[Federal Register: May 28, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 102)]
[Page 36915]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Draft Recovery Plan for the Alaska-Breeding Population of the 
Steller's Eider (Polysticta stelleri)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces the 
availability for public review of the draft recovery plan for the 
threatened Alaska-breeding population of the Steller's eider 
(Polysticta stelleri). The draft recovery plan presents the tasks 
necessary to recover Alaska-breeding Steller's eiders and explains the 
process used to implement these actions. The Service solicits review 
and comment from the public on this draft plan.

DATES: The comment period for this draft recovery plan closes on July 
29, 2002. Comments on the draft recovery plan must be received by the 
closing date.

ADDRESSES: Persons wishing to review the draft recovery plan can obtain 
a copy by contacting Northern Alaska Ecological Services, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 101 12th Ave., Rm 110, Fairbanks, AK 99701 (telephone 
907/456-0203; facsimile 907/456-0208) or by accessing the website: 
http://alaska.fws.gov/. Written comments and materials regarding the 
plan should be addressed to Ted Swem at the above address. Comments and 
materials received will be available, by appointment, for public 
inspection during normal business hours, at the above address.




    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 Service's endangered species program. To help 
guide the recovery effort, the Service is working to prepare recovery 
plans for most of the listed species native to the United States. 
Recovery plans describe actions considered necessary for conservation 
of 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 (Act), as amended (16 U.S.C. 
1531 et seq.) 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. The Service will 
consider all information presented during a public comment period prior 
to approval of each new or revised recovery plan. The Service and other 
Federal agencies will also take these comments into account in the 
course of implementing recovery plans.
    Three breeding populations of Steller's eiders are recognized: two 
in Arctic Russia and one in Alaska. Neither Russian population is 
listed as threatened or endangered. The Alaska-breeding population is 
the only population listed as threatened or endangered, and this 
recovery plan pertains exclusively to the conservation of this 
    The Alaska-breeding population was listed as threatened under the 
Act on June 11, 1997 (62 FR 31748). The decision to list the Alaska-
breeding population of Steller's eiders as threatened was based on a 
substantial decrease in the species' nesting range in Alaska and the 
resulting increased vulnerability of the remaining breeding population 
to extirpation. When the Alaska-breeding population of the Steller's 
eider was listed as threatened, the factor or factors causing the 
decline were unknown. Factors identified as potential causes of decline 
included predation, hunting, ingestion of spent lead shot in wetlands, 
and changes in the marine environment that could affect Steller's eider 
food or other resources. Since listing, other potential threats, such 
as exposure to oil or other contaminants near fish processing 
facilities in southwest Alaska, have been identified, but the causes of 
decline and obstacles to recovery remain poorly understood. 
Accordingly, a significant number of early recovery tasks will involve 
research to identify threats and evaluate their impacts.
    The draft recovery plan presents the tasks necessary to recover 
Alaska-breeding Steller's eiders and explains the process used to 
implement these actions. The draft recovery plan (1) provides 
background on the species and its natural history; (2) presents and 
explains the criteria used in measuring recovery; (3) lists recovery 
tasks that the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and Steller's Eider 
Recovery Team have identified as necessary for recovery of the species; 
(4) explains how the Service intends to implement and update this plan; 
and (5) includes appendices that augment information provided in the 
first 4 sections.
    The draft recovery plan is being submitted for technical and agency 
review. After consideration of comments received during the review 
period, the recovery plan will be submitted for final approval.

Public Comments Solicited

    The Service solicits written comments on the recovery plan 
described. All comments received by the date specified above will be 
considered prior to approval of the recovery plan.

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

    Dated: May 7, 2002.
Rosa Meehan,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 02-13231 Filed 5-24-02; 8:45 am]