Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Recovery Plan for Meltwater Lednian Stonefly (Lednia tumana) and Western Glacier Stonefly (Zapada glacier), 71079-71081 [2021-27006]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 14, 2021 / Notices information will be posted on the Federal Subsistence Management Program website at https://www.doi.gov/ subsistence/regions and on social media at https://www.facebook.com/ subsistencealaska/. Transcripts of the meetings are maintained by the Program and will be available for public inspection within 14 days after each meeting at https://www.doi.gov/ subsistence/regions. Public Disclosure of Comments: Time will be allowed for any individual or organization wishing to present oral or written comments. If you are not available to submit your comments, you may have a second party present your comments on your behalf. Any written comments received will be presented to the Council members by staff. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. 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. Authority 5 U.S.C. Appendix. Sue Detwiler, Assistant Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Gregory Risdahl, Subsistence Program Leader, USDA–Forest Service. [FR Doc. 2021–26885 Filed 12–13–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P; 3411–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R6–ES–2021–N182; FXES11140600000] Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Recovery Plan for Meltwater Lednian Stonefly (Lednia tumana) and Western Glacier Stonefly (Zapada glacier) AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 Interior. ACTION: Notice of document availability for review and comment. We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the availability of a draft recovery plan for meltwater lednian stonefly and western glacier stonefly, two insect species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. We request SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:24 Dec 13, 2021 Jkt 256001 review and comment on this draft recovery plan from Federal, State, Tribal, and local agencies and the public. We must receive any comments on the draft recovery plan on or before February 14, 2022. ADDRESSES: Document availability: Copies of the draft recovery plan are available at http://www.fws.gov/endangered/ species/recovery-plans.html. Alternatively, you may request a copy by U.S. mail from the Montana Ecological Services Field Office; 585 Shepard Way, Suite 1; Helena, MT 59601; or by telephone at 406–449– 5225. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf may call the Federal Relay Service at 800–877–8339. Submitting comments: If you wish to comment on the draft recovery plan, you may submit your comments in writing by email to Ben Conard, at ben_ conard@fws.gov, or by U.S. mail to Ben Conard, Acting Project Leader, at the above U.S. mail address. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ben Conard, Acting Project Leader, at the above U.S. mail address or by telephone at 406–449–5225. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf may call the Federal Relay Service at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of a draft recovery plan for meltwater lednian stonefly (Lednia tumana; hereafter, MWS) and western glacier stonefly (Zapada glacier; hereafter, WGS), two insects listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, as amended (Act; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The draft recovery plan includes objective, measurable criteria, and site-specific management actions as may be necessary to remove each species from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. We request review and comment on this draft recovery plan from Federal, State, Tribal, and local agencies and the public. DATES: Species Information On December 23, 2019, we listed the MWS and WGS as threatened species (November 21, 2019; 84 FR 64210). We did not designate critical habitat for either species. We prepared a biological report for the MWS and WGS (Service 2020), which is an in-depth but not exhaustive review of the species’ biology and threats, an evaluation of its biological status, and an assessment of the resources and conditions needed to PO 00000 Frm 00078 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 71079 maintain long-term viability. We summarize the biological report below. MWS and WGS are small insects in the stonefly family (Nemouridae) that live in alpine streams that flow from melting glaciers and snowfields in Montana, Wyoming, and southwest Alberta, Canada. Both species begin life as eggs, hatch into aquatic nymphs, and later mature into winged adults, surviving briefly on land before reproducing and dying. Both stonefly species prefer cold water temperatures, and therefore are most often found within the first 600 meters (1,968 feet) of a stream, almost immediately downstream from sources of frozen water, such as glaciers and snowfields. The National Park Service manages 94 percent and 63 percent of habitat for MWS and WGS, respectively. The U.S. Forest Service manages 5 percent and 37 percent of habitat for MWS and WGS, respectively. