florida bonneted bat critical habitat

Please see Information Requested, above, for instructions on how to submit comments. At this time, we are not considering any specific areas for exclusion from the final designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act based on economic impacts. Area values were computer-generated using GIS software, summed within each ownership category, and then rounded to the nearest whole number. 5-6; Milner et al. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows: Authority: For this same reason, we considered areas with documented presence of bonneted bats from October 2013 through 2019 as occupied at the time of listing. This finding aligns with relative Start Printed Page 35516sizes of home ranges of comparable and related species (Vaughan 1959, p. 18; Marques et al. In addition, in a new study examining social organization at bat houses at Babcock-Webb WMA, researchers found the species roosted in relatively small groups, with an average size of 10 individuals, in a harem structure (Ober et al. comm. The designation of critical habitat does not impose a legally binding duty on non-Federal Government entities or private parties. 2018, entire). We seek information regarding any and all types of conservation programs and plans relevant to the protection of proposed critical habitat units for the Florida bonneted bat and which may meet the criteria for exclusion under section 4(b)(2) of the Act. As discussed above, the role of critical habitat is to support PBFs essential to the conservation of a listed species and other specific areas that are essential to provide for the conservation of the species. 12630 (Government Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Private Property Rights), we have analyzed the potential takings implications of designating critical habitat for the Florida bonneted bat in a takings implications assessment. Substantial new scientific information has been obtained by researchers, agencies, conservation organizations, industry, and other partners. In accordance with the Act and our implementing regulations at 50 CFR 424.12(b), we review available information pertaining to the habitat requirements of the species and identify specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the species at the time of listing and any specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the species that could be considered for designation as critical habitat. 1-3; Braun de Torrez et al. As a result of these impacts and other causes of habitat loss and degradation, PBFs may no longer be available in some areas, and the amount of suitable occupied Florida bonneted bat habitat is likely to shrink dramatically in the future. Bonneted bats have also been found roosting in abandoned and occupied human dwellings in Miami-Dade County (Bohn, pers. 2008; Gore et al. Additional details regarding the above surveys are described in the proposed and final listing rules (77 FR 60750; 78 FR 61004). The highest costs are expected in Unit 3, associated with anticipated future consultations within BCNP and ENP. This included information from the following locations and sources: We used ESRI ArcGIS online basemap aerial imagery (collected December, 2010) and Digital Orthophoto Quarter Quadrangles (1-m true color; collected 2004) of select areas to cross-check FLUCCS and ensure the presence of PBFs. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339. You may submit your comments and materials concerning this Start Printed Page 35512proposed rule by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. 2019b). February 21, 2020 | 6 minute readFlorida bristle fern proposed Critical Habitat, February 21, 2020 | 3 minute readU.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) proposes to designate approximately 1.5 million acres spanning ten Florida counties as critical habitat for the bonneted bat. Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA; 5 U.S.C. FLUCCS categories were grouped to condense more than 100 different vegetation cover/land use classes into 10 major land cover categories. Specific criteria and methodology used to determine proposed critical habitat unit boundaries are discussed below. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes Critical Habitat for the endangered Florida bristle fern, November 26, 2019 | 9 minute readSuwannee moccasinshell Critical Habitat. comm., 2013a-b; Relish, pers. Unit 2 represents the westernmost portion of the species' core areas. comm. 2018a-b). Meeting this goal will require special management considerations or protection of the PBFs including passive (e.g., allowing natural processes to occur without intervention) and active (e.g., taking actions to restore habitat conditions or address threats) management. In the largest and most comprehensive acoustic study undertaken for this species, bonneted bats were detected in all land cover types investigated, including the four major categories of uplands, wetlands, agricultural, and developed lands (Bailey et al. All areas proposed as critical habitat are within the geographical area occupied by the bat at the time of listing and contain the PBFs essential to the conservation of the species. We may not conduct or sponsor and you are