Aitkin-Carlton Counties Habitat Conservation Plan, Aitkin and Carlton Counties, Minnesota; Receipt of an Application for an Incidental Take Permit, Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan; Categorical Exclusion, 70514-70515 [2021-26828]

Download as PDF 70514 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 235 / Friday, December 10, 2021 / Notices III. Request for Input DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR E.O. 14011 directs the Task Force to coordinate its work, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, with relevant stakeholders, including domestic and international nongovernmental organizations, and representatives of the children and their families. Based on this directive, the Task Force is soliciting input and recommendations to minimize the separation of migrant parents and legal guardians and children entering the United States, consistent with law. The Task Force welcomes thoughts on the causes of family separations that occurred incident to the Zero-Tolerance policy as well as policies, procedures, or regulations that may minimize the separation of migrant parents and legal guardians and children entering the United States, consistent with law. This is not an exhaustive list of the types of comments the Task Force is interested in receiving on this important topic and the public may provide additional thoughts and concerns. Fish and Wildlife Service IV. Review of Public Feedback The Task Force will use the public’s feedback to help draft recommendations to the President on how to prevent the Federal Government in the future form separating children from their parents except in the most extreme circumstances where a separation is clearly necessary for the safety and wellbeing of the child or is required by law, as directed in E.O. 14011. Public input provided in response to this notice does not bind the Task Force to any further actions, to include publishing a formal response or agreement to initiate a recommended change. The Task Force will consider the feedback and include the feedback in its report at its sole discretion. Disclaimer jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 This notice is for information and planning purposes only and should not be construed as a solicitation or as creating or resulting in any obligation on the part of DHS. Dated: December 6, 2021. Michelle Brane´, Executive Director, Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families, U.S. Department of Homeland Security. [FR Doc. 2021–26691 Filed 12–9–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 9110–9B–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:03 Dec 09, 2021 Jkt 256001 [Docket No. FWS–R3–ES–2021–0126; FXES11140300000–212] Aitkin-Carlton Counties Habitat Conservation Plan, Aitkin and Carlton Counties, Minnesota; Receipt of an Application for an Incidental Take Permit, Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan; Categorical Exclusion Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability of documents; request for comments and information. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have received an application from Aitkin and Carlton Counties for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act for the proposed Aitkin-Carlton Counties Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). If approved, the ITP would authorize the incidental take of three bat species for a 25-year period. The applicant has prepared an HCP to cover a suite of activities associated with continued forest and habitat management. We request public comment on the application, which includes the applicant’s proposed HCP, and on the Service’s preliminary determination that this HCP qualifies as ‘‘low-effect,’’ categorically excluded under the National Environmental Policy Act. To make this determination, we used our environmental action statement and low-effect screening form, both of which are also available for public review. DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before January 10, 2022. 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–2021–0126 at https://www.regulations.gov. Comment submission: In your comment, please specify whether your comment addresses the proposed HCP, draft environmental action statement, 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–2021–0126. • U.S. mail: Submit comments to Public Comments Processing, Attn: SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00085 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Docket No. FWS–R3–ES–2021–0126; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 5275 Leesburg Pike, MS: PRB/3W; Falls Church, VA 22041–3803. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Shauna Marquardt, Deputy Field Supervisor, Minnesota-Wisconsin Ecological Services Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4101 American Boulevard East, Bloomington, MN 55425; telephone: 573–239–3293; or Andrew Horton, Regional HCP Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service–Interior Region 3, 5600 American Blvd. West, Suite 990, Bloomington, MN 55437–1458; telephone: 612–713–5337. 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, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an application from Aitkin and Carlton Counties (applicants) for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), for a proposed habitat conservation plan (HCP) for the northern long-eared bat, little brown bat, and tricolored bat. The applicants conduct habitat and forest management activities on countymanaged lands in Aitkin and Carlton Counties, Minnesota. The applicants have prepared an HCP that describes their continued habitat and forest management operations and measures that the applicants would implement to avoid, minimize, and mitigate incidental take of the covered species. The HCP proposes to create, enhance, and maintain more than one-third of county-managed forest lands as covered species’ habitat to offset impacts of habitat and forest management activities to the covered species. If approved, the ITP would be for a 25-year period and