[Federal Register: December 13, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 238)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 72161-72162]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AI49

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Extension of the 
Comment Period on Proposed Designation of Critical Habitat for the 
Southwestern Willow Flycatcher

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; extension of public comment period.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
extension of the public comment period for the proposal to designate 
critical habitat for southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax extimus 
traillii) to allow all interested parties to comment on the proposed 
critical habitat designation under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 
as amended. The proposed rule was published and the public comment 
period opened on October 12, 2004 (69 FR 60706).

DATES: The deadline for submitting comments on this proposal is 
extended from December 13, 2004, to March 31, 2005. Comments must be 
submitted directly to the Service (see ADDRESSES section) on or before 
March 31, 2005. Any comments received after the closing date may not be 
considered in the final determination on the proposal.

[[Page 72162]]

ADDRESSES: If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments and 
materials by any one of several methods:
    1. You may submit written comments and information to Steve 
Spangle, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona 
Ecological Services Office, 2321 West Royal Palm Road, Suite 103, 
Phoenix, AZ, 85021.
    2. You may hand-deliver written comments and information to our 
Arizona Ecological Services Office, or fax your comments to 602/242-
    3. You may send your comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to 

    The critical habitat proposal and supportive maps are available for 
viewing by appointment during regular business hours at the above 
address or on the Internet at http://arizonaes.fws.gov. All comments 

and materials received, as well as supporting documentation used in 
preparation of the proposed rule, will be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the above 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Spangle, Field Supervisor, 
Arizona Ecological Services Office (telephone 602-242-0210, facsimile 



    We proposed to designate for the southwestern willow flycatcher 
376,095 acres (ac) (152,124 hectares (ha)) [including approximately 
1,556 stream miles (2,508 stream kilometers)] of critical habitat, 
which includes various stream segments and their associated riparian 
areas, not exceeding the 100-year floodplain or flood prone area, on a 
combination of Federal, State, Tribal, and private lands in southern 
California, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah, south-central Colorado, 
Arizona, and New Mexico. The proposed rule was published in the Federal 
Register (69 FR 60706) on October 12, 2004, pursuant to a court order.
    On September 30, 2003, in a complaint brought by the Center for 
Biological Diversity, the U.S. District Court of New Mexico instructed 
us to propose critical habitat by September 30, 2004, and publish a 
final rule by September 30, 2005. Additional background information is 
available in the October 12, 2004, proposal to designate critical 
    Critical habitat identifies specific areas that are essential to 
the conservation of a listed species and that may require special 
management considerations or protection. If the proposed rule is made 
final, section 7 of the Act will prohibit adverse modification of 
critical habitat by any activity funded, authorized, or carried out by 
any Federal agency. Federal agencies proposing actions affecting areas 
designated as critical habitat must consult with us on the effects of 
their proposed actions, pursuant to section 7(a)(2) of the Act.
    Section 4 of the Act requires that we consider economic and other 
relevant impacts prior to making a final decision on what areas to 
designate as critical habitat. We are currently developing a draft 
economic analysis and draft environmental assessment for the proposal 
to designate certain areas as critical habitat for the southwestern 
willow flycatcher and will announce their availability at a later date. 
We may revise the proposal, or its supporting documents, to incorporate 
or address new information received during the comment period. In 
particular, we may exclude an area from critical habitat if we 
determine that the benefits of excluding the area outweigh the benefits 
of including the area as critical habitat, provided such exclusion will 
not result in the extinction of the species.
    Pursuant to 50 CFR 424.16(c)(2), we may extend or reopen a comment 
period upon finding that there is good cause to do so. We are currently 
developing a draft economic analysis and draft environmental assessment 
for the proposal and will announce the availability of those documents 
and solicit data and comments from the public on these draft documents 
at a later date. We will also announce hearing dates concurrently with 
the availability of the draft documents. However, it is our intention 
to leave the public comment period open and uninterrupted until those 
documents are available for public consideration and comment. We 
believe that allowing the comment period to expire before the full set 
of supporting draft analytical documents is available could result in 
hurried and incomplete comments on our proposed rule and unnecessarily 
frustrate respondents. We deem these considerations as sufficient cause 
to extend the comment period.
    We are required by court order to complete the final designation of 
critical habitat for the southwestern willow flycatcher by September 
30, 2005. To meet this date, all comments on or proposed revisions to 
the proposed rule need to be submitted to us during the comment period 
as extended by this document (see DATES).
    Our practice is to make comments, including names and home 
addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular 
business hours. Individual respondents may request that we withhold 
their home address, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. 
If you wish us to withhold your name or address, you must state this 
request prominently at the beginning of your comments. However, we will 
not consider anonymous comments. To the extent consistent with 
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.
    Comments and materials received, as well as supporting 
documentation used in preparation of the proposal to designate critical 
habitat, will be available for public inspection, by appointment, 
during normal business hours at the Arizona Ecological Services Office 
(see ADDRESSES section).


    The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 1973 
(16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: December 6, 2004.
Craig Manson,
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 04-27330 Filed 12-10-04; 8:45 am]