Fish and Wildlife Service reopens the comment period on the proposed rule to delist the white-haired goldenrod
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reopening the comment period for 30 days on the proposed rule to delist the white haired goldenrod, a plant unique to eastern Kentucky. On September 1, 2015 (80 FR 52717), the Service proposed to remove the goldenrod from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants under the Endangered Species Act.
White-haired goldenrod is being considered for delisting because the Service, Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, U.S. Forest Service, partners, and visitors to the Daniel Boone National Forest have implemented policies and actions over the past two decades that are successfully protecting, and increasing the number of, the plant’s populations. For example, the Service, the Daniel Boone National Forest, and the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission recently entered into a cooperative management agreement that will provide for the plant’s long-term protection. The management agreement outlines conservation actions for the plant’s benefit.
The Service is reopening the comment period on the goldenrod’s proposed delisting and its draft post- delisting monitoring plan to conduct scientific peer review and provide the public and scientific reviewers with another opportunity to comment. Comments should be submitted by March 28, 2016. Comments previously submitted need not be resubmitted, as they will be fully considered in preparation of the final listing determination. Any final action resulting from the proposal will be based on the best available scientific and commercial data.
Written comments concerning the proposed delisting of the white-haired goldenrod or its draft post- delisting monitoring plan should be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Attn: FWS-R4-ES- 2014-0054. You may submit a comment by clicking on “Comment now!” Please ensure that you have found and are referencing the correct rulemaking before submitting your comments. Comments also can be mailed to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS. ES, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA, 22041-3803, Attn: FWS-R4-ES-2014-0054.
A copy of the draft post-delisting monitoring plan can be viewed at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket Number FWS–R4–ES–2014–0054, or at the Kentucky Ecological Services Field Office’s website at http://www.fws.gov/frankfort/.
Daniel Boone National Forest and the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission played leading roles in the white-haired goldenrod’s recovery. The Daniel Boone National Forest redirected trails, installed and maintained protective fencing around sensitive locations where the plant is found, completed numerous back-country patrols near white-haired goldenrod habitats, and placed informational signs at rock shelters, picnic areas, and trailheads that provided information about the plant and ways the public could avoid impacting it. The Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission completed multiple status surveys for the species from 1996 to 2013, including an intensive range-wide effort in 2008-2009. These surveys documented each occurrence’s population size and viability, habitat condition, and the severity of the threats facing each population. The Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission also prepared a variety of fact sheets and posters that educated the public about the plant and how to protect its populations, and the public generally responded by avoiding impacts to the goldenrod.
If the goldenrod is delisted, we will continue to monitor its status through a proposed ten year monitoring effort in cooperation with our partners. The plan specifies that at least 40 groups of plants would need to remain stable or have increased to ensure sustained recovery.
The Service continues to leverage the strength of its conservation partnerships, particularly those with state wildlife agencies, to gather the best available science, keep working lands working, reduce regulatory burden, increase regulatory predictability, and conserve fish, wildlife, and their habitats. Since 2010, fifty-six southeastern species have not required federal protection as a result of either conservation actions, additional information (e.g., updated survey data), and/or reevaluation of threats to their survival. Those same partnerships have benefited another 10 species that have been proposed for listing as threatened rather than endangered, or are no longer in need of protection and have been proposed for delisting or delisted already.
Elsie Davis 404-679-7107
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