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Grotto Sculpin

Federal Register - Proposal to List as Endangered and Designate Critical Habitat

 

Below are the introductory and Executive Summary portions of the Federal Register Proposed Rule. View the complete Federal Register Proposed Rule to List the Grotto Sculpin as Endangered and Designate Critical Habitat (1.1 MB PDF Adobe PDF icon)

 

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17 [Docket No. FWS–R3–ES–2012–0065] [4500030113] RIN 1018–AY16

 

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Endangered Status for Grotto Sculpin and Designation of Critical Habitat

 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

 

ACTION: Proposed rule.

 

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, propose to list the grotto sculpin (Cottus sp. nov.) as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and propose to designate critical habitat for the species. In total, all underground aquatic habitat underlying approximately 94square kilometers (36 square miles) plus 31 kilometers (19.2 miles) of surface stream are being proposed for designation as critical habitat. The proposed critical habitat is located in Perry County, Missouri. If adopted, the effect of these regulations is to conserve grotto sculpin and its habitat under the Endangered Species Act.

 

DATES: Written Comments: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before November 26, 2012. Comments submitted electronically using the Federal eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES section, below) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date. We must receive requests for public hearings, in writing, at the address shown in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section by [INSERT DATE 45 DAYS AFTER DATE OF PUBLICATION IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER].

 

Public Meeting: To better inform the public of the implications of the proposed listing and proposed critical habitat, and to answer any questions regarding this proposed rule, we plan to hold a public meeting on Thursday, October 30 from 5:00-8:00 PM at the Perryville Higher Education Center, 108 South Progress Drive, Perryville, MO 63775.

 

ADDRESSES: Written Comments: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:

 

(1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter Docket No. FWS–R3–ES–2012– 0065, which is the docket number for this rulemaking. Then, click the Search button..

 

You may submit a comment by clicking on “Comment Now!.” If your comments will fit in the provided comment box, please use this feature of http://www.regulations.gov, as it is most compatible with our comment review procedures. If you attach your comments as a separate document, our preferred file format is Microsoft Word. If you attach multiple comments (such as form letters), our preferred format is a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel.

 

(2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R3–ES–2012–0065; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.

 

We request that you send comments only by the methods described above. We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see the Information Requested section below for more information).

 

The coordinates or plot points or both from which the critical habitat maps are generated are included in the administrative record for this rulemaking and are available at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/Endangered, www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS– R3–ES–2012–0065 , and at the Columbia Missouri Ecological Services Field Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Any additional tools or supporting information that we may develop for this rulemaking will also be available at the Fish and Wildlife Service website and Field Office set out above, and may also be included in the preamble and/or at www.regulations.gov.

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amy Salveter, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Columbia Missouri Ecological Services Field Office, 101 Park De Ville Drive, Suite A, Columbia, MO 65203; by telephone 573-234-2132; or by facsimile 573-234-2181. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This document consists of: (1) A proposed rule to list the grotto sculpin as an endangered species; and (2) a proposed critical habitat designation for the grotto sculpin.

 

Executive Summary

Why we need to publish a rule. A species may warrant protection through listing under the Endangered Species Act (Act) if it meets the definition of an endangered or threatened species throughout all or a significant portion of its range. This species has been a candidate for listing since 2002, but was precluded from listing by other higher priority actions. The grotto sculpin currently is afforded no protection under the Act, and, because of continued threats, it warrants the protections afforded by listing under the Act. We are proposing to list the grotto sculpin as an endangered species. Listing a species as an endangered species or threatened species and designating critical habitat can only be done by issuing a rule.

 

The basis for our action. Under the Act, we can determine that a species is an endangered or threatened species based on any of five factors: (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (B) overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; (C) disease or predation; (D) the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or (E) other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence. We have determined the threats to the species include:

 

• Habitat loss and degradation of aquatic resources, including such things as illegal waste disposal, chemical leaching, contaminated groundwater, vertical drains, urban development, sedimentation, and industrial sand mining.

 

• Predation by nonnative predators.

 

• Inadequate existing regulatory mechanisms that allow significant threats such as water contamination and exploitation of sinkholes.

 

• Other natural or manmade factors, including loss of genetic diversity, natural environmental variability, and climate conditions such as drought.

 

This rule proposes to designate critical habitat for the species. If prudent and determinable, we must designate critical habitat for endangered or threatened species. We are required to base the designation on the best available scientific data after taking into consideration economic and other impacts. We can exclude an area from critical habitat if the benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of designation, unless the exclusion will result in the extinction of the species. We are proposing to designate critical habitat in Perry County, Missouri, as follows:

 

• Two units comprised of all underground aquatic habitat underlying approximately 94 km2 (36.28 mi2).

