[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 150 (Monday, August 5, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 47268-47270]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-18823]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2013-0098; FXES11130900000C2-134-FF09E32000]
RIN 1018-AY46

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Notice of Intent 
To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Revision 
to the Nonessential Experimental Population of the Mexican Wolf (Canis 
lupus baileyi)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; notice of intent to prepare an environmental 
impact statement.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will prepare a draft 
environmental impact statement pursuant to the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969, as amended, in conjunction with a proposed rule to 
revise the existing nonessential experimental population designation of 
the Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) under section 10(j) of the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended.

DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before 
September 19, 2013. Comments submitted electronically using the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES) must be received by 11:59 p.m. 
Eastern Time on the closing date.

ADDRESSES: You may submit written comments by one of the following 
    (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Search for FWS-R2-ES-2013-0098, which is the 
docket number for this notice. You may submit a comment by clicking on 
``Comment Now!''
    (2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public 
Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R2-ES-2013-0098; Division of Policy and 
Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N Fairfax 
Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
    We request that you send comments only by the methods described 
above. We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This 
generally means that we will post any personal information you provide 
us (see the Information Requested section below for more information). 
To increase our efficiency in downloading comments, groups providing 
mass submissions should submit their comments in an Excel file.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mexican Wolf Recovery Program, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, New Mexico Ecological Services Field Office, 
2105 Osuna Road, NE., Albuquerque, NM 87113 or by telephone 505-761-
4704. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call 
the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339. 
Additional information can be viewed on the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery 
Program's Web site at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/index.cfm.


Previous Federal Actions

    We established a nonessential experimental population of Mexican 
wolves in 1998 (63 FR 1752, January 12, 1998) pursuant to section 10(j) 
of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
    On August 7, 2007, we published a notice of intent in the Federal 
Register (72 FR 44065) to initiate the planning process for preparation 
of an environmental impact statement (EIS), pursuant to the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), to modify our 
Mexican wolf nonessential experimental population designation (63 FR 
1752, January 12, 1998). We held 12 public informational sessions in 
the communities and on the dates listed in our scoping report, which is 
available at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/documents.cfm 
and at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2013-0098.
    On June 13, 2013, we published a proposed rule to revise our 
existing Mexican wolf nonessential experimental population designation 
(78 FR 35719).


    The proposed rule (78 FR 35719, June 12, 2013), together with the 
proposed implementation of a soon-to-be-released management plan for 
Mexican wolves in areas of Arizona and New Mexico that are outside of 
the experimental population area, form the basis of the proposed action 
of our EIS. The EIS will consider reasonable alternatives for revisions 
to the geographic boundaries and management regulations of the current 
Mexican wolf nonessential experimental population (63 FR 1752, January 
12, 1998), and the implementation of a management plan for the Mexican 
wolf in those portions of Arizona and New Mexico external to the 
Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area (MWEPA). The EIS will analyze 
the environmental consequences of a range of alternatives to the 
proposed action that include: revisions to the geographic boundaries of 
the MWEPA and Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area (BRWRA), modifications to 
the regulations for management of the nonessential experimental 
population of Mexican wolves, and implementation of a management plan 
for Mexican wolves in areas of Arizona and New Mexico external to the 
    The Service will act as the Lead Federal Agency responsible for 
completion of the EIS (40 CFR 1508.16). We are requesting those Federal 
and State agencies, local governments, and Tribes that may have 
jurisdiction by law or special expertise to serve as cooperating 
agencies in the development of the EIS (40 CFR 1501.6 and 1508.5, 
1508.15, 1508.26).
    We are continuing the scoping process for this EIS that we began in 
2007. We will use the comments received during the 2007 public scoping, 
as well as comments received during this scoping period, in the 
preparation of our draft EIS.

Information Requested

    We are currently seeking comments or suggestions from the public,

[[Page 47269]]

