[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 127 (Thursday, July 2, 2015)]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-16292]
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Fish and Wildlife Service
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Sonoran Pronghorn
Draft Recovery Plan
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comment.
SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the
availability of our draft recovery plan, second revision, for the
Sonoran pronghorn, which is listed as endangered under the Endangered
Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). This pronghorn is currently
found in southwestern Arizona and northwestern Sonora, Mexico. The
draft recovery plan
includes specific recovery objectives and criteria to be met to enable
us to remove this species from the list of endangered and threatened
wildlife and plants. We request review and comment on this plan from
local, State, and Federal agencies; Tribes; and the public. We will
also accept any new information on the status of the Sonoran pronghorn
throughout its range to assist in finalizing the recovery plan.
DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive written comments on or
before August 3, 2015. However, we will accept information about any
species at any time.
ADDRESSES: If you wish to review the draft recovery plan, you may
obtain a copy by any one of the following methods:
Internet: Access the file at www.fws.gov/southwest/es/Documents/SpeciesDocs/SonoranPronghorn/SonoranPronghorn_DraftRecoveryPlan_Final_December2014.pdf;
U.S. mail: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1611 North Second
Avenue, Ajo, AZ 85321; or
Telephone: (520) 387-6483.
If you wish to comment on the draft recovery plan, you may submit
your comments in writing by any one of the following methods:
U.S. mail: Sonoran Pronghorn Recovery Coordinator, at the
Ajo, AZ, address;
Hand-delivery: Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, at
the Ajo, AZ, address;
Fax: (520) 387-5359; or
For additional information about submitting comments, see the
``Request for Public Comments'' section in this notice.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: James Atkinson, Sonoran Pronghorn
Recovery Coordinator, at the above address and phone number, or by
email at James_Atkinson@fws.gov.
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
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 set out 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. A recovery plan for the Sonoran pronghorn was first completed
in 1982 and was then revised in 1998. A supplement and amendment to the
1998 plan was completed in 2002.
The Sonoran pronghorn subspecies is recognized by a number of
Federal, State, and international lists. The subspecies was first
included on the first list of endangered species on March 11, 1967 (32
FR 4001), under the Endangered Species Preservation Act of October 15,
1966, a predecessor of the Act. The subspecies is currently listed as
an endangered species throughout its range under the Act. The species'
current recovery priority number is 3, indicating the subspecies has a
high degree of threat and a high potential for recovery.
In addition to the listing under the Act, the pronghorn is listed
as endangered in Mexico by the Secretar[iacute]a de Medio Ambiente y
Recursos Naturales, or Federal Ministry of the Environment and Natural
Resource (SEMARNAT 2010). This listing is for the entire species and
includes all subspecies within Mexico. All subspecies of Antilocapra
americana are listed on the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, but only populations in
Mexico are included (Convention on International Trade in Endangered
Species of Wild Flora and Fauna 2014). Sonoran pronghorn in Arizona are
also on the Arizona Game and Fish Department's list of ``Species of
Greatest Conservation Need.''
Pronghorn have slightly curved horns; the males usually have a
single prong projecting forward. The horns have a straight bony core
and sheaths of fused hairs, which are shed and replaced annually
(Hoffmeister 1986). Coat color varies from yellowish to tan, with some
white markings, except for black on the top of the nose (Hoffmeister
1986). Pronghorns are the only artiodactyls with pronged horns and horn
sheaths that are shed annually (Hoffmeister 1986).
