[Federal Register: September 4, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 171)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 46251-46253]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AH07

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Notice of 
Availability of Draft Economic Analysis, Reopening of Comment Period, 
and Notice of Public Hearing for the Proposed Critical Habitat 
Determination for the San Bernardino Kangaroo Rat

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; notice of availability of draft economic 
analysis, reopening of public comment period, and notice of public 


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of the draft economic analysis for the proposed 
determination of critical habitat for the San Bernardino kangaroo rat 
(Dipodomys merriami

[[Page 46252]]

parvus) and the reopening of the public comment period for the proposed 
determination to allow all interested parties to submit written 
comments on the proposal and on the draft economic analysis. Comments 
previously submitted need not be resubmitted as they already have been 
incorporated into the public record and will be fully considered in the 
final rule. Additionally, we are announcing that public hearings will 
be held on our proposal.

DATES: The original public comment period on the critical habitat 
proposal closed on February 6, 2001. The public comment period is 
reopened, and we will accept comments until October 4, 2001. Comments 
must be received by 5:00 p.m. on the closing date. Any comments that 
are received after the closing date may not be considered in the final 
decision on this action. The public hearing will be held on Thursday, 
September 20, 2001, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and from 6:00 p.m. to 
8:00 p.m. in San Bernardino, California.

ADDRESSES: The public hearing will be held at the Radisson Hotel San 
Bernardino, 295 North E Street, San Bernardino, California. Copies of 
the draft economic analysis and proposed critical habitat determination 
are available on the Internet at http://carlsbad.fws.gov or by writing 
to the Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Carlsbad Fish 
and Wildlife Office, 2730 Loker Avenue West, Carlsbad, California, 
92008. Written comments should be sent to the Field Supervisor. You may 
also send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to 
fw1cfwo__sbkr@fws.gov. Please submit comments in ASCII file format and 
avoid the use of special characters and encryption. Please include 
``Attn: San Bernardino kangaroo rat'' 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 Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office at telephone number 
760-431-9440. Comments and materials received will be available for 
public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the 
Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark A. Elvin, Carlsbad Fish and 
Wildlife Office, at the above address (telephone 760-431-9440; 
facsimile 760-431-9624).