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes manage less than 1 percent of habitat for MWS. The MWS currently occupies 113 streams across its known range, and the WGS currently occupies 16 streams across its known range; however, cumulatively, both species occupy relatively small amounts of habitat per stream on average, approximately 600 meters (1,968 feet) per stream. Both species occupy only these small amounts of area per stream because of their low thermal tolerances and the rapid warming of meltwater streams downstream of the meltwater sources, from full sun exposure in alpine environments. Further, both species inhabit the most upstream reaches of their meltwater habitats and cannot disperse further upstream if water temperatures warm beyond their thermal tolerances. This narrow distribution within streams and inability to disperse upstream increases the risk of harm due to stochastic events, such as drought or annual weather fluctuations. Thus, the current overall resiliency of the meltwater habitat and sources for both species is low. The primary threat to both stonefly species and their habitat is habitat degradation and fragmentation due to climate change. Both stonefly species are intimately tied to cold meltwater aquatic habitat, the sources of which are glaciers or snowfields. Thus, the viability of both species is closely linked to the persistence of these glaciers and snowfields and their ability to continue to provide meltwater habitat in a warming climate. These meltwater sources vary in size, but most are predicted to completely melt by 2030. Warming air temperatures have already E:\FR\FM\14DEN1.SGM 14DEN1 71080 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 14, 2021 / Notices jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 been implicated in faster melting of meltwater sources (glaciers and snowfields) in Glacier National Park and elsewhere. As these meltwater sources begin to disappear, streamflows are expected to become intermittent and water temperatures warmer. Dewatering of MWS and WGS habitat, even periodically, would result in the extirpation of entire populations because the aquatic nymphs of both species need flowing water to breathe. Melting of meltwater sources is also expected to increase stream temperatures, forcing nymphs to disperse upstream to stay within their temperature tolerances. However, both species already occupy the most upstream portions of their meltwater habitats, so upstream dispersal is not possible. As a result of the fragmentation and degradation of meltwater habitats, available habitat in Glacier National Park for MWS is predicted to decline by 80 percent by 2030 (Muhlfeld et al. 2011, p. 342). For WGS, we have observed a declining trend in their distribution over the last 50 years due to warmer air temperatures associated with climate change (Giersch et al. 2015, p. 58). Please refer to our biological report for additional discussion and full analyses of the life history, ecology, threats, and biological status for MWS and WGS (Service 2020). Recovery Planning Process Restoring an endangered or threatened animal or plant to the point where it is again a secure, selfsustaining member of its ecosystem is a primary goal of the Service’s endangered species program. Recovery means improving the status of a listed species to the point at which listing is no longer necessary according to the criteria specified under section 4(a)(1) of the Act. The Act requires recovery plans for listed species unless such a plan would not promote the conservation of a particular species. To help guide recovery efforts, we prepare recovery plans to promote the conservation of the species. The purpose of a recovery plan is to provide a recommended framework for the recovery of a species so that protection of the Act is no longer necessary. Pursuant to section 4(f) of the Act, a recovery plan must, to the maximum extent possible, include: (1) A description of site-specific management actions as may be necessary to achieve the plan’s goal for the conservation and survival of the species; (2) Objective, measurable criteria which, when met, would support a VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:24 Dec 13, 2021 Jkt 256001 determination under section 4(a)(1) of the Act that the species should be removed from the List of Endangered and Threatened Species; and (3) Estimates of time and costs required to carry out those measures needed to achieve the plan’s goal and to achieve intermediate steps toward that goal. We used our new recovery planning and implementation (RPI) process to develop the draft recovery plan for MWS and WGS. The RPI process helps reduce the time needed to develop and implement recovery plans, increases the relevancy of the recovery plan over longer timeframes, and adds flexibility so that the recovery plan can be more easily adjusted to new information and circumstances. Under our RPI process, a recovery plan will include the three statutorily required elements for recovery plans—objective and measurable criteria, site-specific management actions, and estimates of time and cost—along with a concise introduction and our strategy for how we plan to achieve species recovery. The RPI recovery plan is supported by a separate biological report for MWS and WGS (Service 2020). The biological report is an in-depth but