Removal of Lahontan Cutthroat Trout listing not yet justified, FWS concludes
73 Fed. Reg. 52257, 73 FR 52257 (Tuesday, September 9, 2008)(DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR; Fish and Wildlife Service; 50 CFR Part 17; [FWS-R8-ES-2008-0098; 92220-1113-0000-C5]; Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To Delist the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout)
The Lahotan cutthroat trout is the subject of a safe harbor agreement with the Nevada Department of Wildlife that proposes maintenance of the restored/
created/enhanced Lahontan cutthroat trout habitat on private property. See Federal Register, That effort has not yet eliminated threats to the species resulting from water diversion projects in its range. Photo from FWS.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 90-day finding on a petition to remove the Lahontan cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii henshawi) from the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Wildlife (List) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We find that the petition does not present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that removing Lahontan cutthroat trout from the List may be warranted. Therefore, we will not initiate a status review in response to this petition. However, we are currently conducting a 5-year review of this species under section 4(c)(2)(A) of the Act. This review was initiated on February 14, 2007, and will consider information that has become available since the last status review. We ask the public to submit to us any new information that becomes available concerning the status of, or threats to, the Lahontan cutthroat trout or its habitat at any time.
EXCERPT FROM FINDING: We have reviewed the petition and supporting information provided with the petition under 50 CFR 424.14(b)(2) and the Act, including information in the final rule listing Lahontan cutthroat trout as threatened. First, our review indicates that the fundamental argument for delisting presented in the petition was largely based on misinterpretation of information in the final rule downlisting Lahontan cutthroat trout from endangered to threatened (40 FR 29863), specifically with respect to the extent of the threat from water diversions, and with respect to any role sport-fishing for Lahontan cutthroat trout may play in ameliorating the threat of competition and hybridization with nonnative trout. This resulted in incorrect information being presented by the petitioners to support their claims. Second, the petitioners did not provide substantive discussion, data, citations, or other information supporting their statements suggesting that the threats identified in the final listing rule have been ameliorated. Specifically, the petition did not discuss or cite substantive data or other information supporting the notion that water diversions are no longer a threat to Lahontan cutthroat trout in the Truckee River and Pyramid Lake and that competition and hybridization with nonnative trout have been controlled by sport-fishing. The petition also discussed genetic differentiation of Lahontan cutthroat trout within the Lahontan Basin, but it did not clearly articulate the relevance of the information to delisting of the subspecies. Considering the information in the petition under the Act and our regulations as stated above, we find that the petition (1) did not contain a detailed narrative justification for the recommended measure, describing, based on available information, past and present numbers and distribution of the species and any threats faced by the species; (2) did not provide information regarding the status of the species over all or a significant portion of its range; and (3) was not accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation in the form of bibliographic references, reprints of pertinent publications, copies of reports or letters from authorities, and maps (50 CFR 424.14(b)(2)). Specifically, the supporting documentation that was provided was not appropriate to support the fundamental rationale for the petitioned action. Therefore, we find that the petition does not present substantial information demonstrating that delisting Lahontan cutthroat trout across all or a significant portion of its range may be warranted at this time.