[Federal Register: April 25, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 80)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 24259-24265]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 24259]]


Part II

Department of the Interior


Fish and Wildlife Service


50 CFR Part 20

Migratory Bird Hunting; Proposed 2000-01 Migratory Game Bird Hunting 
Regulations (Preliminary) With Requests for Indian Tribal Proposals; 
Proposed Rule

[[Page 24260]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 20

RIN 1018-AG08

Migratory Bird Hunting; Proposed 2000-01 Migratory Game Bird 
Hunting Regulations (Preliminary) With Requests for Indian Tribal 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (hereinafter Service or we) 
proposes to establish annual hunting regulations for certain migratory 
game birds for the 2000-01 hunting season. We annually prescribe 
outside limits (frameworks) within which States may select hunting 
seasons. We also request proposals from Indian tribes that wish to 
establish special migratory bird hunting regulations on Federal Indian 
reservations and ceded lands. Migratory game bird hunting seasons 
provide hunting opportunities for recreation and sustenance; aid 
Federal, State, and tribal governments in the management of migratory 
game birds; and permit harvests at levels compatible with migratory 
bird population status and habitat conditions.

DATES: You must submit comments for proposed early-season frameworks by 
July 28, 2000, and for proposed late-season frameworks by September 8, 
2000. Tribes should submit proposals and related comments by June 2, 

ADDRESSES: Send your comments on the proposals to the Chief, Office of 
Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department 
of the Interior, ms 634-ARLSQ, 1849 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 
20240. All comments received, including names and addresses, will 
become part of the public record. You may inspect comments during 
normal business hours in room 634, Arlington Square Building, 4401 
North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, Virginia.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ron W. Kokel at: Office of Migratory 
Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the 
Interior, ms 634-ARLSQ, 1849 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 20240 (703) 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: For administrative purposes, this document 
consolidates the notice of intent to establish open migratory bird 
hunting seasons and the request for tribal proposals with the 
preliminary proposals for the annual hunting regulations-development 
process. We will publish the remaining proposed and final rulemaking 
documents separately. For inquiries on tribal guidelines and proposals, 
tribes should contact the following personnel.
    Region 1--Brad Bortner, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 911 N.E. 
11th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97232-4181; (503) 231-6164.
    Region 2--Jeff Haskins, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 
1306, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87103; (505) 248-7885.
    Region 3--Steve Wilds, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Federal 
Building, One Federal Drive, Fort Snelling, Minnesota 55111-4056; (612) 
    Region 4--Frank Bowers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1875 
Century Boulevard, Room 324, Atlanta, Georgia 30345; (404) 679-4000.
    Region 5--George Haas, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 300 Westgate 
Center Drive, Hadley, Massachusetts 01035-9589; (413) 253-8576.
    Region 6--John Cornely, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 
25486, Denver Federal Building, Denver, Colorado 80225; (303) 236-8145.
    Region 7--Robert Leedy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1011 East 
Tudor Road, Anchorage, Alaska 99503; (907) 786-3423.

Notice of Intent To Establish Open Seasons

    This notice announces our intent to establish open hunting seasons 
and daily bag and possession limits for certain designated groups or 
species of migratory game birds for 2000-01 in the contiguous United 
States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, under 
Secs. 20.101 through 20.107, 20.109, and 20.110 of subpart K of 50 CFR 
part 20.
    ``Migratory game birds'' are those bird species so designated in 
conventions between the United States and several foreign nations for 
the protection and management of these birds. Hunting of all other 
birds designated as migratory (under Sec. 10.13 of Subpart B of 50 CFR 
part 10) is not permitted.
    For the 2000-01 migratory game bird hunting season, we will propose 
regulations for certain designated members of the avian families 
Anatidae (ducks, geese, and swans); Columbidae (doves and pigeons); 
Gruidae (cranes); Rallidae (rails, coots, moorhens, and gallinules); 
and Scolopacidae (woodcock and snipe). We describe these proposals 
under Proposed 2000-01 Migratory Game Bird Hunting Regulations 
(Preliminary) in this document. We published definitions of waterfowl 
flyways and mourning dove management units, as well as a description of 
the data used in and the factors affecting the regulatory process, in 
the March 14, 1990, Federal Register (55 FR 9618).

