Agency Information Collection Activities: Comment Request
The Export-Import Bank, as a part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to comment on the proposed information collection as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Establishment of Nonessential Experimental Population Status for 15 Freshwater Mussels, 1 Freshwater Snail, and 5 Fishes in the Lower French Broad River and in the Lower Holston River, Tennessee
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), in cooperation with the State of Tennessee and Conservation Fisheries, Inc., a nonprofit organization, plan to reintroduce 15 mussels listed as endangered under section 4 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act): Appalachian monkeyface (pearlymussel) (Quadrula sparsa), birdwing pearlymussel (Lemiox rimosus), cracking pearlymussel (Hemistena lata), Cumberland bean (pearlymussel) (Villosa trabalis), Cumberlandian combshell (Epioblasma brevidens), Cumberland monkeyface (pearlymussel) (Quadrula intermedia), dromedary pearlymussel (Dromus dromas), fanshell (Cyprogenia stegaria), fine-rayed pigtoe (Fusconaia cuneolus), orange-foot pimpleback (pearlymussel) (Plethobasus cooperianus), oyster mussel (Epioblasma capsaeformis), ring pink (mussel) (Obovaria retusa), rough pigtoe (Pleurobema plenum), shiny pigtoe (Fusconaia cor), and white wartyback (pearlymussel) (Plethobasus cicatricosus); 1 endangered aquatic snail: Anthony's riversnail (Athearnia anthonyi); 2 endangered fishes: duskytail darter (Etheostoma percnurum) and pygmy madtom (Noturus stanauli); and 3 fishes listed as threatened under section 4 of the Act: slender chub (Erimystax cahni), spotfin chub (=turquoise shiner) (Erimonax monachus), and yellowfin madtom (Noturus flavipinnis). We published the proposed rule for this action on June 13, 2006 (71 FR 34196). The species will be released into their historical habitat in the free-flowing reach of the French Broad River from below Douglas Dam to its confluence with the Holston River, Knox County, Tennessee, and in the free-flowing reach of the Holston River from below Cherokee Dam to its confluence with the French Broad River. Based on the evaluation of species experts, none of these 21 species currently exist in these river reaches or their tributaries. These species are being reintroduced under the authority of section 10(j) of the Act and would be classified as a nonessential experimental population (NEP). The geographic boundaries of the NEP would extend from the base of Douglas Dam (river mile (RM) 32.3 (51.7 kilometers (km)) down the French Broad River, Knox and Sevier Counties, Tennessee, to its confluence with the Holston River and then up the Holston River, Knox, Grainger, and Jefferson Counties, Tennessee, to the base of Cherokee Dam (RM 52.3 (83.7 km)) and would include the lower 5 RM (8 km) of all tributaries that enter these river reaches. These reintroductions are recovery actions and are part of a series of reintroductions and other recovery actions that the Service, Federal and State agencies, and other partners are conducting throughout the species' historical ranges. This rule provides a plan for establishing the NEP and provides for limited allowable legal take of these 16 mollusks and 5 fishes within the defined NEP area. We have decided to include all 21 species in a single rulemaking to allow us to restore the aquatic ecosystem as quickly as possible as we bring each of these species on line in the propagation facilities. We have reasons to believe all of these species co-existed in the past, and we also want the public to understand that all of these species will be reintroduced into the same stretch of river. We are not establishing 21 separate NEPs.