[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 113 (Tuesday, June 12, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 35117-35161]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-13488]



[[Page 35117]]

Vol. 77

Tuesday,

No. 113

June 12, 2012

Part II





Department of the Interior





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Fish and Wildlife Service





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50 CFR Part 17





Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical 
Habitat for Dusky Gopher Frog (Previously Mississippi Gopher Frog); 
Final Rule and Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 113 / Tuesday, June 12, 2012 / Rules 
and Regulations

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2010-0024; 4500030114]
RIN 1018-AW89


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of 
Critical Habitat for Dusky Gopher Frog (Previously Mississippi Gopher 
Frog)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, designate critical 
habitat for the dusky gopher frog under the Endangered Species Act. In 
previous publications, we used the common name ``Mississippi gopher 
frog'' for this species. We are taking this action to fulfill our 
obligations under the Act. Land in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, and 
Forrest, Harrison, Jackson, and Perry Counties, Mississippi, is being 
designated under a court approved settlement agreement to finalize 
critical habitat for the species. The effect of this regulation is to 
conserve the habitat upon which dusky gopher frog depends.

DATES: This rule becomes effective on July 12, 2012.

ADDRESSES: This final rule and the associated final economic analysis 
are available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. Comments 
and materials received, as well as supporting documentation used in 
preparing this final rule, are available for public inspection, by 
appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Mississippi Ecological Services Field Office, 6578 
Dogwood View Parkway, Jackson, MS 39213; telephone: 601-321-1122; 
facsimile: 601-965-4340.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephen Ricks, Field Supervisor, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Mississippi Ecological Services Field 
Office, 6578 Dogwood View Parkway, Jackson, MS 39213; telephone: 601-
321-1122; facsimile: 601-965-4340. If you use a telecommunications 
device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Information Relay Service 
(FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Executive Summary

    Why we need to publish a rule. Under the Endangered Species Act, we 
are required to designate critical habitat for any endangered or 
threatened species if prudent and determinable and we must issue a rule 
to designate critical habitat. Designation of critical habitat for the 
dusky gopher frog was found to be prudent and a proposed rule to 
designate critical habitat was published on June 3, 2010. We 
subsequently reproposed critical habitat on September 27, 2011, and 
announced the availability of an economic analysis. Pursuant to a 
court-approved settlement agreement, we must deliver to the Federal 
Register our final designation of critical habitat for the dusky gopher 
frog on or before May 30, 2012. This action fulfills our obligations 
under the Act and the settlement agreement.
    This rule designates critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog.
     Approximately 625 hectares (1,544 acres) are designated as 
critical habitat in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana.
     Approximately 1,996 hectares (4,933 acres) are designated 
as critical habitat in Forrest, Harrison, Jackson, and Perry Counties, 
Mississippi.
     In total, approximately 2,621 hectares (ha) (6,477 acres 
(ac)) are designated as critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog.
    Peer reviewers support our methods. We solicited expert opinions 
from seven knowledgeable individuals with scientific expertise that 
included familiarity with the species, the geographic region in which 
the species occurs, and conservation biology principles. We received 
responses from six of the peer reviewers. The peer reviewers generally 
concurred with our methods and conclusions, and provided additional 
information, clarifications, and suggestions to improve the final 
critical habitat rule.

Background

    It is our intent to discuss in this final rule only those topics 
directly relevant to the development and designation of critical 
habitat for the dusky gopher frog under the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (Act; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). For more information on 
the biology and ecology of the dusky gopher frog, refer to the final 
listing rule published in the Federal Register on December 4, 2001 (66 
FR 62993). For additional information on dusky gopher frog critical 
habitat, refer to the revised proposed rule to designate critical 
habitat for the dusky gopher frog published in the Federal Register on 
September 27, 2011 (76 FR 59774) and the announcement of the public 
hearing for the revised proposed rule published in the Federal Register 
on January 17, 2012 (77 FR 2254).

Taxonomy and Nomenclature

    Subsequent to the listing of the dusky gopher frog (=Mississippi 
gopher frog), taxonomic research was completed that indicated that the 
entity (which we listed as a DPS of the dusky gopher frog (Rana capito 
[sic] sevosa)) is different from other gopher frogs and warrants 
acceptance as its own species (Young and Crother 2001, pp. 382-388). 
The herpetological scientific community accepted this taxonomic change 
and the scientific name for the species was changed to Rana sevosa. In 
addition, all comments on taxonomy that we received during the comment 
periods for the revised critical habitat proposal were in agreement 
that the frog warrants acceptance as its own species. Therefore, 
listing as a DPS is no longer appropriate. The taxonomic change meant 
that a change in the common name from Mississippi gopher frog to dusky 
gopher frog was appropriate (Crother et al. 2003, p. 197). Most 
comments we received on this subject indicated that we should change 
the common name to dusky gopher frog from Mississippi gopher frog. 
Therefore, although in the revised proposed critical habitat rule (76 
FR 59774) we stated that we would continue to use the common name 
``Mississippi gopher frog'' we now believe the common name dusky gopher 
frog should be used to describe the listed species rather than 
Mississippi gopher frog and, in this rule, we use the common name 
``dusky gopher frog'' for this species.
    We received other comments on changes that have been proposed in 
the scientific literature regarding removing the genus name Rana from a 
group of North American frogs and replacing it with the genus 
Lithobates (see Crother 2008, p. 7). There is still reluctance by some 
in the scientific community to accept this change (Hillis 2007, p. 331; 
Pauly et al. 2009, p. 115; Wiens et al. 2009, p. 1220). Until there is 
a clear consensus within the scientific community, we will continue to 
use the scientific name of Rana sevosa for the dusky gopher frog.

Previous Federal Actions

    The dusky gopher frog was listed as an endangered species under the 
Act on December 4, 2001 (66 FR 62993). The species was at that time 
identified as the Mississippi gopher frog, Rana capito sevosa, a 
distinct population segment of the dusky gopher frog (Rana capito) (see 
Taxonomy and Nomenclature discussion above). At the time of listing, 
the Service found that designation of critical habitat was prudent. 
However, the development of a designation was

[[Page 35119]]

deferred due to budgetary and workload constraints.
    On November 27, 2007, the Center for Biological Diversity and 
Friends of Mississippi Public Lands (plaintiffs) filed a lawsuit 
against the Service and the Secretary of the Interior for our failure 
to timely designate critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog (Friends 
of Mississippi Public Lands and Center for Biological Diversity v. 
Kempthorne (07-CV-02073)). In a court-approved settlement, the Service 
agreed to submit to the Federal Register a new prudency determination, 
and if the designation was found to be prudent, a proposed designation 
of critical habitat by May 30, 2010, and a final designation by May 30, 
2011. Designation of critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog was 
again found to be prudent, and a proposed rule to designate critical 
habitat for the dusky gopher frog was published on June 3, 2010 (75 FR 
31387).
    During the comment period for the June 3, 2010, proposed rule, the 
peer reviewers and other commenters indicated their belief that the 
amount of critical habitat proposed was insufficient for the 
conservation of the dusky gopher frog and that additional habitat 
should be considered throughout the historic range of the species. 
Specifically, information was provided that pointed to limitations in 
the data we used to determine the size of individual critical habitat 
units and that there was additional habitat in Louisiana that would aid 
in the conservation of dusky gopher frogs. Based on this new 
information, we asked the plaintiffs to agree to an extension of the 
deadline that was established by the original settlement. Plaintiffs 
agreed, and in a modification to the original settlement signed on May 
4, 2011, the court agreed to the Service's timeline to send a revised 
proposed critical habitat rule to the Federal Register by September 15, 
2011, and a final critical habitat rule to the Federal Register by May 
30, 2012. A revised proposed critical habitat rule was published in the 
Federal Register on September 27, 2011 (76 FR 59774) and replaced our 
June 3, 2010 (75 FR 31387), proposed critical habitat rule in its 
entirety.

Summary of Comments and Recommendations

    We requested written comments from the public on the revised 
proposed designation of critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog 
during two comment periods. The first comment period, associated with 
the publication of the revised proposed rule and notification of the 
availability of the associated draft economic analysis (76 FR 59774), 
opened on September 27, 2011 and closed on November 28, 2011. The 
second comment period, associated with a public hearing held on January 
31, 2012, in Gulfport, Mississippi, opened on January 17, 2012 and 
closed on March 2, 2012. We also contacted appropriate Federal, State, 
and local agencies; scientific organizations; and other interested 
parties, and invited them to comment on the revised proposed rule and 
draft economic analysis during these comment periods.
    During the first comment period, we received 46 comment letters 
directly addressing the revised critical habitat designation or the 
draft economic analysis. During the second comment period, we received 
57 comment letters directly addressing the revised proposed critical 
habitat designation or the draft economic analysis. During the January 
31, 2012, public hearing, 19 individuals or organizations made comments 
on the proposed designation. All substantive information provided 
during comment periods has either been incorporated directly into this 
final determination or is addressed in our responses below. Public 
comments we received were grouped into six general categories.

Peer Review

    In accordance with our peer review policy published in the Federal 
Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we solicited expert opinions 
from seven knowledgeable individuals with scientific expertise that 
included familiarity with the species, the geographic region in which 
the species occurs, and conservation biology principles. We received 
responses from six of the peer reviewers.
    We reviewed all comments we received from the peer reviewers for 
substantive issues and new information regarding critical habitat for 
the dusky gopher frog. The peer reviewers generally concurred with our 
methods and conclusions, and provided additional information, 
clarifications, and suggestions to improve the final critical habitat 
rule. Peer reviewer comments are addressed in the following summary and 
incorporated into the final rule as appropriate.

Peer Reviewer Comments

    Comment 1: All peer reviewers agreed that although Rana capito 
sevosa was listed as a distinct population segment of Rana capito, the 
listed entity has now been accepted by the scientific community as a 
unique species, Rana sevosa. All but one of the peer reviewers agreed 
with our proposed change of the common name of the listed entity from 
Mississippi gopher frog to dusky gopher frog. Two of the peer reviewers 
suggested changing the scientific name of Rana sevosa to Lithobates 
sevosus based on recent publications in the scientific literature. 
However, one of these peer reviewers stated that although the four 
major herpetological societies require authors submitting papers to 
their publications to use the standard English names of Crother (2008, 
p. 8) [=dusky gopher frog], authors may use their discretion on the 
scientific name used (within scientific reason and with citation when 
needed).
    Our Response: See ``Taxonomy and Nomenclature'' above. The Service 
is changing the name of the listed entity to Rana sevosa, the dusky 
gopher frog. However, because disagreement exists in the scientific 
community regarding the taxonomic support for replacing Rana with 
Lithobates, the Service believes it is not yet appropriate to make this 
change for the listed entity.
    Comment 2: All of the peer reviewers agreed that it was appropriate 
that the Service had increased the size of the critical habitat units 
in the September 27, 2011 revised proposed rule. Nevertheless, there 
was some disagreement among the peer reviewers about whether the 
increase was adequate for the conservation of the dusky gopher frog, 
and this was reflected in their comments regarding the methods used to 
define the individual units. All of the peer reviewers approved of 
combining the maximum distance movements of the two species of gopher 
frogs for use in the determination of the size of individual critical 
habitat units; however, two of the peer reviewers, and others, provided 
specific comments on our use of these data. The comments included: 
Combining movement data from studies of the same population; deleting 
anecdotal observations from single frogs not incorporated into larger 
studies; using the mean rather than the median to calculate the value 
used to define the area around each breeding pond; and increasing the 
area of critical habitat beyond the value calculated from the movement 
data to account for areas of poor upland habitat quality. One peer 
reviewer stressed the need to maximize the size of critical habitat 
units due to the uncertainty of habitat suitability when creating 
circular areas of protection and due to the reduction in dusky gopher 
frog genetic variability resulting from the species' habitat isolation 
and small population size.
    Our Response: In our January 17, 2012, publication (77 FR 2254), we 
reopened the comment period and

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announced a public hearing on the revised proposed critical habitat 
designation. We also proposed changes in the data analysis that had 
been used in creating the critical habitat units in the revised 
proposed rule, and requested comments on these changes. The changes 
included combining movement data from individual sites and removing one 
anecdotal gopher frog movement record from our maximum distance 
dataset. The Service did not receive any comments on these changes from 
peer reviewers or the public. We continue to believe, as was expressed 
by one of the peer reviewers, that the use of the median distance value 
in our calculations is more appropriate than using the mean. The use of 
the mean would yield a higher value because the maximum distance values 
are skewed toward larger values and the mean is more influenced by 
these values when compared to the median. To illustrate the possible 
bias in using the mean rather than the median, one reviewer pointed out 
that the greatest maximum distance movement was on a site where burrow 
habitat in the uplands was severely limited and the frogs had to move 
long distances to find appropriate fossorial (underground) habitat. We 
believe the use of the median long distance movement value provides a 
better estimate of central tendency in our dataset, and we consider its 
use more appropriate than the mean. The Service agrees that there are 
likely differences in habitat suitability in the various critical 
habitat units, and we have tried to account for that by using the 
median maximum distance value, plus a buffer, in calculating the area 
to include in critical habitat surrounding each occupied or unoccupied 
breeding pond (see ``Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat'' 
below).

Comments From States

    Section 4(i) of the Act states, ``the Secretary shall submit to the 
State agency a written justification for his failure to adopt 
regulations consistent with the agency's comments or petition.'' The 
only comment received from a State agency was from an employee of a 
State agency that was a peer reviewer of the revised proposed rule. 
This comment was in support of the revised proposal as written.