not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. Support the designation of critical habitat for Florida Bonneted Bats! documents in the last year, by the Homeland Security Department and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (7) Unit 2: Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area, Babcock Ranch, and surrounding areas; Charlotte, Lee, and Glades Counties, Florida. (iv) A dynamic disturbance regime (natural or artificial) (e.g., fire, hurricanes) that maintains and regenerates forested habitat, including plant communities, open habitat structure, and temporary gaps, which is conducive to promoting a continual supply of roosting sites, prey items, and suitable foraging conditions. Close. Destruction or adverse modification means a direct or indirect alteration that appreciably diminishes the value of critical habitat as a whole for the conservation of a listed species. Additionally, it does not affect land ownership or establish a refuge, wilderness, reserve, preserve or other conservation area, nor does it allow the government or public to access private lands. 11,496 (28,408) The largest land holding within this unit is ENP; other smaller conservation lands also occur within this unit (see Conservation Lands, Supporting Documents). comm. The regulations at 50 CFR 424.02 define “physical or biological features essential to the conservation of the species” as the features that occur in specific areas and that are essential to support the life-history needs of the species, including, but not limited to, water characteristics, soil type, geological features, sites, prey, vegetation, symbiotic species, or other features. Potential land use sectors that may be affected by the proposed critical habitat designation include agriculture; conservation/restoration; residential, commercial, industrial or recreational development and associated infrastructure; dredging; fire management; forest management including silviculture/timber; grazing; recreation; transportation; Tribal lands; utilities; energy supply, distribution, and use; and water diversion, drainage, or wetland loss or conversion. Natural roosting habitat appears to be limiting, and competition for tree cavities is high (see Factor E, Competition for Tree Cavities, final listing rule (78 FR 61004, October 2, 2013)). Consequently, this species relies on speed and agility to catch target insects in the absence of background clutter, such as dense vegetation (Simmons et al. The Florida bonneted bat's physiological or behavioral responses to abiotic factors, such as climate and artificial lighting, have not been specifically studied. 1990, entire; Kunz et al. comm. Accordingly, we will always consider for exclusion from the designation areas for which DoD, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), or another Federal agency has requested exclusion based on an assertion of national-security or homeland-security concerns. Critical habitat designation will not affect activities that do not have any Federal involvement; designation of critical habitat only affects activities conducted, funded, permitted, or authorized by Federal agencies. In accordance with E.O. Consequently, we consider divergent areas for foraging and roosting as essential to the conservation of this bat. Agencies review all submissions and may choose to redact, or withhold, certain submissions (or portions thereof). These are the largest bats east of the Mississippi River. Unit 4 consists of 114,372 ha (282,620 ac) of lands in Miami-Dade County, Florida. The Florida bonneted bat is suspected to have high roost site fidelity. Using the approaches described above, we delineated a total of five areas considered to be occupied at the time of listing (see Occupancy at the Time of Listing, above) as critical habitat for the Florida bonneted bat. The Florida bonneted bat needs suitable roosting habitat (for shelter, to rear young, for protection from predators) with limited disturbance, suitable foraging habitat, sufficient prey base (to meet its daily and seasonal dietary requirements and energy demands), and opportunities to disperse, exchange information, find mates, and reproduce for population growth. The primary authors of this proposed rulemaking are the staff members of the South Florida Ecological Services Office. We are not including approximately 43,740 ha (108,082 ac) of habitat in this proposed critical habitat designation because of this exemption. The finding of a harem structure is particularly relevant from a conservation standpoint for several reasons, as it suggests: (1) The importance of males and maintenance of social groups; (2) that disturbance of the roost at any time can alter social dynamics and impact reproductive success; (3) that augmenting the number of available small roost sites may be necessary to bolster populations (since harem structure may mean small colony sizes, defensible by a dominant male); and (4) additional roost structures may be necessary for dispersing sub-adult males attempting to establish new harems (Ober et al. Executive Order 13211 (Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use) requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. Protecting natural and semi-natural habitats that support insect diversity can also improve