[Federal Register: March 14, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 49)]
[Page 13155-13157]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Draft Conservation Agreement for the Yellow-Billed Loon (Gavia 

AGENCY: U.S. 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 Conservation Agreement for the Yellow-billed 
Loon (Gavia adamsii) for public review and comment.

DATES: Comments on the draft conservation agreement must be received on 
or before April 13, 2006.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the conservation agreement are available for 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the 
following location: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Fairbanks Fish and 
Wildlife Field Office, 101 12th

[[Page 13156]]

Avenue, Fairbanks, AK 99701 (telephone: 907-456-0203). Requests for 
copies of the draft conservation agreement should be addressed to the 
Endangered Species Branch Chief, at the above Service address. An 
electronic copy of the draft conservation agreement is also available 
at http://www.r7.fws.gov/current.htm.

    If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments and materials 
by any one of the following methods:
    1. You may submit written comments and information by mail to: 
Yellow-billed Loon Draft Conservation Agreement Comments, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 101 12th Avenue, Fairbanks, AK 99701.
    2. You may hand-deliver written comments and information to our 
Fairbanks Fish and Wildlife Field Office, 101 12th Avenue, Fairbanks, 
AK 99701.
    3. You may fax your comments to 907-456-0208.
    4. You may send your comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to 
YBLoon@fws.gov. Please include ``Attn: Yellow-billed Loon Draft 

Conservation Agreement'' in the beginning of your message, and do not 
use special characters or any form of encryption. Electronic 
attachments in standard formats (such as .pdf or .doc) are acceptable, 
but please name the software necessary to open any attachments in 
formats other than those given above. Also, please include your name 
and return address in your e-mail message (anonymous comments will not 
be considered). If you do not receive a confirmation from the system 
that we have received your e-mail message, or in the event that our 
Internet connection is not functional, please submit your comments in 
writing using one of the alternate methods described above. All 
comments and materials received will be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at our 
Fairbanks Fish and Wildlife Field Office at the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ted Swem, Endangered Species Branch 
Chief, at the above Service address.



    A Conservation Agreement is an effective, proactive way to address 
conservation of species that have not yet been listed under the 
Endangered Species Act but that face identifiable risks. Early 
conservation actions preserve management options, minimize the cost of 
recovery, and reduce the potential for restrictive land use policies in 
the future. Addressing the needs of species before the regulatory 
restrictions associated with listed species come into play often allows 
greater management flexibility to stabilize or restore these species 
and their habitats. In addition, as threats are reduced and populations 
are increased or stabilized, priority for listing can be shifted to 
those species in greatest need of the Endangered Species Act's 
protective measures. Ideally, sufficient threats can be removed to 
eliminate the need for listing.
    There are an estimated 16,000 yellow-billed loons worldwide. 
Approximately 3,300 breed in the freshwater treeless tundra of Alaska. 
They breed abundantly on the North Slope, and sparsely in western 
Alaska, primarily north of Unalakleet and the foothills of the Brooks 
Range. Yellow-billed loons nest exclusively in coastal and inland low-
lying tundra from 62-74[deg] N latitude, in association with permanent, 
fish-bearing lakes. Populations are thought to be limited primarily by 
breeding habitat, specifically nesting and brood-rearing lakes (North 
1994). Lakes that support breeding loons have abundant fish 
populations; depths greater than 2 meters (m) (6.5 feet) and water 
under the ice during winter; large areas; connections to streams which 
may supply fish; highly convoluted, vegetated, and low-lying 
shorelines; and clear water and dependable water. Breeding lakes may be 
near but not connected to major rivers, possibly because fluctuating 
river water levels can flood nests or cause turbidity that compromises 
foraging success.
    In northern Alaska, yellow-billed loons breed on lands within the 
National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska (NPR-A) and on State of Alaska lands 
between the Colville and the Canning Rivers. In western Alaska, yellow-
billed loons are found breeding primarily along the coastal fringe of 
the Seward Peninsula on Selawik National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), 
administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS); Cape 
Krusenstern National Monument and Bering Land Bridge National Preserve, 
administered by the National Park Service (NPS); and on scattered small 
parcels of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Alaska Native-owned 
lands. Small numbers of yellow-billed loons have also been found 
nesting on Alaska Native-owned lands on St. Lawrence Island.
    The goal of this Agreement is to protect yellow-billed loons and 
their breeding, brood-rearing, and migrating habitats in Alaska, such 
that current or potential threats in these areas are avoided, 
eliminated or reduced to the degree that the species will not become 
threatened or endangered from these threats within the foreseeable 
    The parties entering into this conservation agreement are the 
Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the Alaska Department of Natural 
Resources, and the U.S. Department of the Interior (U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service; Bureau of Land Management; and National Park 
Service). This Agreement identifies agency commitments to implement 
specific actions to protect yellow-billed loons and their habitats from 
potential impacts of land uses and management activities, to inventory 
and monitor yellow-billed loon populations, to investigate and reduce 
the impact of subsistence activities (harvest and fisheries bycatch), 
and to conduct related biological research. We do not expect any 
concrete effects to the private sector from the conservation measures 
in the agreement. The term of the agreement is 10 years.
    We will consider all information received during the public comment 
period on this conservation agreement. Substantive technical comments 
may result in changes to the conservation agreement. Substantive 
comments regarding conservation agreement implementation may not 
necessarily result in changes to the Agreement, but will be forwarded 
to the appropriate Federal agency or other entities so that they can 
take these comments into account during the course of implementing 
Agreement actions. Individual responses to comments will not be 

Public Comments Solicited

    Our practice is to make comments, including names and home 
addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular 
business hours. Individual respondents may request that we withhold 
their home address, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. 
If you wish us to withhold your name or address, you must state this 
request prominently at the beginning of your comments. However, we will 
not consider anonymous comments. To the extent consistent with 
applicable law, we will make all submissions from organizations or 
businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as 
representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, available 
for public inspection in their entirety.


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

[[Page 13157]]

    Dated: February 24, 2006.
Gary Edwards,
Acting Regional Director, Region 7, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. E6-3566 Filed 3-13-06; 8:45 am]