FWS announces draft plant for managing White Nose Syndrome in bat populations, NOAA announces status review for smalltooth sawfish
75 Fed. Reg. 66387 / Vol. 75, No. 208 / Thursday, October 28, 2010 / Notices
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Assisting States, Federal Agencies, and Tribes in Managing White-Nose Syndrome in Bats; Draft National Plan
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Notice of document availability for review and comment.
SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announces the availability for public review of a draft national plan to assist States, Federal agencies, and tribes in managing whitenose syndrome in bats. This draft plan was prepared by representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Forest Service; U.S. Department of Defense’s Army Corps of Engineers; U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, and FWS; St. Regis Mohawk Tribe; Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources; Missouri Department of Conservation; New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; Pennsylvania Game Commission; Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife; and Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The FWS is requesting review and comment on the draft plan from all interested parties. DATES: Comments on the draft plan must be received on or before November 29, 2010.
White-nose syndrome was first observed in four caves centered roughly 30 km west of Albany, New York, in the winter of 2006/2007. Photographs subsequently emerged of apparently affected bats in nearby Howes Cave, New York, taken during the previous winter, providing the earliest evidence of the disease. Counts at winter colonies of all 6 hibernating bat species in New York revealed that populations had been stable or increasing in recent decades, prior to the arrival of WNS. Whereas the effects of WNS appear to vary between species and winter hibernation sites (“hibernacula”), overall colony losses at the most closely monitored sites have reached 95 percent within 2 to 3 years of initial detection. As of May 2010, WNS has been detected in 6 of the 9 species of hibernating bats that occur in the affected region (Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia). The disease appears to affect bats most during long torpor bouts characteristic of winter hibernation. Therefore, bat species that use hibernation as a strategy for surviving the winter months, collectively called the “cave bats,” are most notably affected. Photo of Little brown bat with white-nose syndrome in Howes Cave, from NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation available from FWS (also includes links to report)
EXCERPT: Whitenose syndrome (WNS) is a fungal disease responsible for unprecedented mortality in hibernating bats in the northeastern United States. It has spread rapidly since its discovery in January 2007, and poses a potentially catastrophic threat to hibernating bats throughout North America, including several species listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Listed bats include the Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis), Virginia big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii virginianus), Ozark big-eared bat (Corynorhinus townsendii ingens), and gray bat (Myotis grisescens).
The mobility of bats, the potential for human-assisted transmission, and the severe consequences of WNS make it imperative that a national effort be mounted to avoid irreversible losses to bat populations and associated ecological impacts throughout North America. This effort requires collaboration among State, Federal, and tribal wildlife management agencies with stewardship responsibilities for bat populations and among nongovernmental organizations and the scientific community. Collaboration at the international level is also needed, because the threat of WNS crosses international borders.
75 Fed. Reg. 66724 / Vol. 75, No. 209 / Friday, October 29, 2010 / Notices
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Endangered and Threatened Species; 5-Year Review
AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
ACTION: Notice of availability of a 5-year review for the U.S. Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of smalltooth sawfish.
SUMMARY: NMFS announces the availability of a 5-year review of the U.S. DPS of smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata) as required by the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA). The U.S. DPS of smalltooth sawfish is listed as endangered under the ESA. Based on the best available scientific and commercial data, our 5-year review indicates that the U.S. DPS of smalltooth sawfish should remain listed as endangered species because it is in danger of extinction throughout its range. Therefore, the 5-year review recommends no change in listing.
EXCERPT: Under the ESA, a list of endangered and threatened wildlife and plant species must be maintained. The list is published at 50 CFR 17.11 (for animals) and 17.12 (for plants). Section 4(c)(2) of the ESA requires that NMFS conduct a review of listed species at least once every five years, and on the basis of such review, determine whether any species should be removed from the List (delisted), or reclassified from endangered to threatened or from threatened to endangered. A 5-year review considers the best available scientific and commercial data, including all new information that has become available since the listing determination or most recent status review for a species. NMFS initiated the 5-year review of the U.S. DPS of smalltooth sawfish in May 2008, and solicited information from the public (73 FR 29483; May 21, 2008). NMFS incorporated two comments provided by the Everglades National Park and Biscayne National Park and the comments provided by scientific peer reviewers. NMFS concludes that the 5-year review meets the requirements of the ESA.