foraging conditions and contribute to conservation. Like other molossids (e.g., Brazilian free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis)), the species may be a generalist predator, capable of opportunistically exploiting available resources (McCracken et al. Polk and Okeechobee Counties were also identified in the final listing rule as being occupied, but were not considered core areas, primarily because we lacked adequate survey information at the time. On the resulting page, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, check the Proposed Rules box to locate this document. Based upon these characteristics and data, bonneted bats are expected to routinely range long distances, up to 24 km (15 mi) or more on foraging bouts, similar to the Underwood's mastiff bat (E. underwoodi) in Arizona (Tibbitts et al. 1361-1407; 1531-1544; and 4201-4245, unless otherwise noted. The Florida Bonneted Bat, one of the rarest and most endangered species of bat in the world, is relying on the designation of critical habitat in Florida, partially located in Everglades National Park, for its best chance of recovery and survival. These may include agriculture (including use of pesticides); development and utilities (including alteration of natural lighting); fire and forest management; grazing; recreation; and loss, diversion, or conversion of wetlands not regulated by the Clean Water Act. This unit was occupied at the time of listing, is currently occupied, and contains all of the PBFs for the bonneted bat. Such areas may include those areas used throughout all or part of the species' life cycle, even if not used on a regular basis (e.g., migratory corridors, seasonal habitats, and habitats used periodically, but not solely by vagrant individuals). We used available RCW data layers (mainly active and inactive cavity trees), based upon suggestions from FWC and evidence indicating that Florida bonneted bats use enlarged woodpecker cavities for roosting (Angell and Thompson 2015, entire) (see Cover or Shelter, above). 193-195; see Factor E, Ecological Light Pollution, final listing rule (78 FR 61004, October 2, 2013)). 3,384 (8,362) 2-3). Sites supporting the Florida bonneted bats' breeding activities appear to be required year-round (Timm and Genoways 2004, p. 859; Ober et al. You may obtain field office location information by contacting one of the Service regional offices, the addresses of which are listed at 50 CFR 2.2. (6) Corridors, consisting of roosting and foraging habitat, that allow for population maintenance and expansion, dispersal, and connectivity among and between geographic areas for natural and adaptive movements, including those necessitated by climate change. Evidence of temporary emigration and disappearance of juveniles after 8 months suggests Florida bonneted bats disperse from natal roosts (Bailey et al. Jaclyn Lopez, the Florida director at the Center for Biological Diversity says the bat is about the size of a crow. 1979, entire; Belwood 1992, p. 221; Best et al. In general, bats foraging from continuous flight must encounter prey at relatively high rates and successfully attack many individual items (Fenton 1990, p. 416). (2) A biological opinion for Federal actions that may affect and are likely to adversely affect, listed species or critical habitat. Looking for a media contact? The maps in this entry, as modified by any accompanying regulatory text, establish the boundaries of the critical habitat designation. In areas where the Florida bonneted bat is present, Federal agencies already are required to consult with the Service under section 7 of the Act on activities they fund, permit, or implement that may affect the species. 1531 et seq. The species is active year-round and considered semi-tropical (Ober et al. Introduction. or a permit from the Service under section 10 of the Act) or that involve some other Federal action (such as funding from the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency). Designation of critical habitat could result in an increased threat of taking of individuals in some areas, through publication of maps and a narrative description of specific habitat units in the Federal Register. comm. As required by section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we use the best scientific data available to designate critical habitat. This unit is located along the Peace River and its tributaries (e.g., Charlie Creek), south of CR-64 with the majority generally west of US-17. The Service will accept comments regarding the proposed rule or draft economic analysis that are received or postmarked on or before August 10, 2020. After identifying the benefits of inclusion and the benefits of exclusion, we carefully weigh the two sides to evaluate whether the benefits of exclusion outweigh those of inclusion. Each bat is about the size of a standard iPhone when at rest. Because the Florida bonneted bat, like other Eumops, appears to be confined to foraging in open spaces due to its wing morphology (Norberg and Rayner 1987, pp. ArcGIS was also used to calculate the size of habitat areas. 2016, pp. Jaclyn Lopez, the Florida director at the Center for Biological Diversity says the bat is about the size of a crow. 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