Units:
    (A) LOGG-T-SC-06--Cape Island, Charleston County, South Carolina.
    (B) LOGG-T-SC-07--Lighthouse Island, Charleston County, South 
Carolina.
    (C) LOGG-T-SC-08--Raccoon Key, Charleston County, South Carolina.
    (ii) General descriptions of units:
    (A) LOGG-T-SC-06--Cape Island: This unit consists of 8.3 km (5.1 
mi) 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).
    (B) LOGG-T-SC-07--Lighthouse Island: This unit consists of 5.3 km 
(3.3 mi) 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.
    (C) LOGG-T-SC-08--Raccoon Key: This unit consists of 4.8 km (3.0 
mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends from 
Raccoon Creek Inlet to Five Fathom Creek Inlet.
    (iii) Map of Units LOGG-T-SC-06, LOGG-T-SC-07, and LOGG-T-SC-08 
follows:

[[Page 39826]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.300

    (11)(i) Units:
    (A) LOGG-T-SC-09--Folly Island, Charleston County, South Carolina.
    (B) LOGG-T-SC-10--Kiawah Island, Charleston County, South Carolina.
    (C) LOGG-T-SC-11--Seabrook Island, Charleston County, South 
Carolina.
    (ii) General descriptions of units:
    (A) LOGG-T-SC-09--Folly Island: This unit consists of 11.2 km (7.0 
mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends from 
Lighthouse Inlet to Folly River Inlet.
    (B) LOGG-T-SC-10--Kiawah Island: This unit consists of 17.0 km 
(10.6 mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and Stono Inlet 
and extends from Stono Inlet to Captain Sam's Inlet.
    (C) LOGG-T-SC-11--Seabrook Island: This unit consists of 5.8 km 
(3.6 mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and North Edisto 
Inlet and extends from Captain Sam's Inlet to North Edisto Inlet.
    (iii) Map of Units LOGG-T-SC-09, LOGG-T-SC-10, and LOGG-T-SC-11 
follows:

[[Page 39827]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.301

    (12)(i) Units:
    (A) LOGG-T-SC-12--Botany Bay Island and Botany Bay Plantation, 
Charleston County, South Carolina.
    (B) LOGG-T-SC-13--Interlude Beach, Charleston County, South 
Carolina.
    (C) LOGG-T-SC-14--Edingsville Beach, Charleston County, South 
Carolina.
    (D) LOGG-T-SC-15--Edisto Beach State Park, Colleton County, South 
Carolina.
    (E) LOGG-T-SC-16--Edisto Beach, Colleton County, South Carolina.
    (ii) General descriptions of units:
    (A) LOGG-T-SC-12--Botany Bay Island and Botany Bay Plantation: This 
unit consists of 6.6 km (4.1 mi) 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).
    (B) LOGG-T-SC-13--Interlude Beach: This unit consists of 0.9 km 
(0.6 mi) 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.
    (C) LOGG-T-SC-14--Edingsville Beach: This unit consists of 2.7 km 
(1.7 mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends from 
Frampton Inlet to Jeremy Inlet.
    (D) LOGG-T-SC-15--Edisto Beach State Park: This unit consists of 
2.2 km (1.4 mi) 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 39828]]

State Park and the Town of Edisto Beach).
    (E) LOGG-T-SC-16--Edisto Beach: This unit consists of 6.8 km (4.2 
mi) 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.
    (iii) Map of Units LOGG-T-SC-12, LOGG-T-SC-13, LOGG-T-SC-14, LOGG-
T-SC-15, and LOGG-T-SC-16 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.302

    (13)(i) Units:
    (A) LOGG-T-SC-17--Pine Island, Colleton County, South Carolina.
    (B) LOGG-T-SC-18--Otter Island, Colleton County, South Carolina.
    (C) LOGG-T-SC-19--Harbor Island, Beaufort County, South Carolina.
    (ii) General descriptions of units:
    (A) LOGG-T-SC-17--Pine Island: This unit consists of 1.2 km (0.7 
mi) 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).
    (B) LOGG-T-SC-18--Otter Island: This unit consists of 4.1 km (2.5 
mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and Saint Helena Sound 
and extends from Fish Creek Inlet to Saint Helena Sound.
    (C) LOGG-T-SC-19--Harbor Island: This unit consists of 2.9 km (1.8 
mi) of

