Vol. 70, No. 067, United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), 50 CFR Part 17, RIN 1018-AH44, 70 FR 17916
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Establishment of a Nonessential Experimental Population for Two Fishes (Boulder Darter and Spotfin Chub) in Shoal Creek, Tennessee and Alabama
Action: FINAL RULE
Effective: April 8, 2005
This final rule is a collaborative effort between the FWS and the states of Tennessee and Alabama and Conservation Fisheries, Inc. to reintroduce the boulder darter (Etheostoma wapiti), an endangered fish, and the spotfin chub (Cyprinella (=Hybopsis) monacha), a threatened fish to its historical habitat in Lauderdale County Alabama and Lawrence County, Tennessee. This rule provides for Non-essential Experimental Populations (NEP) within the designated area and it establishes limited allowable legal takings in that area. Additionally, this rule also changes the scientific name of the spotfin chub from Cyprinella (=Hybopsis) monacha to Erimonax monachus, to reflect a recent change in the scientific literature.
Under Section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act, the Secretary of the interior can establish a NEP for a species that is outside of its current range, but within its historic range, based on commercial and scientific data. When a species is designated as an NEP, it is considered a threatened species in that population, regardless if the species has been designated as endangered outside of that population, which gives the agency more discretion in devising management programs and special regulations for such a population. Section 4(d) of the Act allows us to adopt whatever regulations are necessary to provide for the conservation of a threatened species. Regulations issued under section 4(d) for NEPs are usually more compatible with routine human activities in the reintroduction area.
- The boulder darter was listed as an endangered species on September 1, 1988 (53 FR 33996).
- The FWS completed a recovery plan for the boulder darted in 1989.
- The spotfin chub was listed as a threatened species on September 9, 1977 and at that time, critical habitat was also designated (42 FR 45526) with a map.
- The critical habitat map was corrected on September 22, 1977 (42 FR 47840).
- The FWS completed a recovery plan for this species in November 1983.
- The FWS established an NEP for the spotfin chub and three other federally listed fishes for a section of the Tellico River in Monroe County, Tennessee, on August 12, 2002 (67 FR 52420).
Recovery Goals of the FWS
1. Restore existing populations to viable levels
2. Reestablish multiple, viable populations in historical habitats, and
3. Eliminate foreseeable threats that would likely threaten the continued existence of any viable populations.