Public Comments

General Comments Issue 1: Critical Habitat Delineation Methodology
    Comment 3: If the delineation of critical habitat for the dusky 
gopher frog is based on the best available science, there is no 
biological reason to include movement data from other gopher frogs 
(Rana capito) and not include movement data from crawfish frogs (R. 
areolata). The two gopher frog species and crawfish frogs share derived 
morphological and behavioral characters that separate them from all 
other frog species. One of their shared behavioral traits is an 
affinity for small terrestrial cavities.
    Our Response: The two species of gopher frogs (Rana capito and R. 
sevosa) share similar habitat within different geographic areas of the 
longleaf pine ecosystem in the southeastern United States. As adults, 
all gopher frogs occupy below-ground habitat within the forested 
uplands, typically stump holes, small mammal burrows, and when they are 
available, gopher tortoise burrows. Crawfish frogs occur outside the 
range of gopher frogs and are distributed to the east and west of the 
Mississippi River in an arc from the eastern Gulf Coast of Texas north 
to southern Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky, and south across 
western Tennessee, north and central Mississippi, and northeastern 
Louisiana (Parris and Redmer 2005, p. 526). Crawfish frogs occupy a 
wide variety of habitats including open wet woodlands, wooded valleys, 
prairies, river floodplains, pine forest, wet pastures, and grasslands 
(Parris and Redmer 2005, p. 527). Adult crawfish frogs use fossorial 
habitats, commonly occupying abandoned crayfish burrows (Parris and 
Redmer 2005, p. 527). Although adult dusky gopher frogs also use 
fossorial habitats (abandoned mammal burrows, stump holes), the Service 
considers the differences in geography and habitat between the two 
species to be too great to include crawfish frog movement data in our 
critical habitat calculations.
    Comment 4: The amount of area designated as critical habitat around 
occupied or unoccupied dusky gopher frog breeding ponds should be 
increased. One commenter requested a general increase in area only 
around the four occupied sites. Another commenter wanted the Service to 
go back to using a 650-m (2,133-ft) radius around all sites as was used 
to construct critical habitat units in our September 27, 2011, revised 
proposed rule (76 FR 59774). In addition, that commenter requested the 
radius be increased to 1,000 m (3,281 ft) around Glen's Pond when 
constructing the critical habitat unit at that site.
    Our Response: see Section ``Criteria Used To Identify Critical 
Habitat'' below for a discussion of our rationale for constructing 
individual critical habitat units. The Service used the best available 
scientific information on gopher frog movements to quantify the areas 
we are designating as critical habitat. We have found no scientific 
justification for using a larger radius when constructing some units 
over others. In the future, if such data become available, under the 
authority of section 4(a)(3)(A)(ii) the Secretary could revise the 
designation, as appropriate.
General Comments Issue 2: Procedural and Legal Issues
    Comment 5: The Endangered Species Act and the proposed designation 
of critical habitat are unconstitutional and the Service lacks 
authority to regulate the dusky gopher frog under the Commerce Clause 
of Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution. 
The U.S. Supreme Court defined the limits of the Commerce Clause by 
mandating that (i) Congress may only regulate an activity that 
``substantially affect(s)'' interstate commerce, and (ii) there must be 
a rational basis for Congress' conclusion that the regulated activity 
sufficiently affects interstate commerce. The Service did not cite any 
link whatsoever between the designation of critical habitat for the 
frog and commerce, be it travel, tourism, scientific research, or 
agriculture. Designation of critical habitat will ``result in a 
significant impingement of the States' traditional and primary power 
over land and water use'' and this effective control is not justified 
because there is no Federal interest in regulation of interstate 
commerce relative to the dusky gopher frog.
    Our Response: The constitutionality of the Act in authorizing the 
Services' protection of endangered and threatened species has 
consistently been upheld by the courts. see, e.g., GDF Realty 
Investments, Ltd. v. Norton, 326 F .3d 622 (5th Cir. 2003); Gibbs v. 
Babbitt, 214 F.3d 483 (4th Cir. 2000); National Association of 
Homebuilders v. Babbitt, 130 F.3d 1041 (D.C. Cir. 1997), cert. denied, 
524 U.S. 937 (1998); Rancho Viejo v. Norton, 323 F.3d 1062 (D.C. Cir. 
2003); and United States v. Hill, 896 F. Supp. 1057 (D. Colo. 1995). 
The courts have held that regulation under the Act to protect species 
that live only in one State is within Congress' Commerce Clause power 
and that loss of animal diversity has a substantial effect on 
interstate commerce. National Ass'n of Home Builders, 130 F.3d at 1050-
51; see Rancho Viejo, 323 F.3d at 310, n. 5. Thus, although the dusky 
gopher frog is currently known to occur only within the State of 
Mississippi, the Service's application of the Act to designate critical 
habitat for this species is constitutional.

[[Page 35121]]

    Comment 6: Designation of private property as critical habitat 
constitutes a ``taking'' of private property under the 5th Amendment of 
the U.S. Constitution by depriving landowners of the economically 
beneficial use of their land. As a result of the designation, the 
property will be pressed into ``public service'' without compensation 
to the landowners.
    Our Response: The Service analyzed the potential takings 
implications of designating critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog 
and included this analysis in our administrative record. Determining 
whether a constitutional taking will occur is a matter for the courts. 
However the process is generally fact-specific and involves weighing 
the character of the government action, the economic impact of that 
action, and the reasonableness of the property owner's investment-
backed expectations. We have identified two ``taking'' scenarios that 
are relevant to the designation of critical habitat. The first is a 
physical taking when the government's action amounts to a physical 
occupation or invasion of the property, including the functional 
equivalent of a practical ouster of the owner's possession. The 
proposed designation of critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog 
would not result in physical occupation or invasion of private 
property. On non-Federal lands, activities that lack Federal 
involvement, such as timber management and oil and gas extraction, 
would not be affected by the critical habitat designation. However, a 
second scenario concerns activities of an economic nature that are 
likely to occur on non-Federal lands in the area encompassed by this 
designation, and where Federal involvement may occur, and includes 
construction of utilities, residential or commercial development, and 
road construction and maintenance. This second scenario is where a 
regulation may potentially deny all economically beneficial or 
productive use of land, commonly referred to as a categorical taking. 
However, the mere promulgation of a regulation designating critical 
habitat does not on its face deny property owners all economically 
viable use of their land. The Act does not automatically restrict all 
uses of lands that have been designated as critical habitat, but only 
imposes restrictions under section 7(a)(2) on Federal agency actions 
that may result in destruction or adverse modification of critical 
habitat. Furthermore, as discussed above, if a biological opinion 
concludes that a proposed action is likely to result in the destruction 
or adverse modification of critical habitat, we are required to suggest 
reasonable and prudent alternatives to the action that would avoid the 
destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. Such 
alternatives must be economically, as well as technologically, feasible 
(50 CFR 402.02).
    Comment 7: The Service has no delegated authority to regulate or 
confiscate private land.
    Our Response: When prudent, the Service is required to designate 
critical habitat under the Act. The Act does not authorize the Service 
to regulate private actions on private lands or confiscate private 
property as a result of critical habitat designation (see further 
explanation under Comment 6 above).
    Comment 8: The Service did not comply with the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). The Ninth 
Circuit's holding that NEPA does not apply to critical habitat 
designations rested in part on supposition that the action at issue 
does not alter the natural, untouched physical environment at all. 
Therefore, as maintenance of critical habitat requires special 
management, which can be interpreted as human interference with the 
environment, a NEPA review is required.
    Our Response: Environmental assessments and environmental impact 
statements, as defined under NEPA, are not required for regulations 
enacted under section 4 of the Act (see 48 FR 49244, October 25, 1983). 
The Service has determined that, outside of the jurisdiction of the 
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, a NEPA analysis is not 
required for critical habitat designation.
    The fact that a physical or biological feature requires special 
management considerations or protection to meet the definition of 
``critical habitat'' does not mean that the designation of critical 
habitat would include ``special management'' requiring active 
maintenance or any other form of human interference with property. In 
the case of unoccupied habitat, the ``physical/biological features/
special management'' part of the definition simply does not apply. 
Thus, the designation of critical habitat does not constitute the sort 
of human interference that would require a NEPA analysis.
    Comment 9: In order to determine what is ``essential to the 
conservation of the species,'' the Service must first identify ``the 
point'' when the species will no longer be ``endangered'' or 
``threatened''. That point can be identified only if the Service has 
determined a viable population size and the minimum habitat necessary 
to sustain that population. These threshold determinations are missing 
from the proposed rule. The failure to articulate a basis for 
designating each unit as critical habitat is a violation of the law 
that must be corrected.
    Our Response: During the process of developing a recovery plan, as 
required by Section 4(f) of the Act, the Service determines the 
threshold that must be met to establish when a species is no longer 
``endangered'' or ``threatened''. The Service has not yet completed a 
recovery plan for the dusky gopher frog, and thus, this threshold has 
not been defined. However, the Act does not require that recovery 
criteria be established as a precondition to designating critical 
habitat. Section 3(5)(A) of the Act defines the term ``critical 
habitat'' as (i) the specific areas within the geographical area 
occupied by the species, at the time it is listed * * * on which are 
found those physical or biological features essential to the 
conservation of the species and which may require special management 
considerations or protection; and (ii) specific areas outside the 
geographical area occupied by the species at the time it is listed * * 
* upon a determination that such areas are essential for the 
conservation of the species. The Act does not provide additional 
guidance on how to determine what habitat is essential for the 
conservation of the species, nor does it require a minimum population 
and habitat viability analysis for critical habitat designation. In 
this case, the Secretary has discretion in determining what is 
essential for the conservation of a species. The Service has studied 
the one dusky gopher frog population known at the time of listing to 
determine the habitat attributes essential to the conservation of the 
species, and determined that the primary constituent elements (PCEs) 
specific to the dusky gopher frog are: (1) Ephemeral wetland habitat 
(PCE 1); (2) upland forested nonbreeding habitat (PCE 2); and (3) 
upland connectivity habitat (PCE 3) (see ``Criteria Used To Identify 
Critical Habitat'' below). With regard to units/subunits not known to 
be occupied at the time of listing, we have determined that these areas 
are essential to the conservation of the dusky gopher frog because this 
species is at high risk of extirpation from stochastic events, such as 
disease or drought, and from demographic factors such as inbreeding 
depression. The establishment of additional populations beyond the 
single site known to be occupied at listing is critical to protect the 
species from extinction and provide for the species' eventual recovery.

[[Page 35122]]

    Therefore, the Service believes that all the areas designated as 
critical habitat meet the definition under section 3(5)(A) of the Act. 
If the Service gains knowledge of additional areas that meet the 
definition of critical habitat, then under section 4(a)(3)(A)(ii) of 
the Act, the Secretary may revise the designation, as appropriate. The 
Service has articulated a basis for designating each unit as critical 
habitat under the individual unit descriptions in Final Critical 
Habitat Designation.
    Comment 10: The Service has failed to meet the ``prudent and 
determinable'' standard of section 4(a)(3) of the Act. In fact, the 
Service was required to immediately ``find'' critical habitat for the 
dusky gopher frog as a result of a court settlement with the Center for 
Biological Diversity.
    Our Response: see ``Previous Federal Actions.'' The dusky gopher 
frog was listed as an endangered species under the Act on December 4, 
2001 (66 FR 62993), and at that time the Service found that designation 
of critical habitat was prudent. On November 27, 2007, the Center for 
Biological Diversity and Friends of Mississippi Public Lands 
(plaintiffs) filed a lawsuit against the Service and the Secretary of 
the Interior for our failure to timely designate critical habitat for 
the dusky gopher frog. In a court-approved settlement, the Service 
agreed to submit to the Federal Register a new prudency determination, 
and if the designation was found to be prudent, a proposed designation 
of critical habitat by May 30, 2010, and a final designation by May 30, 
2011. A new prudency determination was included in our proposed rule to 
designate critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog published on June 
3, 2010 (75 FR 31387). Based on new scientific information we received 
during the comment period for this proposed rule, the Service requested 
and received a modification to the settlement agreement, signed on May 
4, 2011. The Service complied with the settlement agreement and made 
another prudency determination in our revised proposed rule to 
designate critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog (76 FR 59774, 
September 27, 2011) which replaced the 2010 proposed rule in its 
entirety. Thus, the settlement agreement did not force the Service to 
``find'' critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog, but rather 
complete a new prudency determination and only proceed with a proposed, 
and ultimately, a final designation of critical habitat if deemed 
prudent.
    Comment 11: The Service did not contact all landowners potentially 
affected by the proposed designation of critical habitat.
    Our Response: The Act requires that we publish the proposed 
regulation in the Federal Register, give actual notice of the proposed 
regulation to each affected state and county (i.e., those in which the 
species is believed to occur), appropriate professional organizations, 
and publish a summary of the proposed regulation in a newspaper of 
general circulation in each area of the U.S. where the species is 
believed to occur. It also requires that we promptly hold one public 
hearing if any person files a request within 45 days of the publication 
(in the Federal Register). When we were able to identify the landowners 
of a proposed critical habitat unit, we contacted them directly. In 
addition, we attempted to ensure that as many people as possible would 
be aware of the revised proposed critical habitat designation, draft 
economic analysis, and public hearing by issuing press releases to all 
major media in the affected area, submitting newspaper notices for 
publication within areas of revised proposed critical habitat, and 
directly notifying affected State and Federal agencies, environmental 
groups, State Governors, Federal and State elected officials, and 
county commissions. We accepted comments from September 27, 2011, 
through November 28, 2011, and from January 17, 2012, through March 2, 
2012, for a total of 105 days. We sent out notifications of the second 
comment period to commenters from the first comment period when they 
had supplied their contact information. By these actions, we have 
complied with or exceeded all of the notification requirements of the 
Act and the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. subchapter II).
    Comment 12: One commenter expressed opposition to Federal 
acquisition of 16th Section land unless the land is purchased at full 
replacement value or fair market lease without loss and hardship to 
schools and without increasing local homeowners' tax burden to recoup 
the losses from such a transaction.
    Our Response: Designation of critical habitat on land does not 
constitute ``Federal acquisition'' of that land. The Service has no 
plans to acquire ownership of any land designated as critical habitat. 
The commenter referred to ``16th section'' lands. This designation is 
based on the original surveys of the country in the late 1700's when 
land was systematically surveyed into square townships, 9.656 km (6 
miles) on a side. The townships were subdivided into 36 sections of 
2.59 km\2\ (1 mi\2\). Section 16 in each township was reserved for the 
maintenance of public schools. This system remains in place in 
Mississippi and funds derived from ``16th section'' lands are used to 
support county funding for public schools. Our intention is to work 
with existing landowners, including the State of Mississippi, which 
owns 16th Section lands, to further the recovery of the dusky gopher 
frog.
    Comment 13: Critical habitat designation may limit conservation 
actions in other areas.
    Our Response: The Service will work on actions to support the 
recovery of the dusky gopher frog wherever possible, including outside 
the geographic area designated as critical habitat.
General Comments Issue 3: Critical Habitat Designation on Private 
Land--General
    Comment 14: Critical habitat designation on private land will 
prevent future timber management and development within the designated 
area. Property owners within one mile of critical habitat could be 
affected by the designation. Private property owners will be burdened 
with consultation under section 7 of the Act as a result of the 
critical habitat designation. The Service should restrict critical 
habitat on private land to landowners that voluntarily participate in 
the recovery of endangered and threatened species.
    Our Response: The selection of sites to be included in critical 
habitat is based, first and foremost, on the needs of the species. 
Before we determine land ownership, we consider what is needed for 
species conservation based on the best available scientific and 
commercial information. This ensures that the best locations to support 
species' conservation are identified and increases awareness among all 
potential partners of the best known sites to support the conservation 
of the species.
    The designation of critical habitat does not impose a legally 
binding duty on private parties. Activities that do not involve a 
Federal agency, Federal action, Federal funding, or Federal permitting, 
will be unaffected by the designation of critical habitat. Private land 
use activities, such as farming and silviculture, would be unaffected. 
Federal activities, or actions permitted, licensed, or funded by 
Federal agencies, will require consultation with the Service if they 
are likely to adversely modify critical habitat. Consultation is a 
process by which Federal agencies use the Service's expertise to 
evaluate the potential effects of a proposed action on species listed 
under the Act and their critical habitats. The Service works with 
Federal agencies to identify alternatives where activities or projects 
may proceed

