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Proposed Rule

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Determination of Critical Habitat for the Kauai Cave Wolf Spider and Kauai Cave Amphipod

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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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; extension of comment period and notice of availability of draft economic analysis.

SUMMARY:

We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the availability of the draft economic analysis for the proposed designations of critical habitat for the Kauai cave wolf spider and Kauai cave amphipod from the island of Kauai, Hawaii. We are now providing notice of extending the comment period to allow peer reviewers and all interested parties to comment simultaneously on the proposed rule and the associated draft economic analysis. The draft economic analysis shows a range likely costs from the proposed critical habitat designation of between $743 million to $1.955 billion over the 18 year period from 2003 to 2020. Comments previously submitted need not be resubmitted as they will be incorporated into the public record as part of this extended comment period and will be fully considered in preparation of the final rule.

DATES:

We will accept public comments until December 16, 2002.

ADDRESSES:

Written comments and information should be submitted to Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Start Printed Page 69178Service, Pacific Islands Office, 300 Ala Moana Blvd., P.O. Box 50088, Honolulu, HI 96850-0001. Copies of the draft economic analysis are available on the Internet at http://pacificislands.fws.gov or by request from the Field Supervisor at the above address and 808/541-3441. For further instructions on commenting, refer to Public Comments Solicited section of this notice.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Paul Henson, Field Supervisor, Pacific Islands Office, at the above address (telephone: 808/541-3441; facsimile: 808/541-3470).

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

On June 16, 1978, we published in the Federal Register a proposal to list the Kauai cave wolf spider (Adelocosa anops) as an endangered species and the Kauai cave amphipod (Spelaeorchestia koloana) as threatened (43 FR 26084). That proposal was withdrawn on September 2, 1980 (45 FR 58171) as a result of a provision in the 1978 Amendments to the Endangered Species Act of 1973 that required withdrawal of all pending proposals that were not made final within 2 years of the proposal or within one year after passage of the Amendments, which ever period was longer. An initial comprehensive Notice of Review for invertebrate animals was published on May 22, 1984 (49 FR 21664), in which the Kauai cave wolf spider and Kauai cave amphipod were treated as category 2 candidates for Federal listing. Category 2 taxa were those for which conclusive data on biological vulnerability and threats were not currently available to support proposed rules.

We published an updated Notice of Review for animals on January 6, 1989 (54 FR 554). In this notice, the Kauai cave wolf spider and Kauai cave amphipod were treated as category 1 candidates for Federal listing. Category 1 taxa were those for which we had on file substantial information on biological vulnerability and threats to support preparation of listing proposals. However, in the Notice of Review for all animal taxa published on November 21, 1991 (56 FR 58804), the two Kauai cave arthropods were listed as category 2 candidates. In the November 15, 1994, Notice of Review for all animal taxa (59 FR 58982), the two Kauai cave arthropods were again elevated to category 1 candidates. Upon publication of the February 28, 1996, Notice of Review (61 FR 7596), we ceased using candidate category designations and included the two cave arthropods as candidate species. Candidate species are those for which we have on file sufficient information on biological vulnerability and threats to support proposals to list the species as threatened or endangered. The two cave arthropods were included as candidate species in the September 19, 1997 (62 FR 49398), Notice of Review.

A proposed rule to list these two species as endangered was published on December 5, 1997 (62 FR 64340), and the final rule to list them was published on January 14, 2000 (65 FR 2348). In the proposed listing rule, we indicated that designation of critical habitat for the Kauai cave wolf spider and Kauai cave amphipod was not prudent. Our concern was that publication of precise maps and descriptions of critical habitat in the Federal Register could increase human visitation to these highly sensitive cave habitats, which could lead to incidents of vandalism, destruction of habitat, and unintentional cases of take. Also, we believed that critical habitat designation would not provide any additional benefit to these species beyond that provided through listing as endangered.

However, in the final rule, we determined that critical habitat designation was prudent as at the time we did not find specific evidence of taking, vandalism, collection, or trade of these species or any other similarly situated species. Also, we did find that there may also be some educational or informational benefit to designating critical habitat. Therefore, we found that the benefits of designating critical habitat for these two species outweighed the benefits of not designating critical habitat. In that final rule, we determined that critical habitat designation would be prudent, and we also indicated that we were not able to develop a proposed critical habitat designation for both species at that time due to budgetary and workload constraints.

On June 2, 2000, we were ordered by the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii (in Center for Biological Diversity v. Babbitt and Clark, Civ. No. 99-00603 (D. Haw.) to publish the final critical habitat designation for both cave animals by February 1, 2002. The plaintiffs and the Service entered into a consent decree in a separate action agreeing to jointly seek an extension of this deadline (Center for Biological Diversity v. Norton, Civ. No. 01-2063 D.D.C. October 2, 2001).

On January 30, 2002, the U.S. District Court in Hawaii approved a joint stipulation to modify the terms of the June 2 order to extend the deadline to August 10, 2002. Subsequently, the Service determined that an additional extension of time was needed to complete this designation making process. On August 21, 2002, the U.S. District Court in Hawaii approved another joint stipulation extending the date for the final rule designating critical habitat for this species to March 31, 2003.

We proposed critical habitat designations for the Kauai cave wolf spider and the Kauai cave amphipod on March 27, 2002, totaling approximately 1,697 hectares (ha) (4,193 acres (ac)) on the island of Kauai, Hawaii (67 FR 14671).

Critical habitat receives protection from destruction or adverse modification through required consultation under section 7 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) with regard to actions carried out, funded, or authorized by a Federal agency. 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. We have prepared a draft economic analysis of the proposed critical habitat designation. The draft economic analysis is available on the Internet and from the mailing address in the Public Comments Solicited section below.

The public comment period for the March 27, 2002, proposal originally closed on May 28, 2002. We are now announcing the availability of the draft economic analysis and the extension of the comment period for the Kauai cave wolf spider and Kauai cave amphipod. We will accept public comments on the proposal and the associated draft economic analysis for the Kauai cave wolf spider and Kauai cave amphipod until the close of this comment period (see DATES). The extension of the comment period gives all interested parties the opportunity to comment on the proposal and the associated draft economic analysis for the Kauai cave wolf spider and Kauai cave amphipod. Comments already submitted on the proposed designation of critical habitat for the Kauai cave wolf spider and Kauai cave amphipod need not be resubmitted as they will be fully considered in the final determinations.

Public Comments Solicited

We will accept written comments and information during this re-opened comment period. If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments and materials concerning this proposal by any of several methods: Start Printed Page 69179

(1) You may submit written comments and information to the Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Office, 300 Ala Moana Blvd., P.O. Box 50088, Honolulu, HI 96850-0001. Or by facsimile at 808/541-3470.

(2) You may hand-deliver comments to our Honolulu Fish and Wildlife Office at the address given above.

Comments and materials received, as well as supporting documentation used in preparation of the proposal to designate critical habitat, will be available for inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the address under (1) above. Copies of the draft economic analysis are available on the Internet at http://pacificislands.fws.gov or by request from the Field Supervisor at the address and phone number under (1 and 2) above.

Author(s)

The primary author of this notice is Lorena Wada (see ADDRESSES).

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 5, 2002.

Paul Hoffman,

Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.

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[FR Doc. 02-29048 Filed 11-12-02; 3:04 pm]

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