Regulatory Schedule for 2000-01

    This document is the first in a series of proposed, supplemental, 
and final rulemaking documents for migratory game bird hunting 
regulations. In supplemental proposed rulemakings, we will make 
proposals relating to the harvest of migratory game birds initiated 
after this publication is available for public review. Also, we will 
publish additional supplemental proposals for public comment in the 
Federal Register as population, habitat, harvest, and other information 
become available.
    Because of the late dates when certain portions of these data 
become available, we anticipate abbreviated comment periods on some 
proposals. Special circumstances limit the amount of time we can allow 
for public comment on these regulations. Specifically, two 
considerations compress the time for the rulemaking process: the need, 
on one hand, to establish final rules early enough in the summer to 
allow resource agencies to select and publish season dates and bag 
limits prior to the beginning of hunting seasons and, on the other 
hand, the lack of current status data on most migratory game birds 
until later in the summer.
    Because the regulatory process is strongly influenced by the times 
when information is available for consideration, we divide the 
regulatory process into two segments: early seasons and late seasons. 
Early seasons are those seasons that generally open prior to October 1, 
and include seasons in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin 
Islands. Late seasons are those seasons opening in the remainder of the 
United States about October 1 and later, and include most of the 
general waterfowl seasons.
    Major steps in the 2000-01 regulatory cycle relating to open public 
meetings and Federal Register notifications are illustrated in the 
accompanying diagram. All publication dates of Federal Register 
documents are target dates.
    All sections of this and subsequent documents outlining hunting 
frameworks and guidelines are organized under numbered headings. These 
headings are:

1. Ducks
2. Sea Ducks
3. Mergansers
4. Canada Geese
5. White-fronted Geese
6. Brant

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7. Snow and Ross's (Light) Geese
8. Swans
9. Sandhill Cranes
10. Coots
11. Moorhens and Gallinules
12. Rails
13. Snipe
14. Woodcock

15. Band-tailed Pigeons
16. Mourning Doves
17. White-winged and White-tipped Doves
18. Alaska
19. Hawaii
20. Puerto Rico
21. Virgin Islands
22. Falconry
23. Other

    Later sections of this and subsequent documents will refer only to 
numbered items requiring your attention. Therefore, it is important to 
note that we will omit those items requiring no attention and remaining 
numbered items will be discontinuous and appear incomplete.

Requests for Tribal Proposals


    Beginning with the 1985-86 hunting season, we have employed 
guidelines described in the June 4, 1985, Federal Register (50 FR 
23467) to establish special migratory bird hunting regulations on 
Federal Indian reservations (including off-reservation trust lands) and 
ceded lands. We developed these guidelines in response to tribal 
requests for our recognition of their reserved hunting rights, and for 
some tribes, recognition of their authority to regulate hunting by both 
tribal and nontribal members throughout their reservations. The 
guidelines include possibilities for:
    (1) On-reservation hunting by both tribal and nontribal members, 
with hunting by nontribal members on some reservations to take place 
within Federal frameworks, but on dates different from those selected 
by the surrounding State(s); (2) On-reservation hunting by tribal 
members only, outside of usual Federal frameworks for season dates and 
length, and for daily bag and possession limits; and (3) Off-
reservation hunting by tribal members on ceded lands, outside of usual 
framework dates and season length, with some added flexibility in daily 
bag and possession limits.
    In all cases, tribal regulations established under the guidelines 
must be consistent with the annual March 10 to September 1 closed 
season mandated by the 1916 Convention Between the United States and 
Great Britain (for Canada) for the Protection of Migratory Birds 
(Convention). The guidelines are capable of application to those tribes 
that have reserved hunting rights on Federal Indian reservations 
(including off-reservation trust lands) and ceded lands. They also 
apply to the establishment of migratory bird hunting regulations for 
nontribal members on all lands within the exterior boundaries of 
reservations where tribes have full wildlife management authority over 
such hunting, or where the tribes and affected States otherwise have 
reached agreement over hunting by nontribal members on non-Indian 
    Tribes usually have the authority to regulate migratory game bird 
hunting by nonmembers on Indian-owned reservation lands, subject to our 
approval. The question of jurisdiction is more complex on reservations 
that include lands owned by non-Indians, especially when the 
surrounding States have established or intend to establish regulations 
governing migratory bird hunting by non-Indians on these lands. In such 
cases, we encourage the tribes and States to reach agreement on 
regulations that would apply throughout the reservations. When 
appropriate, we will consult with a tribe and State with the aim of 
facilitating an accord. We also will consult jointly with tribal and 
State officials in the affected States where tribes may wish to 
establish special hunting regulations for tribal members on ceded 
lands. As explained in previous rulemaking documents, it is incumbent 
upon the tribe and/or the State to request consultation as a result of 
the proposal being published in the Federal Register. We will not 
presume to make a determination, without being advised by either a 
tribe or a State, that any issue is or is not worthy of formal 
    One of the guidelines provides for the continuation of harvest of 
migratory game birds by tribal members on reservations where such 
harvest is a customary practice. We do not oppose this harvest, 
provided it does not take place during the closed season required by 
the Convention, and it is not so large as to adversely affect the 
status of the migratory bird resource. For several years, we have 
reached annual agreement with tribes for migratory bird hunting by 
tribal members on their lands or on lands where they have reserved 
hunting rights. We will continue to consult with tribes that wish to 
reach a mutual agreement on hunting regulations for on-reservation 
hunting by tribal members.
    Tribes should not view the guidelines as inflexible. Nevertheless, 
we believe that they provide appropriate opportunity to accommodate the 
reserved hunting rights and management authority of Indian tribes while 
ensuring that the migratory bird resource receives necessary 
protection. The conservation of this important international resource 
is paramount. Use of the guidelines is not required if a tribe wishes 
to observe the hunting regulations established by the State(s) in which 
the reservation is located.