[[Page 35123]]

without adverse modification to critical habitat. For example, if 
private landowners wish to develop their property and are required by 
the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to obtain a wetlands dredge 
and fill permit, this would trigger consultation under section 7 of the 
Act between the Corps and the Service if critical habitat is designated 
on the property; however, the Service would work with the Corps to 
identify strategies to avoid adverse modification of critical habitat. 
Based on our experience with section 7 consultations for other listed 
species, virtually all projects--including those that, in their initial 
proposed form, would result in jeopardy or adverse modification--can be 
implemented successfully with, at most, the adoption of reasonable and 
prudent alternatives. Reasonable and prudent alternatives must, by 
definition, be economically feasible and within the scope of authority 
of the Federal agency involved in consultation.
    If there is no activity on private property involving a Federal 
agency, Federal action, Federal funding, or Federal permitting, 
participation in the recovery of endangered and threatened species is 
voluntary. Critical habitat designation does not require property 
owners to undertake affirmative actions to promote the recovery of the 
listed species. There is no effect to landowners whose property is 
outside the specific area designated as critical habitat, no matter the 
ownership (see response to Comment 6).
General Comments Issue 4: Critical Habitat Designation on Private 
Land--Louisiana
    Comment 15: The dusky gopher frog has not been seen in Louisiana 
since 1965, and the habitat designated as Critical Habitat Unit 1 (Unit 
1) has none of the primary constituent elements (PCEs) described in the 
revised proposed rule; the ponds in Unit 1, in their present condition, 
do not constitute suitable dusky gopher frog habitat under the 
definition of PCE 1. Although the Service's interest in Unit 1 is 
caused in part by the perceived difficulty in establishing ephemeral 
ponds for the dusky gopher frog, artificial ponding has supported 
gopher frog reproduction. Unit 1 will never have PCEs due to on-going 
timber management of the site, which precludes burning or planting 
longleaf pine trees to improve the upland habitat for the gopher frog. 
The dusky gopher frog will never be present on site because the 
landowners object to moving them there. The Service cannot designate 
critical habitat on the grounds that the PCEs will be present in the 
future.
    Our Response: The site in Louisiana identified as Unit 1 contains 
at least two historic breeding sites for the dusky gopher frog. Unit 1 
is not currently occupied nor was it occupied at the time the dusky 
gopher frog was listed. For such areas, which are outside the 
geographical area occupied by a species at the time it is listed, 
section 3(5)(A)(ii) of the Act requires simply that critical habitat be 
designated based on a determination that such areas are essential for 
the conservation of the species. Due to the importance of ephemeral 
ponds to the recovery of the dusky gopher frog (see ``Criteria Used To 
Identify Critical Habitat''), the Service determined that the area of 
Unit 1 is essential for the conservation of the dusky gopher frog. The 
only pond occupied at the time of listing is being designated and we 
determined that this one location is not sufficient to conserve the 
species. Additional areas that were not known to be occupied at the 
time of listing are essential for the conservation of the species. 
Although the presence of the PCEs is not a necessary element for this 
determination, the Service believes Unit 1 contains the PCE described 
as Primary Constituent Element 1--Ephemeral wetland habitat (see 
Section ``Primary Constituent Elements for the Dusky Gopher Frog'') 
based on the best available data, which include the visits made to the 
site by Service personnel and other gopher frog experts. During these 
visits, the Service assessed the habitat quality of ephemeral wetlands 
in this area and found that a series of five ponds contained the 
habitat requirements for PCE 1 (see response to Comment 16 below).
    The Service is aware borrow pits and other sites constructed by man 
have been used for breeding by other species of gopher frogs outside 
the range of the dusky gopher frog. Nevertheless, these sites need to 
contain the same features that are present in natural ponds in order 
for them to provide the proper environment for successful development 
of metamorphic dusky gopher frogs. Ephemeral, isolated ponds are very 
difficult to establish in the landscape due to their short and specific 
hydrology. The ponds have to hold water long enough to allow for 
tadpole development and metamorphosis, but if they hold water too long 
they become permanent ponds and no longer have value for ephemeral 
pond-breeding amphibians. The U.S. Forest Service, in cooperation with 
the Service and our partners, constructed a pond on the DeSoto National 
Forest with the goal of creating a dusky gopher frog breeding site. It 
has taken 10 years to reach the point where we consider this pond ready 
to be used as a reintroduction site, and its value as a breeding site 
has not yet been proven. It is highly unlikely that five ponds, similar 
to those that currently exist in Unit 1, could be created in the 
landscape within a timeframe that would provide near-term conservation 
benefits to the dusky gopher frog.
    During the process of delineating critical habitat, the Service 
assesses habitat to determine if it is essential for the conservation 
of a listed species. Although we have no existing agreements with the 
private landowners of Unit 1 to manage this site to improve habitat for 
the dusky gopher frog, or to move the species there, we hope to work 
with the landowners to develop a strategy that will allow them to 
achieve their objectives for the property and protect the isolated, 
ephemeral ponds that exist there. According to the landowners, the 
timber lease on their property does not expire until 2043. The Service 
has a number of tools, such as habitat conservation plans, that could 
be used to formalize the timber management goals of the landowners and 
work towards recovery of the dusky gopher frog. There are also 
programs, such as the Healthy Forests Initiative administered through 
the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation 
Service, that provide funding to private landowners for habitat 
management. However, these tools and programs are voluntary, and 
actions such as habitat management through prescribed burning, or frog 
translocations to the site, cannot be implemented without the 
cooperation and permission of the landowner.
    Comment 16: The Service has not provided sufficient support for the 
argument that Unit 1 is ``essential for the conservation'' of the dusky 
gopher frog, only a ``more is better'' statement that Unit 1 provides 
additional habitat for population expansion. ``Essential for 
conservation of the species,'' the standard for designating critical 
habitat on unoccupied sites, is a more exacting standard than that for 
determining critical habitat designation of occupied habitat. The Act 
requires a demonstration that the designation of unoccupied habitat is 
essential for conservation, not essential to decreasing the risk of 
extinction of the species. The Service must provide a factual basis 
supporting the conclusion that Unit 1 is essential to recovery of the 
dusky gopher frog.
    Our Response: The scientific peer reviewers that responded to our 
original proposed critical habitat rule were

[[Page 35124]]

united in their assessment that this proposal was inadequate for the 
conservation of the dusky gopher frog and that we should look within 
the species' historic range outside the state of Mississippi for 
additional habitat for the designation. As a result of the peer review, 
we conducted a reanalysis of current and historic data for the species, 
including data from Alabama and Louisiana, to determine if we could 
find additional habitat that would meet the definition of critical 
habitat (see Comment 17, below, for discussion of habitat in Alabama). 
As a result of the rarity of open-canopied, isolated, ephemeral ponds 
within the historic range of the dusky gopher frog, and their 
importance to survival of the species, identifying more of these ponds 
was the primary focus of our reanalysis (see ``Criteria Used To 
Identify Critical Habitat'', below).
    The Service visited the area designated as Unit 1 in St. Tammany 
Parish, Louisiana, in 2011. We conducted a habitat assessment in this 
specific area because at least two historic breeding ponds for the 
dusky gopher frog occur there, including the one where the species was 
last seen in 1965. We determined that five isolated, ephemeral wetlands 
in that area are similar to ponds where dusky gopher frogs currently 
breed in Mississippi. The five ponds are in close proximity to each 
other, which provides metapopulation structure and increases the unit's 
value to the long-term survival and recovery of the frogs over an area 
with a single breeding pond (see ``Space for Individual and Population 
Growth and for Normal Behavior'', below).
    The role of critical habitat is to support the life-history needs 
of the species and provide for conservation. Conservation is defined in 
section 3(3) of the Act as the use of all methods and procedures which 
are necessary to bring any endangered species or threatened species to 
the point at which the measures provided pursuant to the Act are no 
longer necessary (recovery). Recovery of the dusky gopher frog will not 
be possible without the establishment of additional breeding 
populations of the species. Isolated, ephemeral ponds that can be used 
as the focal point for establishing these populations are rare, and 
this is a limiting factor in dusky gopher frog recovery. Based on the 
best scientific information available to the Service, the five ponds in 
Unit 1 provide breeding habitat that in its totality is not known to be 
present elsewhere within the historic range of the dusky gopher frog.
    The isolated populations of the dusky gopher frog face many 
threats, including droughts and disease. These environmental and 
biological threats are likely to occur at the same time at sites near 
each other. Habitat in Louisiana is distant from the extant populations 
of the dusky gopher frog. For this reason, the Louisiana site would 
likely be affected by different environmental variables than sites in 
Mississippi. Thus, Unit 1 provides a refuge for the frog should the 
other sites be negatively affected by environmental threats or 
catastrophic events. An example of one of these threats is climate 
change. Climate change will undoubtedly affect amphibians throughout 
the world in the coming decades (Lawler et al. 2010, p. 38). For 
species such as the dusky gopher frog, one of the greatest threats 
posed by climate change is water availability. The amount and timing of 
precipitation can have dramatic effects on ephemeral breeding ponds, 
resulting in mortality of eggs and larvae. In addition, post-
metamorphic survivorship may be reduced by increased desiccation risk. 
Dusky gopher frogs will be susceptible to the effects of rapid climate 
change due to their limited natural ability to move through the 
landscape, and habitat fragmentation. Hydrological changes to ponds at 
the currently occupied sites could mean extinction for this species. 
The designation of critical habitat, and the creation of new 
populations of dusky gopher frogs through reintroductions, should give 
the species better odds of survival and recovery given the threats 
posed by climate change.
    In summary, the Service believes Unit 1 is essential to the 
conservation of the dusky gopher frog because it provides: (1) Breeding 
habitat for the dusky gopher frog in a landscape where the rarity of 
that habitat is a primary threat to the species; (2) a framework of 
breeding ponds that supports metapopulation structure important to the 
long-term survival of the dusky gopher frog; and (3) geographic 
distance from extant dusky gopher frog populations, which likely 
provides protection from environmental stochasticity.
    Comment 17: The site in Louisiana (Unit 1) was chosen without 
regard to available habitat for the dusky gopher frog in Alabama. 
Alabama contains habitat that provides more of the PCEs needed for the 
dusky gopher frog to survive than in Unit 1, and the Service provided 
no assertion that Alabama ponds are not essential for the conservation 
of the dusky gopher frog. The standard the Service applied to 
designating critical habitat areas was that they would provide 
``additional habitat'' and this standard could just as easily be 
applied to Alabama as to Louisiana. Nevertheless, critical habitat may 
only include areas ``essential to the conservation of the species.'' 
The Service's failure to apply a consistent or correct standard for 
determining critical habitat is arbitrary and prohibited by the 
Administrative Procedure Act.
    Our Response: Peer reviewers of our original proposed rule 
indicated that critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog in the 
proposal (76 FR 59774, September 27, 2011) was inadequate for the 
conservation of the dusky gopher frog. Thus, the Service conducted a 
habitat reassessment, which included areas outside of Mississippi that 
are within the species' historic range in Louisiana and Alabama (see 
Comment 16 and ``Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat'', below). 
In Alabama, the only record for the dusky gopher frog, as currently 
described, is from 1922 at a location in Mobile County near Mobile Bay. 
The upland terrestrial habitat at this site has been destroyed and 
replaced by a residential development (Bailey 1994, p. 5). A breeding 
site that might have been used by these frogs has never been found. Two 
remote sensing studies (Hart 2004, pp. 1-9: Bailey 2009, pp. 1-14) have 
been conducted to search for ponds and terrestrial habitat that might 
support dusky gopher frog populations. Those ponds identified using 
aerial photography which were visited did not contain habitat that 
provides a conservation benefit for dusky gopher frogs. Habitat was 
poor because of a number of factors which limited its suitability for 
dusky gopher frogs. For example, ponds contained woody shrubs and 
trees, were occupied by fish, occurred within agricultural fields, and/
or were surrounded by trailers and houses (Hart 2004, pp. 8-9). As 
there are no data supporting the occurrence of historic or current 
dusky gopher frog breeding sites in Alabama, nor any habitat of a 
quality certain to support conservation of the frog, the Service could 
not identify areas in Alabama that we believed essential for the 
conservation of the species in Alabama (see ``Criteria Used To Identify 
Critical Habitat'', below). The Service does not have data, nor did any 
commenter provide data, to support the assertion that habitat in 
Alabama provides more of the PCEs needed for the dusky gopher frog to 
survive than in Unit 1.
    Comment 18: Unit 1 is not ``essential'' to the survival of the frog 
because most of the proposed critical habitat occurs

