Draft Environmental Assessment; Receipt of an Application for an Incidental Take Permit and Habitat Conservation Plan for Five Bat Species, Missouri, 51367-51368 [2021-19929]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 176 / Wednesday, September 15, 2021 / Notices Public Availability of Comments Written comments we receive become part of the administrative record associated with this action. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can request in your comment that we withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be made available for public disclosure in their entirety. Authority We provide this notice under section 10(c) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32) and NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 1506.6 and 43 CFR 46). Stephen Small, Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Mountain-Prairie Region. [FR Doc. 2021–19916 Filed 9–14–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R3–ES–2021–0062; FXES11140300000–212] Draft Environmental Assessment; Receipt of an Application for an Incidental Take Permit and Habitat Conservation Plan for Five Bat Species, Missouri Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comment and information. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have received an application from the Missouri Department of Conservation (applicant) for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act. If approved, the permit would be for a 50year period and would authorize the incidental take of two endangered species, the Indiana bat and the gray bat; one threatened species, the northern long-eared bat; and two species petitioned for Federal listing, the little khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:08 Sep 14, 2021 Jkt 253001 brown bat and the tricolored bat. The applicant has prepared a habitat conservation plan (HCP) to cover a suite of activities associated with continued forest and habitat management within the State of Missouri. DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before October 15, 2021. ADDRESSES: Document availability: Electronic copies of the documents this notice announces, along with public comments received, will be available online in Docket No. FWS–R3–ES– 2021–0062 at https:// www.regulations.gov. Comment submission: In your comment, please specify whether your comment addresses the proposed HCP, draft EA, or any combination of the aforementioned documents, or other supporting documents. You may submit written comments by one of the following methods: • Online: https://www.regulations.gov. Search for and submit comments on Docket No. FWS–R3–ES–2021–0062. • U.S. mail: Send comments to Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS–R3–ES–2021–0062; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 5275 Leesburg Pike, MS: PRB/3W; Falls Church, VA 22041– 3803. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John Weber, Deputy Field Supervisor, Missouri Ecological Services Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 101 Park DeVille Drive, Suite A, Columbia, MO 65203; telephone: 573– 234–2132. Individuals who are hearing impaired or speech impaired may call the Federal Relay Service at 1–800–877–8339 for TTY assistance. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We make available for public comment the applicant’s habitat conservation plan (HCP) and announce the availability of a draft environmental assessment, which has been prepared in response to the permit application in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. We invite the public and local, State, Tribal, and Federal agencies to comment on these applications. Before issuing any of the requested permits, we will take into consideration any information that we receive during the public comment period. We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an application from the Missouri Department of Conservation (applicant) for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), for its habitat conservation plan (HCP) PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 51367 for the for the Indiana bat, gray bat, northern long-eared bat, little brown bat, and tricolored bat (covered species). The applicant conducts habitat and forest management activities statewide in Missouri; the application covers nearly the entire State, except for lands owned and managed by other Federal and State entities, and would consist of approximately 42 million acres of covered species habitat. The applicant has prepared a habitat conservation plan that describes the continued habitat and forest management operations and measures that the applicant would implement to avoid, minimize, and mitigate incidental take of the covered species. The HCP proposes to restore, enhance, and maintain more than 1 million acres of covered species habitat and has dedicated 28,000 acres of Stateowned land specifically for the enhanced restoration, management, and permanent protection of priority bat management zones to further offset impacts to the covered species. If approved, the ITP would be for a 50year period and would authorize the incidental take of two endangered species, the Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) and the gray bat (Myotis grisescens); one threatened species, the northern longeared bat (Myotis septentrionalis); and two species petitioned for Federal listing, the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) and the tricolored bat (Perimyostis subflavus). The applicant has prepared an HCP that describes the actions and measures that the applicant would implement to avoid, minimize, and mitigate incidental take of Indiana bat, gray bat, northern long-eared bat, little brown bat, and tricolored bat. We also announce the availability of a draft environmental assessment (EA), which has been prepared in response to the permit application in accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). We request public comment on the application and associated documents. Background Section 9 of the ESA and its implementing regulations prohibit the ‘‘take’’ of animal species listed as endangered or threatened. Take is defined under the ESA as to ‘‘harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect ‘‘listed animal species,’’ or to attempt to engage in such conduct’’ (16 U.S.C. 1538). However, under section 10(a) of the ESA, we may issue permits to authorize incidental take of listed species. ‘‘Incidental take’’ is defined by the ESA as take that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, carrying out an otherwise lawful activity E:\FR\FM\15SEN1.SGM 15SEN1 51368 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 176 / Wednesday, September 15, 2021 / Notices (16 U.S.C. 1539). Regulations governing incidental take permits for endangered and threatened species, respectively, are found in the Code of Federal Regulations at 50 CFR 17.22 and 50 CFR 17.32. Impacts to plants do not fall under the definition of ‘‘take’’; therefore, the Service cannot authorize incidental take of plants. However, the Service cannot issue an ITP that would jeopardize the continued existence or adversely modify the designated critical habitat of any listed species. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Applicant’s Proposed Project The applicant requests a 50-year ITP to take the five bat species. The applicant determined that take is reasonably certain to occur incidental to enactment of forest and habitat management activities statewide on 42 million acres of covered species habitat. The proposed conservation strategy in the applicant’s proposed HCP is designed to avoid, minimize, and mitigate the impacts of habitat and forest management on the covered species. The biological goals and objectives are to minimize potential take of the five covered species through minimization measures and to provide habitat conservation measures for the covered species to offset any impacts from implementation of habitat and forest management activities. The estimated level of take from the project is 20.38 adult Indiana bats, 0.02 northern long-eared bats, 0.11 little brown bats, and 1.81 tricolored bats on an annual basis. As a result of proposed avoidance measures, the likelihood of take for gray bat has been greatly reduced such that a measurable level of take is not anticipated to occur. To offset the impacts of the taking of the five covered bat species, the applicant proposes to avoid habitat loss-related impacts from habitat and forest management, by instituting avoidance measures during the management process, such as avoiding certain activities during the active maternity season, and implement species habitat protection, enhancement, or restoration on 28,000 acres. Beneficial and net effects of the conservation strategy include the successful management of forests, which protect potential habitat for bats; site-level maintenance and promotion of roost trees and foraging habitat; the protection and management of 28,000 acres of priority bat management zones targeted at treeroosting covered species; the protection and enhancement of caves; and other specific measures that minimize or avoid effects to the covered species. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:08 Sep 14, 2021 Jkt 253001 National Environmental Policy Act The issuance of an ITP is a Federal action that triggers the need for compliance with NEPA. We prepared a draft EA that analyzes the environmental impacts on the human environment resulting from three alternatives: A no-action alternative, a no take alternative, the applicant’s proposed action, and an early planning mitigation alternative. Next Steps The Service will evaluate the permit application and the comments received to determine whether the application meets the requirements of section 10(a) of the ESA. We will also conduct an intra-Service consultation pursuant to section 7 of the ESA to evaluate the effects of the proposed take. After considering the above findings, we will determine whether the permit issuance criteria of section 10(a)(l)(B) of the ESA have been met. If met, the Service will issue the requested ITP to the applicant. Request for Public Comments The Service invites comments and suggestions from all interested parties on the proposed HCP, draft EA, and supporting documents during a 30-day public comment period (see DATES). In particular, information and comments regarding the following topics are requested: 1. The effects that implementation of any alternative could have on the human environment; 2. Whether or not the significance of the impact on various aspects of the human environment has been adequately analyzed; and 3. Any other information pertinent to evaluating the effects of the proposed action on the human environment including Indiana, gray, northern longeared, little brown, and tricolored bats. Availability of Public Comments You may submit comments by one of the methods shown under ADDRESSES. We will post on https://regulations.gov all public comments and information received electronically or via hardcopy. All comments received, including names and addresses, will become part of the administrative record associated with this action. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can request in your comment that we withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be made available for public disclosure in their entirety. Authority We provide this notice under section 10(c) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22) and the NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4371 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 1506.6; 43 CFR 46). Lori Nordstrom, Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services. [FR Doc. 2021–19929 Filed 9–14–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Geological Survey [GX21DK20H2S0000; OMB Control Number 1028–0114] Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; National Ground-Water Monitoring Network Cooperative Funding Application U.S. Geological Survey, Interior. ACTION: Notice of Information Collection; request for comment. AGENCY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are proposing to renew an information collection. SUMMARY: Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before October 15, 2021. ADDRESSES: Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to www.reginfo.gov/public/do/ PRAMain. Find this particular information collection by selecting ‘‘Currently under 30-day Review—Open for Public Comments’’ or by using the search function. U.S. Geological Survey, Information Collections Officer, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive MS 159, Reston, VA 20192; and by email to gs-info_ collections@usgs.gov. Please reference OMB Control Number 1028–0114 in the subject line of your comments. Individuals who are hearing or speech impaired may call the Federal Relay DATES: E:\FR\FM\15SEN1.SGM 15SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 176 (Wednesday, September 15, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 51367-51368]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-19929]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R3-ES-2021-0062; FXES11140300000-212]


