Author Topic: Withdrawal of Proposed Rule To Reclassify the Arroyo Toad as Threatened  (Read 694 times)

Offline Peter Vahry

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Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Withdrawal of
Proposed Rule To Reclassify the Arroyo Toad as Threatened

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; withdrawal.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), withdraw the
proposed rule to reclassify the arroyo toad (Anaxyrus californicus) as
threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act).
This withdrawal is based on our conclusion that the types of threats to
the arroyo toad remain the same as at the time of listing and are
ongoing, and new threats have been identified. Some conservation
efforts are ongoing in most populations to help manage and reduce
impacts to arroyo toads from many ongoing threats; however, the species
has not yet responded to an extent that would allow a change in listing
status. The intent of the reclassification criteria in the recovery
plan (Service 1999) has not been met. We have therefore determined that
reclassification of this species is not appropriate at this time.

DATES: The March 27, 2014 (79 FR 17106), proposed rule to reclassify
the arroyo toad as threatened is withdrawn as of December 23, 2015.

ADDRESSES: This withdrawal, comments on our March 27, 2014, proposed
rule (79 FR 17106), and supplementary documents are available on the
Internet at at Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2014-
. Comments and materials received, as well as supporting
documentation used in the preparation of this withdrawal, are also
available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business
hours at: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ventura Fish and Wildlife
Office, 2493 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, CA 93003; telephone 805-
644-1766; or facsimile 805-644-3958.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephen P. Henry, Field Supervisor,
Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES). If you use a
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.


Previous Federal Actions

    Please refer to the proposed reclassification rule for the arroyo
toad (79 FR 17106; March 27, 2014) for a detailed description of the
Federal actions concerning this species that occurred prior to
publication of the proposed reclassification rule. We accepted
submission of new information and comments on the proposed
reclassification for a 60-day comment period, ending May 27, 2014. In
order to ensure that the public had an adequate opportunity to review
and comment on our proposed rule, we reopened the comment period for an
additional 30 days on October 17, 2014 (79 FR 62408).


    At the time of listing, recreational activities in riparian
wetlands had substantial negative effects on arroyo toad habitat and
individuals. Streamside campgrounds in southern California National
Forests were frequently located adjacent to arroyo toad habitat (Sweet
1992). With nearly 20 million people living within driving distance of
the National Forests and other public lands in southern California,
recreational access and its subsequent effects are an ongoing concern
(CDFG 2005). Numerous studies have documented the effects of recreation
on vegetation and soils, and document results of human trampling caused
by hiking, camping, fishing, and nature study. Significantly fewer
studies report the consequences of horse and bicycle riding or that of
off-road vehicles (OHV) and snowmobiles (Cole and Landres 1995).
    Recreational activities are currently known to affect 22 out of 25
river basins (10 unknown) where arroyo toad are known to occur and have
a moderate effect on arroyo toads and their habitats. While this threat
has been reduced at six occurrences, we categorize this threat as
having a medium level of impact to the species throughout its range.
Many of the recreational activities described above may result in the
loss and fragmentation of arroyo toad habitat. Roads, trails, OHV use,
recreational facilities, and water impoundments can replace natural
habitat, and this destruction can displace arroyo toad populations
(Maxell and Hokit 1999, p. 2.15). The U.S. Forest Service (Forest
Service) has been proactive in reducing or eliminating some of these
threats on their lands. To help control recreational activities, the
Forest Service has closed campgrounds seasonally or permanently,
installed road and interpretive signs, erected barriers, re-routed
trails and trailheads, and implemented seasonal road closures in six
occurrences on Federal lands. However, impacts have not been reduced at
the remaining recreational sites on National Forests. Overall, over the
next 20 years, recreational activities are expected to continue to have
a medium level of impact to arroyo toads.

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