[[Page 35125]]

on the DeSoto National Forest where the frogs can thrive.
    Our Response: Critical habitat is a conservation tool. Conservation 
measures are a means to reach recovery and the point at which the 
measures provided under the Act are no longer necessary. This is a 
broader standard than simply survival and requires the Service to 
designate critical habitat that will support recovery of the species. 
DeSoto National Forest (DNF) represents only one area of the historic 
distribution of the dusky gopher frog. Although DNF is crucial to the 
survival of the frog because the majority of the remaining frogs occur 
there, recovery of the species will require populations of dusky gopher 
frog distributed across a broader portion of the species' historic 
distribution. Critical habitat will support recovery of the dusky 
gopher frog by protecting sites across a large area of the species' 
historic range and providing space for population expansion, including 
in areas that will provide protection from the effects of local 
catastrophic events. See also our response to Comment 16.
General Comments Issue 5: Critical Habitat Designation on Lands Leased 
to the Military
    Comment 19: The Department of Defense, Army National Guard (DOD) 
opposes designation of critical habitat in areas within the Camp Shelby 
training site on DeSoto National Forest (DNF), Forrest County, 
Mississippi. DOD is concerned that the designation may negatively 
impact convoy and dismounted infantry training, and that the 
designation will be an additional financial burden on the military 
because DOD reimburses the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) for habitat 
management in the Special Use Permit (SUP) area. Although there are 
restrictions to military use of the SUP based on guidelines set up for 
red-cockaded woodpecker population recovery and protection, DOD 
believes training limitations would be more restrictive for a 
terrestrial (ground-dwelling) species. Additionally, DOD believes the 
proposed designation may affect plans to develop new training 
facilities within the proposed critical habitat areas, which are 
outlined in long-range planning documents. DOD believes that Camp 
Shelby training site should be excluded from the critical habitat 
designation, as authorized by section 4(b)(2) of the Act, due to 
significant national security concerns.
    Our Response: DOD has a SUP from USFS to conduct military exercises 
in Units 10, 11, and 12 of critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog 
in DNF. Permitted use by the military includes driving military 
vehicles on existing roads, and bivouacking or orienteering in the 
forested areas. No live ammunition can be used in the area, and 
wetlands are excluded from military use. This area of the DNF is also 
designated as the Leaf River Wildlife Management Area and is actively 
used by the public for hunting and other recreational activities. The 
area is managed by the USFS for timber and to benefit the recovery of 
the red-cockaded woodpecker. The Service has been working with our USFS 
partners for many years on habitat improvements in this area to benefit 
the recovery of the dusky gopher frog. The Service anticipates that no 
additional restrictions on military use of the area will result from 
the designation of critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog. Under 
terms of the SUP, DOD management responsibilities relative to the 
training area involve reimbursing USFS for damage to habitat within the 
DNF that is incurred during military exercises, whether or not critical 
habitat is designated there. However, additional incremental impacts to 
military activities are not expected because areas we designated as 
dusky gopher frog critical habitat areas used by Camp Shelby are 
located within a habitat management area (HMA) already established and 
managed for the red-cockaded woodpecker. The Service believes that the 
existing limitations to military activities occurring within the HMA 
are sufficiently protective of the gopher frog. A further discussion of 
the existing limitations to military activities occurring within the 
HMA has been added to the final economic analysis (FEA).
General Comments Issue 6: Science
    Comment 20: The Service failed to consider sound science when 
developing the revised proposed rule. The designation of Unit 1 as 
critical habitat is deeply flawed for scientific reasons and violates 
the Presidential Memorandum of Scientific Integrity. The agency actions 
for this designation are wholly devoid of sound science and undermine 
public trust.
    Our Response: Comments questioning aspects of the methodology and 
data used in our revised proposed designation of critical habitat for 
the dusky gopher frog have been addressed above under Comments 2, 3, 4, 
8, 15, 16, 17, and 18. Scientific peer review of our revised proposed 
rule supported the science that we used in developing the document. The 
commenter did not provide specifics about why the Service might be in 
violation of the President's March 9, 2009, Memorandum concerning 
Scientific Integrity; however, as illustrated below, we believe our 
rulemaking meets the standards set forth in the President's memorandum.
    In accordance with section 4 of the Act, we are required to use, 
and we used, the best available scientific and commercial information 
to make this critical habitat decision. Further, we followed the 
criteria, established procedures, and guidance from our Policy on 
Information Standards Under the Endangered Species Act (published in 
the Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34271)), the Information 
Quality Act (section 515 of the Treasury and General Government 
Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Pub. L. 106-554; H.R. 5658)), 
and our associated Information Quality Guidelines.
    In order to meet these ``best available scientific and commercial 
information'' standards, we found information from many different 
sources, including articles in peer-reviewed journals, scientific 
status surveys and studies, other unpublished materials, and experts' 
opinions or personal knowledge. Also, in accordance with our peer 
review policy published on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we solicited 
expert opinions from knowledgeable individuals with scientific 
expertise that included familiarity with the species, the geographic 
region in which the species occurs, and conservation biology 
principles. Additionally, we requested comments or information from 
other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific community, 
industry, and other interested parties concerning the revised proposed 
rule. We accepted comments during two open comment periods for a total 
of 105 days. All of the comments and information we received were 
considered in finalizing this critical habitat designation for the 
dusky gopher frog. All the supporting materials used for the final 
rule, including literature cited and comments from the public and peer 
reviewers, were made available for public inspection at the Web site:  
http://www.regulations.gov.
    In conclusion, we believe that we have used the best available 
scientific and commercial information for the designation of critical 
habitat for the dusky gopher frog, in compliance with the Act and in 
accordance with the President's March 9, 2009, Memorandum concerning 
Scientific Integrity (see Critical Habitat).

[[Page 35126]]

General Comments Issue 7: Economic Analysis
    Comment 21: Two commenters state that the estimated $36.2 million 
impact to development activities in proposed Unit 1 should be 
attributed to that unit and not viewed as an economic impact of the 
entire 7,015-acre proposed critical habitat area.
    Our Response: Exhibit ES-2 in the draft economic analysis (DEA) 
presents the incremental impacts of gopher frog conservation by unit 
and subunit. The impacts presented in this exhibit were revised in the 
final economic analysis (FEA) due to the reduction in acreage proposed 
in the Federal Register on January 17, 2012 (77 FR 2254). The FEA's 
Exhibit ES-2 includes incremental impacts attributable to the areas 
within proposed Unit 1 ranging from $0 to $33.9 million (assuming a 7 
percent discount rate). This range reflects uncertainty regarding 
future land use and gopher frog conservation and recovery 
recommendations in Unit 1. These impacts are described further in the 
text following this exhibit (paragraphs 12 and 13 in the FEA's 
Executive Summary), where the FEA notes that ``under scenarios 2 and 3, 
the greatest incremental impacts are forecast to occur within Unit 1 
where present value impacts are equal to $20.4 million or $33.9 
million, respectively (99.5 and 99.7 percent of overall incremental 
impacts), applying a seven percent discount rate.'' Also refer to the 
``Economic Analysis'' section of this rule.
    Comment 22: Multiple commenters assert that controlled burns 
necessary to properly manage habitat for the gopher frog within 
proposed Unit 1 will imperil homes and businesses in the vicinity. The 
commenters note that such burnings may halt development of adjacent 
lands resulting in the loss of revenue to the landowners and tax 
revenue to St. Tammany Parish and the State of Louisiana. In addition, 
burnings are a safety hazard for drivers along LA Highway 36, which 
runs through proposed critical habitat Unit 1.
    Our Response: In paragraph 78, the DEA acknowledges landowner 
concern that burning may lead to negative impacts in proposed Unit 1. 
However, as explained in footnote 76, critical habitat designation does 
not allow the Service to require burning of land parcels. If activities 
undertaken in Unit 1 have a Federal nexus (as assumed in scenarios 2 
and 3 in the DEA), the Service may request burning through the section 
7 consultation. Burning would be undertaken by experts following the 
issuance of a permit based on environmental conditions. In particular, 
wind conditions are considered when issuing a burning permit to ensure 
that smoke will not drift onto other properties or across roads. There 
is considerable uncertainty surrounding the frequency of future burns 
that may be requested by the Service and whether these burns would lead 
to any economic impacts; therefore incremental impacts associated with 
burns are not quantified in the DEA.
    Comment 23: One commenter describes the potential for oil and gas 
development in Unit 1 and questions why the DEA does not quantify 
economic impacts for oil and gas activities. In particular, the 
commenter indicates that consultation on oil and gas development 
activities under section 7 of the Act would lead to negative economic 
impacts. The commenter concludes that the DEA ignores the negative 
economic impact of consultation on oil and gas activities and is 
therefore fatally flawed.
    Our Response: Paragraph 79 of the DEA summarizes the potential for 
economic impacts to oil and gas activities in proposed Unit 1. The DEA 
concludes that it is possible that ``in the case oil and gas 
development occurs on this land, and a Federal nexus is present 
triggering section 7 consultation, that there may be economic impacts 
of critical habitat designation for the gopher frog on this activity.'' 
As summarized on pages ES-4 and ES-5, the DEA assumes that a Federal 
nexus is present under scenarios 2 and 3 because of the need for a 
Corps Clean Water Act Section 404 permit. The DEA assumes that there is 
no Federal nexus triggering section 7 consultation under scenario 1. 
Despite the fact that the DEA assumes a Federal nexus is present under 
scenarios 2 and 3, and the DEA indicates that economic impacts to oil 
and gas activities may be ``possible,'' the DEA does not quantify these 
impacts due to considerable uncertainty surrounding the likelihood, 
timing, and extent of oil and gas development within Unit 1 over the 
foreseeable future. Instead, the DEA qualitatively discusses the 
impacts that may occur, such as increased operational costs due to the 
need to use directional drilling to access oil and gas resources within 
proposed critical habitat areas.
    Comment 24: One comment indicates that the DEA underestimates 
adverse economic impacts in proposed Unit 1 by failing to quantify 
potential impacts to forestry activities. The commenter notes that in 
light of recent litigation and Federal agency initiatives, the 
likelihood of a Federal nexus for forestry activities is not zero and 
therefore costs associated with future consultation on these activities 
should be included in the analysis.
    Our Response: The DEA includes a section on potential impacts to 
forestry activities. Paragraph 95 of the DEA explains that, ``in 
general, normal silvicultural activities are exempt from section 404 
permitting requirements.'' Although this statement is currently true, 
recent litigation and Federal agency initiatives could create a 
circumstance in which silviculture operations are no longer exempt from 
section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) permitting 
requirements. A section has been added to the FEA in Chapter 4 to 
describe the recent and potential future changes. Nevertheless, 
considerable uncertainty surrounds these rulings and whether they will 
in fact change the permitting requirements for silvicultural operations 
in Mississippi and Louisiana within the next 20 years. It follows that 
the likelihood for these activities to be subject to section 7 
consultation considering the gopher frog and its habitat is likewise 
uncertain. Therefore, the FEA discusses this potential impact 
qualitatively.
    Comment 25: One comment asserts that the Service fails to seriously 
consider the burden that section 7 consultation will place on the 
landowners of proposed Unit 1. The commenter expresses concern that the 
consultation process itself, as well as the outcome of consultation on 
development within proposed Unit 1, will have negative economic 
impacts.
    Our Response: The DEA estimates a range of possible incremental 
economic impacts to development in Unit 1. Two of the possible 
scenarios include the administrative cost of section 7 consultation, as 
well as a range of impacts associated with the lost value of that land 
for development assuming that consultation leads to the Service 
recommending that development be avoided within all or part of the 
unit. The administrative costs of consultation applied in this analysis 
are summarized in Exhibit 2-2 and are based on a review of consultation 
records from several Service field offices across the country conducted 
in 2002, and the Federal Government Schedule rates. Costs associated 
with lost development value of the land within proposed Unit 1 are 
described in the DEA's section 4-1. The DEA also includes a scenario 
which assumes that development occurring within Unit 1 avoids impacts 
on jurisdictional wetlands, and therefore the landowners will not be 
required to consult with the Service regarding gopher frog critical 
habitat. This low-

[[Page 35127]]

end impact estimate is included due to uncertainty regarding the 
likelihood of a Federal nexus for development activities in Unit 1 and 
the conservation measures that the Service may recommended if 
consultation does occur.
    Comment 26: Multiple commenters assert that designation would lead 
to lost tax revenues for the local government and State.
    Our Response: The designation of critical habitat is not expected 
to have an effect on broader regional real estate demand and supply in 
St. Tammany Parish due to the existence of substitute sites for 
development activities. As a result, impacts to the regional 
construction industry and loss in revenue associated with home and 
business sales are not anticipated to occur. In addition, a reduction 
in housing supply is unlikely due to the existence of substitute sites, 
and, in turn, a measurable loss of tax revenue is not expected. A 
discussion of the potential effect on the regional real estate market 
has been added to the FEA.
    Comment 27: One commenter states that the DEA fails to consider the 
incremental impacts to future activities in Unit 1 that would be borne 
by future landowners residing within the unit after it has been 
developed for residential and commercial uses.
    Our Response: As described in section 4.1 of the DEA, under 
scenario 1, no Federal nexus compelling section 7 consultation would 
occur and therefore no additional economic burdens would be expected 
for those families and businesses that purchase developed lands. Under 
scenario 3, no development would occur and thus impacts would be 
expected to be limited to the existing landowners. Therefore, scenario 
2 is the only scenario in which both development and a Federal nexus 
would be expected to occur. Under this scenario, there is the potential 
that additional economic impacts could be incurred by landowners who 
purchase this developed property; however, this would occur only if the 
landowners undertake activities that result in a Federal nexus. The 
extent of these impacts would depend on the type and timing of future 
projects. In general, consultation with the Service at sites that have 
already been developed are rare. Given the inherent uncertainty, 
impacts to future landowners cannot be quantified in scenario 2.
    Comment 28: One commenter asserts that the Service unjustly ignores 
the negative economic impacts in Unit 1 on the landowners and St. 
Tammany Parish by deeming the impacts ``insignificant.''
    Our Response: In the revised proposed rule published in the Federal 
Register on September 27, 2011 (76 FR 59774), the Service states that, 
``if promulgated, the proposed designation would not directly have a 
significant effect on a substantial number of small business 
entities.'' This certification is based on the screening level analysis 
of the potential for gopher frog critical habitat designation to affect 
small entities contained in Appendix A of the DEA. The results of this 
screening analysis were revised in the FEA due to the reduction in 
acreage proposed in the Federal Register on January 17, 2012 (77 FR 
2254). The screening analysis in the FEA finds that five small entities 
will be affected by the designation of critical habitat for the gopher 
frog, accounting for 3.9 percent of the total small Land Subdividers 
within the counties containing critical habitat. In addition, this 
screening analysis finds that the annualized impact of the proposed 
designation of critical habitat within Unit 1 represents from zero to 
44.7 percent of the average annual revenue for the four small entities 
affected in Unit 1. Based on these findings in the screening analysis 
and the tests set forth under the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement 
Fairness Act (SBREFA), we certified that, ``if promulgated, the 
proposed designation would not directly have a significant effect on a 
substantial number of small business entities.''
    Comment 29: One commenter states that the benefits of designating 
proposed Unit 1 as critical habitat are vague and highly speculative 
and not quantified in the DEA on page 5-2.
    Our Response: As stated in paragraph 53 of the DEA, the ``primary 
purpose of the rulemaking (i.e., the direct benefit) is the potential 
to enhance conservation of the species.'' OMB acknowledges in its 
guidance for implementing Executive Order 12866 that it may not be 
feasible to monetize or quantify the benefits of environmental 
regulations due to either an absence of studies or a lack of resources 
on the implementing agency's part to conduct new research. Instead of 
relying on economic measures, the Service believes that the benefits of 
the proposed rule are best expressed in biological terms that can then 
be weighed against the expected costs of the rulemaking.
    Comment 30: One commenter asks whether having a Federal home loan 
or insurance would constitute a Federal nexus.
    Our Response: No. Federal home loans are not made directly to 
individuals by the Federal government. Transactions are made with 
member banks and decisions about lending are then made by member banks; 
therefore there is no Federal action agency with regard to critical 
habitat. With regard to Federal flood insurance, if the Federal 
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) were to undertake an action or fund 
an action that could impact critical habitat, it would need to consult 
with the Service on that action. However, when FEMA simply makes 
decisions regarding who receives Federal flood insurance, there is no 
action that would trigger consultation under the Act.
    Comment 31: Multiple commenters assert that the DEA fails to 
analyze all impacts of critical habitat designation, regardless of 
whether those impacts are co-extensive with those of the listing. These 
commenters cite the ruling in New Mexico Cattle Growers Association v. 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 248 F.3d 1277 (10th Cir. 2001), in 
which the Court ruled that economic analyses must consider the co-
extensive impacts of critical habitat designation.
    Our Response: The identification and estimation of incremental 
impacts is consistent with direction provided by the Office of 
Management and Budget (OMB) to Federal agencies for the estimation of 
the costs and benefits of Federal regulations (see OMB, Circular A-4, 
2003). It is also consistent with several recent court decisions, 
including Cape Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance v. U.S. Department 
of the Interior, 344 F. Supp. 2d 108 (D.D.C.) and Center for Biological 
Diversity v. U.S. Bureau of Land Management, 422 F. Supp. 2d 1115 (N.D. 
Cal. 2006). Those decisions found that estimation of incremental 
impacts, i.e., those stemming solely from the designation, is proper.
    Comment 32: One commenter states that the proposed designation of 
critical habitat in southern Forrest County, Units 8 and 9, will 
prevent future development and timber management in the area. The 
commenter believes that the economic costs to Forrest County and its 
citizens outweigh the benefits of designation.
    Our Response: As presented in Exhibit 1-1 of the DEA, all but 5 
acres of the land proposed for designation within Units 8 and 9 are 
federally managed. As described in section 3-1 of the DEA, the portions 
of proposed Units 8 and 9 that fall within the DNF are actively managed 
by the USFS for the benefit of the gopher frog. Costs associated with 
the designation of critical habitat within these areas are limited to 
the administrative cost of a programmatic consultation with USFS on 
their gopher frog management activities. Because the USFS has worked

