Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Service Proposes Adding 4,945 acres to Critical Habitat for Sonoma California Tiger Salamander

Jun 20, 2011

For Immediate Release
June 20, 2011

Media Contact:  Sarah Swenty, cell: (530) 665-3310, office: (916) 414-6571,  sarah_swenty@fws.gov


Service Proposes Adding 4,945 acres to Critical Habitat for Sonoma California Tiger Salamander
Public Comment Period Reopened for an Additional 14 Days

SACRAMENTO -- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is proposing to add 4,945 acres to the proposed critical habitat designation for the California tiger salamander in Sonoma County.   If adopted, the proposal would expand critical habitat for the Sonoma County Distinct Population Segment of California tiger salamander to approximately 55,800 acres. This announcement reopens the public-comment period on the entire proposal, including the new addition, for an additional 14 days.  The Service will accept public comments on the proposal through July 5, 2011.

In order to better inform the public and explain the proposed addition, we will hold two information sessions on June 29, 2011 at the Finley Community Center, 2060 West College Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95401.  The first session will be from 1:00 p.m. to 3 p.m. and the second will be from 6 to 8 p.m. 

We are revising our proposal based on new information we received from a peer reviewer.  We are responsive to new information and acting on it to provide the most benefit to the species using the best available science.  The revised proposal responds to new information provided during the last public comment period. 

Based on the new information, we now propose revising Unit 1 (Santa Rosa Plain Unit) to include an addition in the area of Roblar Road. This area was not previously included in the proposal.  The peer reviewer commented that records for the salamander have been documented from the area and that the area likely consists of a meta-population with multiple known breeding sites.

The Service has not made a final decision on how much or how little critical habitat needs to be designated at this time. It is important that we receive as much information as is available to help us make the best decision possible for conserving the Sonoma Tiger Salamander. 

Based on a litigation settlement, we have been required to send the final rule to the Federal Register by July 1, 2011.  In order to respond to this new information, we have received an extension from the court that extends that date to September 1, 2011.

California tiger salamanders are primarily terrestrial, spending most of their lives in upland areas, living in burrows made by other creatures. In winter they migrate to breed in natural and artificial pools, ponds, and other seasonal wetland features. In the pools and ponds salamanders lay eggs that grow into larvae and then metamorphose into terrestrial juveniles that migrate to burrows in uplands for the dry season. The Sonoma CTS is listed as endangered under the ESA.  In addition, it is listed as threatened by the State of California.

Areas proposed for critical habitat contain primary elements needed by the salamanders – standing bodies of water for early life stages, upland habitat for the dry season, and accessible areas between occupied habitat so that they can disperse. The proposed critical habitat does not include developed areas such as buildings and pavement which are specifically excluded from critical habitat.
Links to the relevant documents, including a map of the revised area, can be found at www.fws.gov/sacramento/.

The deadline to submit written comments to be considered fully in the preparation of the final rule is July 5, 2011   Individuals and entities who have submitted comments previously do not need to resubmit them as they have already been incorporated into the public record and will be fully considered in the final rule making process.

Comments may be submitted on-line at the Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. Docket No. FWS–R8–ES–2009–0044.  Comments may alternatively be submitted by mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS–R8–ES–2009–0044.   Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222; Arlington, VA 22203.

Faxes or email are not accepted. All comments will be posted on www.regulations.gov.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service.

-- FWS --

For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov/cno. Connect with our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/usfwspacificsouthwest, follow our tweets at http://twitter.com/USFWSPacSWest, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfws_pacificsw