David Patte, (503) 231-6121
New deadline is October 4, 2007
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will accept public comments for another 30 days on the agency's critical habitat proposals for the northern spotted owl and the marbled murrelet and the draft recovery plan for the northern spotted owl.
The extended period is intended to give people more time to review all three proposals as they prepare their comments. The northern spotted owl and the marbled murrelet, both protected as threatened species, occupy some of the same forested areas of the Pacific Northwest.
"Each of the critical habitat proposals and the draft recovery plan has had a different comment deadline, which may have caused some confusion for people who want to comment on all three actions," said Ren Lohoefener, Director of the Service's Pacific Region. "We want to receive the best possible comments and we hope that giving people more time will help that happen."
The three actions the Service is seeking comments on are:
- Proposal to revise the critical habitat designation for the marbled murrelet.
- Proposal to revise the critical habitat designation for the northern spotted owl.
- Draft recovery plan for the northern spotted owl.
On September 12, 2006, the Service proposed a revised critical habitat designation for the marbled murrelet of 221,602 acres in Washington, Oregon and California. The Service was scheduled to issue a final designation by August 30, 2007, but that deadline has been extended to March 1, 2008. A draft economic analysis of the proposal, released June 26, 2007, estimates potential costs of the critical habitat designation at $69.4 million to $1.4 billion, in current dollars, over the next 20 years. A public comment period on the critical habitat proposal and the draft economic analysis closed on July 26, 2007.
On April 26, 2007, the Service released a draft recovery plan for the northern spotted owl. The draft plan identifies criteria and actions needed to stop the owl's decline, reduce threats and return the species to a stable, well-distributed population in Washington, Oregon and California. The comment period ended August 24, 2007.
On June 12, 2007, the Service proposed a revised critical habitat designation for the threatened northern spotted owl of 5.3 million acres in Washington, Oregon and California. The public comment period closed August 13, 2007. An economic analysis of the critical habitat proposal for the northern spotted owl will be completed and released for public comment before a final designation is issued.
The critical habitat proposals and the draft northern spotted owl recovery plan can be found at www.fws.gov/pacific/ecoservices/endangered/index.html
Notice of the new comment deadline of October 4, 20007, for the draft recovery plan and critical habitat proposals was published in today's Federal Register. Comments previously submitted on these actions are already public record and do not need to be submitted again.
Details on the type of information the Service is seeking are included in the Federal Register notice.
If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments and materials by any one of several methods:
1. By mail or hand-delivery to Patrick Sousa, Chief, Endangered Species, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, Pacific Regional Office, 911 NE. 11th Avenue, Portland, OR 97232.
2. By electronic mail (e mail) to: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you use e-mail to submit your comments, please include "Attn: RIN 1018-AU37; RIN 1018-AU91" in your e-mail subject header, preferably with your name and return address in the body of your message. If you do not receive a confirmation from the system that we have received your e-mail, contact us directly by calling our Pacific Regional Office at 503-231-6158. Please note that the e-mail address email@example.com will be closed out at the termination of the public comment period.
3. By fax to the attention of Patrick Sousa at (503) 231-6243.
4. Via the Federal eRulemaking Portal at: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Patrick Sousa, Chief, Endangered Species, Pacific Regional Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, 911 NE. 11th Avenue, Portland, OR 97232 (telephone: 503-231-6158; facsimile: 503-231-6243). If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.
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 97-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 548 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.