[Federal Register: February 7, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 26)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 7236-7237]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[FWS-R6-ES-2008-0023; 1111 FY07 MO-B2]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding 
on a Petition To List the Bonneville Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus 
clarki utah) as Threatened or Endangered

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice; initiation of status review, and solicitation of new 


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
opening of a public comment period regarding the status of the 
Bonneville cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki utah) throughout its 
range in the United States. The 12-month finding for this subspecies, 
published in the Federal Register on October 9, 2001, has been 
withdrawn by the Service (Stansell Memorandum, August 24, 2007) due to 
the subsequent development of a formal opinion (Department of the 
Interior, March 16, 2007) regarding the legal interpretation of the 
term ``significant portion of the range'' of a species. The status 
review will include analysis of whether any significant portion of the 
range of the Bonneville cutthroat trout warrants listing as threatened 
or endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended 
(Act). Through this action, we encourage all interested parties to 
provide us information regarding the status of, and any potential 
threats to, the Bonneville cutthroat trout throughout its range, or any 
significant portion of its range.

DATES: To be fully considered for the 12-month finding, comments must 
be submitted on or before April 7, 2008.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 

Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, 
Attn: FWS-R6-ES-2008-0023; Division of Policy and Directives 
Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, 
Suite 222; Arlington, VA 22203.
    We will not accept e-mail or faxes. We will post all comments on 
http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any 

personal information you provide us (see the Public Comments section 
below for more information).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Larry Crist, Field Supervisor, Utah 
Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, at the above address, or 
phone (801) 975-3330, ext. 126. Additional information is available at 


Public Comments Solicited

    To ensure that the status review is complete and based on the best 
available scientific and commercial information, we are soliciting 
information concerning the status of the Bonneville cutthroat trout. We 
request any additional information, comments, and suggestions from the 
public, other concerned governmental agencies, Native American Tribes, 
the scientific community, industry, or any other interested parties. We 
are opening a 60-day comment period to allow all interested parties an 
opportunity to provide information on the status of the Bonneville 
cutthroat trout throughout its range, including:
    (1) Information regarding the species' historical and current 
population status, distribution, and trends; its biology and ecology; 
and habitat selection;
    (2) Information on the effects of potential threat factors that are 
the basis

[[Page 7237]]

for a species' listing determination under section 4(a) of the Act (16 
U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), which are:
    (a) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of the species' habitat or range;
    (b) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes;
    (c) Disease or predation;
    (d) Inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and
    (e) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued 
    (3) Information on management programs for the conservation of the 
Bonneville cutthroat trout.
    Please note that comments merely stating support for or opposition 
to the action under consideration without providing supporting 
information, although noted, will not be considered in making a 
determination, because section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act directs that 
determinations as to whether any species is a threatened or endangered 
species must be made ``solely on the basis of the best scientific and 
commercial data available.'' At the conclusion of the status review, we 
will issue a new 12-month finding on the petition, as provided in 
section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act.
    You may submit your comments and materials concerning this finding 
by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. We will not 
accept comments you send by e-mail or fax.
    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that we will post your entire comment--including your personal 
identifying information-on http://www.regulations.gov. While you can 

ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.
    Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting 
documentation we used in preparing this finding, will be available for 
public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, or by appointment, 

during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 
Utah Field Office, 2369 West Orton Circle, Suite 50, West Valley City, 
Utah 84119, telephone (801) 975-3330.


    Section 1533(b)(3)(A) and (B) of the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (Act) (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), requires that, for any 
petition to revise the Lists of Threatened and Endangered Wildlife and 
Plants, to the maximum extent practicable, within 90 days after 
receiving the petition, the Secretary shall make a finding as to 
whether the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial 
information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted. In 
addition, that within 12 months after receiving a petition that is 
found to present substantial information indicting that the petitioned 
action may be warranted, the Secretary shall make a finding on whether 
the petitioned action is: (a) not warranted, (b) warranted, or (c) 
warranted but precluded by other pending proposals. Such 12-month 
findings are to be published promptly in the Federal Register. This 
notice is to initiate a 12-month finding.
    On October 9, 2001, we announced our 12-month finding (66 FR 51362) 
in which we found that, after reviewing the best available scientific 
and commercial information, listing the Bonneville cutthroat trout was 
not warranted. We were sued by the Center for Biological Diversity on 
February 17, 2005 on the merits of the 12-month finding. On March 7, 
2007, the District Court of Colorado dismissed the lawsuit after 
determining that Plaintiffs failed to demonstrate the not warranted 
finding was arbitrary, capricious, or contrary to law. Plaintiffs 
appealed to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. However, due to 
subsequent development of a formal opinion (Department of the Interior, 
March 16, 2007) regarding the legal interpretation of the term 
``significant portion of the range'' of a species, we withdrew our 
finding (Stansell Memorandum, August 24, 2007). The lawsuit was 
subsequently dismissed and the case was closed on May 14, 2007. The new 
status review will include an analysis of whether any significant 
portion of the range of the Bonneville cutthroat trout warrants listing 
as threatened or endangered under the Act.
    At this time, we are soliciting new information on the status and 
potential threats to the Bonneville cutthroat trout. Information 
submitted in response to our 2001 12-month finding will be considered 
and need not be resubmitted. We will base our 12-month finding on a 
review of the best scientific and commercial information available, 
including all information received as a result of this notice. For more 
information on the biology, habitat, and range of the Bonneville 
cutthroat trout, please refer to our previous 12-month finding 
published in the Federal Register on October 9, 2001 (66 FR 51362).
    We request any new information concerning the status of the 
Bonneville cutthroat trout. If you submit information, support it with 
documentation such as maps, bibliographic references, methods used to 
gather and analyze the data, or copies of any pertinent publications, 
reports, or letters by knowledgeable sources. We specifically request 
information regarding data from any systematic surveys, as well as any 
studies or analysis of data regarding population size or trends; 
biology or ecology of the species; effects of current land management 
on population distribution and abundance; current condition of habitat; 
and conservation measures that have been implemented to benefit the 
species. Additionally, we specifically request information on the 
current distribution of populations, and threats to the subspecies in 
relation to the five listing factors (as defined in section 4(a)(1) of 
the Act).


    The primary authors of this document are staff of U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Utah Field Office--Ecological Services.


    The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: February 1, 2008.
H. Dale Hall,
Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. E8-2222 Filed 2-6-08; 8:45 am]