[Federal Register: March 20, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 54)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 13662-13663]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 13662]]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

50 CFR Part 223


Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[I.D. 022803A]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; Revision of the Loggerhead 
Sea Turtle Recovery Plan

AGENCIES: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic 
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce, and Fish and Wildlife 
Service (USFWS), Interior.

ACTION: Notice to announce the revision of the loggerhead sea turtle 
recovery plan; request for information.


SUMMARY: We, NMFS and USFWS, announce our intention to revise the 1991 
recovery plan for the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta), listed 
as threatened throughout its range, under the Endangered Species Act of 
1973 (ESA), as amended. The 1991 recovery plan addressed recovery needs 
for the U.S. population of the loggerhead in the northwestern Atlantic 
Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. A comprehensive revision of the 1991 
recovery plan is needed to incorporate an abundance of new information 
on the biology and population status of the loggerhead and to provide 
an updated framework for addressing problems of the species and for 
prioritizing actions necessary for recovery.To ensure a comprehensive 
revision, we are soliciting information on the loggerhead population 
status and trends, threats and conservation efforts.

DATES: Information related to this notice must be received by May 5, 
2003, to be considered in the initial stages of the revision. However, 
we will accept information and comments submitted after this date, for 
consideration at later stages in the recovery process, until further 

ADDRESSES: Information should be addressed to the National Sea Turtle 
Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 6620 Southpoint Drive 
South, Suite 310, Jacksonville, FL 32216. Information may also be sent 
via fax to 904-232-2404 or through the internet website address for the 
loggerhead recovery plan at http://northflorida.fws.gov/SeaTurtles/

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Barbara Schroeder (ph. 301-713-1401, 
fax 301-713-0376, e-mail Barbara.Schroeder@noaa.gov) or Sandy 

MacPherson (ph. 904-232-2580, fax 904-232-2404, e-mail sandy_



    The loggerhead was listed as threatened under the ESA in 1978. Upon 
listing a species, section 4(f) of the ESA requires the preparation and 
implementation of a recovery plan and revisions to such plans as 
necessary. Under section 4(f)(1)(B), each plan, at a minimum, must 
contain: (a) A description of such site-specific management actions as 
may be necessary to achieve the plan's goal for the conservation and 
survival of the species; (b) objective, measurable criteria that, when 
met, would result in a determination, in accordance with the provisions 
of this section, that the species be removed from the list; and (c) 
estimates of the time required and the cost to carry out those measures 
needed to achieve the plan's goal and to achieve intermediate steps 
toward that goal.
    In addition, recovery plans must include a concise summary of the 
current status of the species and its life history, and an assessment 
of the factors that led to population declines and/or which are 
impeding recovery. The plan must also include a comprehensive 
monitoring and evaluation program for gauging the effectiveness of 
recovery measures and overall progress toward recovery.
    Conservation and recovery of listed sea turtles, including the 
loggerhead, are the joint responsibility of NMFS and USFWS. In 1984, we 
issued a multi-species recovery plan for listed sea turtles in the 
southeastern United States region. This plan was revisited in the early 
1990's culminating in an individual species recovery plan for the 
loggerhead in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico in 
1991. In 2001, we initiated the process to revise the plan for a second 
time. An Atlantic Loggerhead Sea Turtle Recovery Team, consisting of 
species experts, was established to draft this revision.
    Since the development of the 1991 plan, significant research has 
been accomplished and important conservation and recovery activities 
have been undertaken. As a result, we have a greater knowledge of the 
species and its status. These advances in our understanding of the 
loggerhead turtle make a second revision to the recovery plan 
necessary. The revised recovery plan will serve as a basis for future 
recovery efforts, guide research to ensure that new information will 
contribute toward the greatest research needs, and enable effective 
monitoring to allow us to track the status of the loggerhead and the 
factors that may affect the species.
    A schedule for completing the revised recovery plan is available on 
the internet website address for the loggerhead recovery plan (see 
ADDRESSES). Draft sections of the Work in Progress will also be made 
available on the internet website to provide interested stakeholders an 
opportunity to review and provide input on the revised plan during its 
development. Once all sections of the revised plan have been drafted, 
we will publish a notice of availability of the draft recovery plan in 
the Federal Register and will formally solicit public comment on the 
draft prior to finalizing the plan.
    To ensure that the revised recovery plan is based on the best 
available data, we are soliciting information on historical and current 
abundance; historical and current distribution and movements; 
population status and trends; genetic stock identification; current or 
planned activities that may adversely impact the species; and ongoing 
efforts to protect the loggerhead in the northwestern Atlantic and Gulf 
of Mexico. We request that all data, information, and comments be 
accompanied by supporting documentation such as maps, bibliographic 
references, or reprints of pertinent publications.
    All submissions must contain the submitter's name, address, and any 
association, institution, or business that the person represents. 
Comments and materials received will be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the USFWS' 
Jacksonville Field Office (see ADDRESSES).
    Our practice is to make comments, including names and home 
addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular 
business hours. Respondents may request that we withhold their home 
address, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. There also 
may be circumstances in which we would withhold a respondent's 
identity, as allowable by law. If you wish for us to withhold your name 
and/or address, you must state this request prominently at the 
beginning of your comment. However, we will not consider anonymous 
comments. To the extent consistent with

[[Page 13663]]

applicable law, 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.

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.

    Dated: March 14, 2003.
Phil Williams,
Chief, Endangered Species Division, National Marine Fisheries Service

    Dated: March 5, 2003.
Sam D. Hamilton,
Regional Director, Southeast Region, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 03-6714 Filed 3-19-03; 8:45 am]