[Federal Register: July 25, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 143)]
[Page 45789-45790]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Availability of Draft Environmental Assessment of Take of 
Nestling American Peregrine Falcons for Falconry

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: This notice is to announce the availability of a Draft 
Environmental Assessment of falconry take of nestling American 
peregrine falcons in the contiguous United States and Alaska. In it, we 
seek to provide protection for the nationwide population of American 
peregrine falcons while allowing a limited take of nestlings for 
falconry. We do so by evaluating the effects of take of nestlings on 
American peregrine population growth in the United States. We seek 
public comment on the draft assessment.

DATES: Comments on the Draft Environmental Assessment are due by 
September 25, 2000.

ADDRESSES: The Draft Environmental Assessment is available from, and 
written comments about it should be submitted to, Chief, Office of 
Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North 
Fairfax Drive, Room 634, Arlington, Virginia 22203-1610. You can 
request a copy of the Environmental Assessment by calling 703-358-1714. 
The fax number for a request or for comments is 703-358-2272. The 
Assessment also is available on the Office of Migratory Bird Management 
web pages at http://migratorybirds.fws.gov.

Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, at 703-358-
1714 or the address above.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The American peregrine falcon (Falco 
peregrinus anatum) occurs throughout much of North America from the 
subarctic boreal forests of Alaska and Canada south to Mexico. The 
American peregrine falcon declined precipitously in North America 
following World War II, a decline attributed largely to organochlorine 
pesticides applied in the United States and Canada. Because of the 
decline, the American peregrine was listed as endangered in 1970 (35 FR 
    Recovery goals for American peregrine falcons in the United States 
were substantially exceeded in some areas, and on August 25, 1999, we 
removed the American peregrine falcon from the List of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife and Plants (64 FR 46542). However, monitoring of 
the status of the species is required, and it is still protected under 
the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

[[Page 45790]]

    Anticipating delisting, in June 1999 a number of state fish and 
wildlife agencies, through the International Association of Fish and 
Wildlife Agencies, proposed allowing take of nestling American 
peregrines for falconry. In response, in an October 4, 1999, Federal 
Register notice (64 FR 53686), we stated that we would prepare two 
management plans and associated environmental assessments for take of 
wild peregrine falcons. We further stated that we would consider a 
conservative take of nestling peregrines from healthy populations of 
American peregrine falcons in the western United States and Alaska, 
where recovery was most marked and where approximately 82% of the 
nesting pairs in the United States were found in 1998.
    The States proposed allowing take of 5% of the annual production of 
nestlings in States west of 100 deg. (Alaska, Arizona, California, 
Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, 
and Wyoming). In preparing the Draft Environmental Assessment, we 
considered the request from the States, as well as the effects of 
allowing no take, and take of 10%, 15%, and 20% of annual production in 
those States. A sixth alternative we evaluated was lifting the current 
restriction on take by falconry permittees. This option would make no 
distinctions regarding where nestling peregrines could be taken.
    Because population changes also are greatly influenced by survival 
of adults, we also assessed the effects of different take levels with 
different values for adult mortality. We concluded that 20% post-first-
year mortality is a conservative and reasonable value to use. However, 
we also modeled population growth using 10%, 15%, and 25% annual 
mortality of adults.
    The proposed action in the Draft Environmental Assessment is to 
allow take of up to 5% of the nestlings produced in western States; 
take of any lesser amount could be allowed by a State. The 5% level of 
take should still allow population growth of 3% per year if post-first-
year mortality is 20% and population density does not affect 
reproduction or survival.

    Dated: July 18, 2000.
Jamie Rappaport Clark,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 00-18693 Filed 7-24-00; 8:45 am]