Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designating the Northern Rocky Mountain Population of Gray Wolf as a Distinct Population Segment; Removing the Northern Rocky Mountain Distinct Population Segment of Gray Wolf From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce our intention to conduct rulemaking to establish a distinct population segment (DPS) of the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in the Northern Rocky Mountains of the United States (NRM). The NRM DPS of gray wolf encompasses the eastern one-third of Washington and Oregon, a small part of north-central Utah, and all of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. The threats to the wolf population in the NRM DPS have been reduced or eliminated as evidenced by the population exceeding the numerical, distributional, and temporal recovery goals each year since 2002. The States of Montana and Idaho have adopted State laws and State wolf management plans that would conserve a recovered NRM wolf population within their boundaries into the foreseeable future. However, we have determined that Wyoming State law and its wolf management plan do not provide the necessary regulatory mechanism to assure that Wyoming's share of a recovered NRM wolf population will be conserved if the ESA's protections were removed. Therefore, we intend to conduct a future rulemaking to propose that the gray wolf in the NRM wolf DPS be removed from the List of Threatened and Endangered Wildlife under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), as amended, if Wyoming adopts a State law and a State wolf management plan that is approved by the Service. Concerns regarding the Wyoming plan would have to be resolved before a NRM DPS delisting could be finalized. This ANPRM is being issued in advance of completion of the 12 month status review of NRM wolves. This status review remains in progress.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Critical Habitat Designation for the Kootenai River Population of the White Sturgeon
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), designate critical habitat for the Kootenai River population of the white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) (Kootenai sturgeon) pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). In total, approximately, 6.9 river miles (RM) (11.1 river kilometers (RKM)) of the Kootenai River fall within the boundaries of the critical habitat designation located in Boundary County, Idaho. This designation is in addition to the 11.2 miles (18 kilometers) of the Kootenai River already designated as critical habitat for the Kootenai sturgeon.