Frequently Asked Questions -
90-Day Substantial Finding on Petition
to Reclassify the U.S. Breeding Population of the
Wood Stork (Mycteria americana)
from Endangered to Threatened
Q1: What is a petition?
A1: A petition is a request filed underthe Endangered
Species Act (Act) by an interested party asking that a
species be listed on, delisted from, or reclassifiedon
the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants or that
critical habitat be revised for a listed species.
Q2: What is a 90-day Finding?
A2: Section 4(b)(3)(A) of
the Act requires the Service to make a finding on whether a petition to list,
delist, or reclassify a species presents substantial scientific or commercial
information (see Q6 below for more information on this standard) indicating
that the petitioned action may be warranted. The Service bases this finding on
information provided in the
petition, supporting information submitted with the petition, and information otherwise available in
our files. To the maximum extent practicable, the Service is to
make this finding within 90 days of the receipt of the petition, and publish
notice of this finding in the Federal Register.
Q3: Who petitioned the Service and what did they request?
A3: On May 28, 2009, the
Service received a petition requesting that U.S. breeding population of the
wood stork be reclassified from endangered to threatened under the Act. The
petition was submitted by the Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) and Biological
Research Associates (BRA), on behalf of the Florida Home Builders Association
(FHBA), and included as sole supporting information the Service’s recently
completed 2007 Wood Stork Five-Year Review which recommended reclassification.
On July 9, 2009, the Service sent a letter to the Pacific Legal Foundation
informing them that the agency received the petition.
Q4: What area makes up the wood stork’s U.S. breeding population range?
A4: The wood stork’s U.S. breeding population range includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. That range has expanded to include portions of North Carolina and Mississippi.
Q5: What did the Service conclude as its 90-day finding?
A5: The Service found that the information provided in the petition,supporting
information submitted with the petition, and information otherwise available in our files
petition did provide substantial scientific or commercial information
indicating that reclassifying the wood stork’s status under the Act may be
warranted. This notice constitutes the initial finding on the petition.
Q6: What did the Service consider in reaching its conclusion and finding?
A6: In making this finding, the Service evaluated the
information provided by the petitioners in accordance with the Code of Federal
Regulations (CFR): 50 CFR 424.14(b). The process of coming to a 90-day finding
under section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act and section 424.14(b) of regulations is
limited to a determination of whether the information provided in the petition, supporting
information submitted with the petition, and information otherwise available in Service files
meets the “substantial information” threshold. The Service does not conduct
additional research at this point, nor does the Service subject the petition to
rigorous critical review.
Q7: What is the next step?
A7: The Service is initiating a status review to determine whether reclassification of the U.S. breeding population of wood storks is warranted. The results
of the status review will be published as part of a 12-month finding.
Q8: Is there a difference between a 90-day finding and a 12-month finding?
A8: Yes. A 90-day finding is not a status assessment of the species and does not
constitute a status review under the Act. A 90-day finding simply states that a
petitioned action may be warranted. Our final determination of whether a
petitioned action is warranted is not made until the Service has completed a
thorough status review of the species as part of the 12-month finding on a
petition, which is only conducted following a positive 90-day finding. A positive
90-day finding does not mean that the 12-month finding also will be positive.
Q9: What options does the Service have when making a status review determination
for its 12-month finding?
A9: Based on the status review, the Service will make one of three possible
(1) Reclassification is not warranted, in which case no further action will be taken. This finding will be published and the petitioner notified.
(2) Reclassification from endangered to threatened is warranted. In this case, the Service will publish a proposed rule, solicit scientific peer review, seek input from the public, and consider the input before a final decision about reclassifying the species is made.
(3) Reclassification is warranted but precluded by other, higher priority actions. This means the proposal to reclassify the woodstork is deferred while the Service works on listing, delisting, or reclassification proposed rules for other species.
Q10: If the Service determines reclassification is warranted is the species reclassified
at that time?
A10: If the Service determines reclassification is warranted it may publish a
proposed reclassification rule in conjunction with 12-month finding. Whether
such an action is done simultaneously with the 12-month finding or at some
later date, that formal rulemaking process will include ample opportunity for
stakeholder and public comment.
Q11: Is the Service seeking information from the public for the status review?
A11: Yes; see next question for details. However, submissions merely
stating support for or opposition to the action under consideration without
providing supporting information, although noted, will not be considered in
making a determination. Section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act directs that
determinations as to whether any species is a threatened or endangered species
must be made “solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data
Q12: What information is the Service seeking?
A12: The Service requests information from the public, other
concerned governmental agencies, Native American Tribes, the scientific
community, industry, or any other interested parties concerning the status of the U.S. breeding population of wood
storks and other populations of wood storks breeding in Central and South
America. The Service is seeking information regarding:
The historical and current status and
distribution of the wood stork, its biology and ecology, and ongoing
conservation measures for the species and its habitat;
Information relevant to the factors
that are the basis for determination of a species’ status under section 4(a) of
the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), which are:
The present or threatened destruction,
modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range;
Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes;
(c) Disease or predation;
(d) The inadequacy of existing regulatory
(e) Other natural or manmade factors affecting
its continued existence.
(3) Information related to the genetics
and taxonomy of the wood stork throughout its entire range, including the range
of the federally listed U.S. breeding population of the wood stork; and
(4) Information related to whether any
portion of the range should be considered for listing, for example, as a
distinct population segment.
Please include sufficient information with
your submission to allow us to verify any scientific or commercial information
or data you provide.
Q13: How do I submit information?
A13: You may submit information by one of the following methods:
- U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R4- ES-2010-0067; Division of Policy
and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222; Arlington, VA 22203.
Please note that submissions by other means or to other offices may delay processing of those comments.
The Service will post all information received on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that theService will post any personal information that is
provided (see the Information Solicited section of the Federal Register notice for more details).
In order to allow sufficient time for biologists to review and consider submitted information and conduct the review,
submissions must be received on or before November 22, 2010.
Q14: Where can I find more information on current and future actions related to the wood stork?
A14: Information on the wood stork is available online at: http://www.fws.gov/northflorida