[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 154 (Thursday, August 9, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 47583-47587]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-19476]

[[Page 47583]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2012-0057; 4500030114]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Finding on 
a Petition To List Desert Massasauga as Endangered or Threatened and To 
Designate Critical Habitat

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of petition finding and initiation of status review.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 
90-day finding on a petition to list desert massasauga (Sistrurus 
catenatus edwardsii), a rattlesnake found in the southwestern United 
States, as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (Act), and to designate critical habitat. Based on our 
review, we find that the petition presents substantial scientific or 
commercial information indicating that listing desert massasauga may be 
warranted. We will initiate a review of the status of this subspecies 
to determine if listing is warranted. We are requesting scientific and 
commercial data and other information regarding this subspecies. Based 
on the status review, we will issue a 12-month finding on the petition, 
which will address whether the petitioned action is warranted as 
provided in section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act.

DATES: We request that we receive information on or before October 9, 
2012. The deadline for submitting an electronic comment using the 
Federal eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES section, below) is 11:59 p.m. 
Eastern Time on this date. After October 9, 2012, you must submit 
information directly to the Division of Policy and Directives 
Management (see ADDRESSES section, below). Please note that we might 
not be able to address or incorporate information that we receive after 
the above requested date.

ADDRESSES: You may submit information by one of the following methods:
    (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Search for Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2012-0057.
    (2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public 
Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R2-ES-2012-0057; Division of Policy and 
Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax 
Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
    We will not accept emails or faxes. We will post all information we 
receive on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we 
will post any personal information you provide us (see the Request for 
Information section below for more details).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michelle Shaughnessy, Assistant 
Regional Director, Southwest Regional Office, 500 Gold Ave. SW., Room 
6034, Albuquerque, NM 87102; by telephone at 505-248-6920; or by 
facsimile at 505-248-6788. If you use a telecommunications device for 
the deaf (TDD), please call the Federal Information Relay Service 
(FIRS) at 800-877-8339.


Request for Information

    When we make a finding that a petition presents substantial 
information indicating that listing a species may be warranted, we are 
required to promptly review the status of the species (status review). 
For the status review to be complete and based on the best available 
scientific and commercial information, we request information on desert 
massasauga from governmental agencies, Native American tribes, the 
scientific community, industry, and any other interested parties. We 
seek information on:
    (1) The subspecies' biology, range, and population trends, 
    (a) Habitat requirements for reproduction, germination, and 
    (b) Genetics and taxonomy;
    (c) Historical and current range, including distribution patterns;
    (d) Historical and current population levels, and current and 
projected trends; and
    (e) Past and ongoing conservation measures for the species, its 
habitat, or both.
    (2) The factors that are the basis for making a listing, delisting, 
or downlisting determination for a species under section 4(a) of the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act) (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.), which are:
    (a) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of its habitat or range;
    (b) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes;
    (c) Disease or predation;
    (d) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or
    (e) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued 
    If, after the status review, we determine that listing desert 
massasauga is warranted, we will propose critical habitat (see 
definition in section 3(5)(A) of the Act), under section 4 of the Act, 
to the maximum extent prudent and determinable at the time we propose 
to list the species. Therefore, we request data and information on:
    (1) What may constitute ``physical or biological features essential 
to the conservation of the species'' within the geographical range 
currently occupied by the subspecies;
    (2) Where these features are currently found;
    (3) Whether any of these features may require special management 
considerations or protection;
    (4) Specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the 
subspecies that are ``essential for the conservation of the species;'' 
    (5) What, if any, critical habitat you think we should propose for 
designation if the subspecies is proposed for listing, and why such 
habitat meets the requirements of section 4 of the Act.
    Please include sufficient information with your submission (such as 
scientific journal articles or other publications) to allow us to 
verify any scientific or commercial information you include.
    Submissions merely stating support for or opposition to the action 
under consideration without providing supporting information, although 
noted, will not be considered in making a determination. Section 
4(b)(1)(A) of the Act directs that determinations as to whether any 
species is an endangered or threatened species must be made ``solely on 
the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available.''
    You may submit your information concerning this status review by 
one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. If you submit 
information via http://www.regulations.gov, your entire submission--
including any personal identifying information--will be posted on the 
Web site. If you submit a hardcopy that includes personal identifying 
information, you may request at the top of your document that we 
withhold this personal identifying information from public review. 
However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. We will 
post all hardcopy submissions on http://www.regulations.gov.
    Information and supporting documentation that we received and used 
in preparing this finding are available for you to review at http://www.regulations.gov, or you may make an appointment during normal 
business hours at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife

