Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Black Pinesnake, 51418-51424 [2018-22013]

Download as PDF khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSAL 51418 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 197 / Thursday, October 11, 2018 / Proposed Rules emission rate in lb/MMBtu from the arithmetic average of all valid hourly emission rates from the CEMS for the current operating day and the previous 29 successive operating days. (B) At the end of each calendar year, the owner/operator shall calculate the annual average SO2 emission rate in lb/ MMBtu across Laramie River Station Units 1 and 2 as the sum of the SO2 annual mass emissions (pounds) divided by the sum of the annual heat inputs (MMBtu). For Laramie River Station Units 1 and 2, the owner/ operator shall calculate the annual mass emissions for SO2 and the annual heat input in accordance with 40 CFR part 75 for each unit. (C) An hourly average SO2 and/or NOX emission rate in lb/MMBtu is valid only if the minimum number of data points, as specified in 40 CFR part 75, is acquired by both the pollutant concentration monitor (SO2 and/or NOX) and the diluent monitor (O2 or CO2). (D) Data reported to meet the requirements of this section shall not include data substituted using the missing data substitution procedures of subpart D of 40 CFR part 75, nor shall the data have been bias adjusted according to the procedures of 40 CFR part 75. * * * * * (h) * * * (1) The owner/operator of each unit shall submit quarterly excess emissions reports for SO2 and/or NOX BART units no later than the 30th day following the end of each calendar quarter. Excess emissions means emissions that exceed the emissions limits specified in paragraph (c) of this section. The reports shall include the magnitude, date(s), and duration of each period of excess emissions, specific identification of each period of excess emissions that occurs during startups, shutdowns, and malfunctions of the unit, the nature and cause of any malfunction (if known), and the corrective action taken or preventative measures adopted. * * * * * (i) * * * (1) The owner/operator shall promptly submit notification of commencement of construction of any equipment which is being constructed to comply with the SO2 and/or NOX emission limits in paragraph (c) of this section. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2018–21949 Filed 10–10–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6560–50–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:17 Oct 10, 2018 Jkt 247001 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17 [Docket No. FWS–R4–ES–2014–0065; 4500030114] RIN 1018–BD52 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Black Pinesnake Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Proposed rule; revision, reopening of comment period, and announcement of public meetings. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the reopening of the comment period on our March 11, 2015, proposed designation of critical habitat for the black pinesnake (Pituophis melanoleucus lodingi) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We are reopening the comment period to accept comments on our proposal, including revisions to proposed Units 7 and 8 that are described in this document. As a result of these revisions, we are now proposing to designate a total of 338,379 acres (136,937 hectares) as critical habitat for the black pinesnake across eight units within portions of Forrest, George, Greene, Harrison, Jones, Marion, Perry, Stone, and Wayne Counties in Mississippi, and Clarke County in Alabama. This is a small increase in acreage from the area we proposed to designate in our March 11, 2015, proposed rule but constitutes less privately owned lands. In addition, we announce two public informational meetings on the proposed rule. We are reopening the comment period on our March 11, 2015, proposed rule to allow all interested parties the opportunity to comment on the revised proposed rule. Comments previously submitted need not be resubmitted, as they will be fully considered in preparation of the final rule. SUMMARY: The comment period for the proposed rule published March 11, 2015, at 80 FR 12846 is reopened. Written comments: So that we can fully consider your comments in our final determination, submit them on or before November 13, 2018. Comments submitted electronically using the Federal eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES, below) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date. Public informational meetings: We will hold two public meetings, one from DATES: PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on October 22, 2018, and a second from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on October 24, 2018. ADDRESSES: Document availability: You may obtain copies of the March 11, 2015, proposed rule and associated documents on the internet at https:// www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS–R4–ES–2014–0065 or by mail from the Mississippi Ecological Services Field Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Written comments: You may submit written comments by one of the following methods: (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: https:// www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS–R4–ES–2014–0065, which is the docket number for this rulemaking. Then, click on the Search button. On the resulting page, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, click on the Proposed Rule box to locate this document. You may submit a comment by clicking on ‘‘Comment Now!’’ (2) By hard copy: Submit your comments by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R4–ES–2014–0065, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041– 3803. We request that you send comments only by the methods described above. We will post all comments on https:// www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see Public Comments, below, for more information). Public informational meetings: The public informational meetings will be held in the following locations: • On October 22, 2018, at Pearl River Community College, Lowery A. Woodall Advanced Technology Center, 906 Sullivan Drive, Hattiesburg, MS 39401. • On October 24, 2018, at Alabama Coastal Community College, Administration Building, Tombigbee Conference Room, 30755 Hwy. 43 South, Thomasville, AL 36784. See Public Informational Meetings, below, for more information. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephen Ricks, Field Supervisor, Mississippi Ecological Services Field Office, 6578 Dogwood View Parkway, Jackson, MS 39213; telephone 601–321– 1122; or facsimile 601–965–4340. