[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 81 (Thursday, April 26, 2012)]
[Page 24975]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-10033]

[[Page 24975]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R6-ES-2011-N276; FXES11130600000C2-123-FF06E00000]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revised Recovery 
Plan for the Utah Prairie Dog

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces the 
availability of a final revised recovery plan for the Utah prairie dog 
(Cynomys parvidens). This species is federally listed as threatened 
under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act).

ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the final recovery plan are available 
online at http://www.fws.gov/endangered/species/recovery-plans.html. 
Paper copies of the final revised recovery plan are available by 
request from the Utah Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
2369 West Orton Circle, Suite 50, West Valley City, UT 84119; telephone 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Larry Crist, Field Supervisor, at the 
above address, or telephone 801-975-3330.



    Recovering 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 prepares recovery plans for the 
federally listed species native to the United States where a plan will 
promote the conservation of the species. Recovery plans describe site-
specific actions necessary for the conservation of the species; 
establish objective, measurable criteria which, when met, would result 
in a determination that the species no longer needs the protection of 
the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.); and provide estimates of the time and 
cost for implementing the needed recovery measures.
    The Act requires 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 opportunity for public review and comment be provided during 
recovery plan development. We made the draft recovery plan available 
for public comment and peer review from September 17, 2010, to November 
16, 2010 (75 FR 57055). We have considered all information received 
during the public comment and peer review period in the preparation of 
the final revised recovery plan for the Utah prairie dog. The Service 
and other Federal agencies also will take these comments and reviews 
into consideration in the course of implementing the final approved 
recovery plan for the Utah prairie dog. In this final revised plan, we 
have summarized and responded to the issues raised by both the public 
and the requested peer reviewers in an appendix to the plan, and 
incorporated changes to the plan as appropriate.
    The Utah prairie dog (Cynomys parvidens), found only in 
southwestern and central Utah, was listed as an endangered species on 
June 4, 1973 (38 FR 14678). At the time of listing, the species was 
threatened by habitat destruction and modification, overexploitation, 
disease, and predation. Subsequently, Utah prairie dog populations 
increased significantly in portions of their range, and on May 29, 1984 
(49 FR 22330), the species was reclassified as threatened with a 
special rule to allow regulated take of the species. This special rule 
was amended on June 14, 1991 (56 FR 27438), to increase the amount of 
regulated take allowed throughout the species' range. Recent Utah 
prairie dog population trends appear to be relatively stable, although 
the species remains vulnerable to several serious threats. These 
include habitat loss, plague, changing climatic conditions, 
unauthorized take, and disturbance from recreational and economic land 
    The recovery of Utah prairie dogs will rely on effective 
conservation responses to the issues facing the species, which remain 
varied and complex. These issues include plague, urban expansion, 
grazing, cultivated agriculture, vegetative community changes, invasive 
plants, off-highway vehicle and recreation uses, climate change, energy 
resource exploration and development, fire management, poaching, and 
predation. Strategically, these issues can be reduced to two overriding 
concerns: loss of habitat and plague. The recovery strategy for the 
Utah prairie dog focuses on the need to address colony loss and disease 
through a program that encompasses threats abatement, population 
management, research, and monitoring. We emphasize conserving extant 
colonies, many of which occur on non-Federal lands; establishing 
additional colonies on Federal and non-Federal lands via habitat 
improvement or translocations; controlling the transmission of plague; 
and monitoring habitat conditions.


    We developed our final 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) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 
U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: April 20, 2012.
Stephen Guertin,
Regional Director, Denver, Colorado.
[FR Doc. 2012-10033 Filed 4-25-12; 8:45 am]