[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 119 (Tuesday, June 21, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 36068-36071]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-15403]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2009-0044; MO 92210-0-0009]
RIN 1018-AW86

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of 
Critical Habitat for the Sonoma County Distinct Population Segment of 
the California Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma californiense)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; revision and reopening of comment period.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the

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reopening of the comment period on our August 18, 2009, proposed 
designation of critical habitat for the Sonoma County Distinct 
Population Segment of the California tiger salamander (Ambystoma 
californiense) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. We 
also announce revisions to the proposed critical habitat unit. In this 
revised proposal, we add 4,945 ac (2,001 ha) to the proposed critical 
habitat unit in the general area of Roblar Road, based on peer review 
and other information submitted in the previous public comment period. 
In total, we are proposing to designate approximately 55,800 acres (ac) 
(22,580 hectares (ha)) of land as critical habitat for the Sonoma 
California tiger salamander. We are reopening the comment period to 
allow interested parties an opportunity to comment on the revised 
proposed critical habitat. Comments previously submitted need not be 
resubmitted and will be fully considered in preparation of the final 

DATES: We will consider public comments received on or before July 5, 
2011. Comments must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the 
closing date. Any comments that we receive after the closing date may 
not be considered in the final decision on this action.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. FWS-R8-
     U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, 
Attn: FWS-R8-ES-2009-0044; Division of Policy and Directives 
Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS-
2042 PDM; Arlington, VA, 22203.
    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: Susan Moore, Field Supervisor, or 
Karen Leyse, Listing Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, 2800 Cottage Way, Room W-2605, 
Sacramento, CA 95825; telephone 916-414-6600; facsimile 916-414-6713. 
Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call 
the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.


Public Comments

    We intend that any final action resulting from this revised 
proposed rule will be based on the best scientific data available and 
will be as accurate and as effective as possible. We will accept 
written comments and information during this reopened comment period on 
our amended proposed designation of critical habitat for the Sonoma 
County Distinct Population Segment (Sonoma DPS) of the California tiger 
salamander that was published in the Federal Register on August 18, 
2009 (74 FR 41662), our proposed revised designation (76 FR 2863; 
January 18, 2011), our draft economic analysis (DEA) of the proposed 
designation, and the amended required determinations provided in the 
January 18, 2011, Federal Register (76 FR 2863) document. We will 
consider information and recommendations from all interested parties. 
We are particularly interested in comments concerning the addition of 
the area previously not identified as meeting the criteria for critical 
habitat, but which now is being proposed as critical habitat. The 
additional area is located along Roblar Road west of the City of Cotati 
and State Route 116.
    If you submitted comments or information on the proposed rule or 
revised proposed rule (74 FR 41662; August 18, 2009, or 76 FR 2863; 
January 18, 2011) during any of the previous comment periods, please do 
not resubmit them. These comments are included in the public record for 
this rulemaking, and we will fully consider them in the preparation of 
our final determination. You may submit your comments and materials 
concerning this revised proposed rule, the DEA associated with the 
revised proposed critical habitat designation, and the amended required 
determinations by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES.
    If you submit a comment via http://www.regulations.gov, your entire 
submission--including any personal identifying information--will be 
posted on the website. If your submission is made via a hard copy 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 hard copy comments on http://www.regulations.gov. Please 
include sufficient information with your comments to allow us to verify 
any scientific or commercial information you include.
    Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting 
documentation used to prepare this notice, will be available for public 
inspection at http://www.regulations.gov, or by appointment, during 
normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), 
Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office (see the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT). You may obtain copies of the proposed designation of critical 
habitat (74 FR 41662) and the DEA on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2009-0044, or by mail from 
the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office (see the FOR FURTHER 


    It is our intent to discuss only those topics directly relevant to 
the designation of critical habitat in this revised proposed rule. 
Additional background information can be found in the previously 
proposed revised critical habitat notice (76 FR 2863; January 18, 
2011). Based on peer review information, we now propose a revision to 
the proposed critical habitat unit for the Sonoma County DPS of the 
California tiger salamander; accordingly, approximately 55,800 acres 
(ac) (22,580 hectares (ha)) in Sonoma County, California, meet the 
definition of critical habitat. The proposed revision adds 
approximately 4,945 ac (2,001 ha) to the proposed designation.

