Early Scoping for Proposed Application for Incidental Take Permit and Habitat Conservation Plan; Pennsylvania Game Commission and Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, 67390-67392 [2013-26950]

Download as PDF 67390 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 218 / Tuesday, November 12, 2013 / Notices program of the Republic of South Africa, for the purpose of enhancement of the survival of the species. hearing is at the discretion of the Service Director. III. Permit Applications B. Endangered Marine Mammals and Marine Mammals A. Endangered Species Applicant: Houston Zoo, Houston, TX; PRT–14237B The applicant requests a permit to import a live, female captive-bred Baird’s tapir (Tapirus bairdii) for the purpose of enhancement of the survival of the species. Applicant: University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA; PRT–03110B The applicant requests a permit to import biological samples from deceased captive-bred specimens of Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), Western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla), and Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus pygmaeus) from the Primate Brain Bank, Amsterdam, Netherlands, for the purpose of scientific research. emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with NOTICES Applicant: Zoological Society of San Diego, San Diego, CA; PRT–069323 The applicant requests renewal of their permit to authorize the export and re-export of captive-bred/captive hatched live specimens and the export of viable eggs of California condors (Gymnogyps californianus) originating in the United States, as well as the reexport of wild live specimens or condors originating in Mexico, to La Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Rescoursos Naturales (SEMARNAT), San Angel, Mexico, for re-introduction into the wild to enhance the survival of the species through completion of identified tasks and objectives mandated under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Condor Recovery Plan. This notification covers activities to be conducted by the applicant over a 5year period. Applicant: University of California Santa Cruz, San Diego, CA; PRT– 96462A The applicant requests a permit to import biological samples from one captive-bred Bonobo (Pan paniscus) from Desire Rech, Saldris, France, for the purpose of scientific research. This amends the notification published in the Federal Register (78 FR 40762; July 8, 2013) and reopens the 30-day comment period. Applicant: Guy Quinn, Bonita Springs, FL; PRT–19966B The applicant requests a permit to import a sport-hunted trophy of one male bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus pygargus) culled from a captive herd maintained under the management VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:41 Nov 08, 2013 Jkt 232001 Applicant: Seward Association for the Advancement of Marine Science, Alaska SeaLife Center, Seward, AK; PRT– 11219B The applicant requests a permit to take non-releasable Pacific walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) for the purpose of public display. These would be animals that strand in Alaska and that the Service would declare non-releasable because they do not demonstrate the skills and abilities needed to survive in the wild. This notification covers activities to be conducted by the applicant over a 5-year period. Concurrent with publishing this notice in the Federal Register, we are forwarding copies of the above applications to the Marine Mammal Commission and the Committee of Scientific Advisors for their review. Brenda Tapia, Program Analyst/Data Administrator, Branch of Permits, Division of Management Authority. [FR Doc. 2013–26952 Filed 11–8–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R5–ES–2013–0090; 50120–1112– 0000–F2] Early Scoping for Proposed Application for Incidental Take Permit and Habitat Conservation Plan; Pennsylvania Game Commission and Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of initiation of scoping. AGENCY: Pursuant to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce our intent to prepare a NEPA document for a pending Incidental Take Permit (ITP) application and associated draft habitat conservation plan (HCP) from the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) and Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) for forestry activities on State lands that provide potential habitat for the federally listed endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) and the northern SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis). Northern long-eared bats have recently been proposed for listing as endangered under the ESA. Forestry operations on these lands have the potential to incidentally take Indiana bats and northern long-eared bats and their habitat. Therefore, PGC and DCNR are developing an ITP application and HCP to address these activities. In advance of receiving the ITP application for this project, the Service is providing this notice to request information from other agencies, tribes, and the public on the scope of the NEPA review and issues to consider in the NEPA analysis and in development of the HCP. We are also using this opportunity to seek comments on the appropriate level of NEPA review— whether an environmental assessment (EA) or an environmental impact statement (EIS) would be most appropriate, based on potential effects to the human environment. DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before December 12, 2013. Comments submitted electronically using the Federal eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date. ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments by one of the following methods: Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal Web site at: http:// www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS–R5–ES–2013–0090, which is the docket number for this notice. Click on the appropriate link to locate this document and submit a comment. By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R5–ES–2013– 0090, Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203. We request that you send comments by only the methods described above. We will post all information received on the Web site at: http:// www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see the Public Comments section below for more information). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Pamela R. Shellenberger, by mail at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 315 South Allen Street, Suite 322, State College, PA 16801, or by telephone at 814–234– 4090, extension 241. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We announce our intent to prepare a NEPA document for a pending ITP application and associated draft HCP from the PGC E:\FR\FM\12NON1.SGM 12NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 218 / Tuesday, November 12, 2013 / Notices emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with NOTICES and DCNR for forestry activities on approximately 3.9 million acres of State lands. PGC manages 1.4 million acres of State Game Lands, and DCNR manages 2.2 million acres of State Forests and 295,000 acres of State Parks. These predominantly forested lands provide potential foraging, roosting, maternity colony, and fall swarming habitat for all bat species that occur in Pennsylvania, including the federally listed endangered Indiana bat and the northern long-eared bat. Northern longeared bats have recently been proposed for listing as endangered under the ESA. Forestry operations on these lands have the potential to incidentally take Indiana bats and northern long-eared bats and their habitat. Therefore, PGC and DCNR are developing an ITP application and HCP to address these activities. In advance of receiving the ITP application for this project, the Service is providing this notice to request information from other agencies, tribes, and the public on the scope of the NEPA review and issues to consider in the NEPA analysis and in development of the HCP. We are also using this opportunity to seek comments on the appropriate level of NEPA review— whether an EA or an EIS would be most appropriate, based on potential effects to the human environment. Request for Information We request data, comments, information, and suggestions from the public, other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific community, Tribes, industry, or any other interested party on this notice. We will consider all comments we receive in complying with the requirements of NEPA and in the development of the HCP and ITP. We seek comments particularly related to: (1) Information concerning the range, distribution, population size, and population trends of Indiana bats, northern long-eared bats, and other federally listed species in Pennsylvania; (2) Additional biological information concerning Indiana bats, northern longeared bats, and other federally listed species that occur in Pennsylvania that could be affected by proposed covered activities; (3) Relevant data and information concerning timber management practices and bat interactions; (4) Current or planned activities in the project planning area and their possible impacts on Indiana bats, northern longeared bats, and other federally listed species in Pennsylvania; (5) The presence of facilities within the project planning area that are VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:41 Nov 08, 2013 Jkt 232001 eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, or whether other historical, archeological, or traditional cultural properties may be present; (6) The appropriate level of NEPA review, specifically whether an EA or an EIS would be most appropriate based on potential effects to the human environment; and (7) Any other environmental issues that we should consider with regard to the project planning area and potential ITP issuance. You may submit your comments and materials considering this notice by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. Background Indiana bats are listed as an endangered species under the ESA. The population decline of this species has historically been attributed to habitat loss and degradation of both winter hibernation habitat and summer roosting habitat, human disturbance during hibernation, and possibly pesticides. A recent new threat to Indiana bats is White-nose Syndrome (WNS), a disease caused by a fungus (Pseudogymnoascus destructans, previously classified as Geomyces destructans) that invades the skin of bats. The fungus causes ulcers that alter hibernation arousal patterns, which can cause emaciation. WNS is resulting in significant population declines in some parts of the species’ range, including the northeastern and southeastern United States. The range of the Indiana bat includes much of the eastern United States, including Pennsylvania. Winter habitat for Indiana bat includes caves and mines that support high humidity and cool-but-stable temperatures. In the summer, Indiana bats roost in trees (dead, dying, or alive) with exfoliating bark, cracks, crevices, and/or hollows. During summer, males roost alone or in small groups, while females and their offspring can roost in larger groups. Indiana bats forage for insects in and along the edges of forested areas and wooded stream corridors. Northern long-eared bats have recently been proposed for listing as endangered under the ESA. WNS is the predominant threat to the species, though other threats may include impacts to hibernacula, summer habitat, and disturbance of hibernating bats. Northern long-eared bats have been abundant in the eastern United States and are often captured in summer mist nets surveys and detected during acoustic surveys. Northern long-eared bats are known to frequent forested PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 67391 habitats throughout Pennsylvania. Similar to Indiana bats, northern longeared bats generally hibernate in caves and mines during the winter. During the summer, the bats roost in live trees and snags, though are also known to use human made structures such as barns, sheds, and bat boxes. Comprehensive forest management strategies on Pennsylvania State lands create wildlife habitat and enhance forest health and diversity, while generating revenues from recreation and timber harvest that fund resource management on these lands. The ability of both PGC and DCNR to manage these properties in accordance with State law depends on these forest management strategies. The Federal action that will be analyzed through NEPA will be the potential issuance of an ITP to allow incidental take of Indiana bats, northern long-eared bats, and other federally listed species from forest management activities that will be described in the HCP. The HCP will incorporate avoidance, minimization, mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures aimed at addressing the impact of the covered activities to Indiana bats and northern long-eared bats. The project planning area for the HCP is the 3.9 million acres of largely forested lands in Pennsylvania owned and managed by PGC and DCNR. The covered forest management activities in the HCP are anticipated to be as follows: Timber harvesting, installation of deer fencing, cutting and collecting of firewood, construction and maintenance of roads and trails, and use of prescribed fire. The PGC and DCNR do not anticipate that other forest management activities in the planning area will result in incidental take of Indiana bats, northern long-eared bats, or their habitat. In addition, they do not anticipate that other forest management activities in the planning area will result in incidental take of any other federally listed species. Potential minimization measures may include, but are not limited to, protection of roost trees and surrounding habitat, setback distances from known roost trees, mapping and avoidance of foraging areas, protection and enhancement of hibernacula, and protection and enhancement of Indiana bat and northern