[[Page 39829]]

island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and Saint Helena Sound and 
extends from Harbor Inlet to Johnson Inlet.
    (iii) Map of Units LOGG-T-SC-17, LOGG-T-SC-18, and LOGG-T-SC-19 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.303

    (14)(i) Units:
    (A) LOGG-T-SC-20--Little Capers Island, Beaufort County, South 
Carolina
    (B) LOGG-T-SC-21--St. Phillips Island, Beaufort County, South 
Carolina
    (C) LOGG-T-SC-22--Bay Point Island, Beaufort County, South Carolina
    (ii) General descriptions of units:
    (A) LOGG-T-SC-20--Little Capers Island: This unit consists of 4.6 
km (2.9 mi) 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.
    (B) LOGG-T-SC-21--St. Phillips Island: This unit consists of 2.3 km 
(1.4 mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and Trenchards 
Inlet and extends from Trenchards Inlet to Morse Island Creek Inlet 
East.
    (C) LOGG-T-SC-22--Bay Point Island: This unit consists of 4.3 km 
(2.7 mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and Port Royal 
Sound and extends from Morse Island Creek Inlet East along the Atlantic 
Ocean shoreline to Morse Island Creek Inlet

[[Page 39830]]

West along the Port Royal Sound shoreline.
    (iii) Map of Units LOGG-T-SC-20, LOGG-T-SC-21, and LOGG-T-SC-22 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.304

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

[[Page 39831]]

    (iii) Map of Units LOGG-T-GA-01, LOGG-T-GA-02, LOGG-T-GA-03, and 
LOGG-T-GA-04 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.305

    (16)(i) Units:
    (A) LOGG-T-GA-05--Blackbeard Island, McIntosh County, Georgia.
    (B) LOGG-T-GA-06--Sapelo Island, McIntosh County, Georgia.
    (ii) General descriptions of units:
    (A) LOGG-T-GA-05--Blackbeard Island: This unit consists of 13.5 km 
(8.4 mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends from 
Sapelo Sound to Cabretta Inlet.
    (B) LOGG-T-GA-06--Sapelo Island: This unit consists of 9.3 km (5.8 
mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends from 
Cabretta Inlet to Doboy Sound.
    (iii) Map of Units LOGG-T-GA-05 and LOGG-T-GA-06 follows:

[[Page 39832]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.306

    (17)(i) Units:
    (A) LOGG-T-GA-07--Little Cumberland Island, Camden County, Georgia.
    (B) LOGG-T-GA-08--Cumberland Island, Camden County, Georgia.
    (ii) General descriptions of units:
    (A) LOGG-T-GA-07--Little Cumberland Island: This unit consists of 
4.9 km (3.0 mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and 
extends from St. Andrew Sound to Christmas Creek.
    (B) LOGG-T-GA-08--Cumberland Island: This unit consists of 29.7 km 
(18.4 mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends from 
Christmas Creek to St. Marys River.
    (iii) Map of Units LOGG-T-GA-07 and LOGG-T-GA-08 follows:

[[Page 39833]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.307

    (18) Note: Index map of critical habitat units in the Peninsular 
Florida Recovery Unit:

[[Page 39834]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.308

    (19)(i) Units:
    (A) LOGG-T-FL-01--South Duval County Beaches-Duval and St. Johns 
County line, Florida.
    (B) LOGG-T-FL-02--Fort Matanzas National Monument, St. Johns 
County, Florida.
    (C) LOGG-T-FL-03--River to Sea Preserve at Marineland-North 
Peninsula State Park, Flagler and Volusia Counties, Florida.
    (ii) General descriptions of units:
    (A) LOGG-T-FL-01--South Duval County Beaches-Duval and St. Johns 
County line: This unit consists of 11.5 km (7.1 mi) of island shoreline 
along the Atlantic Ocean and extends from the south boundary of Kathryn 
Abbey Hanna Park in Duval County to the boundary of the St. Johns 
County line.
    (B) LOGG-T-FL-02--Fort Matanzas National Monument: This unit 
consists of 1.4 km (0.9 mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean and includes the shoreline along Fort Matanzas National Monument 
in St. Johns County.
    (C) LOGG-T-FL-03--River to Sea Preserve at Marineland-North 
Peninsula State Park: This unit consists of 31.8 km (19.8 mi) 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.
    (iii) Map of Units LOGG-T-FL-01, LOGG-T-FL-02, and LOGG-T-FL-03 
follows:

