[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 166 (Tuesday, August 27, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 52894-52895]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-20671]

[[Page 52894]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2013-0007; 4500030113]
RIN 1018-AZ30

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designating 
Critical Habitat for the Neosho Mucket and Rabbitsfoot

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of comment period.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the reopening 
of the public comment period on our October 16, 2012, proposed 
designation of critical habitat for the Neosho mucket (Lampsilis 
rafinesqueana) and rabbitsfoot (Quadrula cylindrica cylindrica) mussels 
under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). In response 
to requests we received, we are reopening the comment period to allow 
all interested parties an opportunity to comment on the proposed 
designation of critical habitat, draft environmental assessment, and 
draft economic analysis. Comments previously submitted need not be 
resubmitted, as they will be fully considered in our determinations on 
this rulemaking action.

DATES: For the proposed rule published October 16, 2012 (77 FR 63440), 
we will consider all comments received or postmarked on or before 
October 28, 2013. Comments submitted electronically using the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES, below) must be received by 11:59 
p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date.

ADDRESSES: Document availability: You may obtain copies of the proposed 
rule on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-
R4-ES-2012-0031, or by mail from the Arkansas Ecological Services Field 
Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). You may obtain a copy of 
the draft economic analysis and the draft environmental assessment at 
Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2013-0007.
    Comment submission: You may submit written comments by one of the 
following methods:
    (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Search for Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2013-0007.
    (2) By hard copy: Submit comments by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: 
Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R4-ES-2013-0007; 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 Public Comments section below for more information).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jim Boggs, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, Arkansas Ecological Services Field Office, 110 
South Amity Road, Suite 300, Conway, AR 72032; by telephone 501-513-
4475; or by facsimile 501-513-4480. Persons who use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.



    On October 16, 2012, the Service published a proposed rule in the 
Federal Register (77 FR 63440) to list the Neosho mucket (Lampsilis 
rafinesqueana) as an endangered species and the rabbitsfoot (Quadrula 
cylindrica cylindrica) as a threatened species under the Act and to 
designate critical habitat for these two mussels. We proposed to 
designate approximately 779.1 river kilometers (rkm) (484.1 river miles 
(rmi)) of critical habitat for the Neosho mucket in the Cottonwood, 
Elk, Fall, Illinois, Neosho, Shoal, Spring, North Fork Spring, and 
Verdigris Rivers in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. The 
proposed critical habitat for the Neosho mucket is located in:
     Benton and Washington Counties, Arkansas;
     Allen, Chase, Cherokee, Coffey, Elk, Greenwood, Labette, 
Montgomery, Neosho, Wilson, and Woodson Counties, Kansas;
     Jasper, Lawrence, McDonald, and Newton Counties, Missouri; 
     Adair, Cherokee, and Delaware Counties, Oklahoma.

We proposed to designate 2,664 rkm (1,655 rmi) of critical habitat for 
the rabbitsfoot in the Neosho, Spring (Arkansas River system), 
Verdigris, Black, Buffalo, Little, Ouachita, Saline, Middle Fork Little 
Red, Spring (White River system), South Fork Spring, Strawberry, White, 
St. Francis, Big Sunflower, Big Black, Paint Rock, Duck, Tennessee, 
Red, Ohio, Allegheny, Green, Tippecanoe, Walhonding, Middle Branch 
North Fork Vermilion, and North Fork Vermilion Rivers and Bear, French, 
Muddy, Little Darby and Fish Creeks in Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, 
Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, 
Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. The proposed critical habitat for the 
rabbitsfoot is located in:
     Colbert, Jackson, Madison, and Marshall Counties, Alabama;
     Arkansas, Ashley, Bradley, Clark, Cleveland, Dallas, Drew, 
Fulton, Grant, Hot Spring, Independence, Izard, Jackson, Lawrence, 
Little River, Marion, Monroe, Montgomery, Newton, Ouachita, Randolph, 
Saline, Searcy, Sevier, Sharp, Van Buren, White, and Woodruff Counties, 
     Allen and Cherokee Counties, Kansas;
     Ballard, Green, Hart, Livingston, Logan, Marshall, and 
McCracken Counties, Kentucky;
     Massac, Pulaski, and Vermilion Counties, Illinois;
     Carroll, Pulaski, Tippecanoe, and White Counties, Indiana;
     Hinds, Sunflower, Toshimingo, and Warren Counties, 
     Jasper, Madison, and Wayne Counties, Missouri;
     Coshocton, Madison, Union, and Williams Counties, Ohio;
     McCurtain and Rogers Counties, Oklahoma;
     Crawford, Erie, Mercer, and Venango Counties, 
Pennsylvania; and
     Hardin, Hickman, Marshall, Maury, and Robertson Counties, 

