[Federal Register: July 11, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 133)]
[Page 41395-41396]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of the Tumbling Creek Cavesnail (Antrobia 
culveri) Draft Recovery Plan for Review and Comment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces 
availability for public review of the draft recovery plan for the 
Tumbling Creek cavesnail (Antrobia culveri), a species that is 
federally listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 
(Act), as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et. seq.). The purpose of this plan 
is to recover this species in order that it can be removed from the 
list of Threatened and Endangered Species. This species occurs only in 
Tumbling Creek Cave in Taney County, Missouri. The Service solicits 
review and comment from the public on this draft plan.

DATES: Comments on the draft recovery plan must be received on or 
before August 11, 2003.

ADDRESSES: Persons wishing to review the draft recovery plan may obtain 
a copy by contacting the Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Columbia, Missouri Ecological Services Field Office, 608 E. 
Cherry St., Room 200, Columbia, Missouri 65201-7712 or by accessing the 
Web site: http://midwest.fws.gov/Endangered.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Paul McKenzie at the above 
address, or

[[Page 41396]]

telephone at (573) 876-1911, ext. 107. TTY users may contact Dr. 
McKenzie through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.



    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 federally listed threatened and endangered 
species native to the United States. Recovery plans describe actions 
considered necessary for conservation of the species, establish 
criteria for reclassification and delisting, and provide estimates of 
the time and costs for implementing the recovery measures needed.
    The 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 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 consideration in 
the course of implementing approved recovery plans.
    The Tumbling Creek cavesnail was listed as endangered on August 14, 
2002. The number of cavesnails has significantly decreased over the 
past few decades, to the point where only one individual was found 
within survey areas between January 11, 2001, and April 22, 2003. A 
small population containing approximately 40 individuals exists in a 
small area upstream of the area that is regularly surveyed. Tumbling 
Creek cavesnail lives on the underside of rocks in areas of Tumbling 
Creek that have little or no silt. Little is known about the species 
and its life history, but it is believed to feed on microscopic animals 
in the stream. Although the exact reason for this species' precipitous 
decline is unknown, it is believed to be linked to habitat degradation 
through diminished water quality from upstream locations within the 
cave's delineated recharge zone.
    We propose that the Tumbling Creek cavesnail be considered for 
reclassification from endangered to threatened when the following 
criteria have been met: (1) The population is stable or increasing for 
10 consecutive years with at least 1,500 individuals; the population 
shall be considered stable when a linear regression analysis of 
population numbers estimated within an established survey area reveals 
no significant decline in numbers; (2) a minimum of 80% of the surface 
habitat within the recharge area of Tumbling Creek Cave, including a 
minimum of 75% of all riparian corridors, sinkholes, and losing 
streams, is properly managed, restored, rehabilitated, or stabilized 
through long-term voluntary land owner agreements, such as stewardship 
plans, easements, or memorandums of agreements that promote best 
management practices; and (3) water quality monitoring including, but 
not limited to, Tumbling Creek, fails to detect any contaminant or 
water quality parameter likely to be detrimental to the species for 
five consecutive years following established water quality criteria set 
by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and criteria for sediment 
and suspended organic matter deposition established by EPA are not 
exceeded for five consecutive years.
    We propose that the Tumbling Creek cavesnail be considered for 
delisting when the downlisting criteria have been met and the following 
additional criteria have been achieved: (1) The population is stable or 
increasing for an additional 10 consecutive years with at least 5,000 
individuals; the population shall be considered stable when a linear 
regression analysis of population numbers estimated within an 
established survey area reveals no significant decline in numbers; (2) 
a minimum of 90% of the surface habitat within the recharge area of 
Tumbling Creek Cave, including a minimum of 85% of all riparian 
corridors, sinkholes, and losing streams, is properly managed, 
restored, rehabilitated, or stabilized through long-term voluntary land 
owner agreements, such as stewardship plans, easements, or memorandums 
of agreements that promote best management practices; and (3) water 
quality monitoring including, but not limited to, Tumbling Creek, fails 
to detect any contaminant or water quality parameter likely to be 
detrimental to the species for an additional five consecutive years 
following established water quality criteria set by EPA, and criteria 
for sediment and suspended organic matter deposition established by EPA 
are not exceeded for an additional five consecutive years.
    Because an estimated 75% of the 9.02 square-mile delineated 
recharge area of Tumbling Creek Cave is under private ownership, many 
of recovery actions proposed in the draft recovery plan focus on 
working cooperatively with private land owners to help facilitate 
recovery of the Tumbling Creek cavesnail. Such cooperation can be 
achieved by: (1) Encouraging the voluntary enrollment of private land 
owners into landowner incentive programs that promote good land use 
while providing financial and technical assistance to participating 
enrollees, or (2) through voluntary land management agreements that 
promote beneficial land management practices. Approximately 25% of the 
recharge area for Tumbling Creek Cave is managed by multiple Federal 
agencies that have jurisdictional responsibilities under the Act. Such 
agencies will be encouraged to develop management plans that will 
contribute to their responsibilities under sections 2(c)(1) and 7(a)(1) 
of the Act to carry out programs that will assist in the recovery of 
the Tumbling Creek cavesnail.

Public Comments Solicited

    The Service solicits written comments on the proposed draft 
recovery plan. All comments received by the date specified will be 
considered prior to approval of the plan. Written comments and 
materials regarding the plan should be sent to the Field Supervisor, 
Ecological Services Field Office, and comments received will be 
available for public inspection by appointment during normal business 
hours (see ADDRESSES section.)

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

    Dated: June 18, 2003.
Charles M. Wooley,
Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Region 3.
[FR Doc. 03-17565 Filed 7-10-03; 8:45 am]