[Federal Register: March 24, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 57)]
[Page 13868-13870]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Draft Recovery Plan for the Newcomb's Snail (Erinna newcombi)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (``we'') announces the

[[Page 13869]]

availability for public review of a draft recovery plan for the 
Newcomb's snail (Erinna newcombi). This aquatic snail is listed as 
threatened (65 FR 4162) and is endemic to the Hawaiian Island of 

DATE: Comments on the draft recovery plan must be received on or before 
May 24, 2004 to receive our consideration.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the draft recovery plan and supporting documents 
are available for inspection, by appointment, during normal business 
hours at the following locations: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 
3-122, Honolulu, Hawaii 96850 (telephone 808-792-9400) and Hawaii State 
Library, 478 S. King Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813. Requests for 
copies of the draft recovery plan and written comments and materials 
regarding this plan should be addressed to Gina Schultz, Acting Field 
Supervisor, Ecological Services, at the above Pacific Islands Fish and 
Wildlife Office address. An electronic copy of the draft recovery plan 
is also available at: http://endangered.fws.gov/recovery/index.html#plans
 (however, due to a temporary interruption in our 

Internet Service, access to our Website may not be possible).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Gordon Smith, Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist, at the above U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service address.



    Recovery of endangered or threatened animals and plants is a 
primary goal of our endangered species program and the Endangered 
Species Act (Act) (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Recovery means improvement 
of the status of listed species to the point at which listing is no 
longer appropriate under the criteria set out in section 4(a)(1) of the 
Act. 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 measures needed for recovery.
    The 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 may result in 
changes to the recovery 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 provided.
    The Newcomb's snail is an aquatic snail and is known to occur at 10 
small locations in streams and springs located in 6 watersheds found in 
the mountainous interior of the Hawaiian Island of Kaua'i. The 
Newcomb's snail is a freshwater snail belonging to the lymnaeid family. 
Adult Newcomb's snails are approximately 6 millimeters (0.25 inches) 
long, and 3 millimeters (0.12 inches) wide in size. Newcomb's snails 
feed on algae and other material growing on submerged rocks. Eggs are 
attached to underwater rocks or vegetation, and the entire life cycle 
is tied to the stream system in which the adults live. Populations of 
Newcomb's snail are currently found in small areas within the Kalalau, 
Lumaha'i, Hanalei, Waipahe'e-Kealia, Makaleha-kapa'a, and North Wailua 
stream systems on Kaua'i. The range of the snails is usually limited to 
a few square meters of a single side-channel or waterfall in a stream 
in which it is found. Historically, Newcomb's snail was also found in 
Hanakoa, Hanakapi'ai, and Wainiha Streams, but these populations are 
thought to be extirpated. The great majority of all known Newcomb's 
snails, perhaps over 90 percent, are thought to be located in the two 
populations at the small sites in Kalalau and Lumaha'i Streams. Three 
of the six watersheds containing sites where Newcomb's snails are found 
are under private ownership, and the remaining sites are located on 
State of Hawai'i lands.
    Some of the historical decline of the snail may be attributed to 
habitat loss and degradation through water diversion and well drilling. 
In addition, predation by alien species, natural disasters, and habitat 
alteration are threats that imperil Newcomb's snails. Currently, 
Newcomb's snails face an increased likelihood of extinction from 
naturally-occurring events due to the small number of remaining 
populations and their limited distribution. Significant habitat 
destruction through reduction or elimination of stream or spring flow 
could destroy an entire population of Newcomb's snails, and natural 
disasters such as hurricanes or catastrophic landslides could also 
destroy vital habitat.
    The overall objective of this draft recovery plan is to ensure the 
species' long-term conservation and eventual delisting. This recovery 
will be accomplished through a variety of recovery actions, including: 
(1) Establishing a baseline per population numbers; (2) research into 
the basic population biology and life history of the Newcomb's snail; 
(3) analysis and potential prevention of predation and other forms of 
negative interspecific interactions that may limit or reduce Newcomb's 
snail populations; (4) assurance of adequate stream and spring flows to 
protect known and potential Newcomb's snail habitat; (5) making 
recovery of Newcomb's snail a part of other landscape planning and 
conservation efforts, such as preservation of the structure and 
function of upland forests that maintain and regulate surface run-off 
to streams and act as areas of infiltration for ground water; (6) use 
of results of initial recovery efforts and research to periodically 
validate recovery objectives; and (7) development and implementation of 
a public outreach program for Newcomb's snail conservation.
    The recovery criteria outlined in this draft recovery plan will 
provide for the maintenance of the majority of the genetic diversity of 
the Newcomb's snail, and will provide assurance that a single 
catastrophic event will not reduce populations of Newcomb's snails to 
the point where they are no longer viable. Delisting criteria for the 
Newcomb's snail are: (1) Abundance and population variability have been 
quantified, and an appropriate number of populations are stable or 
increasing in size due to natural reproduction for a minimum of 5 
consecutive years; (2) populations are located in a minimum of eight 
separate watersheds that are geographically distributed throughout its 
range; (3) minimum flows are established for stream reaches where 
populations of Newcomb's snails are located; (4) non-native predators 
and competitors have been studied, their effects quantified, and 
appropriate control measures have been established; and (5) a post-
delisting monitoring plan covering a minimum of eight watersheds has 
been completed and is ready for implementation.

Public Comments Solicited

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

[[Page 13870]]


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

    Dated: January 14, 2004.
Cynthia U. Barry,
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 04-6575 Filed 3-23-04; 8:45 am]