[Federal Register: November 24, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 227)]
[Page 71041-71042]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R9-ES-2008-N0308] [92210-1111-0000-B3]

Proposed Information Collection; OMB Control Number 1018-0119;
Policy for Evaluation of Conservation Efforts When Making Listing
Decisions (PECE)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION:  Notice; request for comments.


SUMMARY:  We (Fish and Wildlife Service) will ask the Office of
Management and Budget (OMB) to approve the information collection (IC)
described below. As required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 and
as part of our continuing efforts to reduce paperwork and respondent
burden, we invite the general public and other Federal agencies to take
this opportunity to comment on this IC. This IC is scheduled to expire
on January 31, 2009. We may not conduct or sponsor and a person is not
required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a
currently valid OMB control number.

DATES: Your comments must be received on or before January 23, 2009.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments on the IC to Hope Grey, Information
Collection Clearance Officer, Fish and Wildlife Service, MS 222-ARLSQ,
4401 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203 (mail), or hope_
grey@fws.gov (e-mail).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: To request additional information
about this ICR, contact Hope Grey by mail or e-mail (see ADDRESSES) or
by telephone at (703) 358-2482.

I. Abstract
    Section 4 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) specifies the process
by which we can list species as threatened or endangered. When we
consider whether or not to list a species, the ESA requires us to take
into account the efforts being made by any State or any political
subdivision of a State to protect such species. We also take into
account the efforts being made by other entities. States or other
entities often formalize conservation efforts in conservation
agreements, conservation plans, management plans, or similar documents.
The conservation efforts recommended or called for in such documents
could prevent some species from becoming so imperiled that they meet
the definition of a threatened or endangered species under the ESA.
    The Policy for Evaluation of Conservation Efforts When Making
Listing Decisions (PECE) encourages the development of conservation
agreements/plans and provides certainty about the standard that an
individual conservation effort must meet for us to consider whether it
contributes to forming a basis for making a decision about the listing
of a species. PECE applies to ``formalized conservation efforts'' that
have not been implemented or have been implemented but have not yet
demonstrated if they are effective at the time of a listing decision.
    Under PECE, formalized conservation efforts are defined as
conservation efforts (specific actions, activities, or programs
designed to eliminate or reduce threats or otherwise improve the status
of a species) identified in a conservation agreement, conservation
plan, management plan, or similar document (68 FR 15100). The
development of such agreements/plans is voluntary. There is no
requirement that the individual conservation efforts included in such
documents be designed to meet the standard in PECE.
    PECE specifies that to consider if a formalized conservation
effort(s) contributes to forming a basis for making a listing decision,
we must find that the effort is sufficiently certain to be implemented
and effective so as to have contributed to the elimination or adequate
reduction of one or more threats to the species identified through our
analysis of listing factors specified in section 4(a)(1) of the ESA. To
gauge whether or not this standard has been met, PECE includes criteria
for evaluating the certainty of implementation and the certainty of
effectiveness of individual conservation efforts.
    One criterion is whether provisions for monitoring and reporting
progress on implementation and effectiveness of the effort are included
in the plan or agreement. Also, if we use a conservation effort(s) that
satisfies the PECE standard as part of the basis for a decision not to
list a species or to list the species as threatened rather than
endangered, we must:
    (1) Track the status of the effort(s), including the progress of
its implementation and effectiveness and
    (2) If necessary, reevaluate the status of the species and consider
whether or not initiating the listing process is necessary.
    The nature and frequency of the monitoring and reporting will vary
according to the species addressed, land ownership, specific
conservation efforts, expertise of participants, and other factors.
Generally, monitoring and reporting occurs annually for several years
as the conservation efforts are implemented and their effectiveness is
evaluated. The information collected through monitoring is invaluable
to the Service, the States, and other entities involved in agreements
and plans, and to others concerned about the welfare of the species
covered by the agreements/plans.
    Agreements/plans developed with the intent of influencing a listing
decision and with involvement of the Service constitute an information
collection that requires OMB approval under the Paperwork Reduction
Act. Estimating the hours associated with developing a conservation
agreement or plan is difficult because:
    (1) Development and associated monitoring of conservation efforts
are completely voluntary, and we cannot predict who will decide to
develop these efforts, how many entities they might involve, or the
type and extent of the planning, monitoring, and reporting processes
they might use.
    (2) We cannot predict which species are certain to become the
subjects of conservation efforts, and, therefore, we cannot predict the
number, nature, and extent of conservation efforts and monitoring that
might be included in conservation agreements/plans designed with the
intent of influencing a decision regarding listing a species.
    (3) Many agreements/plans are developed to satisfy requirements of
other laws or for other purposes. We cannot predict whether or the
extent to which some of these plans may be expanded to attempt to make
listing unnecessary.
II. Data
    OMB Control Number: 1018-0119.
    Title: Policy for Evaluation of Conservation Efforts When Making
Listing Decisions (PECE).
    Service Form Number(s): None.
    Type of Request: Extension of currently approved collection.

[[Page 71042]]

    Affected Public: Individuals; States, tribes, local governments;
and not-for-profit institutions.
    Respondent's Obligation: Required to obtain or retain a benefit.
    Frequency of Collection: On occasion.

                                   Number of annual    Number of annual   Completion time per    Annual burden
            Activity                  respondents          responses            response             hours
Original Agreement..............                   4                   4  2,000 hours........              8,000
Monitoring......................                   7                   7  600 hours..........              4,200
Reporting.......................                   7                   7  120 hours..........                840
    Totals......................                  18                  18  ...................             13,040

III. Request for Comments
     We invite comments concerning this IC on:
    (1) Whether or not the collection of information is necessary,
including whether or not the information will have practical utility;
    (2) The accuracy of our estimate of the burden for this collection
of information;
    (3) Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the
information to be collected; and
    (4) Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on
    Comments that you submit in response to this notice are a matter of
public record. We will include and/or summarize each comment in our
request to OMB to approve this IC. Before including your address, phone
number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in
your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment, including
your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available
at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your
personal identifying information from public review, we cannot
guarantee that we will be able to do so.

    Dated: October 9, 2008.
Hope Grey,
Information Collection Clearance Officer, Fish and Wildlife Service.
FR Doc. E8-27831 Filed 11-21-08; 8:45 am