[Federal Register: January 11, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 7)]
[Page 1902-1903]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Availability of the Draft Revised Recovery Plan for the 
Whooping Crane (Grus americana)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces the 
availability for public review of the draft revised Recovery Plan for 
the Whooping Crane (Grus americana). The whooping crane is found in the 
United States east of the Rocky Mountains and in central Canada. The 
Service solicits review and comment from the public on this draft 
revised Recovery Plan.

DATES: The comment period for this proposal closes March 14, 2005. 
Comments on the draft revised Recovery Plan must be received by the 
closing date to assure consideration.

ADDRESSES: Persons wishing to review the draft revised Recovery Plan 
can obtain a copy on a CD from the Whooping Crane Coordinator, Aransas 
National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 100, Austwell, Texas 77950. The 
draft revised Recovery Plan may also be obtained from the Internet at 
http://www.fws.gov/. If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments and 

materials concerning this draft revised Recovery Plan to the address 

Coordinator, Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 100, Austwell, 
Texas 77950; telephone (361) 286-3559, ext. 221, facsimile (361) 286-
3722, e:mail: Tom_Stehn@fws.gov.



    Restoring an endangered or threatened animal or plant to the point 
where it is again a secure, self-sustaining member of its ecosystem is 
a primary goal of the Service's endangered species program. To help 
guide the recovery effort, the Service is working to prepare Recovery 
Plans for most of the listed species native to the United States. 
Recovery Plans describe actions considered necessary for conservation 
of species, establish criteria for downlisting or delisting them, and 
estimate time and cost for implementing the recovery measures needed.
    The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act), as amended (16 U.S. C. 
1531 et seq.) 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, as amended in 1988, 
requires that public notice and an opportunity for public review and 
comment be provided during Recovery Plan development. The Service will 
consider all information presented during a public comment period prior 
to approval of each new or revised Recovery Plan. The Service and other 
Federal agencies will also take these comments into account in the 
course of implementing Recovery Plans.
    The document submitted for review is the draft revised Recovery 
Plan for the whooping crane. In the United States, the whooping crane 
(Grus americana) was listed as Threatened with Extinction in 1967 and 
Endangered in 1970--both listings were ``grandfathered'' into the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973. Critical habitat was designated in 
1978. In Canada, it was designated as Endangered in 1978 by the 
Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada; critical 
habitat will be designated upon publication of the final recovery 
strategy on the Species at Risk Act public registry.
    Whooping cranes occur only in North America. About 300 individuals 
exist in the wild at 3 locations, and about 133 whooping cranes are in 
captivity at 8 sites. Only the Aransas-Wood Buffalo National Park 
Population that nests in Canada and winters in coastal marshes in Texas 
is self-sustaining with nearly 200 in the flock. With so few 
individuals surviving, the population remains in danger of extinction. 
Historic population declines resulted from habitat destruction, 
shooting, and displacement by activities of man. Current threats 
include limited genetics, loss and degradation of migration stopover 
habitat, collisions with power lines, and degradation of coastal 
habitat and threat of chemical spills.
    The draft revised Recovery Plan includes scientific information 
about the species and provides objectives and actions needed to 
downlist the species. Recovery actions designed to achieve these 
objectives include protection and enhancement of the breeding, 
migration, and wintering habitat for the AWBP to allow the wild flock 
to grow and reach ecological and genetic stability, reintroduction and 
establishment of geographically separate self-sustaining wild flocks to 
ensure resilience to catastrophic events, and maintenance of a captive 
breeding flock to protect against extinction that is genetically 
managed to retain a minimum of 90% of the whooping crane's genetic 
material for 100 years.
    The downlisting criteria proposed in the draft revised Recovery 
Plan are: (1) A minimum of 40 productive pairs in the AWBP and a 
minimum of 25 productive pairs occurring in self-sustaining populations 
at each of two other discrete locations (population targets of 160 in 
the AWBP and 100 at each of the other locations); and (2) 21 productive 
pairs in captivity as a safeguard to ensure long-term survival of the 
species (population target of 153).

[[Page 1903]]

Criteria to delist the species are not being proposed at this time.
    The Whooping Crane draft revised Recovery Plan is being submitted 
for review to all interested parties, including technical peer review. 
After consideration of comments received during the review period, the 
recovery plan will be submitted for final approval.

Public Comments Solicited

    The Service solicits written comments on the draft revised Recovery 
Plan described. All comments received by the date specified above will 
be considered prior to approval of the final Recovery Plan.


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

    Dated: December 27, 2004.
Bryan Arroyo,
Acting Regional Director, Region 2.
[FR Doc. 05-31 Filed 1-10-05; 8:45 am]