[Federal Register: December 18, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 243)]
[Page 70528-70529]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Draft Recovery Plan for the Blackburn's Sphinx Moth (Manduca

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability for review and comment.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (``we'') announces the
availability of the Draft Recovery Plan for the Blackburn's Sphinx Moth
(Manduca blackburni) (sphinx moth) for public review and comment. This
insect taxon is listed as endangered (45 FR 4770; February 1, 2000),
and is endemic to the main Hawaiian Islands. We solicit review and
comment from local, State, and Federal agencies, and the public on this
draft recovery plan.

DATES: Comments on this draft recovery plan must be received on or
before February 17, 2004 to receive our consideration.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the draft recovery plan are available for
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the
following locations: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands
Fish and Wildlife Office, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 3-122, Box
50088, Honolulu, Hawaii 96850 (phone: 808-541-3441) and the Hawaii
State Library 478 S. King Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813. Requests for
copies of the draft plan and written comments and materials regarding
this plan should be addressed to the Field Supervisor, Ecological
Services, at the above Honolulu address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The Field Supervisor at the above
Honolulu address.



    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

[[Page 70529]]

improvement of the status of listed species to the point at which
listing is no longer necessary under the criteria set out in section
4(a)(1) of the Act. Recovery plans describe actions considered
necessary for the conservation and survival 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 a public comment period prior to approval of each new
or revised recovery plan. We, along with other Federal agencies, will
also take these comments into account in the course of implementing
approved recovery plans. Individual responses to comments will not be
    The sphinx moth was federally listed as endangered on February 1,
2000 (65 FR 4770). This insect taxon is currently known to occur on
three of the seven Hawaiian Islands where it historically occurred,
including Hawaii, Maui, and Kahoolawe. Although some habitat is under
public ownership and zoned for conservation purposes, no known sphinx
moth habitat complexes are entirely protected, and the species faces
threats throughout its range.
    The sphinx moth is currently found in association with
topographically diverse landscapes that contain low to moderate levels
of nonnative vegetation. Vegetation types that support the sphinx moth
include dry to mesic shrub land and forest from sea level to mid-
elevations. Soil and climatic conditions, as well as physical factors,
affect the suitability of habitat within the species' range. The
primary threats to the sphinx moth include urban and agricultural
development; invasion by non-native plant species; habitat
fragmentation and degradation; increased wildfire frequency; impacts
from ungulates; other human-caused disturbances that have resulted in
substantial losses of habitat throughout the species' historic range;
parasitoids and insect predators; and vandalism (collection). Needed
conservation activities include protection, management, and restoration
of suitable and restorable habitat; out-planting of native Nothocestrum
spp. host plants; and a sphinx moth captive breeding program that would
augment or expand the existing population within its historic range.
This draft recovery plan identifies 3 recovery units, comprising 13
management units, which are geographic areas recently documented to
contain sphinx moth populations and/or sphinx moth host plant
populations, and shall be the focus of recovery actions or tasks. The
three recovery units and their component management units contain
habitat considered necessary for the long-term conservation of the
sphinx moth (e.g., networks of suitable habitat patches and connecting
    The recovery actions described in this draft recovery plan include:
(1) Protect habitat and control threats to the moth and its habitat;
(2) expand existing wild Nothocestrum spp. host plant populations; (3)
conduct additional research essential to recovery of the sphinx moth;
(4) develop and implement a detailed monitoring plan for the sphinx
moth; (5) reestablish wild sphinx moth populations within its historic
range; (6) develop and provide information for the public on the sphinx
moth; and (7) validate recovery objectives.
    The recovery objective of this draft recovery plan is to ensure the
species' long-term survival and conservation and to conduct research
necessary to refine recovery criteria so that the sphinx moth can be
reclassified to threatened and eventually delisted.

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 sphinx moth recovery plan.


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

    Dated: October 14, 2003.
David J. Wesley,
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 03-31189 Filed 12-17-03; 8:45 am]