[Federal Register: June 4, 2007 (Volume 72, Number 106)]
[Page 30820-30821]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Chiricahua Leopard 
Frog Recovery Plan

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability: final recovery plan for Chiricahua 
leopard frog.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of a final recovery plan for the Chiricahua leopard frog 
(Rana chiricahuensis). The species occurs in central and southeastern 
Arizona, west-central and southwestern New Mexico, and the sky islands 
and Sierra Madre Occidental of northeastern Sonora and northwestern 
Chihuahua, Mexico. The Chiricahua Leopard Frog Recovery Plan (Recovery 
Plan) presents information on the species and its habitat, including 
delisting criteria and recovery actions to conserve the species.

ADDRESSES: You may access this document from our Web site, http://fws.gov/arizonaes/.
 Copies of the Recovery Plan are also available on 

compact disk or in hard copy. To obtain a copy, contact Jim Rorabaugh 
by U.S. mail at Arizona Ecological Services Field Office, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 2321 West Royal Palm Road, Suite 103, Phoenix, AZ 

242-0210 x238 (telephone) or jim_rorabaugh@fws.gov (e-mail).


[[Page 30821]]


    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. On April 12, 
2006, we published a notice of document availability in the Federal 
Register announcing the availability for public review of the draft 
Recovery Plan (71 FR 18767). We accepted public comments through June 
12, 2006. We also conducted peer review at this time. We received six 
letters of comment during the comment period. Based on this input, we 
revised and finalized the Recovery Plan.
    The Recovery Plan describes the status, current management, 
recovery objectives and criteria, and specific actions needed to 
recover and delist the threatened Chiricahua leopard frog. The Recovery 
Plan was developed by a recovery team, including a Technical Subgroup 
and three Stakeholders Subgroups, in coordination with the Service. The 
Technical Subgroup included experts on the species, conservation 
biology, and other relevant topics. The Stakeholders Subgroups included 
land owners and managers, agency representatives, ranchers, the mining 
industry, environmental organizations, herpetologists, and other 
interested parties.
    The Chiricahua leopard frog is an inhabitant of a variety of valley 
and montane aquatic habitats, such as springs, pools, cattle tanks, 
lakes, reservoirs, streams, and rivers. The frog has disappeared from 
more than 80 percent of its historical localities due to threats 
including predation by non-native organisms, especially American 
bullfrogs, fishes, and crayfish; the fungal disease chytridiomycosis; 
drought; floods; degradation and loss of habitat as a result of water 
diversions, groundwater pumping, and livestock management that has or 
continues to degrade frog habitats; a long history of fire suppression, 
mining, development, and other human activities; disruption of 
metapopulation dynamics; increased chance of extirpation or extinction 
resulting from small numbers of populations and individuals existing in 
dynamic environments; and probably environmental contamination (such as 
runoff from mining operations and airborne contaminants from copper 
    Actions needed to recover the Chiricahua leopard frog include 
protection of existing populations and occupied habitats, creation or 
restoration of additional habitats and populations, control of non-
native predators and minimizing spread of disease, monitoring of the 
recovery effort and frog populations, research that will facilitate 
better and more efficient recovery, and adaptive management. The 
Recovery Plan provides delisting criteria for the species that will 
indicate the species is no longer threatened with extinction throughout 
all or a significant portion of its range. When the following criteria 
have been met, the species may be considered for removal from the List 
of Threatened and Endangered Wildlife: (1) At least two metapopulations 
located in different drainages plus at least one isolated and robust 
population in each recovery unit exhibit long-term persistence and 
stability as demonstrated by a scientifically acceptable population 
monitoring program; (2) Aquatic breeding habitats necessary for 
persistence of metapopulations and isolated populations are protected 
and managed; (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 such that 
the Chiricahua leopard frog is unlikely to need protection under the 
Act in the foreseeable future.


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

    Dated: March 14, 2007.
Benjamin N. Toggle,
Regional Director, Region 2, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
 [FR Doc. E7-10674 Filed 6-1-07; 8:45 am]