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closely with the Service to develop their current management practices 
on these lands, no additional project modifications are expected to 
result from the consultation. Therefore, the DEA does not anticipate 
that future development or timber management will be affected by the 
designation of critical habitat. Therefore, the DEA does not estimate 
any costs to Forrest County or private landowners within Units 8 and 9.
    Comment 33: Multiple comments state that all privately owned lands, 
with the exception of those owned by supporters of the designation, 
should be excluded from the designation of critical habitat. These 
commenters assert that the proposed designation will negatively affect 
property values, the livelihood of landowners, and thus the local 
economy.
    Our Response: All known reasonably foreseeable economic impacts on 
privately owned lands are quantified in the DEA. In particular, section 
4.1 of the DEA quantifies potential impacts to land value within Unit 
1. In addition to these direct impacts to land value, paragraph 51 of 
the DEA describes the potential indirect stigma effect that the 
designation of critical habitat may have on property values. Measurable 
stigma effects are unlikely, and thus they are quantified in the DEA.

Summary of Changes From Revised Proposed Rule

    In preparing this final rule, we reviewed and fully considered 
comments from the public and peer reviewers that we received in 
response to our revised proposed rule designating critical habitat for 
the dusky gopher frog published in the Federal Register on September 
27, 2011 (76 FR 59774). Based on information we received from peer 
reviewers, we amended the methodology we used in constructing critical 
habitat units. This change is described in detail in our January 17, 
2012 publication announcing a public hearing in the Federal Register 
(77 FR 2254). Proposed changes included: combining all movement data 
from different studies conducted at the same site; discarding one field 
observation from the movement data because it did not provide specific 
information on breeding pond or upland habitat use; and standardizing 
all movement data to reflect straight-line distances between breeding 
ponds and uplands. As a result of these changes, proposed critical 
habitat for the dusky gopher frog was reduced by 193 ha (477 ac).
    During a review of aerial photography prior to making the final 
maps of critical habitat for this final rule, we identified an 
agricultural field within critical habitat Unit 10 as it was described 
in the revised proposed rule. Because this agricultural area does not 
contain habitat suitable for the dusky gopher frog, it has been removed 
from the critical habitat designation. This change resulted in a 
further reduction of critical habitat of 35 ha (87 ac).
    As a result of these two changes, there is a total reduction of 228 
ha (564 ac) from the critical habitat we proposed on September 27, 
2011, (76 FR 59774). In this rule we are designating approximately 
2,621 ha (6,477 ac) of critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog.

Critical Habitat

Background

    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the Act as:
    (1) The specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the 
species, at the time it is listed in accordance with the Act, on which 
are found those physical or biological features
    (a) Essential to the conservation of the species; and
    (b) Which may require special management considerations or 
protection; and
    (2) Specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the 
species at the time it is listed, upon a determination that such areas 
are essential for the conservation of the species.
    Conservation, as defined under section 3 of the Act, means to use 
and the use of all methods and procedures that are necessary to bring 
an endangered or threatened species to the point at which the measures 
provided under the Act are no longer necessary. Such methods and 
procedures include, but are not limited to, all activities associated 
with scientific resources management such as research, census, law 
enforcement, habitat acquisition and maintenance, propagation, live 
trapping, and transplantation.
    Critical habitat receives protection under section 7 of the Act 
through the requirement that Federal agencies ensure, in consultation 
with the Service, that any action they authorize, fund, or carry out is 
not likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification of 
critical habitat. The designation of critical habitat does not affect 
land ownership or establish a refuge, wilderness, reserve, preserve, or 
other conservation area. Such designation does not allow the government 
or public to access private lands. Such designation does not require 
implementation of restoration, recovery, or enhancement measures by 
non-Federal landowners. Where a landowner requests Federal agency 
funding or authorization for an action that may affect a listed species 
or critical habitat, the consultation requirements of section 7(a)(2) 
of the Act would apply, but even in the event of a destruction or 
adverse modification finding, the obligation of the Federal action 
agency and the landowner is not to restore or recover the species, but 
to implement reasonable and prudent alternatives to avoid destruction 
or adverse modification of critical habitat.
    Under the first prong of the Act's definition of critical habitat, 
areas within the geographic area occupied by the species at the time it 
was listed are included in a critical habitat designation if they 
contain the physical and biological features (1) which are essential to 
the conservation of the species and (2) which may require special 
management considerations or protection. For these areas, critical 
habitat designations identify, to the extent known using the best 
scientific and commercial data available, those physical or biological 
features that are essential to the conservation of the species (such as 
space, food, cover, and protected habitat). In identifying those 
physical and biological features within an area, we focus on the 
principal biological or physical constituent elements (primary 
constituent elements such as roost sites, nesting grounds, seasonal 
wetlands, water quality, tide, soil type) that are essential to the 
conservation of the species. Primary constituent elements are the 
elements of physical or biological features that, when laid out in the 
appropriate quantity and spatial arrangement to provide for a species' 
life-history processes, are essential to the conservation of the 
species.
    Under the second prong of the Act's definition of critical habitat, 
we can designate critical habitat in areas outside the geographic area 
occupied by the species at the time it is listed, upon a determination 
that such areas are essential for the conservation of the species. For 
example, an area currently occupied by the species but that was not 
occupied at the time of listing may be essential to the conservation of 
the species and may be included in the critical habitat designation. We 
designate critical habitat in areas outside the geographic area 
occupied by a species only when a designation limited to its range 
would be inadequate to ensure the conservation of the species.

[[Page 35129]]

    Section 4 of the Act requires that we designate critical habitat on 
the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available. 
Further, our Policy on Information Standards Under the Endangered 
Species Act (published in the Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 
34271)), the Information Quality Act (section 515 of the Treasury and 
General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Pub. L. 
106-554; H.R. 5658)), and our associated Information Quality 
Guidelines, provide criteria, establish procedures, and provide 
guidance to ensure that our decisions are based on the best scientific 
data available. They require our biologists, to the extent consistent 
with the Act and with the use of the best scientific data available, to 
use primary and original sources of information as the basis for 
recommendations to designate critical habitat.
    When we determine which areas should be designated as critical 
habitat, our primary source of information is generally the information 
developed during the listing process for the species. Additional 
information sources may include the recovery plan for the species, 
articles in peer-reviewed journals, conservation plans developed by 
States and counties, scientific status surveys and studies, biological 
assessments, other unpublished materials, or experts' opinions or 
personal knowledge.
    Habitat is dynamic, and species may move from one area to another 
over time. We recognize that critical habitat designated at a 
particular point in time may not include all of the habitat areas that 
we may later determine are necessary for the recovery of the species. 
For these reasons, a critical habitat designation does not signal that 
habitat outside the designated area is unimportant or may not be needed 
for recovery of the species. Areas that are important to the 
conservation of the species, both inside and outside the critical 
habitat designation, will continue to be subject to: (1) Conservation 
actions implemented under section 7(a)(1) of the Act; (2) regulatory 
protections afforded by the requirement in section 7(a)(2) of the Act 
for Federal agencies to ensure their actions are not likely to 
jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened 
species; and (3) the prohibitions of section 9 of the Act if actions 
occurring in these areas may affect the species. Federally funded or 
permitted projects affecting listed species outside their designated 
critical habitat areas may still result in jeopardy findings in some 
cases. These protections and conservation tools will continue to 
contribute to recovery of this species. Similarly, critical habitat 
designations made on the basis of the best available information at the 
time of designation will not control the direction and substance of 
future recovery plans, habitat conservation plans (HCPs), or other 
species conservation planning efforts if new information available at 
the time of these planning efforts calls for a different outcome.

Physical or Biological Features

    In accordance with section 3(5)(A)(i) and 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act and 
regulations at 50 CFR 424.12, in determining which areas within the 
geographic area occupied by the species at the time of listing to 
designate as critical habitat, we consider the physical or biological 
features essential to the conservation of the species and which may 
require special management considerations or protection. These include, 
but are not limited to:
    (1) Space for individual and population growth and for normal 
behavior;
    (2) Food, water, air, light, minerals, or other nutritional or 
physiological requirements;
    (3) Cover or shelter;
    (4) Sites for breeding, reproduction, or rearing (or development) 
of offspring; and
    (5) Habitats that are protected from disturbance or are 
representative of the historical, geographic, and ecological 
distributions of a species.
    We derive the specific physical or biological features required for 
the dusky gopher frog from studies of this species' habitat, ecology, 
and life history as described in the Critical Habitat section of the 
revised proposed rule to designate critical habitat published in the 
Federal Register on September 27, 2011 (76 FR 59774), and in the 
information presented below. Additional information can be found in the 
final listing rule published in the Federal Register on December 4, 
2001 (66 FR 62993). We have determined that the dusky gopher frog 
requires the following physical or biological features.
Space for Individual and Population Growth and for Normal Behavior
    Dusky gopher frogs are terrestrial amphibians endemic to the 
longleaf pine ecosystem. They spend most of their lives underground in 
forested habitat consisting of fire-maintained, open-canopied, pine 
woodlands historically dominated by longleaf pine (naturally occurring 
slash pine (Pinus elliottii) in wetter areas). Optimal habitat is 
created when management includes frequent fires, which support a 
diverse ground cover of herbaceous plants, both in the uplands and in 
the breeding ponds (Hedman et al. 2000, p. 233; Kirkman et al. 2000, p. 
373). Historically, fire-tolerant longleaf pine dominated the uplands; 
however, much of the original habitat has been converted to pine (often 
loblolly (P. taeda) or slash pine) plantations and has become a closed-
canopy forest unsuitable as habitat for dusky gopher frogs and other 
species of gopher frogs (Roznik and Johnson 2009a, p. 265).
    During the breeding season, dusky gopher frogs leave their 
subterranean retreats in the uplands and migrate to their breeding 
sites during rains associated with passing cold fronts. Breeding sites 
are ephemeral (seasonally flooded), isolated ponds (not connected to 
other water bodies) located in the uplands. Both forested uplands and 
isolated wetlands (see ``Sites for Breeding, Reproduction, or Rearing 
(or Development) of Offspring'' for further discussion of isolated 
wetlands) are needed to provide space for individual and population 
growth and for normal behavior.
    After breeding, adult dusky gopher frogs leave pond sites during 
major rainfall events; metamorphic frogs follow, after their 
development is complete. Limited data are available on the distance 
between the wetland breeding and upland terrestrial habitats of post-
larval and adult dusky gopher frogs. Richter et al. (2001, pp. 316-321) 
used radio transmitters to track a total of 13 adult frogs at Glen's 
Pond, the primary dusky gopher frog breeding site, located in Harrison 
County, Mississippi. The farthest movement recorded was 299 meters (m) 
(981 feet (ft)) by a frog tracked for 63 days from the time of its exit 
from the breeding site (Richter et al. 2001, p. 318). Tupy and Pechmann 
(2011, p. 1) conducted a more recent radio telemetry study of 17 dusky 
gopher frogs captured at Glen's Pond. The maximum distance traveled by 
these frogs to underground refuges was 240 m (787 ft).
    Studies of a closely related gopher frog (Rana capito) in Florida, 
Georgia, and North Carolina, have documented surprisingly long 
movements between their breeding ponds and upland refugia. In a study 
in the sandhills of North Carolina, the post-breeding movements of 17 
gopher frogs were tracked (Humphries and Sisson 2011, p. 1). The 
maximum distance a frog was found from its breeding site was 3.5 
kilometers (km) (2.2 miles (mi)). In Florida, gopher frogs have been 
found up to 2 km (1.2 mi) from their breeding

