[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 103 (Friday, May 27, 2011)]
[Pages 30957-30958]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-13044]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R2-ES-2011-XXXX; 12345-1234-0000-C2]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Notice of 
Availability of a Draft Recovery Plan, First Revision, Mount Graham Red 
Squirrel for Review and Comment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability for review and public comment.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the availability 
of our draft recovery plan, first revision, for the Mount Graham Red 
Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus grahamensis) under the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). This species is endemic to 
upper-elevation forests in the Pinale[ntilde]o Mountains in 
southeastern Arizona. We request review and comment on our plan from 
local, State, and Federal agencies, Tribes, and the public. We will 
also accept any new information on the species' status throughout its 

DATES: We must receive written comments on or before July 26, 2011. 
However, we will accept information about any species at any time.

ADDRESSES: If you wish to review the draft recovery plan, you may 
obtain a copy by visiting our Web site at http://endangered.fws.gov/recovery/index.html#plans. Alternatively, you may contact the Arizona 
Ecological Services Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2321 W. 
Royal Palm Road, Suite 103, Phoenix, AZ 85021-4951 (602-242-0210, 
phone). If you wish to comment on the plan, you may submit your 
comments in writing by any one of the following methods:
     U.S. mail: Field Supervisor, at the above address;
     Hand-delivery: Arizona Ecological Services Office at the 
above address;
     Fax: (602) 242-2513; or
     E-mail: MGRSrecovery@fws.gov.
    For additional information about submitting comments, see the 
``Request for Public Comments'' section below.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marit Alanen, Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist, at the above address, phone number, or e-mail.



    Recovery of endangered or threatened animals and plants to the 
point where they are again secure, self-sustaining members of their 
ecosystems is a primary goal of our endangered species program and the 
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. 
The Act requires the development of recovery plans for listed species, 
unless such a plan would not promote the conservation of a particular 

Species' History

    We listed the Mount Graham red squirrel as an endangered species 
under the Act on June 3, 1987 (52 FR 20994). We designated critical 
habitat on January 5, 1990 (55 FR 425).
    We originally completed and announced a recovery plan for the 
species on May 3, 1993. However, given the species' current status, the 
recommendations in that plan are now outdated.
    The Mount Graham red squirrel exists only in the upper-elevation 
forests of the Pinale[ntilde]o Mountains in southeastern Arizona, and 
likely represents a relictual population of what was once a much more 
widely distributed taxon. Threats to the subspecies at the time of 
listing included its small population size and range; changes in forest 
age structure and density within the squirrel's habitat; loss of 
habitat due to development, road construction, and forest fire; and 
competition with the introduced Abert's squirrel. These same threats to 
the red squirrel's habitat continue today, compounded by the additional 
threats of climate change (including drought), insect infestation, and 
fire suppression activities. Recent research also indicates that 
predation, competition with Abert's squirrels, and demographic factors 
(mainly due to its small population size) may impact the Mount Graham 
red squirrel population more than expected.

Recovery Plan Goals

    The objective of an agency recovery plan is to provide a framework 
for the recovery of a species so that protection under the Act is no 
longer necessary. A recovery plan includes scientific information about 
the species and provides criteria and actions necessary for us to be 
able to reclassify the species to threatened status or remove it from 
the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants 
(List). Recovery plans help guide our recovery efforts by describing 
actions we consider necessary for the species' conservation, and by 
estimating time and costs for implementing needed recovery measures. To 
achieve its goals, this draft recovery plan identifies the following 
     Restore and maintain sufficient Mount Graham red squirrel 
habitat to ensure the species' survival despite environmental 
stochasticity and the threat of climate change.
     Maintain a self-sustaining population of Mount Graham red 
squirrels sufficient to ensure the species' survival.
    The draft revised recovery plan contains new downlisting and 
delisting criteria based on maintaining and increasing population 
numbers and habitat quality. The revised recovery plan focuses on 
protecting and managing the remaining population and habitat, restoring 
and creating habitat to allow for the existence of a viable and robust 
population, researching the conservation biology of the Mount Graham 
red squirrel with the objective of facilitating efficient recovery, 
developing support and building partnerships to facilitate recovery, 
and monitoring progress toward recovery and practicing adaptive 
    As the species meets reclassification and recovery criteria, we 
will review the species' status and consider the species for 
reclassification on or removal from the List.

Request for Public Comments

    Section 4(f) of the Act requires us to provide public notice and an 
opportunity for public review and comment during recovery plan 
development. It is also our policy to request peer review of recovery 
plans (July 1, 1994; 59 FR 34270). In an appendix to the approved 
recovery plan, we will summarize and respond to the issues raised by 
the public and peer reviewers. Substantive comments may or may not 
result in changes to the recovery plan; comments regarding recovery 
plan implementation will be forwarded as appropriate to Federal or

[[Page 30958]]

other entities so that they can be taken into account during the course 
of implementing recovery actions. Responses to individual commenters 
will not be provided, but we will provide a summary of how we addressed 
substantive comments in an appendix to the approved recovery plan.
    We invite written comments on the draft revised recovery plan. This 
plan has undergone significant revision since the original plan, 
incorporating the most recent scientific research specific to the Mount 
Graham red squirrel and input from the Technical and Stakeholder 
Subgroups of the Recovery Team. Therefore, we encourage commenters to 
review the recovery plan in its entirety.
    Before we approve the plan, we will consider all comments we 
receive by the date specified in DATES above. Methods of submitting 
comments are in the ADDRESSES section above.

Public Availability of Comments

    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.
    Comments and materials we receive will be available, by 
appointment, for public inspection during normal business hours at our 
office (see ADDRESSES).


    We developed our draft recovery plan under the authority of section 
4(f) of the Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(f). We publish this notice under 
section 4(f) Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 
et seq.).

    Dated: April 18, 2011.
Joy E. Nicholopoulos,
Acting Regional Director, Southwest Region.
[FR Doc. 2011-13044 Filed 5-26-11; 8:45 am]