[[Page 47584]]

Service, Southwest Regional Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 


    Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act requires that we make a finding on 
whether a petition to list, delist, or reclassify a species presents 
substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the 
petitioned action may be warranted. We are to base this finding on 
information provided in the petition, supporting information submitted 
with the petition, and information otherwise available in our files. To 
the maximum extent practicable, we are to make this finding within 90 
days of our receipt of the petition and publish our notice of the 
finding promptly in the Federal Register.
    Our standard for substantial scientific or commercial information 
within the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) with regard to a 90-day 
petition finding is ``that amount of information that would lead a 
reasonable person to believe that the measure proposed in the petition 
may be warranted'' (50 CFR 424.14(b)). If we find that substantial 
scientific or commercial information was presented, we are required to 
promptly conduct a species status review, which we subsequently 
summarize in our 12-month finding.
    The ``substantial information'' standard for a 90-day finding 
differs from the Act's ``best scientific and commercial data'' standard 
that applies to a status review to determine whether a petitioned 
action is warranted. A 90-day finding does not constitute a status 
review under the Act. In a 12-month finding, we will announce our 
determination as to whether a petitioned action is warranted after we 
have completed a thorough status review of the species, which is 
conducted following a substantial 90-day finding. Because the Act's 
standards for 90-day findings and status reviews conducted for a 12-
month finding on a petition are different, as described above, a 
substantial 90-day finding does not mean that our status review and 
resulting determination will result in a warranted finding.

Petition History

    On November 1, 2010, we received a petition dated October 28, 2010, 
from the WildEarth Guardians, requesting that desert massasauga be 
listed as endangered or threatened and critical habitat be designated 
under the Act. Alternatively, the petitioner requested listing of a 
distinct population segment of desert massasauga in Colorado, Kansas, 
and Oklahoma. The petition clearly identified itself as such and 
included the requisite identification information for the petitioner, 
as required by 50 CFR 424.14(a). In a December 1, 2011, letter to the 
WildEarth Guardians, we responded that we reviewed the information 
presented in the petition and determined that issuing an emergency 
regulation temporarily listing the subspecies under section 4(b)(7) of 
the Act was not warranted. We also stated that we intended to complete 
an initial finding in Fiscal Year 2012 as to whether this petition 
contains substantial information indicating that the action may be 
warranted. This 90-day finding addresses the October 28, 2010, 

