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The Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228

Contacts: Cindy Hoffman 202/208-3008
                Sharon Rose 303-236-7917, x415

Proposed Monitoring Plan for the
Recovered Peregrine Falcon Available
for Public Review

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released a proposed monitoring plan for the American peregrine falcon. The peregrine falcon was removed from Federal Endangered Species Act (Act) protection on August 25, 1999, because of its successful recovery. Once delisted, the Act requires that species be monitored for a minimum of 5 years.

The proposed monitoring plan recommends that approximately 20 percent of the known breeding population be monitored once every 3 years for at least 5 generations. American peregrine falcons mature at about 3 years of age, therefore the monitoring plan proposes to conduct five surveys, once every three years, to detect changes in the population.

"This monitoring program for the peregrine falcon is similar to an annual check-up. We want to make sure that our patients, once released from the intensive care provided by the Endangered Species Act, remain healthy and vital," said Marshall Jones, Acting Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Monitoring for a wide-ranging species such as the peregrine falcon will be a complex undertaking. The proposed plan designates five geographical regions within the United States for surveys. Each territory would be visited twice, once during late courtship, egg laying, or incubation, and once late in the nesting season. The intent of the first visit would be to verify the presence of a nesting pair; the second visit would be to determine the presence or absence of young.

"We hope that the state wildlife agencies, other federal partners, universities, private ornithological groups, and falcon enthusiasts who played a critical role in the recovery of the peregrine will continue their involvement through the monitoring program," said Jones. "The Service will need the help of its partners and the public in monitoring not only the peregrine falcon but also other sensitive species."

Monitoring would include the collection of information on population trends and nesting success. At the end of each monitoring period the Service will review all available information to determine if the status of the peregrine continues to improve. Should any decline be detected,

the Service will work closely with the States and other involved partners to determine what measures need to be implemented to reverse the decline. Although not anticipated, if at anytime during the monitoring program information indicates that protective status under the Act should be reinstated, the Service can initiate listing procedures including, if appropriate, an emergency listing.

 The notice of availability for the Service’s proposed peregrine falcon monitoring plan was published in the Federal Register on July 31, 2001. Copies of the proposed monitoring plan may also be requested by contacting the Service at the address listed below or through the internet at http://endangered.fws.gov/recovery/docs/peregrine_monitoring.pdf. The Service is requesting comments on the proposed peregrine falcon monitoring plan for the next 30 days. Comments may be submitted to Robert Mesta, Office of Migratory Birds, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 12661 E. Broadway Blvd., Tucson, Arizona 85748 or via fax at 520/258-7238.

 The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 94-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than 535 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

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