The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announced it will conduct in-depth status reviews for six California species currently protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). A notice announcing the reviews and the opening of a 60-day comment period will be available for viewing at the Federal Register’s public inspection page here on June 1, 2012, and will publish in the Federal Register on June 4, 2012.
The Service was petitioned by the Pacific Legal Foundation to delist the Inyo California towhee and to reclassify the arroyo toad, Modoc sucker, tidewater goby, Indian Knob mountainbalm, Lane Mountain milk-vetch, and Santa Cruz cypress from endangered to threatened under the ESA. The Service finds that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the change in status of these six species may be warranted.
Information contained in the petition was based on the most recent 5-year status reviews of the species, completed by the Service in 2008 and 2009. The petition’s request to delist or reclassify these six species coincides with the Service’s own recommendations identified in each species’ respective 5-year reviews.
Under the ESA, the Service is required to conduct a status review of each listed species every five years. Along with today’s announcement of the status reviews that will be conducted, the Service is also announcing that it will undertake new 5-year reviews for these six species to determine whether to delist or reclassify these species from the federal lists of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants. These new 5-year reviews will allow for the consideration of any new information obtained since the last 5-year reviews were completed in 2008 and 2009.
To ensure a comprehensive status review of these six species, the Service is soliciting information about the species’ biology, range, and population trends from the public, other concerned governmental agencies, Native American tribes, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested parties. Information and comments will be accepted until August 3, 2012.
Information can be submitted by one of the following methods:
- Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Look for the box that reads “Enter Keyword or ID” and enter the Docket number for this rule, which is FWS-R8-ES-2012-0026.
- U.S. Mail or Hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R8-ES-2012-0026; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222; Arlington, VA 22203.
All information and comments received will be posted on www.regulations.gov.