Peer Review of Scientific Information
Pacific Region

Proposed rule to List Taylor's Checkerspot Butterfly as Endangered and Streaked Horned Lark as threatened and Propose the Designation of Critical Habitat

About the Document

Title: Proposed rule to List Taylor's Checkerspot Butterfly as Endangered and Streaked Horned Lark as Threatened and Propose the Designation of Critical Habitat

Estimated Dissemination Date of the Proposed Rule: October 15, 2012

Estimated Peer Review Timeframe: October 15 to December 1, 2012

Type of review: Influential

About the Peer Review Process

In accordance with the requirements of the Office of Management and Budget’s Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review and the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service’s interagency peer review policy, we will initiate peer review of the science relevant to the proposed rule to list the Taylors checkerspot butterfly (Euphydryas editha taylori) as endangered and the streaked horned lark (Eremophila alpestris strigata) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.  Concurrent with the listing, we are also proposing to designate critical habitat for these two species throughout their range in Washington and Oregon.

The Service will solicit comments from at least three (and up to six) independent scientific reviewers who will submit individual comments in written form.  Peer reviewers will be selected by the Service.  The scientific peer review will run concurrently with public review and the open comment period.  We will solicit reviews from experts who are willing to commit to providing an objective review within the needed time frame.  Reviewers will be selected by the Service from specialists in the relevant areas of expertise.  We will strive to strike a balance between reviewers on one side of the decision with those on the other side and will avoid selecting peer reviewers who are likely to experience personal gain or loss as a result of the Service’s decision.  Service employees will not be used for this peer review.

The primary disciplines or expertise needed in the peer review include expertise and knowledge of the biology and habitat needs of the species including butterfly and bird conservation, prairie and grassland ecosystems, and conservation biology.  

The Service will provide each peer reviewer with information necessary to complete the peer review.  Because the peer review comment period will run concurrently with the public comment period, we cannot provide them with public comments prior to their review.  However, we will ask the peer reviewers to determine whether the relevant data were considered and whether they were considered appropriately.  We will also ask them to evaluate uncertainty and the strength of the data and conclusions.  Deadline for receipt of reviews will be clearly stated.  Peer review comments will be public documents.

About Public Participation

The initial public comment period on the proposed rule was open for a total of 60 days; the comment period opened concurrent with the publication of the proposed rule on October 11, 2012, and closed on December 10, 2012.  On April 3, 2013, we reopened the comment period for an additional 30 days on both the proposed listing and proposed critical habitat, concurrent with our announcement of the availability of the draft economic analysis on the critical habitat, as well as the announcement of two public information workshops and a public hearing on the proposed rules. 

We held two public information workshops on the proposed rules in Lacey, Washington, and one in Salem, Oregon, on April 16 and 17, 2013, respectively.  In addition, we held a public hearing in Olympia, Washington, on April 18, 2013.

Comments were submitted following the standard Federal Register process, as well as presented in oral testimony at the public hearing held on April 18, 2013.

Peer Review Completed

We solicited peer reviews from a total of eight experts familiar with the biology and habitat needs of the streaked horned lark or the Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly, as well as knowledge of prairie and grassland ecosystems and conservation biology.  Out of these eight requests, we received peer reviews from five experts.  A summary of peer review comments submitted and our responses can be found in our final rules, as follows: 

  • for the proposed listing of streaked horned lark and Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly, in the final listing rule at 78 FR 61452, beginning at page number 61460
  • for the proposed critical habitat for streaked horned lark and Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly, in the final critical habitat rule at 78 FR 61506, beginning at page number 61507

In addition, comments from peer reviewers are available in their entirety at at Docket Number FWS-R1-ES-2012-0080 for the final listing rule, and at Docket Number FWS-R1-ES-2013-0009 for the final critical habitat rule.

Peer Review Participants:

Streaked horned lark

Bob Altman, American Bird Conservancy
Alaine Camfield, PhD, Canadian Wildlife Service - Environment Canada
Peter Vickery, PhD, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly

David James, PhD, Associate Professor of Entomology, Washington State University
Andrew Warren, PhD, Senior Collections Manager, McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, Florida Museum of Natural History


For more information on this peer review, please contact Jeff Chan at 360.753.9542.


Last updated: February 3, 2014
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