[Federal Register: July 24, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 141)]
[Page 41828-41830]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Information Collection Sent to the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) for Approval; OMB Control Number 1018-0130; Import/Export 
of Wildlife and Wildlife Parts and Products and Plant Rescue, 50 CFR 
12, 13, and 23

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice; Request for Comments.


SUMMARY: We (Fish and Wildlife Service) have sent an Information 
Collection Request (ICR) to OMB for review and approval. The ICR, which 
is summarized below, describes the nature of the collection and the 
estimated burden and cost. This ICR is scheduled to expire on August 
31, 2006. We 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. However, under OMB regulations, we may 
continue to conduct or sponsor this information collection while it is 
pending at OMB.

DATES: You must submit comments on or before August 23, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments and suggestions on this ICR to the Desk 
Officer for the Department of the Interior at OMB-OIRA at (202) 395-
6566 (fax) or OIRA_DOCKET@OMB.eop.gov (e-mail). Please provide a copy 
of your comments to Hope Grey, Information Collection Clearance 
Officer, Fish and Wildlife Service, MS 222-ARLSQ, 4401 North Fairfax 
Drive, Arlington, VA 22203 (mail); (703) 358-2269 (fax); or 
hope_grey@fws.gov (e-mail).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: To request additional information 
about this ICR, contact Hope Grey at one of the addresses above or by 
telephone at (703) 358-2482.

    OMB Control Number: 1018-0130.
    Title: Import/Export of Wildlife and Wildlife Parts and Products 
and Plant Rescue, 50 CFR parts 12, 13, and 23.
    Service Form Number(s): 3-200-61.
    Type of Request: Revision of a currently approved collection.
    Affected Public: State and tribal governments; botanical gardens, 
arboreta, zoological parks and research institutions.
    Respondent's Obligation: Required to obtain or retain benefits.
    Frequency of Collection: On occasion.

                    Activity                         Number of       Number of      completion     Total annual
                                                    respondents      responses      time (hrs)      burden hrs
Approval of a CITES Export Program (American                   2               2              12              24
 ginseng, furbearers, American alligator).......
Reports--American Ginseng (FWS Form 3-200-61)...              25              25        \1\ 43.5     \1\ 1,087.5
Reports--Furbearer..............................              52              52               1              52
Reports--American Alligator.....................              10              10               1              10
Participation in the Plant Rescue Center Program               3               3               1               3
Plant Rescue Center Status Reports..............              69             140             0.5              70
    Totals......................................             161             232  ..............        1,246.5

    Estimated Total Annual Nonhour Burden Cost to Public: $3,000 for 
printing and travel costs associated with submission of FWS Form 3-200-
    Abstract: This information collection is associated with 
regulations implementing the Convention on International Trade in 
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES regulates 
international trade in listed species through a system of permits and 
certificates. Before issuing a CITES Appendix II export permit, the 
Service must find that: (1) The specimens to be exported were legally 
acquired and (2) the export will not be detrimental to the survival of 
the species in the wild. We must also monitor exports to ensure that 
the level of trade is sustainable.
    We have set up programs to streamline the process for making the 
findings for export of certain native species listed in CITES Appendix 
II. Working with State and tribal governments, we have established 
export programs for American alligator, American ginseng, and certain 
native furbearers. For States and tribes that request export approval 
for one or more of these species, we collect information from the State 
and tribal governments on: (1) The conservation management of the 
relevant CITES-listed species in their territory and (2) their laws 
regulating the harvest of these species. This information allows us to 
make findings on a State or tribal basis, rather than requiring 
individual permit applicants to provide the information on a permit-by-
permit basis.
    After we approve a State or tribal export program, we collect 
information from the State or tribal government in the form of annual 
reports. These reports request information on annual harvest levels and 
any changes to the State or tribal regulatory procedures over the past 
year. States and tribes may refer to information that they provided in 
previous years if there has been no change. The annual reports provide 
information that enables us to make findings on an annual or multi-year 
basis. Regular reporting from States and tribes helps us ensure that 
our findings

[[Page 41829]]

