[Federal Register: June 2, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 106)]
[Page 31129]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of a Final Recovery Plan for the Ouachita 
Rock Pocketbook

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of a final recovery plan for the endangered Ouachita rock 
pocketbook (Arkansia wheeleri). This rare freshwater mussel inhabits 
portions of certain streams in and near the southern slope of the 
Ouachita Uplift. A viable population of fewer than 1,800 individuals 
inhabits the Kiamichi River in Oklahoma and a smaller population (fewer 
than 100 individuals) inhabits the lower Little River in Oklahoma and 
Arkansas. Limited evidence exists for recent occurrence of the species 
in the Ouachita River in Arkansas (where it occurred historically) and 
in two Red River tributaries in Texas. Populations outside of the 
Kiamichi River are believed to be too reduced at present to ensure 
long-term viability. All of the populations have experienced reductions 
and degradation of their inhabited stream segments and are separated by 
major impoundments. The final plan outlines objectives, criteria, and 
tasks for recovering this endangered species.

ADDRESSES: A copy of the final recovery plan may be requested by 
contacting the Oklahoma Ecological Services Field Office, 222 South 
Houston Avenue, Suite A, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74127.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: David Martinez, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, at the above address, or by telephone, 918/581-7458 ext. 228.



    Restoring endangered or threatened animals and plants to points 
where they are again secure, self-sustaining members of their 
ecosystems is a primary goal of the Service's endangered species 
program. The Service is working to prepare recovery plans for most of 
the listed species native to the United States. Recovery plans describe 
actions considered necessary for conservation of the species, establish 
criteria for recovery levels to upgrade or delist the species, and 
estimate time and cost for implementing the identified recovery 
    The Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act) (16 U.S.C. 
1531 et seq.), 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, as amended in 1988, 
requires that public notice and an opportunity for public review and 
comment be provided during recovery plan development. The Ouachita rock 
pocketbook was listed as endangered in 1991 (56 FR 54950) and a draft 
recovery plan was prepared and issued for the species in 1994.
    Issuance of the draft plan included a notice of availability and 
opportunity for public comment (59 FR 35948) and other public 
notification efforts. Pertinent information received by the Service 
during the public comment period has been considered in preparation of 
the final recovery plan, and is summarized in the plan's appendix. This 
information will also be taken into account in the course of 
implementing recovery actions. Additional information on population 
status and distribution has been collected and updated since 
publication of the draft in 1994; however, no substantive changes have 
been made to the overall recovery strategy for the species in the final 
recovery plan.
    The Ouachita rock pocketbook (Arkansia wheeleri) represents a 
monotypic genus now believed to be restricted to approximately 431 
kilometers (268 miles) of stream segments in the Red River and Ouachita 
River drainages in southeastern Oklahoma, southwestern Arkansas, and 
northwestern Texas. Stream impoundment, potential water withdrawals, 
channelization, water quality degradation, and potential land use 
changes are major threats to the species' continued survival.
    The final recovery plan includes updated scientific information 
about the Ouachita rock pocketbook and identifies research and 
management actions needed to conserve and recover the species' 
populations and habitat. The strategy for recovery is based on 
protection of the Kiamichi River population along with re-establishing 
and protecting viable populations in other portions of the species' 
historical range. Activities believed necessary to accomplish recovery 
include increased protection of populations and their habitats, 
restoration of degraded habitats, filling of critical information gaps 
regarding the species' biology and propagation, and public outreach 
efforts. The plan includes downlisting and interim delisting recovery 

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

    Dated: April 6, 2004.
Bryan Arroyo,
Acting Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 04-12394 Filed 6-1-04; 8:45 am]