[Federal Register: October 27, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 209)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 64414-64415]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AG13

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Extension of 
Public Comment Period and Notice of Public Hearing on Proposed Critical 
Habitat for Wintering Piping Plovers

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed Rule; Extension of public comment period and notice of 
public hearing.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, provide notice that 
the public comment period on the proposed rule to designate critical 
habitat for wintering piping plovers (Charadrius melodius) is hereby 
extended, and that we will hold an additional public hearing on the 
proposal. Comments previously submitted during the 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 is scheduled to close on October 30, 
2000. The comment period is hereby extended until November 24, 2000. We 
will hold a public hearing on the proposal on November 14, 2000. An 
informal public meeting will precede the hearing, beginning at 5:30 PM. 
The public hearing will run from 7 to 9 PM. 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: The public hearing will be held in the Grand Ballroom at the 
Radisson Hotel, 500 Padre Boulevard, South Padre Island, Texas 78597. 
Written comments may be submitted to the Field Supervisor, Ecological 
Services Field Office, c/o TAMUCC, Box 338, 6300 Ocean Drive, Corpus 
Christi, Texas 78412; by facsimile at (361) 994-8262; or by email at 
winterplovercomments@fws.gov. Comments and materials received will be 
available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business 
hours at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Allan Strand, Acting Field Supervisor, 
at the above address (telephone 361/994-9005).



    The piping plover (Charadrius melodius) is a small North American 
shorebird that breeds in the Great Plains, Great Lakes, and Atlantic 
Coast states, and winters along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The 
piping plover on its wintering areas is listed as a threatened species 
under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended.
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed critical habitat for 
wintering the piping plovers on July 6, 2000 (65 FR 41781). The 
proposal includes 146 areas along the coasts of North Carolina, South 
Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. 
This includes approximately 2,734 kilometers (1,699 miles) of shoreline 
along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts and along margins of interior bays, 
inlets, and lagoons.
    Section 4(b)(2) of the Endangered Species 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 and made available 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 all aspects of the critical habitat 
proposal, including the draft economic analysis. Our final 
determination on the proposed critical habitat will take into 

[[Page 64415]]

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 24, 2000. Written comments may be submitted to the Field 
Supervisor at the above address.
    The Endangered Species Act requires that at least one public 
hearing be held on this proposed rule if requested. Given the interest 
this proposal has generated, we have already held 10 public hearings 
throughout the proposed critical habitat range. However, significant 
public interest in the proposal has led us to schedule another public 
hearing (see DATES and ADDRESSES).


    The primary author of this notice is Steve Spangle, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 1306, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87103.

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

Geoffrey L. Haskett,
Regional Director, Region 2, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 00-27628 Filed 10-26-00; 8:45 am]