[Federal Register: October 9, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 196)]
[Page 58355-58356]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Re-Opening of the Comment Period for the Draft Recovery Plan for 
the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep

AGENCY: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of re-opening of public comment period.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce a re-opening 
of the comment period for public review of the Draft Recovery Plan for 
the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis californiana) for an 
additional 60 days. The original comment period closed on September 29, 
2003. We are re-opening the comment period in response to specific 
requests from the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra 
Nevada Bighorn Sheep Foundation to allow additional time for public 
review of this draft recovery plan. This draft recovery plan includes 
recovery criteria and measures for the Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep.

DATES: Comments on the draft recovery plan must be received on or 
before December 8, 2003.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the draft recovery plan are available for 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the 
following location: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ventura Fish and 
Wildlife Office, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, California 93003 
(telephone 805-644-1766). Requests for copies of the draft recovery 
plan and written comments and materials regarding the plan should be 
addressed to the Field Supervisor at the above address. An electronic 
copy of this draft recovery plan is also available at http://www.r1.fws.gov/ecoservices/endangered/recovery/default.htm

Biologist, at the above address.



    On July 30, 2003, we published a Notice of Availability of the 
Draft Recovery Plan for the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep, opening a 60-
day public comment period that is scheduled to end on September 29, 
2003. We have received requests from the Natural Resources Defense 
Council, the Wilderness Society, and the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep 
Foundation to extend the comment period so that they might more 
thoroughly review the plan. Based on these requests, we determined to 
re-open the comment period for public review of this draft recovery 
    Recovery of endangered or threatened animals and plants is a 
primary goal of our endangered species program and the Endangered 
Species Act (Act) (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Recovery means improvement 
of the status of listed species to the point at which listing is no 
longer appropriate under the criteria set out in section 4(a)(1) of the 
Act. Recovery plans describe actions considered necessary for the 
conservation of the species, establish criteria for downlisting or 
delisting listed species, and estimate time and cost for implementing 
the measures needed for recovery.
    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 requires that public notice 
and an opportunity for public review and comment be provided during 
recovery plan development. We will consider all information presented 
during the public comment period prior to approval of each new or 
revised recovery plan. Substantive technical comments may result in 
changes to the plan. Substantive comments regarding recovery plan 
implementation may not necessarily result in changes to the recovery 
plan, but will be forwarded to appropriate Federal or other entities so 
that they can take these comments into account during the course of 
implementing recovery actions.
    This draft recovery plan was developed by the Sierra Nevada Bighorn 
Sheep Recovery Team. We coordinated with the California Department of 
Fish and Game, and a team of stakeholders, which included ranchers, 
landowners and managers, agency representatives, and non-government 
    The population of bighorn sheep in the Sierra Nevada of California 
was listed as an endangered species on January 3, 2000, (65 FR 20) 
following emergency listing on April 20, 1999, (64 FR 19300). At the 
time of listing, the bighorn sheep population was very small, with only 
about 125 adults known to exist among 5 geographic areas, with little 
probability of interchange among those areas. The bighorn sheep is 
threatened primarily by transmission of disease from domestic sheep and 
goats, and predation by mountain lions. Key elements for immediate 
action are: (1) Predator management; (2) augmentation of small herds 
with sheep from larger ones; and (3) elimination of the threat of a 
pneumonia epizootic resulting from contact with domestic sheep or 
goats. Actions needed to recover the bighorn

[[Page 58356]]

sheep include: (1) Protection of bighorn sheep habitat; (2) increase 
population growth by enhancing survivorship and reproductive output of 
bighorn sheep; (3) increase the numbers of herds, and thereby the 
number of bighorn sheep; (4) develop and implement a genetic management 
plan to maintain genetic diversity; (5) monitor status and trends of 
bighorn sheep herds and their habitat; (6) research; and (7) providing 
information to the public.

Public Comments Solicited

    We solicit written comments on the draft recovery plan described. 
All comments received by the date specified above will be considered in 
developing a final recovery plan.

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

    Dated: September 24, 2003.
Steve Thompson,
Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Region 1, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 03-25576 Filed 10-8-03; 8:45 am]