Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designations of Critical Habitat for the San Bernardino Kangaroo Rat (Dipodomys merriami parvus), Poa atropurpurea (San Bernardino bluegrass), and Taraxacum californicum (California taraxacum), 70284-70286 [E7-23842]

Download as PDF 70284 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 11, 2007 / Proposed Rules * * * * * (vi) Note: Map of subunit 4c for Helianthus paradoxus (Pecos sunflower) critical habitat follows: * * * * * (viii) Note: Map of subunit 4d for Helianthus paradoxus (Pecos sunflower) critical habitat follows: * * * * * (x) Note: Map of subunit 4e for Helianthus paradoxus (Pecos sunflower) critical habitat follows: * * * * * (10) * * * (ii) Note: Map of unit 5 for Helianthus paradoxus (Pecos sunflower) critical habitat follows: * * * * * Dated: November 30, 2007. Mitchell Butler, Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. [FR Doc. 07–5973 Filed 12–10–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–C DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17 RIN 1018–AV07; 1018–AV04 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designations of Critical Habitat for the San Bernardino Kangaroo Rat (Dipodomys merriami parvus), Poa atropurpurea (San Bernardino bluegrass), and Taraxacum californicum (California taraxacum) Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Proposed rule; notice of reopening of public comment periods, and notice of public hearings. pwalker on PROD1PC71 with PROPOSALS AGENCY: SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the reopening of the public comment period and the scheduling of public hearings on the proposed rule to revise critical habitat for the San Bernardino kangaroo rat (Dipodomys merriami parvus), and on the proposed rule to designate critical habitat for Poa atropurpurea (San Bernardino bluegrass) and Taraxacum californicum (California taraxacum) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The reopened comment periods will provide the public; Federal, State, and local agencies; and Tribes with an additional opportunity to submit written comments on these proposed rules. Comments previously submitted for the proposed critical habitat designations for the San Bernardino VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:55 Dec 10, 2007 Jkt 214001 kangaroo rat, P. atropurpurea, or T. californicum need not be resubmitted as they have already been incorporated into the public record and will be fully considered in any final decisions. DATES: Written Comments: We will accept comments and information until January 25, 2008, or at the public hearing. Any comments received after the closing date may not be considered in the final decisions on the designations of critical habitat. Public Hearings: The public hearings will take place on January 10, 2008, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in San Bernardino, California. ADDRESSES: Written Comments: You may submit comments by one of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: RIN 1018– AV07 or 1018–AV04; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222, Arlington, VA 22203. We will not accept e-mail or faxes. We will accept written comments at the public hearing. We will post all comments on http:// www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see the Public Comments section below for more information). Public Hearings: The public hearings will be held at the Clarion Hotel and Convention Center, 295 North E Street, San Bernardino, CA 92401. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jim Bartel, Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, 6010 Hidden Valley Road, Carlsbad, CA 92011; telephone 760–431–9440; facsimile 760–431–9624. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Information relay Service (FIRS) at 800– 877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Public Comments We intend that any final actions resulting from these proposals will be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we solicit comments or suggestions on these proposed rules from the public, other concerned governmental agencies, Tribes, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested parties concerning the proposed rules. We particularly seek comments on the proposed revised critical habitat designation for the San Bernardino kangaroo rat, and the proposed critical habitat designations PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 for Poa atropurpurea and Taraxacum californicum concerning: (1) The reasons why we should or should not designate habitat as ‘‘critical habitat’’ under section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), including whether the benefit of designation is outweighed by the threats to each species caused by their respective designations such that the designation of critical habitat is prudent; (2) Specific information on: • The amount and distribution of habitat for each species; • What areas that were occupied at the time of listing and that contain the features essential for the conservation of the species should be included in their respective designations and why; and • What areas not occupied at the time of listing are essential to the conservation of each species and why; (3) Land use designations and current or planned activities in the subject areas and their possible impacts on proposed critical habitat for each species; (4) Any foreseeable economic, national security, or other potential impacts resulting from the proposed revised designation for the San Bernardino kangaroo rat, and proposed critical habitat for Poa atropurpurea and Taraxacum californicum and, in particular, any impacts on small entities, and the benefits of including or excluding areas that exhibit these impacts; and (5) Whether our approach to designating critical habitat could be improved or modified in any way as to provide for greater public participation and understanding, or to assist us in accommodating public concerns and comments. In addition, we seek the following specific comments on the proposed revised designation of critical habitat for the San Bernardino kangaroo rat: (1a) Specific information on dispersal areas important for habitat connectivity, their role in the conservation and recovery of the subspecies, and reasons why such areas should or should not be included in the critical habitat designation; (2a) Our proposed exclusions totaling 2,544 acres (ac) (1,029 hectares (ha)) of San Bernardino kangaroo rat habitat and whether the benefits of excluding these areas would outweigh the benefits of their inclusion under section 4(b)(2) of the Act. If the Secretary determines that the benefits of including these lands are not outweighed by the benefits of excluding them, they will not be excluded from final critical habitat; (3a) Any proposed critical habitat areas covered by existing or proposed