Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
Proposed rule; reopening of comment period and notice of availability of draft economic analysis.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces the availability of a draft economic analysis for the proposed designation of critical habitat for the arroyo southwestern toad (Bufo microscaphus californicus). We are also providing notice of the reopening of the comment period for the proposal to designate critical habitat for the arroyo southwestern toad to allow all interested parties to submit written comments on the proposal and on the draft economic analysis. Comments previously submitted need not be resubmitted as they will be incorporated into the public record as a part of this reopened comment period and will be fully considered in the final rule.
The original comment period on the critical habitat proposal closed on August 7, 2000. The comment period is again reopened and we will accept comments until December 11, 2000. Comments must be received by 5:00 p.m. on the closing date. Any comments that are received after the closing date may not be considered in the final decision on this proposal.
Copies of the draft economic analysis are available on the Internet at “www.r1.fws.gov or by writing to the Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office, 2394 Portola Road, Suite B, Ventura, California 93003. All written comments should be sent to the Field Supervisor at the above address. You may also send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to “firstname.lastname@example.org.” Please submit electronic comments in ASCII file format and avoid the use of special characters and encryption. Please include “Attn: RIN 1018-AG15” and your name and return address in your e-mail message. If you do not receive a confirmation from the system that we have received your e-mail message, contact us directly by calling our Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office at phone number 805-644-1766. Comments and materials received will be available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the above Service address.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Field Supervisor, Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office, at the above address (telephone 805-644-1766; facsimile 805-644-3958).End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
The arroyo southwestern toad (Bufo microscaphus californicus) is one of three members of the southwestern toad (B. microscaphus) complex, in the family of true toads, Bufonidae. The arroyo toad is a small (adult length 55-82 millimeters (2-3 inches), dark-spotted toad, with females larger than males. The arroyo toad is found in coastal and desert drainages from Monterey County, California, south into northwestern Baja California, Mexico. These systems are inherently quite dynamic, with marked seasonal and annual fluctuations in climatic regimes, particularly rainfall. Natural climatic variations as well as other random events, such as fires and floods, coupled with the species' specialized habitat requirements, lead to annual fluctuations in arroyo toad populations. Extensive habitat loss as a result of agriculture and urbanization, and the construction, operation, and maintenance of water storage reservoirs, Start Printed Page 67335flood control structures, roads, and recreational facilities such as campgrounds and off-highway vehicle parks, have caused many arroyo toad populations to be reduced in size or extirpated (eliminated). Threats to the species survival include loss of habitat, coupled with habitat modifications due to the manipulation of water levels in many central and southern California streams and rivers, as well as predation from introduced aquatic species, and habitat degradation from introduced plant species. Such threats have caused arroyo toads to be extirpated from about 75 percent of the previously occupied habitat in California. Pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), the species was federally listed as endangered on December 16, 1994, due to habitat degradation, small population sizes, and predation (59 FR 64859). On June 8, 2000, we published in the Federal Register (65 FR 36512) a determination proposing critical habitat for the arroyo southwestern toad. Approximately 193,600 hectares (478,400 acres) fall within the boundaries of the proposed critical habitat designation. Proposed critical habitat is located in Los Angeles, Monterey, Orange, Riverside, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino, and San Diego, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura counties, California, as described in the proposed determination.
Section 4(b)(2) of the Act requires that the Secretary shall designate or revise critical habitat based upon the best scientific and commercial data available and after taking into consideration the economic impact of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. Based upon the previously published proposal to designate critical habitat for the arroyo southwestern toad and comments received during the previous comment period, we have prepared a draft economic analysis of the proposed critical habitat designation. The draft economic analysis is available at the above Internet and mailing address. We have reopened the comment period at this time in order to accept the best and most current scientific and commercial data available regarding the proposed critical habitat and the draft economic analysis. We will accept written comments during this reopened comment period. Previously submitted oral or written comments on this critical habitat proposal need not be resubmitted. The current comment period on this proposal closes on December 11, 2000. Written comments may be submitted to the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office in the ADDRESSES section.
The primary author of this notice is John Nuss, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Regional Office, 911 N.E. 11th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97232-4181 (see ADDRESSES section).Start Signature
Dated: November 2, 2000.
Donald W. Steffeck,
Acting Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office.
[FR Doc. 00-28699 Filed 11-8-00; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P