Revisions to Proposed Critical Habitat

    In this notice, we are revising the proposed unit (Santa Rosa Plain 
Unit), as described in the January 18, 2011 (76 FR 2863), proposed rule 
based on peer review and other information submitted in the previous 
public comment period. The information noted that there are three known 
breeding sites for the Sonoma County DPS of the California tiger 
salamander in the Roblar Road area. The peer reviewer stated that 
aerial photographs were reviewed and reconnaissance visits to the area 
were performed. The peer reviewer commented that the Roblar Road area 
likely consists of a California tiger salamander metapopulation with 
multiple known breeding sites. The peer reviewer recommended that we 
include the area within a minimum of 1.3 miles (mi) (2 kilometers (km)) 
from each of the three Roblar breeding sites as critical habitat. The 
1.3-mi (2-km) distance is based on observations of California tiger 
salamanders from the nearest breeding ponds (Sweet 1998).
    The Roblar Road area contains the physical and biological features 
essential to the conservation of the species, and these features may 
require special management considerations or

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protection. These features include: ponded fresh water habitat 
inundated during the appropriate timeframe and for the appropriate 
duration; upland habitats adjacent and accessible to and from ponds 
that contain underground refugia; and upland dispersal habitat between 
occupied locations that allow for movement between ponded or upland 
sites. Based on life history, dispersal capabilities, and habitat use 
by the species, we consider this additional area to have been occupied 
by the species at the time of listing. However, even if this additional 
breeding area was not occupied at the time of listing, we consider the 
Roblar Road area essential for the conservation of the species, based 
on the species' limited distribution within fragmented habitat within 
the Santa Rosa Plain area.
    The proposed addition totals approximately 4,945 ac (2,001 ha). 
Table 1 below shows the approximate area and landownership within the 
unit. We are revising the final economic analysis (FEA) to include this 
additional area in the analysis, utilizing the same methodology to 
estimate economic impacts employed in the DEA. The FEA will contain an 
addendum explaining these anticipated economic costs and impacts.

                   Table 1--Proposed Critical Habitat
    [Area estimates reflect all land within the critical habitat unit
                          Santa Rosa Plain Unit
                                                        Size of area in
                Land ownership by type                 acres  (hectares)
Federal..............................................              0 (0)
State................................................          984 (398)
City.................................................          805 (326)
County...............................................          633 (256)
Tribal...............................................          264 (107)
Private..............................................    53,114 (21,494)
    Total............................................    55,800 (22,580)
Note: Area sizes may not sum due to rounding.

    In summary, the purpose of this revision to the proposed critical 
habitat is to better delineate the areas that contain the physical or 
biological features essential to the conservation of the species and 
that meet the definition of critical habitat for the California tiger 
salamander in Sonoma County. This revision is based on recent 
documentation of adult California tiger salamanders and known breeding 
ponds in the vicinity of Roblar Road.


    The primary authors of this notice are the staff members of the 
Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT section).

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

Proposed Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, we propose to further amend part 17, subchapter B of 
chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as proposed to 
be amended at 74 FR 41662, August 18, 2009, as follows:


    1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 16 U.S.C. 1531-1544; 16 U.S.C. 
4201-4245; Pub. L. 99-625, 100 Stat. 3500; unless otherwise noted.

    2. Critical habitat for the California tiger salamander (Ambystoma 
californiense) in Sonoma County at Sec.  17.95(d) is proposed to be 
amended by revising the heading, paragraph (53)(i), and paragraph (56) 
to read as follows:

Sec.  17.95  Critical habitat--fish and wildlife.

* * * * *
    (d) Amphibians.
* * * * *

California Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma californiense)
* * * * *

California Tiger Salamander (Ambystoma californiense) in Sonoma County
* * * * *
    (53) * * *
    (i) Standing bodies of fresh water (including natural and manmade 
(e.g., stock) ponds, vernal pools, and other ephemeral or permanent 
water bodies) that typically support inundation during winter and early 
spring and hold water for a minimum of 12 consecutive weeks in a year 
of average rainfall.
* * * * *
    (56) Santa Rosa Plain Unit, Sonoma County, California.
    (i) [Reserved for textual description of the Santa Rosa Plain Unit, 
Sonoma County, California.]
    (ii) Note: Map of Santa Rosa Plain Unit, Sonoma County, California, 

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* * * * *

    Dated: June 13, 2011.
Rachel Jacobson,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2011-15403 Filed 6-20-11; 8:45 am]