FWS finds yellow-billed loon listing warranted, rangewide, but precluded by higher priorities
74 Fed. Reg. 12932 / Vol. 74, No. 56 / Wednesday, March 25, 2009 / Department of the Interior / Fish and Wildlife Service / 50 CFR Part 17 / Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding on a Petition To List the Yellow-Billed Loon as Threatened or Endangered; Proposed Rules
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 12-month finding on a petition to list the yellow-billed loon (Gavia adamsii) as threatened or endangered, with critical habitat, under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The petitioners provided two listing options for consideration by the Service: (1) Listing the yellow-billed loon throughout its range, or (2) listing the United States population of the yellowbilled loon as a Distinct Population Segment (DPS). After a review of the best available scientific and commercial information, we have determined that listing the yellow-billed loon rangewide under the Act is warranted but precluded by other higher priority listing actions.
The yellow-billed loon (Order Gaviiformes, Family Gaviidae) is one of the largest of the five loon species and similar in appearance to the common loon (Gavia immer). It is a migratory bird, and forages underwater for fish and aquatic invertebrates.. Solitary pairs breed on lakes in the arctic tundra of the United States, Russia, and Canada from June to September. During the remainder of the year the species winters in more southern coastal waters of the Pacific Ocean and the Norway and North Seas. Photo from USGS, caption info from the Federal Register announcement.
BACKGROUND: On April 5, 2004, we received a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity... On December 19, 2007, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) filed a complaint alleging that the Service had failed to make a timely 12-month finding on the petition, as required under section 4 of the ESA. Consistent with a settlement agreement reached between the Service and CBD, the Court ordered the Service to submit this 12- month finding for publication to the Federal Register by February 15, 2009. Because the Service later received substantial new information to be evaluated and considered in the 12- month finding, we subsequently sought and were granted a one month extension with a new deadline of March 16, 2009. This notice constitutes a 12-month finding for the petition to list the yellow-billed loon as threatened or endangered.
KEITHINKING: For better or for worse, CBD and other environmental groups remain the essential driving force in the listing of species by FWS (and to a lesser NOAA). Recognizing that trend, ESA blawg is now making CBD's twitter posts readily available in the left hand column of this blawg, immediately following the Google Gadget with ESA In The News.