[Federal Register: September 27, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 188)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 58032-58033]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AF41

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Reopening of 
Comment Period, Notice of Public Hearings, and Clarification of Special 
Rule on Proposed Threatened Status for Chiricahua Leopard Frog

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of comment period, notice of public 
hearing, and clarification.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service give notice that the 
comment period is reopened and that public hearings are scheduled on 
the proposed rule to list the Chiricahua leopard frog as threatened 
with a special rule. The hearings and the reopening of the comment 
period will allow all interested parties to submit oral or written 
comments on the proposal. We also clarify the extent of lands to which 
a proposed special rule for the frog would apply.

DATES: We will hold the public hearings 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on October 10, 
2000, in Silver City, New Mexico; and October 11, 2000, in Bisbee, 
Arizona. The comment period for this proposal is now reopened until 
November 13, 2000. Comments must be received by the closing date. We 
will not consider any comments we receive after the closing date in the 
final decision on the proposal.

ADDRESSES: We will hold the public hearings at Light Hall Auditorium, 
Western New Mexico University, 1000 College Street, Silver City, New 
Mexico; and Bisbee High School Auditorium, School Terrace Road (south 
of Highway 92), Bisbee, Arizona. Send written comments to the Field 
Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2321 W. Royal Palm Road, 
Suite 103, Phoenix, Arizona 85021. Comments and materials received will 
be available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal 
business hours at the above Fish and Wildlife Service address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeffrey A. Humphrey, at the above 
address (602-640-2720).



    We published a proposed rule to list Chiricahua leopard frog (Rana 
chiricahuensis) as threatened pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (Act) in the Federal Register on June 14, 2000 (64 FR 
37343). The Chiricahua leopard frog is now absent from many historical 
localities and numerous mountain ranges, valleys, and drainages within 
its former range. In areas where it is present, populations are often 
few, small and widely scattered. Known threats include habitat 
alteration, destruction, and fragmentation; predation by nonnative 
organisms; and disease. Problems associated with small population 
numbers and size, and adverse effects from water-borne contaminants may 
also threaten the species.
    Concurrently with publication of the proposed rule to list the 
Chiricahua leopard frog as threatened, we published a proposed special 
rule under 4(d) of the Act to amend regulations at 50 CFR 17.43. The 
special rule stated that ``. . . incidental take of the Chiricahua 
leopard frog will not be considered a violation of section 9 of the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), if it results from 
livestock use of or maintenance activities at livestock tanks located 
on private or tribal lands.'' The intent of the special rule was to 
encourage continued conservation of Chiricahua leopard frog habitat in 
livestock tanks on all non-Federal lands, rather than limiting the 
conservation incentive to just private and tribal lands. Incidental 
take of Chiricahua leopard frogs during operations and maintenance of 
livestock tanks on Federal lands will be reviewed under the section 7 
consultation process.

Clarification of Special Rule

    3. We propose to amend 50 CFR 17.43 by adding paragraphs to read as 

Sec. 17.43  Special rules-amphibians.

* * * * *
    (b) What species is covered by this special rule? Chiricahua 
leopard frog (Rana chiricahuensis).

[[Page 58033]]

    (1) What activities are prohibited? Except as noted in paragraph 
(b)(2) of this section, all prohibitions of Sec. 17.31 will apply to 
the Chiricahua leopard frog.
    (2) What activities are allowed on non-Federal land? Incidental 
take of the Chiricahua leopard frog will not be considered a violation 
of section 9 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), 
if it results from livestock use of, or maintenance activities at, 
livestock tanks located on any non-Federal lands. A livestock tank is 
defined as an existing or future impoundment in an ephemeral drainage 
or upland site constructed primarily as a watering site for livestock.

Comments Solicited

    Pursuant to 50 CFR 424.16(c)(2), we may extend or reopen a comment 
period upon finding that there is good cause to do so. Full 
participation of the affected public in the species listing process, 
allowing us to consider the best scientific and commercial data 
available in making a final determination on the proposed action, is 
deemed as sufficient cause. Additionally, this reopened comment period 
will allow the public to consider and comment on the clarification of 
the special rule provided in this notice.
    Section 4(b)(5)(E) of the Act, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), 
requires that a public hearing be held if it is requested within 45 
days of the publication of a proposed rule. In response to 11 such 
requests, we will hold two public hearings (see DATES and ADDRESSES).
    Anyone wishing to make an oral statement for the record is 
encouraged to provide a written copy of their statement and submit it 
at the start of the hearing. In the event there is a large attendance, 
the time allotted for oral statements may have to be limited. Oral and 
written statements receive equal consideration. There are no limits to 
the length of written comments submitted at the hearings or mailed to 
the Fish and Wildlife Service.
    The comment period on this proposal closed on September 12, 2000. 
In order to accommodate public hearings, we now reopen the public 
comment period. Written comments may now be submitted until October 27, 
2000, to our office in the ADDRESSES section.
    Author: The primary author of this notice is James Rorabaugh (see 

    Authority: The authority for this action is the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531-1544).

    Dated: September 20, 2000.
Nancy M. Kaufman,
Regional Director, Region 2, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 00-24758 Filed 9-26-00; 8:45 am]