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Tumbling Creek Cavensail

Proposed Rule to Designate Critical Habitat

 

Below are the Summary, Public Comments, and Background sections of the Proposed Rule; click here to download a PDF of the complete Federal Register Proposed Rule to Designate Critical Habitat for the Tumbling Creek Cavesnail (13-pages, 113KB).

 

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR: Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS–R3–ES–2010–0042] [MO-92210–0–0009–B4]

RIN 1018–AW90

 

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for Tumbling Creek Cavesnail

 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

 

ACTION: Proposed rule.

 

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to designate critical habitat for the Tumbling Creek cavesnail (Antrobia culveri) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We propose to designate as critical habitat approximately 25 acres (10.12 hectares) in one unit. The proposed critical habitat encompasses Tumbling Creek and associated springs, located near Protem, in Taney County, Missouri.

 

DATES: We will consider comments from all interested parties until August 23, 2010. We must receive requests for public hearings, in writing, at the address shown in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section by August 9, 2010. Please note that if you are using the Federal eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES section, below) the deadline for submitting an electronic comment is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Savings Time on August 23, 2010.

 

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments by one of the following methods:

 

• Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. In the box that reads ‘‘Enter Keyword or ID,’’ enter the Docket number for this finding, which is FWS-R3-ES-2010-0042. Check the box that reads ‘‘Open for Comment/ Submission,’’ and then click the Search button. You should then see an icon that reads ‘‘Submit a Comment.’’ Please ensure that you have found the correct rulemaking before submitting your comment.

 

• U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R3- ES-2010-0042; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222; Arlington, VA 22203.

 

We will not accept e-mail or faxes. 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 Public Comments section below for more information).

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Charles M. Scott, Field Supervisor

Columbia Fish and Wildlife Office

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

101 Park DeVille Dr., Suite A

Columbia, MO 65203

Telephone: 573-234-2132

Facsimile: 573-234-2181

 

If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Public Comments

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 suggestions from governmental agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested party concerning this proposed rule. We particularly seek comments concerning:

 

(1) Population survey results for the Tumbling Creek cavesnail, as well as any studies that may show distribution, status, population size, or population trends, as they may pertain to critical habitat for the species.

 

(2) Pertinent aspects of life history, ecology, and habitat use of the Tumbling Creek cavesnail.

 

(3) Our ‘‘prudency’’ evaluation for the designation of critical habitat for Tumbling Creek cavesnail.

 

(4) The reasons why we should or should not designate habitat as ‘‘critical habitat’’ under section 4 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (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 the benefit of designation would be outweighed by threats to the species caused by the designation.

 

(5) Comments or information that may assist us in identifying or clarifying the physical and biological features essential to the conservation of the species.

 

(6) Specific information on:

 

• The amount and distribution of Tumbling Creek cavesnail habitat,

 

• What areas occupied at the time of listing contain physical and biological features essential to the conservation of the species,

 

• What special management considerations or protections these features may require, and

 

• 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 subject areas and their possible impacts on proposed critical habitat.

 

(8) Any probable economic, national security, or other relevant impacts of designating any area that may be included in the final designation. We are particularly interested in any impacts on small entities (for example, small businesses or small governments) or families, and the benefits of including or excluding areas that exhibit these impacts.

 

(9) Whether any specific areas we are proposing as critical habitat should be excluded under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, and whether the benefits of potentially excluding any particular area outweigh the benefits of including that area under section 4(b)(2) of the Act.

 

(10) Information on any quantifiable economic costs or benefits of the proposed designation of critical habitat.

 

(11) Information on the projected and reasonably likely impacts of climate change on the Tumbling Creek cavesnail, and any special management needs or protections that may be needed in the critical habitat area we are proposing.

 

(12) Whether we could improve or modify our approach to designating critical habitat in any way to provide for greater public participation and understanding, or to better accommodate public concern and comments.

