Erica Szlosek 916-978-6159
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announced the availability of a draft economic analysis (DEA) for the August 6, 2008, proposal to revise critical habitat for the endangered La Graciosa thistle, which grows in coastal dunes and wetland areas in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.
Additionally, the Service is reopening the comment period on its proposed rule to revise critical habitat. Based on information received during the initial public comment period, about 13,705 acres on Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) are being considered for exclusion from critical habitat. The U.S. Department of Defense requested these lands be excluded from critical habitat for reasons of national security, for economic reasons, for its draft Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan, and for an additional draft management plan for La Graciosa thistle. California State Parks has also requested exclusion of about 810 acres of Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area.
The DEA estimated total economic costs associated with the revised critical habitat to range from $355,000 to $39.6 million during the next 20 years due to impacts primarily related to recreation, development, and public lands management.
The August 2008 rule proposed to designate 38,477 acres of critical habitat in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. About 48 percent of the proposed critical habitat occurs on private lands. The remaining acreage is on federal, state, and county lands.
Comments and information on the draft economic analysis and the proposed revised critical habitat rule may be submitted electronically to http://regulations.gov">, or in writing to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: RIN 1018-AV23; Division of Policy and Directives Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222, Arlington, VA 22203. Comments will be accepted until April 8, 2009.
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.