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: E:\FR\FM\11OCP1.SGM 11OCP1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 197 / Thursday, October 11, 2018 / Proposed Rules khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSAL Public Comments We will accept written comments and information during this reopened comment period on our proposed designation of critical habitat for the black pinesnake that was published in the Federal Register on March 11, 2015 (80 FR 12846), the revisions to the proposed designation that are described in this document, and our draft economic assessment (DEA) of the proposed designation. We will consider information and recommendations from all interested parties. We are particularly interested in comments concerning: (1) The reasons why we should or should not designate habitat as ‘‘critical habitat’’ under section 4 of the Act, including whether there are threats to the species from human activity, the degree of which can be expected to increase due to the designation, and whether that increase in threat outweighs the benefit of designation such that the designation of critical habitat is not prudent. (2) Specific information on: (a) The amount and distribution of black pinesnake habitat; (b) What areas occupied by the species at the time of listing (or are currently occupied) that contain features essential for the conservation of the species we should include in the designation and why; (c) Special management considerations or protection that may be needed in critical habitat areas we are proposing, including managing for the potential effects of climate change; and (d) What areas not occupied at the time of listing are essential for the conservation of the species and why. (3) Land use designations and current or planned activities in the subject areas and their probable impacts on proposed critical habitat. (4) How the patch size of proposed critical habitat was derived (i.e., how much acreage a viable population of black pinesnakes requires). (5) Information on the projected and reasonably likely impacts of climate change on the black pinesnake and proposed critical habitat. (6) Any probable economic, national security, or other relevant impacts of designating any area that may be included in the final designation; in particular, we seek information on any impacts on small entities or families, and the benefits of including or excluding areas that exhibit these impacts. (7) Information on the extent to which the description of economic impacts in the DEA is a reasonable estimate of the VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:17 Oct 10, 2018 Jkt 247001 likely economic impacts and is complete and accurate. (8) The likelihood of adverse social reactions to the designation of critical habitat, as discussed in the associated documents of the DEA, and how the consequences of such reactions, if likely to occur, would relate to the conservation and regulatory benefits of the proposed critical habitat designation. (9) Whether any areas we are proposing for critical habitat designation should be considered for exclusion under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, and whether the benefits of potentially excluding any specific area outweigh the benefits of including that area under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, particularly those areas described in this document. (10) Whether we could improve or modify our approach to designating critical habitat in any way to provide for greater public participation and understanding, or to better accommodate public concerns and comments. If you submitted comments or information on the March 11, 2015, proposed rule during the initial comment period from March 11, 2015, to May 11, 2015, please do not resubmit them. Any such comments are incorporated as part of the public record of this rulemaking proceeding, and we will fully consider them in the preparation of our final determination. Our final determination concerning critical habitat will take into consideration all written comments and any additional information we receive during both comment periods. The final decision may differ from this revised proposed rule, based on our review of all information received during this rulemaking proceeding. You may submit your comments and materials concerning the proposed rule or DEA by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. We request that you send comments only by the methods described in ADDRESSES. If you submit a comment via https:// www.regulations.gov, your entire comment—including any personal identifying information—will be posted on the website. We will post all hardcopy comments on https:// www.regulations.gov as well. If you submit a hardcopy comment that includes personal identifying information, you may request at the top of your document that we withhold this information from public review. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation we PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 51419 used in preparing the proposed rule and DEA, will be available for public inspection on https:// www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS–R4–ES–2014–0065, or by appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mississippi Ecological Services Field Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). You may obtain copies of the proposed rule and the DEA on the internet at https:// www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS–R4–ES–2014–0065, or by mail from the Mississippi Ecological Services Field Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Public Informational Meetings We will hold two public informational meetings on the dates and times shown in DATES at the addresses shown in ADDRESSES. People needing reasonable accommodations in order to attend and participate in the public informational meetings should contact Stephen Ricks, Mississippi Ecological Services Field Office, at (601) 321–1122, as soon as possible. In order to allow sufficient time to process requests, please call no later than 1 week before the meeting date (see DATES). Background It is our intent to discuss in this document only those topics directly relevant to the designation of critical habitat for black pinesnake. For more information on previous Federal actions concerning the black pinesnake, or information regarding its biology, status, distribution, and habitat, refer to the proposed designation of critical habitat published in the Federal Register on March 11, 2015 (80 FR 12846), and the October 6, 2015, final listing rule (80 FR 60468), both of which are available online at https://www.regulations.gov (at Docket Nos. FWS–R4–ES–2014–0065 and FWS–R4–ES–2014–0046) or from the Mississippi Ecological Services Field Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). In our March 11, 2015, proposed rule, we proposed to designate critical habitat for the black pinesnake in eight units encompassing approximately 338,100 acres (136,824 hectares) in Forrest, George, Greene, Harrison, Jones, Marion, Perry, Stone, and Wayne Counties, Mississippi, and Clarke County, Alabama. In addition, we announced the availability of a DEA of the proposed critical habitat designation. We accepted comments on the proposal and DEA for 60 days, ending May 11, 2015. Based on information we received during the public comment period, we have