Details Needed in Tribal Proposals

    Tribes that wish to use the guidelines to establish special hunting 
regulations for the 2000-01 hunting season should submit a proposal 
that includes:
    (1) The requested hunting season dates and other details regarding 
    (2) Harvest anticipated under the requested regulations;
    (3) Methods that will be employed to measure or monitor harvest 
(mail-questionnaire survey, bag checks, etc.);
    (4) Steps that will be taken to limit level of harvest, where it 
could be shown that failure to limit such harvest would seriously 
impact the migratory bird resource; and
    (5) Tribal capabilities to establish and enforce migratory bird 
hunting regulations.
    A tribe that desires the earliest possible opening of the waterfowl 
season should specify this request in their proposal, rather than 
request a date that might not be within the final Federal frameworks. 
Similarly, unless a tribe wishes to set more restrictive regulations 
than Federal regulations will permit, the proposal should request the 
same daily bag and possession limits and season length for ducks and 
geese that Federal regulations are likely to permit the States in the 
Flyway in which the reservation is located.

Tribal Proposal Procedures

    We will publish details of tribal proposals for public review in 
later Federal Register documents. Because of the time required for our 
and public review, Indian tribes that desire special migratory bird 
hunting regulations for the 2000-01 hunting season should submit their 
proposals as soon as possible, but no later than June 2, 2000. Tribes 
should direct inquiries regarding the guidelines and proposals to the 
appropriate Service Regional Office listed under the caption 
Supplementary Information. Tribes that request special migratory game 
bird hunting regulations for tribal members on ceded lands should send 
a courtesy copy of the proposal to officials in the affected State(s).

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Public Comments Solicited

    The Department of the Interior's policy is, whenever practicable, 
to afford the public an opportunity to participate in the rulemaking 
process. Accordingly, we invite interested persons to submit written 
comments, suggestions, or recommendations regarding the proposed 
regulations. Before promulgation of final migratory game bird hunting 
regulations, we will take into consideration all comments received. 
Such comments, and any additional information received, may lead to 
final regulations that differ from these proposals. We invite 
interested persons to participate in this rulemaking by submitting 
written comments to the address indicated under the caption ADDRESSES.
    You may inspect comments received on the proposed annual 
regulations during normal business hours at the Service's office in 
room 634, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, Virginia. For each 
series of proposed rulemakings, we will establish specific comment 
periods. We will consider, but possibly may not respond in detail to, 
each comment. As in the past, we will summarize all comments received 
during the comment period and respond to them after the closing date in 
any final rules.

