[Federal Register: February 2, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 22)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 4940-4941]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants, Notice of 
Reopening of Comment Period on the Proposed Endangered Status of the 
Cowhead Lake tui chub

AGENCY:  Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION:  Proposed rule, notice of reopening of comment period.


SUMMARY:  The Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), pursuant to the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), provides notice of 
the reopening of the comment period for the proposed endangered status 
for the Cowhead Lake tui chub (Gila bicolor vaccaceps). The comment 
period has been reopened by request from signatories of a conservation 
agreement for the Cowhead Lake tui chub, including private landowners, 
the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), and the U.S. 
Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

DATES:  Comments from all interested parties must be received by 
February 16, 2000. All comments received by the closing date will be 
considered in the final decision on this proposal.

ADDRESSES:  Written comments, materials, data, and reports concerning 
this proposal should be sent to the Field Supervisor, Sacramento Fish 
and Wildlife Office, W 2605, 2800 Cottage Way, Sacramento, California 
95825. Comments and materials received will be available for public 
inspection by appointment during normal business hours at the above 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  Catherine Hibbard at the address 
above (telephone 916/414-6600, facsimile 916/414-6710).



    The Cowhead Lake tui chub is a fish in the minnow family and can be 
primarily distinguished from other tui chubs by the number of bony 
projections in the gills. It is now found only in pump canals in the 
lakebed of Cowhead Lake and in Cowhead Slough in extreme northeastern 
Modoc County, California. Prior to hydrological modification of the 
Cowhead Lake watershed, including drainage of the lake for agricultural 
purposes, Cowhead Lake is thought to have contained the majority of the 
Cowhead Lake tui chub population, especially in wet years. The entire 
population now appears to occur only the 5.4 kilometers (3.4 miles) of 
Cowhead Slough and pump canals in the bed of Cowhead Lake. Habitat 
protection is required to conserve this subspecies, which is threatened 
throughout its range by a variety of impacts including loss of habitat 
from agricultural activities, risk of disease and contamination, loss 
of genetic variability, and naturally occurring random events.

[[Page 4941]]

    On March 30, 1998, the Service published in the Federal Register a 
proposed rule to list the Cowhead Lake tui chub as endangered (63 FR 
15152). The original comment period closed on May 29, 1998 but the 
comment period was reopened at the request of private citizens and 
organizations (63 FR 33033-33034). The second comment period closed on 
August 3, 1998 after which the Service, BLM, CDFG, and private 
landowners in the Cowhead Lake watershed signed a Conservation 
Agreement (C.A.) for the Cowhead Lake tui chub on October 22, 1999. The 
actions and goals committed to in the C.A. help to ensure the long-term 
survival of the subspecies by balancing current practices in the 
watershed with the long-term needs of the subspecies.
    The Conservation Strategy of the C.A. includes two phases. Phase I, 
expected to be in effect for two years from signing, involves studies 
of the distribution, abundance, life history and habitat preferences of 
Cowhead Lake tui chubs and hydrology of the Cowhead Lake watershed. 
Phase II will build on what has been learned in Phase I to implement 
specific actions to improve the quality and availability of habitat for 
the subspecies. Phase II is estimated to be in effect for 10 years and 
includes monitoring to determine the effectiveness of conservation 
actions. The Conservation Strategy has an adaptive management approach; 
conservation actions will be modified when monitoring results indicate 
that such modification is necessary to conserve the Cowhead Lake tui 
    The signatories of the C.A. have requested that the Service reopen 
the public comment period so the Service may also consider the 
conservation measures of the C.A. when making a final determination on 
the listing proposal of the Cowhead Lake tui chub. Written comments may 
be submitted until February 16, 2000 to the Service office in the 
ADDRESSES section.


    The primary author of this notice is Catherine Hibbard, U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service (see ADDRESSES section).


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

Elizabeth H. Stevens,
Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office.
[FR Doc. 00-2222 Filed 2-1-00; 8:45 am]