Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Replacement of the Regulations for the Nonessential Experimental Population of Red Wolves in Northeastern North Carolina
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to replace the existing regulations governing the nonessential experimental population designation of the red wolf (Canis rufus) under section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act, as amended. We request public comments, and announce a public information session and public hearing, on this proposed rule. In addition, we announce the availability of a draft environmental assessment on the proposed replacement of the existing nonessential experimental population regulations for the red wolf. In conjunction with this proposed action, we are initiating consultation pursuant to section 7 of the Endangered Species Act and completing a compatibility determination pursuant to the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997. We propose this action to ensure our regulations are based on the most recent science and lessons learned related to the management of red wolves. If adopted as proposed, this action would further conservation of red wolf recovery overall by allowing for the reallocation of resources to enhance support for the captive population, retention of a propagation population for future new reintroduction efforts that is influenced by natural selection, and provision of a population for continued scientific research on wild red wolf behavior and population management. This action would also promote the viability of the nonessential experimental population by authorizing proven management techniques, such as the release of animals from the captive population into the nonessential experimental population, which is vital to maintaining a genetically healthy population.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-day Findings for Three Species
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce 90- day findings on three petitions to add or remove species from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). Based on our review, we find that the three petitions present substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned actions may be warranted. Therefore, with the publication of this document, we announce that we plan to initiate reviews of the status of these species to determine if the petitioned actions are warranted. To ensure that these status reviews are comprehensive, we are requesting scientific and commercial data and other information regarding these species. Based on the status reviews, we will issue 12-month findings, which will address whether or not the petitioned actions are warranted, in accordance with the Act.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Availability of Proposed Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan for the Sand Skink, Lake, County, FL
We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an application for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. The City of Groveland is requesting a 10-year ITP for take of the sand skink. We request public comment on the permit application, which includes the proposed habitat conservation plan, as well as on our preliminary determination that the plan qualifies as low-effect under the National Environmental Policy Act. To make this determination, we used our environmental action statement and low-effect screening form, which are also available for review.
Foreign Endangered Species; Receipt of Permit Applications
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, invite the public to comment on the following applications to conduct certain activities with endangered species. With some exceptions, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) prohibits activities with listed species unless Federal authorization is acquired that allows such activities. The ESA also requires that we invite public comment before issuing these permits.
Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council Meeting
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a public meeting of the Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council (HSSCC), in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act. The HSSCC's purpose is to provide recommendations to the Federal Government, through the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture, regarding policies and endeavors that benefit wildlife resources; encourage partnership among the public; sporting conservation organizations; and Federal, state, tribal, and territorial governments; and benefit recreational hunting and recreational shooting sports.
Updated Collision Risk Model Priors for Estimating Eagle Fatalities at Wind Energy Facilities
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) uses a collision risk model (CRM) to predict the number of golden and bald eagles that may be killed at new wind facilities. The model incorporates existing information on eagle exposure and collision probability in the form of prior distributions (priors). The Service has undertaken an analysis to update the priors using all available data that meet specific criteria for both species of eagle. This notice announces the availability of a summary report of that analysis, which generates new exposure and collision priors for both species of eagle. We are soliciting public comments on the summary report, which will be considered by the Service before using the new priors in the CRM.
Endangered Species; Issuance of Permits
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have issued permits to conduct activities with endangered and threatened species under the authority of the Endangered Species Act, as amended (ESA). With some exceptions, the ESA prohibits activities involving listed species unless a Federal permit is issued that allows such activity.
Habitat Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment for Gavilan College San Benito Campus and Fairview Corners Residential Development
This notice advises the public that we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have prepared a draft environmental assessment under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1967, as amended, and it's implementing regulations. This notice also announces the receipt of an application for an incidental take permit under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, and receipt of a draft habitat conservation plan.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Initiation of 5-Year Status Reviews of 50 Species in California, Nevada, and the Klamath Basin of Oregon
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are initiating 5-year status reviews of 50 species in California, Nevada, and the Klamath Basin of Oregon under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). A 5-year review is based on the best scientific and commercial data available at the time of the review; therefore, we are requesting submission of any new information on these species that has become available since the last review.
Request for Renewal of the Incidental Take Permit and Short-Term Habitat Conservation Plan for Operation and Maintenance of Existing and Limited Future Facilities Associated With the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative on Kauai, Hawaii
The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC, or applicant) has submitted an application to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for renewal of their incidental take permit (permit) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. The permit is associated with KIUC's Short-Term Habitat Conservation Plan (Short-Term HCP) that addresses incidental take of three listed bird species caused by the operation and maintenance of KIUC's existing and anticipated electrical utility facilities on Kauai, Hawaii. The applicant is requesting renewal of the permit for an indefinite period until the Service renders a decision on a Long-Term HCP and permit application currently under development by KIUC. We are making the permit renewal application available for public review and comment.
