FWS may list Jemez Mountains salamander, announces status review
74 Fed. Reg. 40132 / Vol. 74, No. 153 / Tuesday, August 11, 2009 / Proposed Rules
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 List the Jemez Mountains Salamander (Plethodon neomexicanus) as Threatened or Endangered With Critical Habitat
ACTION: Notice of 90-day petition finding and initiation of a status review.
The Jemez Mountains salamander is strictly terrestrial, does not possess lungs, and does not require standing surface water for any life stage. Respiration occurs through the skin and requires a moist microclimate for gas exchange. Reproduction in the wild remains unobserved, but it is presumed that the salamander lays eggs in spaces underground. Fully-formed salamanders hatch from the eggs. The salamander occurs in the Jemez Mountains in northern New Mexico in Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, and Sandoval Counties, where it predominantly occurs in mixed-conifer forest at an elevation between 2,200 and 2,900 meters (7,220 and 9,510 feet). Photo from Las Alamos National Laboratory.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 90–day finding on a petition to list the Jemez Mountains salamander (Plethodon neomexicanus) (salamander) as threatened or endangered and designate critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. Following a review of the petition, we find that the petition provides substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that listing the Jemez Mountains salamander may be warranted. Therefore, with the publication of this notice, we are initiating a status review of the species to determine if the petitioned action is warranted. To ensure that the status review is comprehensive, we are soliciting scientific and commercial data and other information regarding this species. At the conclusion of this review, we will issue a 12–month finding to determine if the petitioned action is warranted. We will make a determination on critical habitat for this species if we initiate a listing action.
DATES: We made the finding announced in this document on August 11, 2009. To allow us adequate time to conduct this review, we request that we receive information on or before October 13, 2009.
LINKS: Wild Earth Guardians calls the Jemez Mountains salamander the most imperiled of only three salamanders that exist in New Mexico; and New Mexico Game & Fish believes that this salamander moves to subterranean cavities to avoid freezing temperatures. Also visit Amphibians and Reptiles of Los Alamos County by Los Alamos National Laboratory.