conservation or management plans that E:\FR\FM\11DEP1.SGM 11DEP1 pwalker on PROD1PC71 with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 11, 2007 / Proposed Rules we should consider for exclusion from the final designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act. We specifically request information on any operative or draft habitat conservation plans for the San Bernardino kangaroo rat that have been prepared under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act, as well as any other management or conservation plan or agreement that benefits the kangaroo rat or its primary constituent elements; and (4a) Specific information regarding the current status of plan implementation for the following management plans: the Woolly-Star Preserve Area Management Plans; the Former Norton Air Force Base Conservation Management Plan; the Cajon Creek Habitat Conservation Management Area, Habitat Enhancement and Management Plan; and Western Riverside Multiple Species Conservation Plan. We also seek the following specific comments on the proposed critical habitat designations for Poa atropurpurea and Taraxacum californicum: (1b) Any proposed critical habitat areas covered by conservation or management plans that we should consider for exclusion from the designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act. We specifically request information on any operative or draft habitat conservation plans that include Poa atropurpurea or Taraxacum californicum as covered species that have been prepared under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act, or any other management or other conservation plan or agreement that benefits either plant or its primary constituent elements; and (2b) Land use designations and current or planned activities in the subject areas and their possible impacts on proposed critical habitat. You may submit your comments and materials concerning the proposed rules by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. We will not accept comments you send by e-mail or fax. We will accept written comments at the public hearing. Please note that we may not consider comments we receive after the date specified in the DATES section in our final determination. Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that we will post your entire comment— including your personal identifying information—on http:// www.regulations.gov. 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. VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:55 Dec 10, 2007 Jkt 214001 Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation we used in preparing the proposed rules, will be available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, or by appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, 6010 Hidden Valley Road, Carlsbad, CA 92011; telephone 760– 431–9440; facsimile 760–431–9624. Comments and information submitted during the initial comment periods on the proposed rules need not be resubmitted as they will be incorporated into the public records as part of those comment periods and will be fully considered in preparation of the final rules. Background On June 19, 2007, we published a proposed rule in the Federal Register (72 FR 33808) to revise critical habitat for the San Bernardino kangaroo rat. Currently, 33,295 ac (13,485 ha) are designated as critical habitat for the San Bernardino kangaroo rat in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, California. Under the proposal, approximately 9,079 ac (3,674 ha) of land located in San Bernardino and Riverside counties, California, would fall within the boundaries of the revised critical habitat designation. Further, of the 9,079 ac (3,674 ha) of revised critical habitat, we are proposing to exclude 2,544 ac (1,029 ha) of land from the revised final designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see the Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act section of the June 19, 2007, revised proposed rule [72 FR 33808] for a detailed discussion of this proposed exclusion). On August 7, 2007, we published a proposed rule in the Federal Register (72 FR 44232) to designate critical habitat for Poa atropurpurea and Taraxacum californicum. We propose approximately 3,014 ac (1,221 ha) of land in San Bernardino and San Diego Counties, California, as critical habitat for P. atropurpurea, and approximately 1,930 ac (782 ha) of land in San Bernardino County, California, as critical habitat for T. californicum. Economic analyses identifying estimated impacts associated with the proposed critical habitat designations for the San Bernardino kangaroo rat, Poa atropurpurea, and Taraxacum californicum are still in development. When these analyses are completed, we will provide a separate notice informing the public of their availability and providing an opportunity for public comment. Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the Act as: PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 70285 (i) The specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the species, at the time of listing in accordance with the Act, on which are found those physical or biological features (1) essential to the conservation of the species and (2) which may require special management considerations or protection; and (ii) Specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the species at the time of listing if the Secretary determines that those areas are essential for the conservation of the species. For each species, if the proposed critical habitat designation is finalized, section 7(a)(2) of the Act would require that Federal agencies ensure that actions they fund, authorize, or carry out are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. Section 4(b)(2) of the Act requires that we designate or revise critical habitat on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available, after taking into consideration economic, national security, and any other relevant impacts of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. Public Hearings Section 4(b)(5)(E) of the Act requires a public hearing be held if any person requests it within 45 days of the publication of a proposed rule. In response to requests from the public, the Service will conduct public hearings for these two critical habitat proposals on the date and at the address and times identified in the DATES and ADDRESSES sections above. Persons wishing to make an oral statement for the record are encouraged to provide a written copy of their statement and present it to us at the hearing. In the event there is a large attendance, the time allotted for oral statements may be limited. Oral and written statements receive equal consideration. There are no limits on the length of written comments submitted to us. If you have any questions concerning the public hearing, please contact the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Persons