 

• Two units that include approximately 31 kilometers (19.2 miles) of surface stream.

 

We are preparing an economic analysis. To ensure that we consider the economic impacts, we are preparing an economic analysis of the proposed designation.

 

We will seek peer review. We are seeking comments from independent specialists to ensure that our listing determination and critical habitat designation are based on scientifically sound data and analyses. We will invite these peer reviewers to comment, during the comment period, on our proposed listing and critical habitat designation. Because we will consider all comments and information received during the comment period, our final determination may differ from this proposal.

 

Information Requested We intend that any final action resulting from this proposed rule will be based on the best scientific and commercial data available and be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we request comments or information from other concerned governmental agencies, Native American tribes, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested parties concerning this proposed rule. We particularly seek comments concerning:

 

(1) The species’ biology, range, and population trends, including:

 

(a) Habitat requirements for feeding, breeding, and sheltering;

(b) Genetics and taxonomy;

(c) Historical and current range including distribution patterns;

(d) Historical and current population levels, and current and projected trends; and

(e) Past and ongoing conservation measures for the species, its habitat or both.

 

(2) The factors that are the basis for making a listing determination for a species under section 4(a) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), which are:

(a) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range;

(b) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes;

(c) Disease or predation;

(d) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or

(e) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence.

 

(3) Biological, commercial trade, or other relevant data concerning any threats (or lack thereof) to this species and existing regulations that may be addressing those threats;

 

(4) Additional information concerning the historical and current status, range, distribution, and population size of this species, including the locations of any additional populations of this species;

 

(5) The reasons why we should or should not designate habitat as “critical habitat” under section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), including whether there are threats to the species from human activity, the degree of which can be expected to increase due to the designation, and whether that increase in threats outweighs the benefit of designation such that the designation of critical habitat is not prudent.

 

(6) Specific information on:

 

(a) The amount and distribution of grotto sculpin and its habitat, (b) What may constitute “physical or biological features essential to the conservation of the species,” within the geographical range currently occupied by the species; (c) Where these features are currently found, (d) Whether any of these features may require special management considerations or protection; (e) What areas, that were occupied at the time of listing (or are currently occupied) and that contain features essential to the conservation of the species, should be included in the designation and why, (f) What areas not occupied at the time of listing are essential for the conservation of the species and why;

 

(7) Land use designations and current or planned activities in the areas occupied by the species or proposed to be designated as critical habitat, and possible impacts of these activities on this species and proposed critical habitat;

 

(8) Information on the projected and reasonably likely impacts of climate change on the grotto sculpin and proposed critical habitat;

 

(9) Any foreseeable economic, national security, or other relevant impacts that may result from designating any area that may be included in the final designation. We are particularly interested in any impacts on small entities, and the benefits of including or excluding areas from the proposed designation that are subject to these impacts;

 

(10) Whether our approach to designating critical habitat could be improved or modified in any way to provide for greater public participation and understanding, or to assist us in accommodating public concerns and comments;

 

(11) The likelihood of adverse social reactions to the designation of critical habitat and how the consequences of such reactions, if likely to occur, would relate to the conservation and regulatory benefits of the proposed critical habitat designation.

 

Please note that submissions merely stating support for or opposition to the action under consideration without providing supporting information, although noted, will not be considered in making a determination, as section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act directs that determinations as to whether any species is a threatened or endangered species must be made “solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available.”

 

You may submit your comments and materials concerning this proposed rule by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. We request that you send comments only by the methods described in the ADDRESSES section.

 

If you submit information via http://www.regulations.gov, your entire submission—including any personal identifying information—will be posted on the website. If your submission is made via a hardcopy that includes personal identifying information, you may request at the top of your document that we withhold this information from public review. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. We will post all hardcopy submissions on http://www.regulations.gov. Please include sufficient information with your comments to allow us to verify any scientific or commercial information you include.

 

Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation we used in preparing this proposed rule, will be available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, or by appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Columbia Missouri Ecological Services Field Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

 

Public Meeting: We have scheduled a public meeting to be held on Thursday, October 11, 2012 at the Perryville Higher Education Center, 108 South Progress Drive, Perryville, MO 63775.

 

Any interested individuals or potentially affected parties seeking additional information on the public meeting should contact the Columbia Missouri Ecological Services Field Office (See FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is committed to providing access to this event for all participants. Please direct all requests for interpreters, close captioning, or other accommodation to the Columbia Missouri Ecological Services Field Office (See FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT) by 5:00 PM on October 4, 2012.

 

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Above are the introductory and Executive Summary portions of the Federal Register Proposed Rule. View the complete Federal Register Proposed Rule to List the Grotto Sculpin as Endangered and Designate Critical Habitat (1.1MB PDF Adobe PDF icon)


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Last updated: April 1, 2014