[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 122 (Friday, June 24, 2011)]
[Pages 37141-37142]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-15975]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R2-ES-2011-N108; 20124-1113-0000-C2]

Notice of Availability for Comment: Draft Recovery Plan, First 
Revision; Mexican Spotted Owl

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comment.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the availability 
of our draft recovery plan, first revision, for the Mexican Spotted Owl 
(Strix occidentalis lucida) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 
as amended (Act). This species occurs in the states of Arizona, 
Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah, south through the Sierra Madre 
Occidental and Sierra Madre Oriental in Mexico. We request review and 
comment on our plan from local, State, and Federal agencies; Tribes; 
and the public. We will also accept any new information on the status 
of the Mexican spotted owl throughout its range to assist in finalizing 
the revised recovery plan.

DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive written comments on or 
before August 23, 2011. However, we will accept information about any 
species at any time.

ADDRESSES: If you wish to review the draft recovery plan, you may 
obtain a copy by visiting our Web site at http://endangered.fws.gov/recovery/index.html#plans. Alternatively, you may contact the Arizona 
Ecological Services Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2321 West 
Royal Palm Road, Phoenix, Arizona 85021-4951 (602) 242-0210, phone). If 
you wish to comment on the plan, you may submit your comments in 
writing by any one of the following methods:
     U.S. mail: Field Supervisor, at the above address;
     Hand-delivery: Arizona Ecological Services Office at the 
above address;
     Fax: (602) 242-2513; or
     E-mail: http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/Arizona/ (type 
``Mexican spotted owl'' in the document title search field).
    For additional information about submitting comments, see the 
``Request for Public Comments'' section below.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Spangle, Field Supervisor, at 
the above address, phone number, or e-mail.



    Recovery of endangered or threatened animals and plants to the 
point where they are again secure, self-sustaining members of their 
ecosystems is a primary goal of our endangered species program and the 
Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Recovery means improvement of the status 
of listed species to the point at which listing is no longer 
appropriate under the criteria set out in section 4(a)(1) of the Act. 
The Act requires the development of recovery plans for listed species, 
unless such a plan would not promote the conservation of a particular 

Species' History

    We listed the Mexican spotted owl as a threatened species under the 
Act on March 16, 1993 (58 FR 14248). We designated critical habitat on 
August 31, 2004 (69 FR 53182).
    We originally completed and announced a recovery plan for the 
Mexican spotted owl on October 16, 1995. However, updates on status 
information and experience in implementing the original recovery plan 
led to our determination that revision is warranted.
    The Mexican spotted owl species nests and roosts in forested areas 
exhibiting multilayered, uneven-aged tree structure, and in steep, 
rocky canyonlands. Forested habitats used by the owl vary throughout 
its range and by activity (nesting, roosting, foraging, dispersal/
migration). However, the forest types believed most important to 
Mexican spotted owls are mixed conifer, pine-oak, and riparian 
    Threats to the owl's population in the United States have 
transitioned from commercial-based timber harvest at the time of 
listing, to the risk of stand-replacing wildfire. The revised recovery 
plan recommends protection of currently occupied home ranges, plus 
development of replacement nesting/roosting habitat over time. The plan 
recognizes the need to manage these forest landscapes to minimize the 
effects of large, stand-replacing wildfires, believed to be the 
greatest current threat to the species.

Recovery Plan Goals

    The objective of an agency recovery plan is to provide a framework 
for the recovery of a species so that protection under the Act is no 
longer necessary. A recovery plan includes scientific information about 
the species and provides criteria and actions necessary for us to be 
able to reclassify the species to threatened status or remove it from 
the Federal List of Endangered and

[[Page 37142]]

Threatened Wildlife and Plants (List). Recovery plans help guide our 
recovery efforts by describing actions we consider necessary for the 
species' conservation, and by estimating time and costs for 
implementing needed recovery measures. To achieve its goals, this draft 
recovery plan identifies the following objectives:
     Support the Mexican spotted owl throughout its range in 
     Maintain habitat conditions necessary to provide roosting 
and nesting habitat for the Mexican spotted owl through time.
    The draft revised recovery plan contains recovery criteria based on 
maintaining and increasing population numbers and habitat quality and 
quantity. The revised recovery plan focuses on protecting populations, 
managing threats, maintaining habitat, monitoring progress, and 
building partnerships to facilitate recovery.
    As the subspecies meets recovery criteria, we will review the 
subspecies' status and consider removal from the List.

Request for Public Comments

    Section 4(f) of the Act requires us to provide public notice and an 
opportunity for public review and comment during recovery plan 
development. It is also our policy to request peer review of recovery 
plans (July 1, 1994; 59 FR 34270). In an appendix to the approved 
recovery plan, we will summarize and respond to the issues raised by 
the public and peer reviewers. Substantive comments may or may not 
result in changes to the recovery plan; comments regarding recovery 
plan implementation will be forwarded as appropriate to Federal or 
other entities so that they can be taken into account during the course 
of implementing recovery actions. Responses to individual commenters 
will not be provided, but we will provide a summary of how we addressed 
substantive comments in an appendix to the approved recovery plan.
    We invite written comments on the draft revised recovery plan. This 
plan has undergone significant revision since the original plan, 
incorporating the most recent scientific research specific to the 
Mexican spotted owl and input from the Recovery Team. In particular, we 
are interested in information regarding the current threats to the 
species and the costs associated with implementing the recommended 
recovery actions.
    Before we approve the plan, we will consider all comments we 
receive by the date specified in DATES above. Methods of submitting 
comments are in the ADDRESSES section above.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. 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 will be available, by 
appointment, for public inspection during normal business hours at our 
office (see ADDRESSES).


    We developed our draft recovery plan under the authority of section 
4(f) of the Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(f). We publish this notice under 
section 4(f) Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 
et seq.).

    Dated: June 6, 2011.
Joy Nicholopoulos,
Acting Regional Director, Southwest Region.
[FR Doc. 2011-15975 Filed 6-23-11; 8:45 am]