needing reasonable accommodations in order to attend and participate in the public hearings should contact Dixie Ward, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, at 760–431– 9440 as soon as possible. In order to allow sufficient time to process requests, please call no later than one week before the hearing date. Information regarding this notice is E:\FR\FM\11DEP1.SGM 11DEP1 70286 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 11, 2007 / Proposed Rules available in alternative formats upon request. Author The author of this document is the staff of the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Authority The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Dated: November 27, 2007. David M. Verhey, Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. [FR Doc. E7–23842 Filed 12–10–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Parts 300, 600 and 697 [Docket No. 070717337–7338–01] RIN 0648–AV78 General Provisions for Domestic Fisheries; Specifications for Boarding Ladders National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Proposed rule, request for comments. pwalker on PROD1PC71 with PROPOSALS AGENCY: SUMMARY: NMFS proposes regulations to require domestic fishing vessel operators to provide a U.S. Coast Guardapproved pilot ladder as a safer and more enforceable means for authorized personnel to board certain domestic fishing vessels in carrying out their duties under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act, and other applicable fisheries laws and treaties. This action is necessary to provide for the safety of personnel boarding domestic fishing vessels, as current standards have proven to be inadequate. The proposed regulations would establish a safer and more enforceable national standard for ladders used by authorized officers for boarding domestic fishing vessels subject to Federal regulation. DATES: Comments must be received at the following address by January 10, 2008. VerDate Aug<31>2005 16:55 Dec 10, 2007 Jkt 214001 You may submit comments, identified by ‘‘RIN 0648–AV78,’’ by any one of the following methods: • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal http:// www.regulations.gov. • Fax: 301–713–1175, Attn: William D. Chappell. • Mail: Alan Risenhoover, Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 EastWest Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Please mark the outside of the envelope ‘‘Comments on Boarding Ladder Rule.’’ Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to http:// www.regulations.gov without change. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. NMFS will accept anonymous comments. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only. Copies of the Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis/Regulatory Impact Review (IRFA/RIR) may be obtained from the same address. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William D. Chappell, 301–713–2337. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Magnuson-Stevens Act established U.S. jurisdiction over the fishery resources in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). NMFS is responsible for implementation of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and the Fishery Management Plans (FMPs) prepared by eight Regional Fishery Management Councils (Councils) and for the FMP governing Atlantic Highly Migratory Species. While each Council prepares FMPs for those fishery resources within the Council’s area of authority that require conservation, NMFS implements certain requirements common to all fisheries, such as facilitation of enforcement. Associated regulations are codified at 50 CFR parts 600 through 697. These general regulations to facilitate enforcement also apply to U.S. fishing vessels fishing under the requirements of other fisheries laws and treaties. For example, they apply to fishing activities subject to the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act regulations at 50 CFR part 697. In addition, there are several international fisheries regimes in which U.S. fishing ADDRESSES: PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 vessels participate, such as the Atlantic fisheries under conservation and management measures adopted by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) and implemented domestically by the Atlantic Tunas Convention Act and regulations at 50 CFR part 635. U.S. fishing vessels are regulated on the high seas and under other international fishing regimes, including the High Seas Fishing Compliance Act of 1995, the Tuna Conventions Act of 1950, the South Pacific Tuna Act of 1988, the North Pacific Halibut Act of 1982, the Pacific Salmon Treaty Act of 1985, the Antarctic Marine Living Resources Convention Act of 1984, and a number of international treaties, including the 1972 Treaty Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of the Republic of Columbia Concerning the Status of Quita Sueno, Roncador and Serrana, and the 1981 Treaty Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Canada on Pacific Coast Albacore Tuna Vessels and Port Privileges as amended in 2002. Current regulations at § 600.730(c)(3) require a fishing vessel to ‘‘provide a safe ladder’’ to be used for boarding purposes by authorized personnel including authorized officers (e.g., Coast Guard personnel, and Enforcement Agents), observers, and scientists enforcing regulations and documenting fishing effort at sea. However, a ‘‘safe boarding ladder’’ is not defined in regulations for domestic fishing vessels. This has led to fishing vessel operators providing a variety of ladders for boarding. Safety is compromised when authorized personnel use ladders that are inadequate. Within the last few years, several boarding officers fell into the water when the ladders provided for boarding failed or when they were inadequate to allow the boarding officer to maintain a grip on the ladder. This is a highly dangerous situation. Colliding with the fishing vessel, the small boat delivering the boarding party, and even the ladder itself can injure or kill a falling person or one in the water. In addition, especially in Alaskan and Northwestern Atlantic waters, cold water temperature can cause shock and the quick onset of hypothermia, which quickly becomes life threatening. Although boarding parties wear flotation gear, the threat of drowning through unconsciousness or entanglement in a ladder or other gear from the vessel are concerns. Some vessels have provided ladders wholly unsuited to boarding a vessel at sea, such as swimming pool ladders, E:\FR\FM\11DEP1.SGM 11DEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 237 (Tuesday, December 11, 2007)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 70284-70286]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-23842]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AV07; 1018-AV04


