[Federal Register: May 29, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 102)]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Fish and Wildlife Service
Notice of Availability of the Revised Recovery Plan for the
Whooping Crane (Grus americana)
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 revised Recovery Plan for the Whooping Crane (Grus
americana). This is the third revision of the recovery plan for this
species; the original was completed in 1980. The whooping crane is
found in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains and in central
Canada. This revision to the recovery plan was developed by an
international team and will be jointly adopted by the United States and
ADDRESSES: Copies of the recovery plan on CD may be obtained from the
Whooping Crane Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Aransas
National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 100, Austwell, Texas 77950, or the
plan may be downloaded from the Internet at http://www.fws.gov/endangered
(type ``whooping crane'' in the species search field).
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tom Stehn, USFWS Whooping Crane
Coordinator, Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 100, Austwell,
Texas 77950; telephone (361) 286-3559, ext. 221, facsimile (361) 286-
3722, e-mail: Tom_Stehn@fws.gov.
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 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
In the United States, the whooping crane (Grus americana) was
listed as Threatened with Extinction in 1967 and Endangered in 1970--
both listings were ``grandfathered'' into the Endangered Species Act of
1973. Critical habitat was designated in 1978. In Canada, it was
designated as Endangered in 1978 by the Committee on the Status of
Endangered Wildlife in Canada; critical habitat in Canada will be
designated upon publication of the final recovery strategy on the
Species at Risk Act public registry.
Whooping cranes occur only in North America. Approximately 343
individuals exist in the wild at 3 locations, and 135 whooping cranes
are in captivity at 9 sites. Only the Aransas--Wood Buffalo National
Park population (AWBP) that nests in Canada and winters in coastal
marshes in Texas is self-sustaining, with approximately 220 in the
flock. With so few individuals surviving, the population remains in
danger of extinction. Historic population declines resulted from
habitat destruction, shooting, and displacement by activities of man.
Current threats include limited genetics, loss and degradation of
migration stopover habitat, collisions with power lines, and
degradation of coastal habitat and threat of chemical spills.
The revised recovery plan includes scientific information about the
species and provides objectives and actions needed to downlist the
species. Recovery actions designed to achieve these objectives include
protection and enhancement of the breeding, migration, and wintering
habitat for the AWBP to allow the wild flock to grow and reach
ecological and genetic stability; reintroduction and establishment of
geographically separate self-sustaining wild flocks to ensure
resilience to catastrophic events; and maintenance of a captive
breeding flock to protect against extinction that is genetically
managed to retain a minimum of 90 percent of the whooping crane's
genetic material for 100 years.
The current recovery goal is to reclassify (downlist) the species
from endangered to threatened status. Criteria to delist the species
are not being proposed at this time because the status and biology of
the species dictate that considerable time (over 20 years) is needed to
reach downlisting goals. Additional threats are expected to arise and
will have to be overcome before downlisting occurs. Additional
information is also needed on the conservation biology of small
populations, including a determination of effective population size
(Ne) for whooping cranes to maintain genetic viability over
the long-term, and impacts of stochastic and catastrophic events on
population survival. Delisting criteria will be established, as
appropriate, in a subsequent revision of, or amendment to, this
Downlisting can be achieved when (1) There are a minimum of 40
productive pairs in the AWBP and 25 productive pairs in each of two
additional self-sustaining populations, or (1A) there are 100
productive pairs in the AWBP and 30 productive pairs in a second self-
sustaining population, or (1B) there are 250 productive pairs in the
AWBP, and (2) there are at least 21 productive pairs in the captive
This revision to the recovery plan was developed by an
international recovery team, and will be jointly adopted by the United
States and Canada.
The authority for this action is Section 4(f) of the Endangered
Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(f).
Dated: July 21, 2006.
Benjamin N. Tuggle,
Acting Regional Director, Region 2.
Editorial Note: This document was received at the Office of the
Federal Register on May 22, 2007.
[FR Doc. E7-10099 Filed 5-25-07; 8:45 am]
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