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Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Reopening of Comment Period on Proposed Rule to Reclassify the Bald Eagle From Endangered to Threatened



Country of Origin: United States of America

Agency of Origin: Department of the Interior; Fish and Wildlife Service

National Citation: 60 FR 15280 (March 23, 1995)

Agency Citation:

Printable Version 1995 WL 121178 (F.R.)


Last checked by Web Center Staff: 07/2013


Summary:  

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is reopening the comment period on the bald eagle reclassification proposal for thirty days. On July 12, 1994, the Service proposed reclassifying the bald eagles of the lower 48 States as threatened, except those already listed as threatened and those of the Southwestern Recovery Region and Mexico. The bald eagles of the Southwestern Recovery Region were proposed to remain listed as endangered. The Service also proposed classifying bald eagles in Mexico as endangered; they are not currently listed as endangered or threatened. Specific public comment was solicited on the status of bald eagles in the Southwest and Mexico and the distinctness of those eagles as a separate population.

New information indicates that the Southwestern and Mexican bald eagles may not warrant a classification as endangered. The Service is making available for public review and comment information recently received about bald eagles of the Southwestern Recovery Region.


Material in Full:

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AC48

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Reopening of Comment Period on Proposed Rule to Reclassify the Bald Eagle From Endangered to Threatened

Thursday, March 23, 1995

*15280 AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of comment period.

SUMMARY:  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is reopening the comment period on the bald eagle reclassification proposal for thirty days. On July 12, 1994, the Service proposed reclassifying the bald eagles of the lower 48 States as threatened, except those already listed as threatened and those of the Southwestern Recovery Region and Mexico. The bald eagles of the Southwestern Recovery Region were proposed to remain listed as endangered. The Service also proposed classifying bald eagles in Mexico as endangered; they are not currently listed as endangered or threatened. Specific public comment was solicited on the status of bald eagles in the Southwest and Mexico and the distinctness of those eagles as a separate population.

New information indicates that the Southwestern and Mexican bald eagles may not warrant a classification as endangered. The Service is making available for public review and comment information recently received about bald eagles of the Southwestern Recovery Region.

DATES: The comment period on the proposal is reopened, effective immediately, and will close on April 24, 1995.

ADDRESSES: Interested parties may obtain copies of the comments and other information listed below from the Chief, Division of Endangered Species, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bishop Henry Whipple Federal Building, 1 Federal Drive, Ft. Snelling, Minnesota 55111-4056 (612/725-3536; fax 612/725-3526). Copies may also be obtained from the State Supervisor, Arizona Ecological Services State Office, 2321 W. Royal Palm Road, Phoenix, Arizona 85021 (602/640-2720; fax 602/640-2730).

Send written comments and other materials to the above Ft. Snelling, Minnesota, Regional Office address. Comments and materials received will be available for public inspection during normal business hours, by appointment, at that address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jody Gustitus Millar, Bald Eagle Recovery Coordinator, Fish and Wildlife Service, 4469-48th Avenue Court, Rock Island, Illinois 61201 (309/793-5800; fax 309/793-5804).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), in the lower 48 States except Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, where it is listed as threatened. The bald eagle also occurs in Alaska and Canada, where it is not at risk and is not protected under the Act; and in small numbers in northern Mexico. The Service proposed in the July 12, 1994, Federal Register notice (59 FR 35584) to reclassify the bald eagle from endangered to threatened in the lower 48 States except in certain portions of the American Southwest and to classify bald eagles in Mexico as endangered. That notice also stated that comments and other information received by the Service may lead to a final regulation that differs from the original proposal, including the possible complete reclassification to threatened status for all bald eagles south of Canada.

The Service has received significant new information regarding Southwestern bald eagles and has re-examined other information. Existing information at the time of the proposed rule fails to identify any unique genetic characteristics possessed by the Southwestern bald eagles. New information indicates that the bald eagles of the Southwestern Recovery Region and Mexico are not likely to be reproductively isolated. Evidence of recruitment has recently been found from the Southeastern Recovery Region into the Southwestern Recovery Region and Mexico. Unique threats to Southwestern bald eagles remain, but their significance is diminished in light of immigration into the population segment.

The Service is now considering reclassifying the eagles of the Southwestern Recovery Region as threatened, and classifying the bald eagles of Mexico as threatened. The bald eagle would remain threatened in the five States where it is currently listed as threatened. This modified action, if finalized, would not alter those conservation measures already in force to protect the species and its habitats.

The Federal Register notice announcing the proposed rule opened a public comment period that ended on October 11, 1994; the deadline for receipt of public hearing requests was August 26, 1994. Public hearings were subsequently held, and the comment period was extended in a September 30, 1994 notice (59 FR 49908) to accommodate them. The extended comment period closed November 9, 1994. This notice reopens the comment period for 30 days to allow interested parties to obtain copies of the following documents and to submit additional comments on the proposed rule.

References

Driscoll, D.E., R.I. Mesta and J.T. Driscoll. 1993. Population ecology and demography of bald eagles in Arizona: 1991-1993. American Eagle Research Institute, Mesa, Arizona 74pp.

Driscoll, Dan (American Eagle Research Institute) 1995. Letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Phoenix, Arizona.

Driscoll, Dan (American Eagle Research Institute) 1995. Letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Rock Island, Illinois.

Mabie, D.W., M.T. Merendino and D.H Reid. 1994. Dispersal of bald eagles fledged in Texas. Journal of Raptor Research 28(4):213-219.

Montoya, Bill (Director, New Mexico Department of Game & Fish). 1994. Letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Shroufe, Duane. (Director, Arizona Game & Fish Department). 1994.

Letter to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Spiller, Sam. (State Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Phoenix, Arizona). 1994. Memo to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Twin Cities, Minnesota.

Author

The primary author of this notice is Jody Gustitus Millar, Bald Eagle Recovery Coordinator, Fish and Wildlife Service, 4469-48th Avenue Court, Rock Island, Illinois 61201.

Authority

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

Dated: March 15, 1995.

Mollie H. Beattie,

Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.

[FR Doc. 95-7205 Filed 3-22-95; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

 



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