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Notice

Notice of Availability of the Draft Recovery Plan for the Zapata Bladderpod (Lesquerella thamnophila

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION:

Notice of document availability.

SUMMARY:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announces the availability for public review of the draft Recovery Plan for the Zapata bladderpod (Lesquerella thamnophila). Six populations are still known to exist in varying numbers. The Service solicits review and comment from the public on this draft plan.

DATES:

The comment period for this draft Recovery Plan closes on February 18, 2003. Comments on the draft Recovery Plan must be received by the closing date.

ADDRESSES:

Persons wishing to review the draft Recovery Plan can obtain a copy from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Corpus Christi Ecological Services Field Office, c/o TAMUCC, Box 338, 6300 Ocean Drive, Corpus Christi, Texas, 78412. If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments and materials concerning this draft Recovery Plan to the Field Supervisor at the address above.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Loretta Pressly, Corpus Christi Ecological Services Field Office, at the above address; telephone (361) 994-9005, facsimile (361) 994-8262.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The Zapata bladderpod (Lesquerella thamnophila), a plant of the Brassicaceae Family, is listed as endangered with critical habitat. Historically, 10 populations of the plants have been located and described. Currently, six of those 10 populations remain; three of the populations are located in Starr County, and three in Zapata County. This species is threatened by increasing urban development, highway construction, increased oil and gas activities, alteration and conversion of native plant communities to improved pastures, overgrazing, and vulnerability from low population numbers. The plant in all likelihood has a more extensive range than what is currently known; access for surveying on private land has been limited. This draft Recovery Plan includes information about the species and provides objectives and actions needed to downlist, then delist the species. Recovery activities designed to achieve these objectives include protecting known populations, searching for additional populations, performing outreach activities to educate and obtain assistance from the general public to conserve the species and its habitat, and establishing additional populations through reintroduction in the known range of the plant.

Restoring an endangered or threatened animal or plant to the point where it is again a secure, self-sustaining member of its ecosystem is a primary goal of the Service's endangered species program. To help guide the recovery effort, the Service is working to prepare Recovery Plans for most of the listed species native to the United States. Recovery Plans describe actions considered necessary for conservation of species, establish criteria for downlisting or delisting them, and estimate time and cost for implementing the recovery measures needed.

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act), as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires the development of Recovery Plans for listed species unless such a Plan would not promote the conservation of a particular species. Section 4(f) of the Act, as amended in Start Printed Page 23511988, requires that public notice and an opportunity for public review and comment be provided during Recovery Plan development. The Service will consider all information presented during a public comment period prior to approval of each new or revised Recovery Plan. The Service and other Federal agencies will also take these comments into account in the course of implementing Recovery Plans.

The draft Recovery Plan is being submitted for technical and agency review. After consideration of comments received during the review period, the Recovery Plan will be submitted for final approval.

Public Comments Solicited

The Service solicits written comments on the Recovery Plan described. All comments received by the date specified above will be considered prior to approval of the Recovery Plan.

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Authority: The authority for this action is Section 4(f) of the Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(f).

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Dated: October 28, 2002.

Charlie Sanchez, Jr.,

Acting Regional Director, Region 2.

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[FR Doc. 03-1019 Filed 1-15-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-55-P