[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 179 (Friday, September 14, 2012)]
[Pages 56858-56859]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-22657]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2012-N164; 80221-1113-0000-C2]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Recovery 
Plan for Four Subspecies of Island Fox

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

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


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the 
availability of our Draft Recovery Plan for Four Subspecies of Island 
Fox (Urocyon littoralis) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended (Act). Each of the four subspecies, San Miguel Island fox 
(Urocyon littoralis littoralis), Santa Rosa Island fox (U. l. 
santarosae), Santa Cruz Island fox (U. l. santacruzae), and Santa 
Catalina Island fox (U. l. catalinae), is endemic to the Channel Island 
off southern California for which it is named. We request review and 
comment on our plan from local, State, and Federal agencies, and the 
public. We will also accept any new information on the species' status 
throughout its range.

DATES: We must receive comments on or before November 13, 2012. 
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://www.fws.gov/endangered/species/recovery-plans.html. Alternatively, you may contact 
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office, 
2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, California 93003; telephone 805-
644-1766. 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: Ventura Field Office, at the above address;
     Fax: (805) 644-3958; or
     Email: fw8islandfox@fws.gov.
    If you submit comments by email, please include your name and 
return address in your email message.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael McCrary, Listing and Recovery 
Coordinator, at the above address, phone number, or email.



    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 the 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 four of the six subspecies of island fox endemic to the 
California Channel Islands as endangered on March 5, 2004, following 
catastrophic population declines (69 FR 10335). The San Miguel Island 
fox had declined from an estimated 450 individuals to 15; the Santa 
Rosa Island fox had declined from over 1,750 individuals to 14; the 
Santa Cruz Island fox had declined from approximately 1,450 individuals 
to approximately 55; and the Santa Catalina Island fox had declined 
from over 1,300 individuals to 103. The San Clemente Island fox 
(Urocyon littoralis clementae) and the San Nicolas Island fox (U. l. 
dickeyi) were not federally listed at that time, as their population 
numbers had not experienced similar declines.

[[Page 56859]]

    The Draft Recovery Plan for Four Subspecies of Island Fox (Urocyon 
littoralis) was developed by the Island Fox Recovery Team, Recovery 
Coordination Group. We coordinated with the California Department of 
Fish and Game, and a team of stakeholders, which included scientific 
experts, landowners and managers, agency representatives, and non-
government organizations.
    The two primary threats that resulted in the listing of the four 
subspecies of island fox as federally endangered were (1) predation by 
golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) (San Miguel Island fox, Santa Rosa 
Island fox, and Santa Cruz Island fox) and (2) disease (Santa Catalina 
Island fox). Additionally, because the size of each island fox 
population is small, they are highly vulnerable to stochastic events 
and the effects of low genetic diversity.

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 downlist or delist the species. 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 objectives:
    1. Wild island fox populations exhibit demographic characteristics 
consistent with long-term viability; and
    2. Land managers are able to respond in a timely fashion to 
potential and ongoing predation by golden eagles, to potential or 
incipient disease outbreaks, and to other identified threats.
    As the species meets reclassification and recovery criteria, we 
review the species' status and consider the species for 
reclassification on or removal from the Federal List of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife and Plants.

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). We will consider all information 
presented during the public comment period prior to approval of the 
recovery plan. In an appendix to the approved recovery plan, we will 
summarize and respond to the issues raised by the public, agencies, and 
peer reviewers. 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. 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 other entities so that they can be taken into 
account during the course of implementing recovery actions. We invite 
written comments on the draft recovery plan.
    Before we approve the plan, we will consider all comments we 
receive by the date specified in DATES. Methods of submitting comments 

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email 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.).

Tom McCabe,
Acting Regional Director, Pacific Southwest Region.
[FR Doc. 2012-22657 Filed 9-13-12; 8:45 am]