[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 51 (Friday, March 15, 2013)]
[Pages 16526-16527]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-05997]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R6-ES-2012-N255; FXES11130600000-134-FF06E00000]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Revised 
Recovery Plan for Pallid Sturgeon

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability for review and comment.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces the 
availability of a draft revised recovery plan for the pallid sturgeon 
(Scaphirhynchus albus). This species is federally listed as endangered 
under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The Service 
solicits review and comment from the public on this draft revised plan.

DATES: Comments on the draft revised recovery plan must be received on 
or before May 14, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the draft revised recovery plan are available by 
request from the Northern Rockies Fish and Wildlife Conservation 
Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2900 4th Avenue North, Room 
301, Billings, MT 59101; telephone 406-247-7365. Submit comments on the 
draft recovery plan to the Project Leader at this same address. An 
electronic copy of the draft recovery plan is available at http://www.fws.gov/endangered/species/recovery-plans.html.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Project Leader, at the above address, 
or telephone 406-247-7365.



    Restoring 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.

[[Page 16527]]

    The Act requires recovery plans for listed species unless such a 
plan would not promote the conservation of a particular species. The 
original plan for the species was approved in 1993. 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. The Service will consider all information received during 
a public comment period when preparing each new or revised recovery 
plan for approval. The Service and other Federal agencies also will 
take these comments into consideration in the course of implementing 
approved recovery plans. It is our policy to request peer review of 
recovery plans. We will summarize and respond to the issues raised by 
the public and peer reviewers in an appendix to the approved recovery 
    The pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus), found in the Missouri 
and Mississippi River basins of the United States, was listed as an 
endangered species on September 6, 1990 (55 FR 36641). At the time of 
listing, the species was threatened by habitat destruction and 
modification, overutilization, and inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms, as well as other natural or manmade factors.
    The recovery of pallid sturgeon will rely on effective conservation 
responses to the issues facing the species, which remain varied and 
complex. The pallid sturgeon is native to the Missouri and Mississippi 
Rivers and adapted to the pre-development habitat conditions that 
historically existed in these rivers. These conditions generally can be 
described as large, free-flowing, warm-water, and turbid rivers with a 
diverse assemblage of physical habitats that were in a constant state 
of change. Limiting factors include: (1) Activities that affect 
connectivity and the natural form, function, and hydrologic processes 
of rivers; (2) illegal harvest; (3) impaired water quality and 
quantity; (4) entrainment in water diversion structures; and (5) life 
history attributes of the species (i.e., delayed sexual maturity, 
females not spawning every year, and larval drift requirements). The 
degree to which these factors affect the species varies among river 
reaches. The recovery strategy for the pallid sturgeon focuses on the 
need to better understand certain life history traits and the complex 
interactions between these traits and altered habitats in the 
contemporary Missouri and Mississippi River basins, threats abatement, 
population management, research, and monitoring. We emphasize 
conserving extant genetic viability through a conservation augmentation 
program to prevent localized extirpation, researching and implementing 
habitat improvement as appropriate; monitoring habitat conditions; and 
monitoring population status.

Request for Public Comments

    The Service solicits public comments on the draft revised recovery 
plan. All comments received by the date specified in DATES will be 
considered prior to approval of the plan. Written comments and 
materials regarding the plan should be addressed to the Field 
Supervisor (see ADDRESSES section). Comments and materials received 
will be available, by appointment, for public inspection during normal 
business hours at the above address. All public comment information 
provided voluntarily by mail, by phone, or at meetings (e.g., names, 
addresses, letters of comment, input recorded during meetings) becomes 
part of the official public record. If requested under the Freedom of 
Information Act by a private citizen or organization, the Service may 
provide copies of such information.


    The authority for this action is section 4(f) of the Endangered 
Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(f).

    Dated: January 28, 2013.
Noreen E. Walsh,
Regional Director, Denver, Colorado.
[FR Doc. 2013-05997 Filed 3-14-13; 8:45 am]