Purpose: The document describes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) proposal to redesignate 18 of 19 critical habitat units, previously vacated by court order, for the threatened piping plover under section 4 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act). The proposed rule was published in the Federal Register for public review and is an assessment of the best scientific data available at this time and will be the basis, in addition to any comments received, for a finding by the Service on whether or not to finalize the rule to designate critical habitat for the wintering piping plover.
About the Peer Review Process
Estimated Date to Begin Finalizing the Proposed Rule : November 15, 2008
- The Service will conduct peer review of the portion of the proposed rule for designation of critical habitat that includes a discussion of the scientific information reviewed and our analysis.
- The Service will conduct external peer review of this document through letters to 3 or more independent scientific reviewers with expertise in piping plover research, ornithology, and/or beach ecology.
- The Service will select the reviewers, with input from the U. S. Geological Survey and other local parties involved in the study and conservation of the wintering piping plover.
- Peer reviewers will not be asked to provide recommendations on the designation of critical habitat. Peer reviewers may be asked to: comment specifically on the quality of any information and analyses used or relied on in the document; identify oversights, omissions, and inconsistencies; provide advice on reasonableness of judgments made from the scientific evidence; ensure that scientific uncertainties are clearly identified and characterized, and that potential implications of uncertainties for the technical conclusions drawn are clear; and provide advice on the overall strengths and limitation of the scientific data used in the document.
- The Service will use the information received from the peer review in the final rule for designating critical habitat for the Devils River minnow.
- The estimated start date of the peer review will be between September 5, 2008, and October 5, 2008.
About Public Participation
- Public comments on the proposed critical habitat were sought by a Federal Register announcement and the distribution by mail and press release of this announcement to interested parties.
- This peer review plan will be posted on the Service’s website for public review and comment.
- The Service will publish a final rule for critical habitat of the piping plover on or about May 8, 2009, and publish the finding in a Federal Register announcement, including a summary of the results of the peer review process.
Contact: Dawn Whitehead, Corpus Christi Ecological Services Office, at Dawn_Whitehead@fws.gov or 361-994-9005 ext. 259.