would authorize the incidental take of the following three species: northern long-eared bat (federally listed as threatened), little brown bat (currently under discretionary review), and tricolored bat (petitioned for listing under the ESA). The applicant has prepared an HCP that describes the actions and measures that the applicants would implement to avoid, minimize, and mitigate incidental take of the three species. We request public comment on the application, which includes the applicant’s proposed HCP, and on the Service’s preliminary determination that this HCP qualifies as ‘‘low-effect,’’ categorically excluded under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). To make E:\FR\FM\10DEN1.SGM 10DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 235 / Friday, December 10, 2021 / Notices this determination, we used our environmental action statement and low-effect screening form, both of which are also available for public review. jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 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, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct’’ (16 U.S.C. 1532). 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. 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. Applicants’ Proposed Project The applicants request a 25-year ITP to take the federally threatened northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) and two species petitioned for Federal listing: The little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) and the tricolored bat (Perimyotis subflavus). The applicant determined that take is reasonably certain to occur incidental to enactment of forest and habitat management activities on 3 percent or less of countymanaged forest lands annually over a 10-year rolling period. The proposed conservation strategy in the applicant’s proposed HCP is designed to avoid, minimize, and mitigate the impacts of the habitat and forest management on the covered species. The biological goals and objectives are to minimize potential take of northern long-eared, little brown, and tricolored bats through minimization measures and to provide habitat conservation measures for the covered species to offset any impacts from the implementation of habitat and forest management activities. The authorized level of take from the project is up to a total of three northern long-eared bats, three little brown bats, and three tricolored bats over the 25year project duration, and lost reproductive potential is anticipated to result in a loss of five additional northern long-eared bats, seven little brown bats, and seven tricolored bats over the 25-year period. To offset the impacts of the taking of northern longeared, little brown, and tricolored bats, the applicants propose to avoid habitatloss-related impacts from habitat and forest management by instituting VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:03 Dec 09, 2021 Jkt 256001 avoidance measures during the management process, such as restricting forest management activities to 3 percent or less of the county-managed forests over a 10-year rolling period, limiting forest management during the bat active season to 34 percent or less of the total annual harvest and 10 percent or less during the pup season, and leaving buffers around roost trees. Beneficial and net effects of the conservation strategy include the successful management of forests, which protect potential habitat for bats, and the creation, restoration, and maintenance of maternity roost and foraging habitat on one-third of the county-managed forest lands (a minimum of 85,387 acres), and other specific measures that minimize or avoid effects to the covered species. National Environmental Policy Act The Service has made a preliminary determination that the applicant’s project and the proposed mitigation measures would individually and cumulatively have a minor or negligible effect on the covered species and the environment. Therefore, we have preliminarily concluded that the ITP for this project would qualify for categorical exclusion, and the HCP would be low effect under our NEPA regulations at 43 CFR 46.205 and 46.210. A low-effect HCP is one that would result in (1) minor or negligible effects on federally listed, proposed, and candidate species and their habitats; (2) minor or negligible effects on other environmental values or resources; and (3) incremental impacts from the Federal action that, when added to other past, present, and reasonable foreseeable future actions, would not result in significant cumulative effects to environmental values or resources over time. 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. period (see DATES). In particular, information and comments regarding the following topics are requested: 1. Whether or not the significance of the impact on various aspects of the human environment has been adequately analyzed; and 2. Any threats to the northern longeared bat, little brown bat, or tricolored bat that may influence their populations over the life of the ITP that are not addressed in the proposed HCP; and 3. Any other information pertinent to evaluating the effects of the proposed action on the human environment. 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. 4321 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR parts 1500–1508 (2020); 43 CFR part 46). Lori Nordstrom, Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services. [FR Doc. 2021–26828 Filed 12–9–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P Public Comments The Service invites comments and suggestions from all interested parties on the proposed HCP and screening form during a 30-day public comment PO 00000 Frm 00086 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 70515 E:\FR\FM\10DEN1.SGM 10DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 235 (Friday, December 10, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 70514-70515]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-26828]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[Docket No. FWS-R3-ES-2021-0126; FXES11140300000-212]