not exhaustive review of the species’ biology and threats, an evaluation of its biological status, and an assessment of the resources and conditions needed to maintain long-term viability. The biological report provides the scientific background and threats assessment for MWS and WGS, which are key to the development of the recovery plan. A third, separate working document, called the recovery implementation strategy (RIS), steps down the more general descriptions of actions in the recovery plan to detail the specifics needed to implement the recovery plan, which improves the flexibility of the recovery plan. The RIS will be adaptable, with new information on actions incorporated, as needed, without requiring a concurrent revision to the recovery plan, unless changes to the three statutory elements are required. Draft Recovery Plan Below, we summarize components from our draft recovery plan. Please reference the draft recovery plan for full details. The draft recovery plan describes the recovery vision as the conservation and survival of MWS and WGS. Recovery for both species will be signified by resilient, redundant populations and meltwater habitats and sources of meltwater across a representative portion of their respective known PO 00000 Frm 00079 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 ranges. Both species need sources of aquatic meltwater habitats, such as glaciers and snowfields, that have enough mass to provide continual meltwater to endure stochastic environmental change, such as from drought and reduced annual snowfall. Both species also need sufficient distribution and diversity across populations to withstand catastrophes and long-term warming climate trends. This would be achieved by implementing recovery actions, such as surveying for additional populations, researching thermal tolerance limits, identifying potential translocation areas, and exploring controlled propagation techniques. The draft recovery plan includes recovery criteria for delisting. The delisting criteria are summarized below, with additional detail provided in the draft recovery plan: (1) Maintaining stable or increasing trends in the area of meltwater sources (glaciers and snowfields), and at least 1,250 hectares (3,087 acres) of meltwater sources across the known ranges of both species; and (2) Maintaining stable or increasing trends in stream miles, with at least 35 occupied stream miles for both species. Peer Review In accordance with our July 1, 1994, peer review policy (59 FR 34270; July 1, 1994); our August 22, 2016, Director’s Memo on the Peer Review Process; and the Office of Management and Budget’s December 16, 2004, Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review (revised June 2012), we will seek the expert opinion of at least three appropriate independent specialists regarding scientific data and interpretations contained in the species biological report and the draft recovery plan. We will send copies of both documents to the peer reviewers immediately following publication of this notice in the Federal Register. We will ensure that the opinions of peer reviewers are objective and unbiased by following the guidelines set forth in the Director’s Memo, which updates and clarifies Service policy on peer review (Service 2016). The purpose of such review is to ensure that our decisions are based on scientifically sound data, assumptions, and analysis. Accordingly, our final species biological report and recovery plan may differ from the draft documents. We will post the results of this structured peer review process on our website at https://www.fws.gov/ mountain-prairie/science/ peerReview.php. The biological report is the scientific foundation for the draft recovery plan. E:\FR\FM\14DEN1.SGM 14DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 237 / Tuesday, December 14, 2021 / Notices Request for Public Comments All comments we receive by the date specified (see DATES) will be considered prior to approval of the recovery plan. Written comments and materials regarding the recovery plan should be sent via one of the means in the ADDRESSES section. We will consider all information we receive during the public comment period, and particularly look for comments that provide scientific rationale or factual background. The Service and other Federal agencies and partners will take these comments into consideration in the course of implementing an approved final recovery plan. We are specifically seeking comments and suggestions on the following questions: • Understanding that the time and cost presented in the draft recovery plan will be fine-tuned when localized recovery implementation strategies are developed, do you think that the estimated time and cost to recovery are realistic? Is the estimate reflective of the time and cost of actions that may have already been implemented by Federal, State, county, or other agencies? Please provide suggestions or methods for determining a more accurate estimation. • Do the draft recovery criteria provide clear direction to partners on what is needed to recover MWS and WGS? How could they be improved for clarity? • Are the draft recovery criteria both objective and measurable, given the information available for MWS and WGS now and into the future? Please provide suggestions. • Understanding that specific, detailed, and area-specific recovery actions will be developed in the RIS, do you think that the draft recovery actions presented in the draft recovery plan generally cover the types of actions necessary to meet the recovery criteria? If not, what general actions are missing? Are any of the draft recovery actions unnecessary for achieving recovery? Have we prioritized the actions appropriately? jspears on DSK121TN23PROD with NOTICES1 Public Availability of Comments We will summarize and respond to the issues raised by the public in an appendix to the approved final recovery plan. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. You may request at the top of your comment that we withhold this VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:24 Dec 13, 2021 Jkt 256001 information from public review; however, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Authority The authority for this action is section 4(f) of the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(f). Anna Mun˜oz, Acting Deputy Regional Director. [FR Doc. 2021–27006 Filed 12–13–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R6–ES–2021–N020; FXES11130600000] Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Recovery Plan for Parachute Beardtongue Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of document availability for review and comment. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the availability of a draft recovery plan for Parachute beardtongue, a plant species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. We are requesting review and comment from the public on this draft plan. DATES: We must receive any comments on the draft recovery plan on or before February 14, 2022. ADDRESSES: Document availability: Copies of the draft recovery plan are available at http://www.fws.gov/ endangered/species/recovery-plans.html and at https://ecos.fws.gov/ecp/species/ 7099. Alternatively, you may request a copy by U.S. mail from the Western Colorado Field Office; 445 W Gunnison Ave., #240; Grand Junction, CO 81501; or by telephone at 970–243–2778. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf may call the Federal Relay Service at 800–877–8339. Submitting comments: If you wish to comment on the draft recovery plan, you may submit your comments in writing by email to Ann Timberman, at ann_timberman@fws.gov, or by U.S. mail to Ann Timberman, Western Slope Field Supervisor, at the above U.S. mail address. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ann Timberman, Western Slope Field Supervisor, at the above U.S. mail address or by telephone at 970–243– 2778. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00080 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 71081 may call the Federal Relay Service at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of a draft recovery plan for Parachute beardtongue (Penstemon debilis), a plant species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The draft recovery plan includes objective, measurable criteria, and sitespecific management actions as may be necessary to remove the species from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants. We are requesting review and comment from the public on this draft recovery plan. Species Information On August 26, 2011, we listed Parachute beardtongue as a threatened plant species (July 27, 2011; 76 FR 45054). On September 12, 2012, we designated critical habitat for the species (August 13, 2012; 77 FR 48367). Parachute beardtongue is a rare endemic plant found in the oil shale outcrops of the Roan Plateau escarpment above the Town of Parachute, in Garfield County, Colorado. Parachute beardtongue has adapted to survive on steep, unstable shale slopes. When its leaves are buried by the shifting, unstable talus, Parachute beardtongue elongates its stems downslope until it finds a sufficiently stable surface on which to develop a new tuft of leaves and flowers. All of the currently known Parachute beardtongue occurrences occupy approximately 64 acres (ac) (25.9 hectares (ha)) spread throughout a corridor approximately 2 miles (mi) (3 kilometer (km)) wide and 17 mi (27 km) long in Garfield County, Colorado. There are six known subpopulations of Parachute beardtongue, with an estimated total of 6,954 to 7,404 individual plants rangewide. Threats to the species include the loss and fragmentation of habitats associated with energy development, road maintenance, loss of individuals due to stochastic events, and the inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms. We conducted a species status assessment (SSA) for Parachute beardtongue and documented our analysis in an SSA report (Service 2020), which is an in-depth, scientific review of the species’ biology and threats, an evaluation of its biological status, and an assessment of the resources and conditions needed to maintain populations over time. In our SSA, we identified individual, population, and species requirements, or needs, and the factors affecting the E:\FR\FM\14DEN1.SGM 14DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 237 (Tuesday, December 14, 2021)]
[Notices]
[Pages 71079-71081]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-27006]


