[Federal Register: August 30, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 169)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 52691-52692]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AG13

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Extension of 
Public Comment Period and Notice of Availability of Draft Economic 
Analysis for Proposed Critical Habitat Determination for Wintering 
Piping Plovers

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; Extension of public comment period and notice of 
availability of draft economic analysis.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the 
availability of the draft economic analysis for the proposed 
designation of critical habitat for the wintering population of the 
piping plover (Charadrius melodus). We also provide notice that the 
public comment period for the proposal is extended to allow all 
interested parties to submit written comments on the proposal and the 
draft economic analysis. Comments previously submitted during the 
comment period need not be resubmitted as they will be incorporated 
into the public record and will be fully considered in the final 
determination on the proposal.

DATES: The original comment period is scheduled to close on September 
5, 2000. The comment period is hereby extended until October 30, 2000. 
Comments from all interested parties must be received by the closing 
date. Any comments that are received after the closing date may not be 
considered in the final decision on this proposal.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the draft economic analysis are available on the 
Internet at http//ifw2es.fws.gov/library or by writing to the Field 
Supervisor, Ecological Services Field Office. c/o TAMU-CC, Campus Box 
338, 6300 Ocean Drive, Corpus Christi, TX 78412. All written comments 
should be submitted to the Field Supervisor at the above address or may 
be provided by e-mail to winterplovercomments@fws.gov or by facsimile 
to 361/994-8262. Comments and materials received will be available for 
public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the 
above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lee Elliott, Wildlife Biologist, at 
the above address (telephone 361/994-9005).



    The piping plover is a small shorebird, about 17-18 centimeters (8 
inches) long and weighing from 43 to 63 grams (1.5 to 2.25 ounces). The 
species breeds in the northern Great Plains (from Alberta to Ontario, 
Canada and south to Kansas and Colorado), the Great Lakes region, and 
the Atlantic Coast (from Newfoundland, Canada to North Carolina). 
Piping plovers winter on the southern Atlantic and Gulf Coasts from 
North Carolina to Texas, as well as eastern Mexico and Caribbean 
islands from Barbados to Cuba and the Bahamas (Haig 1992). Birds from 
each of the three breeding populations can be found throughout the 
wintering range. Individuals begin arriving on the wintering grounds in 
mid-July and can be found on the wintering grounds until mid-May. 
Populations declined dramatically due to year-round shooting of the 
species prior to passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Populations 
began to rebound following this protection, but loss of habitat and

[[Page 52692]]

disturbance of nesting birds has led to a more recent decline of the 
    In January of 1986, the piping plover was listed as endangered 
within the watershed of the Great Lakes, and as threatened in the 
remainder of its range, under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended (Act). The primary threats to the species were identified as 
habitat disturbance and destruction, and disturbance of nesting adults 
and chicks (50 FR 50726). On July 6, 2000, we proposed in the Federal 
Register approximately 2,691 kilometers (1,672 miles) of shoreline 
along the South Atlantic and Gulf Coasts as critical habitat for the 
wintering population of piping plovers (65 FR 41782). The proposal 
includes shoreline areas in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, 
Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.
    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act requires that we designate or revise 
critical habitat based upon the best scientific and commercial data 
available and after taking into consideration the economic impact, and 
any other relevant impact, of specifying any particular area as 
critical habitat. We may exclude an area from critical habitat if we 
determine that the benefits of excluding the area outweigh the benefits 
of including the area as critical habitat, provided such exclusion will 
not result in the extinction of the species. Consequently, we have 
prepared a draft economic analysis concerning the proposed critical 
habitat designation, which is available for review and comment at the 
above Internet and mailing addresses.

Public Comments Solicited

    We solicit comments on the draft economic analysis described in 
this notice, as well as any other aspect of the proposed designation of 
critical habitat for the wintering population of the piping plover. Our 
final determination on the proposed critical habitat will take into 
consideration comments and any additional information received by the 
date specified above. All previous comments and information submitted 
during the comment period need not be resubmitted. The comment period 
is extended to October 30, 2000. Written comments may be submitted to 
the Field Supervisor at the above address.
    Author: The primary author of this notice is Lee Elliott, U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service (see ADDRESSES).


    The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 
1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: August 24, 2000.
Nancy M. Kaufman,
Regional Director, Region 2, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 00-22118 Filed 8-29-00; 8:45 am]