[Federal Register: January 13, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 8)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 1960-1961]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AI73

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed 
Designation of Critical Habitat for Three Threatened Mussels and Eight 
Endangered Mussels in the Mobile River Basin

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of comment period.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the reopening 
of the comment period for the proposed rule to designate critical 
habitat for 11 mussels in the Mobile River Basin under the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The comment period is being 
reopened to provide notification to Clay, Elmore, Lee, and Lowndes 
Counties, Alabama, and to allow all interested parties another 
opportunity to comment on the proposed rule and the associated draft 
economic analysis. Comments previously submitted need not be 
resubmitted and will be fully considered in the final determination of 
the proposal.

DATES: The comment period is hereby reopened until January 23, 2004. We 
must receive comments on the proposal and draft economic analysis from 
all interested parties by the closing date. Any comments that we 
receive after the closing date will not be considered in the final 

ADDRESSES: Copies of the proposed designation and draft economic 
analysis are available on the Internet at http://southeast.fws.gov/hotissues
, or by writing to the Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and 

Wildlife Service, 6578 Dogwood View Parkway, Suite A, Jackson, MS 
39213; or by calling Mississippi Field Office, telephone 601/965-4900.

[[Page 1961]]

    Written comments and materials concerning the proposal or draft 
economic analysis may be submitted to us by any one of several methods:
    1. You may submit written comments and information to the Field 
Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 6578 Dogwood View Parkway, 
Suite A, Jackson, MS 39213.
    2. You may hand-deliver written comments and information to our 
Mississippi Field Office, at the above address, or fax your comments to 
    3. You may send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to paul--
hartfield@fws.gov. For directions on how to submit electronic filing of 
comments, see the ``Public Comments Solicited'' section.
    Comments and materials received, as well as supporting 
documentation used in preparation of this proposed rule, will be 
available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business 
hours at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Hartfield, Mississippi Field 
Office, at the above address (telephone 601/321-1125, facsimile 601/



    We listed the fine-lined pocketbook, orange-nacre mucket, and 
Alabama moccasinshell as threatened species, and the Coosa 
moccasinshell, ovate clubshell, southern clubshell, dark pigtoe, 
southern pigtoe, triangular kidneyshell, upland combshell, and southern 
acornshell as endangered species under the Act on March 17, 1993 (58 FR 
    On March 26, 2003, we published in the Federal Register a proposed 
rule to designate critical habitat for these species (68 FR 14752). The 
proposed designation includes portions of the Tombigbee River drainage 
in Mississippi and Alabama; portions of the Black Warrior River 
drainage in Alabama; portions of the Alabama River drainage in Alabama; 
portions of the Cahaba River drainage in Alabama; portions of the 
Tallapoosa River drainage in Alabama and Georgia; and portions of the 
Coosa River drainage in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. The proposed 
designation encompasses a total of approximately 1,760 kilometers (km) 
(1,093 miles (mi)) of river and stream channels.
    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act requires that we designate or revise 
critical habitat based upon the best scientific data available and 
after taking into consideration the economic impact, and any other 
relevant impact, of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. 
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. Consequently, we prepared a draft 
economic analysis concerning the proposed critical habitat designation, 
which is available for review and comment (see ADDRESSES section). On 
August 14, 2003 (68 FR 48581), the comment period was reopened through 
October 14, 2003, to receive comments on the draft economic analysis 
and to accommodate a public hearing. The public hearing was held on 
October 1, 2003, in Birmingham, Alabama.
    Section 4(b)(5) of the Act requires that we give actual notice of 
the proposed regulation to the States and to each county in which the 
species are believed to occur.
    Following closure of the second comment period on October 14, 2003, 
we became aware that we had failed to directly notify four of the 
counties affected by the proposed critical habitat designation. 
Therefore, we have provided the regulation to Clay, Elmore, Lee, and 
Lowndes Counties, Alabama, and reopened the comment period until the 
date specified above in DATES, to allow all interested parties another 
opportunity to comment on the proposed rule and the associated draft 
economic analysis. Legal notices announcing the reopening of the 
comment period are being published in newspapers concurrently with this 
Federal Register notice. For further information regarding the proposed 
critical habitat for the 11 Mobile River Basin mussels, please refer to 
the proposed rule (68 FR 14752; March 26, 2003).

Public Comments Solicited

    We are soliciting comments and information from the public, 
governmental agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other 
interested party on any aspects of the proposed designation of critical 
habitat for the 11 Mobile River Basin mussels or the draft economic 
analysis. The comment period for both the proposed rule and the draft 
economic analysis now closes on the date specified above in DATES. 
Previously submitted comments and information need not be resubmitted. 
Our final determination on the proposed critical habitat will take into 
consideration comments and any additional information received by the 
date specified above.
    Please submit electronic comments as an ASCII file format and avoid 
the use of special characters and encryption. Please also include 
``Attn: RIN 1018-AI73'' and your name and return address in your e-mail 
message. If you do not receive a confirmation from the system that we 
have received your e-mail message, contact us directly by calling our 
Mississippi Field Office (see ADDRESSES section).
    Our practice is to make all 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 from the rulemaking record, which we will honor to 
the extent allowable by law. In some circumstances, we would withhold 
from the rulemaking record a respondent's identity, as allowable by 
law. If you wish for us to withhold your name and/or address, you must 
state this prominently at the beginning of your comments. However, we 
will not consider anonymous comments. 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.


    The primary author of this notice is Paul Hartfield (see ADDRESSES 


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

    Dated: December 23, 2003.
Paul Hoffman,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 04-514 Filed 1-12-04; 8:45 am]