Federally-threatened Lake Erie water snakes

March 17, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 51)] [Notices] [Page 12711-12712]

Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Assessment/Habitat Conservation Plan Related to Application for an Incidental Take Permit for the Long Point Homeowner's Association Development

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.

SUMMARY: This notice advises the public and other agencies of the availability of a draft Environmental Assessment (EA)/Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and Incidental Take Permit (ITP) application for review and comment. The draft EA/HCP and ITP application were submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) by the Long Point Homeowner's Association proposing residential development of the Long Point Subdivision on Kelleys Island, Erie County, Ohio.

Federally-threatened Lake Erie water snakes (Nerodia sipedon insularum) occupy the project area and it has been determined that the proposed actions will result in incidental take.

The Long Point Homeowner's Association submitted an ITP application to the Service for incidental take pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act), as amended.

The submission of the ITP application required the development of an HCP by the applicants detailing measures to be taken to avoid, minimize, and mitigate impacts to Lake Erie water snakes.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before May 16, 2003.

ADDRESSES: Written comments can be mailed to the address or fax number below.

Electronic mail comments should be submitted to:

longpointhcp@fws.gov.

Persons wishing to review the documents may obtain copies by writing, telephoning, faxing, or e-mailing:

Regional HCP Coordinator

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services

1 Federal Drive

Fort Snelling, MN 55111-4056,

612-713-5343

Fax: 612-713-5292.

The draft EA/HCP is also available at:

http://midwest.fws.gov/nepa/

Copies of the draft EA/HCP may also be viewed at four public libraries listed in SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Peter Fasbender, Regional HCP Coordinator, 612-713-5343, or e-mail peter_fasbender@fws.gov

Measures in the HCP designed to avoid, minimize, and mitigate the impacts of the proposed action on Lake Erie water snakes include:

(1) Seasonal and temperature restrictions on ground disturbing activities including construction and mowing;

(2) establishment of a shoreline buffer area to conserve habitat;

(3) restrictions on pesticide and fertilizer use;

(4) construction of artificial hibernacula;

(5) restrictions on size and placement of structures including residences, garages, decks, driveways, and septic systems; and

(6) monitoring the Lake Erie water snake population response to the proposed construction and mitigation for 15 years.