Determination to De-list the Brown Pelican

About the Document

Title: Proposed Rule to Remove the Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) from theFederal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife

Purpose: The document describes the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) proposal to de-list the endangered Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) under section 4 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act).  The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register for public review and is an assessment of the best scientific data available at this time.  It will be the basis, in addition to any comments received, for a decision by the Service on whether or not to finalize the rule to remove the Brown Pelican from the list of endangered and threatened wildlife.

About the Peer Review Process

Type of Review: Influential

Estimated Peer Review Timeline: March-April 2008

Estimated Dissemination Date : February 22, 2008

Process: The Service will conduct peer review of the portion of the proposed rule for de-listing that includes a discussion of the scientific information reviewed and our analysis.  The Service will solicit peer review through letters to 5 or more independent scientific reviewers with input from affected state agencies and others involved in the study and conservation of the Brown Pelican. 

Peer reviewers will be selected based on the following criteria: Expertise: Reviewers should have knowledge in one or more of the following areas:  conservation biology of the brown pelican, ecology of the brown pelican, and coastal ecosystem management.
  • Independence: Reviewers should not be employed by the Service.  Academic and consulting scientists should have sufficient independence from the Service or the Department if the government supports their work.
  • Objectivity: Reviewers should be recognized by their peers as being objective, open-minded, and thoughtful. The reviewers should be comfortable sharing their knowledge and identifying their knowledge gaps.
  • Advocacy: Reviewers should not be known or recognized for an affiliation with an advocacy position regarding the protection of this species under the Endangered Species Act.
  • Conflict of Interest: Reviewers should not have any financial or other interest that conflicts or that could impair their objectivity.
Peer reviewers will not be asked to provide recommendations on the proposed de-listing.  Peer reviewers may be asked to:  comment specifically on the quality of any information and analyses used or relied on in the document; identify oversights, omissions, and inconsistencies; provide advice on reasonableness of judgments made from the scientific evidence; ensure that scientific uncertainties are clearly identified and characterized, and that potential implications of uncertainties for the technical conclusions drawn are clear; and provide advice on the overall strengths and limitation of the scientific data used in the document.  We will use the information received from the peer review in making our final decision on whether to de-list the Brown Pelican.

About Public Participation

Public comments on the proposed de-listing will be sought concurrently with the peer review by a Federal Register announcement and the distribution by mail and press release of this announcement to interested parties

We expect to publish our decision on de-listing of the Brown Pelican in the Federal Register on or about February 2009, including a summary of the results of the peer review process.

Both the proposed and final rules will be published on the Service’s website at

Contact: Adam Zerrenner, Austin Ecological Service Field Office, at or 512-490-0057, ext. 237.