[Federal Register: July 30, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 146)]
[Page 44808]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 44808]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Draft Recovery Plan for the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability for review and comment.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the 
availability of the Draft Recovery Plan for the Sierra Nevada Bighorn 
Sheep (Ovis canadensis californiana; bighorn sheep) for public review. 
The species occurs primarily on lands managed by the U.S. Forest 
Service, Inyo National Forest, and the National Park Service, Yosemite 
National Park in the Sierra Nevada in western Inyo and Mono Counties, 
California. This draft recovery plan describes the status, current 
management, recovery objectives and criteria, and specific actions 
needed to reclassify the bighorn sheep from endangered to threatened, 
and to ultimately delist it. We solicit review and comment from local, 
State, and Federal agencies, and the public on this draft recovery 

DATES: Comments on the draft recovery plan must be received on or 
before September 29, 2003 to receive our consideration.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the draft recovery plan are available for 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the 
following location: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ventura Fish and 
Wildlife Office, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, California 93003 
(telephone 805-644-1766). Requests for copies of the draft recovery 
plan and written comments and materials regarding the plan should be 
addressed to the Field Supervisor at the above address. An electronic 
copy of this draft recovery plan is also available at http://www.r1.fws.gov/ecoservices/endangered/recovery/default.htm

Biologist, at the above address.



    Recovery of endangered or threatened animals and plants to the 
point where they are again secure, self-sustaining members of their 
ecosystems is a primary goal of our endangered species program. To help 
guide the recovery effort, we are working to prepare recovery plans for 
most listed species native to the United States. Recovery plans 
describe actions considered necessary for the conservation of the 
species, establish criteria for downlisting or delisting listed 
species, and estimate time and cost for implementing the recovery 
measures needed.
    The Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) (Act), 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 requires that public notice and an opportunity for 
public review and comment be provided during recovery plan development. 
We will consider all information presented during the public comment 
period prior to approval of each new or revised recovery plan. 
Substantive technical comments will result in changes to the plan. 
Substantive comments regarding recovery plan implementation may not 
necessarily result in changes to the recovery plan, but will be 
forwarded to appropriate Federal or other entities so that they can 
take these comments into account during the course of implementing 
recovery actions. Individual responses to comments will not be 
    This draft recovery plan was developed by the Sierra Nevada Bighorn 
Sheep Recovery Team. We coordinated with the California Department of 
Fish and Game, and a team of stakeholders, which included ranchers, 
landowners and managers, agency representatives, and non-government 
    The population of bighorn sheep in the Sierra Nevada of California 
was listed as an endangered species on January 3, 2000, (65 FR 20) 
following emergency listing on April 20, 1999, (64 FR 19300). At the 
time of listing, the bighorn sheep population was very small, with only 
about 125 adults known to exist among 5 geographic areas, with little 
probability of interchange among those areas. The bighorn sheep is 
threatened primarily by transmission of disease from domestic sheep and 
goats, and predation by mountain lions. Key elements for immediate 
action are: (1) Predator management; (2) augmentation of small herds 
with sheep from larger ones; and (3) elimination of the threat of a 
pneumonia epizootic resulting from contact with domestic sheep or 
goats. Actions needed to recover the bighorn sheep include: (1) 
Protection of bighorn sheep habitat; (2) increase population growth by 
enhancing survivorship and reproductive output of bighorn sheep; (3) 
increase the numbers of herds, and thereby the number of bighorn sheep; 
(4) develop and implement a genetic management plan to maintain genetic 
diversity; (5) monitor status and trends of bighorn sheep herds and 
their habitat; (6) research; and (7) providing information to the 

Public Comments Solicited

    We solicit written comments on the draft recovery plan described. 
All comments received by the date specified above will be considered in 
developing a final recovery plan.


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

    Dated: June 4, 2003.
Steve Thompson,
Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, Region 1 , U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 03-19315 Filed 7-29-03; 8:45 am]