FWS seeks comments on delta smelt (reclassification to endangered) and piping plovers (critical habitat in Texas)
73 Fed. Reg. 74674 / Vol. 73, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 9, 2008 / DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR; Fish and Wildlife Service; 50 CFR Part 17; Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To Reclassify the Delta Smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus) From Threatened to Endangered; reopening of the information solicitation period.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the reopening of the public information solicitation period on the July 10, 2008, 90-day finding on a petition to reclassify the delta smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus) from threatened to endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). This action will provide all interested parties with an additional opportunity to submit information and materials on the status of delta smelt. Information previously submitted need not be resubmitted as it will already be incorporated into the public record and will be fully considered in the 12-month finding. DATES: We are reopening the public information solicitation period and request that we receive information on or before February 9, 2009.
Delta smelt image from U.S. FWS available online from Sacramento office of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
KEITHINKING: Concerns for the collapsing populations of delta smelt have repeatedly bedeviled water managers in the Sacramento Valley region. In addition, the longfin smelt, another species in the region, was designated by the California Fish and Game Commission on Nov. 14 as a “candidate species” under the California Endangered Species Act. According to the San Francisco Business Times, 27 public water agencies have sued the state to those challenge protections for the longfin smelt because they might impose new restrictions on pumping water out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. As the article explains: “The water utilities allege there is not enough scientific information demonstrating that water pumping for the Central Valley Project and State Water Project has a significant impact on the Delta smelt. They also say the impact on water supplies to the San Francisco Bay Area, the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California outweigh the potential benefits the regulation will provide to the longfin smelt.” See also, prior ESA blawg postings (7/10/2008, 5/6/2008, 2/25/2008, 2/10/2008, 12/14/2007, 10/31/2007, 7/26/2007).
73 Fed. Reg. 74675 / Vol. 73, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 9, 2008 / DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR; Fish and Wildlife Service; 50 CFR Part 17; Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revised Designation of Critical Habitat for the Wintering Population of the Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus) in Texas; Proposed rule; reopening of comment period, notice of availability of draft economic analysis and draft environmental assessment, correction, and amended required determinations.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the reopening of the comment period on the proposed revised designation of critical habitat for the wintering population of the piping plover (Charadrius melodus) in Texas under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We also announce the availability of a draft economic analysis (DEA) and a draft environmental assessment of the proposed critical habitat designation and a corrected area estimated for 19 critical habitat units vacated by the court, and amended required determinations. We are reopening the comment period to allow all interested parties an opportunity to comment simultaneously on the proposed rule, the associated DEA, the draft environmental assessment, the corrected acreage figures, and our amended required determinations. Comments previously submitted on this rulemaking do not need to be resubmitted, as they will be fully considered when preparing our final determination. DATES: Written Comments: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before January 8, 2009. Any comments received after the closing date may not be considered in the final designation of critical habitat.