Draft Environmental Assessment; Receipt of an Application for an 
Incidental Take Permit and Habitat Conservation Plan for Five Bat 
Species, Missouri

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

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

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have received an 
application from the Missouri Department of Conservation (applicant) 
for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act. 
If approved, the permit would be for a 50-year period and would 
authorize the incidental take of two endangered species, the Indiana 
bat and the gray bat; one threatened species, the northern long-eared 
bat; and two species petitioned for Federal listing, the little brown 
bat and the tricolored bat. The applicant has prepared a habitat 
conservation plan (HCP) to cover a suite of activities associated with 
continued forest and habitat management within the State of Missouri.

DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before 
October 15, 2021.

ADDRESSES: Document availability: Electronic copies of the documents 
this notice announces, along with public comments received, will be 
available online in Docket No. FWS-R3-ES-2021-0062 at https://www.regulations.gov.
    Comment submission: In your comment, please specify whether your 
comment addresses the proposed HCP, draft EA, or any combination of the 
aforementioned documents, or other supporting documents. You may submit 
written comments by one of the following methods:
     Online: https://www.regulations.gov. Search for and submit 
comments on Docket No. FWS-R3-ES-2021-0062.
     U.S. mail: Send comments to Public Comments Processing, 
Attn: Docket No. FWS-R3-ES-2021-0062; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 
5275 Leesburg Pike, MS: PRB/3W; Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John Weber, Deputy Field Supervisor, 
Missouri Ecological Services Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 101 Park DeVille Drive, Suite A, Columbia, MO 65203; 
telephone: 573-234-2132.
    Individuals who are hearing impaired or speech impaired may call 
the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8339 for TTY assistance.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We make available for public comment the 
applicant's habitat conservation plan (HCP) and announce the 
availability of a draft environmental assessment, which has been 
prepared in response to the permit application in accordance with the 
requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. We invite the 
public and local, State, Tribal, and Federal agencies to comment on 
these applications. Before issuing any of the requested permits, we 
will take into consideration any information that we receive during the 
public comment period.
    We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an 
application from the Missouri Department of Conservation (applicant) 
for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), for its habitat 
conservation plan (HCP) for the for the Indiana bat, gray bat, northern 
long-eared bat, little brown bat, and tricolored bat (covered species).
    The applicant conducts habitat and forest management activities 
statewide in Missouri; the application covers nearly the entire State, 
except for lands owned and managed by other Federal and State entities, 
and would consist of approximately 42 million acres of covered species 
habitat. The applicant has prepared a habitat conservation plan that 
describes the continued habitat and forest management operations and 
measures that the applicant would implement to avoid, minimize, and 
mitigate incidental take of the covered species. The HCP proposes to 
restore, enhance, and maintain more than 1 million acres of covered 
species habitat and has dedicated 28,000 acres of State-owned land 
specifically for the enhanced restoration, management, and permanent 
protection of priority bat management zones to further offset impacts 
to the covered species. If approved, the ITP would be for a 50-year 
period and would authorize the incidental take of two endangered 
species, the Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) and the gray bat (Myotis 
grisescens); one threatened species, the northern long-eared bat 
(Myotis septentrionalis); and two species petitioned for Federal 
listing, the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) and the tricolored bat 
(Perimyostis subflavus). The applicant has prepared an HCP that 
describes the actions and measures that the applicant would implement 
to avoid, minimize, and mitigate incidental take of Indiana bat, gray 
bat, northern long-eared bat, little brown bat, and tricolored bat. We 
also announce the availability of a draft environmental assessment 
(EA), which has been prepared in response to the permit application in 
accordance with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy 
Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). We request public comment on the 
application and associated documents.

