[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 45 (Monday, March 9, 2015)]
[Pages 12521-12522]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-05029]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R8-ES-2015-N021; FXES11130000-156-FF08E00000]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Recovery Plan and 
Initiation of Status Review for Four Subspecies of Island Fox (Urocyon 

AGENCY:  Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION:  Notice of document availability and initiation of status 


SUMMARY:  We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the 
availability of the final recovery plan for the four subspecies of 
island fox (Urocyon littoralis). Each of the four subspecies, San 
Miguel Island fox (Urocyon littoralis littoralis), Santa Rosa Island 
fox (U. l. santarosae), Santa Cruz Island fox (U. l. santacruzae), and 
Santa Catalina Island fox (U. l. catalinae), is endemic to the Channel 
Island off southern California for which it is named. The recovery plan 
includes recovery objectives and criteria, and specific actions 
necessary to achieve downlisting and delisting from the Federal Lists 
of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. With the publication 
of this notice, we are also initiating status reviews of these four 
subspecies. A status review is based on the best scientific and 
commercial data available at the time of the review; therefore, we are 
requesting submission of any such information that has become available 
since the listing of these subspecies.

DATES: To ensure consideration, we are requesting submission of new 
information for use in the status review no later than May 8, 2015. 
However, we will continue to accept new information about any listed 
species at any time.

ADDRESSES:  You may obtain a copy of the recovery plan from our Web 
site at http://www.fws.gov/endangered/species/recovery-plans.html. You 
may also request a copy of the recovery plan from the Ventura Fish and 
Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2493 Portola Road, 
Suite B, Ventura, CA 93003 (telephone 805-644-1766). You may submit new 
information to be considered in the status reviews to the same address 
or by email to fw8islandfox@fws.gov.
    For more about submitting information, see ``Request for 
Information'' in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section below.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  Steve Henry, Field Supervisor, at the 
above street address or telephone number (see ADDRESSES). Individuals 
who are hearing impaired or speech impaired may call the Federal Relay 
Service at 800-877-8339 for TTY assistance.



    Recovery of endangered or threatened animals and plants to the 
point where they are again secure, self-sustaining members of their 
ecosystems is a primary goal of our endangered species program and the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.). Recovery means improvement of the status of listed species to 
the point at which listing is no longer appropriate under the criteria 
specified in section 4(a)(1) of the Act. The Act requires the 
development of recovery plans for listed species, unless such a plan 
would not promote the conservation of a particular species.
    On March 5, 2004, four of the six subspecies of island fox endemic 
to the California Channel Islands were listed as endangered following 
catastrophic population declines (69 FR 10335). The San Miguel Island 
fox declined from an estimated 450 individuals to 15, the Santa Rosa 
Island fox declined from over 1,750 individuals to 14, the Santa Cruz 
Island fox declined from approximately 1,450 individuals to 
approximately 55, and the Santa Catalina Island fox declined from over 
1,300 individuals to 103. The San Clemente Island fox (Urocyon 
littoralis clementae) and the San Nicolas Island fox (U. l. dickeyi) 
were not federally listed in 2004, as their population numbers had not 
experienced similar declines.
    The two primary threats that resulted in the listing of the four 
subspecies of island fox as federally endangered were: (1) Predation by 
golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) (San Miguel Island fox, Santa Rosa 
Island fox, and Santa Cruz Island fox); and (2) disease (Santa Catalina 
Island fox). Additionally, because the size of each island fox 
population was drastically reduced, they were highly vulnerable to 
stochastic events and the effects of low genetic diversity.

Recovery Plan

    The Draft Recovery Plan for Four Subspecies of Island Fox (Urocyon 
littoralis) was developed by the Island Fox Recovery Team's Recovery 
Coordination Group and was published on September 14, 2012. In 
developing the plan, we coordinated with the California Department of 
Fish and

[[Page 12522]]

Wildlife, and a team of stakeholders, which included scientific 
experts, landowners and managers, agency representatives, and non-
government organizations.
    Section 4(f) of the Act requires us to provide an opportunity for 
public review and comment prior to finalization of recovery plans. We 
made the draft of this recovery plan available for public comment from 
September 14, 2012, to November 13, 2012 (77 FR 56858). We considered 
all information we received during the public comment period and 
revised the recovery plan accordingly.

Recovery Plan Goals

    The purpose of a recovery plan is to provide a framework for the 
recovery of species so that protection under the Act is no longer 
necessary. A recovery plan includes scientific information about the 
species and provides criteria that enable us to gauge whether 
downlisting or delisting the species is warranted. Furthermore, 
recovery plans help guide our recovery efforts by describing actions we 
consider necessary for each species' conservation and by estimating 
time and costs for implementing needed recovery measures.
    To achieve these goals, we have identified the following objectives 
in the recovery plan:
    (1) Each federally listed subspecies of island fox exhibits 
demographic characteristics consistent with long-term viability; and
    (2) Land managers are able to respond in a timely fashion to 
predation by nesting golden eagles or significant predation rates by 
transient golden eagles, to potential or incipient disease outbreaks 
and to other identified threats using the best available technology.
    Because some or all of the subspecies may meet their recovery 
criteria, we are initiating a status review of each subspecies.

Why do we conduct a status review?

    Under the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), we maintain Lists of 
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants (which we collectively 
refer to as the List) in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 50 
CFR 17.11 (for animals) and 17.12 (for plants). Section 4(c)(2)(A) of 
the Act requires us to review each listed species' status at least once 
every 5 years. Our regulations at 50 CFR 424.21 require that we publish 
a notice in the Federal Register announcing those species under active 
review. For additional information about status reviews, go to http://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/recovery-overview.html, scroll down 
to ``Learn More about 5-Year Reviews,'' and click on our factsheet.

What information do we consider in our review?

    A status review considers all new information available at the time 
of the review. In conducting these reviews, we consider the best 
scientific and commercial data that have become available since the 
listing determination or most recent status review, such as:
    (A) Species biology, including but not limited to population 
trends, distribution, abundance, demographics, and genetics;
    (B) Habitat conditions, including but not limited to amount, 
distribution, and suitability;
    (C) Conservation measures that have been implemented that benefit 
the species;
    (D) Threat status and trends in relation to the five listing 
factors (as defined in section 4(a)(1) of the Act); and
    (E) Other new information, data, or corrections, including but not 
limited to taxonomic or nomenclatural changes, identification of 
erroneous information contained in the List, and improved analytical 
    Any new information will be considered during the review and will 
also be useful in evaluating the ongoing recovery programs for the 

Request for Information

    To ensure that a status review is complete and based on the best 
available scientific and commercial information, we request new 
information from all sources. See ``What Information Do We Consider in 
Our Review?'' for specific criteria. If you submit information, please 
support it with documentation such as maps, bibliographic references, 
methods used to gather and analyze the data, and/or copies of any 
pertinent publications, reports, or letters by knowledgeable sources.

Public Availability of Submissions

    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.
    Comments and materials received will be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the offices 
where the comments are submitted.


    We developed our recovery plan and initiate these reviews under the 
authority of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 
1531 et seq.).

    Dated: February 27, 2015.
Alexandra Pitts,
Regional Director, Pacific Southwest Region.
[FR Doc. 2015-05029 Filed 3-6-15; 8:45 am]