NEPA Consideration

    NEPA considerations are covered by the programmatic document, 
``Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement: Issuance of Annual 
Regulations Permitting the Sport Hunting of Migratory Birds (FSES 88-
14),'' filed with the Environmental Protection Agency on June 9, 1988. 
We published Notice of Availability in the Federal Register on June 16, 
1988 (53 FR 22582). We published our Record of Decision on August 18, 
1988 (53 FR 31341). In addition, an August 1985 environmental 
assessment entitled ``Guidelines for Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations 
on Federal Indian Reservations and Ceded Lands'' is available from the 
address indicated under the caption ADDRESSES.

Endangered Species Act Consideration

    Prior to issuance of the 2000-01 migratory game bird hunting 
regulations, we will consider provisions of the Endangered Species Act 
of 1973, as amended, (16 U.S.C. 1531-1543; hereinafter the Act) to 
ensure that hunting is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence 
of any species designated as endangered or threatened or modify or 
destroy its critical habitat and is consistent with conservation 
programs for those species. Consultations under Section 7 of this Act 
may cause us to change proposals in this and future supplemental 
proposed rulemaking documents.

Executive Order (E.O.) 12866

    This rule is economically significant and was reviewed by the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under E.O. 12866.
    E.O. 12866 requires each agency to write regulations that are easy 
to understand. We invite comments on how to make this rule easier to 
understand, including answers to questions such as the following:
    (1) Are the requirements in the rule clearly stated?
    (2) Does the rule contain technical language or jargon that 
interferes with its clarity?
    (3) Does the format of the rule (grouping and order of sections, 
use of headings, paragraphing, etc.) aid or reduce its clarity?
    (4) Would the rule be easier to understand if it were divided into 
more (but shorter) sections?
    (5) Is the description of the rule in the ``Supplementary 
Information'' section of the preamble helpful in understanding the 
    (6) What else could we do to make the rule easier to understand?

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    These regulations have a significant economic impact on substantial 
numbers of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 
U.S.C. 601 et seq.). We analyzed the economic impacts of the annual 
hunting regulations on small business entities in detail, and the 
Service issued a Small Entity Flexibility Analysis (Analysis) in 1998. 
The Analysis documented the significant beneficial economic effect on a 
substantial number of small entities. The primary source of information 
about hunter expenditures for migratory game bird hunting is the 
National Hunting and Fishing Survey, which is conducted at 5-year 
intervals. The Analysis utilized the 1996 National Hunting and Fishing 
Survey and the U.S. Department of Commerce's County Business Patterns 
from which it was estimated that migratory bird hunters would spend 
between $429 million and $1,084 million at small businesses in 1998. 
Copies of the Analysis are available upon request from the Office of 
Migratory Bird Management.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    This rule is a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small Business 
Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. For the reasons outlined above, 
this rule has an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more. 
However, because this rule establishes hunting seasons, we do not plan 
to defer the effective date under the exemption contained in 5 U.S.C. 
808 (1).

Paperwork Reduction Act

    We examined these regulations under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 
1995. The various recordkeeping and reporting requirements imposed 
under regulations established in 50 CFR part 20, Subpart K, are 
utilized in the formulation of migratory game bird hunting regulations. 
Specifically, OMB has approved the information collection requirements 
of the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program and assigned 
clearance number 1018-0015 (expires 09/30/2001). This information is 
used to provide a sampling frame for voluntary national surveys to 
improve our harvest estimates for all migratory game birds in order to 
better manage these populations. OMB has also approved the information 
collection requirements of the Sandhill Crane Harvest Questionnaire and 
assigned clearance number 1018-0023 (expires 09/30/2000). The 
information from this survey is used to estimate the magnitude and the 
geographical and temporal distribution of the harvest, and the portion 
it constitutes of the total population.
    A Federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not 
required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays 
a currently valid OMB control number.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    We have determined and certify, in compliance with the requirements 
of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, 2 U.S.C. 1502 et seq., that this 
rulemaking will not impose a cost of $100 million or more in any given 
year on local or State government or private entities.

Civil Justice Reform--Executive Order 12988

    The Department, in promulgating this proposed rule, has determined 
that these regulations meet the applicable standards found in Sections 
3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988.

