[Federal Register: January 11, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 7)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 1583-1584]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AF56

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Notice of 
Reopening 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 reopening of comment period.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service, give notice that we are 
reopening the comment period on the proposed rule to list the Alabama 
sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus suttkusi) as endangered. We are reopening the 
comment period to enter into the record Dr. Stephen Fain's 1999 study, 
The Development of a DNA Procedure for the Forensic Identification of 
Caviar, and any comments we receive related specifically to the 
relationship of this study, as it pertains to the proposed listing of 
the Alabama sturgeon as endangered. We invite all interested parties to 
submit comments on this study as it relates to the proposed 

DATES: We will accept comments until February 10, 2000. We will 
consider any comments received by the closing date in the final 
decision on this proposal.

ADDRESSES: If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments by any 
one of several methods. You may mail or hand-deliver comments to the 
Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mississippi Field 
Office, 6578 Dogwood View Parkway, Jackson, Mississippi 39213. You may 
also comment via the Internet to paul--hartfield@fws.gov. See 
Supplementary Information for comment procedures.

    To obtain a copy of the aforementioned study, you can download or 
print one from http://endangered.fws.gov/listing/index.htm (under 
Announcements) or contact Kelly Bibb at 404/679-7132 (phone) or 404/
679-7081 (facsimile) to receive a faxed or mailed copy.

section), 601/321-1125; 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 
decline of the Alabama sturgeon is attributed to over-fishing, loss and 
fragmentation of habitat as a result of historical 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

[[Page 1584]]

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-Tombigbee Rivers 
Coalition, requested a public hearing within the allotted time period. 
On May 25, 1999, we published a notice in the Federal Register 
announcing a public hearing and extending the comment period until July 
5, 1999 (64 FR 28142). We held a public hearing on June 24, 1999, at 
the Montgomery Civic Center in Montgomery, Alabama. We published 
another extension of the comment period on July 12, 1999 (64 FR 37492). 
While the proposed rule was out for comment, we received a wide range 
of comments on numerous issues which will be addressed in our final 
determination. The purpose of reopening the comment period through 
February 10, 2000, is to enter into the record Dr. Stephen Fain's 1999 
study, The Development of a DNA Procedure for the Forensic 
Identification of Caviar, and any comments we receive that address the 
relationship of this study to the proposed listing of the Alabama 
sturgeon as endangered.

Public Comments Solicited

    We intend that any final action resulting from this proposal will 
be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we request 
comments or suggestions from the public, other concerned governmental 
agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested 
party concerning this study and its relation to the proposed rule. In 
making a final decision, we will take into consideration the comments 
we receive and their relationship to the proposed action. Such 
communications may lead to a final determination that differs from this 
    The previous comment period on this proposal closed on September 
10, 1999. To allow all interested parties time to submit their comments 
for the record, we are reopening the comment period until February 10, 
    Please submit Internet comments as an ASCII file, avoiding the use 
of special characters and any form of encryption. Please also include 
``Attention: [Alabama sturgeon]'' and your name and return address in 
your Internet message. If you do not receive a confirmation from the 
system that we have received your Internet message, contact us directly 
at the above address or by telephone at 601/965-4900. Finally, you may 
hand-deliver comments to the above address. 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 rulemaking 
record, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. There also 
may be circumstances in which we would withhold from the rulemaking 
record a respondent's identity, as allowable by law. If you wish 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 or organizations or businesses, available 
for public inspection in their entirety. Comments and materials 
received will be available for public inspection, by appointment, 
during normal business hours at the above address.

References Cited

Fain, S.R., J.P. Lemay, J. Shafer, R.M. Hoesch, and B.H. Hamlin. 1999. 
Unpublished report. National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory, 
Ashland, OR. 23 pp. with figures.


    The primary author of this notice is Paul Hartfield (see ADDRESSES 


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

    Dated: January 4, 2000.
H. Dale Hall,
Acting Regional Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 00-564 Filed 1-10-00; 8:45 am]