[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 9 (Wednesday, January 14, 2015)]
[Pages 1933-1935]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-00414]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-ES-2014-N103; FXES11130400000C2-145-FF04E00000]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Notice of 
Availability of a Technical/Agency Draft Recovery Plan for the Laurel 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability and request for public comment.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the availability 
of the technical/agency draft recovery plan for the endangered laurel 
dace, a small fish native to the Tennessee River Basin in Tennessee. 
The draft recovery plan includes specific recovery objectives and 
criteria to be met in order for us to downlist the species to 
threatened status or delist it under the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (Act). We request review and comment on this

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draft recovery plan from local, State, and Federal agencies, and the 

DATES: In order to be considered, comments on the draft recovery plan 
must be received on or before March 16, 2015.

ADDRESSES: If you wish to review this technical/agency draft recovery 
plan, you may obtain a copy by contacting Geoff Call, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Tennessee Field Office, 446 Neal Street, Cookeville, 
TN 38501; tel. (931) 525-4983, or by visiting either the Service's 
recovery plan Web site at http://www.fws.gov/endangered/species/recovery-plans.html or the Tennessee Field Office Web site at http://www.fws.gov/cookeville. If you wish to comment, you may submit your 
comments by one of the following methods:
    1. You may submit written comments and materials to Geoff Call, at 
the above address.
    2. You may hand-deliver written comments to our Tennessee Field 
Office, at the above address.
    3. You may send comments by email to geoff_call@fws.gov.
    For additional information about submitting comments, see the 
``Request for Public Comments'' section below.




    We listed the laurel dace (Chrosomus saylori) as an endangered 
species under the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) on August 9, 2011 (76 FR 
48722), and designated critical habitat for the species on October 16, 
2012 (77 FR 63604). The laurel dace is a small fish native to the 
Tennessee River Basin in Tennessee. Laurel dace are known from 
headwater tributaries. This fish, from the family Cyprinidae, is found 
or collected from pools or slow runs from undercut banks or under slab 
boulders. The vegetation surrounding the first or second order streams 
where laurel dace occur includes mountain laurel, rhododendron, and 
    Historically, laurel dace is known from seven streams, and it 
currently occupies six of these, persisting in three creek systems on 
the Walden Ridge of the Cumberland Plateau. Only a few individuals have 
been collected from headwaters of the two creek systems in the southern 
part of their range, Soddy and Sale Creeks, although laurel dace are 
more abundant in headwaters of the Piney River system in their northern 
range. Threats to the laurel dace include: Land use activities that 
affect silt levels, temperature, or hydrologic processes of these small 
tributaries; invasive species, including sunfishes, basses, and hemlock 
woolly adelgid; the species' naturally small population size and 
geographic range; and climate change.


    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 our endangered species program. To help guide the 
recovery effort, we prepare recovery plans for most listed species. 
Recovery plans describe actions considered necessary for conservation 
of the species, establish criteria for downlisting or delisting, and 
estimate time and cost for implementing recovery measures.
    The Act requires the development of recovery plans for listed 
species, unless such a plan would not promote the conservation of a 
particular species. Section 4(f) of the Act requires us to provide a 
public notice and an opportunity for public review and comment during 
recovery plan development. We will consider all information we receive 
during a public comment period prior to approval of each new or revised 
recovery plan. We and other Federal agencies will take these comments 
into account in the course of implementing approved recovery plans.

Recovery Plan Specifics

Objectives for Reclassification and Delisting

    The goal for this recovery plan is to conserve and recover 
populations of laurel dace to the point that listing under the Act is 
no longer necessary, which will require the following objectives to be 
accomplished. Because recovery and delisting will be a long and 
potentially unachievable goal, an intermediate goal for this recovery 
plan is to recover the species to the point that it could be 
reclassified from endangered to threatened.
    In order to recover laurel dace to the point that listing under the 
Act is no longer necessary, it will be necessary to conserve all 
existing populations by maintaining, and in some cases restoring, 
suitable habitat conditions in all streams where the species currently 
occurs. It will also be necessary to discover or establish one 
additional population.
Reclassification to Threatened
    Reclassification to threatened status will be possible when habitat 
conditions in occupied streams are suitable for the conservation of the 
species, and viable populations are present throughout suitable habitat 
in five of the six currently occupied streams.

Criteria for Reclassification From Endangered to Threatened or 

    The following criteria will be used to determine whether the 
objectives for reclassification and delisting described above have been 
met. The criteria will be achieved by reducing or removing threats to 
the species' habitat and conserving or establishing viable populations 
throughout the species' range, as determined by monitoring of 
demographic and genetic parameters.
Reclassification From Endangered to Threatened
    Criterion 1: Suitable instream habitat, flows, and water quality 
for laurel dace, as defined by Recovery Tasks 5.1 and 5.2, exist in 
occupied streams.
    Criterion 2: Viable populations * are present throughout suitable 
habitat in Bumbee, Moccasin, and Youngs Creeks, and at least two of the 
following streams: Soddy or Cupp Creek or Horn Branch.
    Criterion 1: Suitable instream habitat, flows, and water quality 
for laurel dace exist in all occupied streams, and mechanisms exist to 
ensure that land use activities (including road maintenance) in 
catchments of streams inhabited by laurel dace will be compatible with 
the species' conservation for the foreseeable future. Such mechanisms 
could include, but are not necessarily limited to, conservation 
agreements, conservation easements, land acquisition, and habitat 
conservation plans.
    Criterion 2: Viable populations * are present throughout suitable 
habitat in Bumbee, Moccasin, Youngs, Soddy, and Cupp Creeks and Horn 
Branch, and one additional viable population exists, either through 
reintroduction into Laurel Branch or discovery of an additional wild 
    * Viability: Populations will be considered viable when the 
following demographic and genetic conditions exist:
     Demographics--Monitoring data demonstrate that (a) 
populations are stable or increasing, (b) two or more age-classes are 
consistently present over a period of time encompassing five 
generations (i.e., 15 years), and (c) evidence of recruitment is not 
absent in more than three years or during consecutive years at any 
point within that period of time.

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     Genetics--Populations will be considered to have 
sufficient genetic variation to be viable if measurements of observed 
number of alleles and estimates of heterozygosity and effective 
population size have remained stable or increased during the five 
generations used to establish demographic viability.

Request for Public Comments

    We request written comments on the draft recovery plan. We will 
consider all comments we receive by the date specified in DATES prior 
to final approval of the plan.

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.


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

    Dated: December 3, 2014.
Cynthia K. Dohner,
Regional Director, Southeast Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-00414 Filed 1-13-15; 8:45 am]