Endangered Species
Mountain-Prairie Region
PEER REVIEW

About the Document:

Title:  Pallid Sturgeon 5-Year Review: Summary and Evaluation.

Type of review:  Influential

Estimated Peer Review Timeline:

Peer review initiated by:  October 20, 2006

Peer review to be completed by:  December 01, 2006

Estimated Dissemination Date:  Late 2006 or early 2007

About the Peer Review Process:

General:  On July 7, 2005, the Service announced the initiation of a 5-year review for Pallid Sturgeon and requested submission of any new information (70 FR 39326). In accordance with the peer review requirements of the Office of Management and Budget's Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review, in fall 2006, we will initiate peer review of the science relevant to the draft Pallid Sturgeon 5-year review and our use of said science.

Solicitations will be sent to State agencies, professional societies, and/or universities, 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:  pallid sturgeon Scaphirhynchus albus or similar species biology; conservation 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 pallid sturgeon 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.

Nominations will be requested by October 6, 2006.  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 5-year review.  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 5-year review and the agency shall inform potential reviewers of this likely disclosure at the time they are recruited.  We anticipate sending the document to the peer reviewers no later than October 20, 2006.  Responses will be requested by December 01, 2006. 

We will solicit reviews from at least six qualified experts.

The Service will provide each peer reviewer with information explaining his or her role and instructions for fulfilling that role, the draft 5-year review, public comments received in response to our Federal Register notice initiating the 5-year review (70 FR 39326), 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 draft 5-year review 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 the 5-year review 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 the 5-year review provide accurate and adequate review and analysis of the factors affecting the species (habitat loss and modification, over utilization, disease, predation, existing regulatory mechanisms)?

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

4.         Are there any significant oversights, omissions or inconsistencies in 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 a special section of the 5-year review.    

About Public Participation:

The public is currently being provided an opportunity to comment on this planned peer review process.  Comments must be received by October 6, 2006.  Send comments on this peer review plan to: George Jordan, Pallid Sturgeon Recovery Coordinator, 2900 4th Avenue North, Room 301, Billings, Montana 59101.  Comments on this plan may also be submitted by electronic mail to >r6espeerreview@fws.gov<.  The subject line should read “Pallid Sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) 5-Year Review: Summary and Evaluation.” 

The public had an opportunity to provide input on the 5-year review from July 7, 2005 through September 6, 2005 (70 FR 39326). 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 George Jordan, Pallid Sturgeon Recovery Coordinator 406-247-7365. or George_Jordan@fws.gov

Last updated: May 18, 2011