About the Document
Title: Revised Critical Habitat for the Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse (Preble’s) (Zapus hudsonius preblei)
Timeline of the Peer Review:
Draft Documents Disseminated: October 8, 2009
Peer Review Initiated: November 2009
Peer Review Completion Date: December 7, 2009
Final Determination Regarding Proposed Rule Expected: 2010
About the Peer Review Process
In accordance with our July 1, 1994 peer review policy (59 FR 34270) and the Office of Management and Budget's December 16, 2004 Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review, we will solicit independent scientific reviews of the information contained in our proposal to revise critical habitat for the Preble's in Colorado. This review will occur concurrently with the public comment period for the proposed action and draft plan.
The Service considers the following criteria for any potential reviewer:
- Expertise: The reviewer should have knowledge or experience with Preble's or similar species biology.
- Independence: The reviewer should not be employed by the Service. Academic, consulting or government scientists should have sufficient independence from the Service, 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.
- Conflict of Interest: The reviewer should not have any financial or other interest that conflicts or that could impart 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 that add to adversity of scientific perspectives relevant to the proposal to revise critical habitat for Preble's in Colorado. Responses will be requested by the close of the comment period. We will not be providing financial compensation to peer reviewers. We will solicit reviews from at least three qualified experts.
The Service will provide each peer reviewer with information explaining their role and instructions for fulfilling that role, the proposed rule, and a list of citations. 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 proposed action is based, as well as to ensure that reviews by recognized experts are incorporated into the rulemaking process. Peer reviewers will be advised that they are not to provide advice on policy. Rather, they should focus their review on identifying and characterizing scientific uncertainties. Peer reviewers will be asked to answer questions pertaining to the logic of our assumptions, arguments, and conclusions and to provide any other relevant comments, criticisms, or thoughts. Specific questions put to the reviewers include the following:
- Is our analysis of the habitat needs of the species accurate?
- Are there any significant oversights, omissions, or inconsistencies in the proposed rule?
- Is our proposal logical and supported by the evidence we provide?
- Did we include the 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 be included in the administrative record of our final determination regarding this proposal (i.e., a final rule or a withdrawal), and be available to the public upon request once all reviews are completed. We will summarized and respond to the issues raised by the peer reviewers in the record supporting our final rulemaking determination. Because this peer review process is running concurrently with public review of the proposed action, peer reviewers will not be provided public comments (although comments may be viewed through http://www.regulations.gov). F final determination regarding this proposed action is expected approximately a year after the proposed rule publishes.
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 23, 2010. You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
- Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instruction for submitting comments
- U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: RIN 1018-AU67, Division of Policy and Directives Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 222, Arlington, Virginia 22203.
We will not accept e-mails 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 sections below for more information).
For more information, contact Al Pfister at 970-243-2778 extension 29 in the Western Colorado Ecological Services Field Office.