Aitkin-Carlton Counties Habitat Conservation Plan, Aitkin and 
Carlton Counties, Minnesota; Receipt of an Application for an 
Incidental Take Permit, Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan; Categorical 
Exclusion

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability of documents; request for comments and 
information.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have received an 
application from Aitkin and Carlton Counties for an incidental take 
permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act for the proposed Aitkin-
Carlton Counties Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). If approved, the ITP 
would authorize the incidental take of three bat species for a 25-year 
period. The applicant has prepared an HCP to cover a suite of 
activities associated with continued forest and habitat management. We 
request public comment on the application, which includes the 
applicant's proposed HCP, and on the Service's preliminary 
determination that this HCP qualifies as ``low-effect,'' categorically 
excluded under the National Environmental Policy Act. To make this 
determination, we used our environmental action statement and low-
effect screening form, both of which are also available for public 
review.

DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before 
January 10, 2022.

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-2021-0126 at https://www.regulations.gov.
    Comment submission: In your comment, please specify whether your 
comment addresses the proposed HCP, draft environmental action 
statement, 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-2021-0126.
     U.S. mail: Submit comments to Public Comments Processing, 
Attn: Docket No. FWS-R3-ES-2021-0126; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 
5275 Leesburg Pike, MS: PRB/3W; Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Shauna Marquardt, Deputy Field 
Supervisor, Minnesota-Wisconsin Ecological Services Field Office, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, 4101 American Boulevard East, Bloomington, 
MN 55425; telephone: 573-239-3293; or Andrew Horton, Regional HCP 
Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-Interior Region 3, 5600 
American Blvd. West, Suite 990, Bloomington, MN 55437-1458; telephone: 
612-713-5337.
    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, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(Service), have received an application from Aitkin and Carlton 
Counties (applicants) for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the 
Endangered Species Act, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), for a 
proposed habitat conservation plan (HCP) for the northern long-eared 
bat, little brown bat, and tricolored bat. The applicants conduct 
habitat and forest management activities on county-managed lands in 
Aitkin and Carlton Counties, Minnesota. The applicants have prepared an 
HCP that describes their continued habitat and forest management 
operations and measures that the applicants would implement to avoid, 
minimize, and mitigate incidental take of the covered species. The HCP 
proposes to create, enhance, and maintain more than one-third of 
county-managed forest lands as covered species' habitat to offset 
impacts of habitat and forest management activities to the covered 
species.
    If approved, the ITP would be for a 25-year period and would 
authorize the incidental take of the following three species: northern 
long-eared bat (federally listed as threatened), little brown bat 
(currently under discretionary review), and tricolored bat (petitioned 
for listing under the ESA). The applicant has prepared an HCP that 
describes the actions and measures that the applicants would implement 
to avoid, minimize, and mitigate incidental take of the three species. 
We request public comment on the application, which includes the 
applicant's proposed HCP, and on the Service's preliminary 
determination that this HCP qualifies as ``low-effect,'' categorically 
excluded under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 
4321 et seq.). To make

[[Page 70515]]

this determination, we used our environmental action statement and low-
effect screening form, both of which are also available for public 
review.

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, or to attempt to engage in any such 
conduct'' (16 U.S.C. 1532). 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. 
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.

Applicants' Proposed Project

    The applicants request a 25-year ITP to take the federally 
threatened northern long-eared bat (Myotis septentrionalis) and two 
species petitioned for Federal listing: The little brown bat (Myotis 
lucifugus) and the tricolored bat (Perimyotis subflavus). The applicant 
determined that take is reasonably certain to occur incidental to 
enactment of forest and habitat management activities on 3 percent or 
less of county-managed forest lands annually over a 10-year rolling 
period. The proposed conservation strategy in the applicant's proposed 
HCP is designed to avoid, minimize, and mitigate the impacts of the 
habitat and forest management on the covered species. The biological 
goals and objectives are to minimize potential take of northern long-
eared, little brown, and tricolored bats through minimization measures 
and to provide habitat conservation measures for the covered species to 
offset any impacts from the implementation of habitat and forest 
management activities.
    The authorized level of take from the project is up to a total of 
three northern long-eared bats, three little brown bats, and three 
tricolored bats over the 25-year project duration, and lost 
reproductive potential is anticipated to result in a loss of five 
additional northern long-eared bats, seven little brown bats, and seven 
tricolored bats over the 25-year period. To offset the impacts of the 
taking of northern long-eared, little brown, and tricolored bats, the 
applicants propose to avoid habitat-loss-related impacts from habitat 
and forest management by instituting avoidance measures during the 
management process, such as restricting forest management activities to 
3 percent or less of the county-managed forests over a 10-year rolling 
period, limiting forest management during the bat active season to 34 
percent or less of the total annual harvest and 10 percent or less 
during the pup season, and leaving buffers around roost trees. 
Beneficial and net effects of the conservation strategy include the 
successful management of forests, which protect potential habitat for 
bats, and the creation, restoration, and maintenance of maternity roost 
and foraging habitat on one-third of the county-managed forest lands (a 
minimum of 85,387 acres), and other specific measures that minimize or 
avoid effects to the covered species.

National Environmental Policy Act

    The Service has made a preliminary determination that the 
applicant's project and the proposed mitigation measures would 
individually and cumulatively have a minor or negligible effect on the 
covered species and the environment. Therefore, we have preliminarily 
concluded that the ITP for this project would qualify for categorical 
exclusion, and the HCP would be low effect under our NEPA regulations 
at 43 CFR 46.205 and 46.210. A low-effect HCP is one that would result 
in (1) minor or negligible effects on federally listed, proposed, and 
candidate species and their habitats; (2) minor or negligible effects 
on other environmental values or resources; and (3) incremental impacts 
from the Federal action that, when added to other past, present, and 
reasonable foreseeable future actions, would not result in significant 
cumulative effects to environmental values or resources over time.

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.

Public Comments

    The Service invites comments and suggestions from all interested 
parties on the proposed HCP and screening form during a 30-day public 
comment period (see DATES). In particular, information and comments 
regarding the following topics are requested:
    1. Whether or not the significance of the impact on various aspects 
of the human environment has been adequately analyzed; and
    2. Any threats to the northern long-eared bat, little brown bat, or 
tricolored bat that may influence their populations over the life of 
the ITP that are not addressed in the proposed HCP; and
    3. Any other information pertinent to evaluating the effects of the 
proposed action on the human environment.
    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. 4321 et seq.) and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 
parts 1500-1508 (2020); 43 CFR part 46).

Lori Nordstrom,
Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services.
[FR Doc. 2021-26828 Filed 12-9-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4333-15-P