Receipt of Incidental Take Permit Application and Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan for the Sand Skink and Blue-Tailed Mole Skink; Highlands County, FL; Categorical Exclusion
We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce receipt of an application from Palmetto Avon Park-HWY 17, 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 and blue-tailed mole skink incidental to the construction of a commercial development in Highlands County, Florida. We request public comment on the application, which includes the applicant's proposed habitat conservation plan (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.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Threatened Species Status With Section 4(d) Rule for the Upper Coosa River Distinct Population Segment of Frecklebelly Madtom and Designation of Critical Habitat
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 12-month finding on a petition to list the frecklebelly madtom (Noturus munitus), a fish species from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee, as an endangered or threatened species and designate critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). After a review of the best available scientific and commercial information, we find that listing the frecklebelly madtom as an endangered or a threatened species throughout all of its range is not warranted. However, we determined that listing is warranted for a distinct population segment (DPS) of the frecklebelly madtom in the Upper Coosa River in Georgia and Tennessee. Accordingly, we propose to list the Upper Coosa River DPS of the frecklebelly madtom as a threatened species with a rule issued under section 4(d) of the Act (``4(d) rule''). If we finalize this rule as proposed, it would add this DPS to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and extend the Act's protections to the DPS. We also propose to designate critical habitat for the Upper Coosa River DPS under the Act. In total, approximately 134 river miles (216 kilometers) in Georgia and Tennessee fall within the boundaries of the proposed critical habitat designation. We also announce the availability of a draft economic analysis (DEA) of the proposed designation of critical habitat for the Upper Coosa River DPS.