long-eared bat roosting and foraging habitat. The duration of the ITP will be 30 years. The Service has not made any decision with regard to the appropriate level of NEPA analysis (i.e., EA or EIS), or developed any NEPA alternatives to the proposed Federal action (i.e., issuance of an ITP conditioned on implementation of the HCP). The NEPA E:\FR\FM\12NON1.SGM 12NON1 67392 Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 218 / Tuesday, November 12, 2013 / Notices analysis will assess the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of the proposed Federal action on the human environment, comprehensively interpreted to include the natural and physical environment and the relationship of people with that environment. It will also analyze several alternatives to the proposed Federal action, to include no action and other reasonable courses of action (potentially including minimization and mitigation measures not considered in the proposed action). Relevant information provided in response to this notice will aid in developing the draft HCP and NEPA analysis. Next Steps In this phase of the project, we are seeking information to assist development of the NEPA analysis and the HCP, and to inform what level of environmental analysis would be necessary for project implementation. We will then develop a draft NEPA document based on the ITP application, draft HCP, any associated documents, and public comments received through this early scoping effort. The NEPA process will vary somewhat, depending on whether the project requires an EA or an EIS. We may solicit additional public, agency, and Tribal input to identify the nature and scope of the environmental issues that should be addressed during NEPA review, following appropriate public notice. We will then publish a notice of availability for the draft NEPA document and draft HCP and seek additional public comment before completing our final analysis to determine whether to issue an ITP. emcdonald on DSK67QTVN1PROD with NOTICES Public Comments The Service invites the public to provide comments that will assist our NEPA analysis during this 30-day public comment period (see DATES). You may submit comments by one of the methods shown under ADDRESSES. Public Availability of Comments We will post all public comments and information received electronically or via hardcopy on our Web site at: http://regulations.gov. All comments received, including names and addresses, will become part of the administrative record and will be available to the public. Before including your address, phone number, electronic mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—will be publicly available. If you submit a VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:41 Nov 08, 2013 Jkt 232001 hardcopy comment that includes personal identifying information, you may request at the top of your document that we withhold this information from public review. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Authority This notice is provided pursuant to NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1501.7 and 1508.22). Dated: November 4, 2013. Spencer Simon, Acting Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Northeast Region. [FR Doc. 2013–26950 Filed 11–8–13; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLMTC 00900.L16100000.DP0000] the Interior through the BLM on a variety of planning and management issues associated with public land management in Montana. At these meetings, topics will include: Eastern Montana—Dakotas District, Miles City and Billings Field Office manager updates, Field Office Resource Management Planning updates, individual council member briefings and other topics that the council may raise. All meetings are open to the public and the public may present written comments to the council. Each formal RAC meeting will also have time allocated for hearing public comments. Depending on the number of persons wishing to comment and time available, the time for individual oral comments may be limited. Individuals who plan to attend and need special assistance, such as sign language interpretation, or other reasonable accommodations should contact the BLM as provided above. Notice of Public Meeting, Eastern Montana Resource Advisory Council Meeting Dated: October 25, 2013. Diane M. Friez, Eastern Montana—Dakotas District Manager. Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice of Public Meeting. [FR Doc. 2013–26796 Filed 11–8–13; 8:45 am] In accordance with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972 (FACA), the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Eastern Montana Resource Advisory Council (RAC) will meet as indicated below. DATES: The next regular meeting of the Eastern Montana RAC will be held on December 5, 2013 in Miles City, Montana. The meeting will start at 8:00 a.m. and the public comment period will start at 11:00 a.m. and run for one hour. The meeting will adjourn at 4:00 p.m. ADDRESSES: The meeting location will be announced in a news release. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Jacobsen, Public Affairs Specialist, BLM Eastern Montana/Dakotas District, 111 Garryowen Road, Miles City, Montana 59301, (406) 233–2831, mark_jacobsen@blm.gov. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1– 800–677–8339 to contact the above individual during normal business hours. The FIRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to leave a message or question with the above individual. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The 15member council advises the Secretary of DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AGENCY: SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 BILLING CODE 4310–DN–P Bureau of Land Management [LLWO630000.L18200000.XP0000] New Dates for Close of Public Comment and Protest Periods Due to Federal Government Shutdown Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has established new dates for certain public comment and protest periods that were ongoing or that ended during the Federal Government shutdown resulting from a lapse in appropriations, which began on October 1, 2013, and ended on October 16, 2013. DATES: The new dates can be found in the table under the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Please refer to the contact information and commenting procedures listed in the original Federal Register notices. Web links to the original notices are provided in the following table. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Before the Federal Government shutdown, the BLM published notices in the Federal Register that informed the public they could obtain copies of various agency documents on BLM Web sites. The notices also contained closing dates for SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\12NON1.SGM 12NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 218 (Tuesday, November 12, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 67390-67392]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-26950]