Species Information

Taxonomy and Description
    The desert massasauga (Sistrurus catenatus edwardsii) is a 
rattlesnake (Family Viperidae) classified as a subspecies of massasauga 
(Sistrurus catenatus) (Conant and Collins 1991, p. 232; Ernst and Ernst 
2003, pp. 552-553; Collins and Taggart 2009, p. 32). As a widely 
recognized subspecies, it is a listable entity under the Act.
    Mackessy (2005, p. 10) described the color of desert massasauga as 
gray to light brown, with 37 to 40 darker brown saddles or semicircular 
blotches, outlined in black, forming a regular pattern on the dorsal 
surface. A prominent dark brown to black stripe extends from the eye to 
the angle of the jaw, and a lyre-shaped or paired irregular set of 
stripes extends from the dorsal surface of the head to the first body 
blotch. The base of the rattle on the tail is typically black, but in 
neonates (young snakes), the tip is yellow. The desert massasauga is 
relatively small compared to other rattlesnakes, reaching a maximum 
adult total length of 588 millimeters (mm) (23 inches (in)) (Holycross 
2001, p. 59), with an average length of about 380 mm (15 in) (Mackessy 
2005, p. 27).
    The desert massasauga is venomous, and the venom is used to acquire 
prey and is toxic to humans. However, due to its small adult size, 
venom yields are low, and bites to humans, although potentially 
serious, are not likely to be life-threatening (Mackessy 2005, p. 10). 
The probability of a desert massasauga biting a human is also very low 
because there is only a small chance of encountering the snake due to 
its nocturnality; spotty distribution; and generally cryptic, elusive, 
and nonaggressive behavior (Werler and Dixon 2000, p. 404).
    The desert massasauga occurs in a variety of grassland and 
shrubland habitats, including shortgrass prairie, sandsage grasslands, 
shinnery oak, Chihuahuan desert, and occasionally sand dune habitat 
(Degenhardt et al. 1996, p. 356; Hobert et al. 2004, p. 323; Mackessy 
2007, p. 2). Studies in Colorado have shown it inhabits primarily 
shortgrass prairie habitat with Artemisia filifolia (sand sage), 
Buchloe dactyloides (buffalograss), and Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama) 
below about 1,500 meters (5,000 feet) in elevation. Although the 
species is adapted to xeric (dry) conditions, the subspecies is most 
abundant in areas of prairie with more mesic (moist) conditions 
(Mackessy 2005, p. 23). The snake uses grasses for capturing prey and 
avoiding predators, as these areas provide protective cover. The 
subspecies is not often found in scrub or shrub habitats in most parts 
of its range.
Life History
    The biology of the desert massasauga has been studied in some 
detail in some parts of its range. The snakes hibernate from October to 
mid-April in Colorado (Hobert et al. 2004, p. 324), and from November 
to March in New Mexico (Degenhardt et al. 1996, p. 357) with presumably 
similar timeframes of hibernation in other parts of its range. They 
commonly use rodent burrows for hibernation and as birthing sites 
(Mackessy 2005, pp. 16-17, 23; Mackessy 2007, p. 8). They are mainly 
nocturnal and may migrate up to 2 kilometers (km) (1.2 miles (mi)) 
seasonally between locations used for winter hibernation and those used 
during active periods (Ernst and Ernst 2003, p. 554; Mackessy 2005, pp. 
20-21). Desert massasauga feed on a wide variety of prey, including 
lizards, small mammals, and centipedes (Holycross and Mackessy 2002, p. 
456). Females have been observed to give birth in the summer to between 
4 and 8 young (Hobert et al. 2004, pp. 324-325; Mackessy 2005, p. 29), 
and may not reproduce every year (Goldberg and Holycross 1999, p. 531). 
Most adults collected in the field were estimated to be 4 years old or 
less, though members of the subspecies have lived more than 14 years in 
Distribution and Abundance
    The range of desert massasauga is reported with some variation in 
published accounts, but the subspecies is known to occur from central-
western and southern Texas, southeastern

[[Page 47585]]