decided to reopen the comment period E:\FR\FM\11OCP1.SGM 11OCP1 51420 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 197 / Thursday, October 11, 2018 / Proposed Rules to allow the public additional time to submit comments on the proposed critical habitat designation and to hold two informational meetings. New Information and Revisions to Previously Proposed Critical Habitat In this document, we propose certain revisions to the critical habitat designation we proposed for the black pinesnake on March 11, 2015. Specifically, we propose to revise the name of Unit 7 to reflect the removal of all lands by the landowner from the State Wildlife Management Area (WMA). As a result of the removal, the name of the proposed unit is changed from Scotch WMA to Jones Branch. We also propose to revise the boundaries of Unit 8 in Clarke County, Alabama, resulting in fewer acres on private land and more acres on State-owned land, with a net increase in acreage. An index map of the revised proposed critical habitat area (338,379 acres (136,937 hectares)) is provided in the Proposed Regulation Promulgation section, below. khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSAL Unit 7: Jones Branch (formerly Scotch WMA), Clarke County, Alabama In September 2015, we received notice of a recent observation of a black pinesnake in proposed Unit 7 within the Scotch WMA in Clarke County, Alabama. A black pinesnake was captured during the course of a turkey trapping study and was positively verified by Service and State herpetologists. Therefore, within proposed Unit 7, there are now 5 records for black pinesnakes, one observed as recently as July 2015, and all records are in close proximity to one another and part of the same breeding population. In June 2016, Scotch Land Management Company, LCC, which manages most of the lands in proposed Unit 7, announced the withdrawal of its lands from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources’ WMA program. As a result, no lands VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:17 Oct 10, 2018 Jkt 247001 within proposed Unit 7 are within the WMA, and therefore, the name of the unit is being changed from Scotch WMA to Jones Branch. Ownership of the lands within proposed Unit 7 has not changed; it remains entirely privately owned. In addition, the boundaries and acreage of proposed Unit 7 are the same as what we proposed for this unit on March 11, 2015. contain all of the physical or biological features of the black pinesnake to support life-history functions essential to the conservation of the subspecies; and may require special management and protection from threats as outlined in the March 11, 2015, critical habitat proposal. Unit 8: Fred T. Stimpson WMA, Clarke County, Alabama During a re-examination of all the proposed critical habitat units following the close of the proposed rule’s comment period on May 11, 2015, we determined that some of the best black pinesnake habitat, located on the southern end of the Stimpson WMA, had not been incorporated into proposed Unit 8, and that other land, located on the northern end of proposed Unit 8, had been included in error. This re-assessment used updated aerial imagery, and wetlands, elevation, soils, and land cover overlays, to redefine the best available, most suitable, contiguous forested habitat surrounding the known pinesnake records at that site. Accordingly, we are shifting proposed Unit 8 to the south; among other things, this results in more acreage overlapping with the WMA, as well as a slight increase in the size of the unit. The total acreage in revised proposed Unit 8 is now 5,940 acres (2,404 hectares), an increase of 279 acres (113 hectares). The State of Alabama owns 3,789 acres (1,533 hectares; 64 percent) of Unit 8, and 2,151 acres (870 hectares; 36 percent) are privately owned. The newly added land in revised proposed Unit 8 is of the same habitat type, and contiguous with, those lands analyzed in the March 11, 2015, proposed rule; therefore, the determination that these additional lands meet the definition of critical habitat is the same as for the original proposed Unit 8. As with the original lands within proposed Unit 8, the additional lands are occupied; The primary authors of this document are the staff members of the Mississippi Ecological Services Field Office, Southeast Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Authors List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17 Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Transportation. Proposed Regulation Promulgation Accordingly, we propose to further amend part 17, subchapter B of chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as proposed to be amended at 80 FR 12846 (March 11, 2015) as set forth below: PART 17—ENDANGERED AND THREATENED WILDLIFE AND PLANTS 1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361–1407; 1531– 1544; and 4201–4245, unless otherwise noted. 2. Amend § 17.95 by revising paragraphs (c)(5), (12), and (13) to read as follows: ■ § 17.95 Critical habitat—fish and wildlife. * * * * * (c) Reptiles. * * * * * Black Pinesnake (Pituophis melanoleucus lodingi) * * * * * (5) Note: Index map follows: BILLING CODE 4333–15–P E:\FR\FM\11OCP1.SGM 11OCP1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 197 / Thursday, October 11, 2018 / Proposed Rules * * * * (12) Unit 7: Jones Branch—Clarke County, Alabama. (i) This unit is bordered by Salitpa Creek to the south, Tallahatta Creek to VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:17 Oct 10, 2018 Jkt 247001 the north, and Harris Creek to the west. It is located approximately 2.7 mi (4.3 km) southeast of Campbell. Unit 7 is located 1.1 mi (1.8 km) north of the PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 intersection of Old Mill Pond Road and Reedy Branch Road. (ii) Map of Unit 7 (Jones Branch) follows: E:\FR\FM\11OCP1.SGM 11OCP1 EP11OC18.022</GPH> khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSAL * 51421 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 197 / Thursday, October 11, 2018 / Proposed Rules (13) Unit 8: Fred T. Stimpson Wildlife Management Area (WMA)—Clarke County, Alabama. (i) This unit is located between Sand Hill Creek and the Tombigbee River, is VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:17 Oct 10, 2018 Jkt 247001 approximately 1 mi (1.6 km) north of Carlton, and is 1.5 mi (2.4 km) south of the intersection of County Road 15 and Christian Vall Road. Most of this unit is on the Fred T. Stimpson WMA. PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 (ii) Map of Unit 8 (Fred T. Stimpson WMA) follows: E:\FR\FM\11OCP1.SGM 11OCP1 EP11OC18.023</GPH> khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSAL 51422 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 197 / Thursday, October 11, 2018 / Proposed Rules 51423 Unit 8 Critical Habitat for the Black Pinesnake Clarke County, Alabama ~ Critical Habitat ~~---~ Fred T Stimpson WMA Rivers/Streams/Lakes khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSAL 0 VerDate Sep<11>2014 0.75 1.5 0.75 20:17 Oct 10, 2018 3 1.5 Jkt 247001 6 Kilometers 4.5 6 Miles 4.5 3 PO 00000 =Roads Frm 00024 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 E:\FR\FM\11OCP1.SGM 11OCP1 EP11OC18.024</GPH> 0 51424 * * Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 197 / Thursday, October 11, 2018 / Proposed Rules * * * Dated: August 14, 2018. James W. Kurth, Deputy Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Exercising the Authority of the Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. 