Endangered Species
Mountain-Prairie Region
PEER REVIEW

About the Document: 

Title:  Recovery Plan for Astragalus holmgreniorum (Holmgren Milk-vetch) and Astragalus ampullarioides (Shivwits Milk-vetch) 

Type of Review:  Influential 

Estimated Peer Review Timeline: 

Draft document disseminated:  June 2006 

Peer review initiated:  June 2006  

Peer review to be completed by:  July 2006  

Document to be finalized:  September 30, 2006 

About the Peer Review Process: 

In accordance with the peer review requirements of the Office of Management and Budget’s Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review, scientific information influential to a threatened or endangered species’ recovery plan shall be peer reviewed.  This spring, the Service will publish a notice of availability (NOA) for the draft recovery plan for Holmgren and Shivwits milk-vetches and open a 30-day public comment period.  We intend to initiate peer review concurrent with the public comment period.   

The Service will solicit comments from independent scientific reviewers.  The Service will request that State agencies, professional societies, universities, botanical institutions, and select non-profits (i.e., those involved in Shivwits and Holmgren milk-vetch recovery) nominate potential peer reviewers.  We will request that these groups consider the following criteria for any potential nomination.  

  •       Expertise:  The reviewer should have knowledge, experience, and skills in one or more of the following areas:  Holmgren and Shivwits milk-vetches or similar species biology; small and declining population dynamics and extinction risk analysis; land development and use, invasive species, and other environmental pressures within the range of these species; land planning and management; modeling; and/or evaluation of biological plausibility. 
     

  •       Independence:  The reviewer should not be employed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or other agencies within the Department of Interior.  Academic and consulting scientists should have sufficient independence from the Service or Department if the government supports their work.  
     

  •       Objectivity:  The reviewer should be recognized by his or her peers as being objective, open‑minded, and thoughtful.  In addition, the reviewer should be comfortable sharing his or her knowledge and perspectives and openly identifying his or her knowledge gaps. 
     

  •       Advocacy:  The reviewer should not be known or recognized for an affiliation with an advocacy position regarding the protection of these milk-vetches under the Endangered Species Act. 
     

  •       Conflict of Interest:  The reviewer should not have any financial or other interest that conflicts that could impair his or her objectivity or create an unfair competitive advantage.  If an otherwise qualified reviewer has an unavoidable conflict of interest, the Service may publicly disclose the conflict.   

While expertise is the primary consideration, the Service will select peer reviewers (considering, but not limited to, these nominations) that add to a diversity of scientific perspectives relevant to the proposed recovery plan.  We may also consider using some of the same reviewers employed to review the March 29, 2006 proposal to designate critical habitat for Shivwits and Holmgren milk-vetches (71 FR 15966).  We anticipate sending the document to the peer reviewers this spring with responses requested approximately 30 days later.  We will not be providing financial compensation to peer reviewers.  We will solicit reviews from at least eight qualified experts. 

The Service will provide each peer reviewer with: information explaining his or her role and instructions for fulfilling that role, the draft recovery plan, a full list of citations noting whether the source has been peer reviewed, and all citations (or in the case of some longer documents, the relevant pages of the document) in an electronic format, on a CD.  The purpose of seeking independent peer review is to ensure use of the best scientific and commercial information available and to ensure and to maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of the information upon which the draft recovery plan is based, as well as to ensure that reviews by recognized experts are incorporated into the final document.  Peer reviewers will be asked not to provide advice on policy but, rather, to focus their review on identifying and characterizing scientific uncertainties.  Specifically, peer reviewers will be asked to consider the following questions and to provide any other relevant comments, criticisms, or thoughts: 

1.    Are the data in the plan complete?  If not, provide pertinent information that may be missing.

2.    Have the data been used accurately and appropriately with reference to plan recommendations (recovery criteria and actions)?

3.     Does the draft recovery plan accurately and adequately delineate those aspects of the species’ biology, life history, and threats that are pertinent to its endangerment and recovery? 

4.    Does the draft recovery plan accurately and adequately outline and justify a strategy to achieve recovery?

5.    Does the draft recovery plan accurately and adequately identify the actions necessary to achieve recovery of the species?

6.    Does the draft recovery plan accurately and adequately identify goals and criteria by which to measure the species achievement of recovery?   

Peer reviewers will provide individual, written responses to the Service.  Peer reviewers will be advised that their reviews, including their names and affiliations, will: (1) be included in the administrative record for this recovery plan, and (2), when the peer review process is completed, will be available to the public upon request.  We will summarize and respond to the issues raised by the peer reviewers in a determination appendix to the approved recovery plan.  Because this peer review process will run concurrently with public review of the draft plan, peer reviewers will not be provided public comments.    

About Public Participation

The public is currently being provided an opportunity to comment on this planned peer review process.  Comments must be received by June 5, 2006.  Send comments on this peer review plan to:  Henry Maddux, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Utah Fish and Wildlife Office, 2369 West Orton Circle, Suite 50, West Valley City, Utah 84119.  Comments on this plan may also be submitted by electronic mail to >r6espeerreview@fws.gov<.  The subject line should read "Recovery Plan for Holmgren and Shivwits milk-vetches."

This spring, the Service will publish a notice of availability (NOA) for the draft recovery plan for Holmgren and Shivwits milk-vetches.  The public may comment on the draft recovery plan through the normal comment process associated with the NOA.  Public comments will be accepted for 30-days. 

Contact 

For more information, please contact Henry Maddux at 801-975-3330.

Last updated: May 18, 2011