[[Page 35130]]

sites (Franz et al. 1988, p. 82). The frequency of these long-distance 
movements is not known (see discussion in Roznik et al. 2009, p. 192). 
A number of other gopher frog studies have either generated data on 
radio-tracked frogs, or provided observations of them, in upland 
habitat at varying distances from their breeding ponds. We assessed 
these studies, and when multiple studies were conducted on a single 
population, we combined data for each site (we also combined the two 
data sets for dusky gopher frog). In the additional gopher frog 
studies, the maximum straight-line distances from pond to upland 
refugia are: 300 m (984 ft) (Georgia; Rostal 1999, p. 1); 525 m (1,722 
ft) (Georgia; Neufeldt and Birkhead 2001, p. 10); 571 m (1,873 ft) 
(Florida; Blihovde 2006, p. 267); and 862 m (2,828 ft) (Florida; Roznik 
2007, p. 10).
    It is difficult to interpret specific habitat use for the dusky 
gopher frog from the limited available data. Movements are generally 
between breeding sites and belowground refugia, and distances moved are 
likely to be tied to the abundance and distribution of appropriate 
refugia. We have assumed that the dusky gopher frog can move farther 
distances, and may use a larger area, than the existing data for the 
species indicate. For this reason, we used data from the dusky gopher 
frog and other species of gopher frogs to estimate the potential 
distance a dusky gopher frog may move between its breeding pond and 
upland refugia. These seven values included the longest movement 
recorded for the dusky gopher frog, 299 m (981 ft), and the six values 
for other species of gopher frogs as described in the paragraph above. 
We then took the median value of all the dusky gopher frog and gopher 
frog movement data available to us (571 m (1,873 ft)), and used this 
value to construct the area of critical habitat around each occupied or 
unoccupied dusky gopher frog breeding pond. See also Summary of Changes 
from Revised Proposed Rule, above.
    Due to the low number of occupied sites for the species, and with 
the cooperation of our Federal, State, and nongovernmental agency 
partners, management has been conducted at specific sites to improve 
habitat for dusky gopher frogs with the hope of establishing new 
populations at the sites (see ``Criteria Used To Identify Critical 
Habitat''). When possible, we are managing wetlands in these areas 
within 1,000 m (3,281 ft) of each other as a block in order to create 
multiple breeding sites and metapopulation structure (defined as 
neighboring local populations close enough to one another that 
dispersing individuals could be exchanged (gene flow) at least once per 
generation) in support of recovery (Marsh and Trenham 2001, p. 40; 
Richter et al. 2003, p. 177).
    Due to fragmentation and destruction of habitat, the current range 
of naturally occurring dusky gopher frogs has been reduced to three 
sites (Glen's Pond, Mike's Pond, and McCoy's Pond). In addition, 
optimal terrestrial habitat for gopher frogs is considered to be within 
burrows of the gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus), a rare and 
declining species that is listed as threatened under the Act within the 
range of the dusky gopher frog. Therefore, this specialized 
microhabitat has been reduced as well. Fragmentation and loss of the 
dusky gopher frog's habitat has subjected the species' small, isolated 
populations to genetic isolation and reduction of space for 
reproduction, development of young, and population maintenance; thus, 
the likelihood of population extinction has increased (U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service 2001, pp. 62993-63002). Genetic variation and 
diversity within a species are essential for recovery, adaptation to 
environmental changes, and long-term viability (capability to live, 
reproduce, and develop) (Harris 1984, pp. 93-107). Long-term viability 
is founded on the existence of numerous interbreeding, local 
populations throughout the range (Harris 1984, pp. 93-107).
    Connectivity of dusky gopher frog breeding and nonbreeding habitat 
within the geographic area occupied by the species must be maintained 
to support the species' survival. Additionally, connectivity of these 
sites with other areas outside the geographic area occupied currently 
by the dusky gopher frog is essential for the conservation of the 
species. Research on other species of pond-breeding amphibians 
demonstrates the importance of connectivity of breeding and nonbreeding 
habitat, as well as occupied and unoccupied sites (Semlitsch 2002, p. 
624; Harper et al. 2008, p. 1205). Connectivity allows for gene flow 
among local populations within a metapopulation, which enhances the 
likelihood of metapopulation persistence and allows for recolonization 
of sites that are lost due to drought, disease, or other factors 
(Hanski and Gilpin 1991, pp. 4-6).
Food, Water, Air, Light, Minerals, or Other Nutritional or 
Physiological Requirements
    Dusky gopher frog tadpoles eat periphyton (microscopic algae, 
bacteria, and protozoans) from surfaces of emergent vegetation or along 
the pond bottom, as is typical of pond-type tadpoles (Duellman and 
Trueb 1986, p. 159). Juvenile and adult gopher frogs are carnivorous. 
Insects found in their stomachs have included carabid (Pasimachus sp.) 
and scarabaeid (genera Canthon sp. and Ligyrus sp.) beetles (Netting 
and Goin 1942, p. 259) and Ceuthophilus crickets (Milstrey 1984, p. 
10). Dusky gopher frogs are gape-limited (limited by the size of the 
jaw opening) predators with a diet probably similar to that reported 
for other gopher frogs, including other frogs, toads, beetles, 
hemipterans, grasshoppers, spiders, roaches, and earthworms (Dickerson 
1969, p. 196; Carr 1940, p. 64). Within the pine uplands, a diverse and 
abundant herbaceous layer consisting of native species, maintained by 
frequent fires, is important to maintain the prey base for juvenile and 
adult dusky gopher frogs. Wetland water quality and an open canopy 
(Skelly et al. 2002, p. 983) are important to the maintenance of the 
periphyton that serves as a food source for dusky gopher frog tadpoles.
Cover or Shelter
    Amphibians need to maintain moist skin for respiration (breathing) 
and osmoregulation (controlling the amounts of water and salts in their 
bodies) (Duellman and Trueb 1986, pp. 197-222). Because dusky gopher 
frogs disperse from their aquatic breeding sites to the uplands where 
they live as adults, desiccation (drying out) can be a limiting factor 
in their movements. Thus, it is important that areas connecting their 
wetland and terrestrial habitats are protected in order to provide 
cover and appropriate moisture regimes during their migration. Richter 
et al. (2001, pp. 317-318) found that during migration, dusky gopher 
frogs used clumps of grass or leaf litter for refuge. Protection of 
this connecting habitat may be particularly important for juveniles as 
they move out of the breeding pond for the first time. Studies of 
migratory success in post-metamorphic amphibians have demonstrated the 
importance of high levels of survival of these individuals to 
population maintenance and persistence (Rothermel 2004, pp. 1544-1545).
    Both adult and juvenile dusky gopher frogs spend most of their 
lives underground in forested uplands (Richter et al. 2001, p. 318). 
Underground retreats include gopher tortoise burrows, small mammal 
burrows, stump holes, and root mounds of fallen trees (Richter et al. 
2001, p. 318). Availability of appropriate underground sites is 
especially

[[Page 35131]]

important for juveniles in their first year. Survival of juvenile 
gopher frogs in north-central Florida was found to be dependent on 
their use of underground refugia (Roznik and Johnson 2009b, p. 431). 
Gopher frogs that did not occupy an underground refuge experienced much 
higher levels of mortality when compared with those that did occupy 
underground refuges (Roznik and Johnson 2009b, p. 434).
Sites for Breeding, Reproduction, or Rearing (or Development) of 
Offspring
    Dusky gopher frog breeding sites are isolated ponds that dry 
completely on a cyclic basis. Faulkner (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
2001, p. 62994) conducted hydrologic research at the Glen's Pond site 
in DNF, Harrison County, Mississippi. He described the pond as a 
depressional feature on a topographic high. The dominant source of 
water to the pond is rainfall within a small, localized watershed that 
extends 61 to 122 m (200 to 400 ft) from the pond's center. Substantial 
winter rains are needed to ensure that the pond fills sufficiently to 
allow hatching, development, and metamorphosis (change to adults) of 
larvae. The timing and frequency of rainfall are critical to the 
successful reproduction and recruitment of dusky gopher frogs. Adult 
frogs move to wetland breeding sites during heavy rain events, usually 
from January to late March (Richter and Seigel 2002, p. 964).
    Studies at Glen's Pond indicate that this breeding pond is 
approximately 1.5 ha (3.8 ac) when filled and attains a maximum depth 
of 1.1 m (3.6 ft) (Thurgate and Pechmann 2007, p. 1846). The pond is 
hard-bottomed, contains emergent and submergent vegetation, and has an 
open canopy cover. It is especially important that a breeding pond have 
an open canopy; although the mechanism is unclear, it is believed an 
open canopy is critical to tadpole development. Experiments conducted 
by Thurgate and Pechmann (2007, pp. 1845-1852) demonstrated the lethal 
and sublethal effects of canopy closure on dusky gopher frog tadpoles. 
Canopy closure reduced the number of tadpoles that survived to 
metamorphosis and reduced the growth rates of those that did survive so 
that they were smaller at metamorphosis (Thurgate and Pechmann 2007, 
pp. 1845). The general habitat attributes of the other three dusky 
gopher frog breeding ponds are similar to those of Glen's Pond. Female 
dusky gopher frogs attach their eggs to rigid vertical stems of 
emergent vegetation (Young 1997, p. 48). Breeding ponds typically dry 
in early to mid-summer, but on occasion have remained wet until early 
fall (Richter and Seigel 1998, p. 24). Breeding ponds of closely 
related gopher frogs in Alabama (east of the Mobile River drainage) and 
Florida have similar structure and function to those of the dusky 
gopher frog (Bailey 1990, p. 29; Palis 1998, p. 217; Greenberg 2001, p. 
74).
    An unpolluted wetland with water free of predaceous fish, suspended 
sediment, pesticides, and chemicals associated with road runoff is 
important for egg development, tadpole growth and development, and 
successful mating and egg-laying by adult frogs. For further 
information see our December 4, 2001, listing rule (66 FR 62993).
Primary Constituent Elements for the Dusky Gopher Frog
    Under the Act and its implementing regulations, we are required to 
identify the physical or biological features essential to the 
conservation of the dusky gopher frog in areas occupied at the time of 
listing, focusing on the features' primary constituent elements. We 
consider primary constituent elements to be the elements of physical or 
biological features that, when laid out in the appropriate quantity and 
spatial arrangement to provide for a species' life-history processes, 
are essential to the conservation of the species.
    Based on our current knowledge of the physical or biological 
features (discussed above) and habitat characteristics required to 
sustain the species' life-history processes, we determine that the 
primary constituent elements specific to the dusky gopher frog are:
    (1) Primary Constituent Element 1--Ephemeral wetland habitat. 
Breeding ponds, geographically isolated from other waterbodies and 
embedded in forests historically dominated by longleaf pine 
communities, that are small (generally <0.4 to 4.0 ha (<1 to 10 ac)), 
ephemeral, and acidic. Specific conditions necessary in breeding ponds 
to allow for successful reproduction of dusky gopher frogs are:
    (a) An open canopy with emergent herbaceous vegetation for egg 
attachment;
    (b) An absence of large, predatory fish that prey on frog larvae;
    (c) Water quality such that frogs, their eggs, or larvae are not 
exposed to pesticides or chemicals and sediment associated with road 
runoff; and
    (d) Surface water that lasts for a minimum of 195 days during the 
breeding season to allow a sufficient period for larvae to hatch, 
mature, and metamorphose.
    (2) Primary Constituent Element 2--Upland forested nonbreeding 
habitat. Forests historically dominated by longleaf pine, adjacent to 
and accessible to and from breeding ponds, that are maintained by fires 
frequent enough to support an open canopy and abundant herbaceous 
ground cover and gopher tortoise burrows, small mammal burrows, stump 
holes, or other underground habitat that the dusky gopher frog depends 
upon for food, shelter, and protection from the elements and predation.
    (3) Primary Constituent Element 3--Upland connectivity habitat. 
Accessible upland habitat between breeding and nonbreeding habitats to 
allow for dusky gopher frog movements between and among such sites. 
This habitat is characterized by an open canopy, abundant native 
herbaceous species, and a subsurface structure that provides shelter 
for dusky gopher frogs during seasonal movements, such as that created 
by deep litter cover, clumps of grass, or burrows.
    With this designation of critical habitat, we intend to identify 
the physical or biological features essential to the conservation of 
the species through the identification of the elements of the features, 
the primary constituent elements, that support the life-history 
processes of the species. The Service has determined that Unit 2a 
contained all of the PCEs, Units 2b through 12 are essential to the 
conservation of the species and also contain all of the PCEs, and Unit 
1 is essential to the conservation of the species and contains one of 
the PCEs.

Special Management Considerations or Protection

    When designating critical habitat, we assess whether the specific 
areas within the geographic area occupied by the species at the time of 
listing contain features that are essential to the conservation of the 
species and which may require special management considerations or 
protection.
    All areas occupied at the time of listing will require some level 
of management to address the current and future threats to the dusky 
gopher frog and to maintain or restore the PCEs. Unoccupied areas will 
also require management to complete restoration. The features essential 
to the conservation of this species may require special management 
considerations or protection to reduce various threats to critical 
habitat that may affect one or more of the PCEs. Special management of 
ephemeral wetland habitats ((breeding sites (PCE 1)) will be needed to 
ensure that these areas provide water

[[Page 35132]]

quantity, quality, and appropriate hydroperiod; cover; and absence from 
levels of predation and disease that can affect population persistence. 
In nonbreeding upland forested habitat (PCEs 2 and 3), special 
management will be needed to ensure an open canopy and abundant 
herbaceous ground cover; underground habitat for adult and subadult 
frogs to occupy; and sufficient cover as frogs migrate to and from 
breeding sites. A detailed discussion of activities influencing the 
dusky gopher frog and its habitat can be found in the final listing 
rule (66 FR 62993; December 4, 2001). Activities that may warrant 
special management of the physical or biological features that define 
essential habitat (appropriate quantity and distribution of PCEs) for 
the dusky gopher frog include, but are not limited to: (1) Land use 
conversions, primarily urban development and conversion to agriculture 
and pine plantations; (2) stump removal and other soil-disturbing 
activities that destroy the belowground structure within forest soils; 
(3) fire suppression and low fire frequencies; (4) wetland destruction 
and degradation; (5) random effects of drought or floods; (6) off-road 
vehicle use; (7) maintenance of gas, water, electrical power, and sewer 
easements; and (8) activities that disturb underground refugia used by 
dusky gopher frogs for foraging, protection from predators, and shelter 
from the elements.
    Special management considerations or protection are required within 
critical habitat areas to address the threats identified above. 
Management activities that could ameliorate these threats include (but 
are not limited to): (1) Maintaining critical habitat areas as forested 
pine habitat (preferably longleaf pine); (2) conducting forestry 
management using prescribed burning, avoiding the use of beds when 
planting trees, and reducing planting densities to create or maintain 
an open canopied forest with abundant herbaceous ground cover; (3) 
maintaining forest underground structure such as gopher tortoise 
burrows, small mammal burrows, and stump holes; (4) and protecting 
ephemeral wetland breeding sites from chemical and physical changes to 
the site that could occur by presence or construction of ditches or 
roads.

Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat

    As required by section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act, we use the best 
scientific and commercial data available to designate critical habitat. 
We reviewed available information pertaining to the habitat 
requirements of the species. In accordance with the Act and its 
implementing regulation at 50 CFR 424.12(e), we consider whether 
designating additional areas--outside those currently occupied as well 
as those occupied at the time of listing--are necessary to ensure the 
conservation of the species. We are designating critical habitat in 
areas within the geographic area occupied by the species at the time of 
listing in 2001. We also are designating specific areas outside the 
geographic area occupied by the species at the time of listing, 
including those that are currently occupied, and others which are 
currently unoccupied. Most of the unoccupied areas designated as 
critical habitat are part of ongoing recovery initiatives for this 
species. We have determined that all areas designated as critical 
habitat outside the area occupied by the species at the time of listing 
are essential for the conservation of the species.
    Dusky gopher frogs require small, isolated, ephemeral, acidic, 
depressional standing bodies of freshwater for breeding; upland pine 
forested habitat that has an open canopy maintained by fire 
(preferably) for nonbreeding habitat; and upland connectivity habitat 
areas that allow for movement between nonbreeding and breeding sites. 
Dusky gopher frog populations are likely to function as metapopulations 
when occupied habitat is improved and that option is available to them 
since other species of gopher frogs behave in this way. In certain 
years and under certain conditions, dusky gopher frogs may move from 
ponds that become unsuitable to others that are suitable. Or in some 
years, if ponds fail to fill with water, local extirpations may occur 
and dusky gopher frogs from adjacent ponds may recolonize those sites 
when they fill with water again. The range of the dusky gopher frog has 
been severely curtailed, occupied habitats are limited and isolated, 
and population sizes are extremely small and at risk of extirpation and 
extinction from stochastic events that occur as periodic natural events 
or existing or potential human-induced events (U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service 2001, pp. 62993-63002). To reduce the risk of extinction 
through these processes, it is important to establish multiple 
protected subpopulations across the landscape (Soul[eacute] and 
Simberloff 1986, pp. 25-35; Wiens 1996, pp. 73-74). We considered the 
following criteria in the selection of areas that contain the essential 
features for the dusky gopher frog when designating units: (1) The 
historical distribution of the species; (2) presence of open-canopied, 
isolated wetlands; (3) presence of open-canopied, upland pine forest in 
sufficient quantity around each wetland location to allow for 
sufficient survival and recruitment to maintain a breeding population 
over the long term; (4) open-canopied, forested connectivity habitat 
between wetland and upland sites; and (5) multiple isolated wetlands in 
upland habitat that would allow for the development of metapopulations.
    We began our determination of which areas to designate as critical 
habitat for the dusky gopher frog with an assessment of the critical 
life-history components of the dusky gopher frog, as they relate to 
habitat. We then evaluated the dusky gopher frog in the context of its 
historic (Alabama (west of the Mobile River drainage), Louisiana, and 
Mississippi) and current (Mississippi) distribution to establish what 
portion of its range still contains the physical and biological 
features that are essential to the conservation of the species. We 
reviewed the available information pertaining to historic and current 
distributions, life histories, and habitat requirements of this 
species. We focused on the identification of ephemeral wetland habitats 
in our analysis because they are requisite sites for population 
survival and conservation and their rarity in the environment is one of 
the primary reasons that the frog is endangered. Our sources included 
surveys, unpublished reports, and peer-reviewed scientific literature 
prepared by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural 
Resources, Alabama Natural Heritage Program, Louisiana Department of 
Wildlife and Fisheries, Natural Heritage Program, Mississippi 
Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, and dusky gopher frog 
researchers and other herpetologists that specialize in frogs; Service 
data and publications such as the final listing rule for the dusky 
gopher frog; and Geographic Information System (GIS) data (such as 
species occurrence data, habitat data, land use, topography, digital 
aerial photography, and ownership maps).
    In Alabama, we were unable to identify habitat that met the 
requirements for sustaining the essential life-history functions of the 
species. No historical breeding sites for the species are known in 
Alabama. The only dusky gopher frog (as currently described) record 
from Alabama was an observation by L[ouml]ding in 1922, and summarized 
in Wright and Wright (1949, p. 539). L[ouml]ding found three gopher 
frogs under drift logs on the beach of Mobile Bay just south of the 
mouth of Dog River, Mobile County,

[[Page 35133]]

Alabama. Bailey (1994, pp. 4-5) visited this area in 1993, and found it 
to be a residential development, although large longleaf pine trees in 
lawns and vacant lots indicated the area could have formerly been 
suitable upland habitat for gopher frogs. Neither L[ouml]ding nor 
Bailey located a possible breeding site in the vicinity of the record. 
Researchers have conducted two studies in southwestern Alabama to look 
for habitat that could support dusky gopher frogs. Hart (2004, pp. 1-9) 
initiated a remote sensing study using aerial photography of Mobile and 
Washington Counties, Alabama, to find open, isolated ponds in proximity 
to forested terrain. This technique was used to identify sites with the 
potential for supporting dusky gopher frog populations. Hart (2004, pp. 
1-9) conducted field assessments of 41 ponds in Mobile County, Alabama, 
but habitat quality at these ponds was limited. Ponds were overgrown 
with woody vegetation and lacked the emergent vegetation necessary for 
dusky gopher frog egg attachment (Hart 2004, p. 9). Additional ponds 
were identified remotely in Washington County, Alabama, but were not 
visited, and their habitat quality is unknown. Bailey (2009, pp. 1-14) 
used a similar remote sensing technique to locate a total of 21 ponds 
in Choctaw, Mobile, and Washington Counties, Alabama. However, this was 
a coarse filter approach, and field assessments were not possible due 
to drought conditions and inaccessibility resulting from site 
isolation. No areas suitable for conservation of the dusky gopher frog 
were identified in either of the remote sensing studies. No dusky 
gopher frog populations in Alabama were discovered during field 
assessments associated with Hart's (2004, pp. 1-9) study. At this time, 
the Service has not been able to identify suitable areas in Alabama 
that are essential for the conservation of the dusky gopher frog; thus, 
none are being designated as critical habitat.
    In Louisiana, the dusky gopher frog was last observed in 1965. The 
Service visited the area of historic dusky gopher frog occurrence in 
St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, and conducted a habitat assessment in 
March 2011. The area is managed for timber by a company conducting 
industrial forestry. Although the surrounding uplands are poor-quality 
terrestrial habitat for dusky gopher frogs, we visited at least five 
ephemeral ponds, including the last known record of the species in 
Louisiana. These ponds were intact and of remarkable quality. This same 
area was surveyed for gopher frogs in the 1990s and 2000s. During those 
visits, the ephemeral ponds were considered similar in appearance 
(water clarity, depth, vegetation) to ponds in Mississippi used for 
breeding by the dusky gopher frog (Thomas and Ballew 1997, p. 6; 
Leonard et al. 2003, pp. 7-8; Pechmann et al. 2006, pp. 8, 10). Our 
observations in 2011 indicated the Louisiana ponds were little changed 
from the descriptions provided by the previous surveyors. In addition, 
the ponds are in close proximity to each other, which would allow 
movement of adult gopher frogs between them. In fact, no group of five 
ponds such as these was found in any of the areas of historical 
occurrence that we have searched in Mississippi. Dusky gopher frogs 
exhibit high larval and juvenile mortality. Multiple breeding sites 
protect against catastrophic loss at any one site and provide 
opportunity for recolonization. This is an especially important aspect 
of critical habitat for dusky gopher frogs due to their limited 
population numbers. The multiple ponds present at the St. Tammany 
Parish site provide metapopulation structure that supports long-term 
survival and population resiliency. As a result, the Service determined 
that this area of St. Tammany Parish (Unit 1) is essential for the 
conservation of the dusky gopher frog.
    In Mississippi, we identified ephemeral wetland habitat throughout 
the coastal counties within the historic distribution of the dusky 
gopher frog using U.S. Geological Survey topographic maps, National 
Wetland Inventory maps, Natural Resource Conservation Service county 
soil survey maps, and satellite imagery. Because we had previously 
identified existing sites with habitat essential for the conservation 
of the dusky gopher frog in our 2010 proposed rule (75 FR 31387), we 
searched for additional habitat with the best potential of restoring 
the physical and biological features essential for the conservation of 
the dusky gopher frog. We found these areas were concentrated on the 
DNF in Forrest, Harrison, and Perry Counties in southern Mississippi. 
Some additional sites were found in Jackson County on Federal land 
being managed by the State as a Wildlife Management Area and on private 
land being managed as a wetland mitigation bank. Once these areas were 
identified, we coordinated with our partners in the U.S. Forest 
Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Mississippi Department 
of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks, and The Nature Conservancy as they 
worked on habitat restoration efforts at the sites. The habitat quality 
of isolated ephemeral wetlands and the upland pine forests surrounding 
them were improved to benefit the recovery of the dusky gopher frog. 
The habitat restoration efforts have been successful in establishing or 
improving the quality of the three PCEs required to sustain the dusky 
gopher frog's life-history processes on each of these sites. Therefore, 
the Service has determined that these unoccupied sites are essential 
for the conservation of the species.
    Only one subunit (Unit 2, subunit A) is known to have been occupied 
at the time of listing. We believe this occupied area contains 
sufficient PCEs to support life-history functions essential to the 
conservation of the species; however, this lone area is not sufficient 
to conserve the species. Therefore, sites not known to be occupied at 
the time of listing have also been designated as critical habitat. 
Three units/subunits (Unit 4, subunit A; Unit 5, subunit A; and Unit 7) 
are currently occupied by the dusky gopher frog, but were discovered or 
established subsequent to the listing of the species. Eleven units/
subunits, not known to be occupied at the time of listing but within 
the historic range of the species, are also currently unoccupied. The 
inclusion of these eleven areas will provide habitat for population 
translocation and support recovery efforts for the dusky gopher frog. 
One of the unoccupied units (Unit 1) represents an historic record for 
the dusky gopher frog. The historic occupancy status of the other 10 
units/subunits is unknown. All 14 units/subunits not known to be 
occupied at the time of listing have been designated as critical 
habitat because the Service has determined they are essential for the 
conservation of the species. The dusky gopher frog is at high risk of 
extirpation from stochastic events, such as disease or drought, and 
from demographic factors such as inbreeding depression. The 
establishment of additional populations beyond the single site known to 
be occupied at listing is critical to protect the species from 
extinction and provide for the species' eventual recovery.
    We have determined that, with proper protection and management, the 
areas we are designating as critical habitat are essential for the 
conservation of the species based on our current understanding of the 
species' requirements. However, as discussed in the Critical Habitat 
section above, we recognize that designation of critical habitat may 
not include all habitat areas that we may eventually determine are 
necessary for the recovery of the species

[[Page 35134]]

and that, for this reason, a critical habitat designation does not 
signal that habitat outside the designated area is unimportant or may 
not promote the recovery of the species.
    We delineated the critical habitat unit boundaries using the 
following steps:
    (1) We used digital aerial photography using ArcMap 9.3.1 to map
    (a) The specific location of the breeding site occupied by the 
dusky gopher frog at the time of listing, and
    (b) Those locations of breeding sites outside the geographic area 
occupied by the species at the time it was listed, that are currently 
occupied and not occupied, that were determined to be essential for the 
conservation of the species;
    (2) We delineated critical habitat units by buffering the above 
locations by a radius of 621 m (2,037 ft). We believe the area created 
will protect the majority of a dusky gopher frog population's breeding 
and upland habitat and incorporate all primary constituent elements 
within the critical habitat unit. We chose the value of 621 m (2,037 
ft) by using the median farthest distance movement (571 m (1,873 ft)) 
from data collected during multiple studies of the gopher frog group 
(see ``Space for Individual and Population Growth and for Normal 
Behavior'') and adding 50 m (164 ft) to this distance to minimize the 
edge effects of the surrounding land use (see discussion in Semlitsch 
and Bodie 2003, pp. 1222-1223);
    (3) We used aerial imagery and ArcMap to connect critical habitat 
areas within 1,000 m (3,281 ft) of each other to create routes for gene 
flow between breeding sites and metapopulation structure (see ``Space 
for Individual and Population Growth and for Normal Behavior'').
    When determining critical habitat boundaries within this final 
rule, we made every effort to avoid including developed areas, such as 
lands covered by buildings, pavement, and other structures, because 
such lands lack physical or biological features for the dusky gopher 
frog. The scale of the maps we prepared under the parameters for 
publication within the Code of Federal Regulations may not reflect the 
exclusion of such developed lands. Any such lands inadvertently left 
inside critical habitat boundaries shown on the maps of this final rule 
have been excluded by text in the rule and are not designated as 
critical habitat. Therefore, a Federal action involving these lands 
will not trigger section 7 consultation with respect to critical 
habitat and the requirement of no adverse modification unless the 
specific action would affect the physical or biological features in the 
adjacent critical habitat.
    We are designating as critical habitat twelve units, three of which 
are divided into two subunits each, based on sufficient elements of 
physical or biological features present to support dusky gopher frog 
life processes. Some units/subunits contain all of the identified 
elements of physical or biological features and support multiple life 
processes. Other units contain only some elements of the physical or 
biological features necessary to support the dusky gopher frog's 
particular use of that habitat.

Final Critical Habitat Designation

    We are designating 15 units/subunits as critical habitat for the 
dusky gopher frog. The critical habitat areas described below 
constitute our current best assessment at this time of areas that meet 
the definition of critical habitat. Table 1 below shows the specific 
occupancy status of each unit/subunit at the time of listing and 
currently, based on the most recent data available.