2018–22013 Filed 10–10–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–C DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 RIN 0648–BI46 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; Coastal Migratory Pelagics Resources in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Region; Amendment 31 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notification of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (South Atlantic Council) and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (Gulf Council) (Councils) have submitted Amendment 31 to the Fishery Management Plan (FMP) for Coastal Migratory Pelagics (CMP) of the Gulf of Mexico (Gulf) and Atlantic Region (Amendment 31) for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. Amendment 31 would remove Atlantic migratory group cobia (Atlantic cobia) from Federal management under the MagnusonStevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act). At the same time, NMFS would implement comparable regulations under the Atlantic Coastal Fisheries Cooperative Management Act (Atlantic Coastal Act) to replace the existing Magnuson-Stevens Act based regulations in Atlantic Federal waters. The purpose of Amendment 31 is to facilitate improved coordination of Atlantic cobia in state and Federal waters, thereby more effectively constraining harvest and preventing overfishing and decreasing adverse socio-economic effects to fishermen. DATES: Written comments on Amendment 31 must be received by December 10, 2018. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on Amendment 31, identified by ‘‘NOAA–NMFS–2018–0114,’’ by either of the following methods: khammond on DSK30JT082PROD with PROPOSAL SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:17 Oct 10, 2018 Jkt 247001 • Electronic submission: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: https:// www.regulations.gov. Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail; D=NOAA-NMFS-2018-0114 click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments. • Mail: Submit written comments to Karla Gore, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, 263 13th Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33701. • Instructions: Comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period, may not be considered by NMFS. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender will be publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). Electronic copies Amendment 31 may be obtained from the Southeast Regional Office website at https://www.fisheries. noaa.gov/action/coastal-migratorypelagics-amendment-31-managementatlantic-migratory-group-cobia. Amendment 31 includes an environmental assessment, a fishery impact statement, a regulatory impact review, and a Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) analysis. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Karla Gore, NMFS Southeast Regional Office, telephone: 727–551–5753, or email: karla.gore@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires each regional fishery management council to submit FMPs or amendments to NMFS for review and approval, partial approval, or disapproval. The Magnuson-Stevens Act also requires that NMFS, upon receiving an FMP or amendment, publish an announcement in the Federal Register notifying the public that the FMP or amendment is available for review and comment. Background Through the CMP FMP, cobia is managed in two distinct migratory groups. The Gulf migratory group of cobia ranges in the Gulf from Texas through Florida and in the Atlantic includes cobia off the east coast of Florida. Atlantic cobia is managed from Georgia through New York. The boundary between the two migratory PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 groups is the Georgia-Florida state boundary. Both Gulf and Atlantic cobia were assessed through SEDAR 28 in 2013 and neither stock was determined to be overfished or experiencing overfishing. The majority of Atlantic cobia landings occur in state waters and, despite closures in Federal water in recent years, recreational landings have exceeded the recreational annual catch limit (ACL) and the combined stock ACL. This has resulted in shortened fishing seasons, which have been ineffective at constraining harvest. Following overages of the recreational and combined stock ACLs in 2015 and 2016, Federal waters closures for recreational harvest occurred in both 2016 (June 20) and 2017 (January 24). Additionally, Federal waters were closed to commercial harvest of Atlantic cobia in 2016 (December 5) and 2017 (September 4), because the commercial ACL was projected to be reached during the fishing year. Allowable harvest in state waters following the Federal closures varied by time and area. Georgia did not close state waters to recreational harvest of Atlantic cobia in 2016 or 2017. South Carolina allowed harvest in 2016 during May in the Southern Cobia Management Zone and closed state waters in 2017 when Federal waters closed. Most harvest of Atlantic cobia off Georgia and South Carolina occurs in Federal waters. Off North Carolina, recreational harvest of Atlantic cobia closed on September 30, 2016; in 2017, harvest was allowed May 1 through August 31. Off Virginia in 2016, harvest was allowed until August 30, 2016, and in 2017, Virginia allowed harvest June 1 through September 15. Harvest in state waters during the Federal closures contributed to the overage of the recreational ACL and the combined stock ACL. The South Atlantic Council requested that the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) consider complementary management measures for Atlantic cobia, as constraining harvest in Federal waters has not prevented the recreational and combined ACLs from being exceeded. The ASMFC consists of 15 Atlantic coastal states that manage and conserve their shared coastal fishery resources. The majority of ASMFC’s fisheries decision-making occurs through the Interstate Fisheries Management Program, where species management boards determine management strategies that the states implement through fishing regulations. In May 2016, the ASMFC started developing an interstate FMP for Atlantic cobia with the purpose to E:\FR\FM\11OCP1.SGM 11OCP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 197 (Thursday, October 11, 2018)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 51418-51424]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-22013]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2014-0065; 4500030114]
RIN 1018-BD52


