[Federal Register: July 10, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 132)]
[Page 35993-35994]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of the Technical/Agency Draft Florida 
Manatee Recovery Plan, Third Revision for Review and Comment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability and public comment period.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the availability 
for second public review of the updated Technical/Agency Draft of the 
Florida Manatee Recovery Plan, Third Revision. We solicit review and 
written comments from the public on this draft plan.

DATES: We must receive comments on the draft recovery plan on or before 
August 9, 2001 to receive consideration by us.

ADDRESSES: You may obtain a copy of the draft recovery plan by 
contacting Bill Brooks by electronic mail (e-mail) at 
fw4_es_jacksonville@fws.gov or by calling (904) 232-2580, extension 104 
or at Jacksonville Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 6620 
Southpoint Drive, South, Suite 310, Jacksonville, Florida, 32216. If 
you wish to comment, you may submit your comments by any one of several 
    1. You may submit written comments and information to the Field 
Supervisor, at the above address.
    2. You may hand-deliver written comments to our Jacksonville Field 
Office, at the above address, or fax your comments to (904) 232-2404.
    3. You may send comments by e-mail to the Field Supervisor at 
fw4_es_jacksonville@fws.gov. For directions on how to submit electronic 
filing of comments see the ``Public Comments Solicited'' section.
    Comments and materials received are available on request for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the above 




    The West Indian manatee, Trichechus manatus, is currently listed as 
endangered throughout its range for both the Florida and Antillean 
subspecies (U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1967). The Florida manatee 
lives in freshwater, brackish, and marine habitats. Submerged, 
emergent, and floating vegetation are their preferred food. During the 
winter, cold temperatures keep the population concentrated in 
peninsular Florida and many manatees rely on the warm water from 
natural springs and power plant outfalls. During the late spring and 
summer, they expand their range and are seen on infrequent occasions as 
far north as Rhode Island on the Atlantic Coast and as far west as 
Texas on the Gulf Coast.
    The most significant threat presently facing manatees in Florida is 
death and serious injury from boat strikes. In the long term, the 
greatest challenge to manatee recovery is maintaining adequate sources 
of warm water so the species can survive the cold in winter. The 
availability of warm-water refuges for manatees is uncertain due to 
deregulation of the power industry in Florida, and the lack of secure 
minimum flows at the natural springs on which many manatees depend. 
Long term survival also depends on maintaining the integrity of 
ecosystems and habitat sufficient to support a recovered manatee 
    Restoring an endangered or threatened animal or plant to the point 
where it is again a secure, self-sustaining member of its ecosystem is 
a primary goal of the endangered species program. To help guide the 
recovery effort, we are preparing recovery plans for most of the listed 
species native to the United States. Recovery plans describe actions 
considered necessary for conservation of the species, establish 
criteria for downlisting or delisting them, and estimate time and cost 
for implementing the recovery measures needed.
    The Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. et seq.) 
(Act), requires the development of recovery plans for listed species 
unless such a plan would not promote the conservation of a particular 
species. Section 4(f) of the Act, as amended in 1988, requires that 
public notice and an opportunity for public review and comment be 
provided during recovery plan development. We will consider all 
information presented during a public comment period prior to approval 
of each new or revised recovery plan. We and other Federal agencies 
will take these comments into account in the course of implementing 
approved recovery plans.
    We developed the initial recovery plan for West Indian manatee in 
1980. This plan focused primarily on manatees in Florida, but included 
Antillean manatees in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In 1986, 
we adopted a separate recovery plan for manatees in Puerto Rico. To 
reflect new information and planning needs for manatees in Florida, we 
revised the original plan in 1989 and focused exclusively on the 
Florida manatee. This first revision covered a 5-year planning period 
ending in 1994. We revised and updated the plan again in 1996, which 
again covered a 5-year planning period ending in 2000. In 1999, we 
initiated the process to revise the plan for a third time. We 
established an 18-member recovery team made up of the public, agencies, 
and groups that have an interest in manatee recovery and/or could be 
affected by proposed recovery actions, to draft this revision. 
Extensive public comments on the November 30, 2000 Technical/Agency 
Draft resulted in significant changes to the recovery criteria. We felt 
these changes were significant enough to warrant another public review 
of the Technical/Agency Draft as set forth in this Notice.
    In the 20 years since approval of the original recovery plan, a 
tremendous amount of knowledge of manatee biology and ecology has been 
achieved and significant protection programs have been implemented, 
through the guidance provided by the recovery planning process. This 
Technical/Agency Draft of the Florida Manatee Recovery Plan, Third 
Revision reflects many of those accomplishments, addresses new threats 
and needs, and specifically addresses the planning requirements of the 
Act through 2006. The Florida Manatee Recovery Team

[[Page 35994]]

provided assistance during the development of this draft plan.

Public Comments Solicited

    We solicit written comments on the recovery plan described. We will 
consider all comments received by the date specified above prior to 
approval of the plan.
    Please submit electronic comments as an ASCII file format and avoid 
the use of special characters and encryption. Please also include 
``Attn: [RIN number]'' and your name and return address in your e-mail 
message. If you do not receive a confirmation from the system that we 
have received your e-mail message, contact us directly by calling our 
Jacksonville Field Office (see ADDRESSES section).
    Our practice is to make all comments, including names and home 
addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular 
business hours. Individual respondents may request that we withhold 
their home address from the rulemaking record, which we will honor to 
the extent allowable by law. In some circumstances, we would withhold 
also from the rulemaking record a respondent's identity, as allowable 
by law. If you wish for us to withhold your name and/or address, you 
must state this prominently at the beginning of your comments. However, 
we will not consider anonymous comments. We will make all submissions 
from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying 
themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or 
businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety.

    Authority: The authority for this action is section 4(f) of the 
Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(f).

    Dated: June 6, 2001.
David L. Hankla,
Field Supervisor.
[FR Doc. 01-17153 Filed 7-9-01; 8:45 am]