Migratory Bird Hunting; Proposed 2019-20 Migratory Game Bird Hunting Regulations (Preliminary) With Requests for Indian Tribal Proposals; Notice of Meetings
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (hereinafter the Service or we) proposes to establish annual hunting regulations for certain migratory game birds for the 2019-20 hunting season. We annually prescribe outside limits (frameworks) within which States may select hunting seasons. This proposed rule provides the regulatory schedule, announces the Service Migratory Bird Regulations Committee (SRC) and Flyway Council meetings, describes the proposed regulatory alternatives for the 2019-20 duck hunting seasons, and requests proposals from Indian tribes that wish to establish special migratory game bird hunting regulations on Federal Indian reservations and ceded lands. Migratory bird hunting seasons provide opportunities for recreation and sustenance; aid Federal, State, and tribal governments in the management of migratory game birds; and permit harvests at levels compatible with migratory game bird population status and habitat conditions.
Agency Information Collection Activities; National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Check-In Permit and Use Report
In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) are proposing to renew an information collection.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removing Oenothera coloradensis (Colorado Butterfly Plant) From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to remove the Colorado butterfly plant (Oenothera coloradensis, currently listed as Gaura neomexicana ssp. coloradensis) from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants (List) due to recovery. This determination is based on a thorough review of the best available scientific and commercial data, which indicate that the threats to the Colorado butterfly plant have been eliminated or reduced to the point that it has recovered, and that this plant is no longer likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future and, therefore, no longer meets the definition of a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). This proposed rule, if made final, would also remove the currently designated critical habitat for the Colorado butterfly plant. We are seeking information, data, and comments from the public on the proposed rule to remove the Colorado butterfly plant from the List (i.e., ``delist'' the species). In addition, we are also seeking input on considerations for post- delisting monitoring of the Colorado butterfly plant.
Endangered and Threatened Species; Receipt of Recovery Permit Applications
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have received applications for permits to conduct activities intended to enhance the propagation or survival of endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. We invite the public and local, State, Tribal, and Federal agencies to comment on these applications. Before issuing any of the requested permits, we will take into consideration any information that we receive during the public comment period.
Endangered Species; Recovery Permit Applications
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, invite the public to comment on the following applications to conduct certain activities with endangered species. With some exceptions, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) prohibits activities with listed species unless a Federal permit is issued that allows such activities. The ESA requires that we invite public comment before issuing these permits.
Two Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plans and Categorical Exclusions for Pacific Gas and Electric Company Gas Pipeline Vegetation Management, Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties, California
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, have received two applications from Pacific Gas and Electric Company for two 20-year incidental take permits under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). The applications address the potential for ``take'' of the federally endangered Mount Hermon June beetle and Santa Cruz long- toed salamander, as well as the federally threatened California red- legged frog, that is likely to occur incidental to the removal of vegetation along two natural gas pipelines that traverse Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties, California. We invite comments from the public on the application packages, which include two low-effect habitat conservation plans.
International Wildlife Conservation Council; Public Meeting
In accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announces a public meeting of the International Wildlife Conservation Council (Council).
Migratory Bird Hunting; Final Frameworks for Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service or we) prescribes final frameworks from which States may select season dates, limits, and other options for the 2018-19 migratory bird hunting seasons. The effect of this final rule is to facilitate the States' selection of hunting seasons and to further the annual establishment of the migratory bird hunting regulations. We annually prescribe frameworks, or outer limits, for dates and times when hunting may occur and the number of birds that may be taken and possessed in hunting seasons. These frameworks are necessary to allow State selections of seasons and limits and to allow recreational harvest at levels compatible with population and habitat conditions.
Notice of Intent To Prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement Addressing the Issuance of Incidental Take Permits for Four Wind Energy Projects in Hawai`i
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), intend to prepare a draft programmatic environmental impact statement addressing the potential impacts on the human environment caused by alternatives described in habitat conservation plans (HCPs) for four similar wind energy projects. The HCPs were submitted to the Service in support of requests for incidental take permits (ITPs) under the Endangered Species Act authorizing the take of endangered species. The proposed permit actions involve a new HCP for the Pakini Nui Wind Farm on the Island of Hawai`i and major amendments to three existing HCPs addressing the Auwahi Wind and Kaheawa Wind Power II projects, both located on Maui, and the Kawailoa Wind Power project, located on O`ahu. All four wind energy facilities are already constructed and in operation. The proposed ITP and proposed ITP amendments would address take of three endangered species: The Hawaiian hoary bat, the Hawaiian goose, and the Hawaiian petrel.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removing Trichostema austromontanum ssp. compactum (Hidden Lake Bluecurls) From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, are removing the plant Trichostema austromontanum ssp. compactum (Hidden Lake bluecurls) from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants on the basis of recovery. This action is based on a review of the best available scientific and commercial information, which indicates that the threats to T. a. ssp. compactum have been eliminated or reduced to the point where it no longer meets the definition of an endangered species or a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. This rule also announces the availability of a post-delisting monitoring plan for T. a. ssp. compactum.