[[Page 39835]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.309

    (20)(i) Units:
    (A) LOGG-T-FL-04--Canaveral National Seashore North, Volusia 
County, Florida.
    (B) LOGG-T-FL-05--Canaveral National Seashore South-Merritt Island 
NWR-Kennedy Space Center, Brevard County, Florida.
    (ii) General descriptions of units:
    (A) LOGG-T-FL-04--Canaveral National Seashore North: This unit 
consists of 18.2 km (11.3 mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean and extends from the north boundary of Canaveral National 
Seashore to the Volusia-Brevard County line.
    (B) LOGG-T-FL-05--Canaveral National Seashore South-Merritt Island 
NWR-Kennedy Space Center: This unit consists of 28.4 km (17.6 mi) 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).
    (iii) Map of Units LOGG-T-FL-04 and LOGG-T-FL-05 follows:

[[Page 39836]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.310

    (21)(i) Units:
    (A) LOGG-T-FL-06--Central Brevard Beaches, Brevard County, Florida.
    (B) LOGG-T-FL-07--South Brevard Beaches, Brevard County, Florida.
    (C) LOGG-T-FL-08--Sebastian Inlet State Park-Archie Carr NWR South, 
Indian River County, Florida.
    (ii) General descriptions of units:
    (A) LOGG-T-FL-06--Central Brevard Beaches: This unit consists of 
19.5 km (12.1 mi) 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).
    (B) LOGG-T-FL-07--South Brevard Beaches: This unit consists of 20.8 
km (12.9 mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and extends 
from the north boundary of Archie Carr NWR to Sebastian Inlet.
    (C) LOGG-T-FL-08--Sebastian Inlet State Park-Archie Carr NWR South: 
This unit consists of 4.1 km (2.6 mi) of island shoreline along the 
Atlantic Ocean and extends from Sebastian Inlet State Park and parcels 
within the Archie Carr NWR.
    (iii) Map of Units LOGG-T-FL-06, LOGG-T-FL-07, and LOGG-T-FL-08 
follows:

[[Page 39837]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.311

    (22)(i) Units:
    (A) LOGG-T-FL-09--Fort Pierce Inlet-St. Lucie Inlet, St. Lucie and 
Martin Counties, Florida.
    (B) LOGG-T-FL-10--St. Lucie Inlet-Jupiter Inlet, Martin and Palm 
Beach Counties, Florida.
    (C) LOGG-T-FL-11--Jupiter Inlet-Lake Worth Inlet, Palm Beach 
County, Florida.
    (D) LOGG-T-FL-12--Lake Worth Inlet-Boynton Inlet, Palm Beach 
County, Florida.
    (E) LOGG-T-FL-13--Boynton Inlet-Boca Raton Inlet, Palm Beach 
County, Florida.
    (F) LOGG-T-FL-14--Boca Raton Inlet-Hillsboro Inlet, Palm Beach and 
Broward Counties, Florida.
    (ii) General descriptions of units:
    (A) LOGG-T-FL-09--Fort Pierce Inlet-St. Lucie Inlet: This unit 
consists of 35.2 km (21.9 mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean and extends from Fort Pierce Inlet to St. Lucie Inlet.
    (B) LOGG-T-FL-10--St. Lucie Inlet-Jupiter Inlet: This unit consists 
of 24.9 km (15.5 mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic Ocean and 
extends from St. Lucie Inlet to Jupiter Inlet.
    (C) LOGG-T-FL-11--Jupiter Inlet-Lake Worth Inlet: This unit 
consists of 18.8 km (11.7 mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean and extends from Jupiter Inlet to Lake Worth Inlet.
    (D) LOGG-T-FL-12--Lake Worth Inlet-Boynton Inlet: This unit 
consists of 24.3 km (15.1 mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean and extends from Lake Worth Inlet to Boynton Inlet.
    (E) LOGG-T-FL-13--Boynton Inlet-Boca Raton Inlet: This unit 
consists of 22.6 km (14.1 mi) of island shoreline

[[Page 39838]]

along the Atlantic Ocean and extends from Boynton Inlet to Boca Raton 
Inlet.
    (F) LOGG-T-FL-14--Boca Raton Inlet-Hillsboro Inlet: This unit 
consists of 8.3 km (5.2 mi) of island shoreline along the Atlantic 
Ocean and extends from Boca Raton Inlet to Hillsboro Inlet.
    (iii) Map of Units LOGG-T-FL-09, LOGG-T-FL-10, LOGG-T-FL-11, LOGG-
T-FL-12, LOGG-T-FL-13, and LOGG-T-FL-14 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.312