Takings Implication Assessment

    In accordance with Executive Order 12630, this proposed rule, 
authorized by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, does not have significant 
takings implications and does not affect any constitutionally protected 
property rights. This rule will not result in the physical occupancy of 
property, the physical invasion of

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property, or the regulatory taking of any property. In fact, these 
rules allow hunters to exercise otherwise unavailable privileges and, 
therefore, reduce restrictions on the use of private and public 

Federalism Effects

    Due to the migratory nature of certain species of birds, the 
Federal Government has been given responsibility over these species by 
the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. We annually prescribe frameworks from 
which the States make selections and employ guidelines to establish 
special regulations on Federal Indian reservations and ceded lands. 
This process preserves the ability of the States and Tribes to 
determine which seasons meet their individual needs. Any State or Tribe 
may be more restrictive than the Federal frameworks at any time. The 
frameworks are developed in a cooperative process with the States and 
the Flyway Councils. This process allows States to participate in the 
development of frameworks from which they will make selections, thereby 
having an influence on their own regulations. These rules do not have a 
substantial direct effect on fiscal capacity, change the roles or 
responsibilities of Federal or State governments, or intrude on State 
policy or administration. Therefore, in accordance with Executive Order 
13132, these regulations do not have significant federalism effects and 
do not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the 
preparation of a Federalism Assessment.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 20

    Exports, Hunting, Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Transportation, Wildlife.
    The rules that eventually will be promulgated for the 2000-01 
hunting season are authorized under 16 U.S.C. 703-711, 16 U.S.C. 712, 
and 16 U.S.C. 742 a-j.

    Dated: March 24, 2000.
Donald J. Barry,
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.

Proposed 2000-01 Migratory Game Bird Hunting Regulations 

    Pending current information on populations, harvest, and habitat 
conditions, and receipt of recommendations from the four Flyway 
Councils, we may defer specific framework proposals (including opening 
and closing dates, season lengths, and bag limits). Unless otherwise 
specified, we are proposing no change from the final 1999-2000 
frameworks of August 27 and September 27, 1999 (64 FR 47072 and 52124). 
Specific preliminary proposals that vary from the 1999-2000 frameworks 
and issues requiring early discussion, action, or the attention of the 
States or tribes are contained below:

1. Ducks

A. Harvest Strategy Considerations

    We propose to continue the use of Adaptive Harvest Management (AHM) 
to guide the establishment of duck hunting regulations. The AHM 
approach recognizes that we cannot predict the consequences of hunting 
regulations with certainty, and provides a means for making objective 
decisions despite this uncertainty. In addition, a tightly integrated 
cycle of monitoring, assessment, and decision-making is required under 
AHM to better understand the relationships among hunting regulations, 
harvests, and waterfowl abundance. More detailed information about AHM 
can be found on the Internet at: http://www.fws.gov/r9mbmo/homepg.html.
    Since 1995, AHM regulatory strategies have been based on the status 
of midcontinent mallards, which are defined as those breeding from 
South Dakota to Alaska (Federal survey strata 1-18, 20-50, and 75-77), 
and in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. An optimal regulatory 
alternative for midcontinent mallards is based on breeding population 
size and water conditions in the Canadian prairies, and on empirical 
weights assigned to four competing models of population dynamics. The 
same regulatory alternative is applied in all four Flyways, although 
season lengths and bag limits are Flyway-specific.
    Efforts are underway to extend the AHM process to account for 
mallards breeding westward and eastward of the midcontinent survey 
area. For the purposes of harvest regulation, eastern mallards are 
defined as those breeding in southern Ontario and Quebec (Federal 
survey strata 51-54 and 56), and in New Hampshire, Vermont, 
Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, New 
Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Western mallards currently 
are defined as those breeding in Washington, Oregon, and California. 
These mallard stocks make significant contributions to the total 
mallard harvest, particularly in the Atlantic and Pacific Flyways.
    Extension of the current process to account for multiple mallard 
stocks and Flyway-specific regulatory choices involves: (1) 
Augmentation of the decision criteria to include population and 
environmental variables relevant to eastern and western mallards; (2) 
revision of the objective function to account for harvest management 
objectives for mallards outside the midcontinent region; and (3) 
modification of the decision rules to allow independent regulatory 
choices in the Flyways. An optimal harvest strategy for each Flyway 
then can be derived, which in effect would represent an average of the 
optimal strategies for each breeding stock, weighted by the relative 
contribution of each stock to the respective Flyways.
    Modifying the AHM protocol to account for multiple duck populations 
is one of the most challenging technical issues facing harvest 
managers. Never before have we tried to consider the status of multiple 
populations in such a formal way, nor have we attempted to give Flyways 
the ability to choose regulations that are predicated on their 
particular derivation of birds. We expect the efforts with eastern and 
western mallards to be precedent-setting and, thus, must be done 
carefully and in a way that provides a sound conceptual framework for 
considering additional duck populations in the future. Recently, the 
Service, in cooperation with the Atlantic Flyway Council, completed a 
technical assessment regarding modification of the current AHM protocol 
to account for eastern mallards. That report is available at: http://
www.fws.gov/r9mbmo/reports/reports.html. We will consider the 
implications discussed in that assessment, as well as all public 
comment, in proposing a regulatory alternative for the Atlantic Flyway 
for the 2000-2001 hunting season.

