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ESAblawg is an educational effort by Keith W. Rizzardi. Correspondence with this site does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Photos or links may be copyrighted (but used with permission, or as fair use). ESA blawg is published with a Creative Commons License.

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florida gators... never threatened!

If you ain't a Gator, you should be! Alligators (and endangered crocs) are important indicator species atop their food chains, with sensitivity to pollution and pesticides akin to humans. See ESA blawg. Gator blood could be our pharmaceutical future, too. See ESA musing.


Follow the truth.

"This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it." -- Thomas Jefferson to William Roscoe, December 27, 1820.


Thanks, Kevin.

KEVIN S. PETTITT helped found this blawg. A D.C.-based IT consultant specializing in Lotus Notes & Domino, he also maintains Lotus Guru blog.

« Recent NOAA notices: beluga whales listed; Gulf of Maine salmon DPS hearing; white abalone recovery plan available | Main| 9th Circuit finds conservation groups have standing to challenge treaty »

Recent FWS notices: Critical habitat revisions for Canada lynx and wintering Piping Plovers; 48 more listings in Kauai

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73 Fed. Reg. 62450 (Tuesday, October 21, 2008)(DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR; Fish and Wildlife Service; 50 CFR Part 17; WS–R6–ES–2008–0026; 92210–1117–0000–B4 RIN 1018–AV78; Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revised Critical Habitat for the Contiguous United States Distinct Population Segment of the Canada Lynx (Lynx canadensis); reopening of comment period and announcement of public hearings, notice of availability of draft economic analysis, amended required determinations, and draft environmental assessment.)

Canada lynx have thick cushions of hair on the soles of their large feet, which act like snowshoes. They are twice as effective as bobcats at supporting their weight on the snow.  Photo from FWS.

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the reopening of the public comment period and the scheduling of public hearings on the proposed revised designation of critical habitat for the contiguous United States distinct population segment of the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) (lynx) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We also announce the availability for public comment of the draft economic analysis (DEA), an amended required determinations section of the proposal, and the draft environmental assessment for the proposed revised critical habitat designation. We also seek comment on draft conservation agreements that cover lands in Maine (Unit 1) and in the northern Rockies (Unit 3) that could result in exclusions from the final critical habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act. We also seek public comment on whether lands entered in to the Healthy Forest Reserve Program are appropriate for exclusion. In addition, we propose to refine boundary descriptions for two critical habitat units: Unit 3 (Northern Rockies) and Unit 5 (Greater Yellowstone Area) based upon more detailed information we have obtained about lynx habitat in these areas.

* * * * *

73 Fed. Reg. 62816 (Tuesday, October 21, 2008)(DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR; Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17 WS–R4–ES–2008–0041; 92210–1117–0000–B4 RIN 1018–AU48; Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revised Designation of Critical Habitat for the Wintering Population of the Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) in North Carolina; Final rule).

The peer review and public comment on the proposed rules were substantial, and covered a wide range of topics.  According to FWS, "the
peer reviewers generally concurred with our methods and conclusions and provided additional information, clarifications, and suggestions to improve the final critical habitat rule."  Photo from FWS and its Proceedings of the Symposium on the Wintering Ecology and Conservation of Piping Plovers.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), designate revised critical habitat for the wintering population of the piping plover (Charadrius melodus) in North Carolina under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). In total, approximately 2,043 acres (ac) (827 hectares (ha)), in Dare and Hyde Counties, North Carolina, fall within the boundaries of the revised critical habitat designation.

NOTEWORTHY EXCERPT: Based on our current knowledge of the life history, biology, and ecology of the species and the requirements of the habitat to sustain the essential life history functions of the species, we have determined that wintering piping plover’s primary constituent elements are the habitat components that support foraging, roosting, and sheltering and the physical features necessary for maintaining the natural processes that support these habitat components. The primary constituent elements are: (1) Intertidal sand beaches (including sand flats) or mud flats (between annual low tide and annual high tide) with no or very sparse emergent vegetation for feeding. In some cases, these flats may be covered or partially covered by a mat of blue-green algae; (2) Unvegetated or sparsely vegetated sand, mud, or algal flats above annual high tide for roosting. Such sites may have debris or detritus and may have micro-topographic relief (less than 20 in (50 cm) above substrate surface) offering refuge from high winds and cold weather; (3) Surf-cast algae for feeding; (4) Sparsely vegetated backbeach, which is the beach area above mean high tide seaward of the dune line, or in cases where no dunes exist, seaward of a delineating feature such as a vegetation line, structure, or road. Backbeach is used by plovers for roosting and refuge during storms; (5) Spits, especially sand, running into water for foraging and roosting. (6) Salterns, or bare sand flats in the center of mangrove ecosystems that are found above mean high water and are only irregularly flushed with sea water. (7) Unvegetated washover areas with little or no topographic relief for feeding and roosting. Washover areas are formed and maintained by the action of hurricanes, storm surges, or other extreme wave actions. (8) Natural conditions of sparse vegetation and little or no topographic relief mimicked in artificial habitat types (e.g., dredge spoil sites).

* * * * *

73 Fed. Reg. 62592 (Tuesday, October 21, 2008)(DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR; Fish and Wildlife Service; 50 CFR Part 17l WS-R1-ES-2008–0046; MO 9221050083-B2RIN 1018-AV48; Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Listing 48 Species on Kauai as Endangered and Designating Critical Habitat; Proposed rule).

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to list 48 species on the island of Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We also propose to designate critical habitat for 47 of these species totaling 27,674 acres (ac) (11,199 hectares (ha)). Critical habitat designation is not prudent for one species, Pritchardia hardyi, which is threatened by overcollection, vandalism, or other human activity. This proposed rule, if made final, would extend the Act’s protections to these species.

EXCERPT: These 48 species (45 plants, 2 birds, and 1 picture-wing fly) are found in 6 ecosystem types: lowland mesic, lowland wet, montane mesic, montane wet, dry cliff, and wet cliff. Most of these species are restricted to a single ecosystem...  Most of the taxa included in this rule persist on steep slopes, precipitous cliffs, valley headwalls, and other regions where unsuitable topography has prevented urbanization and agricultural development, or where inaccessibility has limited encroachment by nonnative plant and an!imal species.

KEITHINKING: See prior ESA blawg with musings on this topic.