[Federal Register: January 8, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 5)]
[Page 1066-1067]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of a Draft Environmental Assessment of the 
Addition of Blue-Fronted Amazon Parrots (Amazona aestiva) From a 
Sustainable Use Management Plan in Argentina to the Approved List of 
Non-Captive-Bred Birds Under the Wild Bird Conservation Act of 1992

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability of a draft Environmental Assessment.


SUMMARY: The public is invited to comment on the draft Environmental 
Assessment of the addition of blue-fronted amazon parrots (Amazona 
aestiva) from a sustainable use management plan in Argentina to the 
approved list of non-captive-bred birds under the Wild Bird 
Conservation Act of 1992 (WBCA). We have prepared a draft Environmental 
Assessment under regulations implementing the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). Council on Environmental Quality regulations 
in 40 CFR 1501.3(b) state that an agency ``may prepare an environmental 
assessment on any action at any time in order to assist agency planning 
and decision making.'' Future regulations implementing the WBCA may be 
subject to NEPA documentation requirements on a case-by-case basis.

DATES: Written data, comments, or requests for a copy of this draft 
Environmental Assessment must be received by February 7, 2003.

ADDRESSES: Written data, comments, or requests for a copy of this draft 
Environmental Assessment should be sent to the Chief, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Division of Management Authority, 4401 North Fairfax 
Drive, Room 700, Arlington, Virginia 22203.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Andrea Gaski, Chief, Branch of 
Operations, Division of Management Authority, at 703-358-2095.



    The WBCA, which was signed into law on October 23, 1992, limits or 
prohibits imports of exotic bird species

[[Page 1067]]

to ensure that their wild populations are not harmed by trade. It also 
encourages wild bird conservation programs in countries of origin by 
ensuring that all imports of such species into the United States are 
biologically sustainable and not detrimental to the survival of the 
species. A final rule published in the Federal Register on November 16, 
1993 (58 FR 60524), implemented the prohibitions stipulated in the WBCA 
and provided permit requirements and procedures for some allowed 
    Since the publication of the final rule of November 16, 1993, 
imports of all birds listed in the Appendices of the Convention on 
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora 
(CITES) as defined in the final rule are prohibited, except for (a) 
species included in an approved list; (b) specimens for which an import 
permit has been issued; (c) species from countries that have approved 
sustainable use management plans for those species; or (d) specimens 
from approved foreign captive-breeding facilities. We published a 
proposed rule in the Federal Register on March 17, 1994 (59 FR 12784), 
that would implement procedures for the establishment of an approved 
list of captive-bred species listed in the CITES Appendices that can be 
imported without a WBCA permit, criteria for including non-captive-bred 
(wild-caught) species in the approved list, and approval of foreign 
captive-breeding facilities.
    A final rule published on January 24, 1996 (61 FR 2084), 
implemented procedures for the establishment of an approved list of 
non-captive-bred (wild-caught) species listed in the CITES Appendices 
that could be imported. The list of approved non-captive-bred species 
is contained in 50 CFR 15.33(b). For wild-caught CITES-listed birds to 
be on the approved list, we must determine that CITES is being 
effectively implemented for the species for each country of origin from 
which imports will be allowed, CITES-recommended measures are 
implemented, and there is a scientifically based management plan for 
the species that is adequately implemented and enforced. The 
scientifically based management plan must: (a) Provide for the 
conservation of the species and its habitat; (b) include incentives for 
conservation; (c) ensure that the use of the species is biologically 
sustainable and is well above the level at which the species might 
become threatened; (d) ensure that the species is maintained throughout 
its range at a level consistent with its role in the ecosystem; (e) 
address factors that include illegal trade, domestic trade, subsistence 
use, disease, and habitat loss; and (f) ensure that the methods of 
capture, transport, and maintenance of the species minimize the risk of 
injury or damage to health. For a species with a multinational 
distribution, we must also consider (a) whether populations of the 
species in other countries will be detrimentally affected by exports 
from the country requesting approval; (b) whether factors affecting 
conservation of the species are regulated throughout its range so that 
recruitment and/or breeding stocks will not be detrimentally affected 
by the proposed export; (c) whether the projected take and export will 
detrimentally affect breeding populations; and (d) whether the 
projected take and export will detrimentally affect existing 
enhancement activities, conservation programs, or enforcement efforts 
throughout the species' range. A species and country of export listed 
in 50 CFR 15.33(b) may be approved for three years, after which time 
the Service will have an opportunity to consider renewal of the 
    On August 10, 2000, we published in the Federal Register (65 FR 
49007) a notice of receipt of application for approval of a petition 
from the Management Authority of Argentina, Direccion de Fauna and 
Flora Silvestre, requesting that blue-fronted amazon parrots (Amazona 
aestiva) from an Argentine sustainable use management plan be added to 
the list of approved non-captive-bred species under the WBCA. We 
accepted comments on that petition until October 11, 2000.
    Approval of Argentina's petition would result in the need to amend 
50 CFR 15.33(b) by adding blue-fronted amazon parrots from Argentina to 
the list of approved non-captive-bred species. The amendment would 
allow the import into the United States of blue-fronted amazon parrots 
removed from the wild in Argentina under an approved sustainable use 
management plan, without a WBCA import permit. Along with this notice 
of availability, we will publish a proposed rule to allow the import 
into the United States of blue-fronted amazon parrots (Amazona aestiva) 
removed from the wild in Argentina under their approved sustainable use 
management plan.
    Comments on the draft Environmental Assessment will be considered 
in our decision regarding whether to amend 50 CFR 15.33(b) by adding 
blue-fronted amazon parrots from Argentina to the list of approved non-
captive-bred species. Written comments we have already received in 
response to the August 10, 2000, notice of receipt of application, have 
been retained and will be considered during this open comment period. 
Although we have used information already received in formulating the 
draft Environmental Assessment, we will address that information as 
well as any new comments received in our final Environmental 
Assessment, if necessary.

    Dated: January 3, 2003.
Peter O. Thomas,
Chief, Division of Management Authority.
[FR Doc. 03-345 Filed 1-7-03; 8:45 am]