governmental agencies, Tribes, the scientific community, industry, or 
any other interested parties concerning the scope of the EIS, pertinent 
issues we should address, and alternatives that should be analyzed. 
Specifically, we are interested in comments on the preliminary draft 
EIS statement of our purpose and need, our proposed action and 
alternatives, and the alternatives that we have considered but are not 
bringing forward for further analysis in a draft EIS. To guide public 
input, we are making available a factsheet as well as preliminary 
chapters 1 and 2 of a draft EIS for the proposed revision of the 
nonessential experimental population of the Mexican wolf and 
implementation of a management plan.
    Please note that submissions merely stating support for or 
opposition to the proposed action and alternatives under consideration, 
without providing supporting information, although noted, will not be 
considered in making a determination. Please consider the following 
when preparing your comments:
     Be as succinct as possible.
     Organize comments beginning with general comments and then 
move on to specific document sections including page and line numbers 
in your comment.
     Be specific. Comments supported by logic, rationale, and 
citations are more useful than opinions.
     State suggestions and recommendations clearly with an 
expectation of what you would like the Service to do.
     If you comment specifically on the proposed action and 
alternatives, please tell us what you believe the trade-offs and 
differences are between alternatives.
     If you propose an additional alternative for 
consideration, please provide supporting rationale and why you believe 
it to be a reasonable alternative that would meet the purpose and need 
for our proposed action.
     If you provide alternate interpretations of science, 
please support your analysis with appropriate citations.
     If possible, coordinate your comments with other like-
minded individuals and organizations. This can strengthen the comment 
and help us understand the depth of concern.
    We have developed several possible alternatives to improve progress 
toward our reintroduction objective to establish a viable, self-
sustaining experimental population of Mexican wolves in the MWEPA and 
to more effectively manage Mexican wolves throughout Arizona and New 
Mexico. We do not yet know what the preferred alternative or 
environmentally preferred alternative may be in the EIS, and we 
recognize that there may be other reasonable alternatives that we 
should consider. Therefore, we are seeking comments and suggestions on 
a number of issues for consideration in preparation of the draft EIS 
including but not limited to:
     Geographic boundary changes that: Remove the designation 
of a White Sands Wolf Recovery Area (WSWRA); expand the geographic 
boundaries of the BRWRA; modify the geographic boundaries of the MWEPA 
by removing a portion of the MWEPA that occurs in Texas; extend the 
southern boundary of the MWEPA in Arizona and New Mexico to create an 
expanded MWEPA; and eliminate the designation of a Primary Recovery 
Zone (PRZ) and Secondary Recovery Zone (SRZ) within the BRWRA.
     Management changes that: Provide for the initial release 
of captive-raised Mexican wolves throughout the expanded BRWRA; allow 
the natural dispersal of wolves from the BRWRA into the MWEPA; provide 
for the translocation of wolves within the MWEPA pursuant to an 
authorized management purpose; and modify the provisions for the take 
of wolves within the MWEPA.
     Development and implementation of management actions on 
private land within the MWEPA by the Service or an authorized agency to 
benefit Mexican wolf recovery in voluntary cooperation with private 
landowners, including but not limited to, initial release and 
translocation of wolves if requested by the landowner.
     Development and implementation of management actions on 
tribal land within the MWEPA by the Service or an authorized agency in 
voluntary cooperation with tribal governments including but not limited 
to initial release, translocation, capture, and removal of Mexican 
wolves if requested by the tribal government.
     Implementation of a Mexican Wolf Management Plan for those 
portions of Arizona and New Mexico not included as part of the MWEPA.
    The alternatives we develop will be analyzed pursuant to NEPA in 
our draft EIS. We will give separate notice of the availability of the 
draft EIS for public comment when it is completed. We will hold public 
hearings and informational sessions so that interested and affected 
people may comment on the draft EIS and provide input into the final 
    You may submit your comments and materials by one of the methods 
listed in ADDRESSES. We request that you send comments only by the 
methods described in ADDRESSES.
    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 your submission is made via a hardcopy 
that includes personal identifying information, you may request at the 
top of your document that we withhold this 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.
    Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting 
documentation we use in preparing the draft EIS, will be available for 
public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, at Docket No. FWS-R2-
ES-2013-0098, or by appointment, during normal business hours, at the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New Mexico Ecological Services Field 

References and Availability of Documents for Review

    We have developed a Web page for NEPA planning on our Southwest 
Region Ecological Services Mexican Wolf Recovery Program Web site. In 
cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, 
Southwest Region, we have also established information repositories at 
the Supervisor Offices for the National Forests throughout the project 
study area. To access the documents we are making available for review, 
please visit our Web site: http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/NEPA.cfm or http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2013-
0098, or visit the following locations:

Carson National Forest, 208 Cruz Alta Road, Taos, NM 87571.
Cibola National Forest, 2113 Osuna Rd. NE., Albuquerque, NM 87113.
Gila National Forest, 3005 E. Camino del Bosque, Silver City, NM 88061-
Lincoln National Forest, 3463 Los Palomas Blvd., Alamogordo, NM 88310.
Santa Fe National Forest, 11 Forest Lane, Santa Fe, NM 87508.
Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, 30 South Chiricahua Street, P.O. 
Box 640, Springerville, AZ 85938.
Coconino National Forest, 1824 S. Thompson Street, Flagstaff, AZ 86001.
Coronado National Forest, Federal Building, 300 West Congress, Tucson, 
AZ 85701.
Kaibab National Forest, 800 S. 6th Street, Williams, AZ 86046.

[[Page 47270]]


    The primary authors of this notice are the staff members of the 
Mexican Wolf Recovery Program, U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, Southwest 


    The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 1973 
(16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.).

    Dated: July 25, 2013.
Rachel Jacobson,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2013-18823 Filed 8-2-13; 8:45 am]