About the Document:
Title: Designating the Northern Rocky Mountain Population (NRM) of Gray Wolf as a Distinct Population Segment and Removing this Distinct Population Segment from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildife
Estimated Peer Review Timeline:
Draft document published: July 6, 2007
Peer review initiated: July 10, 2007
Peer review to be completed by: August 6, 2007
Document Finalized: Early 2008
About the Peer Review Process:
We are reopening the public comment period on our proposal to designate the northern Rocky Mountain (NRM) population of the gray wolf as a distinct population segment (DPS) and remove the DPS from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. Since the previous public comment period, a new Wyoming statute and draft wolf management plan, if adopted, could allow the wolves in northwestern Wyoming outside the National Parks to be removed from the protections of the Endangered Species Act along with the rest of the NRM DPS. We also have approved the wolf management plan for the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. We are seeking public comment on our proposed delisting of the wolf in light of the potential adoption and approval of the new Wyoming statute and wolf management plan and the approved Wind River Reservation wolf management plan.
In accordance with our July 1, 1994, peer review policy (59 FR 34270), we also intend to solicit independent scientific reviews of the proposed delisting in light of this new information. This review will occur concurrently with the public comment period for the proposed action. This review will also satisfy the peer review requirements of the Office of Management and Budget’s Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review.
We are seeking independent peer review to maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of the information upon which we will base our decision. Peer review will help ensure that such information is the best scientific and commercial information available. We will incorporate the reviews by recognized experts into the final decision document.
We are seeking peer review from the same experts who peer reviewed the proposal during the first public comment period. Our Peer Review Agenda of February 12, 2007 describes our process and considerations in the selection of the peer reviewers in accordance with the peer review policy. We are asking the peer reviewers if they wish to modify their previous comments or provide additional ones considering the Service’s proposal to delist the entire NRM DPS in light of the potential adoption and approval of the Wyoming plan and the approved Wind River Reservation plan.
Peer reviewers will be asked not to provide advice on policy. Instead, the reviewers will be charged to review the soundness of the science relevant to our decision. They will also be asked to identify and characterize any scientific uncertainties.
We will send the necessary materials to the eight peer reviewers on July 9, 2007 and request responses be submitted by the end of the comment period. We will provide each peer reviewer with information explaining his or her role and instructions for fulfilling that role, the proposed rule, the management plans, and a full list of citations.
Peer reviewers will provide individual, written responses to the Service, and will volunteer their time. 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 the reviews are completed, they 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. Because this peer review will run concurrently with public review of the proposed rule, peer reviewers will not be provided public comments.
About Public Participation:
The peer review process will be initiated shortly. The public may comment on the approach of this peer review through the normal comment process associated with the proposed rule. Public comments are scheduled to be accepted until August 6, 2007. If you wish to comment, you may submit comments and materials concerning this proposal, identified by “RIN number 1018-AU53,” by any of the following methods:
1. Federal e-Rulemaking Portal--http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
2. E-mail-- WesternGrayWolf@fws.gov. Include “RIN number 1018-AU53” in the subject line of the message.
Previously, the public had 90 days (including a 30-day extended comment period) from February 8, 2007 to provide input on the proposal to designate the NRM DPS and delist it. Additionally, public hearings were held during the initial public comment period in Cheyenne, WY; Pendleton, OR; Salt Lake City, UT; Spokane, WA; Boise, ID; and Helena, MT. An additional hearing was held in Cody, WY during the extended comment period.
3. Mail--U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Western Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, 585 Shepard Way, Helena, Montana 59601.
4. Hand Delivery/Courier--U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Western Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, 585 Shepard Way, Helena, Montana 59601.
For more information, contact Ed Bangs, the Western Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, at (406) 449 5225, extension 204.