Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of Echinacea tennesseensis (Tennessee Purple Coneflower) From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service or USFWS), are removing the plant Echinacea tennesseensis (commonly referred to as Tennessee purple coneflower) from the List of Endangered and Threatened Plants. This action is based on a thorough review of the best scientific and commercial data available, which indicate that this species has recovered and no longer meets the definition of threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). Our review of the status of this species shows that populations are stable, threats are addressed, and adequate regulatory mechanisms are in place so that the species is not currently, and is not likely to again become, an endangered species within the foreseeable future in all or a significant portion of its range. Finally, we announce the availability of the final post-delisting monitoring plan for E. tennesseensis.
Endangered and Threatened Species Permit Applications
The following applicants have applied for scientific research permits to conduct certain activities with endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). The Act requires that we invite public comment on these permit applications.
Marine Mammals; Incidental Take During Specified Activities
The Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has developed regulations that would authorize the nonlethal, incidental, unintentional take of small numbers of polar bears and Pacific walruses during year-round oil and gas industry (Industry) exploration, development, and production operations in the Beaufort Sea and adjacent northern coast of Alaska. Industry operations for the covered period include types of activities similar to those covered by the previous 5- year Beaufort Sea incidental take regulations that were effective from August 2, 2006, through August 2, 2011. We find that the total expected takings of polar bears and Pacific walruses during oil and gas industry exploration, development, and production activities will have a negligible impact on these species and will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of these species for subsistence use by Alaska Natives. We base this finding on the results of 17 years of data on the encounters and interactions between polar bears, Pacific walruses, and Industry; recent studies of potential effects of Industry on these species; oil spill risk assessments; potential and documented Industry impacts on these species; and current information regarding the natural history and status of polar bears and Pacific walruses. This rule is effective for 5 years from date of issuance.