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The Mountain-Prairie Region

NEWS RELEASE

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, NM 87103

505/248-6911  -  505/248-6915 (Fax)

Southwest Region   (ArizonaNew MexicoOklahoma ●Texas)   http://southwest.fws.gov

 April 29, 2005

Jerry Brabander (918) 581-7458 x224
Ken Collins (918) 581-7458 x230
Elizabeth Slown or Victoria Fox 505-248-6911
Diane Katzenberger (303) 236-4578
 

SERVICE EXTENDS COMMENT PERIOD FOR
ARKANSAS RIVER SHINER PROPOSED CRITICAL HABITAT
 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is extending until June 17, 2005, the time period in which comments can be submitted regarding its proposed critical habitat designation for the threatened Arkansas River Shiner.  

On October 6, 2004 in response to a decision by the United States Court for the District of New Mexico, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed designating 1,244 river miles as critical habitat for the Arkansas River shiner – including 300 feet of adjacent riparian areas measured outward from each bank.  The areas determined to be essential to the conservation of the Arkansas River Shiner include portions of the Canadian River in New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma, the Beaver/North Canadian River of Oklahoma, the Cimarron River in Kansas and Oklahoma, and the Arkansas River in Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma.  

The associated draft economic analysis and environmental assessment are not yet completed.  Rather than allow the comment period to expire and then reopen the comment period for the supporting documents, the comment period will be extended.  The current critical habitat proposal comment period was scheduled to end April 30.  A separate notice will be published when the draft economic analysis and draft environmental assessment are completed.  Hearing dates and locations will also be announced at that time.   

Information supplied during the comment period will be essential in evaluating and finalizing critical habitat areas and determining where the benefits of designating an area might outweigh the benefits of not including it – an evaluation required under the Act in shaping critical habitat.  All comments collected will be considered and addressed in a final rule due by September 30, 2005. 

All information relevant to the critical habitat proposal as published in the Federal Register is available on the Service’s website at http://ifw2es.fws.gov/Oklahoma/shiner.htm.  Copies also can be requested by calling (918) 581-7458 x224 or writing to Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 222 South Houston, Suite A, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74127.  Comments on the proposed rule should be submitted to the above address by June 17, 2005.  

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 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 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 and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to State fish and wildlife agencies. 

                                                        <http://southwest.fws.gov>

 


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