[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 123 (Monday, June 29, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 31006-31007]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-15307]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2009-0008]


Availability of an Environmental Assessment and Finding of No 
Significant Impact for a Biological Control Agent for Russian Knapweed

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.

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[[Page 31007]]

SUMMARY: We are advising the public that an environmental assessment 
and finding of no significant impact have been prepared by the Animal 
and Plant Health Inspection Service relative to the release of a gall 
midge, Jaapiella ivannikovi, into the continental United States for use 
as a biological control agent to reduce the severity of Russian 
knapweed infestations. Based on its finding of no significant impact, 
the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has determined that an 
environmental impact statement need not be prepared.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. L. Carmen Soileau, Senior Staff 
Entomologist, Permits, Registrations, Imports, and Manuals, PPQ, APHIS, 
4700 River Road, Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1237; (866) 524-5421.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proposing 
to issue permits for the release of a gall midge, Jaapiella ivannikovi, 
into the continental United States for use as a biological control 
agent to reduce the severity of Russian knapweed (Acroptilon repens) 
infestations.
    Russian knapweed is a long-lived perennial in the plant tribe 
Asteraceae (sunflower, aster, or daisy family). The highly invasive 
weed was first introduced into North America in 1898. By 1998, the weed 
had spread to 313 counties in 45 of the 48 contiguous States in the 
United States with 80 percent of the infestation occurring in the 
States of Colorado, Idaho, Washington, and Wyoming.
    The proposed biological control agent, J.ivannikovi, is an insect 
measuring 1.6 to 2.5 mm in length with relatively large wings, long 
legs, and a long ovipositor (egg-laying organ) that can be extended 
from the tip of the abdomen. The female gall midge deposits its eggs on 
the surface of the buds situated on the tips of the main and side 
shoots of the Russian knapweed. Larval feeding causes stunted growth of 
the shoot and fusion of leaves, resulting in a so-called ``rosette 
gall.''
    On March 12, 2009, we published in the Federal Register (74 FR 
10707-10708, Docket No. APHIS-2009-0008) a notice \1\ in which we 
announced the availability, for public review and comment, of an 
environmental assessment (EA) that examined the potential environmental 
impacts associated with the proposed release of this biological control 
agent into the continental United States.
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    \1\ To view the notice, environmental assessment, finding of no 
significant impact, and the comment we received, go to http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2009-0008.
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    We solicited comments on the EA for 30 days ending April 14, 2009. 
We received one comment by that date, from the Tribal Historic 
Preservation Officer of the Bois Forte Band of Ojibwe in Minnesota. The 
commenter indicated her disagreement with biological control in 
general, but did not raise any specific issues regarding the content of 
the EA on the release of the particular organism under consideration.
    In this document, we are advising the public of our finding of no 
significant impact (FONSI) regarding the release of the gall midge J. 
ivannikovi into the continental United States for use as a biological 
control agent to reduce the severity of Russian knapweed infestations. 
The finding, which is based on the EA, reflects our determination that 
release of this biological control agent will not have a significant 
impact on the quality of the human environment.
    The EA and FONSI may be viewed on the Regulations.gov Web site (see 
footnote 1). Copies of the EA and FONSI are also available for public 
inspection at USDA, room 1141, South Building, 14th Street and 
Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC, between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., 
Monday through Friday, except holidays. Persons wishing to inspect 
copies are requested to call ahead on (202) 690-2817 to facilitate 
entry into the reading room. In addition, copies may be obtained by 
writing to the individual listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    The EA and FONSI have been prepared in accordance with: (1) The 
National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 
4321 et seq.), (2) regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality 
for implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-
1508), (3) USDA regulations implementing NEPA (7 CFR part 1b), and (4) 
APHIS' NEPA Implementing Procedures (7 CFR part 372).

    Done in Washington, DC, this 23rd day of June 2009.
Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. E9-15307 Filed 6-26-09; 8:45 am]
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