Colorado, southern New Mexico, southeastern Arizona, and northern 
Mexico (Conant and Collins 1991, map 193; Werler and Dixon 2000, pp. 
402-403). Historically, the snakes may have occurred in far western 
Oklahoma and extreme southwestern Kansas contiguous with the range in 
Colorado, but their present occurrence in both States is unknown 
(Mackessy 2005, p. 10). Anderson et al. (2009, pp. 740-741) provide the 
most recent description of the range as a series of isolated 
populations, rather than a continuous distribution.
    The desert massasauga in southeastern Colorado is especially 
disjunct from the rest of the range of the subspecies. The taxonomic 
relationship of this population to the rest of the other massasauga 
subspecies was uncertain (Maslin 1965, p. 34) until more analysis by 
Hobert in 1997 (as cited in Hobert et al. 2004, p. 322) placed them as 
the desert massasauga subspecies. The range of the subspecies in Texas 
occurs in disjunct populations in far south Texas, including portions 
of the Gulf Coast, and western and central Texas, east of the Brazos 
River, where it adjoins the range of the western massasauga (Werler and 
Dixon 2000, pp. 402-403). However, the distribution map by Anderson et 
al. (2009, p. 741) shows a larger separation between the two subspecies 
in Texas. In New Mexico, it occurs in the southeastern part of the 
State contiguous with western Texas and then in isolated populations in 
the middle and lower Rio Grande Valley across south-central New Mexico 
(Anderson et al. 2009, pp. 740-741). In Arizona, it occurs in the 
extreme southeastern part of the State (Anderson et al. 2009, pp. 740-
741). Only two small disjunct populations are known from Mexico, but 
extensive searches there have not been conducted (Ernst and Ernst 2003, 
p. 553). Mackessy (2005, pp. 12, 15) hypothesized that the historic 
range was likely continuous from southeastern Colorado to northern 
Mexico but has been fragmented due to climatic changes effecting the 
distribution of the shortgrass prairie of the Great Plains and human-
caused factors that resulted in habitat loss. The current patchy 
distribution has been hypothesized as a consequence of both narrow 
ecological tolerances and Holocene (about 12,000 years before present) 
climate changes (becoming drier) that have fragmented suitable habitat 
(Greene 1997 in Anderson et al. 2009, p. 740).
    Across the range, population sizes and trends for the desert 
massasauga are largely unknown due to the paucity of data collection 
and analysis. However, numerous herpetologists have made general 
assessments on the status of the subspecies. For example, Werler and 
Dixon (2000, p. 406) state that continued alteration of the 
massasauga's open habitat for farmland and suburban housing development 
has caused a significant decline in the snake's numbers. In 2001, the 
Arizona Game and Fish Department (2001, p. 3) reported that, while 
quantified data are lacking, the desert massasauga has almost certainly 
experienced long-term population declines and a general range 
contraction in Arizona. The populations in southeastern Colorado are 
exceptions, and long-term research there has indicated that local 
populations in some parts of the State are ``reasonably robust and 
stable'' due to intact habitat conditions (Mackessy 2005, p. 12).

Evaluation of Information for This Finding

    Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and its implementing 
regulations at 50 CFR 424 set forth the procedures for adding a species 
to, or removing a species from, the Federal Lists of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife and Plants. A species may be determined to be an 
endangered or threatened species due to one or more of the five factors 
described in section 4(a)(1) of the Act:
    (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of its habitat or range;
    (B) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes;
    (C) Disease or predation;
    (D) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or
    (E) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued 
    In considering what factors might constitute threats, we must look 
beyond the mere exposure of the species to the factor to determine 
whether the species responds to the factor in a way that causes actual 
impacts to the species. If there is exposure to a factor, but no 
response, or only a positive response, that factor is not a threat. If 
there is exposure and the species responds negatively, the factor may 
be a threat and we then attempt to determine how significant a threat 
it is. If the threat is significant, it may drive or contribute to the 
risk of extinction of the species such that the species may warrant 
listing as endangered or threatened as those terms are defined by the 
Act. This does not necessarily require empirical proof of a threat. The 
combination of exposure and some corroborating evidence of how the 
species is likely impacted could suffice. The mere identification of 
factors that could impact a species negatively may not be sufficient to 
compel a finding that listing may be warranted. The information must 
contain evidence sufficient to suggest that these factors may be 
operative threats that act on the species to the point that the species 
may meet the definition of endangered or threatened under the Act.
    In making this 90-day finding, we evaluated whether information 
regarding the status and threats to the desert massasauga, as presented 
in the petition and other information readily available in our files, 
is substantial, thereby indicating that the petitioned action may be 
warranted. Our evaluation of this information is presented below.

