Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
Notice of petition finding and initiation of status review.
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 90-day finding on a petition to list the Alexander Archipelago wolf (Canis lupus ligoni) as a threatened or endangered species and to designate critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). Based on our review, we find that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that listing the Alexander Archipelago wolf may be warranted. Therefore, with publication of this notice, we are notifying the public that when resources become available, we will be conducting a review of the status of the species to determine if listing the Alexander Archipelago wolf is warranted. To ensure that this status review is comprehensive, we are requesting scientific and commercial data and other information regarding wolves of Southeast Alaska and adjacent coastal British Columbia. Based on the status review, we will issue a 12-month finding on the petition, which will address whether the petitioned action is warranted, as provided in section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act.
We request that we receive information to consider for the status review on or before May 30, 2014. The deadline for submitting information using the Federal eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES section, below) is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on this date. After May 30, 2014, you must submit information directly to the Division of Policy and Directives Management (see ADDRESSES section below). Please note that we might not be able to address or incorporate information that we receive after the above requested date.
You may submit information by one of the following methods:
(1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS-R7-ES-2012-0093, which is the docket number for this action. Then click on the Search button. You may submit information for the status review by clicking on “Comment Now!.”
(2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R7-ES-2012-0093; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
We will not accept email or faxes. We will post all information we receive on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see the Request for Information section below for more details).
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Steve Brockmann, Juneau Fish and Wildlife Field Office, 3000 Vintage Blvd., Suite 201, Juneau, AK 99821; by telephone at 907-780-1160; or by facsimile at 907-586-7099. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), please call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.
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Request for Information
When we make a finding that a petition presents substantial information indicating that listing a species may be warranted, we are required to review the status of the species (status review). For the status review to be complete and based on the best available scientific and commercial information, we request information on the Alexander Archipelago wolf from governmental agencies, Native American tribes, the scientific community, industry, and any other interested parties. We seek information on:
(1) The species' biology, range, and population trends, including:
(a) Habitat requirements for feeding, breeding, and sheltering;
(b) Genetics and taxonomy;
(c) Historical and current range including distribution patterns;
(d) Historical and current population levels, and current and projected trends; and
(e) Past and ongoing conservation measures for the species, its habitat, or both.
(2) The factors that are the basis for making a listing determination for a species under section 4(a) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), which are:
(a) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range;
(b) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes;
(c) Disease or predation;
(d) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or
(e) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence.
If, after the status review, we determine that listing the Alexander Archipelago wolf is warranted, we will propose critical habitat (see definition in section 3(5)(A) of the Act) under section 4 of the Act, to the maximum extent prudent and determinable at the time we propose to list the species. Therefore, we also request data and information on:
(1) What may constitute “physical or biological features essential to the conservation of the species,” within the geographical range currently occupied by the species;
(2) Where these features are currently found;
(3) Whether any of these features may require special management considerations or protection;
(4) Specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the species that are “essential for the conservation of the species;” and
(5) What, if any, critical habitat you think we should propose for designation if the species is proposed for listing, and why such habitat meets the requirements of section 4 of the Act.
Please include sufficient information with your submission (such as scientific journal articles or other publications) to allow us to verify any scientific or commercial information you include.
Submissions merely stating support for or opposition to the action under consideration without providing supporting information, although noted, will not be considered in making a determination. Section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act directs that determinations as to whether any species is an endangered or threatened species must be made “solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available.”
You may submit your information concerning this status review by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES
Start Printed Page 17994section. If you submit information via http://www.regulations.gov, your entire submission—including any personal identifying information—will be posted on the Web site. If your submission is made via a hardcopy that includes personal identifying information, you may request at the top of your document that we withhold this personal identifying information from public review. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. We will post all hardcopy submissions on http://www.regulations.gov.
Information and supporting documentation that we received and used in preparing this finding is available for you to review at http://www.regulations.gov, or by appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Juneau Fish and Wildlife Field Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).
Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Endangered Species Act (Act) requires that we make a finding on whether a petition to list, delist, or reclassify a species presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted. We are to base this finding on information provided in the petition, supporting information submitted with the petition. To the maximum extent practicable, we are to make this finding within 90 days of our receipt of the petition and publish our notice of the finding in the Federal Register.
Our regulatory standard for substantial scientific or commercial information with regard to a 90-day petition finding is “that amount of information that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the measure proposed in the petition may be warranted” (50 CFR 424.14(b)). If we find that substantial scientific or commercial information was presented, we are required to commence a review of the status of the species, which will be subsequently summarized in our 12-month finding.
Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and its implementing regulations at 50 CFR part 424 set forth the procedures for adding a species to, or removing a species from, the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. A species may be determined to be an endangered or threatened species due to one or more of the five factors described in section 4(a)(1) of the Act, as listed in the previous section.
In considering what factors might constitute threats, we must look beyond the exposure of the species to a factor to evaluate whether the species may respond to the factor in a way that causes actual impacts to the species. If there is exposure to a factor and the species responds negatively, the factor may be a threat and, during the subsequent status review, we attempt to determine how significant a threat it is. The threat is significant if it drives, or contributes to, the risk of extinction of the species such that the species may warrant listing as threatened or endangered as those terms are defined in the Act. However, the identification of factors that could impact a species negatively may not be sufficient to compel a finding that the information in the petition and our files is substantial. The information must include evidence sufficient to suggest that these factors may be operative threats that act on the species to the point that the species may meet the definition of threatened or endangered under the Act.
Review of the Petition To List the Alexander Archipelago Wolf as an Endangered or Threatened Species Under the Act
The Alexander Archipelago wolf is named for the island group that makes up most of Southeast Alaska, the Alexander Archipelago. The range is described by MacDonald and Cook (2007, p. 71) as throughout the mainland of Southeast Alaska and on islands south of Frederick Sound, excluding Coronation, Forrester, and the smaller, more isolated islands without an adequate prey base. North of Frederick Sound, three large islands that support seemingly adequate prey populations (Admiralty, Baranof, and Chichagof) and together make up approximately half of the land area of the Alexander Archipelago, do not support wolves, although there have been several sightings on Admiralty Island in recent years.
On August 10, 2011, we received a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity and Greenpeace, requesting that the Alexander Archipelago wolf be listed as endangered or threatened and that critical habitat be designated under the Act. The petition clearly identified itself as such and included the requisite identification information for the petitioners, required at 50 CFR 424.14(a). This finding addresses the petition.
Based on our review of the information provided in the petition, in the sources cited in the petition, and readily available in our files, we find the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted for the Alexander Archipelago wolf based on Factors A, B and D. Our summary for this finding can be found on www.regulations.gov.
On the basis of our evaluation of the information presented under section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act, we have determined that the petition summarized above presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that listing the Alexander Archipelago wolf may be warranted. Because we have found that the petition presents substantial information indicating that the petitioned actions may be warranted, we will initiate a status review when resources are available to determine whether this action under the Act is warranted. At the conclusion of the status review, we will issue a 12-month finding in accordance with section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act, as to whether or not the Service finds listing is warranted.
The “substantial information” standard for a 90-day finding differs from the Act's “best scientific and commercial data” standard that applies to a status review to determine whether a petitioned action is warranted. A 90-day finding does not constitute a status review under the Act. In a 12-month finding, we will determine whether a petitioned action is warranted after we have completed a thorough status review of the species. Because the Act's standards for 90-day and 12-month findings are different, as described above, a substantial 90-day finding does not mean that the 12-month finding will result in a warranted finding.
A complete list of references cited is available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov and upon request from the Juneau Fish and Wildlife Field Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).
The primary authors of this notice are the staff members of the Juneau Fish and Wildlife Field Office.
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Dated: March 18, 2014.
Daniel M. Ashe,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-06791 Filed 3-28-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P