Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List Sidalcea hendersonii
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 90-day finding on a petition to list Sidalcea hendersonii (Henderson's checkermallow) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. We find the petition does not provide substantial scientific information indicating that listing S. hendersonii may be warranted. Therefore, we will not be initiating a further status review in response to this petition, however, we ask the public to submit to us any new information that becomes available concerning the status of the species or threats to it.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designating the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem Population of Grizzly Bears as a Distinct Population Segment; Removing the Yellowstone Distinct Population Segment of Grizzly Bears From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce an extension of the comment period for the proposed rule to establish a distinct population segment (DPS) of the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) for the greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and surrounding area and remove the Yellowstone DPS from the List of Threatened and Endangered Wildlife. Comments previously submitted need not be resubmitted as they have already been incorporated into the public record and will be fully considered in the final decision and rule.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Designation of Critical Habitat for the Contiguous United States Distinct Population Segment of the Canada Lynx
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the reopening of the public comment period for the proposal to designate critical habitat for the contiguous United States distinct population segment of the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, which was published on November 9, 2005 (70 FR 68294). This will allow all interested parties the opportunity to comment on the proposed critical habitat designation. The public comment period is being reopened with this notice until April 30, 2006. In addition, we provide information and maps clarifying the areas proposed for critical habitat designation in the November 9, 2005 (70 FR 68294) publication.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removing the Bald Eagle in the Lower 48 States From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the reopening of the public comment period for the proposal to remove the bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in the lower 48 States of the United States, under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), as amended. The proposed delisting rule for the bald eagle was published on July 6, 1999 (64 FR 36454). Comments previously submitted on the July 6, 1999, proposed rule need not be resubmitted as they have been incorporated into the public record as part of this reopening of the comment period, and they will be fully considered in the preparation of the final rule. In reopening the comment period, we provide new information, respond to the comments we received in the proposed rule, and further clarify our reasons for proposing to delist the species. The best available scientific and commercial data available indicates that the bald eagle has recovered. The bald eagle population in the lower 48 States has increased from approximately 487 active nests in 1963, to an estimated minimum 7,066 breeding pairs today. The recovery of the bald eagle is due in part to habitat protection and management actions, and the reduction in levels of persistent organochlorine pesticides (such as DDT) occurring in the environment. This rule will not affect protection provided to the species under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) or the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). In addition, the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act will continue to provide protection to the bald eagle, if delisting under the ESA is found to be warranted. To help clarify the BGEPA protections provided to the bald eagle, the Service is also soliciting public comments on two related draft bald eagle documents under the BGEPA that are being published simultaneously with this proposed delisting rule. First, we are publishing a notice of availability and request for public comments on draft National Bald Eagle Management Guidelines (Guidelines). The Guidelines provide guidance on how to comply with the requirements of the BGEPA by avoiding disturbance to bald eagles under different land use scenarios. Second, we are publishing a proposed rule to add the definition of ``disturb'' to our regulations at 50 CFR 22.3, which implement the BGEPA. These two documents are published separately in this part of today's Federal Register and include additional information about submitting comments on them.
Draft National Bald Eagle Management Guidelines
This notice advises the public that draft National Bald Eagle Management Guidelines are available for public review. Comments and suggestions are requested.
Protection of Bald Eagles; Definition
In anticipation of possible removal (delisting) of the bald eagle in the 48 contiguous States from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the Service) is proposing a definition of ``disturb'' under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) to guide post-delisting bald eagle management. Because BGEPA's prohibition against disturbance applies to both bald and golden eagles, the definition will apply to golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) as well as bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). If the bald eagle is delisted, the BGEPA will become the primary law protecting bald eagles. BGEPA prohibits take of bald and golden eagles and provides a statutory definition of ``take'' that includes ``disturb.'' Although disturbing eagles has been prohibited by BGEPA since the statute's enactment, the meaning of ``disturb'' has never been explicitly defined by the Service or by the courts. To define ``disturb,'' we rely on the common meaning of the term as applied to the conservation intent of BGEPA and the working definitions of ``disturb'' currently used by Federal and State agencies to manage bald eagles. This proposed definition of disturb will apply to Alaska, where the bald eagle has never been listed under the ESA, as well as the 48 contiguous States. (Eagles do not occur in Hawaii.) In addition to this proposed rulemaking, the Service is soliciting public comment on two related proposals published separately in this part of today's Federal Register. First, the Service is re-opening the public comment period on the proposed rule to remove the bald eagle from the list of threatened species under the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.); we originally proposed delisting the bald eagle on July 6, 1999 (64 FR 36453). Second, we are soliciting comment on draft National Bald Eagle Management Guidelines.