That proposal had a 60-day comment period, ending December 17, 2012.
    On May 9, 2013, we announced the reopening of the comment period 
for the proposed listing of Neosho mucket and rabbitsfoot and the 
availability of our draft environmental assessment (DNEPA-EA) and draft 
economic analysis (DEA) of the proposed critical habitat (78 FR 27171). 
The comment period was reopened for 30 days, ending on June 10, 2013. 
We received two requests for the reopened comment period to be extended 
so that the public could have additional time to review the draft 
environmental assessment and draft economic analysis. The requests were 
from Senator Mark Pryor of Arkansas and the Kansas Farm Bureau. 
Therefore, with this notice we are reopening the comment period on the 
proposed designation of critical habitat and the draft EA and NEPA-EA 
for an additional 60 days.
    Pursuant to a court-ordered deadline, we must make a final 
determination on whether to list Neosho mucket and

[[Page 52895]]

rabbitsfoot by September 30, 2013. Although we published the proposal 
to list the species and the proposal to designate critical habitat on 
October 16, 2012, as one rule, we intend to publish the final rule 
listing the species and the final determination on critical habitat 
separately. Additionally, in order to allow additional opportunity for 
public comment on the critical habitat proposal, we plan to publish the 
final critical habitat determination later than the listing 
    Additional information may be found in the October 16, 2012, 
proposed rule (77 FR 63440) and the May 9, 2013, reopening of the 
comment period and availability of the draft environmental assessment 
and draft economic analysis (78 FR 27171).

Public Comments

    We are again seeking written comments and information during this 
reopened comment period on our proposed designation of critical habitat 
for Neosho mucket and rabbitsfoot that published in the Federal 
Register on October 16, 2012 (77 FR 63440), and on our draft 
environmental assessment and draft economic analysis of the proposed 
critical habitat designation and the amended required determinations 
that were made available for review on May 9, 2013 (78 FR 27171).
    With regard to the proposed critical habitat determination, we are 
particularly interested in comments concerning:
    (1) The reasons why we should or should not designate habitat as 
``critical habitat'' under section 4 of the Act, including whether 
there are threats to the species from human activity, the degree of 
which can be expected to increase due to the designation, and whether 
that increase in threat outweighs the benefit of designation such that 
the designation of critical habitat is not prudent.
    (2) Specific information on:
    (a) The amount and distribution of the species' habitat;
    (b) What areas occupied by the species at the time of listing that 
contain features essential for the conservation of the species we 
should include in the designation and why;
    (c) Special management considerations or protection that may be 
needed in critical habitat areas we are proposing, including managing 
for the potential effects of climate change; and
    (d) What areas not occupied at the time of listing are essential to 
the conservation of the species and why.
    (3) Land use designations and current or planned activities in the 
subject areas and their possible impacts on proposed critical habitat.
    (4) Any foreseeable economic, national security, or other relevant 
impacts that may result from designating any area that may be included 
in the final designation. We are particularly interested in any impacts 
on small entities and the benefits of including or excluding areas from 
the proposed designation that are subject to these impacts.
    (5) Whether our approach to designating critical habitat could be 
improved or modified in any way to provide for greater public 
participation and understanding, or to assist us in accommodating 
public concerns and comments.
    If you submitted comments or information on the proposed rule (77 
FR 63440) during the initial comment period from October 16, 2012, to 
December 17, 2012, or the reopened comment period (78 FR 27171) from 
May 9, 2013, to June 10, 2013, please do not resubmit them. We have 
incorporated them into the public record as part of the original 
comment period, and we will fully consider them in our final 
    You may submit your comments and materials concerning the proposed 
rules by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. We request that you 
send comments only by the methods described in ADDRESSES.
    If you submit a comment via http://www.regulations.gov, your entire 
comment--including any personal identifying information--will be posted 
on the Web site. We will post all hardcopy comments on http://www.regulations.gov as well. If you submit a hardcopy comment 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.
    Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting 
documentation we used in preparing the proposed rule, will be available 
for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-
R4-ES-2013-0007 for the proposed critical habitat designation, or by 
appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Arkansas Ecological Services Field Office (see FOR 


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

    Dated: August 12, 2013.
Rachel Jacobson,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2013-20671 Filed 8-26-13; 8:45 am]