remain valid. We use FWS Form 3-200-61 (American Ginseng Export 
Program) to collect information on ginseng programs. We collect 
information on the other export programs by letter or e-mail.
    This information collection also pertains to plant rescue. Live 
plant specimens traded in violation of CITES are subject to seizure, 
and CITES requires that seized live plant material either be returned 
to the country of export or placed in a qualified rescue center in the 
country in which the seizure occurred. In the United States, we have a 
Plant Rescue Center program consisting of a network of botanical 
gardens, arboreta, zoological parks, and research institutions that 
have agreed to care for seized plant material. We collect information 
to determine if an institution is qualified to participate in the Plant 
Rescue Center program, as well as followup information from Plant 
Rescue Center participants confirming receipt of shipments and the 
condition of plants upon receipt. We collect this information via a 
letter or e-mail.
    Comments: On March 10, 2006, we published a notice in the Federal 
Register (71 FR 12393) soliciting public comment for a period of 60 
days on the information collection and recordkeeping requirements 
described here. The comment period ended May 9, 2006. We received 
comments from one individual and a State Department of Natural 
    The individual commenter did not address the necessity, clarity, or 
accuracy of the information collection, but instead provided a general 
statement of opposition to the information collection and the import or 
export of wildlife and plants. We did not make any changes to our 
information collection as a result of that comment.
    A number of the comments submitted by the State Department of 
Natural Resources address the necessity, clarity, or accuracy of the 
information collection and are addressed below. We revised FWS Form 3-
200-61 and the supporting statement for our request to OMB based on 
these comments.
    The commenter stated that ginseng is not rare and therefore should 
be removed from Appendix II. While there is a process for proposing 
delisting, the issue of whether or not ginseng should be listed in the 
CITES Appendices is outside the scope of this information collection; 
therefore, we will not address it here.
    In the supporting statement for FWS Form 3-200-61, we note that 
many of the individuals and companies digging and dealing in American 
ginseng operate in several States. We also request information on the 
movement of ginseng within the United States to assist us in keeping 
track of the legal trade. The commenter asserted that the vast majority 
of ginseng harvesters dig in the State where they live or vacation, but 
then noted that several dealers buy certified ginseng from dealers from 
other States. We continue to believe that many individuals involved in 
harvesting and selling American ginseng operate in multiple States. The 
commenter went on to note that she keeps records of every shipment of 
American ginseng bought and sold by dealers in her State from other 
States, but had never been asked to provide this information to the 
Fish and Wildlife Service. FWS Form 3-200-61 asks how States and tribes 
with approved American ginseng export programs handle ginseng entering 
from another State or tribe and if individuals and companies dealing in 
ginseng have to be licensed or registered.
    The commenter questioned the utility of collecting harvest data 
from the States as an indicator of the status of the species in the 
wild, and further recommended that such information not be collected by 
county, since she asserted that ``no one in FWS has ever used the 
county level data'' and such information may be incorrectly reported by 
ginseng diggers and dealers. We agree with the commenter that harvest 
levels of ginseng are not completely correlated to abundance of the 
species in the wild, but are affected by several other factors. 
However, over time a consistent change in harvest levels, especially a 
decline, serves as an indicator of a change in the species' abundance. 
Such changes signal to us the need to engage in more intensive 
consultations with the States and relevant experts to determine what is 
actually happening relative to the status of ginseng.
    In discussions with State ginseng coordinators and stakeholders 
(especially diggers, growers, and dealers), it is universally 
acknowledged that more effort is needed to assess the actual status of 
ginseng in the wild. However, because American ginseng has an extensive 
range, a meaningful status assessment would require significant funding 
and other resources. Although more information has been forthcoming on 
the status of ginseng, impacts of harvest, best harvest practices, and 
other aspects of ginseng biology, harvest, and trade, we still find 
that much of our evaluation of the sustainability of ginseng harvest is 
derived indirectly rather than through direct study of wild populations 
of the species. Therefore, until a more complete assessment and 
monitoring program can be developed, we still need to collect 
information on harvest levels of ginseng for making our nondetriment 
findings. The collection of such information is also useful in 
determining if there are significant discrepancies in what States are 
certifying as legally acquired and actual exports. Significant 
differences between amounts of ginseng certified and actual exports 
would serve to indicate fraud or other illegal activities, potentially 
in violation of both Federal and State laws, in addition to 
noncompliance with CITES.
    The commenter is mistaken in her belief that the county-level 
harvest data are not used. In fact, we stated in our 2003-2004 
nondetriment finding for ginseng that there was a strong correlation 
between harvest in certain counties and their proximity to or inclusion 
of U.S. Forest Service (USFS) lands. We used this information to note 
discrepancies between levels of harvest authorized by USFS and actual 
reported amounts, which we believe were potential indicators of illegal 
harvest on Federal lands. We provided this information to USFS to 
consider in their management of ginseng on their lands. More recently, 
in work done by the U.S. Geological Survey-Biological Resource 
Discipline (BRD) to assist us in evaluating the status of ginseng and 
the impacts of harvest, county harvest data were used to study ginseng 
abundance and its relationship to harvest levels as well as the number 
of ginseng dealers in a given area, particularly in and around Federal 
    In the supporting statement for FWS Form 3-200-61, we state that we 
use the information provided on FWS Form 3-200-61 to make nondetriment 
and legal acquisition findings as required under CITES. The commenter 
contended that the only person who can determine if the root were 
legally acquired is the person who dug the root, and it is impossible 
for dealers or State certifiers to verify legal acquisition. The 
certification that wild American ginseng was legally acquired is based 
on the presentation of a digger or dealer license, if required, and 
State or U.S. Forest Service harvest permits or landowner permission 
slips for all wild ginseng presented for certification. If a dealer or 
State certifier has reason to believe that the ginseng presented for 
certification were not legally acquired or that the digger or dealer 
violated the requirements for a license, that individual should not 
certify the ginseng roots in question. While we use the information 
from FWS Form 3-200-61 in making nondetriment and legal acquisition 
findings, this is not the only

