Critical Habitat Designated in St. Croix for the Caribbean Shrub Catesbaea Melanocarpa
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today published a final rule designating 10.5 acres of private land in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands as critical habitat for Catesbaea melanocarpa, a shrub classified as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Critical habitat is a term in the ESA identifying geographic areas that contain features essential for the conservation of a threatened or endangered species and that may require additional management consideration and/or protection. The area designated for C. melanocarpa is located within the Halfpenny Bay area in Estate Grenard, a privately-owned farm. There are nearly 100 individual shrubs scattered within patches of forested areas with low canopy on limestone soil.
In August 2006, the Service published a proposed rule to designate critical
habitat for C. melanocarpa and sought public comment on this issue. After
careful consideration of input received during tow public comment periods,
the Service substantially reduced the amount of proposed designated critical
habitat. The original proposal included 50 acres, of which 39.5 acres
were excluded from the final designation because the area did not have
subtropical dry forestry habitat and, therefore, did not meet the definition
of critical habitat for this plant.
For a copy of the final rule published in today’s Federal Register
(Vol. 72, number 166, pages 49212-49228), please go to the website: http://www.fws.gov/policy/library/07-4061.html
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 97-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 547 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies. Visit the Service’s website at http://www.fws.gov.
NOTE: You can view our releases or subscribe to receive them -- via e-mail -- at the Service's Southeast Regional home page at http://www.fws.gov/southeast/news. Our national home page is at: http://news.fws.gov/newsreleases/. Atlanta, GA 30345, Phone: 404/679-7289 Fax: 404/679-7286