Pacific Southwest Region
California, Nevada and Klamath Basin

Service Initiates Status Review of Sacramento Spittail; 30-Day Comment Period Closes May 20

Apr 19, 2010

April 19, 2010
Contact: Steve Martarano, (916) 930-5643, 

Fish and Wildlife Service Initiates Status Review of Sacramento Splittail
30-Day Comment Period Closes May 20

 SACRAMENTO –The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced it will accept comments through May 20, 2010 regarding a status review of the Sacramento splittail (Pogonichthy macrolepidotus). To ensure that the status review is comprehensive, the Service is soliciting scientific and commercial data, as well as other information regarding this species. Based on the status review, the Service will issue a 12-month finding by Sept. 30, 2010 that will address whether the listing may be warranted under the Endangered Species Act. 

The complete Federal Register filing can be found at:

Interested parties may submit comments by one of the following methods:
-- Federal eRulemaking Portal: Search for Docket No. FWS–R8–ES–2010–0013 and then follow the instructions for submitting comments.
-- U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R8–ES–2010–0013; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222; Arlington, VA 22203. 
-- All information received will be posted on

On Aug. 13, 2009, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a complaint in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, challenging the Service on the merits of the 2003 removal of the splittail from the Endangered Species Act list and alleging improper political influence by a former Department of Interior official. In a settlement dated Feb. 1, 2010, the Service agreed to submit to the Federal Register a new status review and 12-month finding as to whether listing the Sacramento splittail is warranted or not warranted, by Sept. 30, 2010. If warranted, the Service further agreed to publish, concurrently with the 12-month finding, a proposed rule to list the Sacramento splittail and a final determination on or before Sept. 29, 2011. This open comment period solicits the submission of additional information by the public to assist with this process. 

The Sacramento splittail is a cyprinid fish endemic to the Central Valley of California with a range that centers on the San Francisco Estuary. Spawning occurs in flooded vegetation, including the Yolo Bypass, with older fish spawning first. Peak reproduction occurs in March and April though splittail are fractional spawners, so the process may take months. On Nov. 5, 1992, the Service received a petition to list and designate critical habitat for the Sacramento splittail. The Service proposed to list the splittail as threatened in 1994, but the listing was delayed by three extensions of the comment period and a 1-year moratorium on all federal endangered species listings. In February 1999, the Service published a final rule, listing the splittail as threatened under the ESA. In June 2000, the courts ruled in support of the San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority finding the final rule listing the splittail as threatened was unlawful. On Sept. 22, 2000, the court remanded the determination of whether or not the splittail is a threatened or endangered species to the Service. On Sept. 22, 2003, the Service published a final rule in the Federal Register (68 FR 55140) removing the splittail from the endangered species list. 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  Dan Castleberry, Field Supervisor, Bay-Delta Fish and Wildlife Office, 650 Capitol Mall, Fifth Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814; by telephone at 916-930-5632; or by facsimile at 916-930-5654. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339


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