Receipt of Incidental Take Permit Application and Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan for the Sand Skink, Blue-Tailed Mole Skink, and Florida Scrub-Jay, Highlands County, FL; Categorical Exclusion
We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce receipt of an application from Palmetto Lake Placid-Washington Blvd., LLC (applicant) for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act. The applicant requests the ITP to take the federally listed sand skink, blue-tailed mole skink, and Florida scrub-jay incidental to construction in Highlands County, Florida. We request public comment on the application, which includes the applicant's proposed habitat conservation plan (HCP), and 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.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of the Interior Least Tern From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to remove the inland population of the least tern (Interior least tern) (Sterna (now Sternula) antillarum), from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. The Interior least tern is a bird that nests adjacent to major rivers of the Great Plains and Lower Mississippi Valley. This proposed action is based on a thorough review of the best available scientific and commercial data, which indicate that the Interior least tern has recovered and no longer meets the definition of an endangered or a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). Our review shows that threats identified for the species at the time of listing, i.e., habitat loss, curtailment of range, predation, and inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms, have been eliminated or reduced, and the Interior least tern has increased in abundance and range. We also announce the availability of a draft post- delisting monitoring (PDM) plan for the Interior least tern. We seek information, data, and comments from the public regarding this proposed rule and the associated draft PDM plan.