[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 209 (Friday, October 28, 2011)]
[Pages 66952-66953]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-27918]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R9-MB-2011-N197; 91200-1231-9BPP-L2]

Information Collection Request Sent to the Office of Management 
and Budget (OMB) for Approval; Conservation Order for Light Geese

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) have sent an Information 
Collection Request (ICR) to OMB for review and approval. We summarize 
the ICR below and describe the nature of the collection and the 
estimated burden and cost. This information collection is scheduled to 
expire on October 31, 2011. We may not conduct or sponsor and a person 
is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it 
displays a currently valid OMB control number. However, under OMB 
regulations, we may continue to conduct or sponsor this information 
collection while it is pending at OMB.

DATES: You must submit comments on or before November 28, 2011.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments and suggestions on this information 
collection to the Desk Officer for the Department of the Interior at 
OMB-OIRA at (202) 395-5806 (fax) or OIRA_DOCKET@OMB.eop.gov (email). 
Please provide a copy of your comments to the Service Information 
Collection Clearance Officer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS 2042-
PDM, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203 (mail), or 
INFOCOL@fws.gov (email). Please include ``1018-0103'' in the subject 
line of your comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: To request additional information 
about this ICR, contact Hope Grey at INFOCOL@fws.gov (email) or (703) 
358-2482 (telephone). You may view the ICR online at http://www.reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to view Department of the 
Interior collections under review by OMB.

    OMB Control Number: 1018-0103.
    Title: Conservation Order for Light Geese, 50 CFR 21.60.
    Service Form Number(s): None.
    Type of Request: Revision of a currently approved collection.
    Description of Respondents: State and tribal governments; 
individuals who participate in the conservation order.
    Respondent's Obligation: Required to obtain or retain a benefit.
    Frequency of Collection: Annually.

              Activity/requirement                 Annual number   Total annual      time per      Total annual
                                                  of respondents     responses       response      burden hours
States--collect information, maintain records,                39              39        74 hours           2,886
 prepare annual report..........................
Participants--provide information to States.....          21,538          21,538      10 minutes           3,590
    Total.......................................          21,577          21,577  ..............           6,476

    Estimated Annual Nonhour Burden Cost: $97,500, primarily for State 
overhead costs (materials, printing, postage, etc.).
    Abstract: The number of light geese (lesser snow, greater snow, and 
Ross' geese) in the midcontinent region has nearly quadrupled during 
the past several decades, due to a decline in adult mortality and an 
increase in winter survival. We refer to these species and subspecies 
as light geese because of their light coloration, as opposed to dark 
geese, such as white-fronted or Canada geese. Because of their feeding 
activity, light geese have become seriously injurious to their habitat, 
as well as to habitat important to other migratory birds. This poses a 
serious threat to the short- and long-term health and status of some 
migratory bird populations. We believe that the number of light geese 
in the midcontinent region has exceeded long-term sustainable levels 
for their arctic and subarctic breeding habitats, and that the 
populations must be reduced. Title 50 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 
part 21 provides authority for the management of overabundant light 
    Regulations at 50 CFR 21.60 authorize States and tribes in the 
midcontinent and Atlantic flyway regions to control light geese within 
the United States through the use of alternative regulatory strategies. 
The conservation order authorizes States and tribes to implement 
population control measures without having to obtain a Federal permit, 
thus significantly reducing their administrative burden. The 
conservation order is a streamlined process that affords an efficient 

[[Page 66953]]

