[Federal Register: March 21, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 55)]
[Page 15167-15168]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Interim Land Acquisition Priority System Criteria

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: We are announcing the availability of and opportunity to 
comment on our Interim Land Acquisition Priority System criteria. These 
interim criteria replace the criteria developed in 1987 and modified in 
1992. We will use the interim criteria to set land acquisition 
priorities for projects funded under the Land and Water Conservation 
Fund beginning with the FY 2002 budget cycle.

DATES: Submit comments on or before June 30, 2000.

ADDRESSES: You may obtain copies of the Interim Land Acquisition 
Priority System package or submit comments on the interim criteria by 
any one of several methods.
    You may obtain the document from the Division of Realty's internet 
site at http://realty.fws.gov/laps.htm.
    You may mail or hand-deliver requests for copies or comments to 
Andrew French, LAPS Team Leader, Division of Realty, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 300 Westgate Center Drive, Hadley, MA 01035.
    You may send requests for copies or comments by electronic mail to 
Andrew__French@fws.gov. Please submit internet comments as an ASCII 
file avoiding the use of special characters and any form of encryption. 
Please also include ``Attn: LAPS Comments'' and your name and return 
address in your message.
    You may fax requests for copies or comments to (413) 253-8480.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Andrew French, Team Leader, U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, telephone (toll free) (877) 289-8495 (ext. 8590)

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We implemented Land Acquisition Priority 
System Criteria in 1987 and revised the criteria in 1992. In 1993, the 
National Research Council appointed the Committee on Scientific and 
Technical Criteria for Federal Acquisition of Lands for Conservation. 
In their report,

[[Page 15168]]

entitled ``Setting Priorities for Land Conservation,'' the committee 
affirmed the need for criteria by stating, ``Each agency should develop 
individual criteria to rank its own acquisitions, because no single set 
of criteria will work to satisfy fully the different agency missions.'' 
The interim criteria implement the National Wildlife Refuge System 
Improvement Act of 1997, which states, ``the Mission of the System is 
to administer a national network of lands and waters for the 
conservation, management, and where appropriate, restoration of the 
fish, wildlife, and plant resources and their habitat within the United 
States for the benefit of present and future generations of 

Interim Land Acquisition Priority System Criteria

    The purpose of the Land Acquisition Priority System is: (1) To 
document land acquisition needs and opportunities for the Fish and 
Wildlife Service nationwide; (2) to prioritize land acquisition 
projects submitted by our Regions; and (3) to serve as a starting point 
for the annual land acquisition budget request. The criteria are one of 
the ``tools'' that we use to build our annual land acquisition 
priorities among the most important habitat projects in the Nation. The 
criteria consist of four components: Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, 
Endangered and Threatened Species, Bird Conservation, and Ecosystem 
    The Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Component addresses: (1) The 
status and trends of aquatic populations; (2) species diversity for 
trust resources; (3) critical habitats, including free-flowing rivers 
and watersheds; (4) wetland types and trend status; and (5) wetland 
losses by percent of historic wetland base by State.
    The Endangered and Threatened Species Component is: (1) Recovery 
oriented; (2) considers habitat and biological community integrity as 
well as species occurrences; and (3) focuses on actual habitat use.
    The Bird Conservation Component consists of: (1) Regionally 
developed lists of 70 species of management concern for each region as 
well as Hawaii and Puerto Rico; (2) a population importance index; and 
(3) an avian diversity index. We give emphasis to Nongame Species of 
Management Concern and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act 
Priority Waterfowl Species.
    The Ecosystem Conservation Component addresses: (1) Biodiversity 
through distribution and abundance of rare communities; (2) ecosystem 
decline and protection of native diversity of threatened ecosystems; 
(3) landscape conservation by preserving large, intact habitats through 
partnerships; and (4) contributions to national plans and designations.

Comment Solicitation

    We seek public comments on this interim document and will take into 
consideration comments and additional information received during the 
comment period. Our practice is to make comments, including names and 
home addresses of respondents, available for public review during 
regular business hours. Individual respondents may request that we 
withhold their home address from the record, which we will honor to the 
extent allowable by law. If you wish for us to withhold your name and/
or address, you must state this prominently at the beginning of your 
comment. However, we will not consider anonymous comments. We will make 
all submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals 
identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations 
or businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety.


    We issue this notice under the authority of the Land and Water 
Conservation Fund Act of 1995 as amended (16 U.S.C. 460l-4 et seq.) and 
the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 as 
amended, (16 U.S.C. 668dd et seq.).

    Dated: March 10, 2000.
Jamie Rappaport Clark,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 00-6985 Filed 3-20-00; 8:45 am]