[Federal Register: May 25, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 100)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 28142-28143]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Notice of Public 
Hearing and Extension of Comment Period on the Proposed Rule to List 
the Alabama Sturgeon as Endangered

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; notice of public hearing and extension of 
comment period.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service, give notice that we are 
extending the comment period and holding a public hearing on the 
proposed rule to list the Alabama sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus suttkusi) as 
endangered. We invite all interested parties to submit comments on this 

DATES: We will hold the public hearing from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on 
Thursday, June 24, 1999, in Montgomery, Alabama. The comment period now 
closes on July 5, 1999. We will consider any comments received by the 
closing date in the final decision on this proposal.

ADDRESSES: We will hold the public hearing at the Montgomery Civic 
Center, 300 Bibb Street, Montgomery, Alabama 36104. You may submit 
written comments and materials concerning the proposal at the hearing 
or send them directly to the Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 6578 Dogwood View Parkway, Jackson, Mississippi 39213. 
Comments and materials received will be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the above 

section), 601/965-4900, extension 25; facsimile 601/965-4340.



    The Alabama sturgeon is a small freshwater sturgeon that was 
historically found only in the Mobile River Basin of Alabama and 
Mississippi. The Alabama sturgeon's historic range once included about 
1,600 kilometers (km) (1,000 miles (mi)) of the Mobile River system in 
Alabama (Black Warrior, Tombigbee, Alabama, Coosa, Tallapoosa, Mobile, 
Tensaw, and Cahaba rivers) and Mississippi (Tombigbee River). Since 
1985, all confirmed captures of this fish have been from a short, free-
flowing reach of the Alabama River below Miller's Ferry and Claiborne 
locks and dams in Clarke, Monroe, and Wilcox counties, Alabama. The 
historic decline of the Alabama sturgeon is attributed to over-fishing, 
loss and fragmentation of habitat as a result of navigation-related 
development, and water quality degradation. Current threats primarily 
result from its small population numbers and its inability to offset 
mortality rates with reproduction and recruitment.
    On March 26, 1999, we published a rule proposing endangered status 
for the Alabama sturgeon in the Federal Register (64 FR 14676). Section 
4(b)(5)(E) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires that we hold a 
public hearing if it is requested within 45 days of the publication of 
the proposed rule. Sheldon Morgan, Chairman, Alabama-

[[Page 28143]]

Tombigbee Rivers Coalition, requested a public hearing within the 
allotted time period. Public hearings are designed to gather relevant 
information that the public may have that we should consider in 
determining the status of and threats to this species. During the 
hearing, we will present information about the proposed action of 
listing the Alabama sturgeon as endangered. We invite the public to 
submit information and comments either at the hearing on June 24, 1999, 
or in writing.
    The hearing will be at the Montgomery Civic Center in Montgomery, 
Alabama, on Thursday, June 24, 1999, from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. We 
may have to limit the time allotted for oral statements, if the number 
of people who wish to comment necessitates such a limitation. We 
encourage persons wishing to comment at the hearing to provide a 
written copy of their statement at the start of the hearing. There is 
no limit on the length of written comments. Persons may also send 
written comments to our office in the ADDRESSES section at any time 
during the open comment period. We will give equal consideration to 
oral and written comments. We are publishing legal notices announcing 
the date, time, and location of the hearing in newspapers, concurrently 
with this Federal Register notice. The comment period on the proposal 
initially closed on May 26, 1999. To accommodate the hearing, we are 
extending the public comment period upon publication of this notice. 
The public comment period will close on July 5, 1999.
    Author: The primary author of this notice is Paul Hartfield (see 
ADDRESSES section).

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

    Dated: May 18,1999.
H. Dale Hall,
Acting Regional Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 99-13143 Filed 5-24-99; 8:45 am]