    (23) Unit LOGG-T-FL-15--Long Key, Monroe County, Florida.
    (i) General description: This unit consists of 4.2 km (2.6 mi) 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) Map of Unit LOGG-T-FL-15 follows:

[[Page 39839]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.313

    (24) Unit LOGG-T-FL-16--Bahia Honda Key, Monroe County, Florida.
    (i) General description: This unit consists of 3.7 km (2.3 mi) 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) Map of Unit LOGG-T-FL-16 follows:

[[Page 39840]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.314

    (25)(i) Units:
    (A) LOGG-T-FL-17--Longboat Key, Manatee and Sarasota Counties, 
Florida.
    (B) LOGG-T-FL-18--Siesta and Casey Keys, Sarasota County, Florida.
    (C) LOGG-T-FL-19--Venice Beaches and Manasota Key, Sarasota and 
Charlotte Counties, Florida.
    (D) LOGG-T-FL-20--Knight, Don Pedro, and Little Gasparilla Islands, 
Charlotte County, Florida.
    (ii) General descriptions of units:
    (A) LOGG-T-FL-17--Longboat Key: This unit consists of 16.0 km (9.9 
mi) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends from 
Longboat Pass to New Pass.
    (B) LOGG-T-FL-18--Siesta and Casey Keys: This unit consists of 20.8 
km (13.0 mi) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends 
from Big Sarasota Pass to Venice Inlet.
    (C) LOGG-T-FL-19--Venice Beaches and Manasota Key: This unit 
consists of 26.0 km (16.1 mi) of island shoreline along the Gulf of 
Mexico and extends from Venice Inlet to Stump Pass.
    (D) LOGG-T-FL-20--Knight, Don Pedro, and Little Gasparilla Islands: 
This unit consists of 10.8 km (6.7 mi) of island shoreline along the 
Gulf of Mexico and extends from Stump Pass to Gasparilla Pass.
    (iii) Map of Units LOGG-T-FL-17, LOGG-T-FL-18, LOGG-T-FL-19, and 
LOGG-T-FL-20 follows:

[[Page 39841]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.315

    (26)(i) Units:
    (A) LOGG-T-FL-21--Gasparilla Island, Charlotte and Lee Counties, 
Florida.
    (B) LOGG-T-FL-22--Cayo Costa, Lee County, Florida.
    (C) LOGG-T-FL-23--Captiva Island, Lee County, Florida.
    (D) LOGG-T-FL-24--Sanibel Island West, Lee County, Florida.
    (ii) General descriptions of units:
    (A) LOGG-T-FL-21--Gasparilla Island: This unit consists of 11.2 km 
(6.9 mi) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends from 
Gasparilla Pass to Boca Grande Pass.
    (B) LOGG-T-FL-22--Cayo Costa: This unit consists of 13.5 km (8.4 
mi) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends from Boca 
Grande Pass to Captiva Pass.
    (C) LOGG-T-FL-23--Captiva Island: This unit consists of 7.6 km (4.7 
mi) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends from 
Redfish Pass to Blind Pass.
    (D) LOGG-T-FL-24--Sanibel Island West: This unit consists of 12.2 
km (7.6 mi) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends 
from Blind Pass to Tarpon Bay Road.
    (iii) Map of Units LOGG-T-FL-21, LOGG-T-FL-22, LOGG-T-FL-23, and 
LOGG-T-FL-24 follows:

[[Page 39842]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.316

    (27)(i) Units:
    (A) LOGG-T-FL-25--Little Hickory Island, Lee and Collier Counties, 
Florida.
    (B) LOGG-T-FL-26--Wiggins Pass-Clam Pass, Collier County, Florida.
    (C) LOGG-T-FL-27--Clam Pass-Doctors Pass, Collier County, Florida.
    (D) LOGG-T-FL-28--Keewaydin Island and Sea Oat Island, Collier 
County, Florida.
    (ii) General descriptions of units:
    (A) LOGG-T-FL-25--Little Hickory Island: This unit consists of 8.7 
km (5.4 mi) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends 
from Big Hickory Pass to Wiggins Pass.
    (B) LOGG-T-FL-26--Wiggins Pass-Clam Pass: This unit consists of 7.7 
km (4.8 mi) of mainland shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends 
from Wiggins Pass to Clam Pass.
    (C) LOGG-T-FL-27--Clam Pass-Doctors Pass: This unit consists of 4.9 
km (3.0 mi) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends 
from Clam Pass to Doctors Pass.
    (D) LOGG-T-FL-28--Keewaydin Island and Sea Oat Island: This unit 
consists of 13.1 km (8.1 mi) of island shoreline along the Gulf of 
Mexico and extends from Gordon Pass to Big Marco Pass.
    (iii) Map of Units LOGG-T-FL-25, LOGG-T-FL-26, LOGG-T-FL-27, and 
LOGG-T-FL-28 follows:

[[Page 39843]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.317

    (28)(i) Units:
    (A) LOGG-T-FL-29--Cape Romano, Collier County, Florida.
    (B) LOGG-T-FL-30--Ten Thousand Islands North, Collier County, 
Florida.
    (ii) General descriptions of units:
    (A) LOGG-T-FL-29--Cape Romano: This unit consists of 9.2 km (5.7 
mi) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and Gullivan Bay and 
extends from Caxambas Pass to Gullivan Bay.
    (B) LOGG-T-FL-30--Ten Thousand Islands North: This unit consists of 
7.8 km (4.9 mi) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and within 
Gullivan Bay.
    (iii) Map of Units LOGG-T-FL-29 and LOGG-T-FL-30 follows:

[[Page 39844]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.318

    (29)(i) Units:
    (A) LOGG-T-FL-31--Highland Beach, Monroe County, Florida.
    (B) LOGG-T-FL-32--Graveyard Creek-Shark Point, Monroe County, 
Florida.
    (C) LOGG-T-FL-33--Cape Sable, Monroe County, Florida.
    (ii) General descriptions of units:
    (A) LOGG-T-FL-31--Highland Beach: This unit consists of 7.2 km (4.5 
mi) of island (Key McLaughlin) shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and 
extends from First Bay to Rogers River Inlet.
    (B) LOGG-T-FL-32--Graveyard Creek-Shark Point: This unit consists 
of 0.9 km (0.6 mi) of mainland shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and 
extends from Shark Point (25.38796 N, 81.14933 W) to Graveyard Creek 
Inlet.
    (C) LOGG-T-FL-33--Cape Sable: This unit consists of 21.3 km (13.2 
mi) 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.
    (iii) Map of Units LOGG-T-FL-31, LOGG-T-FL-32, and LOGG-T-FL-33 
follows:

[[Page 39845]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.319

    (30) Note: Index map of critical habitat units in the Dry Tortugas 
Recovery Unit:

[[Page 39846]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.320

    (31)(i) Units:
    (A) LOGG-T-FL-34--Dry Tortugas, Monroe County, Florida.
    (B) LOGG-T-FL-35--Marquesas Keys, Monroe County, Florida.
    (ii) General descriptions of units:
    (A) LOGG-T-FL-34--Dry Tortugas: This unit consists of 5.7 km (3.6 
mi) 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 mi) west of Key West.
    (B) LOGG-T-FL-35--Marquesas Keys: This unit consists of 5.6 km (3.5 
mi) 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 mi) west of Key West.
    (iii) Map of Units LOGG-T-FL-34 and LOGG-T-FL-35 follows:

[[Page 39847]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.321

    (32)(i) Units:
    (A) LOGG-T-FL-36--Boca Grande Key, Monroe County, Florida.
    (B) LOGG-T-FL-37--Woman Key, Monroe County, Florida.
    (ii) General descriptions of units:
    (A) LOGG-T-FL-36--Boca Grande Key: This unit consists of 1.3 km 
(0.8 mi) 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).
    (B) LOGG-T-FL-37--Woman Key: This unit consists of 1.3 km (0.8 mi) 
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).
    (iii) Map of Units LOGG-T-FL-36 and LOGG-T-FL-37 follows:

[[Page 39848]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.322

    (33) Note: Index map of critical habitat units in the Northern Gulf 
of Mexico Recovery Unit:

[[Page 39849]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.323

    (34)(i) Units:
    (A) LOGG-T-MS-01--Horn Island, Jackson County, Mississippi.
    (B) LOGG-T-MS-02--Petit Bois Island, Jackson County, Mississippi.
    (ii) General descriptions of units:
    (A) LOGG-T-MS-01--Horn Island: This unit consists of 18.6 km (11.5 
mi) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends from Dog 
Keys Pass to the easternmost point of the ocean facing island shore.
    (B) LOGG-T-MS-02--Petit Bois Island: This unit consists of 9.8 km 
(6.1 mi) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends from 
Horn Island Pass to Petit Bois Pass.
    (iii) Map of Units LOGG-T-MS-01 and LOGG-T-MS-02 follows:

