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ESAblawg is an educational effort by Keith W. Rizzardi. Correspondence with this site does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Photos or links may be copyrighted (but used with permission, or as fair use). ESA blawg is published with a Creative Commons License.

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florida gators... never threatened!

If you ain't a Gator, you should be! Alligators (and endangered crocs) are important indicator species atop their food chains, with sensitivity to pollution and pesticides akin to humans. See ESA blawg. Gator blood could be our pharmaceutical future, too. See ESA musing.

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Follow the truth.

"This institution will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind. For here we are not afraid to follow truth wherever it may lead, nor to tolerate any error so long as reason is left free to combat it." -- Thomas Jefferson to William Roscoe, December 27, 1820.

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Thanks, Kevin.

KEVIN S. PETTITT helped found this blawg. A D.C.-based IT consultant specializing in Lotus Notes & Domino, he also maintains Lotus Guru blog.

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FWS notices: proposed revised bull trout critical habitat, future plans for jaguar critical habitat, reopened Shovelnose sturgeon comment, and a docket oops.

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75 Fed. Reg. 2270 (Thursday, January 14, 2010) / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17
Docket No. FWS-R1-ES-2009-0085 / MO 92210-0-0009 / RIN 1018-AW88
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revised Designation of Critical Habitat for Bull Trout in the Coterminous United States
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Proposed rule, announcement of public hearing, and announcement of availability of draft economic analysis.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to revise the designation of critical habitat for the bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. In total, approximately 36,498 kilometers (km) (22,679 miles (mi)) of streams (which includes 1,585.7 km (985.30 mi) of marine shoreline area in the Olympic Peninsula and Puget Sound), and 215,870 hectares (ha) (533,426 acres (ac)) of reservoirs or lakes are being proposed for the revised critical habitat designation. The revised proposed critical habitat is located in... Idaho... Washington... and Nevada.
DATES: Written Comments: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before March 15, 2010. Because of the anticipated interest in this proposed designation, we are planning on holding a public hearing and several public meetings.

EXCERPT RE: LITIGATION:  On January 5, 2006, a complaint was filed in Federal district court by the Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Inc. and Friends of the Wild Swan, alleging the Service failed to designate adequate critical habitat, failed to rely on the best scientific and commercial data available, failed to consider the relevant factors that led to listing, and failed to properly assess the economic benefits and costs of critical habitat designation. Other allegations included an inadequate analysis and the unlawful use of exclusions. On March 23, 2009, the Service provided notice to the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon that we would seek remand of the final critical habitat rule for bull trout based on the findings of an Investigative Report by the Department of the Interior Inspector General (USDI 2008, pp. 10– 38). On July 1, 2009, the court granted our request for a voluntary remand of the 2005 final rule and directed the Service to submit a new proposed rule to the Federal Register by December 31, 2009, and to submit a final decision on that proposed rule to the Federal Register by September 30, 2010 (Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. Allen, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 63122 (D. Or., July 1, 2009)). The court directed that the existing critical habitat rule shall remain in effect until completion of the remanded decision.

BullTroutSpawningMcKenzieRiverRDStaff.jpg
Bull trout exhibit a number of lifehistory strategies. Stream-resident bull trout complete their entire life cycle in the tributary streams where they spawn and rear. Some bull trout are migratory, spawning in tributary streams where juvenile fish usually rear from one to four years before migrating to either a larger river (fluvial form) or lake (adfluvial form) where they spend their adult life, returning to the tributary stream to spawn (Fraley and Shepard 1989, p. 133). These migratory forms occur in areas where conditions allow for movement from upper watershed spawning streams to larger downstream waters that contain greater foraging opportunities. Resident and migratory forms may be found together, and either form can produce resident or migratory offspring.  Where ocean environments are accessible to bull trout they may also migrate to and from salt water (amphidromy). Photo courtesy of McKenzie River Ranger District Staff, available from Bureau of Land Management.

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75 Fed. Reg. 1741 (Wednesday, January 13, 2010) / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17
Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2009-0091; BFY2009-92210-1117-0000-B2
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Determination That Designation of Critical Habitat is Prudent for the Jaguar
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Notice of determination.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), have reconsidered our prudency determination concerning the designation of critical habitat for the jaguar (Panthera onca) and now find that designation of critical habitat is prudent. We are preparing a proposed designation of critical habitat for the jaguar in accordance with the Act this fiscal year and anticipate we will publish a proposed designation in January 2011.
DATES: To be considered in the proposed critical habitat designation, comments and information should be submitted to us by March 15, 2010.

jaguarArizona.jpg
Recently (1996 through 2009), four or possibly five jaguars have been documented in the United States.  Using camera traps, jaguars were photographed in the United States near the Arizona-Mexico border beginning in 2001, and as recently as February 2009.  Photo of a jaguar taken in Arizona, availably online from No Border Wall.

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INTERESTED in the Sturgeon or the docket mistake?  
75 Fed. Reg. 2102 (Thursday, January 14, 2010) / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17
Docket No. FWS–R6–ES–2009–0027; 92220–1113–0000; ABC Code: C3 RIN 1018–AW27
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Rule To List the Shovelnose Sturgeon as Threatened Due to Similarity of Appearance
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of comment period and notice of public hearing.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service or USFWS), announce the reopening of the comment period for our September 22, 2009, proposed rule to treat the shovelnose sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus platorynchus) as threatened under the ‘‘Similarity of Appearance’’ provisions of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We also announce the location and time of a public hearing to receive public comments on the proposal. If you have previously submitted comments, please do not resubmit them because we have already incorporated them in the public record and will fully consider them in our final decision.
DATES: During this reopened comment period, we will consider comments received or postmarked on or before February 4, 2010.

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75 Fed. Reg. 1744 (Wednesday, January 13, 2010) / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17
Docket No. FWS–R2–ES–2008–0130; MO 92210–0–0008–B2
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife  and Plants; Partial 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List 475 Species in the Southwestern United States as Threatened or Endangered With Critical Habitat; Correction
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Notice of 90-day petition finding; correction.
SUMMARY: On Wednesday, December 16, 2009, we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announced a 90-day finding on 192 species from a petition to list 475 species in the Southwest region of the United States as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). In that notice, we used an incorrect docket number in one place and asked commenters submitting hardcopy comments to refer to this docket number in their comments. The correct docket number is FWS–R2–ES–2008–0130. However, comments we received under the incorrect docket number will be routed to the correct docket. If you already submitted a comment, even with the incorrect docket number, you need not resubmit it. DATES: To allow us adequate time to conduct a status review, we request that we receive information on or before February 16, 2010.