 

You may submit your comments and materials concerning this proposed rule by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. We will not accept comments sent by e-mail or fax or to an address not listed in the ADDRESSES section.

 

We will post your entire comment— including your personal identifying information—on http:// www.regulations.gov. If your written comments provide 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.

 

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 Columbia Ecological Services Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

 

Background

It is our intent to discuss only those topics directly relevant to the designation of critical habitat in this proposed rule. For more information on the Tumbling Creek cavesnail, refer to the final listing rule published in the Federal Register on August 14, 2002 (67 FR 52879), and the Tumbling Creek Cavesnail Recovery Plan (published in the Federal Register on September 22, 2003 (68 FR 55060)), available on the Internet at http://ecos.fws.gov/docs/ recovery_plans/2003/030922a.pdf.

 

The Tumbling Creek cavesnail is a critically imperiled aquatic snail, endemic to a single cave stream and associated springs in Taney County, southwestern Missouri. The species is known only from Tumbling Creek and a few of its small tributaries and associated underground springs within Tumbling Creek Cave, and areas immediately downstream of the cave between the cave’s natural exit and the confluence of Tumbling Creek with Big Creek at Schoolhouse Spring. Suitable habitat includes the underside of rocks, small stones, and cobble, and occasionally the upper surface of solid rock bottom within sections of Tumbling Creek that have moderate current (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2003, p. 10). The Tumbling Creek cavesnail is dependent on good water quality and reduced sediment loads in Tumbling Creek (Aley and Ashley 2003, p. 20).

 

The Tumbling Creek cavesnail was emergency listed on December 27, 2001 (66 FR 66803) and subsequently listed as endangered on August 14, 2002 (67 FR 52879) because of a precipitous population decline and water degradation in Tumbling Creek. The primary threats related to the degradation of water quality in Tumbling Creek are increased siltation from overgrazing, tree removal, and other activities. Nonpoint source pollution within the recharge area of Tumbling Creek cave is also a threat to the species (Aley and Ashley 2003, p. 19; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2003, pp. 14-18). The deposition of silt into Tumbling Creek from aboveground activities within the recharge area of Tumbling Creek Cave has likely contributed to the decline of the species by eliminating the species’ habitat, covering egg masses, or adversely impacting the snail in other ways (Tom and Cathy Aley, 2001, pers. comm.; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2001, p. 66806; Aley and Ashley 2003, p. 19; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2003, pp. 14-18).

 

Previous Federal Actions

The Tumbling Creek cavesnail was emergency listed on December 27, 2001 (66 FR 66803) and subsequently listed as endangered on August 14, 2002 (67 FR 52879). At the time of listing, we determined that a delay in designating critical habitat would enable us to concentrate our limited resources on other actions that must be addressed and allow us to invoke immediate protections needed for the conservation of the species. We concluded that, if prudent and determinable, we would prepare a critical habitat proposal in the future at such time as our available resources and other listing priorities under the Act would allow. We approved a final recovery plan for the Tumbling Creek cavesnail on September 15, 2003, and made it available to the public through a notice published in the Federal Register on September 22, 2003 (68 FR 55060).

 

On August 11, 2008, the Institute for Wildlife Protection and Crystal Grace Rutherford filed a lawsuit against the Secretary of Interior for our failure to timely designate critical habitat for the Tumbling Creek cavesnail (Institute for Wildlife Protection et al v. Kempthorne (07-CV-01202-CMP)). In a courtapproved settlement agreement, we agreed to submit to the Federal Register a new prudency determination, and if the designation was found to be prudent, a proposed designation of critical habitat, by June 30, 2010, and a final designation by June 30, 2011.

 

Above are the Summary, Public Comments, and Background sections of the Proposed Rule; click here to download a PDF of the complete Federal Register Proposed Rule to Designate Critical Habitat for the Tumbling Creek Cavesnail (13-pages, 113KB).

 

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Last updated: April 1, 2014