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designations of 
Critical Habitat for the San Bernardino Kangaroo Rat (Dipodomys 
merriami parvus), Poa atropurpurea (San Bernardino bluegrass), and 
Taraxacum californicum (California taraxacum)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; notice of reopening of public comment periods, 
and notice of public hearings.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
reopening of the public comment period and the scheduling of public 
hearings on the proposed rule to revise critical habitat for the San 
Bernardino kangaroo rat (Dipodomys merriami parvus), and on the 
proposed rule to designate critical habitat for Poa atropurpurea (San 
Bernardino bluegrass) and Taraxacum californicum (California taraxacum) 
under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The 
reopened comment periods will provide the public; Federal, State, and 
local agencies; and Tribes with an additional opportunity to submit 
written comments on these proposed rules. Comments previously submitted 
for the proposed critical habitat designations for the San Bernardino 
kangaroo rat, P. atropurpurea, or T. californicum need not be 
resubmitted as they have already been incorporated into the public 
record and will be fully considered in any final decisions.

DATES: Written Comments: We will accept comments and information until 
January 25, 2008, or at the public hearing. Any comments received after 
the closing date may not be considered in the final decisions on the 
designations of critical habitat.
    Public Hearings: The public hearings will take place on January 10, 
2008, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in San 
Bernardino, California.

