[Federal Register: September 12, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 177)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 57784-57785]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AH09

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designating 
Critical Habitat for Plant Species From the Northwestern Hawaiian 
Islands, HI

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; extension of 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 
designations of critical habitat for plant species from the 
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Hawaii. In an earlier Federal Register 
notice published August 26, 2002 (67 FR 54766) we reopened the comment 
period for the proposed designations or non-designations of critical 
habitat for these plants. We are now providing notice of extending the 
comment period to allow peer reviewers and all interested parties to 
comment simultaneously on the proposed rule and the associated draft 
economic analysis. Comments previously submitted need not be 
resubmitted as they will be incorporated into the public record as part 
of this extended comment period and will be fully considered in 
preparation of the final rule.

DATES: We will accept public comments until October 15, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Written comments and information should be submitted to 
Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands 
Office, 300 Ala Moana Blvd., P.O. Box 50088, Honolulu, HI 96850-0001. 
For further instructions on commenting, refer to Public Comments 
Solicited section of this notice.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul Henson, Field Supervisor, Pacific 
Islands Office, at the above address (telephone: 808/541-3441; 
facsimile: 808/541-3470).



    Six plant species reported from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands 
(Nihoa Island, Necker Island, French Frigate Shoals, Gardner Pinnacles, 
Maro Reef, Laysan Island, Lisianski Island, Pearl and Hermes Atoll, 
Midway Atoll, and Kure Atoll) were listed as endangered under the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), between 1994 and 1996 
(59 FR 56333, 61 FR 43178, 61 FR 53108). Amaranthus brownii, Cenchrus 
agrimonioides var. laysanensis, Mariscus pennatiformis ssp. bryanii, 
Pritchardia remota, and Schiedea verticillata are endemic to the 
Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, while Sesbania tomentosa is reported 
from one or more other islands, as well as the Northwestern Hawaiian 
    In previously published proposals (65 FR 66808, 65 FR 79192, 67 FR 
3940, 67 FR 9806) we proposed that critical habitat was prudent for 
Cenchrus agrimonioides, Mariscus pennatiformis, and Sesbania tomentosa. 
In a May 14, 2002, proposal (67 FR 34522), we made no change to these 
proposed prudency determinations, and we proposed that critical habitat 
designation was prudent for Amaranthus brownii, Pritchardia remota, and 
Schiedea verticillata (for which proposed prudency determinations had 
not been made previously) because the potential benefits of designating 
critical habitat essential for the conservation of these species 
outweigh the risks that may result from human activity because of 
critical habitat designation.
    In the May 14, 2002, proposal, we proposed designation of critical 
habitat for five (Amaranthus brownii, Mariscus pennatiformis, 
Pritchardia remota, Schiedea verticillata, and Sesbania tomentosa) of 
the six species reported from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. 
Critical habitat is not proposed for Cenchrus agrimonioides var. 
laysanensis in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands because it has not 
been seen in the wild for over 20 years and no viable genetic material 
of this variety is known to exist.
    We propose critical habitat designations for five species on three 
islands (Nihoa, Necker, and Laysan) totaling approximately 498 hectares 
(ha) (1,232 acres (ac)).
    Critical habitat receives protection from destruction or adverse 
modification through required consultation under section 7 of the Act 
(16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) with regard to actions carried out, funded, or 
authorized by a Federal agency. Section 4(b)(2) of the Act requires 
that the Secretary shall designate or revise critical habitat based 
upon the best scientific and commercial data available, and after 
taking into consideration the economic impact of specifying any 
particular area as critical habitat. We have prepared a draft economic 
analysis of the proposed critical habitat designation. The draft 
economic analysis is available on the Internet and from the mailing 
address in the Public Comments Solicited section below.
    The public comment period for the May 14, 2002, proposal originally 
closed on July 15, 2002. On August 26, 2002, we published a Federal 
Register notice (67 FR 54766) of the reopening of the comment period 
for the proposed designations and non-designations of critical habitat 
for plant species on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, as well as for 
the proposed designations and non-designations of critical habitat for 
plant species on the islands of Kauai,

[[Page 57785]]

Niihau, Molokai, Maui, Kahoolawe, Hawaii, and Oahu; and we announced 
that the comment period would close on September 30, 2002. We are now 
announcing the availability of the draft economic analysis and the 
extension of the comment period for the proposed designations and non-
designations of critical habitat for plant species on the Northwestern 
Hawaiian Islands. We will accept public comments on the proposal and 
the associated draft economic analysis for the Northwestern Hawaiian 
Islands until October 15, 2002. The extension of the comment period 
gives all interested parties the opportunity to comment on the proposal 
and the associated draft economic analysis for the Northwestern 
Hawaiian Islands. Comments already submitted on the proposed 
designations and non-designations of critical habitat for plant species 
from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands need not be resubmitted as they 
will be fully considered in the final determinations.

Public Comments Solicited

    We will accept written comments and information during this re-
opened comment period. If you wish to comment, you may submit your 
comments and materials concerning this proposal by any of several 
    (1) You may submit written comments and information to the Field 
Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Office, 300 
Ala Moana Blvd., P.O. Box 50088, Honolulu, HI 96850-0001.
    (2) You may send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to: NWHI--
crithab@r1.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-AH09'' 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 Honolulu Fish and 
Wildlife Office at telephone number 808/541-3441.
    (3) You may hand-deliver comments to our Honolulu Fish and Wildlife 
Office at the address given above.
    Comments and materials received, as well as supporting 
documentation used in preparation of the proposal to designate critical 
habitat, will be available for inspection, by appointment, during 
normal business hours at the address under (1) above. Copies of the 
draft economic analysis are available on the Internet at http://
pacificislands.fws.gov or by request from the Field Supervisor at the 
address and phone number under (1 and 2) above.


    The primary author of this notice is John Nuss, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Regional Office, 911 NE 11th Avenue, 4th Floor, 
Portland, OR 97232-4181.


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

    Dated: September 5, 2002.
Craig Manson,
Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 02-23250 Filed 9-11-02; 8:45 am]