G. Special Seasons/Species Management

i. Scaup
    In 1999, we reduced the scaup daily bag limit to 3 in the Atlantic, 
Mississippi, and Central Flyways and 4 in the Pacific Flyway, based on 
the status of and trends in scaup populations and information from 
recent hunting seasons. A harvest management strategy for scaup was 
under development at that time but was not adopted because Flyway 
Council reviews of the draft strategy indicated further refinement was 
needed. We hoped to have a strategy completed prior to the 2000 hunting 
season; however, at this time it appears unlikely that sufficient 
progress can be made to do so. We are continuing to work with the 
Flyway Councils to complete the strategy, but if it cannot be completed 

[[Page 24264]]

time, scaup bag limits for this year's hunting season will again be 
based on scaup population status and harvest information.
ii. Canvasbacks
    We continue to support the canvasback harvest strategy adopted in 
1994. Overall, we believe the strategy has performed adequately, and 
have not found sufficient reason to alter it. However, results from the 
Service's Harvest Surveys indicate that canvasback harvests generally 
have been greater in both the U.S. and Canada than those predicted in 
the strategy. We note that harvest predictions used in the strategy 
were based largely on data collected several decades ago, and believe 
that more contemporary estimates would better reflect current harvest 
pressure. Therefore, we propose to replace the current predicted 
harvest values with the average harvests observed during recent (1994-
97) hunting seasons. We will continue to monitor the strategy's 
performance as annual information from population and habitat surveys 
become available.
iii. September Teal/Wood Duck Seasons
    The Wood Duck Population Monitoring Initiative showed that current 
wood duck monitoring efforts resulted in information that was capable 
of being used to manage wood ducks at no finer resolution than the 
Flyway level. In 1997, we stated that after September 2000, the special 
wood duck seasons in Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee would be 
discontinued; the year 2000 will be the last permitted for these 
seasons. The Service, in cooperation with the Atlantic and Mississippi 
Flyway Councils, is in the process of developing population models that 
will guide harvest management in the future. These models, and the 
accompanying evaluations of potential Flyway-wide expansions in harvest 
opportunity, will be developed prior to Spring 2001.

8. Swans

    In March, we developed and made available for public review a Draft 
Supplemental Environmental Assessment (Assessment) on the continuation 
of general swan hunting seasons in parts of the Pacific Flyway. The 
Assessment includes a review of the past 5-year experimental general 
swan hunting seasons in parts of the Pacific Flyway and alternatives 
for establishment of future operational swan hunting seasons in the 
same area. The Assessment was prompted by requests from individuals, 
States, and various conservation organizations for a thorough 
examination of alternatives for swan hunting in the Pacific Flyway in 
light of continuing concerns for the Rocky Mountain Population of 
trumpeter swans. The Assessment deals with establishment of an 
operational approach for swan hunting and related efforts to address 
status and distributional concerns regarding the Rocky Mountain 
Population of trumpeter swans. Four alternatives, including the 
proposed action, are considered. Copies of the Assessment are available 
upon request from the Office of Migratory Bird Management.


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[FR Doc. 00-10069 Filed 4-24-00; 8:45 am]