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

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R5-ES-2013-0090; 50120-1112-0000-F2]


Early Scoping for Proposed Application for Incidental Take Permit 
and Habitat Conservation Plan; Pennsylvania Game Commission and 
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of initiation of scoping.

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

SUMMARY: Pursuant to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(Service), announce our intent to prepare a NEPA document for a pending 
Incidental Take Permit (ITP) application and associated draft habitat 
conservation plan (HCP) from the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) and 
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) 
for forestry activities on State lands that provide potential habitat 
for the federally listed endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) and 
the northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis). Northern long-
eared bats have recently been proposed for listing as endangered under 
the ESA. Forestry operations on these lands have the potential to 
incidentally take Indiana bats and northern long-eared bats and their 
habitat. Therefore, PGC and DCNR are developing an ITP application and 
HCP to address these activities.
    In advance of receiving the ITP application for this project, the 
Service is providing this notice to request information from other 
agencies, tribes, and the public on the scope of the NEPA review and 
issues to consider in the NEPA analysis and in development of the HCP. 
We are also using this opportunity to seek comments on the appropriate 
level of NEPA review--whether an environmental assessment (EA) or an 
environmental impact statement (EIS) would be most appropriate, based 
on potential effects to the human environment.

DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before 
December 12, 2013. Comments submitted electronically using the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES) must be received by 11:59 p.m. 
Eastern Time on the closing date.

ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments by one of the following 
methods:
    Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal Web site at: 
http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS-R5-ES-2013-
0090, which is the docket number for this notice. Click on the 
appropriate link to locate this document and submit a comment.
    By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to Public 
Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R5-ES-2013-0090, Division of Policy and 
Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax 
Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
    We request that you send comments by only the methods described 
above. We will post all information received on the Web site at: http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any 
personal information you provide us (see the Public Comments section 
below for more information).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Pamela R. Shellenberger, by mail at 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 315 South Allen Street, Suite 322, 
State College, PA 16801, or by telephone at 814-234-4090, extension 
241.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We announce our intent to prepare a NEPA 
document for a pending ITP application and associated draft HCP from 
the PGC

[[Page 67391]]

and DCNR for forestry activities on approximately 3.9 million acres of 
State lands. PGC manages 1.4 million acres of State Game Lands, and 
DCNR manages 2.2 million acres of State Forests and 295,000 acres of 
State Parks. These predominantly forested lands provide potential 
foraging, roosting, maternity colony, and fall swarming habitat for all 
bat species that occur in Pennsylvania, including the federally listed 
endangered Indiana bat and the northern long-eared bat. Northern long-
eared bats have recently been proposed for listing as endangered under 
the ESA. Forestry operations on these lands have the potential to 
incidentally take Indiana bats and northern long-eared bats and their 
habitat. Therefore, PGC and DCNR are developing an ITP application and 
HCP to address these activities.
    In advance of receiving the ITP application for this project, the 
Service is providing this notice to request information from other 
agencies, tribes, and the public on the scope of the NEPA review and 
issues to consider in the NEPA analysis and in development of the HCP. 
We are also using this opportunity to seek comments on the appropriate 
level of NEPA review--whether an EA or an EIS would be most 
appropriate, based on potential effects to the human environment.

Request for Information

    We request data, comments, information, and suggestions from the 
public, other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific 
community, Tribes, industry, or any other interested party on this 
notice. We will consider all comments we receive in complying with the 
requirements of NEPA and in the development of the HCP and ITP.
    We seek comments particularly related to:
    (1) Information concerning the range, distribution, population 
size, and population trends of Indiana bats, northern long-eared bats, 
and other federally listed species in Pennsylvania;
    (2) Additional biological information concerning Indiana bats, 
northern long-eared bats, and other federally listed species that occur 
in Pennsylvania that could be affected by proposed covered activities;
    (3) Relevant data and information concerning timber management 
practices and bat interactions;
    (4) Current or planned activities in the project planning area and 
their possible impacts on Indiana bats, northern long-eared bats, and 
other federally listed species in Pennsylvania;
    (5) The presence of facilities within the project planning area 
that are eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic 
Places, or whether other historical, archeological, or traditional 
cultural properties may be present;
    (6) The appropriate level of NEPA review, specifically whether an 
EA or an EIS would be most appropriate based on potential effects to 
the human environment; and
    (7) Any other environmental issues that we should consider with 
regard to the project planning area and potential ITP issuance.
    You may submit your comments and materials considering this notice 
by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section.

