[Federal Register: June 8, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 109)]
[Page 33522-33523]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of the Post-delisting Monitoring Plan for 
the Tinian Monarch (Monarcha takatsukasae)

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 Post-delisting Monitoring Plan for the Tinian 
Monarch (Monarcha takatsukasae) (Monitoring Plan). The status of the 
Tinian monarch will be monitored over a 5-year period from 2006 to 
2010, through regular field surveys of the distribution and abundance 
of the Tinian monarch, regular field surveys for the brown treesnake 
(Boiga irregularis) on Tinian, and tracking of land use and development 
on Tinian.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the Monitoring Plan are available by request from 
the Hawaiian Bird Recovery Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, 300 Ala Moana Blvd., Box 
50088, Honolulu, Hawaii 96850 (telephone: 808-792-9400; fax: 808-792-
9580). This Monitoring Plan is also available on the World Wide Web at 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Eric VanderWerf, Hawaiian Bird 
Recovery Coordinator, at the above Honolulu address, at 
eric_vanderwerf@fws.gov, or at 808-792-9400.



    The Tinian monarch, or Chuchurican Tinian in the Chamorro language, 
is a forest bird endemic to the island of Tinian in the Mariana 
Archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean. The Tinian monarch inhabits a 
variety of forest types on Tinian, including native limestone forest, 
secondary vegetation consisting primarily of non-native plants, and 
nearly pure stands of introduced tangantangan (Leucaena leucocephala).
    The Tinian monarch was listed as endangered on June 2, 1970 (35 FR 
8491) under the authority of the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 
1969 (16 U.S.C. 668cc) and remained as endangered under the Endangered 
Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) (Act), because its population was 
reported to be critically low due to the destruction of native forests 
by pre-World War II (WW II) agricultural practices, and by military 
activities during WW II. We conducted forest bird surveys on Tinian in 
1982, which resulted in a population estimate of 39,338 Tinian 
monarchs. On November 1, 1985, we published a proposed rule to delist 
the Tinian monarch (50 FR 45632). Based on comments received, we 
instead downlisted the Tinian monarch, and a final rule reclassifying 
it from endangered to threatened was published on April 6, 1987 (52 FR 
10890). There is no recovery plan specifying delisting criteria for the 
Tinian monarch. A study of Tinian monarch breeding biology in 1994 and 
1995 resulted in a population estimate of approximately 52,900 birds. 
In 1996, a replication of the 1982 surveys yielded a population 
estimate of 55,720 birds. The 1996 survey also found a significant 
increase in forest density since 1982, indicating an improvement in 
Tinian monarch habitat quality.
    On September 21, 2004, we published a final rule removing the 
Tinian monarch from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife and Plants (69 FR 65367). Our decision

[[Page 33523]]

to delist this species was based primarily on information from 
population surveys and demographic research, which indicated the Tinian 
monarch had increased in number or was stable, and that the primary 
listing factor, loss of habitat, had been ameliorated.
    Section 4(g)(1) of the Act, requires that we implement a system, in 
cooperation with the States, to monitor for no fewer than 5 years the 
status of all species that have recovered and been removed from the 
Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. The 
purpose of post-delisting monitoring is to verify that a species 
delisted due to recovery remains secure from risk of extinction after 
it has been removed from the protections of the Act. In keeping with 
that mandate, we developed this Monitoring Plan in cooperation with the 
Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Division of Fish 
and Wildlife; the U.S. Geological Survey, Biological Resources 
Discipline; the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wildlife Services; and 
the Department of the Navy. A draft of this plan was peer-reviewed by 
nine scientific experts familiar with the Tinian monarch, the brown 
treesnake, and methods of monitoring bird and brown treesnake 
populations. The Draft Post-delisting Monitoring Plan for the Tinian 
Monarch was available for comment from December 13, 2004, through 
January 12, 2005 (69 FR 72211). Information submitted during the 
comment period has been considered in the preparation of this 
Monitoring Plan and is summarized in Appendix A.
    The Monitoring Plan is designed to monitor the status of the Tinian 
monarch by detecting whether the abundance and distribution of Tinian 
monarchs is declining across the island, and whether the survival of 
adult monarchs or the number of occupied Tinian monarch territories is 
declining in ``early warning plots.'' The Monitoring Plan also includes 
a brown treesnake monitoring component and a land use and development 
monitoring component. Data on abundance and distribution of monarchs 
across the island will be collected monthly using point count surveys 
similar to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Information on 
territory occupancy and survival of individually marked monarchs will 
be collected annually in small ``early warning'' plots located in areas 
where brown treesnakes might be most likely to occur. Monitoring of the 
brown treesnake will be done monthly by field crews that search for 
snakes visually, and eventually by dog teams trained to detect snakes 
by smell in the forest. The point count surveys are already being 
implemented by the Department of the Navy. We intend to implement the 
remaining aspects of the Monitoring Plan annually from 2006-2010.
    We will work cooperatively with the CNMI Division of Fish and 
Wildlife, other Federal agencies, and other partners to collect this 
information, which we will analyze each year and, if necessary, propose 
adjustments to the sampling design. If the data indicates that the 
Tinian monarch is experiencing significant decreases in abundance, 
distribution, survival, or territory occupancy, we will initiate more 
intensive review or studies to determine the cause and, if necessary, 
take action to re-list the Tinian monarch under section 4 of the Act.


    The primary author of this document is Dr. Eric A. VanderWerf, 
Hawaiian Bird Recovery Coordinator (see ADDRESSES).


    The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended in 1988 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: May 11, 2005.
David J. Wesley,
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 05-11258 Filed 6-7-05; 8:45 am]