[Federal Register: September 28, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 189)]
[Page 58283-58284]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of a Draft Recovery Plan for the Bog 
Turtle, Northern Population, for Review and Comment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces the availability 
for public review of a draft Recovery Plan for the allopatric northern 
population of the bog turtle (Clemmys muhlenbergii). The bog turtle's 
northern population was listed as a threatened species on November 4, 
1997. Although this population is currently known to occur in a total 
of 360 sites in the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, 
Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, it has 
experienced at least a 50 percent reduction in range and numbers over 
the past 20 years. The greatest threats to the long-term survival of 
the northern bog turtle population include the loss, degradation, and 
fragmentation of its habitat, compounded by the increasing take of 
long-lived adult animals from wild populations for illegal wildlife 
trade. The overall objective of the bog turtle recovery program is to 
protect and maintain the northern allopatric population of this species 
and its habitat by securing protection for at least 185 populations 
distributed across the species' range, and ensuring that these 
populations are stable or increasing. The Service solicits review and 
comment from the public on this draft Plan.

DATES: Comments on the draft Recovery Plan must be received by November 
27, 2000 to receive consideration by the Service.

ADDRESSES: Persons wishing to review the draft Recovery Plan can obtain 
a copy from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pennsylvania Field 
Office, 315 South Allen Street, Suite 322, State College, Pennsylvania 
16801. Comments should be sent to this address, to the attention of 
Carole Copeyon.

telephone 814-234-4090.



    Restoring an endangered or threatened animal or plant to the point 
where it is again a secure, self-sustaining member of its ecosystem is 
a primary goal of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's endangered 
species program. To help guide the recovery effort, the Service is 
working to prepare Recovery Plans for most of the listed species native 
to the United States. Recovery Plans describe actions considered 
necessary for conservation of the species, establish criteria for the 
recovery levels for downlisting or delisting them, and estimate time 
and cost for implementing the recovery measures needed.
    The Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.), requires the development of Recovery Plans for listed species 
unless such a Plan would not promote the conservation of a particular 
species. Section 4(f) of the Act, as amended in 1988, requires that 
public notice and an opportunity for public review and comment be 
provided during Recovery Plan development. The Service will consider 
all information presented during a public comment period prior to 
approval of each new or revised Recovery Plan. The Service and other 
Federal agencies will also take these comments into account in the 
course of implementing Recovery Plans.
    The document submitted for review is the Agency Draft Bog Turtle 
(Clemmys muhlenbergii), Northern Population, Recovery Plan. The 
northern population of the bog turtle was listed as a threatened 
species on November 4, 1997. This population is currently known to 
occur in Connecticut (5 sites), Delaware (4), Maryland (71), 
Massachusetts (3), New Jersey (165), New York (37), and Pennsylvania 
(75). Bog turtles usually occur in small, discrete populations, 
generally occupying open-canopy, herbaceous sedge meadows and fens 
bordered by wooded areas. These wetlands are a mosaic of micro-habitats 
that include dry pockets, saturated areas, and areas that are 
periodically flooded. Bog turtles depend upon this diversity of micro-
habitats for foraging, nesting, basking, hibernation and shelter. 
Unfragmented riparian systems that are sufficiently dynamic to allow 
the natural creation of open habitat are needed to compensate for 
ecological succession. Beaver, deer, and cattle may be instrumental in 
maintaining the open-canopy wetlands essential for this species' 
    The bog turtle has experienced at least a 50 percent reduction in 
range and numbers over the past 20 years. The greatest threats to its 
survival include the loss, degradation, and fragmentation of its 
habitat, compounded by the increasing take of long-lived adult animals 
from wild populations for illegal wildlife trade.
    The overall objective of the bog turtle recovery program is to 
protect and maintain the northern allopatric population of this species 
and its habitat. This will be accomplished by (1) securing long-range 
protection for at least 185 populations distributed among five recovery 
units: 10 in the Prairie Peninsula/Lake Plain Recovery Unit, 5 in the 
Outer Coastal Plain Recovery Unit, 40 in the Hudson/Housatonic Recovery 
Unit, 50 in the Susquehanna/Potomac Recovery Unit, and 80 in the

[[Page 58284]]

Delaware Recovery Unit; (2) determining that these 185 populations are 
stable or increasing over a 25-year period; (3) eliminating or 
significantly curbing illicit collection and trade in this species; and 
(4) gaining a sufficient understanding of long-term habitat dynamics.
    The Actions needed to accomplish recovery objectives will include a 
combination of protecting known extant populations and their habitat 
using existing regulations; securing long-term protection of bog turtle 
sites; conducting surveys of known, historic, and potential bog turtle 
habitat; investigating the genetic variability of the bog turtle 
throughout its range; reintroducing bog turtles into areas from which 
they have been extirpated or removed; managing and maintaining bog 
turtle habitat to ensure its continuing suitability for bog turtles; 
managing bog turtle populations at extant sites, where necessary; 
creating an effective law enforcement program to halt illicit take and 
commercialization of bog turtles; and developing and implementing an 
effective outreach and education program about bog turtles.
    The draft Recovery Plan is being submitted for agency review. After 
consideration of comments received during the review period, the Plan 
will be submitted for final approval.

Public Comments Solicited

    The Service solicits written comments on the Recovery Plan 
described. All comments received by the date specified above will be 
considered prior to approval of the Plan.

    Authority: The authority for this action is Section 4(f) of the 
Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(f).

    Dated: September 21, 2000.
Mamie A. Parker,
Acting Regional Director, Hadley, MA.
[FR Doc. 00-24866 Filed 9-27-00; 8:45 am]