[[Page 41830]]

information we use. In making the nondetriment findings, we also use 
information from peer-reviewed literature as well as information from 
federally funded and academic research projects. For the legal 
acquisition findings, we rely on the fact that States have legislation 
in place for managing ginseng populations as well as the capacity to 
enforce that legislation.
    With regard to duplication in the information collection, the 
commenter noted that the States are asked to resubmit information that 
has not changed from year to year, and she recommended that we require 
the States only to submit information on those items for which the 
information has changed from previous years. We agree with this 
suggestion and have included a clarification statement on FWS Form 3-
200-61 noting that information that has not changed from previous years 
does not need to be provided again. The commenter also stated that the 
requirement that States track unsold or unexported ginseng was 
burdensome and did not appear useful. FWS Form 3-200-61 does not 
require that States keep this information, but rather asks if States 
track this information as part of their program.
    The commenter expressed concern that the information collection 
would have a significant impact on small businesses or other small 
entities. The commenter stated that the only way a State agency could 
obtain the information requested would be to obtain that information 
from ginseng dealers, which are small businesses. It was the 
commenter's opinion that the requested information would require a 
minimum of 725 hours annually for the approximately 15 dealers within 
the commenter's State. Our programmatic findings reduce the information 
collection burden on individual businesses and greatly facilitate 
processing of permits. Through close cooperation with States within the 

range of American ginseng, we have developed the protocol for making 
programmatic findings and have established programs with 25 States. 
This process removes the burden on the individual exporter to provide 
all of the required information, thus significantly reducing the 
information collection burden on individual businesses. We disagree 
with the statement that this information collection would amount to a 
time burden in excess of 725 hours for approximately 1,800 ginseng 
purchases by the 15 or so dealers in the commenter's State. Of the 725 
hours identified, we believe that only 305 of those hours actually 
relate to issues of this information collection. In our opinion, the 
other 420 hours are for standard business practices and recordkeeping, 
such as for tax purposes, that the dealers would need to conduct 
whether or not we carried out this information collection. With an 
estimated 15 dealers, the annual time burden amounts to about 20 hours 
each, or 10 minutes per purchase.
    The commenter believed that we had underestimated the hour burden 
of the collection of information, and she provided a revised hour 
burden estimate based on her experience as a State American ginseng 
program coordinator. We do not agree with all of the elements included 
in the commenter's hour burden estimate, but we do agree that we 
previously underestimated the hour burden. We also believe that the 
hour burden on respondents is likely to vary from program to program. 
We have revised the information collection for FWS Form 3-200-61 to 
show an estimated range of 2 to 85 hours (an average of 43.5 hours) for 
the annual hour burden. We believe that our estimate of the average 
hourly wage of a person completing the form, approximately $20 per 
hour, is reasonable and we have revised the average total dollar value 
of annual burden hours as described above. The commenter included an 
estimated hour burden for costs to her agency resulting from program 
requirements imposed by the State. We do not believe that it is 
appropriate to include that estimate in the supporting statement for 
FWS Form 3-200-61 since it is not a requirement placed on the State by 
the Service.
    The commenter believed that our estimate of the total annual 
nonhour cost burden to respondents was incorrect. Although we do not 
agree that law enforcement activities associated with managing American 
ginseng are part of the annual nonhour cost burden, we have revised the 
supporting statement for FWS Form 3-200-61 to include $3,000 for 
printing and travel costs. We believe this is a reasonable estimate of 
the total annual nonhour cost burden to respondents.
    The commenter also included some general comments related to this 
information collection. The commenter remarked on the use of the phrase 
``States and tribes,'' noting that in her State ginseng harvested on 
tribal lands is incorporated into the State report. Although there are 
currently no tribes with approved American ginseng export programs, we 
have included the reference to tribes in this information collection in 
the event that a tribe seeks and obtains approval of a program 
separately from the State in which it is located, particularly as some 
States no longer manage or regulate resources on tribal lands. We have 
approved tribal programs for export of other CITES Appendix-II species 
(e.g., bobcat [Lynx rufus]).
    The commenter noted the difficulty in compiling the information and 
completing this information collection by May 1 of each year. On April 
19, 2006, we published a proposed rule in the Federal Register (71 FR 
20168) to revise the regulations that implement CITES. That proposed 
rule contains information collections related to those described here. 
In the proposed rule, we change the annual report due date from May 31 
to May 1. The harvest seasons for all of the States with currently 
approved American ginseng export programs end by December 31 at the 
latest. We believe that the States should reasonably be able to 
complete this information collection over a 4-month time period. This 
proposed change will ensure that we receive information in time for us 
to make required CITES findings before the beginning of the next 
harvest season.
    We again invite comments concerning this information collection on:
    (1) Whether or not the collection of information is necessary, 
including whether or not the information will have practical utility;
    (2) The accuracy of our estimate of the burden for this collection 
of information;
    (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. Comments submitted in response to this notice are a matter 
of public record.

    Dated: June 27, 2006.
Hope Grey,
Information Collection Clearance Officer, Fish and Wildlife Service.
 [FR Doc. E6-11645 Filed 7-21-06; 8:45 am]