[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 219 (Monday, November 16, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 58939-58940]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-27393]


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DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2009-0058]


Availability of an Environmental Assessment for a Biological 
Control Agent for Water Hyacinth

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice of availability and request for comments.

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SUMMARY: We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health 
Inspection Service has prepared an environmental assessment relative to 
the control of water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes). The environmental 
assessment considers the effects of, and alternatives to, the release 
of an insect, Megamelus scutellaris, into the continental United States 
for use as a biological control agent to reduce the severity of water 
hyacinth infestations. We are making the environmental assessment 
available to the public for review and comment.

DATES: We will consider all comments that we receive on or before 
December 16, 2009.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by either of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to (http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocketDetail&d=APHIS-2009-0058) to submit or view comments 
and to view supporting and related materials available electronically.
     Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Please send two copies of 
your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2009-0058, Regulatory Analysis and 
Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, 
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238. Please state that your comment refers to 
Docket No. APHIS-2009-0058.
     Reading Room: You may read any comments that we receive on the 
environmental assessment in our reading room. The reading room is 
located in room 1141 of the USDA South Building, 14th Street and 
Independence Avenue SW., Washington, DC. Normal reading room

[[Page 58940]]

hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. 
To be sure someone is there to help you, please call (202) 690-2817 
before coming.
     Other Information: Additional information about APHIS and its 
programs is available on the Internet at (http://www.aphis.usda.gov).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. Shirley Wager-Page, Chief, Pest 
Permitting Branch, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 
20737-1237; (301) 734-8453.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is proposing 
to issue permits for the release of an insect, Megamelus scutellaris, 
into the continental United States for use as a biological control 
agent to reduce the severity of water hyacinth infestations.
    Water hyacinth originated in lowland tropical South America and was 
first introduced into the United States in the late 1800s. Its erect, 
free-floating habit and attractive flowers made its use popular in 
ornamental ponds and garden pools which inevitably led to the spread of 
the plant by humans. The individual rosettes reproduce to form 
extensive floating mats which, in mature stands, extend a meter or more 
above the water's surface. The invasiveness of water hyacinth results 
from its rapid growth, its ability to reinfest via seeds or plant 
fragments, and its lack of natural enemies. Infestations negatively 
affect water traffic, water quality, infrastructure for pumping and 
hydroelectric operations, water use, and biodiversity. The plant can 
also cause property damage during floods, water loss due to 
evapotranspiration, and an increase in mosquito populations.
    Existing water hyacinth management options include chemical 
control, draining, and harvesting. However, these management measures 
are ineffective, expensive, temporary, have non-target impacts, or 
disturb the life cycles of the currently released insects used for 
biological control of water hyacinth. Thus, a permit application has 
been submitted to APHIS for the purpose of releasing an insect, M. 
scutellaris, into the continental United States for use as a biological 
control agent to reduce the severity of water hyacinth infestations.
    APHIS' review and analysis of the proposed action are documented in 
detail in an environmental assessment (EA) titled ``Field Release of 
Megamelus scutellaris, Berg (Hemiptera: Delphacidae), for Biological 
Control of Water Hyacinth Eichhornia crassipes Mart. (Solms) 
(Pontederiales: Pontederiaceae) in the Continental United States'' 
(July 2009). We are making the EA available to the public for review 
and comment. We will consider all comments that we receive on or before 
the date listed under the heading DATES at the beginning of this 
notice.
    The EA may be viewed on the Regulations.gov Web site or in our 
reading room (see ADDRESSES above for instructions for accessing 
Regulations.gov and information on the location and hours of the 
reading room). You may request paper copies of the EA by calling or 
writing to the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. 
Please refer to the title of the EA when requesting copies.
    The EA has 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 9\th\ day of November 2009.

Kevin Shea,
Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. E9-27393 Filed 11-13-09 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3410-34-S