[Federal Register: October 3, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 192)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 58981-58982]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AG12

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Reopening of 
Public Comment Period and Notice of Availability of Draft Economic 
Analysis for Proposed Critical Habitat Determination for the Zapata 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed Rule; Extension of public comment period and notice of 
availability of draft economic analysis.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the 
availability of the draft economic analysis for the proposed 
designation of critical habitat for the Zapata bladderpod (Lesquerella 
    We also provide notice that the public comment period for the 
proposal is reopened to allow all interested parties

[[Page 58982]]

to submit written comments on the proposal and the draft economic 
analysis. Comments submitted during the previous comment period need 
not be resubmitted as they will be incorporated into the public record 
and will be fully considered in the final determination on the 

DATES: The original comment period closed on September 18, 2000. The 
comment period is hereby reopened and now closes on November 2, 2000. 
Comments from all interested parties 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 this proposal.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the draft economic analysis are available on the 
Internet at http://ifw2es.fws.gov/library/ or by writing to the Field 
Supervisor, Ecological Services Field Office, c/o TAMUCC, Box 338, 6300 
Ocean Drive, Corpus Christi, Texas 78412, or facsimile 1-361-994-8262. 
All written comments should be submitted to the Field Supervisor at the 
above address. Comments and materials received will be available for 
public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the 
above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Loretta Pressly, Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist, at the above address (telephone 1-361-994-9005).



    The Zapata bladderpod was listed as an endangered species on 
December 22, 1999. The Zapata bladderpod is a perennial plant that 
grows opportunistically; that is, the density of Zapata bladderpod 
plants and the sizes of populations fluctuate in response to rainfall. 
They are cryptic plants, which show little vegetative growth during 
drought conditions, hampering survey efforts for additional 
populations. All known populations of the Zapata bladderpod occur on 
graveled to sandy-loam upland terraces above the Rio Grande floodplain 
in South Texas.
    Critical habitat was proposed on July 19, 2000. Of the ten 
populations of Zapata bladderpod that have been located, only three 
populations are still known to display live plants. The introduction of 
non-native species such as pasture grass, overgrazing, urban 
development, and oil and gas production activities have all contributed 
to the decline of the plant.
    Ten areas of critical habitat are being proposed for the Zapata 
bladderpod. Seven Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge 
tracts in Starr County are proposed, as well as one private land site 
also in Starr County. Two sites along the Texas Department of 
Transportation's Highway 83 right-of-way in Zapata County are being 
proposed as critical habitat. Altogether 5,330 acres of land are being 
proposed for critical habitat.
    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act requires that we designate or revise 
critical habitat based upon the best scientific and commercial data 
available and after taking into consideration the economic impact, and 
any other relevant impact, of specifying any particular area as 
critical habitat. We may exclude an area from critical habitat if we 
determine that the benefits of excluding the area outweigh the benefits 
of including the area as critical habitat, provided such exclusion will 
not result in the extinction of the species. Consequently, we have 
prepared a draft economic analysis concerning the proposed critical 
habitat designation, which is available for review and comment at the 
above Internet and mailing addresses.

Public Comments Solicited

    We solicit comments on the draft economic analysis described in 
this notice, as well as any other aspect of the proposed designation of 
critical habitat for the Zapata bladderpod. Our final determination on 
the proposed critical habitat will take into consideration comments and 
any additional information received by the date specified above. All 
previous comments and information submitted during the comment period 
need not be resubmitted. The comment period is extended to November 2, 
2000. Written comments may be submitted to the Field Supervisor at the 
above address.


    The primary author of this notice is Loretta Pressly, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service (see ADDRESSES).

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

Renne Lohoefener,
Acting Regional Director, Region 2, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 00-25323 Filed 10-2-00; 8:45 am]