Evaluation of Petition Information and Finding for Desert Massasauga

    The petition presented information regarding the following factors 
as potential threats to the desert massasauga: Conversion of native 
grasslands to crops, heavy livestock grazing, urbanization, energy 
development, desertification, water diversion and depletion, loss of 
rodent prey base, proliferation of noxious weeds, direct killing, 
collection for the pet trade, predation from natural predators, 
paramyxovirus (disease), inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms, 
death from vehicle strikes, natural vulnerability (low fecundity, low 
survivorship, and short lifespan), fragmentation and isolation, human 
population growth, drought and climate change, and the cumulative 
impact of these threats. After reviewing the information provided in 
the petition and information available in our files, we have determined 
that there is substantial information to indicate the desert massasauga 
may warrant listing as a result of habitat degradation (from land 
conversion to cultivated croplands and heavy livestock grazing) and 
death from vehicular strikes.
Habitat Degradation and Loss
    The petition states that habitat degradation and loss are primary 
threats to the desert massasauga and cites a number of sources to 
support this position. The specific causes of habitat degradation and 
loss cited in the petition include conversion to crops, heavy livestock 
grazing, urbanization, energy development, desertification, water 
diversion and depletion, loss of the rodent prey base, and 
proliferation of noxious weeds. Our review of the petition and 
information in our files found substantial information that significant 
habitat degradation and loss may be occurring as a result of

[[Page 47586]]

agricultural land use (conversion of native grasslands to crops) and 
heavy livestock grazing.
    In support of conversion to crops as a source of habitat loss to 
the species, the petition cites Mackessy (2005, p. 24), who reports 
that the conversion of grassland to farmland is a concern to the 
subspecies in southeastern Colorado. When native shortgrass prairie is 
converted to cultivated agricultural fields, the habitat for the desert 
massasauga is directly and completely lost. The snake is not able to 
complete its life-history needs in cultivated fields due to absence of 
shelter, prey, and hibernation sites, resulting in a loss of 
individuals of the subspecies and decline in the size of local 
populations (Mackessy 2005, p. 42). In addition to direct habitat loss, 
farmland also fragments the remaining native habitats and may impact 
the subspecies by isolating populations from one another. This 
population isolation may put populations at greater risk of loss by 
resulting in lower population sizes (which are more vulnerable to 
stochastic events), as well asthe prevention of the exchange of genetic 
material between populations. The petition does not provide any 
information on the geographic extent of crop conversion across the 
snake's range outside of Colorado. However, the effects of crop 
conversion has occurred to at least some extent in other parts of the 
range, because Anderson et al. (2009, p. 740) cites encroachment of 
agriculture as one of the significant causes of decline and extirpation 
of desert massasauga populations.
    In support of heavy livestock grazing as a source of habitat loss, 
the petition cites several sources. Mackessy (2005, p. 24) explains 
that livestock per se are compatible with the conservation of the 
desert massasauga; however, if overgrazing results in severe 
degradation of the native shortgrass prairie in Colorado, then habitats 
will be altered and the desert massasauga will not be able to inhabit 
these areas. Mackessy (2005, p. 47) also states that properly managed 
grazing can be compatible with desert massasauga, but overgrazing can 
severely degrade habitat. Zwartjes et al. (2005, p. 22) also reports 
that desert massasauga are grassland specialists that respond 
negatively to degradation of pure grasslands by invasive shrub 
encroachment, which can result from landscape changes due to improper 
grazing management. They concluded that conversion of grasslands to 
scrublands in the Southwest (Arizona and New Mexico) have severe 
negative effects on most populations of desert massasauga due to a loss 
of protective cover (Zwartjes et al. 2005, p. 22). Ernst and Ernst 
(2003, p. 557) state that the loss of grasslands in the Southwest due 
to overgrazing has eliminated much of the snake's original habitat. 
While the petition does not provide specific information on the 
geographic extent of the concerns for overgrazing, most of the snake's 
range is used for livestock grazing, which has been a long-time concern 
for land management and conservation of wildlife in the Southwest 
(Zwartjes et al. 2005, p. 22).
Mortality From Vehicular Strikes
    The petition explains that one indirect consequence of any land 
development, whether for urbanization, agriculture, or energy, is the 
building and maintenance of roadways across the habitat of the desert 
massasauga. During active periods for migration and movement in the 
spring and fall, snakes will cross roadways and at other times will 
also use roads as basking sites in the evening for the residual warmth 
provided by the road (Mackessy 2005, p. 41). As a result, vehicle 
strikes of snakes on roads have been cited by researchers as a 
significant source of mortality for the desert massasauga (Werler and 
Dixon 2000, p. 403; Anderson et al. 2009, p. 740). In one intensive 
study in Arizona, 47.5 percent of all desert massasaugas encountered 
along one stretch of roadway (out of a total of 99 encounters) were 
found dead due to vehicle strikes (Holycross and Douglas 1996, p. 10). 
During one week in May 2005, a Colorado landowner collected 15 dead 
desert massasaugas along a 1.6-km (1-mi) stretch of a remote, rarely 
traveled gravel road (Mackessy 2005, p. 46). Mackessy (2005, p. 46) 
observed that the strikes not only occurred accidentally but also 
intentionally, as drivers sought to run over rattlesnakes observed in 
the road. In reviewing the natural predators of desert massasaugas, 
Ernst and Ernst (2003, p. 556) concluded, ``* * * humans (through 
habitat destruction and roadkills) probably eliminate more massasaugas 
each year than all natural predators combined.'' We are not aware of 
any quantitative studies analyzing the population-level effects caused 
by the loss of individuals from vehicular strikes across the 
subspecies' range. Roadways occur throughout the subspecies' range, and 
future development will bring more roads into habitats of the desert 
massasauga. In areas where roadways are dense or where roads exist in 
high-quality desert massasauga habitats, vehicular strikes may have 
significant negative effects on the subspecies due to high levels of 
mortality reducing the number of adult snakes in local populations 
resulting in potential population-level effects to the subspecies.


