[Federal Register: September 27, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 188)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 58033-58034]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AF41

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Reopening of 
Comment Period, Notice of Public Hearings on Proposed Threatened Status 
for Chiricahua Leopard Frog, and Clarification of Special Rule

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of comment period, notice of public 
hearing, and clarification.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) give notice 
that the comment period is reopened and that public hearings are 
scheduled on the proposed rule to list the Chiricahua leopard frog as 
threatened with a special rule. The hearings and the reopening of the 
comment period will allow all interested parties to submit oral or 
written comments on the proposal. We also clarify the extent of lands 
to which a proposed special rule for the frog would apply.

DATES: The public hearings will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on 
October 10, 2000, in Silver City, New Mexico; and October 11, 2000, in 
Bisbee, Arizona. The comment period for this proposal is now reopened 
until October 27, 2000. Comments must be received by the closing date. 
Any comments that are received after the closing date may not be 
considered in the final decision on the proposal.

ADDRESSES: The public hearings will be held at Light Hall Auditorium, 
Western New Mexico University, 1000 College Street, Silver City, New 
Mexico; and Bisbee High School Auditorium, School Terrace Road (south 
of Highway 92), Bisbee, Arizona. Written comments should be sent to the 
Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2321 W. Royal Palm 
Road, Suite 103, Phoenix, Arizona 85021. Comments and materials 
received will be available for public inspection, by appointment, 
during normal business hours at the above Fish and Wildlife Service 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeffrey A. Humphrey, at the above 
address (602-640-2720).



    A proposed rule to list Chiricahua leopard frog (Rana 
chiricahuensis) as threatened pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (Act)was published in the Federal Register on June 14, 
2000 (65 FR 37343). The Chiricahua leopard frog is now absent from many 
historical localities and numerous mountain ranges, valleys, and 
drainages within its former range. In areas where it is present, 
populations are often few, small, and widely scattered. Known threats 
include habitat alteration, destruction, and fragmentation; predation 
by nonnative organisms; and disease. Problems associated with small 
population numbers and size, and adverse effects from water-borne 
contaminants may also threaten the species.
    Concurrently with publication of the proposed rule to list the 
Chiricahua leopard frog as threatened, we published a proposed special 
rule under 4(d) of the Act to amend regulations at 50 CFR 17.84. The 
special rule stated that ``incidental take of the Chiricahua leopard 
frog will not be considered a violation of section 9 of the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), if it results from livestock use 
of or maintenance activities at livestock tanks located on private or 
tribal lands.'' The intent of the special rule was to encourage 
continued conservation of Chiricahua leopard frog habitat in livestock 
tanks on all non-Federal lands, rather than limiting the conservation 
incentive to just private and tribal lands.
    Incidental take of Chiricahua leopard frogs during operations and 
maintenance of livestock tanks on Federal lands will be reviewed under 
the section 7 consultation process.

Clarification of Special Rule

    3. We propose to amend 50 CFR 17.84 by adding paragraphs to read as 

Sec. 17.84  Special rules-vertebrates

* * * * *
    (1) What species are covered by this special rule?
    (i) Chiricahua leopard frog (Rana chiricahuensis).
    (2) What activities are prohibited?
    (i) Except as noted in paragraph (3) of this section, all 
prohibitions of Sec. 17.31 will apply to the Chiricahua leopard frog.
    (3) What activities are allowed on non-Federal land?

[[Page 58034]]

    (i) Incidental take of the Chiricahua leopard frog will not be 
considered a violation of section 9 of the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (Act), if it results from livestock use of, or 
maintenance activities at, livestock tanks located on any non-Federal 
lands. A livestock tank is defined as an existing or future impoundment 
in an ephemeral drainage or upland site constructed primarily as a 
watering site for livestock.

Comments Solicited

    Pursuant to 50 CFR 424.16(c)(2), we may extend or reopen a comment 
period upon finding that there is good cause to do so. Full 
participation of the affected public in the species listing process, 
allowing us to consider the best scientific and commercial data 
available in making a final determination on the proposed action, is 
deemed as sufficient cause. Additionally, this reopened comment period 
will allow the public to consider and comment on the clarification of 
the special rule provided in this notice.
    Section 4(b)(5)(E) of the Act, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), 
requires that a public hearing be held if it is requested within 45 
days of the publication of a proposed rule. In response to 11 such 
requests, we will hold two public hearings (see DATES and ADDRESSES).
    Anyone wishing to make an oral statement for the record is 
encouraged to provide a written copy of their statement and present it 
at the start of the hearing. In the event there is a large attendance, 
the time allotted for oral statements may have to be limited. Oral and 
written statements receive equal consideration. There are no limits to 
the length of written comments presented at the hearings or mailed to 
the Fish and Wildlife Service.
    The current comment period on this proposal closes on September 12, 
2000. In order to accommodate public hearings, the Service reopened the 
public comment period. Written comments may now be submitted until 
October 27, 2000, to our office in the ADDRESSES section.


    The primary author of this notice is James Rorabaugh (see 


    The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 
1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544).

    Dated: September 14, 2000.
Nancy M. Kaufman,
Regional Director, Region 2, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 00-24757 Filed 9-26-00; 8:45 am]