Pronghorn are endemic to western North America (O'Gara 1978) and
are placed within the Family Antilocapridae in Order Artiodactyla, the
even-toed ungulates. The Family Antilocapridae, found only in North
America, contains only one genus, Antilocapra, which in turn contains
only one species, the pronghorn. The Sonoran pronghorn is one of four
extant subspecies of pronghorn (Stephen et al. 2005). Sonoran pronghorn
historically occurred throughout most of southwestern Arizona,
northwestern Sonora, and portions of southeastern California and
northeastern Baja California. Four wild populations of the Sonoran
pronghorn are now extant and occupy about 8 percent of their historical
range; two of these occur in southwestern Arizona and two occur in
northwestern Sonora. Threats to the species include barriers (e.g.,
highways, fences, railroads, development, canals) that limit
distribution and movement; dewatering of rivers; loss, fragmentation,
and degradation of habitat; human-caused disturbance; and periods of
The recovery strategy is to secure a sufficient number of Sonoran
pronghorn populations that are viable under appropriate management
scenarios within select areas throughout their historical range. In
recognition of the binational distribution of the species, and the
unique challenges and opportunities this presents, two conservation
units (CU) for the species have been designated, one in the United
States and one in Mexico. The U.S. CU is located in Arizona and
California and includes the historical range of Sonoran pronghorn in
the United States. The Mexico CU includes the historical range of
Sonoran pronghorn in Mexico. Within these CUs there are management
units (MU), including the Cabeza, Arizona Reintroduction, and
California Reintroduction MUs in Arizona and California, and the
Pinacate, Quitovac, and Sonora Reintroduction MUs in Sonora.
Recovery Plan Goals
The recovery goal is to conserve and protect the Sonoran pronghorn
and its habitat so that its long-term survival is secured, and it can
be removed from the list of threatened and endangered species
(delisted). To achieve this goal, this draft recovery plan identifies
the following objectives:
1. Ensure multiple viable populations of Sonoran pronghorn
2. Ensure that there is adequate quantity, quality, and
connectivity of Sonoran pronghorn habitat to support populations.
3. Minimize and mitigate the effects of human disturbance on
4. Identify and address priority monitoring needs.
5. Identify and address priority research needs.
6. Maintain existing partnerships and develop new partnerships to
support Sonoran pronghorn recovery.
7. Secure adequate funding to implement recovery actions for
8. Practice adaptive management, in which recovery is monitored and
recovery tasks are revised by the Service in coordination with the
Sonoran Pronghorn Recovery Team as new information becomes available.
The draft recovery plan contains recovery criteria based on
increasing and protecting current populations and establishing at least
one new population, as well as reducing threats to the species. To
achieve recovery criteria, various management actions are needed. When
the status of Sonoran pronghorn meets these criteria, the species will
no longer meet the conditions of being endangered throughout a
significant portion of its range and will no longer warrant listing.
Request for Public Comments
Section 4(f) of the Act requires us to provide public notice and an
opportunity for public review and comment during recovery plan
development. It is also our policy to request peer review of recovery
plans (July 1, 1994; 59 FR 34270). We will summarize and respond to the
issues raised by the public and peer reviewers and post our responses
on our Web site. Substantive comments may or may not result in changes
to the recovery plan; comments regarding recovery plan implementation
will be forwarded as appropriate to Federal or other entities so that
they can be taken into account during the course of implementing
recovery actions. Responses to individual commenters will not be
provided, but we will provide a summary of how we addressed substantive
comments in an appendix to the approved recovery plan.
We invite written comments on the draft recovery plan. In
particular, we are interested in additional information regarding the
current threats to the species and the costs associated with
implementing the recommended recovery actions.
Before we approve our final recovery plan, we will consider all
comments we receive by the date specified in DATES. Methods of
submitting comments are in the ADDRESSES section.
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.
Comments and materials we receive will be available, by
appointment, for public inspection during normal business hours at our
office (see ADDRESSES).
A complete list of all references cited herein is available upon
request from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Branch of Recovery
(see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section).
We developed our draft recovery plan under the authority of section
4(f) of the Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(f). We publish this notice under
section 4(f) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16
U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).
Dated: May 20, 2015.
Joy E. Nicholopoulos,
Acting Regional Director, Southwest Region, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-16292 Filed 7-1-15; 8:45 am]
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