    The information presented in the petition indicates that the desert 
massasauga is subject to negative effects resulting from habitat 
degradation (from land conversion to cultivated croplands and heavy 
livestock grazing) and vehicular strikes. In addition, information is 
presented that indicates the subspecies may have undergone some range 
reduction over time and may be experiencing population declines in some 
portions of its range. This information is sufficient to suggest that 
these factors may be operative threats that act on the subspecies to 
the point that it may meet the definition of endangered or threatened 
under the Act. Therefore, on the basis of our determination under 
section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act, we find that the petition presents 
substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that 
listing the desert massasauga throughout its entire range may be 
warranted. Because we have found that the petition presents substantial 
information indicating that listing the desert massasauga may be 
warranted, we will initiate a status review to determine whether 
listing the desert massasauga under the Act is warranted. If necessary, 
we will also evaluate during the status review whether a distinct 
population segment of desert massasauga in Colorado, Kansas, and 
Oklahoma warrants listing.
    This finding was made primarily based on the information related to 
habitat degradation (from land conversion to cultivated croplands and 
heavy livestock grazing) and vehicular strikes. We will evaluate all 
information under the five factors during the status review under 
section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act. As noted above, the petition also 
presented information that there may be other potential threats to the 
desert massasauga. We will fully evaluate these potential threats 
during our status review, pursuant to the Act's requirement to review 
the best available scientific information when making that finding. 
Accordingly, we encourage the public to consider and submit information 
related to these and any other threats that may be operating on the 
desert massasauga (see ``Request for Information'').

References Cited

    A complete list of references cited is available on the Internet at 
http://www.regulations.gov and upon request

[[Page 47587]]

from the Southwest Regional Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 


    The primary authors of this notice are the staff members of the 
Southwest Regional Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

    Authority: The authority for this action is the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: July 26, 2012.
Thomas O. Melius,
Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-19476 Filed 8-8-12; 8:45 am]