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

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R6-ES-2021-N182; FXES11140600000]


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Recovery 
Plan for Meltwater Lednian Stonefly (Lednia tumana) and Western Glacier 
Stonefly (Zapada glacier)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability for review and comment.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the 
availability of a draft recovery plan for meltwater lednian stonefly 
and western glacier stonefly, two insect species listed as threatened 
under the Endangered Species Act. We request review and comment on this 
draft recovery plan from Federal, State, Tribal, and local agencies and 
the public.

DATES: We must receive any comments on the draft recovery plan on or 
before February 14, 2022.

ADDRESSES: 
    Document availability: Copies of the draft recovery plan are 
available at http://www.fws.gov/endangered/species/recovery-plans.html. 
Alternatively, you may request a copy by U.S. mail from the Montana 
Ecological Services Field Office; 585 Shepard Way, Suite 1; Helena, MT 
59601; or by telephone at 406-449-5225. Persons who use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf may call the Federal Relay 
Service at 800-877-8339.
    Submitting comments: If you wish to comment on the draft recovery 
plan, you may submit your comments in writing by email to Ben Conard, 
at [email protected], or by U.S. mail to Ben Conard, Acting Project 
Leader, at the above U.S. mail address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ben Conard, Acting Project Leader, at 
the above U.S. mail address or by telephone at 406-449-5225. Persons 
who use a telecommunications device for the deaf may call the Federal 
Relay Service at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(Service), announce the availability of a draft recovery plan for 
meltwater lednian stonefly (Lednia tumana; hereafter, MWS) and western 
glacier stonefly (Zapada glacier; hereafter, WGS), two insects listed 
as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, as amended (Act; 16 
U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The draft recovery plan includes objective, 
measurable criteria, and site-specific management actions as may be 
necessary to remove each species from the Federal List of Endangered 
and Threatened Wildlife. We request review and comment on this draft 
recovery plan from Federal, State, Tribal, and local agencies and the 
public.

Species Information

    On December 23, 2019, we listed the MWS and WGS as threatened 
species (November 21, 2019; 84 FR 64210). We did not designate critical 
habitat for either species. We prepared a biological report for the MWS 
and WGS (Service 2020), which is an in-depth but not exhaustive review 
of the species' biology and threats, an evaluation of its biological 
status, and an assessment of the resources and conditions needed to 
maintain long-term viability. We summarize the biological report below.
    MWS and WGS are small insects in the stonefly family (Nemouridae) 
that live in alpine streams that flow from melting glaciers and 
snowfields in Montana, Wyoming, and southwest Alberta, Canada. Both 
species begin life as eggs, hatch into aquatic nymphs, and later mature 
into winged adults, surviving briefly on land before reproducing and 
dying. Both stonefly species prefer cold water temperatures, and 
therefore are most often found within the first 600 meters (1,968 feet) 
of a stream, almost immediately downstream from sources of frozen 
water, such as glaciers and snowfields. The National Park Service 
manages 94 percent and 63 percent of habitat for MWS and WGS, 
respectively. The U.S. Forest Service manages 5 percent and 37 percent 
of habitat for MWS and WGS, respectively. The Confederated Salish and 
Kootenai Tribes manage less than 1 percent of habitat for MWS.
    The MWS currently occupies 113 streams across its known range, and 
the WGS currently occupies 16 streams across its known range; however, 
cumulatively, both species occupy relatively small amounts of habitat 
per stream on average, approximately 600 meters (1,968 feet) per 
stream. Both species occupy only these small amounts of area per stream 
because of their low thermal tolerances and the rapid warming of 
meltwater streams downstream of the meltwater sources, from full sun 
exposure in alpine environments. Further, both species inhabit the most 
upstream reaches of their meltwater habitats and cannot disperse 
further upstream if water temperatures warm beyond their thermal 
tolerances. This narrow distribution within streams and inability to 
disperse upstream increases the risk of harm due to stochastic events, 
such as drought or annual weather fluctuations. Thus, the current 
overall resiliency of the meltwater habitat and sources for both 
species is low.
    The primary threat to both stonefly species and their habitat is 
habitat degradation and fragmentation due to climate change. Both 
stonefly species are intimately tied to cold meltwater aquatic habitat, 
the sources of which are glaciers or snowfields. Thus, the viability of 
both species is closely linked to the persistence of these glaciers and 
snowfields and their ability to continue to provide meltwater habitat 
in a warming climate. These meltwater sources vary in size, but most 
are predicted to completely melt by 2030. Warming air temperatures have 
already

