[Federal Register: January 25, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 16)]
[Page 3972]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Reopening of 
Comment Period for the Notice of Intent To Clarify the Role of Habitat 
in Endangered Species Conservation; Announcement of Workshops

AGENCY:  Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION:  Notice; reopening of comment period.


SUMMARY:  We (the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) reopen the comment 
period on our notice of intent to develop policy or guidance and/or to 
revise regulations, if necessary, to clarify the role of habitat in 
endangered species conservation. We are reopening the comment period to 
allow us to receive comments in conjunction with two critical habitat 
workshops to be held with major stakeholders. We will analyze 
additional comments received during this comment period from workshop 
participants, others who wish to comment on issues raised at the 
workshop, and any additional comments, as well as those we received 
during the two previous comment periods, and will consider these 
comments when preparing new proposed guidance, policy, or regulations, 
as appropriate.

DATES:  We will accept comments on this guidance until February 24, 
2000. The first workshop will be held in Reston, Virginia, on February 
8, 2000, and the second in Tempe, Arizona, on February 11, 2000. 
Members of the public who wish to attend as an observer are requested 
to contact the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution 
(see ADDRESSES section) by February 3, 2000.

ADDRESSES:  Submit your comments to the Chief, Division of Endangered 
Species, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1849 C Street, NW, Mailstop 
ARLSQ-420, Washington, D.C. 20240. If you are interested in attending a 
workshop as an observer, contact Tina Urbina, Executive Assistant, U.S. 
Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, 110 South Church 
Avenue, Suite 3350, Tempe, Arizona 85701, telephone 520/670-5299, 
facsimile 520/670-5530.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  Nancy Gloman, Chief, Division of 
Endangered Species, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 703-358-2171 (see 
ADDRESSES section).



    On June 14, 1999 (64 FR 31871), we published a notice of our intent 
to develop policy or guidance and/or to revise regulations, if 
necessary, to clarify the role of habitat in endangered species 
conservation. In that notice, we sought comments on the benefits of the 
designation of critical habitat, beyond the benefits that result from 
the act of listing species as endangered or threatened, and what 
considerations should be included in determining whether a designation 
of critical habitat is prudent. We also requested comments and 
suggestions on how we can effectively streamline the process of 
designating critical habitat and specifically whether and how our 
existing regulations might or should be changed to accomplish this 
goal. Additionally, we requested comments and suggestions on possible 
legislative actions that might improve the effectiveness and efficiency 
of the critical habitat process. We reopened the comment period on 
August 30, 1999 (64 FR 47195), in order to provide additional time for 
interested parties to comment on this important issue.
    Based on our preliminary review of the comments, a wide range of 
opinions exists on the role of habitat in endangered species 
conservation. We felt it would be beneficial to have a focus group 
provide their individual views on these issues. We have contracted with 
the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution to hold two 
workshops with major stakeholders to discuss critical habitat issues, 
such as the regulatory effect of designating critical habitat, linking 
critical habitat designation to recovery planning, and the relationship 
between critical habitat and habitat conservation planning under 
section 10 of the Act. These participants will not act as a committee 
and there will be no attempt to seek a group recommendation on any 
issue. The workshops are scheduled to be held in Reston, Virginia, on 
February 8, 2000, and Tempe, Arizona, on February 11, 2000. In order to 
facilitate a meaningful discussion, we have invited a small number of 
participants representing Federal, State, and local governments, 
Congress, resource user groups, environmental organizations, and 
academia. Additional seats will be available for members of the public 
to attend as observers, who will be given a limited time on the agenda 
to provide comments. If you would like to attend as an observer, please 
contact the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution (see 
ADDRESSES section) by February 3, 2000, so that we can judge the amount 
of interest.

Public Comments Solicited

    We will take into consideration any comments and additional 
information received. We will make available for your review and 
comment any proposed guidance, policy, or regulatory changes that are 


    The authority for this notice is the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended, 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.

    Dated: January 19, 2000.
Jamie Rappaport Clark,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 00-1745 Filed 1-24-00; 8:45 am]