[Federal Register: July 6, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 130)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 35580-35581]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AH96

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Availability of 
Draft Environmental Assessment on Proposed Designation of Critical 
Habitat for the Northern Great Plains Breeding Population of the Piping 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; notice of availability.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announce the 
availability of the draft Environmental Assessment for the proposal to 
designate critical habitat for the northern Great Plains breeding 
population of the piping plover (Charadrius melodus), under the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. We invite all interested 
parties to comment on the draft Environmental Assessment and any other 
aspect of the proposed designation.

DATES: The comment period for the draft Environmental Assessment will 
close on August 13, 2001. Any comments that are received after the 
closing date may not be considered in the final decision on this 

ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments and information to Piping 
Plover Comments, South Dakota Ecological Services Field Office, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, 420 South Garfield Avenue, Suite 400, 
Pierre, South Dakota 57501 or by facsimile to 605-224-9974.
    You may hand-deliver written comments to our South Dakota Field 
Office at the address given above.
    You may send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to 
FW6_PipingPlover@fws.gov. See the Public Comments Solicited section 
below for file format and other information on electronic filing.
    Copies of the draft Environmental Assessment for the northern Great 
Plains breeding population of the piping plover are available from the 
aforementioned address or on the Internet at http://mountain-
    You may view comments and materials received, as well as supporting 
documentation used in the preparation of this proposed rule, by 

[[Page 35581]]

during normal business hours at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nell McPhillips, Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist, at the above address or at (605) 224-8693, extension 32.



    We published a proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the 
northern Great Plains breeding population of the piping plover in the 
Federal Register (66 FR 31760). Section 4(b)(2) of the Endangered 
Species Act (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 impacts, 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.
    The proposed designation includes 11 areas of prairie alkali 
wetlands and reservoir lakes in 5 counties in Montana, 18 counties in 
North Dakota, and 1 county at Lake-of-the-Woods, Minnesota, totaling 
approximately 196,576.5 acres (ac) [79,553.1 hectares (ha)]. It also 
includes five areas of portions of four rivers in the States of 
Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska, totaling 
approximately 1,338 miles (mi) [2,152.9 kilometers (km)] of river. If 
this proposal is made final, section 7 of the Act would prohibit 
destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat by any activity 
funded, authorized, or carried out by any Federal agency.

Public Comments Solicited

    We will accept written comments and information during this comment 
period. If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments and 
materials concerning this proposal by any one of several methods (see 
ADDRESSES). If you would like to submit comments by electronic format, 
please submit them in ASCII file format and avoid the use of special 
characters and encryption. Please include your name and return e-mail 
address in your e-mail message. Please note that the e-mail address 
will be closed out at the termination of the public comment period. If 
you do not receive confirmation from the system that we have received 
your message, contact us directly by calling our South Dakota Field 
Office at (605) 224-8693.
    Comments and materials received, as well as supporting 
documentation used in preparation of the proposal to designate critical 
habitat, will be available for public inspection, by appointment, 
during normal business hours at the above address. Copies of the draft 
Environmental Assessment are available on the Internet at http://
mountain-prairie.fws.gov/pipingplover/ch or by writing to Pete Gober, 
Field Supervisor (see ADDRESSES).

Public Meetings

    We have scheduled five informal public meetings at the following 
addresses on the dates indicated. Public meetings will run from 6-9 
p.m., except for Yankton which will run from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
    1. Cottonwood Inn Convention Center, U.S. Highway 2E, Glasgow, 
Montana, July 10, 2000
    2. Doublewood Inn, I-94 and Exit 159, Bismarck, North Dakota, July 
12, 2001
    3. Pierre Chamber of Commerce, Community Room, 800 W. Dakota 
Avenue, Pierre, South Dakota, July 16, 2001
    4. Summit Activities Center, 1801 Summit Street, Yankton, South 
Dakota, July 17, 2000
    5. Central Community College, Main Building, Room 210, 3134 W. 
Highway 34, Grand Island, Nebraska, July 18, 2001


    The primary authors of this notice are the South Dakota Field 
Office staff (see ADDRESSES section).


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

    Dated: June 29, 2001.
John A. Blankenship,
Acting Regional Director, Denver, Colorado.
[FR Doc. 01-16924 Filed 7-5-01; 8:45 am]