FWS seeks additional comments on proposed critical habitat for Northern sea otter population segment, and potential areas for exclusion
74 Fed. Reg. 27271 / Vol. 74, No. 109 / Tuesday, June 9, 2009 / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR / Fish and Wildlife Service / 50 CFR Part 17 / Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Southwest Alaska Distinct Population Segment of the Northern Sea Otter / ACTION: Proposed rule; extension of comment period, notice of availability of draft economic analysis, and amended required determinations.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the extension of the public comment period on the proposed designation of critical habitat for the southwest Alaska Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of the northern sea otter (Enhydra lutris kenyoni) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. We also announce the availability of a draft economic analysis (DEA) and an amended required determinations section of the proposal. We are extending the comment period for an additional 30 days from the date of this notice to allow all interested parties an opportunity to comment simultaneously on the revised proposed rule, the associated DEA, and the amended required determinations section. If you submitted comments previously, you do not need to resubmit them because we have already incorporated them into the public record and will fully consider them in preparation of the final rule. DATES: We will consider comments received on or before July 9, 2009.
Sea otters are the heaviest members of the weasel family, but among the smallest marine mammals. In 2006, the Center for Biological Diversity filed suit against the Service for failure to designate critical habitat for the southwest Alaska DPS of the northern sea otter within the statutory timeframe. A settlement and court order also requires the Service on or before October 1, 2009, to submit to the Federal Register a final rule designating critical habitat. Photo from University of Alaska at Anchorage.
See also, FWS Species Profile Page, CBD sea otter page, Defenders of Wildlife, and