Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revisions to the Regulations for Petitions
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, propose changes to the regulations concerning petitions, to improve the content and specificity of petitions and to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the petitions process to support species conservation. Our proposed revisions to the regulations would clarify and enhance the procedures by which the Services will evaluate petitions under section 4(b)(3) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. These revisions would also maximize the efficiency with which the Services process petitions, making the best use of available resources.
Refuge-Specific Regulations; Public Use; Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to amend our public use regulations for Kenai National Wildlife Refuge (Kenai NWR or Refuge) to clarify the existing regulations; implement management decisions from our June 2010 Kenai NWR revised comprehensive conservation plan (CCP); establish regulations for managing wildlife attractants, including food, refuse, and retained fish; and revise the regulations for hunting and trapping. The proposed regulations are aimed at enhancing natural resource protection, public use activities, and public safety on the Refuge; are necessary to ensure the compatibility of public use activities with the Refuge's purposes and the Refuge System's purposes; and would ensure consistency with management policies and approved Refuge management plans.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of the Louisiana Black Bear From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Removal of Similarity-of-Appearance Protections for the American Black Bear
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to remove the Louisiana black bear (Ursus americanus luteolus) from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife (List) due to recovery. This proposed action is based on a thorough review of the best available scientific and commercial data, which indicate that this subspecies has recovered and no longer meets the definition of a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). Our review of the status of this subspecies shows that the threats to the subspecies have been eliminated or reduced, and adequate regulatory mechanisms exist. The subspecies is now viable over the next 100 years with sufficient protected habitat to support breeding and movement of individuals between subpopulations so that the subspecies is not currently, and is not likely to again become, a threatened species within the foreseeable future in all or a significant portion of its range. We also propose to remove from the List the American black bear, which is listed within the historic range of the Louisiana black bear due to similarity of appearance. Finally, we announce the availability of a draft post-delisting monitoring (PDM) plan for the Louisiana black bear. We seek information, data, and comments from the public regarding this proposal to delist this subspecies and on the draft PDM plan.