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of 
Critical Habitat for the Black Pinesnake

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; revision, reopening of comment period, and 
announcement of public meetings.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
reopening of the comment period on our March 11, 2015, proposed 
designation of critical habitat for the black pinesnake (Pituophis 
melanoleucus lodingi) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended (Act). We are reopening the comment period to accept comments 
on our proposal, including revisions to proposed Units 7 and 8 that are 
described in this document. As a result of these revisions, we are now 
proposing to designate a total of 338,379 acres (136,937 hectares) as 
critical habitat for the black pinesnake across eight units within 
portions of Forrest, George, Greene, Harrison, Jones, Marion, Perry, 
Stone, and Wayne Counties in Mississippi, and Clarke County in Alabama. 
This is a small increase in acreage from the area we proposed to 
designate in our March 11, 2015, proposed rule but constitutes less 
privately owned lands. In addition, we announce two public 
informational meetings on the proposed rule. We are reopening the 
comment period on our March 11, 2015, proposed rule to allow all 
interested parties the opportunity to comment on the revised proposed 
rule. Comments previously submitted need not be resubmitted, as they 
will be fully considered in preparation of the final rule.

DATES: The comment period for the proposed rule published March 11, 
2015, at 80 FR 12846 is reopened.
    Written comments: So that we can fully consider your comments in 
our final determination, submit them on or before November 13, 2018. 
Comments submitted electronically using the Federal eRulemaking Portal 
(see ADDRESSES, below) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on 
the closing date.
    Public informational meetings: We will hold two public meetings, 
one from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on October 22, 2018, and a second from 
6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on October 24, 2018.

