Endangered Species
Mountain-Prairie Region
PEER REVIEW

About the Document:

Title:  Five year review of the Dudley Bluffs bladderpod (Lesquerella congesta) and the Dudley Bluffs twinpod (Physaria obcordata)

 Timeline of the Peer review:

  Peer review initiated:  July 2, 2007

 Peer review to be completed by:  August 3, 2007

 Document to be finalized:  September 2007

 About the Peer Review Process:

On September 20, 2006, the Service announced the initiation of a 5-year review for the Dudley Bluffs bladderpod and Dudley Bluffs twinpod, and requested submission of any new information (71 FR 55005).  In accordance with the peer review requirements of the Office of Management and Budget’s Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review, in Summer 2007, we will initiate peer review of the science relevant to the draft Dudley Bluffs bladderpod and Dudley Bluffs twinpod 5-year review and our use of said science.

Solicitations will be sent to State agencies, other Federal agencies, universities, botanical institutions, and non-profits (those involved in the species’ recovery) to 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:  species biology; conservation biology; small 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.  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 this species under the Endangered Species Act.

·         Conflict of Interest:  The reviewer should not have any financial or other interest that conflicts or that could impair his or her objectivity or create an unfair competitive advantage.  Under certain circumstances, some conflict may be unavoidable in order to obtain the necessary expertise.  If such a situation arises, we will disclose these real or perceived conflicts in the administrative record for the decision and the agency shall inform potential reviewers of this likely disclosure at the time they are recruited.

Nominations were requested by June 1, 2007.  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 these plants.  We anticipate sending the document to the peer reviewers no later than July 2, 2007.  Responses will be requested by within 30 days.  We will not be providing financial compensation to peer reviewers.  We will solicit reviews from at least five qualified experts.

The Service will provide each peer reviewer with information explaining his or her role and instructions for fulfilling that role, including Regional and Service guidance, the draft documents to be reviewed, a full list of citations noting whether the source has been peer reviewed, and all citations (or for some longer documents, the relevant pages of the document) in 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 Service’s decision 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.  Instead, the charge to the reviewers will be to review the science relevant to our decision and our use of said science, focusing their review on identifying and characterizing scientific uncertainties.  Additionally, peer reviewers will be asked to consider the following questions and to provide any other relevant comments, criticisms, or thoughts:

1.      Is our description and analysis of the biology, habitat, population trends, historic and current distribution of the species accurate?

2.      Does our document provide accurate and adequate review and analysis of the factors affecting the species?

3.      Are our assumptions and definitions of suitable habitat logical and adequate?

4.      Are there any significant oversights, omissions or inconsistencies in our finding and the 5-year review?

5.      Are our conclusions logical and supported by the evidence we provide?

6.      Did we include all necessary and pertinent literature to support our assumptions and conclusions?

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 official record for this review, and (2), once all reviews are completed, will be available to the public upon request.  We will summarize and respond to the issues raised by the peer reviewers in the record supporting our determination.

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 27, 2007.  Send comments on this peer review plan to: Allan R. Pfister, Western Colorado Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, 764 Horizon Drive, Building B, Grand Junction, Colorado 81506-3946.  Comments on this plan may also be submitted by electronic mail to r6espeerreview@fws.govThe subject line should read “5-year review of Dudley Bluffs bladderpod and Dudley Bluffs twinpod” 

The public had an opportunity to provide input on this process from September 20, 2006 through November 20, 2006 (71 FR 55005).  This notice announced our initiation of a 5-year review of the species and requested submission of any new information.

 Contact

 For more information, please contact Al Pfister at 970-243-2778

Last updated: May 18, 2011