ADDRESSES: Written Comments: You may submit comments by one of the 
following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, 
Attn: RIN 1018-AV07 or 1018-AV04; Division of Policy and Directives 
Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, 
Suite 222, Arlington, VA 22203.
    We will not accept e-mail or faxes. We will accept written comments 
at the public hearing. We will post all comments on http://
www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any 
personal information you provide us (see the Public Comments section 
below for more information).
    Public Hearings: The public hearings will be held at the Clarion 
Hotel and Convention Center, 295 North E Street, San Bernardino, CA 
92401.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jim Bartel, Field Supervisor, Carlsbad 
Fish and Wildlife Office, 6010 Hidden Valley Road, Carlsbad, CA 92011; 
telephone 760-431-9440; facsimile 760-431-9624. If you use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal 
Information relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Public Comments

    We intend that any final actions resulting from these proposals 
will be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we solicit 
comments or suggestions on these proposed rules from the public, other 
concerned governmental agencies, Tribes, the scientific community, 
industry, or any other interested parties concerning the proposed 
rules. We particularly seek comments on the proposed revised critical 
habitat designation for the San Bernardino kangaroo rat, and the 
proposed critical habitat designations for Poa atropurpurea and 
Taraxacum californicum concerning:
    (1) The reasons why we should or should not designate habitat as 
``critical habitat'' under section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.), including whether the benefit of designation is outweighed by 
the threats to each species caused by their respective designations 
such that the designation of critical habitat is prudent;
    (2) Specific information on:
     The amount and distribution of habitat for each species;
     What areas that were occupied at the time of listing and 
that contain the features essential for the conservation of the species 
should be included in their respective designations and why; and
     What areas not occupied at the time of listing are 
essential to the conservation of each species and why;
    (3) Land use designations and current or planned activities in the 
subject areas and their possible impacts on proposed critical habitat 
for each species;
    (4) Any foreseeable economic, national security, or other potential 
impacts resulting from the proposed revised designation for the San 
Bernardino kangaroo rat, and proposed critical habitat for Poa 
atropurpurea and Taraxacum californicum and, in particular, any impacts 
on small entities, and the benefits of including or excluding areas 
that exhibit these impacts; and
    (5) Whether our approach to designating critical habitat could be 
improved or modified in any way as to provide for greater public 
participation and understanding, or to assist us in accommodating 
public concerns and comments.
    In addition, we seek the following specific comments on the 
proposed revised designation of critical habitat for the San Bernardino 
kangaroo rat:
    (1a) Specific information on dispersal areas important for habitat 
connectivity, their role in the conservation and recovery of the 
subspecies, and reasons why such areas should or should not be included 
in the critical habitat designation;
    (2a) Our proposed exclusions totaling 2,544 acres (ac) (1,029 
hectares (ha)) of San Bernardino kangaroo rat habitat and whether the 
benefits of excluding these areas would outweigh the benefits of their 
inclusion under section 4(b)(2) of the Act. If the Secretary determines 
that the benefits of including these lands are not outweighed by the 
benefits of excluding them, they will not be excluded from final 
critical habitat;
    (3a) Any proposed critical habitat areas covered by existing or 
proposed conservation or management plans that

[[Page 70285]]

we should consider for exclusion from the final designation under 
section 4(b)(2) of the Act. We specifically request information on any 
operative or draft habitat conservation plans for the San Bernardino 
kangaroo rat that have been prepared under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the 
Act, as well as any other management or conservation plan or agreement 
that benefits the kangaroo rat or its primary constituent elements; and
    (4a) Specific information regarding the current status of plan 
implementation for the following management plans: the Woolly-Star 
Preserve Area Management Plans; the Former Norton Air Force Base 
Conservation Management Plan; the Cajon Creek Habitat Conservation 
Management Area, Habitat Enhancement and Management Plan; and Western 
Riverside Multiple Species Conservation Plan.
    We also seek the following specific comments on the proposed 
critical habitat designations for Poa atropurpurea and Taraxacum 
californicum:
    (1b) Any proposed critical habitat areas covered by conservation or 
management plans that we should consider for exclusion from the 
designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act. We specifically request 
information on any operative or draft habitat conservation plans that 
include Poa atropurpurea or Taraxacum californicum as covered species 
that have been prepared under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act, or any 
other management or other conservation plan or agreement that benefits 
either plant or its primary constituent elements; and
    (2b) Land use designations and current or planned activities in the 
subject areas and their possible impacts on proposed critical habitat.
    You may submit your comments and materials concerning the proposed 
rules by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. We will 
not accept comments you send by e-mail or fax. We will accept written 
comments at the public hearing. Please note that we may not consider 
comments we receive after the date specified in the DATES section in 
our final determination.
    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that we will post your entire comment--including your personal 
identifying information--on http://www.regulations.gov. 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, as well as supporting 
documentation we used in preparing the proposed rules, will be 
available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, or by 
appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, 6010 Hidden Valley 
Road, Carlsbad, CA 92011; telephone 760-431-9440; facsimile 760-431-
9624.
    Comments and information submitted during the initial comment 
periods on the proposed rules need not be resubmitted as they will be 
incorporated into the public records as part of those comment periods 
and will be fully considered in preparation of the final rules.