Background

    Section 9 of the ESA and its implementing regulations prohibit the 
``take'' of animal species listed as endangered or threatened. Take is 
defined under the ESA as to ``harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, 
kill, trap, capture, or collect ``listed animal species,'' or to 
attempt to engage in such conduct'' (16 U.S.C. 1538). However, under 
section 10(a) of the ESA, we may issue permits to authorize incidental 
take of listed species. ``Incidental take'' is defined by the ESA as 
take that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, carrying out an 
otherwise lawful activity

[[Page 51368]]

(16 U.S.C. 1539). Regulations governing incidental take permits for 
endangered and threatened species, respectively, are found in the Code 
of Federal Regulations at 50 CFR 17.22 and 50 CFR 17.32. Impacts to 
plants do not fall under the definition of ``take''; therefore, the 
Service cannot authorize incidental take of plants. However, the 
Service cannot issue an ITP that would jeopardize the continued 
existence or adversely modify the designated critical habitat of any 
listed species.

Applicant's Proposed Project

    The applicant requests a 50-year ITP to take the five bat species. 
The applicant determined that take is reasonably certain to occur 
incidental to enactment of forest and habitat management activities 
statewide on 42 million acres of covered species habitat. The proposed 
conservation strategy in the applicant's proposed HCP is designed to 
avoid, minimize, and mitigate the impacts of habitat and forest 
management on the covered species. The biological goals and objectives 
are to minimize potential take of the five covered species through 
minimization measures and to provide habitat conservation measures for 
the covered species to offset any impacts from implementation of 
habitat and forest management activities. The estimated level of take 
from the project is 20.38 adult Indiana bats, 0.02 northern long-eared 
bats, 0.11 little brown bats, and 1.81 tricolored bats on an annual 
basis. As a result of proposed avoidance measures, the likelihood of 
take for gray bat has been greatly reduced such that a measurable level 
of take is not anticipated to occur. To offset the impacts of the 
taking of the five covered bat species, the applicant proposes to avoid 
habitat loss-related impacts from habitat and forest management, by 
instituting avoidance measures during the management process, such as 
avoiding certain activities during the active maternity season, and 
implement species habitat protection, enhancement, or restoration on 
28,000 acres. Beneficial and net effects of the conservation strategy 
include the successful management of forests, which protect potential 
habitat for bats; site-level maintenance and promotion of roost trees 
and foraging habitat; the protection and management of 28,000 acres of 
priority bat management zones targeted at tree-roosting covered 
species; the protection and enhancement of caves; and other specific 
measures that minimize or avoid effects to the covered species.

National Environmental Policy Act

    The issuance of an ITP is a Federal action that triggers the need 
for compliance with NEPA. We prepared a draft EA that analyzes the 
environmental impacts on the human environment resulting from three 
alternatives: A no-action alternative, a no take alternative, the 
applicant's proposed action, and an early planning mitigation 
alternative.

Next Steps

    The Service will evaluate the permit application and the comments 
received to determine whether the application meets the requirements of 
section 10(a) of the ESA. We will also conduct an intra-Service 
consultation pursuant to section 7 of the ESA to evaluate the effects 
of the proposed take. After considering the above findings, we will 
determine whether the permit issuance criteria of section 10(a)(l)(B) 
of the ESA have been met. If met, the Service will issue the requested 
ITP to the applicant.

Request for Public Comments

    The Service invites comments and suggestions from all interested 
parties on the proposed HCP, draft EA, and supporting documents during 
a 30-day public comment period (see DATES). In particular, information 
and comments regarding the following topics are requested:
    1. The effects that implementation of any alternative could have on 
the human environment;
    2. Whether or not the significance of the impact on various aspects 
of the human environment has been adequately analyzed; and
    3. Any other information pertinent to evaluating the effects of the 
proposed action on the human environment including Indiana, gray, 
northern long-eared, little brown, and tricolored bats.

Availability of Public Comments

    You may submit comments by one of the methods shown under 
ADDRESSES. We will post on https://regulations.gov all public comments 
and information received electronically or via hardcopy. All comments 
received, including names and addresses, will become part of the 
administrative record associated with this action. Before including 
your address, phone number, email address, or other personal 
identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your 
entire comment--including your personal identifying information--may be 
made publicly available at any time. While you can request in your 
comment that we withhold your personal identifying information from 
public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. All 
submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals 
identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations 
or businesses, will be made available for public disclosure in their 
entirety.

Authority

    We provide this notice under section 10(c) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 
1531 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22) and the 
NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4371 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 
1506.6; 43 CFR 46).

Lori Nordstrom,
Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services.
[FR Doc. 2021-19929 Filed 9-14-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4333-15-P