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

« FWS reclassifies wood bison as threatened, not endangered, species | Main| NOAA declines to list Texas pipefish »

FWS revises critical habitat for arroyo toad, but not vernal pool species

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76 Fed. Reg. 7246 (Wednesday, February 9, 2011) / Rules and Regulations
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17 / Docket No. FWS–R8–ES–2009–0069; MO 92210–0–0009–B4 / RIN 1018–AV89
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revised Critical Habitat for the Arroyo Toad
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Final rule.

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are designating final revised critical habitat for the arroyo toad (Anaxyrus californicus, Bufo californicus). We are designating approximately 98,366 acres (ac) (39,807 hectares (ha)) of habitat in Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange, and San Diego Counties, California, as critical habitat for the arroyo toad. This final revised designation constitutes an increase of approximately 86,671 ac (35,074 ha) from the 2005 designation of critical habitat for the arroyo toad. A taxonomic name change has occurred and been accepted for the arroyo toad. Throughout the remainder of this document we will use the currently recognized name for the listed entity, Anaxyrus californicus, for references to the arroyo toad. DATES: This rule becomes effective on March 11, 2011.

ArroyoToad.jpg
The arroyo southwestern toad (arroyo toad) is endemic to primarily the coastal plain and mountains of central and southern California and northwestern Baja California. These toads breed in stream channels and use stream terraces and surrounding uplands for  foraging and wintering. Direct habitat loss due to urbanization, agriculture, and dam construction is the main cause for the decline ofarroyo toads. Other threats include water management activities and diversions; road construction, maintenance, and use; livestock grazing; mining; recreational activities; loss of habitat due to exotic plants; and predation by introduced species.Photo available at Hubpages, displaying the Habitat of the RARE Arroyo Toad In California: A Photo Study by  GarnetBird.  Links to Recovery Plan and other federal agency actions available from FWS

***

76 Fed. Reg. 7528 (Thursday, February 10, 2011) / Proposed Rules
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17 / Docket No. FWS–R8–ES–2010–0093; MO 92210–0–0009
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To Revise Critical Habitat for Vernal Pool Fairy Shrimp and Vernal Pool Tadpole Shrimp
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Notice of 90-day petition finding to revise critical habitat.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 90-day finding on a petition to revise critical habitat for vernal pool fairy shrimp (Branchinecta lynchi) and vernal  pool tadpole shrimp (Lepidurus packardi) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). Following a review of the petition, we find that the petition does not present substantial scientific information indicating that revision of the critical habitat for vernal pool fairy shrimp and vernal pool tadpole shrimp may be warranted. Therefore, with the publication of this notice, we have determined that a 12-month finding on this petition is not warranted and will not be conducted. DATES: The finding announced in thi document was made on February 10, 2011.

VernalPoolCWIS.gif
Many vernal pool plants are related to species with agricultural or medicinal properties. Vernal pools are therefore considered an important reservoir of genetic material that could provide natural pharmaceutical compounds and commercially important genetic materials in the future. One pool species, meadowfoam (Limnanthes spp.) is currently being investigated as a source of oil to replace animal- based oils in industrial applications.  Vernal pool photo from California wetlands information system, caption and other information available at vernalpools.org

EXCERPT: The petition states that the 2,800 ac (1,133 ha) addressed in the petition contain the PCEs and support numerous wetland features that are essential for reproduction, germination ic hatching, maturation, feeding, shelter, and dispersal of vernal pool crustaceans. The information in the petition is consistent with information in our files. We agree that this area contains the physical and biological features essential to the conservation of the species. However, the 2,800-ac (1,133-ha) parcel was originally designated as critical habitat in the August 6, 2003, final rule (68 FR 46684), but was later excluded from the critical habitat designation in the August 11, 2005, final rule (70 FR 46924), when the Secretary decided to exercise his discretion under section 4(b)(2) of the Act to exclude this parcel due to economic impacts. The petition does not contain any information suggesting that the exclusion due to economic impacts was done in error, or that the economic analysis was flawed.