effective population reduction strategy, rather than addressing the 
issue through our permitting process. Furthermore, this strategy 
precludes the use of more drastic and costly direct population-
reduction measures such as trapping and culling geese. States and 
tribes participating in the conservation order must:
     Designate participants and inform them of the requirements 
and conditions of the conservation order. Individual States and tribes 
determine the method to designate participants and how they will 
collect information from participants.
     Keep records of activities carried out under the authority 
of the conservation order, including:
    (1) Number of persons participating in the conservation order;
    (2) Number of days that people participated in the conservation 
    (3) Number of persons who pursued light geese with the aid of a 
shotgun capable of holding more than three shells;
    (4) Number of persons who pursued light geese with the aid of an 
electronic call;
    (5) Number of persons who pursued light geese during the period 
one-half hour after sunset;
    (6) Total number of light geese shot and retrieved during the 
conservation order;
    (7) Number of light geese taken with the aid of an electronic call;
    (8) Number of light geese taken with the fourth, fifth, or sixth 
shotgun shell;
    (9) Number of light geese taken during the period one-half hour 
after sunset; and
    (10) Number of light geese shot, but not retrieved.
     Submit an annual report summarizing the activities 
conducted under the conservation order on or before September 15 of 
each year. Tribal information can be incorporated in State reports to 
reduce the number of reports submitted.
    Comments: On May 24, 2011, we published in the Federal Register (76 
FR 30188) a notice of our intent to request that OMB renew approval for 
this information collection. In that notice, we solicited comments for 
60 days, ending on July 25, 2011. We received five public comments, 
including one from an individual who was opposed to the population 
reduction program, but did not comment on the information collection 
    We received comments from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, the 
Atlantic Flyway Council, Mississippi Flyway Council, and the Central 
Flyway Council. Flyway Councils are comprised of all State wildlife 
agencies within each respective administrative Flyway. The State of 
Wyoming and the three Flyway Councils agreed that it was important to 
estimate the number of citizens participating in the conservation 
order, as well as actual light goose harvest. However, all commenters 
recommended that variables related to methods of take should be 
evaluated for their continued usefulness and potentially discontinued 
from the information collection. They recommended that only information 
on hunter numbers and light goose harvest be collected. Commenters also 
stressed that individual States use different methodologies for 
obtaining information and that simply adding estimates from disparate 
methodologies leads to overall estimates that are not as reliable as 
would be liked. Commenters believed the Service should take over 
responsibility for data collection, possibly through the Service's 
Harvest Information Program (HIP).
    Response: Implementation of the light goose conservation order 
required using new methods of take that were controversial because 
historically they had been illegal during normal hunting seasons. For 
that reason, we required information be collected on the use of such 
tools so that we could evaluate their effectiveness. We agree that 
information collected to date should be fully evaluated and that the 
utility of continued information collection for those variables should 
be analyzed. Discontinuation of information collection on those 
variables would require rulemaking to reduce the number of specific 
requirements outlined in 50 CFR 21.60. During discussions with Flyway 
Councils regarding initiation of the conservation order, there were 
concerns about whether or not a national collection should be developed 
for the conservation order. That approach was not pursued due to the 
need to develop a Federal permit. It was decided that each State would 
conduct its own collection. Although State harvest estimates may not be 
fully comparable, we believe that summation of such estimates is 
warranted for general monitoring purposes.
    We are still awaiting a report from the Arctic Goose Habitat 
Working Group of the Arctic Goose Joint Venture to determine the best 
method of collecting data to provide the highest quality of information 
in the most efficient way possible. We feel it is important to wait for 
and consider the findings of this report because the Joint Venture is 
comprised of many of our management partners.
    Our Harvest Information Program is geared towards estimating 
harvest of birds during regular hunting seasons that end on or before 
March 10 each year. Many States hold their light goose conservation 
order (not a regular hunting season) after March 10. Therefore, if HIP 
were used to estimate light goose conservation order harvest, our 
annual HIP reports would be delayed and could affect the normal hunting 
regulations promulgation process. The Service can only require HIP 
registration for regular hunting seasons. There is no current mechanism 
for the Service to require HIP registration for conservation order 
    We have not made any changes to the information collection 
requirements at this time. We will continue to work with the States, 
Flyway Councils, and the Arctic Goose Joint Venture to determine the 
best method of collecting data to provide the highest quality 
information in the most efficient way possible.
    We again invite comments concerning this information collection on:
     Whether or not the collection of information is necessary, 
including whether or not the information will have practical utility;
     The accuracy of our estimate of the burden for this 
collection of information;
     Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected; and
     Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of 
information on respondents.
    Comments that you submit in response to this notice are a matter of 
public record. Before including your address, phone number, email 
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 OMB in your comment to withhold your personal 
identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that it 
will be done.

    Dated: October 24, 2011.
Tina A. Campbell,
Chief, Division of Policy and Directives Management, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2011-27918 Filed 10-27-11; 8:45 am]