[Federal Register: April 13, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 70)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 17981]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 17981]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AE40

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants, Notice of 
Reopening of Comment Period on Proposed Endangered Status for the 
Riparian Brush Rabbit and Riparian Woodrat

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule, notice of reopening of comment period.


SUMMARY: The Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), pursuant to the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), provides notice of 
the reopening of the comment period for the proposed endangered status 
for the riparian brush rabbit (Sylvilagus bachmani riparius) and the 
riparian woodrat (Neotoma fuscipes). The comment period has been 
reopened to acquire additional information on the biology, 
distribution, and status of the riparian brush rabbit and riparian 
woodrat in the northern San Joaquin Valley, California.

DATES: Comments received by May 28, 1998, will be considered by the 

ADDRESSES: Written comments, materials and data, and available reports 
and articles concerning this proposal should be sent directly to the 
Field Supervisor, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 3310 El Camino Avenue, Suite 130, Sacramento, 
California 95821. Comments and materials received will be available for 
public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the 
above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Diane Windham, at the address listed 
above (telephone 916/979-2725, facsimile 916/979-2723.



    The riparian brush rabbit and the riparian woodrat are both 
distinct subspecies that inhabit riparian communities along the lower 
portions of the San Joaquin and Stanislaus Rivers in the northern San 
Joaquin Valley, California. Only a single remaining population of each 
subspecies has been confirmed, at Caswell Memorial State Park. 
Potential threats to these subspecies include flooding, wildfire, 
predation, and other random factors. On November 21, 1997 (62 FR 
62276), the Service published a proposed rule proposing endangered 
status for the riparian brush rabbit and the riparian woodrat. The 
original comment period closed January 21, 1998.
    Today, riparian forests of the lower San Joaquin River and its 
tributaries outside of Caswell Memorial State Park have nearly been 
eliminated. The remaining habitat is small, narrow forest patches 
confined within the levees. These areas flood completely during major 
storm events. Due to the fact that these remaining areas of habitat are 
small, isolated, and subject to periodic prolonged flooding, their 
ability to support viable populations of these subspecies over the 
long-term is of concern.
    Since the close of the comment period, additional surveys for these 
species have been conducted within their only known location at Caswell 
Memorial State Park. The Service believes that, given the flood events 
of 1997 and 1998, consideration of this and any other new information 
is significant to make the final status determination for the riparian 
brush rabbit and the riparian woodrat. For this reason, the Service 
particularly seeks information concerning:
    (1) The size, number, or distribution of populations of these 
subspecies; and
    (2) Other biological, commercial, or other relevant data on any 
threat (or lack thereof) to these subspecies.
    Written comments may be submitted until May 28, 1998, to the 
Service office in the ADDRESSES section.
    The primary author of this notice is Diane Windham (see ADDRESSES 

    Authority: The authority for this action is the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: April 2, 1998.
Thomas J. Dwyer,
Regional Director, Region 1.
[FR Doc. 98-9620 Filed 4-10-98; 8:45 am]