    The San Bernardino kangaroo rat (Dipodomys merriami parvus), a 
member of the family Heteromyidae, is one of 19 recognized subspecies 
of Merriam's kangaroo rat (D. merriami), a widespread species 
distributed throughout arid regions of the western United States and 
northwestern Mexico (Hall and Kelson 1959, Williams et al. 1993). The 
San Bernardino kangaroo rat is considerably darker and smaller than 
either of the other two subspecies of Merriam's kangaroo rat that occur 
in southern California, D. merriami merriami and D. merriami collinus. 
It is the only kangaroo rat with four toes on each of its hind feet and 
the body color is pale yellow with a heavy overwash of dusky brown. The 
tail stripes are medium to dark brown and the foot pads and tail hairs 
are dark brown. The flanks and cheeks of the subspecies are dusky 
(Lidicker 1960).
    San Bernardino kangaroo rats are typically found on alluvial fans 
(relatively flat or gently sloping masses of loose rock, gravel, and 
sand deposited by a stream as it flows into a valley or upon a plain), 
flood plains, along washes, in adjacent upland areas containing 
appropriate physical and vegetative characteristics (McKernan 1997), 
and in areas with historic braided channels (McKernan in litt. 1999). 
These areas consist of sand, loam, sandy loam, or gravelly soils 
(McKernan 1993, Braden and McKernan 2000) that are associated with 
alluvial processes (i.e., the deposition of clay, silt, sand, gravel, 
or similar material by running water such as rivers and streams; debris 
flows). These soils allow kangaroo rats to dig simple, shallow burrow 
systems (McKernan 1997), and typically support alluvial sage scrub and 
chaparral vegetation.
    The historical range of this species extends from the San 
Bernardino Valley in San Bernardino County to the Menifee Valley in 
Riverside County (Hall and Kelson 1959, Lidicker 1960). At the time the 
Service listed the species under the Endangered Species Act (Act), we 
estimated that the historical range encompassed approximately 130,587 
hectares (ha) (326,467 acres (ac)) (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
unpubl. GIS maps, 1998; in 63 FR 51005). This estimation was based on 
the distribution of suitable soils and museum collections of this 
species. Recent studies indicate that the species occupies a wider 
range of soil and vegetation types than previously thought (Braden and 
McKernan 2000), which suggests that the species' historical range may 
have been larger than we estimated at the time of listing.
    The San Bernardino kangaroo rat was emergency listed as endangered 
on January 27, 1998; concurrently, a proposal to make provisions of the 
emergency listing permanent also was published (63 FR 3835 and 63 FR 
3877). On September 24, 1998, we published a final rule determining the 
San Bernardino kangaroo rat to be an endangered species (63 FR 51005). 
On December 8, 2000, we published a rule proposing critical habitat for 
the San Bernardino kangaroo rat (65 FR 77178). We proposed designation 
of approximately 22,423 ha (55,408 ac) as critical habitat for the San 
Bernardino kangaroo rat pursuant to the Act. Proposed critical habitat 
is in southern San Bernardino and western Riverside Counties, 
California, as described in the proposed rule.
    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act requires that the Secretary shall 
designate or revise critical habitat based upon the best scientific and 
commercial data available and after taking into consideration the 
economic impact of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. 
Based upon the previously published proposal to designate critical 
habitat for the San Bernardino kangaroo rat and comments received 
during the previous comment period, we have prepared a draft economic 
analysis of the proposed critical habitat designation, which is 
available at the above Internet and mailing address.
    Section 4(b)(5)(E) of the Act (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 a request from the San 
Bernardino International Airport Authority, the Service will hold a 
public hearing on the date and at the address described in the DATES 
and ADDRESSES sections above.
    Anyone wishing to make an oral statement for the record is 
encouraged to provide a written copy of their statement and present it 
to the Service at the hearing. In the event there is a large 
attendance, the time allotted for oral statements may be limited. Oral 
and written statements receive equal consideration. There are no limits 
to the length of written comments presented at the hearing or mailed to 
the Service. Legal notices announcing the date, time, and location of 
the hearing will be published in newspapers concurrently with this 
Federal Register notice.
    Comments from the public regarding the accuracy of this proposed 
rule are sought, especially regarding:
    (1) The reasons why any habitat should or should not be determined 

[[Page 46253]]

be critical habitat as provided by section 4 of the Act, including 
whether the benefits of designation will outweigh any threats to the 
species due to designation;
    (2) Specific information on the amount and distribution of the San 
Bernardino kangaroo rat habitat, and what habitat is essential to the 
conservation of the species and why;
    (3) Land use practices and current or planned activities in the 
subject areas and their possible impacts on proposed critical habitat;
    (4) Any foreseeable economic or other impacts resulting from the 
proposed designation of critical habitat, in particular, any impacts on 
small entities or families; and
    (5) Economic and other values associated with designating critical 
habitat for the San Bernardino kangaroo rat, such as those derived from 
non-consumptive uses (e.g., hiking, camping, bird-watching, enhanced 
watershed protection, improved air quality, increased soil retention, 
``existence values,'' and reductions in administrative costs).
    Reopening of the comment period will enable the Service to respond 
to the request for a public hearing on the proposed action. The comment 
period on this proposal now closes on October 4, 2001. Written comments 
should be submitted to the Service office listed in the ADDRESSES 

Public Hearing

    A public hearing on the proposed determination of critical habitat 
for the San Bernardino kangaroo rat is scheduled to be held on 
Thursday, September 20, 2001, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and from 6:00 
p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Radisson Hotel San Bernardino, 295 North E Street, 
San Bernardino, California. Please contact the Carlsbad Fish and 
Wildlife Office at the above address with any questions concerning this 
public hearing.

Public Comment Solicited

    We have reopened the comment period at this time in order to accept 
the best and most current scientific and commercial data available 
regarding the proposed critical habitat determination for the San 
Bernardino kangaroo rat and the draft economic analysis of proposed 
critical habitat determination. Previously submitted written comments 
on this critical habitat proposal need not be resubmitted. The current 
comment period on this proposal closes on October 4, 2001. Written 
comments should be submitted to the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office 
in the ADDRESSES section.


    The primary author of this notice is Mark A. Elvin (see ADDRESSES 


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

Steve Thompson,
Acting Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Region 1.
[FR Doc. 01-21405 Filed 8-31-01; 8:45 am]