[Federal Register: October 6, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 193)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 57643-57646]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AI76

Technical Correction; Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and 
Plants; Proposed Designation of Critical Habitat for Five Endangered 
Tennessee and Cumberland River Basin Mussels

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of comment period, announcement of 
public hearing, availability of draft economic analysis, possible 
modification of Unit 8 (Rock Creek); correction.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the availability 
of the draft economic analysis of this proposed critical habitat 
designation, and that we will hold a public hearing regarding the 
proposal on October 29, 2003, at Southwest Virginia Community College 
in Tazewell County, Virginia. This document makes a correction to the 
critical habitat legal description and gives notice of a possible 6.4-
river-kilometer (rkm) (4-river-mile (rmi)) upstream extension of Unit 8 
(Rock Creek). We are reopening the comment period for the proposal to 
designate critical habitat for these species to accommodate the public 
hearing and to allow all interested parties to comment on the proposed 
rule, including the new information presented for consideration 
regarding Unit 8 and the associated draft economic analysis. Comments 
previously submitted need not be resubmitted, because they will be 
fully considered in the final determination of the proposal.

DATES: Public hearing: The public hearing will be held from 7 to 10 
p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) on October 29, 2003, at Southwest 
Virginia Community College on U.S. Highway 19, in Tazewell County, 
Virginia. The hearing will consist of an informational meeting in the 
lobby from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. EST followed by the formal hearing, held 
in the main auditorium. Maps of the critical habitat units and 
information on the species will be available for public review one hour 
prior to the hearing (between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.).
    Comment submission: The comment period is hereby reopened until 
December 5, 2003. We must receive comments from all interested parties 
by the closing date. Any comments that we receive after the closing 
date will not be considered in the final decision on this proposal.

ADDRESSES: The public hearing will be held at Southwest Virginia 
Community College on U.S. Highway 19, in Tazewell County, Virginia. 
Copies of the draft economic analysis are available on the Internet at 
http://cookeville.fws. gov/; also, you may request copies by writing to 
the Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 446 Neal Street, 
Cookeville, TN 38506, or by calling Rob Tawes, Tennessee Field Office, 
telephone 931/528-6481, extension 213.
    Written comments and materials may be submitted to us at the 
hearing or by any one of the following methods:

[[Page 57644]]

    1. You may submit written comments and information to the Field 
Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 446 Neal Street, 
Cookeville, TN 38501.
    2. You may hand-deliver written comments and information to our 
Tennessee Field Office, at the above address, or fax your comments to 
(931) 528-7075.
    3. You may send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to robert_tawes@fws.gov. For directions on how to submit electronic filing of 
comments, see the ``Public Comments Solicited'' section.
    Comments and materials received, as well as supporting 
documentation used in preparation of this proposed rule, will be 
available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business 
hours at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rob Tawes, at the above address 
(telephone (931) 528-6481, extension 213; facsimile (931) 528-7075).



    We listed the Cumberland elktoe (Alasmidonta atropurpurea), oyster 
mussel (Epioblasma capsaeformis), Cumberlandian combshell (Epioblasma 
brevidens), purple bean (Villosa perpurpurea), and rough rabbitsfoot 
(Quadrula cylindrica strigillata) as endangered on January 10, 1997 (62 
FR 1647).
    We published a proposed critical habitat designation for these five 
mussels in the June 3, 2003, Federal Register (68 FR 33234). The 
proposed designation includes portions of Bear Creek (Mississippi, 
Alabama), the Duck River (Tennessee), Obed River (Tennessee), Powell 
River (Tennessee, Virginia), Clinch River and its tributaries (Copper 
Creek and Indian Creek) (Tennessee, Virginia), Nolichucky River 
(Tennessee), and Beech Creek (Tennessee) in the Tennessee River System, 
and portions of Rock Creek (Kentucky), the Big South Fork and its 
tributaries (Bone Camp Creek, White Oak Creek, North White Oak Creek, 
New River, Crooked Creek, Clear Fork, and North Prong Clear Fork) 
(Kentucky, Tennessee), Buck Creek (Kentucky), Marsh Creek (Kentucky), 
Sinking Creek (Kentucky), and Laurel Fork (Kentucky) in the Cumberland 
River System. This proposal encompasses a total of approximately 892 
rkm (544 rmi) of river and stream channels. The proposed designation 
and associated materials can be viewed at http://cookeville.fws.gov/.
    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act requires that we designate critical 
habitat on the basis of the best scientific data available and after 
taking into consideration the economic impact, 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 that such exclusion will not result in the 
extinction of the species. We have prepared a draft economic analysis 
concerning the proposed critical habitat designation, which is 
available for review and comment (see ADDRESSES section).

