[Federal Register: November 19, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 222)]
[Page 65058-65059]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Draft Revised Recovery Plan for the Attwater's Prairie-Chicken 
(Tympanuchus cupido attwateri)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of the draft revised recovery plan for the Attwater's 
prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri). This is the second 
revision of the recovery plan for this species; the original was 
completed in 1983. We are soliciting review and comment from the public 
on this draft revised recovery plan.

DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive comments by January 18, 

ADDRESSES: You may obtain copies of the recovery plan on CD from the 
Refuge Manager, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Attwater Prairie 
Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 519, Eagle Lake, Texas 
77434, or download it from the Internet at http://www.fws.gov/
endangered (type ``Attwater's'' in the species search field).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Terry Rossignol, Refuge Manager, 
Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 519, Eagle 
Lake, Texas 77434; telephone 979-234-3021, ext. 13, facsimile 979-234-
3278, e-mail: terry--rossignol@fws.gov.



    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 provided during a public comment period prior 
to approval of each new or revised recovery plan. The Service and 
others take these comments into account in the course of implementing 
recovery plans.
    The Attwater's prairie-chicken was listed as Endangered with 
Extinction in 1967. This listing was ``grandfathered'' into the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973. Critical habitat has not been 
designated for this species. Attwater's prairie-chickens occur only in 
coastal prairie habitats of Texas in the United States. Fewer than 50 
individuals exist in the wild at 2 locations, and approximately 150 
Attwater's are in captivity at 7 sites. With so few individuals 
surviving, the population remains in imminent danger of extinction. 
Habitat destruction and degradation, and to a lesser extent over 
harvesting, are the primary factors contributing to historic population 
declines. Current threats include extremely small populations, habitat 
and population fragmentation resulting in genetic isolation, diseases 
and parasites in both the wild and captive setting, inability of 
captive breeding facilities to produce large numbers of captively-
reared birds that are capable of survival and reproduction in wild 
habitats, and poor brood survival in wild populations.
    The revised recovery plan includes scientific information about the 
species and provides objectives and actions needed to recover the 
Attwater's prairie-chicken and ultimately remove it from the list of 
threatened and endangered species. Recovery actions designed to achieve 
these objectives include restoration of a network of large, high 
quality grasslands within a large (greater than 100 linear miles) 
geographic area to minimize threats from catastrophic weather and allow 
for gene flow among populations, maintenance of 90 percent of original 
gene diversity in a captive flock of 200 for 20 years, increasing 
production of the captive flock to allow for release at multiple sites, 
establishment of multiple greater than 500-bird populations within the 
grassland network, and broadening public support and partner efforts to 
conserve the Attwater's and its coastal prairie ecosystem.
    The current recovery goal is to protect and ensure the survival of 
the Attwater's prairie-chicken and its habitat, allowing the population 
to reach a measurable level of ecological and genetic stability so that 
it can be reclassified to threatened status (downlisted) and ultimately 
removed from the endangered species list (delist). Downlisting can be 
considered when the population maintains a minimum of 3,000 breeding 
adults annually over a 5-year period. These birds should be distributed 
along a linear distance of no less then 50 miles to mitigate for 
environmental stochasticity (e.g.,

[[Page 65059]]

hurricanes, drought) while maintaining gene flow. Delisting can be 
considered when the population reaches a minimum of 6,000 breeding 
adults over a 10-year period, and occupies habitats along a linear 
distance of no less than 100 miles. We estimate approximately 50 years 
will be required to achieve the delisting criteria.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment, including your personal identifying 
information, may be made publicly available at any time. While we will 
try to honor your written request to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.


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

    Dated: October 23, 2007.
Christopher T. Jones,
Acting Regional Director, Regions 2.
[FR Doc. 07-5705 Filed 11-16-07; 8:45 am]