[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 61 (Thursday, March 30, 2006)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 16090-16091]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-4572]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Notice of 
Availability of Genetics Data and Extension of Comment Period for the 
Proposed Delisting of the Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse (Zapus 
hudsonius preblei)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; extension of comment period.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of two recently published reports and the underlying data 
which present additional analysis data regarding the Preble's meadow 
jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius preblei). In order to ensure the public 
has full access to and an opportunity to comment on all available 
information on the proposed rule to delist the Preble's meadow jumping 
mouse, we are extending the public comment period until May 18, 2006. 
Comments previously submitted need not be resubmitted as they have 
already been incorporated into the public record and will be fully 
considered in the final decision and rule.

DATES: The public comment period that was reopened until April 18, 2006 
(71 FR 8556) is extended until May 18, 2006. Any comments that are 
received after the closing date may not be considered in the final 
decision on the proposal.

ADDRESSES: Documents and data relative to this proposed rule are 
available at http://mountain-prairie.fws.gov/preble/ or http://
mountain-prairie.fws.gov/preble/PEER/PEERindex.htm. If you wish to 
comment, you may submit your comments and materials concerning the 
proposal by one of several methods:
    1. You may submit written comments to Field Supervisor, Colorado 
Field Office, Ecological Services, P.O. Box 25486, Denver Federal 
Center, Denver, Colorado 80225.
    2. You may hand deliver comments to our Colorado Field Office at 
134 Union Blvd., Suite 670, Lake Plaza North, Lakewood, Colorado 80228, 
or send via facsimile (fax 303-236-4005).
    3. You may send comments via electronic mail (e-mail) to FW6--
PMJM@fws.gov. See the Public Comments Solicited section below for file 
format and other information about electronic filing.
    The complete file for the finding and proposed rule is available 
for inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours, at the 
above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan Linner, Field Supervisor, at the 
Colorado Field Office (see ADDRESSES section) or telephone (303) 236-
4774. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) 
may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-
8339, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

[[Page 16091]]


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Public Comments Solicited

    We intend that any final action resulting from the proposed rule 
will be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we solicit 
comments or suggestions from the public, concerned governmental 
agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested 
party concerning the proposed rule in light of the additional 
information. Generally, we seek information, data, and comments 
concerning:
    (1) The taxonomic status of Z.h. preblei, Z.h. campestris, Z.h. 
intermedius, and other Z. hudsonius subspecies with a particular focus 
on Ramey et al. (2003, 2004a, 2004b, 2005), King et al. (2006), and the 
recently released genetics data;
    (2) The taxonomy, biology, ecology, distribution, status, and 
factors affecting Z.h. preblei, Z.h. campestris, Z.h. intermedius, and 
other Z. hudsonius subspecies;
    (3) Data from any systematic surveys for Z.h. preblei, Z.h. 
campestris, Z.h. intermedius, and other Z. hudsonius subspecies, as 
well as any studies that may show population size or trends;
    (4) Quantitative information regarding the life history, ecology, 
and habitat use of Z.h. preblei, Z.h. campestris, Z.h. intermedius, and 
other Z. hudsonius subspecies, as well as information regarding the 
applicability of information relevant to other subspecies;
    (5) Information on the threats faced by the Z.h. preblei, Z.h. 
campestris, Z.h. intermedius, and other Z. hudsonius subspecies in 
relation to the five listing factors (as defined in section 4(a)(1) of 
the Endangered Species Act, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.));
    (6) Information regarding the effects of current land management on 
population distribution and abundance of Z.h. preblei, Z.h. campestris, 
Z.h. intermedius, and other Z. hudsonius subspecies; and
    (7) Information regarding the possibility of contact and 
interaction within or between Z.h. preblei, Z.h. campestris, and 
adjacent subspecies of meadow jumping mouse (i.e., Z.h. intermedius and 
Z.h. pallidus) or other information relevant to a determination of the 
taxonomic classification of the species.
    You may submit comments as indicated under ADDRESSES. If you wish 
to submit comments by e-mail, please avoid the use of special 
characters and any form of encryption. Please also include your name 
and return address in your e-mail message.
    Our practice is to make comments, including names and home 
addresses of respondents, available for public review during regular 
business hours. Due to the high level of interest in this rulemaking 
process, we also may post comments on our Web site. Individual 
respondents may request that we withhold their home address from the 
rulemaking record, which we will honor to the extent allowable by law. 
There also may be circumstances in which we would withhold from the 
rulemaking record a respondent's identity, as allowable by law. If you 
wish us to withhold your name or address, you must state this 
prominently at the beginning of your comment. However, we will not 
consider anonymous comments. We will make all submissions from 
organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying 
themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or 
businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety. Comments 
and other information received, as well as supporting information used 
to write the proposed rule, will be available for public inspection, by 
appointment, during normal business hours at the Colorado Field Office 
(see ADDRESSES section). In making a final decision on the proposal, we 
will take into consideration the comments and any additional 
information we receive. Such communications may lead to a final 
regulation that differs from the proposal.

Background

    The Preble's meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius preblei) was 
listed as a threatened species on May 13, 1998 (63 FR 26517). At the 
time of listing, we recognized Krutzsch (1954) as the ``most recent 
revision of Z. hudsonius'' and ``the authority for (the `subspecies') 
taxonomy'' (63 FR 26517, May 13, 1998). In our February 2, 2005, 
Federal Register document (70 FR 5404), we determined that Ramey et al. 
(2004a) represented the best scientific and commercial information 
available regarding the taxonomy of Z.h. preblei and Z.h. campestris. 
Based on the lack of distinct genetic and morphologic differences 
between the two subspecies presented in Ramey et al. (2004a), we 
concluded that Z.h. preblei was likely not a valid subspecies and 
proposed removing the subspecies from the list of threatened and 
endangered species.
    Since then, substantial additional information has become available 
including two recently available reports: ``Comprehensive analysis of 
molecular phylogeographic structure among meadow jumping mice (Zapus 
hudsonius) reveals evolutionarily distinct subspecies'' (King et al. 
2006) and ``Genetic relatedness of the Preble's meadow jumping mouse 
(Zapus hudsonius preblei) to nearby subspecies of Z. hudsonius as 
inferred from variation in cranial morphology, mitochondrial DNA, and 
microsatellite DNA: Implications for taxonomy and conservation'' (Ramey 
et al. 2005). The Service intends to fully consider all of the 
available information in any delisting decision based on taxonomy.
    In order to ensure all relevant information is considered, we have 
recently made available on our Web site (http://mountain-
prairie.fws.gov/preble/PEER/PEERindex.htm) all of the morphological, 
mtDNA and microsatellite nuclear DNA data from Ramey et al. (2005) and 
King et al. (2006). We are extending the public comment period on the 
delisting proposal to allow the public to consider and comment on the 
above data.

Authority

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

    Dated: March 20, 2006.
H. Dale Hall,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
 [FR Doc. E6-4572 Filed 3-29-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P