[[Page 71080]]

been implicated in faster melting of meltwater sources (glaciers and 
snowfields) in Glacier National Park and elsewhere. As these meltwater 
sources begin to disappear, streamflows are expected to become 
intermittent and water temperatures warmer.
    Dewatering of MWS and WGS habitat, even periodically, would result 
in the extirpation of entire populations because the aquatic nymphs of 
both species need flowing water to breathe. Melting of meltwater 
sources is also expected to increase stream temperatures, forcing 
nymphs to disperse upstream to stay within their temperature 
tolerances. However, both species already occupy the most upstream 
portions of their meltwater habitats, so upstream dispersal is not 
possible. As a result of the fragmentation and degradation of meltwater 
habitats, available habitat in Glacier National Park for MWS is 
predicted to decline by 80 percent by 2030 (Muhlfeld et al. 2011, p. 
342). For WGS, we have observed a declining trend in their distribution 
over the last 50 years due to warmer air temperatures associated with 
climate change (Giersch et al. 2015, p. 58). Please refer to our 
biological report for additional discussion and full analyses of the 
life history, ecology, threats, and biological status for MWS and WGS 
(Service 2020).

Recovery Planning Process

    Restoring an endangered or threatened animal or plant to the point 
where it is again a secure, self-sustaining member of its ecosystem is 
a primary goal of the Service's endangered species program. Recovery 
means improving the status of a listed species to the point at which 
listing is no longer necessary according to the criteria specified 
under section 4(a)(1) of the Act. The Act requires recovery plans for 
listed species unless such a plan would not promote the conservation of 
a particular species. To help guide recovery efforts, we prepare 
recovery plans to promote the conservation of the species.
    The purpose of a recovery plan is to provide a recommended 
framework for the recovery of a species so that protection of the Act 
is no longer necessary. Pursuant to section 4(f) of the Act, a recovery 
plan must, to the maximum extent possible, include:
    (1) A description of site-specific management actions as may be 
necessary to achieve the plan's goal for the conservation and survival 
of the species;
    (2) Objective, measurable criteria which, when met, would support a 
determination under section 4(a)(1) of the Act that the species should 
be removed from the List of Endangered and Threatened Species; and
    (3) Estimates of time and costs required to carry out those 
measures needed to achieve the plan's goal and to achieve intermediate 
steps toward that goal.
    We used our new recovery planning and implementation (RPI) process 
to develop the draft recovery plan for MWS and WGS. The RPI process 
helps reduce the time needed to develop and implement recovery plans, 
increases the relevancy of the recovery plan over longer timeframes, 
and adds flexibility so that the recovery plan can be more easily 
adjusted to new information and circumstances. Under our RPI process, a 
recovery plan will include the three statutorily required elements for 
recovery plans--objective and measurable criteria, site-specific 
management actions, and estimates of time and cost--along with a 
concise introduction and our strategy for how we plan to achieve 
species recovery. The RPI recovery plan is supported by a separate 
biological report for MWS and WGS (Service 2020). The biological report 
is an in-depth but not exhaustive review of the species' biology and 
threats, an evaluation of its biological status, and an assessment of 
the resources and conditions needed to maintain long-term viability. 
The biological report provides the scientific background and threats 
assessment for MWS and WGS, which are key to the development of the 
recovery plan. A third, separate working document, called the recovery 
implementation strategy (RIS), steps down the more general descriptions 
of actions in the recovery plan to detail the specifics needed to 
implement the recovery plan, which improves the flexibility of the 
recovery plan. The RIS will be adaptable, with new information on 
actions incorporated, as needed, without requiring a concurrent 
revision to the recovery plan, unless changes to the three statutory 
elements are required.

