Public Comment Period on Proposed Spotted Owl Critical Habitat Extended to July 6, 2012; Schedule for Public Meetings Announced
May 08, 2012
May 8, 2012
Contact: Joan Jewett, 503-231-6211
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Extends Public Comment Period on Proposed Spotted Owl Critical Habitat to July 6, 2012, Schedule for Public Meetings Announced
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is extending the public comment period through July 6, 2012, on the proposed revision to the critical habitat designation for the northern spotted owl, a threatened species protected under the Endangered Species Act. The Service will host three open meetings and one public hearing to seek input on the proposal. Documents for review and explanatory information are available at www.fws.gov/oregonfwo on the “Spotted Owl Main Info Site.”
Public meeting and hearing schedule:
Monday, June 4, 2012, in Redding, CA: 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. PDT, Redding Convention Center, 700 Auditorium Drive Redding, California 96001; 530-229-0036.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 in Tacoma, WA: 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. PDT, University of Washington, Tacoma Campus, 1900 Commerce St., Jane Russell Commons, Tacoma, Washington; 253-692-4306.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012 in Portland, OR: 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. PDT, Oregon Convention Center, Room C-120, 777 NE Martin Luther King Blvd., Portland, Oregon; 503-235-7575. This meeting will precede the public hearing at the same location and on the same date.
Also on Wednesday June 20, 2012 in Portland, OR: a public hearing will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. PDT. The public hearing will be held in Room C-120 at the Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Blvd., Portland, Oregon; 503-235-7575.
Persons with disabilities needing reasonable accommodations to participate in the public meetings are invited to contact Angela Butsch, 1-888-812-5739 or 503-231-6263 (TTY). Reasonable accommodation requests should be received at least 3 business days prior to the meeting to help ensure availability; 2 weeks’ notice is requested for ASL/ESL interpreter needs.
Comments on the critical habitat proposal can be provided either of the following ways:
Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Keyword box, enter Docket No. FWS–R1–ES–2011–0112, which is the docket number for this rulemaking. Then, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, click on the Proposed Rules link to locate this document. You may submit a comment by clicking on “Send a Comment or Submission.”
By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand–delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R1–ES–2011–0112; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
The original 90-day public comment period on the proposed critical habitat, which began on March 8, is extended through July 6 to coincide with upcoming public comment periods on an economic analysis and environmental assessment related to the critical habitat proposal. Those two documents are expected to be published in the Federal Register in late May and both will be available for a 30-day public review and comment period (see attachment for a full schedule of all spotted owl recovery-related public information forums).
A critical habitat designation identifies areas within the range of a species at the time it is listed under the Endangered Species Act that have the physical or biological features essential for the conservation of a species and that may require special management. For the spotted owl, these features include particular forest types of sufficient area, quality, and configuration to support the needs of territorial owl pairs throughout the year distributed across the species’ range, including habitat for nesting, roosting, foraging, and dispersal. Federal agencies must avoid activities that jeopardize listed species and must ensure any action they authorize, fund, or carry out does not destroy or adversely modify designated critical habitat. A critical habitat designation that includes private or other non-federal lands has no direct effect on land uses unless there is a federal connection, such as an activity that is funded or permitted by a federal agency.
America’s fish, wildlife and plant resources belong to all of us, and ensuring the health of imperiled species is a shared responsibility. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working to actively engage conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species. To learn more about the Service’s Endangered Species program, go to http://www.fws.gov/endangered .
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