ADDRESSES: 
    Document availability: You may obtain copies of the March 11, 2015, 
proposed rule and associated documents on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2014-0065 or by mail 
from the Mississippi Ecological Services Field Office (see FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT).
    Written comments: You may submit written comments by one of the 
following methods:
    (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS-R4-ES-2014-0065, 
which is the docket number for this rulemaking. Then, click on the 
Search button. On the resulting page, in the Search panel on the left 
side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, click on the 
Proposed Rule box to locate this document. You may submit a comment by 
clicking on ``Comment Now!''
    (2) By hard copy: Submit your comments by U.S. mail or hand-
delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R4-ES-2014-0065, 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls 
Church, VA 22041-3803.
    We request that you send comments only by the methods described 
above. We will post all comments on https://www.regulations.gov. This 
generally means that we will post any personal information you provide 
us (see Public Comments, below, for more information).
    Public informational meetings: The public informational meetings 
will be held in the following locations:
     On October 22, 2018, at Pearl River Community College, 
Lowery A. Woodall Advanced Technology Center, 906 Sullivan Drive, 
Hattiesburg, MS 39401.
     On October 24, 2018, at Alabama Coastal Community College, 
Administration Building, Tombigbee Conference Room, 30755 Hwy. 43 
South, Thomasville, AL 36784. See Public Informational Meetings, below, 
for more information.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephen Ricks, Field Supervisor, 
Mississippi Ecological Services Field Office, 6578 Dogwood View 
Parkway, Jackson, MS 39213; telephone 601-321-1122; or facsimile 601-
965-4340. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf 
(TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

[[Page 51419]]

Public Comments

    We will accept written comments and information during this 
reopened comment period on our proposed designation of critical habitat 
for the black pinesnake that was published in the Federal Register on 
March 11, 2015 (80 FR 12846), the revisions to the proposed designation 
that are described in this document, and our draft economic assessment 
(DEA) of the proposed designation. We will consider information and 
recommendations from all interested parties. We are particularly 
interested in comments concerning:
    (1) The reasons why we should or should not designate habitat as 
``critical habitat'' under section 4 of the Act, including whether 
there are threats to the species from human activity, the degree of 
which can be expected to increase due to the designation, and whether 
that increase in threat outweighs the benefit of designation such that 
the designation of critical habitat is not prudent.
    (2) Specific information on:
    (a) The amount and distribution of black pinesnake habitat;
    (b) What areas occupied by the species at the time of listing (or 
are currently occupied) that contain features essential for the 
conservation of the species we should include in the designation and 
why;
    (c) Special management considerations or protection that may be 
needed in critical habitat areas we are proposing, including managing 
for the potential effects of climate change; and
    (d) What areas not occupied at the time of listing are essential 
for the conservation of the species and why.
    (3) Land use designations and current or planned activities in the 
subject areas and their probable impacts on proposed critical habitat.
    (4) How the patch size of proposed critical habitat was derived 
(i.e., how much acreage a viable population of black pinesnakes 
requires).
    (5) Information on the projected and reasonably likely impacts of 
climate change on the black pinesnake and proposed critical habitat.
    (6) Any probable economic, national security, or other relevant 
impacts of designating any area that may be included in the final 
designation; in particular, we seek information on any impacts on small 
entities or families, and the benefits of including or excluding areas 
that exhibit these impacts.
    (7) Information on the extent to which the description of economic 
impacts in the DEA is a reasonable estimate of the likely economic 
impacts and is complete and accurate.
    (8) The likelihood of adverse social reactions to the designation 
of critical habitat, as discussed in the associated documents of the 
DEA, and how the consequences of such reactions, if likely to occur, 
would relate to the conservation and regulatory benefits of the 
proposed critical habitat designation.
    (9) Whether any areas we are proposing for critical habitat 
designation should be considered for exclusion under section 4(b)(2) of 
the Act, and whether the benefits of potentially excluding any specific 
area outweigh the benefits of including that area under section 4(b)(2) 
of the Act, particularly those areas described in this document.
    (10) Whether we could improve or modify our approach to designating 
critical habitat in any way to provide for greater public participation 
and understanding, or to better accommodate public concerns and 
comments.
    If you submitted comments or information on the March 11, 2015, 
proposed rule during the initial comment period from March 11, 2015, to 
May 11, 2015, please do not resubmit them. Any such comments are 
incorporated as part of the public record of this rulemaking 
proceeding, and we will fully consider them in the preparation of our 
final determination. Our final determination concerning critical 
habitat will take into consideration all written comments and any 
additional information we receive during both comment periods. The 
final decision may differ from this revised proposed rule, based on our 
review of all information received during this rulemaking proceeding.
    You may submit your comments and materials concerning the proposed 
rule or DEA by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. We request that 
you send comments only by the methods described in ADDRESSES.
    If you submit a comment via https://www.regulations.gov, your entire 
comment--including any personal identifying information--will be posted 
on the website. We will post all hardcopy comments on https://www.regulations.gov as well. If you submit a hardcopy comment that 
includes personal identifying information, you may request at the top 
of your document that we withhold this information from public review. 
However, 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 rule and DEA, will be 
available for public inspection on https://www.regulations.gov at Docket 
No. FWS-R4-ES-2014-0065, or by appointment, during normal business 
hours, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Mississippi Ecological 
Services Field Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). You may 
obtain copies of the proposed rule and the DEA on the internet at 
https://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2014-0065, or by 
mail from the Mississippi Ecological Services Field Office (see FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