[[Page 39850]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.324

    (35)(i) Units:
    (A) LOGG-T-AL-01--Mobile Bay-Little Lagoon Pass, Baldwin County, 
Alabama.
    (B) LOGG-T-AL-02--Gulf State Park-Perdido Pass, Baldwin County, 
Alabama.
    (C) LOGG-T-AL-03--Perdido Pass-Florida-Alabama line, Baldwin 
County, Alabama.
    (ii) General descriptions of units:
    (A) LOGG-T-AL-01--Mobile Bay-Little Lagoon Pass: This unit consists 
of 28.0 km (17.4 mi) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and 
extends from Mobile Bay Inlet to Little Lagoon Pass.
    (B) LOGG-T-AL-02--Gulf State Park-Perdido Pass: This unit consists 
of 10.7 km (6.7 mi) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and 
extends from the west boundary of Gulf State Park to Perdido Pass.
    (C) LOGG-T-AL-03--Perdido Pass-Florida-Alabama line: This unit 
consists of 3.3 km (2.0 mi) of island shoreline along the Gulf of 
Mexico and extends from Perdido Pass to the Alabama-Florida border.
    (iii) Map of Units LOGG-T-AL-01, LOGG-T-AL-02, and LOGG-T-AL-03 
follows:

[[Page 39851]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.325

    (36) Unit LOGG-T-FL-38--Perdido Key, Escambia County, Florida.
    (i) General description: This unit consists of 20.2 km (12.6 mi) of 
island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends from the Alabama-
Florida border to Pensacola Pass.
    (ii) Map of Unit LOGG-T-FL-38 follows:

[[Page 39852]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.326

    (37)(i) Units:
    (A) LOGG-T-FL-39--Mexico Beach and St. Joe Beach, Bay and Gulf 
Counties, Florida.
    (B) LOGG-T-FL-40--St. Joseph Peninsula, Gulf County, Florida.
    (C) LOGG-T-FL-41--Cape San Blas, Gulf County, Florida.
    (ii) General descriptions of units:
    (A) LOGG-T-FL-39--Mexico Beach and St. Joe Beach: This unit 
consists of 18.7 km (11.7 mi) 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.
    (B) LOGG-T-FL-40--St. Joseph Peninsula: This unit consists of 23.5 
km (14.6 mi) of a spit shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends 
from St. Joseph Bay to the west boundary of Eglin Air Force Base.
    (C) LOGG-T-FL-41--Cape San Blas: This unit consists of 11.0 km (6.8 
mi) of mainland and spit shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends 
from the east boundary of Eglin Air Force Base to Indian Pass.
    (iii) Map of Units LOGG-T-FL-39, LOGG-T-FL-40, and LOGG-T-FL-41 
follows:

[[Page 39853]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.327

    (38)(i) Units:
    (A) LOGG-T-FL-42--St. Vincent Island, Franklin County, Florida.
    (B) LOGG-T-FL-43--Little St. George Island, Franklin County, 
Florida.
    (C) LOGG-T-FL-44--St. George Island, Franklin County, Florida.
    (D) LOGG-T-FL-45--Dog Island, Franklin County, Florida.
    (ii) General descriptions of units:
    (A) LOGG-T-FL-42--St. Vincent Island: This unit consists of 15.1 km 
(9.4 mi) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends from 
Indian Pass to West Pass.
    (B) LOGG-T-FL-43--Little St. George Island: This unit consists of 
15.4 km (9.6 mi) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and 
extends from West Pass to Bob Sikes Cut.
    (C) LOGG-T-FL-44--St. George Island: This unit consists of 30.7 km 
(19.1 mi) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends from 
Bob Sikes Cut to East Pass.
    (D) LOGG-T-FL-45--Dog Island: This unit consists of 13.1 km (8.1 
mi) of island shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico and extends from East 
Pass to St. George Sound.
    (iii) Map of Units LOGG-T-FL-42, LOGG-T-FL-43, LOGG-T-FL-44, and 
LOGG-T-FL-45 follows:

[[Page 39854]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR10JY14.328

* * * * *

    Dated: June 6, 2014.
Rachel Jacobson,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2014-15725 Filed 7-9-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-C