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Proposed Rule

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Designation of Critical Habitat for the Northern Great Plains Breeding Population of the Piping Plover; Reopening of Public Comment Period and Notice of Availability of Draft Economic Analysis

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION:

Proposed rule; reopening of public comment period and notice of availability of economic analysis.

SUMMARY:

We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the availability of the draft economic analysis for the proposal to designate critical habitat for the northern Great Plains breeding population of the piping plover (Charadrius melodus), under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. We also are providing notice of the reopening of the public comment period for the proposal to designate critical habitat for this species, and the associated draft environmental assessment, to allow all interested parties to comment. Comments previously submitted need not be resubmitted as they have already been incorporated into the public record and will be fully considered in the final rule. Comments submitted during this comment period also will be incorporated into the public record and will be fully considered in the final rule.

DATES:

The comment period is opened and will close on January 28, 2002. Any comments that are received after the closing date may not be considered in the final decision on this proposal.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit written comments and information to Piping Plover Comments, South Dakota Ecological Services Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 420 South Garfield Avenue, Suite 400, Pierre, South Dakota 57501, or by facsimile to 605-224-9974.

You may hand-deliver written comments to our South Dakota Field Office at the address given above. Start Printed Page 67166

You may send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to FW6_PipingPlover@fws.gov. See the Public Comments Solicited section below for file format and other information on electronic filing.

Copies of the draft economic analysis, draft environmental assessment, and proposed rule for designation of critical habitat for the northern Great Plains breeding population of the piping plover are available from the aforementioned address or on the Internet at http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/​pipingplover.

You may view comments and materials received, as well as supporting documentation used in the preparation of this proposed rule, by appointment, during normal business hours at the above address.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Nell McPhillips, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, at the above address or at 605-224-8693, extension 32.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

We published a proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the northern Great Plains breeding population of the piping plover in the Federal Register (66 FR 31760, June 12, 2001). Section 4(b)(2) of the Endangered Species Act (Act) requires that we designate or revise critical habitat based upon the best scientific and commercial data available and after taking into consideration the economic impacts, and any other relevant impact, of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. We may exclude an area from critical habitat if we determine that the benefits of excluding the area outweigh the benefits of including the area as critical habitat, provided such exclusion will not result in the extinction of the species.

The proposed designation includes 11 areas of prairie alkali wetlands and reservoir lakes in 5 counties in Montana, 18 counties in North Dakota, and 1 county at Lake-of-the-Woods, Minnesota, totaling approximately 196,576.5 acres [79,553.1 hectares]. It also includes five areas of portions of four rivers in the States of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska, totaling approximately 1,338 miles [2,152.9 kilometers] of river. If this proposal is made final, section 7 of the Act would prohibit destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat by any activity funded, authorized, or carried out by any Federal agency.

Public Comments Solicited

We will accept written comments and information during this comment period. If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments and materials concerning this proposal by any one of several methods (see ADDRESSES). If you would like to submit comments by electronic format, please submit them in ASCII file format and avoid the use of special characters and encryption. Please include your name and return e-mail address in your e-mail message. Please note that the e-mail address will be closed out at the termination of the public comment period. If you do not receive confirmation from the system that we have received your message, contact us directly by calling our South Dakota Field Office at 605-224-8693.

Comments and materials received, as well as supporting documentation used in preparation of the proposal to designate critical habitat, will be available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the above address. Copies of the draft Environmental Assessment are available on the Internet at http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/​pipingplover or by writing to Pete Gober, Field Supervisor (see ADDRESSES).

Author

The primary authors of this notice are the South Dakota Field Office staff (see ADDRESSES section).

Authority

The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

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Dated: November 30, 2001.

John A. Blankenship,

Deputy Regional Director, Denver, Colorado.

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[FR Doc. 01-31586 Filed 12-27-01; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-55-P