Public Informational Meetings

    We will hold two public informational meetings on the dates and 
times shown in DATES at the addresses shown in ADDRESSES. People 
needing reasonable accommodations in order to attend and participate in 
the public informational meetings should contact Stephen Ricks, 
Mississippi Ecological Services Field Office, at (601) 321-1122, as 
soon as possible. In order to allow sufficient time to process 
requests, please call no later than 1 week before the meeting date (see 
DATES).

Background

    It is our intent to discuss in this document only those topics 
directly relevant to the designation of critical habitat for black 
pinesnake. For more information on previous Federal actions concerning 
the black pinesnake, or information regarding its biology, status, 
distribution, and habitat, refer to the proposed designation of 
critical habitat published in the Federal Register on March 11, 2015 
(80 FR 12846), and the October 6, 2015, final listing rule (80 FR 
60468), both of which are available online at https://www.regulations.gov (at Docket Nos. FWS-R4-ES-2014-0065 and FWS-R4-ES-
2014-0046) or from the Mississippi Ecological Services Field Office 
(see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).
    In our March 11, 2015, proposed rule, we proposed to designate 
critical habitat for the black pinesnake in eight units encompassing 
approximately 338,100 acres (136,824 hectares) in Forrest, George, 
Greene, Harrison, Jones, Marion, Perry, Stone, and Wayne Counties, 
Mississippi, and Clarke County, Alabama. In addition, we announced the 
availability of a DEA of the proposed critical habitat designation. We 
accepted comments on the proposal and DEA for 60 days, ending May 11, 
2015. Based on information we received during the public comment 
period, we have decided to reopen the comment period

[[Page 51420]]

to allow the public additional time to submit comments on the proposed 
critical habitat designation and to hold two informational meetings.

New Information and Revisions to Previously Proposed Critical Habitat

    In this document, we propose certain revisions to the critical 
habitat designation we proposed for the black pinesnake on March 11, 
2015. Specifically, we propose to revise the name of Unit 7 to reflect 
the removal of all lands by the landowner from the State Wildlife 
Management Area (WMA). As a result of the removal, the name of the 
proposed unit is changed from Scotch WMA to Jones Branch. We also 
propose to revise the boundaries of Unit 8 in Clarke County, Alabama, 
resulting in fewer acres on private land and more acres on State-owned 
land, with a net increase in acreage. An index map of the revised 
proposed critical habitat area (338,379 acres (136,937 hectares)) is 
provided in the Proposed Regulation Promulgation section, below.

