[Federal Register: May 6, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 88)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 24910-24911]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[FWS-R6-ES-2008-0053; 1111 FY07 MO-B2]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding 
on a Petition to List the White-tailed Prairie Dog (Cynomys leucurus) 
as Threatened or Endangered

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Initiation of status review.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
initiation of a status review for the white-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys 
leucurus) throughout its range in the United States. The status review 
will include analysis of whether the white-tailed prairie dog 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 white-tailed prairie dog throughout 
its range, or any significant portion of its range.

DATES: We will accept information received or postmarked on or before 
July 7, 2008 to allow us time to review and consider the information in 
the evaluation of the status of the species and our 12-month finding.

ADDRESSES: You may submit information 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-2008-0053; 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 information on 
http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any 
personal information you provide us (see the Information Solicited 
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.


Information 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 white-tailed prairie dog. We 
request information 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 white-tailed prairie dog throughout its range, 
    (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 for a species' listing determination under section 4 (a) of 
the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), which are:
    (a) 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 
white-tailed prairie dog.
    Please note that submissions 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 information concerning this status review by 
one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. We will not 
consider submissions sent by e-mail or fax or to an address not listed 
in the ADDRESSES section.
    If you submit information via http://www.regulations.gov, your 
entire submission--including any personal identifying information--will 
be posted on the Web site. If your submission is

[[Page 24911]]

made via a hardcopy that includes personal identifying information, you 
may request at the top of your document that we withhold this 
information from public review. However, we cannot guarantee that we 
will be able to do so. We will post all hardcopy submissions on http://
    Information 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.


    On July 15, 2002, we received a petition from the Center for Native 
Ecosystems, Forest Guardians, Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, and 
Terry Tempest Williams requesting that we list the white-tailed prairie 
dog (Cynomys leucurus) as threatened or endangered across its entire 
    Section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act 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, we make a finding as to whether the petition presents 
substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the 
petitioned action may be warranted. In addition, within 12 months of 
the date of the receipt of the petition, we 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.
    On November 9, 2004, we announced our 90-day finding (69 FR 64889) 
that the petition did not present substantial scientific or commercial 
information indicating that listing may be warranted. On July 12, 2007, 
in a Director's memorandum, the Service announced that we would review 
the November 9, 2004, finding after questions were raised about the 
integrity of scientific information used and whether the decision made 
was consistent with the appropriate legal standards. We received a 
lawsuit from the Center for Native Ecosystems, and three other 
entities, on November 27, 2007, regarding our not substantial 90-day 
finding. On February 22, 2008, based on our review of the petition and 
the previous finding, we agreed, in a stipulated settlement agreement, 
to submit a notice initiating a 12-month finding for the white-tailed 
prairie dog to the Federal Register on or before May 1, 2008, and to 
submit a 12-month finding for the white-tailed prairie dog to the 
Federal Register on or before June 1, 2010. This notice initiates the 
12-month finding for the white-tailed prairie dog. The lawsuit was 
dismissed February 26, 2008.
    At this time, we are soliciting new information on the status and 
potential threats to the white-tailed prairie dog. 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 white-tailed prairie dog, please refer to our 90-day finding 
published in the Federal Register on November 9, 2004 (69 FR 64889).
    We request any new information concerning the status of the white-
tailed prairie dog. 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.


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


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

    Dated: April 29, 2008.
Kenneth Stansell,
Acting Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. E8-9830 Filed 5-5-08; 8:45 am]