[Federal Register: August 15, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 156)]
[Page 47845-47846]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Information Collection Renewal To Be Sent to the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) for Approval Under the Paperwork Reduction 
Act; OMB Control Number 1018-0119; Policy for Evaluating Conservation 
Efforts When Making Listing Decisions

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We (Fish and Wildlife Service, Service) plan to send OMB a 
request to renew approval for information collections associated with 
our Policy for Evaluation of Conservation Efforts When Making Listing 
Decisions (PECE). We use the information that we collect as part of the 
basis for identifying conservation efforts that can contribute to a 
decision to not list a species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) 
or to list a species as threatened rather than endangered.

DATES: You must submit comments on or before October 14, 2005.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments on this information collection to Hope 
Grey, Information Collection Clearance Officer, Fish and Wildlife 
Service, MS 222-ARLSQ, 4401 North Fairfax Drive Arlington, Virginia 
22203 (mail); hope_grey@fws.gov (e-mail); or (703) 358-2269 (fax).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: To request a copy of the information 
collection requirements or explanatory material, contact Hope Grey, 
Information Collection Clearance Officer, at the above addresses or by 
telephone at (703) 358-2482. For information related to the Policy for 
Evaluation of Conservation Efforts When Making Listing Decisions, 
please visit our Web site at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.fws.gov/endangered/listing/pece-final.pdf

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The OMB regulations at 5 CFR 1320, which 
implement provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
3501 et seq.), require that interested members of the public and 
affected agencies have an opportunity to comment on information 
collection and recordkeeping activities (see 5 CFR 1320.8(d)). We will 
ask OMB to renew approval of the collection of information for certain 
types of conservation agreements, conservation plans, and similar 
documents in relation to PECE (68 FR 15100, March 28, 2003). The 
current OMB control number for this

[[Page 47846]]

collection of information is 1018-0119, which expires on December 31, 
2005. We will request a 3-year term of approval for this information 
collection activity. Federal agencies may not conduct or sponsor and a 
person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless 
it displays a currently valid OMB control number.
    The ESA specifies the process by which we can list species as 
threatened or endangered. When we consider whether or not to list a 
species, the ESA requires us to take into account ``those efforts, if 
any, being made by any State * * * or any political subdivision of a 
State * * * to protect such species * * *.'' States or other entities 
often formalize conservation efforts in conservation agreements, 
conservation plans, management plans, or similar documents. The actions 
proposed in conservation plans could prevent some species under the 
ESA. The development of such agreements or plans is voluntary, and 
there is no requirement that the agreement or plans, or the individual 
conservation efforts they include, be designed to meet the criteria in 
PECE. However, PECE encourages the development of conservation 
agreements/plans and provides certainty about the standard that 
individual conservation efforts contained in an agreement/plan must 
meet so that we can consider that such efforts contribute to forming a 
basis for a listing determination.
    PECE applies to formal conservation efforts developed regardless of 
intent to influence a listing decision or involvement of the Service. 
Only those agreements/plans developed with the intent of influencing a 
listing decision and with involvement of the Service constitute an 
information collection that requires OMB approval under the Paperwork 
Reduction Act.
    PECE specifies that to consider that a conservation effort 
contributes to forming a basis for not listing a species or listing a 
species as threatened rather than endangered, the Service must find the 
effort is sufficiently certain to be implemented and effective so as to 
have contributed to the elimination or adequate reduction of one or 
more threats to the species. To gauge whether or not this standard has 
been met, PECE includes criteria for evaluating the certainty of 
implementation and the certainty of effectiveness of individual 
conservation efforts. One criterion for evaluating the certainty of 
effectiveness of a conservation effort is that the agreement/plan 
contains provisions for monitoring and reporting progress on 
implementation and effectiveness of the effort. The nature of the 
monitoring and reporting will vary according to the species addressed, 
land ownership, specific conservation efforts, expertise of 
participants, and other factors. The information collected through 
monitoring is invaluable to the Service, the States, and other entities 
implementing agreements and plans, and to others concerned about the 
welfare of the species covered by the agreements/plans.
    Estimating the amount of work associated with developing a 
conservation agreement or plan is difficult because:
    (1) The development and associated monitoring of conservation 
efforts are completely voluntary, and we cannot predict who will decide 
to develop these efforts,
    (2) We cannot predict which species will become the subjects of 
conservation efforts, and, therefore, cannot predict the nature and 
extent of conservation efforts and monitoring that might be included in 
conservation agreements/plans designed with the intent of influencing a 
decision regarding listing a species; and
    (3) Many agreements/plans, such as agency land management plans, 
are developed to satisfy requirements of other laws or for other 
purposes, and we cannot predict whether or the extent to which some of 
these plans may be expanded to attempt to make listing unnecessary. 
Consequently, we must base our estimate of the amount of work 
associated with developing conservation agreements or plans and 
monitoring and reporting of conservation efforts on information from 
conservation agreements developed in the past.
    We estimate the public reporting burden for the information 
collection covered by this renewal to average 2,500 hours for 
developing one agreement with the intent to preclude a listing, 320 
hours for annual monitoring under one agreement, and 80 hours for one 
annual report. We expect that six agreements with the intent of making 
listing unnecessary will be developed in 1 year and that four of these 
will be successful in making listing unnecessary, and therefore, the 
entities that develop these four agreements will carry through with 
their monitoring and reporting commitments.
    Title: Policy for Evaluating Conservation Efforts When Making 
Listing Decisions.
    Approval Number: 1018-0119.
    Form Numbers: None.
    Frequency of Collection: Occasional.
    Description of Respondents: Federal agencies, states, tribes, local 
governments, individuals, not-for-profit institutions.
    Total Annual Burden Hours: 16,600 hours.
    Total Annual Responses: 6.
    We invite your comments on: (1) Whether or not the collection of 
information is necessary for the proper performance of the Policy for 
Evaluation of Conservation Efforts When Making Listing Decisions, 
including the opinion of the respondent regarding the practical utility 
of the information; (2) the accuracy of our estimate of the annual hour 
burden of information requested; (3) ways to enhance the quality, 
utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways 
to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents. 
The information collections in this program will be part of a system of 
records covered by the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552(a)).

    Dated: August 3, 2005.
Hope Grey,
Information Collection Clearance Officer, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 05-16086 Filed 8-12-05; 8:45 am]