FWS reopens comment period and proposes additional critical habitat for salt creek tiger beetle and California red-legged frog
74 Fed. Reg. 19167 (Tuesday, April 28, 2009)
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR / Fish and Wildlife Service / 50 CFR Part 17 / Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Salt Creek Tiger Beetle (Cicindela nevadica lincolniana) / ACTION: Revised proposed rule; reopening of comment period.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the reopening of the comment period on the proposed rule (72 FR 70715, December 12, 2007) to designate critical habitat for the Salt Creek tiger beetle (Cicindela nevadica lincolniana) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). In this document, we are proposing to add a total of 138 acres (ac) (56 hectares (ha)) of critical habitat to three of the four previously proposed units. As a result, our proposed revised critical habitat designation for the species now includes four critical habitat units totaling approximately 1,933 ac (782 ha). The reopened comment period will provide the interested parties with an opportunity to submit written comments on our proposal to add 138 ac (56 ha), determined to be occupied and essential to the Salt Creek tiger beetle, to the 1,795 ac (726 ha) proposed as critical habitat on December 12, 2007. Comments previously submitted for the proposed critical habitat designation need not be resubmitted; they have already been incorporated into the public record and will be fully considered in any final decision.
EXCERPT: In our December 12, 2007, proposal, approximately 1,795 ac (726 ha) were within the boundaries of the designation. We received information during the public comment periods, from peer reviewers and others, on the proposed critical habitat designation describing occupied acres adjacent to proposed critical habitat units. We assessed areas presented for consideration, and determined that 138 ac (56 ha) are essential to the conservation of the species because they are currently occupied and contain the primary constituent elements, which are described in our December 12, 2007, proposal (72 FR 70715). Adding these acres will fulfill three functions: (1) Provide for the varied habitat needs of the species, (2) help ensure that some habitat is available if flood events cause these habitats to shift locations along Little Salt Creek, and (3) provide a movement corridor between the critical habitat units on Little Salt Creek. We determined that adding the 138 ac (56 ha) to critical habitat Units 1— Upper Little Salt Creek North, 2—Little Salt Creek Arbor Lake, and 3—Little Salt Creek Roper is supported by the best available scientific information. The addition of these acres would result in a final designation of 1,933 ac (782 ha), of which 583 ac (236 ha) are Stateowned and 1,350 ac (546 ha) are privately owned.
Photo of the Salt Creek tiger beetle (above) by Joel Sartore available from Grassland Foundation, and photo of the California red-legged frog below) from USGS. KEITHINKING: The two announcements suggest that the new administration is carefully reviewing recent rulemaking efforts, and clearly demonstrate a willingness to respond to public comment.
74 Fed. Reg. 19184 (Tuesday, April 28, 2009)
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 California Red-Legged Frog (Rana aurora draytonii) / ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of comment period, notice of availability of draft economic analysis, and amended required determinations.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the reopening of the comment period on our September 16, 2008, proposed revised designation of critical habitat for the California red-legged frog under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We also announce the availability of the draft economic analysis (DEA), a revision to proposed critical habitat Unit MEN–1, and an amended required determinations section of the proposal. We are reopening the comment period to allow all interested parties an opportunity to comment simultaneously on the proposed revision of critical habitat (including the changes to proposed critical habitat Unit MEN–1), the associated DEA, and the amended required determinations section. Comments previously submitted on this rulemaking do not need to be resubmitted. These comments have already been incorporated into the public record and will be fully considered in preparation of the final rule.
EXCERPT: In this document we are proposing revisions to the area of proposed revised critical habitat in Unit MEN–1 in Mendocino County as described in the September 16, 2008, revised proposed rule (73 FR 53492). See prior ESA blawg. This revision involves adjusting the boundaries of the proposed revised critical habitat to better reflect new subspecies occurrence data within the area and the habitat surrounding those records. The original revised proposal used information from the California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB), which identified a grouping of California red-legged frog occurrence records in the Greenwood Creek watershed. Based on new genetic information, these records have been identified as Rana aurora aurora or as containing a greater proportion of R. aurora aurora genetic characteristics than those records identified south of Mills Creek. As a result we are proposing to revise the revised critical habitat.