Unit 7: Jones Branch (formerly Scotch WMA), Clarke County, Alabama

    In September 2015, we received notice of a recent observation of a 
black pinesnake in proposed Unit 7 within the Scotch WMA in Clarke 
County, Alabama. A black pinesnake was captured during the course of a 
turkey trapping study and was positively verified by Service and State 
herpetologists. Therefore, within proposed Unit 7, there are now 5 
records for black pinesnakes, one observed as recently as July 2015, 
and all records are in close proximity to one another and part of the 
same breeding population.
    In June 2016, Scotch Land Management Company, LCC, which manages 
most of the lands in proposed Unit 7, announced the withdrawal of its 
lands from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural 
Resources' WMA program. As a result, no lands within proposed Unit 7 
are within the WMA, and therefore, the name of the unit is being 
changed from Scotch WMA to Jones Branch. Ownership of the lands within 
proposed Unit 7 has not changed; it remains entirely privately owned. 
In addition, the boundaries and acreage of proposed Unit 7 are the same 
as what we proposed for this unit on March 11, 2015.

Unit 8: Fred T. Stimpson WMA, Clarke County, Alabama

    During a re-examination of all the proposed critical habitat units 
following the close of the proposed rule's comment period on May 11, 
2015, we determined that some of the best black pinesnake habitat, 
located on the southern end of the Stimpson WMA, had not been 
incorporated into proposed Unit 8, and that other land, located on the 
northern end of proposed Unit 8, had been included in error. This re-
assessment used updated aerial imagery, and wetlands, elevation, soils, 
and land cover overlays, to redefine the best available, most suitable, 
contiguous forested habitat surrounding the known pinesnake records at 
that site. Accordingly, we are shifting proposed Unit 8 to the south; 
among other things, this results in more acreage overlapping with the 
WMA, as well as a slight increase in the size of the unit. The total 
acreage in revised proposed Unit 8 is now 5,940 acres (2,404 hectares), 
an increase of 279 acres (113 hectares). The State of Alabama owns 
3,789 acres (1,533 hectares; 64 percent) of Unit 8, and 2,151 acres 
(870 hectares; 36 percent) are privately owned. The newly added land in 
revised proposed Unit 8 is of the same habitat type, and contiguous 
with, those lands analyzed in the March 11, 2015, proposed rule; 
therefore, the determination that these additional lands meet the 
definition of critical habitat is the same as for the original proposed 
Unit 8. As with the original lands within proposed Unit 8, the 
additional lands are occupied; contain all of the physical or 
biological features of the black pinesnake to support life-history 
functions essential to the conservation of the subspecies; and may 
require special management and protection from threats as outlined in 
the March 11, 2015, critical habitat proposal.

Authors

    The primary authors of this document are the staff members of the 
Mississippi Ecological Services Field Office, Southeast Region, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

Proposed Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, we propose to further amend part 17, subchapter B of 
chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as proposed to 
be amended at 80 FR 12846 (March 11, 2015) as set forth below:

PART 17--ENDANGERED AND THREATENED WILDLIFE AND PLANTS

0
1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 1531-1544; and 4201-4245, unless 
otherwise noted.
0
2. Amend Sec.  17.95 by revising paragraphs (c)(5), (12), and (13) to 
read as follows:


Sec.  17.95  Critical habitat--fish and wildlife.

* * * * *
    (c) Reptiles.
* * * * *
    Black Pinesnake (Pituophis melanoleucus lodingi)
* * * * *
    (5) Note: Index map follows:
BILLING CODE 4333-15-P

[[Page 51421]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP11OC18.022

* * * * *
    (12) Unit 7: Jones Branch--Clarke County, Alabama.
    (i) This unit is bordered by Salitpa Creek to the south, Tallahatta 
Creek to the north, and Harris Creek to the west. It is located 
approximately 2.7 mi (4.3 km) southeast of Campbell. Unit 7 is located 
1.1 mi (1.8 km) north of the intersection of Old Mill Pond Road and 
Reedy Branch Road.
    (ii) Map of Unit 7 (Jones Branch) follows:

[[Page 51422]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP11OC18.023

    (13) Unit 8: Fred T. Stimpson Wildlife Management Area (WMA)--
Clarke County, Alabama.
    (i) This unit is located between Sand Hill Creek and the Tombigbee 
River, is approximately 1 mi (1.6 km) north of Carlton, and is 1.5 mi 
(2.4 km) south of the intersection of County Road 15 and Christian Vall 
Road. Most of this unit is on the Fred T. Stimpson WMA.
    (ii) Map of Unit 8 (Fred T. Stimpson WMA) follows:

[[Page 51423]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP11OC18.024


[[Page 51424]]


* * * * *

    Dated: August 14, 2018.
James W. Kurth,
Deputy Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Exercising the 
Authority of the Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2018-22013 Filed 10-10-18; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4333-15-C