[Federal Register: March 21, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 55)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 13123]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 13123]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AH96

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Reopening of 
Public Comment Period on Proposed Designation of Critical Habitat for 
the Northern Great Plains Breeding Population of the Piping Plover

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of public comment period.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), provide 
notice of the reopening of the public comment period for the proposal 
to designate critical habitat for the northern Great Plains population 
of the piping plover (Charadrius melodus), and the associated draft 
environmental assessment and economic analysis, to allow all interested 
parties to comment. Comments previously submitted via regular or 
express postal mail need not be resubmitted as they have already been 
incorporated into the public record and will be fully considered in the 
final rule. Please resubmit comments via regular or express mail that 
were sent to us by electronic mail since December 2001. We have not 
received your comments because the Service's internet electronic mail 
has not been available due to a court order in an unrelated case.

DATES: The comment period is opened and will close on May 20, 2002. Any 
comments that are received after the closing date may not be considered 
in the final decision on this proposal.

ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments and information to Piping 
Plover Comments, South Dakota Ecological Services Field Office, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, 420 South Garfield Avenue, Suite 400, 
Pierre, SD 57501, or by facsimile to 605-224-9974.
    You may hand-deliver written comments to our South Dakota Field 
Office at the address given above.
    Copies of the draft economic analysis, draft environmental 
assessment, and proposed rule for designation of critical habitat for 
the northern Great Plains breeding population of the piping plover are 
available from the above address or on the Internet at http://mountain-
prairie.fws.gov/pipingplover. Please note that at the time this notice 
was prepared the Service's web pages and electronic mail were not 
available because of a court order in an unrelated case. If you are 
unable to access the above website please contact the South Dakota 
Field Office by telephone or regular mail at the above address.
    You may view comments and materials received, as well as supporting 
documentation used in the preparation of this proposed rule, by 
appointment, during normal business hours at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nell McPhillips, Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist, at the above address or at 605-224-8693, extension 32.



    We published a proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the 
northern Great Plains breeding population of the piping plover in the 
Federal Register on June 12, 2001 (66 FR 31760). Section 4(b)(2) of the 
Endangered Species Act (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 impacts, 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.
    The proposed designation includes 11 areas of prairie alkali 
wetlands, inland and reservoir lakes in 5 counties in Montana, 18 
counties in North Dakota, and 1 county at Lake-of-the-Woods, Minnesota, 
totaling approximately 196,576.5 acres (79,553.1 hectares). It also 
includes five areas of portions of four rivers in the States of 
Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska, totaling 
approximately 1,338 miles (2,152.9 kilometers) of river. If this 
proposal is made final, section 7 of the Act would prohibit destruction 
or adverse modification of critical habitat by any activity funded, 
authorized, or carried out by any Federal agency.
    We reopened the comment period on the proposed critical habitat and 
provided a notice of availability for the economic analysis in the 
Federal Register on December 28, 2001 (66 FR 67165). However, prior to 
that reopening the Service's web sites and electronic mail were 
disconnected in response to a court order in an unrelated lawsuit. 
Persons who have submitted electronic comments to the Service on this 
proposal since December 28, 2001, should resubmit those comments 
directly to the office listed in the ADDRESSES section above via 
regular or express mail or facsimile.

Public Comments Solicited

    We solicit public comment on the proposal to designate critical 
habitat for the northern Great Plains breeding population of the piping 
plover, as well as the associated draft environmental assessment and 
draft economic analysis. We will accept written comments and 
information during this comment period. Previous written comments and 
information submitted during the comment period need not be 
resubmitted; however, comments submitted by electronic mail since 
December 28, 2001, should be resubmitted by regular or express mail or 
facsimile (see ADDRESSES section).
    Comments and materials received, as well as supporting 
documentation used in preparation of the proposal to designate critical 
habitat, will be available for public inspection, by appointment, 
during normal business hours at the South Dakota Field Office (see 
ADDRESSES section). Our practice is to make all comments, including 
names and home addresses of respondents, available for public review. 
Individual respondents may request that we withhold their home 
addresses from the rulemaking record; we will honor these requests to 
the extent allowed by law. In some circumstances, we would withhold 
from the rulemaking record a respondent's identity, allowed by law. If 
you wish us to withhold your name or address, you must state this 
prominently at the beginning of your 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.


    The primary authors of this notice are the South Dakota Field 
Office staff (see ADDRESSES section).

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

    Dated: March 13, 2002.
Craig Manson,
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 02-6802 Filed 3-20-02; 8:45 am]