[Federal Register: April 12, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 70)]
[Page 18767]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 18767]]



 Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of the Draft Recovery Plan for the 
Chiricahua Leopard Frog

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces the 
availability of the Draft Recovery Plan for the Chiricahua Leopard Frog 
(Draft Recovery Plan) for public review. The species occurs in montane 
and river valley cienegas, springs, pools, cattle tanks, reservoirs, 
streams, and rivers in central and southeastern Arizona, west-central 
and southwestern New Mexico, and the sky islands and Sierra Madre 
Occidental of northeastern Sonora and western Chihuahua, Mexico, at 
elevations of approximately 3,000-9,000 feet. The Draft Recovery Plan 
recommends actions to lessen and alleviate threats to the species, and 
presents objective and measurable delisting criteria. The Service 
solicits review and comment from the public on this Draft Recovery 

DATES: The comment period for this Draft Recovery Plan closes June 12, 
2006. Comments on the Draft Recovery Plan must be received by the 
closing date to assure consideration.

ADDRESSES: Persons wishing to review the Draft Recovery Plan can obtain 
a copy from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Ecological 
Services Field Office, 2321 W. Royal Palm Road, Suite 103, Phoenix, 
Arizona 85021. The Draft Recovery Plan may also be obtained from the 
Internet at http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/leaving.cgi?from=leavingFR.html&log=linklog&to=http://www.fws.gov/endangered (type ``Chiricahua leopard 

frog'' in the Species search field). Comments and materials concerning 
this Draft Recovery Plan may be mailed to ``Field Supervisor'' at the 
address above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jim Rorabaugh, Arizona Ecological 
Services Field Office, at the above address; telephone (602) 242-0210, 
facsimile (602) 242-2513.



    The Chiricahua leopard frog (Rana chiricahuensis) was listed as 
threatened on June 13, 2002, under authority of the Endangered Species 
Act of 1973, as amended (67 FR 40790). The range of the Chiricahua 
leopard frog (Rana chiricahuensis) is divided into two parts, 
including--(1) A southern group of populations (the majority of the 
species' range) located in mountains and valleys south of the Gila 
River in southeastern Arizona, extreme southwestern New Mexico, and 
Mexico; and (2) northern montane populations in west central New Mexico 
and along the Mogollon Rim in central and eastern Arizona. The 
distribution and status of the species in Mexico is not well 
understood. The threats facing the survival and recovery of this 
species include predation by non-native fish, amphibians, and crayfish; 
the fungal disease chytridiomycosis; climatic extremes (e.g., drought, 
floods); degradation and loss of habitat as a result of water 
diversions, groundwater pumping, catastrophic fire, mining, and some 
livestock management; disruption of metapopulation dynamics; increased 
chance of extinction resulting from small populations; and possibly 
environmental contamination.
    The delisting criteria proposed in the Draft Plan recommend that 
the Chiricahua leopard frog should be considered for delisting when: 
(1) At least two metapopulations located in different drainages plus at 
least one isolated and robust population in each of eight recovery 
units exhibit long-term persistence and stability; (2) aquatic breeding 
habitats are protected; (3) additional habitat needed for population 
connectivity, recolonization, and dispersal is protected and managed; 
and (4) threats and causes of decline have been reduced or eliminated, 
and commitments of long-term management are in place in each recovery 
unit. High-priority recovery tasks to lessen and alleviate these 
threats include actions to protect remaining populations and habitat; 
restore unoccupied habitats and create new habitat; establish new 
populations and augment existing populations; monitor; and develop 
conservation efforts on private, public, and tribal land, and in 
    Restoring an endangered or threatened animal or plant to the point 
where it is again a secure, self-sustaining member of its ecosystem is 
a primary goal of the Service's endangered species program. To help 
guide the recovery effort, the Service is working to prepare recovery 
plans for most of the listed species native to the United States. 
Recovery plans describe actions considered necessary for conservation 
of species, establish criteria for downlisting or delisting them, and 
estimate time and cost for implementing the recovery measures needed.
    The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act), as amended (16 U.S.C. 
1531 et seq.), requires the development of recovery plans for listed 
species, unless such a plan would not promote the conservation of a 
particular species. Section 4(f) of the Act, as amended in 1988, 
requires that public notice and an opportunity for public review and 
comment be provided during recovery plan development. The Service 
considers all information presented during a public comment period 
prior to approval of each new or revised recovery plan. The Service and 
others also take these comments into account in the course of 
implementing recovery plans.
    The Chiricahua Leopard Frog Draft Recovery Plan is being submitted 
for review to all interested parties, including independent peer 
review. After consideration of comments received during the review 
period, the recovery plan will be submitted for final approval.

Public Comments Solicited

    The Service solicits written comments on the recovery plan 
described. All comments received by the date specified above will be 
considered prior to approval of the recovery plan.


    The authority for this action is section 4(f) of the Endangered 
Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(f).

    Dated: March 15, 2006.
Benjamin N. Tuggle,
Acting Regional Director, Southwest Region, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. E6-5354 Filed 4-11-06; 8:45 am]