Public Hearing

    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 the proposed rule. The Board of Supervisors of Tazewell 
County, Virginia, requested a public hearing within the allotted time 
period. Public hearings are designed to gather relevant information 
that the public may have that we should consider in the proposed 
designation of critical habitat or the draft economic analysis.
    We will hold a public hearing in Tazewell County, Virginia, on 
October 29, 2003, from 7 to 10 p.m. The hearing location will be 
Southwest Virginia Community College on U.S. Highway 19, located in 
Tazewell, Virginia. All comments presented at the public hearing will 
be recorded by a court reporter. Maps of the critical habitat units and 
information on the species will be available for public review prior to 
the public hearing (between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m.).

Correction to Proposed Critical Habitat Designation (68 FR 33234)


    In proposed rule FR Doc. 03-33234 published on June 3, 2003 (68 FR 
33234), make the following corrections.
    1. Amend the description of Unit 8 on page 33244, changing 
``Dolan'' to ``Dolen'' in column 3.

Sec.  17.11  [Corrected]

    2. Amend the description of Unit 8 on page 33268, changing 
``Sinking Creek'' to ``Dolen Branch'' starting in column 2.

Consideration of Additional Stream Mileage in Rock Creek

    Since the publication of this proposed critical habitat rule, we 
have been informed by the U.S. Forest Service that we did not include a 
reach of Rock Creek (see ``Proposed Critical Habitat Designation'' 
section, Unit 8) upstream of Dolen Branch, in which there is a 1998 
record of a live Cumberland elktoe. This specimen was collected 
approximately 5 rkm (3 rmi) upstream of Dolen Branch, southwest of Bell 
Farm. We will conduct an analysis on this reach prior to making a final 
determination on this proposed rule. If we determine this reach to be 
essential, then we intend to include it in the final designation. 
Inclusion of this reach would add approximately 6.4 rkm (4 rmi) to the 
upstream terminus of Unit 8 (Rock Creek). The new upstream terminus 
would be a driveway crossing of Rock Creek at rkm 25.6 (rmi 15.9) 
(approximately 2.6 kilometers (1.6 miles) southwest of Bell Farm). The 
map reflecting this extended area follows:

[[Page 57645]]



[[Page 57646]]

Public Comments Solicited

    We solicit comments on the draft economic analysis referred to in 
this document, as well as on any other aspect of the proposed critical 
habitat designation for the five Tennessee and Cumberland River Basin 
mussels. In order to accommodate the public hearing and public review 
of the draft economic analysis, we are now closing the comment period 
for both the proposed rule and the draft economic analysis on December 
5, 2003. All previous comments and information submitted during the 
comment period need not be resubmitted. Refer to the ADDRESSES section 
for information on how to submit written comments and information. Our 
final determination on the proposed critical habitat will take into 
consideration comments and any additional information received.
    Please submit electronic comments in an ASCII file format and avoid 
the use of special characters and encryption. Please also include 
``Attn: RIN 1018-AI76'' 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, please contact us directly by 
calling our Tennessee 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 addresses from the rulemaking record, which we will honor to 
the extent allowable by law. In some circumstances, we would withhold 
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.
    We particularly seek comments concerning:
    (1) Are there other types of activities, such as habitat 
conservation plans, related to this proposed designation of critical 
habitat whose costs are not reflected in the draft economic analysis? 
If so, please provide as much information as possible to enable us to 
identify those activities and address those costs.


    The primary author of this document is Rob Tawes (see ADDRESSES 


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

    Dated: September 29, 2003.
Julie MacDonald,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 03-25184 Filed 10-3-03; 8:45 am]