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Notice of Request for Extension of Approval of an Information Collection; Gypsy Moth Identification Worksheet

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AGENCY:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Extension of approval of an information collection; comment request.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's intention to request an extension of approval of an information collection associated with the gypsy moth program.

DATES:

We will consider all comments that we receive on or before June 3, 2011.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments by either of the following methods:

Reading Room: You may read any comments that we receive on this docket in our reading room. The reading room is located in room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 690-2817 before coming.

Other Information: Additional information about APHIS and its programs is available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

For information on the gypsy moth program, contact Mr. Paul Chaloux, National Program Manager, Gypsy Moth Program, Emergency and Domestic Programs, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 137, Riverdale, MD 20737-1231; (301) 734-0917. For copies of more detailed information on the information collection, contact Mrs. Celeste Sickles, APHIS' Information Collection Coordinator, at (301) 851-2908.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Title: Gypsy Moth Identification Worksheet.

OMB Number: 0579-0104.

Type of Request: Extension of approval of an information collection.

Abstract: Under the Plant Protection Act (7 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), either independently or in cooperation with the States, is authorized to carry out operations or measures to detect, eradicate, suppress, control, prevent, or retard the spread of plant pests new to the United States or not widely distributed throughout the United States. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), USDA, has delegated authority to carry out this mission.

As part of the mission, Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ), APHIS, engages in detection surveys to monitor for the presence of, among other things, the European gypsy moth and the Asian gypsy moth. The European gypsy moth is one of the most destructive pests of fruit and ornamental trees as well as hardwood forests. First introduced into the United States in Medford, Massachusetts, in 1869, the European gypsy moth has gradually spread to infest the entire northeastern portion of the country.

Heavily infested areas are inundated with actively crawling larvae, which cover trees, fences, vehicles, and houses during their search for food. Entire areas may be stripped of all foliage, often resulting in heavy damage to trees. The damage can have long-lasting effects, depriving wildlife of food and shelter, and severely limiting the recreational value of forested areas.

The Asian gypsy moth is an exotic strain of gypsy moth that is closely related to the European variety already established in the United States. While the Asian gypsy moth has been introduced into the United States on several occasions, it is currently not established in this country. Due to behavioral differences, this strain is considered to pose an even greater threat to trees and forested areas.

Unlike the flightless European gypsy moth female adult, the Asian gypsy moth female adult is capable of strong directed flight between mating and egg deposition, significantly increasing its ability to spread over a much greater area and become widely established within a short time. In addition, Asian gypsy moth larvae feed on a much wider variety of hosts, allowing them to exploit more areas and cause more damage than the European gypsy moth.

To determine the presence and extent of a European gypsy moth or an Asian gypsy moth infestation, APHIS sets traps in high-risk areas to collect specimens. Once an infestation is identified, control and eradication work (usually involving State cooperation) is initiated to eliminate the moths.

APHIS personnel, with assistance from State agriculture personnel, check traps for the presence of gypsy moths. If a suspicious moth is found in the trap, it is sent to APHIS laboratories at the Otis Methods Development Center in Massachusetts so that it can be correctly identified through DNA analysis. (Since the European gypsy moth and the Asian gypsy moth are strains of the same species, they cannot be visually distinguished from each other. DNA analysis is the only way to accurately identify these insects.)

The PPQ or State employee submitting the moth for analysis completes a gypsy moth identification worksheet (PPQ Form 305), which accompanies the insect to the laboratory. The worksheet enables both Federal and State regulatory officials to identify and track specific specimens through the DNA identification tests that we conduct.

The information provided by the gypsy moth identification worksheets is vital to our ability to monitor, detect, and eradicate gypsy moth infestations.Start Printed Page 18511

We are asking the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to approve our use of this information collection activity for an additional 3 years.

The purpose of this notice is to solicit comments from the public (as well as affected agencies) concerning our information collection. These comments will help us:

(1) Evaluate whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

(2) Evaluate the accuracy of our estimate of the burden of the collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

(3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

(4) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, through use, as appropriate, of automated, electronic, mechanical, and other collection technologies; e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

Estimate of burden: The public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 0.1708333 hours per response.

Respondents: State cooperators.

Estimated annual number of respondents: 120.

Estimated annual number of responses per respondent: 2.

Estimated annual number of responses: 240.

Estimated total annual burden on respondents: 41 hours. (Due to averaging, the total annual burden hours may not equal the product of the annual number of responses multiplied by the reporting burden per response.)

All responses to this notice will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record.

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Done in Washington, DC, this 29th day of March 2011.

Kevin Shea,

Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

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[FR Doc. 2011-7895 Filed 4-1-11; 8:45 am]

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