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UFWDA Community Forum  |  Access (Land Use, RTF, Advocacy, etc)  |  General Land Advocacy  |  Topic: 6-Month Extension Designation of Critical Habitat for Gunnison Sage-Grouse « previous next »
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Author Topic: 6-Month Extension Designation of Critical Habitat for Gunnison Sage-Grouse  (Read 877 times)
Peter Vahry
UFWDA International Vice-President
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« on: July 19, 2013, 03:00:51 am »


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 6-Month Extension
of Final Determinations on the Proposed Endangered Status and Proposed
Designation of Critical Habitat for Gunnison Sage-Grouse

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rules; Reopening of the Comment Period.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a
6-month extension of the final determination of whether to list the
Gunnison sage-grouse (Centrocercus minimus) as endangered and designate
critical habitat, and announce the reopening of the comment period on
the proposed rules to list the species and to designate critical
habitat. We are taking this action based on our finding that there is
substantial disagreement regarding the sufficiency and accuracy of the
available data relevant to our determinations regarding the proposed
listing rule, making it necessary to solicit additional information by
reopening the comment period for 45 days. Comments previously submitted
need not be resubmitted as they are already incorporated into the
public record and will be fully considered in the final rules.

DATES: The comment period end date is September 3, 2013. We request
that comments be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing
date.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
    (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter the appropriate Docket
No.: FWS-R6-ES-2012-0108 for the proposed endangered status for
Gunnison sage-grouse; or FWS-R6-ES-2011-0111 for the proposed
designation of critical habitat for Gunnison sage-grouse. You may
submit a comment by clicking on ``Comment Now!''
    (2) By Hard Copy: For the proposed endangered status for Gunnison
sage-grouse, submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments
Processing, Attn: FWS-R6-ES-2012-0108; Division of Policy and
Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax
Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
    For the proposed designation of critical habitat for Gunnison sage-
grouse, submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments
Processing, Attn: FWS-R6-ES-2011-0111; Division of Policy and
Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax
Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
    We request that you send comments only by the methods described
above. We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This
generally means that we will post any personal information you provide
us (see the Public Comments section below for more information).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Patty Gelatt, Western Colorado
Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Western Colorado Field
Office, 764 Horizon Drive, Building B, Grand Junction, CO 81506-3946;
telephone 970-243-2778; facsimile 970-245-6933. Persons who use a
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at (800-877-8339).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    On January 11, 2013, we published a proposed rule listing the
Gunnison sage-grouse as endangered (78 FR 2486) and a proposed
designation of critical habitat for the Gunnison sage-grouse (78 FR
2540) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). For a
description of previous Federal actions concerning the Gunnison sage-
grouse, please refer to the proposed listing rule. We held four public
meetings regarding the proposed rule and designation in January and
February 2013 and also extended the initial 60-day comment period on
these proposals by an additional 21 days, until April 2, 2013 (78 FR
15925, March 13, 2013). We also solicited and received independent
scientific review of the information contained in each proposed rule
from peer reviewers with expertise in Gunnison sage-grouse or similar
species biology, in accordance with our July 1, 1994 peer review policy
(59 FR 34270).
    Section 4(b)(6) of the Act and its implementing regulation, 50 CFR
424.17(a), requires that we take one of three actions within 1 year of
a proposed listing and concurrent proposed designation of critical
habitat: (1) Finalize the proposed rules; (2) withdraw the proposed
rules; or (3) extend the final determination by not more than 6 months,
if there is substantial disagreement among scientists knowledgeable
about the species regarding the sufficiency or accuracy of the
available data relevant to the determination, for the purposes of
soliciting additional data.
    During the public comment period, we received multiple comments on
the proposed listing and critical habitat designation from scientists
with knowledge of the species and others regarding the sufficiency or
accuracy of the available data used to support these proposed
rulemakings. We also received comments on the proposed rules from
scientists with expertise on Gunnison sage-grouse or similar species
biology through the peer review process
.

As a result of these comments, we find that there is substantial
disagreement among scientists knowledgeable about the species regarding
the sufficiency and accuracy of the available data that is relevant to
our determination of the proposed listing and critical habitat
designation. In consideration of these scientific disagreements, we
have determined that a 6-month extension of final determinations for
these rulemakings is warranted, and are hereby extending the final
determinations for 6 months in order to solicit information that will
help to clarify these issues and to fully analyze this information.

This is an excerpt and the full notice is at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-07-19/html/2013-16812.htm
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