Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Amendment of Lower St. Johns River Manatee Refuge in Florida
The Fish and Wildlife Service is amending a portion of the Lower St. Johns River Manatee Refuge area in Duval County, Florida, to provide for both improved public safety and increased manatee protection through improved marking and enforcement of the manatee protection area. Specifically, that portion of this manatee protection area which lies downstream of the Hart Bridge to Reddie Point will be modified to allow watercraft to travel up to 25 miles per hour (mph) in a broader portion of the St. Johns River to include areas adjacent to but outside of the navigation channel. Watercraft traveling near the banks of the river will be required to travel at slow speed much as they do now. The primary exception will be around Exchange Island where the coverage of the existing State and local slow-speed zones will be expanded. However, in the main portion of the river, watercraft will be allowed to travel at speeds up to 25 mph. The manatee protection area will also be expanded approximately one mile further downstream, to the extent it was originally proposed (68 FR 16602; April 4, 2003), in order to be consistent with existing State and local governmental manatee protection measures and thereby facilitate compliance. This modification is supported by State and local government and parties to the March 18, 2003, Stipulated Order which resulted in the initial rulemaking for this manatee protection area. The current configuration of the manatee protection area is not supported by the State of Florida or Duval County. While the Service is committed to enforcing these current protection measures, State and local government would normally provide a substantial portion of the enforcement effort. This rulemaking, through a minor modification in a small portion of the manatee protection area, resolves State and local objections and gains their support through education and enforcement throughout the extent of the manatee protection area. The modification will provide a substantial benefit to manatee conservation. Establishment of manatee protection areas is authorized under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA), and the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (MMPA), to further recovery of the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris) by preventing the taking of one or more manatees. We also announce the availability of a final environmental assessment for this action. Under authority of 5 U.S.C. 553, we find good cause to make this rule final without prior opportunity for public comment because public notice and comment on the rule is contrary to the public interest. However, the public may provide comments on this final rule at any time to the address in the ADDRESSES caption below.
Receipt of an Application for an Incidental Take Permit for Construction of a Single-Family Home in the City of Palm Bay, Brevard County, FL
Dorothy V. Jacobs and Paul A. Jacobs (Applicants) request an incidental take permit (ITP) pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), as amended (Act). The Applicants anticipate taking about 0.23 acre of Florida scrub-jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) (scrub-jay) foraging, sheltering, and possibly nesting habitat incidental to lot preparation for the construction of a single-family home and supporting infrastructure in the City of Palm Bay, Brevard County, Florida (Project). The destruction of 0.23 acre of foraging, sheltering, and possibly nesting habitat is expected to result in the take of one family of scrub-jays. The Applicants' Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) describes the mitigation and minimization measures proposed to address the effects of the Project to the Florida scrub-jay. These measures are outlined in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below. We have determined that the Applicants' proposal, including the proposed mitigation and minimization measures, will individually and cumulatively have a minor or negligible effect on the species covered in the HCP. Therefore, the ITP is a ``low-effect'' project and would qualify as a categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), as provided by the Department of Interior Manual (516 DM2, Appendix 1 and 516 DM 6, Appendix 1). We announce the availability of the HCP for the incidental take application. Copies of the HCP may be obtained by making a request to the Regional Office (see ADDRESSES). Requests must be in writing to be processed. This notice is provided pursuant to Section 10 of the Endangered Species Act and NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).
Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement for the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces that the Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is available for Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. The CCP was prepared pursuant to the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. Goals and objectives in the CCP describe how the agency intends to manage the refuge over the next 15 years.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Extension of the Comment Period for Proposed Designation of Critical Habitat for the Arkansas River Basin Population of the Arkansas River Shiner
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the extension of the public comment period for the proposal to designate critical habitat for the Arkansas River Basin population of the Arkansas River Shiner (Notropis girardi) (October 6, 2004; 69 FR 59859). This action will allow all interested parties an opportunity to comment on the proposed critical habitat designation under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Designation of Critical Habitat for the Southwestern Willow Flycatcher
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of the draft economic analysis and draft environmental assessment for the proposal to designate critical habitat for southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act), as amended. The draft economic analysis considers the potential economic effects of efforts to protect the southwestern willow flycatcher and its habitat, collectively referred to as ``flycatcher conservation activities.'' In the case of habitat conservation, these costs would reflect the costs associated with the commitment of resources to comply with habitat protection measures. The analysis also addresses how potential economic impacts are likely to be distributed and looks retrospectively at costs that have been incurred since the date the species was listed. The draft economic analysis finds that over a 10-year time period costs associated with southwestern willow flycatcher conservation activities are forecast to range from $29.2 to $39.5 million per year. Comments previously submitted on the October 12, 2004, proposed rule (69 FR 60706) and the extensions of comment period published December 13, 2004 (69 FR 72161), or March 31, 2005 (70 FR 16474) need not be resubmitted as they have been incorporated into the public record and will be fully considered in preparation of the final rule. We will hold eight public informational sessions and hearings (see DATES and ADDRESSES sections).
Information Collection Submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for Renewal Under the Paperwork Reduction Act; 1018-0115; USFWS Training Records, Application for FWS Training Request
We (Fish and Wildlife Service) have submitted to OMB a request to renew approval for information collection associated with our Training Application (FWS Form 3-2193). Applicants who wish to participate in training sponsored by the Fish and Wildlife Service National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) must complete a training application, which is available in both electronic (Internet) and hard copy versions.