[Federal Register: May 8, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 89)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 23181]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AH73

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Re-opening of 
Comment Period on the Sacramento Splittail Final Rule

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule; re-opening of comment period.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
re-opening of the comment period for the final rule on the Sacramento 
splittail (Pogonichthys macrolepidotus). Comments previously submitted 
need not be resubmitted as they will be incorporated into the public 
record as part of this re-opened comment period, and will be fully 
considered in the final rule.

DATES: We will accept public comments until June 7, 2001.

ADDRESSES: Written comments and information should be submitted to the 
Field Supervisor, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-2605, Sacramento, 
California 95825. For electronic mail address and further instructions 
on commenting, refer to Public Comments Solicited section of this 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For general information, Stephanie 
Brady or Jason Douglas, at the above address (telephone 916/414-6600; 
facsimile 916/414-6713).



    The Sacramento splittail (hereafter splittail) represents the only 
extant species in its genus in North America. For a detailed 
description of the species, see the Recovery Plan for the Sacramento/
San Joaquin Delta Native Fishes (Service 1996) and references within 
that plan.
    Splittail are endemic to certain waterways in California's Central 
Valley, where they were once widely distributed (Moyle 1976). 
Sacramento splittail occur in Suisun Bay, Suisun Marsh, the San 
Francisco Bay-Sacramento-San Joaquin River Estuary (Estuary), the 
Estuary's tributaries (primarily the Sacramento and San Joaquin 
rivers), the Napa River and Marsh, and the Petaluma River and Marsh. 
The Sacramento splittail no longer occurs throughout a significant 
portion of its former range.
    Pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), 
the splittail was listed as a threatened species on February 8, 1999 
(64 FR 5963). In this previous listing determination, the Service found 
that changes in water flows and water quality resulting from export of 
water from the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, periodic prolonged 
drought, loss of shallow water habitat, and the effect of agricultural 
and industrial pollutants were significant factors in the species 
    Subsequent to the publication of the final rule, plaintiffs in the 
cases San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority v. Anne Badgley, et al. 
and State Water Contractors, et al. v. Michael Spear, et al. commenced 
action in Federal Eastern District Court of California, challenging the 
listing of the splittail as threatened, alleging various violations of 
the Act and of the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C 551 et seq.). 
The Service, as directed by the court, and pursuant to the Act, 
provided notice of the opening of a comment period regarding the 
threatened status for the splittail, from January 12, 2001 to February 
12, 2001 (66 FR 2828). The Service is now re-opening the comment period 
to acquire additional information on the status, abundance and 
distribution of splittail in the Central Valley of California. Upon the 
close of this comment period, the Service will make its determination 
whether the splittail warrants the continued protection of the Act.

Public Comments Solicited

    If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments and materials 
concerning this proposal by any one of several methods:
    1. You may submit written comments and information by mail to the 
Field Supervisor, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-2605, Sacramento, 
California 95825.
    2. You may send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to: 
fw1splittail@fws.gov. If you submit comments by e-mail, please submit 
them as an ASCII file and avoid the use of special characters and any 
form of encryption. Please also include ``Attn: RIN 1018-AH73'' and 
your name and return address in your e-mail message. If you do not 
receive a confirmation from the system that we have received your e-
mail message, contact us directly by calling our Sacramento Fish and 
Wildlife Office at telephone number 919/414-6600, during normal 
business hours.
    3. You may hand-deliver comments to our Sacramento Fish and 
Wildlife Office, during normal business hours, at the address given 
    Comments and materials received will be available for inspection, 
by appointment, during normal business hours at the address under (1) 


    The primary author of this notice is Stephanie Brady (see ADDRESSES 
section), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Regional Office, 911 N.E. 
11th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97232.


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

Michael J. Spear,
Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Region 1, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 01-11459 Filed 5-7-01; 8:45 am]