Background

    Indiana bats are listed as an endangered species under the ESA. The 
population decline of this species has historically been attributed to 
habitat loss and degradation of both winter hibernation habitat and 
summer roosting habitat, human disturbance during hibernation, and 
possibly pesticides. A recent new threat to Indiana bats is White-nose 
Syndrome (WNS), a disease caused by a fungus (Pseudogymnoascus 
destructans, previously classified as Geomyces destructans) that 
invades the skin of bats. The fungus causes ulcers that alter 
hibernation arousal patterns, which can cause emaciation. WNS is 
resulting in significant population declines in some parts of the 
species' range, including the northeastern and southeastern United 
States.
    The range of the Indiana bat includes much of the eastern United 
States, including Pennsylvania. Winter habitat for Indiana bat includes 
caves and mines that support high humidity and cool-but-stable 
temperatures. In the summer, Indiana bats roost in trees (dead, dying, 
or alive) with exfoliating bark, cracks, crevices, and/or hollows. 
During summer, males roost alone or in small groups, while females and 
their offspring can roost in larger groups. Indiana bats forage for 
insects in and along the edges of forested areas and wooded stream 
corridors.
    Northern long-eared bats have recently been proposed for listing as 
endangered under the ESA. WNS is the predominant threat to the species, 
though other threats may include impacts to hibernacula, summer 
habitat, and disturbance of hibernating bats. Northern long-eared bats 
have been abundant in the eastern United States and are often captured 
in summer mist nets surveys and detected during acoustic surveys. 
Northern long-eared bats are known to frequent forested habitats 
throughout Pennsylvania. Similar to Indiana bats, northern long-eared 
bats generally hibernate in caves and mines during the winter. During 
the summer, the bats roost in live trees and snags, though are also 
known to use human made structures such as barns, sheds, and bat boxes.
    Comprehensive forest management strategies on Pennsylvania State 
lands create wildlife habitat and enhance forest health and diversity, 
while generating revenues from recreation and timber harvest that fund 
resource management on these lands. The ability of both PGC and DCNR to 
manage these properties in accordance with State law depends on these 
forest management strategies.
    The Federal action that will be analyzed through NEPA will be the 
potential issuance of an ITP to allow incidental take of Indiana bats, 
northern long-eared bats, and other federally listed species from 
forest management activities that will be described in the HCP. The HCP 
will incorporate avoidance, minimization, mitigation, monitoring, and 
reporting measures aimed at addressing the impact of the covered 
activities to Indiana bats and northern long-eared bats. The project 
planning area for the HCP is the 3.9 million acres of largely forested 
lands in Pennsylvania owned and managed by PGC and DCNR. The covered 
forest management activities in the HCP are anticipated to be as 
follows: Timber harvesting, installation of deer fencing, cutting and 
collecting of firewood, construction and maintenance of roads and 
trails, and use of prescribed fire. The PGC and DCNR do not anticipate 
that other forest management activities in the planning area will 
result in incidental take of Indiana bats, northern long-eared bats, or 
their habitat. In addition, they do not anticipate that other forest 
management activities in the planning area will result in incidental 
take of any other federally listed species. Potential minimization 
measures may include, but are not limited to, protection of roost trees 
and surrounding habitat, setback distances from known roost trees, 
mapping and avoidance of foraging areas, protection and enhancement of 
hibernacula, and protection and enhancement of Indiana bat and northern 
long-eared bat roosting and foraging habitat. The duration of the ITP 
will be 30 years.
    The Service has not made any decision with regard to the 
appropriate level of NEPA analysis (i.e., EA or EIS), or developed any 
NEPA alternatives to the proposed Federal action (i.e., issuance of an 
ITP conditioned on implementation of the HCP). The NEPA

[[Page 67392]]

analysis will assess the direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts of 
the proposed Federal action on the human environment, comprehensively 
interpreted to include the natural and physical environment and the 
relationship of people with that environment. It will also analyze 
several alternatives to the proposed Federal action, to include no 
action and other reasonable courses of action (potentially including 
minimization and mitigation measures not considered in the proposed 
action). Relevant information provided in response to this notice will 
aid in developing the draft HCP and NEPA analysis.

Next Steps

    In this phase of the project, we are seeking information to assist 
development of the NEPA analysis and the HCP, and to inform what level 
of environmental analysis would be necessary for project 
implementation. We will then develop a draft NEPA document based on the 
ITP application, draft HCP, any associated documents, and public 
comments received through this early scoping effort. The NEPA process 
will vary somewhat, depending on whether the project requires an EA or 
an EIS. We may solicit additional public, agency, and Tribal input to 
identify the nature and scope of the environmental issues that should 
be addressed during NEPA review, following appropriate public notice. 
We will then publish a notice of availability for the draft NEPA 
document and draft HCP and seek additional public comment before 
completing our final analysis to determine whether to issue an ITP.

Public Comments

    The Service invites the public to provide comments that will assist 
our NEPA analysis during this 30-day public comment period (see DATES). 
You may submit comments by one of the methods shown under ADDRESSES.

Public Availability of Comments

    We will post all public comments and information received 
electronically or via hardcopy on our Web site at:  http://regulations.gov. All comments received, including names and addresses, 
will become part of the administrative record and will be available to 
the public. Before including your address, phone number, electronic 
mail address, or other personal identifying information in your 
comment, you should be aware that your entire comment--including your 
personal identifying information--will be publicly available. If you 
submit a hardcopy comment that includes personal identifying 
information, you may request at the top of your document that we 
withhold this information from public review. However, we cannot 
guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Authority

    This notice is provided pursuant to NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1501.7 
and 1508.22).

    Dated: November 4, 2013.
Spencer Simon,
Acting Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Northeast 
Region.
[FR Doc. 2013-26950 Filed 11-8-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P