Background

    On June 19, 2007, we published a proposed rule in the Federal 
Register (72 FR 33808) to revise critical habitat for the San 
Bernardino kangaroo rat. Currently, 33,295 ac (13,485 ha) are 
designated as critical habitat for the San Bernardino kangaroo rat in 
San Bernardino and Riverside counties, California. Under the proposal, 
approximately 9,079 ac (3,674 ha) of land located in San Bernardino and 
Riverside counties, California, would fall within the boundaries of the 
revised critical habitat designation. Further, of the 9,079 ac (3,674 
ha) of revised critical habitat, we are proposing to exclude 2,544 ac 
(1,029 ha) of land from the revised final designation under section 
4(b)(2) of the Act (see the Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act 
section of the June 19, 2007, revised proposed rule [72 FR 33808] for a 
detailed discussion of this proposed exclusion).
    On August 7, 2007, we published a proposed rule in the Federal 
Register (72 FR 44232) to designate critical habitat for Poa 
atropurpurea and Taraxacum californicum. We propose approximately 3,014 
ac (1,221 ha) of land in San Bernardino and San Diego Counties, 
California, as critical habitat for P. atropurpurea, and approximately 
1,930 ac (782 ha) of land in San Bernardino County, California, as 
critical habitat for T. californicum.
    Economic analyses identifying estimated impacts associated with the 
proposed critical habitat designations for the San Bernardino kangaroo 
rat, Poa atropurpurea, and Taraxacum californicum are still in 
development. When these analyses are completed, we will provide a 
separate notice informing the public of their availability and 
providing an opportunity for public comment.
    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the Act as:
    (i) The specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the 
species, at the time of listing in accordance with the Act, on which 
are found those physical or biological features (1) essential to the 
conservation of the species and (2) which may require special 
management considerations or protection; and
    (ii) Specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the 
species at the time of listing if the Secretary determines that those 
areas are essential for the conservation of the species.
    For each species, if the proposed critical habitat designation is 
finalized, section 7(a)(2) of the Act would require that Federal 
agencies ensure that actions they fund, authorize, or carry out are not 
likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the species or result 
in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat.
    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act requires that we designate or revise 
critical habitat on the basis of the best scientific and commercial 
data available, after taking into consideration economic, national 
security, and any other relevant impacts of specifying any particular 
area as critical habitat.

Public Hearings

    Section 4(b)(5)(E) of the Act requires a public hearing be held if 
any person requests it within 45 days of the publication of a proposed 
rule. In response to requests from the public, the Service will conduct 
public hearings for these two critical habitat proposals on the date 
and at the address and times identified in the DATES and ADDRESSES 
sections above.
    Persons wishing to make an oral statement for the record are 
encouraged to provide a written copy of their statement and present it 
to us at the hearing. In the event there is a large attendance, the 
time allotted for oral statements may be limited. Oral and written 
statements receive equal consideration. There are no limits on the 
length of written comments submitted to us. If you have any questions 
concerning the public hearing, please contact the Carlsbad Fish and 
Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).
    Persons needing reasonable accommodations in order to attend and 
participate in the public hearings should contact Dixie Ward, Carlsbad 
Fish and Wildlife Office, at 760-431-9440 as soon as possible. In order 
to allow sufficient time to process requests, please call no later than 
one week before the hearing date. Information regarding this notice is

[[Page 70286]]

available in alternative formats upon request.

Author

    The author of this document is the staff of the Carlsbad Fish and 
Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

Authority

    The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

     Dated: November 27, 2007.
David M. Verhey,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
 [FR Doc. E7-23842 Filed 12-10-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P