Draft Recovery Plan

    Below, we summarize components from our draft recovery plan. Please 
reference the draft recovery plan for full details.
    The draft recovery plan describes the recovery vision as the 
conservation and survival of MWS and WGS. Recovery for both species 
will be signified by resilient, redundant populations and meltwater 
habitats and sources of meltwater across a representative portion of 
their respective known ranges. Both species need sources of aquatic 
meltwater habitats, such as glaciers and snowfields, that have enough 
mass to provide continual meltwater to endure stochastic environmental 
change, such as from drought and reduced annual snowfall. Both species 
also need sufficient distribution and diversity across populations to 
withstand catastrophes and long-term warming climate trends. This would 
be achieved by implementing recovery actions, such as surveying for 
additional populations, researching thermal tolerance limits, 
identifying potential translocation areas, and exploring controlled 
propagation techniques.
    The draft recovery plan includes recovery criteria for delisting. 
The delisting criteria are summarized below, with additional detail 
provided in the draft recovery plan:
    (1) Maintaining stable or increasing trends in the area of 
meltwater sources (glaciers and snowfields), and at least 1,250 
hectares (3,087 acres) of meltwater sources across the known ranges of 
both species; and
    (2) Maintaining stable or increasing trends in stream miles, with 
at least 35 occupied stream miles for both species.

Peer Review

    In accordance with our July 1, 1994, peer review policy (59 FR 
34270; July 1, 1994); our August 22, 2016, Director's Memo on the Peer 
Review Process; and the Office of Management and Budget's December 16, 
2004, Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review (revised June 
2012), we will seek the expert opinion of at least three appropriate 
independent specialists regarding scientific data and interpretations 
contained in the species biological report and the draft recovery plan. 
We will send copies of both documents to the peer reviewers immediately 
following publication of this notice in the Federal Register. We will 
ensure that the opinions of peer reviewers are objective and unbiased 
by following the guidelines set forth in the Director's Memo, which 
updates and clarifies Service policy on peer review (Service 2016). The 
purpose of such review is to ensure that our decisions are based on 
scientifically sound data, assumptions, and analysis. Accordingly, our 
final species biological report and recovery plan may differ from the 
draft documents. We will post the results of this structured peer 
review process on our website at https://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/science/peerReview.php. The biological report is the scientific 
foundation for the draft recovery plan.

[[Page 71081]]

Request for Public Comments

    All comments we receive by the date specified (see DATES) will be 
considered prior to approval of the recovery plan. Written comments and 
materials regarding the recovery plan should be sent via one of the 
means in the ADDRESSES section.
    We will consider all information we receive during the public 
comment period, and particularly look for comments that provide 
scientific rationale or factual background. The Service and other 
Federal agencies and partners will take these comments into 
consideration in the course of implementing an approved final recovery 
plan. We are specifically seeking comments and suggestions on the 
following questions:
     Understanding that the time and cost presented in the 
draft recovery plan will be fine-tuned when localized recovery 
implementation strategies are developed, do you think that the 
estimated time and cost to recovery are realistic? Is the estimate 
reflective of the time and cost of actions that may have already been 
implemented by Federal, State, county, or other agencies? Please 
provide suggestions or methods for determining a more accurate 
estimation.
     Do the draft recovery criteria provide clear direction to 
partners on what is needed to recover MWS and WGS? How could they be 
improved for clarity?
     Are the draft recovery criteria both objective and 
measurable, given the information available for MWS and WGS now and 
into the future? Please provide suggestions.
     Understanding that specific, detailed, and area-specific 
recovery actions will be developed in the RIS, do you think that the 
draft recovery actions presented in the draft recovery plan generally 
cover the types of actions necessary to meet the recovery criteria? If 
not, what general actions are missing? Are any of the draft recovery 
actions unnecessary for achieving recovery? Have we prioritized the 
actions appropriately?

Public Availability of Comments

    We will summarize and respond to the issues raised by the public in 
an appendix to the approved final recovery plan. Before including your 
address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying 
information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire 
comment--including your personal identifying information--may be made 
publicly available at any time. You may request at the top of your 
comment that we withhold this information from public review; however, 
we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Authority

    The authority for this action is section 4(f) of the Endangered 
Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(f).

Anna Mu[ntilde]oz,
Acting Deputy Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 2021-27006 Filed 12-13-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4333-15-P