[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 228 (Tuesday, November 26, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 70525-70527]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-28171]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R6-ES-2013-0120; 4500030113]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Initiation of 
Status Review of Arctic Grayling in the Upper Missouri River System

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of initiation of status review.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), under the 
authority of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), 
announce the initiation of a status review of the Arctic grayling 
(Thymallus arcticus) upper Missouri River system distinct population 
segment (DPS). We conduct status reviews to determine whether the 
entity meets the definition of an endangered or threatened species 
under the Act. Following this status review, we will issue a proposed 
listing rule or a not warranted finding for the Arctic grayling upper 
Missouri River system DPS. Through this document, we encourage all 
interested parties to provide us information regarding the Arctic 
grayling in the upper Missouri River basin.

DATES: To allow us adequate time to conduct this review, we request 
that we receive information no later than December 26, 2013. 
Information submitted electronically using the Federal eRulemaking 
Portal (see ADDRESSES section, below) must be received by 11:59 p.m. 
Eastern Time on the closing date. After December 26, 2013, you must 
submit information using the U.S. mail or hand-delivery option provided 
in the ADDRESSES section below. Please note that we may 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. In the Search box, enter FWS-R6-ES-2013-0120, 
which is the docket number for this rulemaking. Then, in the Search 
panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, 
click on the Proposed Rules link to locate this document. 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-R6-ES-2013-0120; 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 information only by the methods described 
above. We will post all submissions 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 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jodi Bush, Field Supervisor, Montana 
Field Office, 585 Shepard Way, Suite 1, Helena, MT 59601; telephone 
(406) 449-5225, extension 205. If you use a telecommunications device 
for the deaf (TDD), please call the Federal Information Relay Service 
(FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339.


[[Page 70526]]


    The Arctic grayling is a fish belonging to the family Salmonidae 
(salmon, trout, charr, whitefishes), subfamily Thymallinae (graylings), 
and is represented by a single genus, Thymallus (Scott and Crossman 
1973, pp. 301-302; Behnke 2002, pp. 327-331). Arctic grayling have 
long, thin bodies with deeply forked tails, and adults typically 
average 254 to 330 millimeters (10 to 13 inches) in length. Coloration 
varies from silvery or iridescent blue and lavender, to dark blue 
(Behnke 2002, pp. 327-328). Arctic grayling have a prominent sail-like 
dorsal fin, which is large and vividly colored with rows of orange to 
bright green spots, and often has an orange border. Dark spots often 
appear on the body toward the head (Behnke 2002, pp. 327-328).
    Arctic grayling are native to Arctic Ocean drainages of 
northwestern Canada and Alaska; the Peace, Saskatchewan, and Athabasca 
River drainages in Alberta, eastward to Hudson Bay and westward to the 
Bering Straits; and eastern Siberia and northern Eurasia (Scott and 
Crossman 1973, pp. 301-302). Arctic grayling also are native to Pacific 
coast drainages of Alaska and Canada as far south as the Stikine River 
in British Columbia (Scott and Crossman 1973, pp. 301-302; Nelson and 
Paetz 1991, pp. 253-256; Behnke 2002, pp. 327-331).
    Pleistocene glaciations isolated two North American populations of 
Arctic grayling outside of Canada and Alaska (Vincent 1962, pp. 23-31). 
One population occurred in streams and rivers of the Great Lakes region 
of northern Michigan, but was extirpated in the 1930s (Hubbs and Lagler 
1949, p. 44; Scott and Crossman 1973, p. 301). The second population 
(Arctic grayling of the upper Missouri River) inhabits watersheds in 
the upper Missouri River basin upstream of Great Falls, Montana. This 
population is the subject of our status review.

Previous Federal Actions

    We have reviewed the status of the Arctic grayling several times 
since 1982. Most recently, on September 8, 2010, we published a revised 
12-month finding for the Arctic grayling (75 FR 54708). In that 
finding, we determined that fluvial (stream dwelling) and adfluvial 
(residing in lakes and spawning in streams) Arctic grayling of the 
upper Missouri River did constitute a DPS under the Act. Therefore, we 
found that the upper Missouri River DPS was a listable entity under the 
Act, and we further found that listing the DPS was warranted but 
precluded by higher priority listing actions.
    On May 10, 2011, we filed a multiyear work plan as part of a 
proposed settlement agreement with Wild Earth Guardians and others in a 
consolidated case in the U.S. District Court for the District of 
Columbia. On September 9, 2011, the Court accepted our agreement with 
the plaintiffs in Endangered Species Act Section 4 Deadline Litig., 
Misc. Action No. 10-377 (EGS), MDL Docket No. 2165 (D. DC) (known as 
the ``MDL case''), which requires the Service to submit to the Federal 
Register for publication either a proposed rule or a not-warranted 
finding for the Arctic grayling on or before September 30, 2014.
    For additional information on the biology or previous Federal 
actions on the Arctic grayling, including Federal actions prior to 
2010, see the September 8, 2010, revised 12-month finding (75 FR 

Request for Information

    To ensure that the status review and, if warranted, our subsequent 
listing determination are based on the best available scientific and 
commercial information, and to provide an opportunity to any interested 
parties to provide information for consideration during the status 
assessment, we are requesting information concerning the Arctic 
grayling in the upper Missouri River system. We request information 
from other concerned governmental agencies, Native American tribes, the 
scientific community, industry, and any other interested party. 
Specifically, we are seeking:
    (1) General information concerning the taxonomy, biology, ecology, 
genetics, and status of the Arctic grayling of the upper Missouri River 
    (2) Specific information on the conservation status of Arctic 
grayling in the upper Missouri River system, including information on 
distribution, abundance, and population trends.
    (3) Specific information on factors that that may affect the 
continued existence of the Arctic grayling in the upper Missouri River, 
which may include habitat modification or destruction, overutilization, 
disease, predation, the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms, 
or other natural or manmade factors.
    (4) Specific information on planned and ongoing conservation 
actions designed to improve Arctic grayling habitat or reduce threats 
to Arctic grayling in the upper Missouri River system.
    (5) Habitat selection, use, and any changes or trends in the amount 
and distribution of Arctic grayling habitat.
    (6) Habitat requirements for feeding, breeding, and sheltering, 
including particular physical or biological features that are essential 
to the conservation of Arctic grayling and where such physical or 
biological features are found.
    (7) Whether any of these features may require special management 
considerations or protection.
    (8) Specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the 
DPS that may be essential for the conservation of the Arctic grayling 
in the upper Missouri River system.
    (9) The possible benefits and impacts (including economic impacts) 
of a possible critical habitat designation for the Arctic grayling.
    (10) Whether the designation of critical habitat for the Arctic 
grayling would be beneficial to the conservation of the Arctic grayling 
in the upper Missouri River system or whether the identification of 
specific areas as critical habitat may increase threats to the DPS or 
its habitat.
    If you submit information, we request you support it with 
documentation such as data, maps, bibliographic references, methods 
used to gather and analyze the data, or copies of any pertinent 
publications, reports, or letters by knowledgeable sources. 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 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.

[[Page 70527]]

References Cited

    A complete list of all the references cited in this document is 
available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov and upon 
request from the Field Supervisor, Montana Field Office (see FOR 


    The primary authors of this document are staff members of the 
Montana Field Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


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

    Dated: November 12, 2013.
Stephen Guertin,
Acting Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-28171 Filed 11-25-13; 8:45 am]