[Federal Register: April 3, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 64)]
[Page 16305-16306]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of the Final Revised Recovery Plan for the 
Southern Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris nereis)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the 
availability of the final revision of the southern sea otter recovery 
plan. This species occurs along the central coast of California from 
Half Moon Bay south to Point Conception.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the final revised recovery plan are available by 
written request addressed to the Field Supervisor, Ventura Fish and 
Wildlife Office, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, California 93003. 
Recovery plans may also be obtained from: Fish and Wildlife Reference 
Service, 5430 Grosvenor Lane, Suite 110, Bethesda, Maryland 20814, 301-
429-6403 or 1-800-582-3421. The fee for the plan varies depending on 
the number of pages of the plan. This final revised recovery plan will 
be made available on the World Wide Web at http://www.r1.fws.gov/ecoservices/endangered/recovery/default.htm

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carl Benz at the above Ventura address 
(telephone 805-644-1766).



    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.). A species is considered 
recovered when the species' ecosystem is restored and/or threats to the 
species are removed so that self-sustaining and self-regulating 
populations of the species can be supported as persistent members of 
native biotic communities. Recovery plans describe actions considered 
necessary for the conservation of the species, establish criteria for 
downlisting or delisting listed species, and estimate the time and 
costs of implementing recovery actions.
    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. Information presented during the public

[[Page 16306]]

comment period has been considered in the preparation of this final 
revised recovery plan, and is summarized in the appendix to the plan. 
As we move forward to implement the final recovery plan, we welcome 
public input and comment regarding our implementation efforts.
    The southern (California) sea otter was listed as threatened on 
January 14, 1977 (42 FR 2968). It is also recognized as a depleted 
population pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Reduced range 
and population size, vulnerability to oil spills, and the oil spill 
risk from coastal tanker traffic were the primary reasons listing of 
the sea otter. The southern sea otter population contains about 2,150 
individuals and ranges between Half Moon Bay and Point Conception, 
California. Approximately 27 otters, including pups, are at San Nicolas 
Island as a result of translocation efforts to establish an 
experimental population. After review of new biological information, 
we, with the assistance of the Southern Sea Otter Recovery Team, 
drafted a revised recovery plan for public review and comment in 1991. 
A second draft revision was released for public review in 1996. After 
review of public comments on those drafts, and review of new technical 
information regarding oil spill risk to southern sea otters, we, with 
the assistance of the Southern Sea Otter Recovery Team and technical 
consultants, completed a new draft revised recovery plan, which was 
released to the public for comment in January 2000. Public comments 
were reviewed by the Southern Sea Otter Recovery Team and us, and 
changes based on these comments are incorporated into this final 
revised recovery plan.
    The objective of the final revised recovery plan is to delist the 
southern sea otter through implementation of a variety of recovery 
measures including: Monitoring otter populations; implementing plans to 
minimize the risk of, and impacts from, oil spills; minimizing 
incidental and intentional take of sea otters; assessing and minimizing 
other threats; evaluating the sea otter translocation program; 
improving captive management techniques; and implementing an outreach 
program and providing information to the public.

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

    Dated: January 29, 2003.
Daniel S. Walsworth,
Acting Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Region 1, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 03-8060 Filed 4-2-03; 8:45 am]