A 6-month extension in the listing process will allow time for further review of science

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced today that it will extend the deadline for our final decision on whether to list the wolverine under the Endangered Species Act.  The Act allows for such an extension when there is substantial scientific disagreement regarding the sufficiency or accuracy of the available data relevant to the decision at issue.

During the peer review process on our proposed rule to list the wolverine as threatened, we received a variety of opinions from the scientific community concerning the information we used to develop the proposed rules.  Specifically, some peer reviewers questioned the information we used to describe wolverine habitat, and estimates of the likely impacts to wolverine habitat from future climate change.  As a result, we reopened the comment period from October 31 to December 2, 2013 and received additional comments regarding the science behind our proposal.  In response, we will be extending the deadline for the final listing decision by 6 months to further evaluate areas of scientific disagreement and uncertainty as they relate to the wolverine listing decision.  Today we published a Federal Register notice extending the deadline for the final listing decision.  The new deadline for a final rule or withdrawal of the proposal will be August 4, 2014.

With the Federal Register notice announcing the 6-month extension we are also reopening the comment period for the wolverine listing until May 6, 2014, details on the kinds of information the Service is seeking is available in the 6-month extension notice.  You may obtain copies of the notice and proposed rules on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS–R6–ES–2012–107 for the proposed threatened status for North American wolverine.  Copies of the proposed rules are also available at http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/wolverine/.

We will accept written comments and information during this extended comment period and will consider information and recommendations from all interested parties.  If you previously submitted comments or information on the proposed rules, please do not resubmit them.  We have incorporated them into the public record, and we will fully consider them in the preparation of our final determinations.

In addition, during the period of the 6-month extension, we will be formally engaging with experts in the scientific community to further evaluate areas of scientific disagreement and uncertainty as they relate to the wolverine listing decision.  We intend that any final action resulting from these proposals be based on the best scientific and commercial data available and be as accurate and as effective as possible.  You may submit comments by one of the following methods:

(1) Electronically:

 Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal:  http://www.regulations.gov.  In the Keyword box, enter the appropriate Docket No.:  Docket No. FWS–R6–ES–2012–107 for the proposed threatened status for North American wolverine.  Then, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, check on the Proposed Rules link to locate the proposed rule.  You may submit a comment by clicking on “Comment Now!”

(2) By hard copy:

For the proposed threatened status for the North American wolverine, submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to:  Public Comments Processing, Attn:  FWS–R6–ES–2012–107; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222; Arlington, VA 22203.

We request that you send comments only by the methods described above.  We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov.  This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us.

Logo courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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