                  Table 1--Occupancy of Dusky Gopher Frog by Designated Critical Habitat Units
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                            Not occupied at     Not occupied at
                                                        Occupied at the       the time of         the time of
              Unit                   Parish/county     time of listing,   listing, currently  listing, currently
                                                      currently occupied       occupied           unoccupied
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    LOUISIANA
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1...............................  St. Tammany.......  ..................  ..................                  X
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                   MISSISSIPPI
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2, Subunit A....................  Harrison..........                  X   ..................  ..................
2, Subunit B....................  Harrison..........  ..................  ..................                  X
3...............................  Harrison..........  ..................  ..................                  X
4, Subunit A....................  Jackson...........  ..................                  X   ..................
4, Subunit B....................  Jackson...........  ..................  ..................                  X
5, Subunit A....................  Jackson...........  ..................                  X   ..................
5, Subunit B....................  Jackson...........  ..................  ..................                  X
6...............................  Jackson...........  ..................  ..................                  X
7...............................  Jackson...........  ..................                  X   ..................
8...............................  Forrest...........  ..................  ..................                  X
9...............................  Forrest...........  ..................  ..................                  X
10..............................  Perry.............  ..................  ..................                  X
11..............................  Perry.............  ..................  ..................                  X
12..............................  Perry.............  ..................  ..................                  X
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Table 2 provides the approximate area and ownership of each 
critical habitat unit. Hectare and acre values were individually 
computer-generated using GIS software, rounded to nearest whole number, 
and then summed.

[[Page 35135]]



                                                       Table 2--Designated Critical Habitat Units for Dusky Gopher Frog by Land Ownership
                                            [Area estimates (hectares (ha) and acres (ac)) reflect all land within critical habitat unit boundaries]
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                         Ownership
               Unit                     Parish/county     ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------            Total area
                                                                        Federal                            State                            Private
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                            LOUISIANA
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.................................  St. Tammany..........  ................................  ................................  625 ha..........................  625 ha
                                                                                                                               (1,544 ac)......................  (1,544 ac)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                           MISSISSIPPI
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2, Subunit A......................  Harrison.............  100 ha..........................  ................................  21 ha...........................  121 ha
                                                           (247 ac)........................                                    (52 ac).........................  (299 ac)
2, Subunit B......................  Harrison.............  425 ha..........................  ................................  3 ha............................  428 ha
                                                           (1,050 ac)......................                                    (7 ac)..........................  (1,057 ac)
3.................................  Harrison.............  121 ha..........................  ................................  ................................  121 ha
                                                           (299 ac)........................                                                                      (299 ac)
4, Subunit A......................  Jackson..............  ................................  ................................  121 ha..........................  121 ha
                                                                                                                               (299 ac)........................  (299 ac)
4, Subunit B......................  Jackson..............  48 ha...........................  ................................  109 ha..........................  157 ha
                                                           (119 ac)........................                                    (269 ac)........................  (388 ac)
5, Subunit A......................  Jackson..............  ................................  ................................  121 ha..........................  121 ha
                                                                                                                               (299 ac)........................  (299 ac)
5, Subunit B......................  Jackson..............  ................................  ................................  54 ha...........................  54 ha
                                                                                                                               (133 ac)........................  (133 ac)
6.................................  Jackson..............  121 ha..........................  ................................  ................................  121 ha
                                                           (299 ac)........................                                                                      (299 ac)
7.................................  Jackson..............  ................................  107 ha..........................  14 ha...........................  121 ha
                                                                                             (264 ac)........................  (35 ac).........................  (299 ac)
8.................................  Forrest..............  121 ha..........................  ................................  ................................  121 ha
                                                           (299 ac)........................                                                                      (299 ac)
9.................................  Forrest..............  120 ha..........................  ................................  1 ha............................  121 ha
                                                           (297 ac)........................                                    (2.5 ac)........................  (299 ac)
10................................  Perry................  127 ha..........................  ................................  20 ha...........................  147 ha
                                                           (314 ac)........................                                    (49 ac).........................  (363 ac)
11................................  Perry................  119 ha..........................  ................................  2 ha............................  121 ha
                                                           (294 ac)........................                                    (5 ac)..........................  (299 ac)
12................................  Perry................  115 ha..........................  ................................  6 ha............................  121 ha
                                                           (284 ac)........................                                    (15 ac).........................  (299 ac)
                                   -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.........................  All Parishes and       1,417 ha........................  107 ha..........................  1,097 ha........................  2,621 ha
                                     Counties.             (3,501 ac)......................  (264 ac)........................  (2,711 ac)......................  (6,477 ac)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Area sizes may not sum due to rounding.

    We present below brief descriptions of all units and reasons why 
they meet the definition of critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog.

Unit 1: St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana

    Unit 1 encompasses 625 ha (1,544 ac) on private lands managed for 
industrial forestry in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. This unit is 
located north and south of State Hwy. 36, approximately 3.1 km (1.9 mi) 
west of State Hwy. 41 and the town of Hickory, Louisiana. Unit 1 is not 
within the geographic area occupied by the species at the time of 
listing. It is currently unoccupied; however, the last observation of a 
dusky gopher frog in Louisiana was in 1965 in one of the ponds within 
this unit.
    Unit 1 consists of five ponds (ephemeral wetland habitat) and their 
associated uplands. If dusky gopher frogs are translocated to the site, 
the five ponds are in close enough proximity to each other that adult 
frogs could move between them and create a metapopulation, which 
increases the chances of the long-term survival of the population. 
Although the uplands associated with the ponds do not currently contain 
the essential physical or biological features of critical habitat, we 
believe them to be restorable with reasonable effort. Due to the low 
number of remaining populations and severely restricted range of the 
dusky gopher frog, the species is at high risk of extirpation from 
stochastic events, such as disease or drought. Maintaining the five 
ponds within this area as suitable habitat into which dusky gopher 
frogs could be translocated is essential to decrease the risk of 
extinction of the species resulting from stochastic events and provide 
for the species' eventual recovery. Therefore, we have determined this 
unit is essential for the conservation of the species because it 
provides important breeding sites for recovery. It includes habitat for 
population expansion outside of the core population areas in 
Mississippi, a necessary component of recovery efforts for the dusky 
gopher frog.

Unit 2: Harrison County, Mississippi

    Unit 2 comprises two subunits encompassing 549 ha (1,356 ac) on 
Federal and private lands in Harrison County, Mississippi. This unit, 
between U.S. Hwy. 49 and Old Hwy. 67, is approximately 224 m (735 ft) 
northeast of the Biloxi River. It is located approximately 2.8 km (1.8 
mi) east of U.S. Hwy. 49 and approximately 2.3 km (1.4 mi) west of Old 
Hwy. 67. Within this unit, approximately 525 ha (1,297 ac) are in the 
DNF and 24 ha (59 ac) are in private ownership.

[[Page 35136]]

Subunit A

    Unit 2, Subunit A encompasses 121 ha (299 ac) around the only 
breeding pond (Glen's Pond) known for the dusky gopher frog when it was 
listed in 2001; as a result, it is within the geographic area of the 
species occupied at the time of listing. In addition, this subunit 
contains all elements of the essential physical or biological features 
of the species. The majority of this subunit (100 ha (247 ac)) is in 
the DNF, with the remainder (21 ha (52 ac)) in private ownership. This 
subunit is being designated as critical habitat because it was occupied 
at the time of listing, is currently occupied, and contains sufficient 
primary constituent elements (ephemeral wetland habitat (PCE 1), upland 
forested nonbreeding habitat (PCE 2), and upland connectivity habitat 
(PCE 3)) to support life-history functions essential to the 
conservation of the species.
    Glen's Pond and the habitat surrounding it, consisting of forested 
uplands used as nonbreeding habitat and upland connectivity habitat 
between breeding and nonbreeding habitat, support the majority of the 
dusky gopher frogs that currently exist in the wild. Within Unit 2, 
Subunit A, the dusky gopher frog and its habitat may require special 
management considerations or protection to address potential adverse 
effects caused by: Fire suppression and low fire frequencies; 
detrimental alterations in forestry practices that could destroy 
belowground soil structures, such as stump removal; hydrologic changes 
resulting from ditches, and/or adjacent highways and roads that could 
alter the ecology of the breeding pond and surrounding terrestrial 
habitat; wetland degradation; random effects of drought or floods; off-
road vehicle use; gas, water, electrical power, and sewer easements; 
and agricultural and urban development.

Subunit B

    Unit 2, Subunit B encompasses 428 ha (1,057 ac) adjacent to Subunit 
A and the area surrounding Glen's Pond. The majority of this subunit 
(425 ha (1,050 ac)) is in the DNF, with the remainder (3 ha (7 ac)) in 
private ownership. This subunit is not within the geographic area of 
the species occupied at the time of listing and is currently 
unoccupied. However, we believe this subunit is essential for the 
conservation of the dusky gopher frog because it consists of areas, 
within the dispersal range of the dusky gopher frog (from Subunit A), 
which we believe provide important breeding sites for recovery and 
metapopulation structure that will protect the dusky gopher frog from 
extinction. This unoccupied area consists of three ponds and their 
associated uplands in the DNF. These ponds were named Reserve Pond, 
Pony Ranch Pond, and New Pond during our ongoing recovery initiatives. 
The USFS is actively managing this area to benefit the recovery of the 
dusky gopher frog. Due to the low number of remaining populations and 
the severely restricted range of the dusky gopher frog, the species is 
at high risk of extirpation from stochastic events, such as disease or 
drought. Maintaining this area as suitable habitat into which dusky 
gopher frogs could be translocated is essential to decrease the risk of 
extinction of the species resulting from stochastic events and provide 
for the species' eventual recovery.

Unit 3: Harrison County, Mississippi

    Unit 3 encompasses 121 ha (299 ac) on Federal land in Harrison 
County, Mississippi. This unit is located in the DNF approximately 7.9 
km (4.9 mi) east of the community of Success at Old Hwy. 67 and 4 km 
(2.5 mi) south of Bethel Road.
    Unit 3 is not within the geographic range of the species occupied 
at the time of listing and is currently unoccupied. This area surrounds 
a pond on the DNF that was given the name of Carr Bridge Road Pond 
during ongoing recovery initiatives when it was selected as a dusky 
gopher frog translocation site. The USFS is actively managing this area 
to benefit the recovery of the dusky gopher frog. Due to the low number 
of remaining populations and severely restricted range of the dusky 
gopher frog, the species may be at risk of extirpation from stochastic 
events, such as disease or drought. Maintaining this area as suitable 
habitat into which dusky gopher frogs could be translocated is 
essential to decrease the potential risk of extinction of the species 
resulting from stochastic events and to provide for the species' 
eventual recovery. Therefore, this unit is being designated as critical 
habitat because it is essential for the conservation of the species.

Unit 4: Jackson County, Mississippi

    Unit 4 encompasses 278 ha (687 ac) on Federal and private land in 
Jackson County, Mississippi. This unit borders the north side of 
Interstate 10 approximately 1.1 km (0.7 mi) west of State Hwy. 57. 
Within this unit, approximately 48 ha (119 ac) are in the Mississippi 
Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge and 230 ha (568 ac) are in 
private ownership.

Subunit A

    Unit 4, Subunit A encompasses 121 ha (299 ac) on private land. It 
is currently occupied as a result of translocation efforts conducted in 
2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010; however, it was not occupied at 
the time of listing. We believe this subunit is essential for the 
conservation of the dusky gopher frog because of the presence of a 
proven breeding pond (egg masses have been deposited here in 2007 and 
2010 by gopher frogs translocated to the site) and its associated 
uplands (upland forested nonbreeding habitat and upland connectivity 
habitat). We also believe that metapopulation structure, which will 
further protect the dusky gopher frog from extinction, is possible when 
the whole area of Unit 4 is considered. The private owners of this 
property are actively managing this area to benefit the recovery of the 
dusky gopher frog. Due to the low number of remaining populations and 
severely restricted range of the dusky gopher frog, the species may be 
at high risk of extirpation from stochastic events, such as disease or 
drought. Maintaining this area as suitable habitat into which dusky 
gopher frogs can continue to be translocated is essential to decrease 
the risk of extinction of the species resulting from stochastic events 
and provide for the species' eventual recovery.

Subunit B

    Unit 4, Subunit B encompasses 157 ha (388 ac) on Federal and 
private land adjacent to Subunit A. The majority of this subunit (109 
ha (269 ac)) is on private land, with the remainder of the unit (48 ha 
(119 ac)) in the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge. 
This subunit is not within the geographic area of the species occupied 
at the time of listing and is currently unoccupied. However, we believe 
this subunit is essential for the conservation of the dusky gopher frog 
because it consists of an area, within the dispersal range of the dusky 
gopher frog (from Subunit A), which provides two important breeding 
sites and their associated upland for recovery and metapopulation 
structure that will protect the dusky gopher frog from extinction. This 
area is actively managed to benefit the recovery of the dusky gopher 
frog. Due to the low number of remaining populations and severely 
restricted range of the dusky gopher frog, the species may be at risk 
of extirpation from stochastic events, such as disease or drought. 
Maintaining this area as suitable habitat is essential to decrease the 
potential risk of

[[Page 35137]]

extinction of the species and provide for the species' eventual 
recovery.

Unit 5: Jackson County, Mississippi

    Unit 5 encompasses 175 ha (432 ac) on private land in Jackson 
County, Mississippi. This unit is located approximately 10.6 km (6.6 
mi) north of Interstate 10. It is 124 m (407 ft) north of Jim Ramsey 
Road and 5.7 km (3.6 mi) west of the community of Vancleave located 
near State Hwy. 57.

Subunit A

    Unit 5, Subunit A encompasses 121 ha (299 ac) on private land. It 
is currently occupied, but was not known to be occupied at the time of 
listing. This subunit contains a breeding site where dusky gopher frogs 
were discovered in 2004, subsequent to the listing of the dusky gopher 
frog.
    We believe this subunit is essential for the conservation of the 
dusky gopher frog because of the presence of a proven breeding pond, 
named Mike's Pond (ephemeral wetland habitat), and its associated 
uplands (upland forested nonbreeding habitat and upland connectivity 
habitat). We also believe that metapopulation structure, which will 
further protect the dusky gopher frog from extinction, is possible when 
the whole area of Unit 5 is considered. The owners of this property are 
actively managing this area to benefit the recovery of the dusky gopher 
frog. Due to the low number of remaining populations and severely 
restricted range of the dusky gopher frog, the species may be at high 
risk of extirpation from stochastic events, such as disease or drought. 
Maintaining this area as suitable habitat is essential to decrease the 
risk of extinction of the species resulting from stochastic events and 
provide for the species' eventual recovery.

Subunit B

    Unit 5, Subunit B encompasses 54 ha (133 ac) on private land 
adjacent to Subunit A. This subunit is not within the geographic area 
of the species occupied at the time of listing and is currently 
unoccupied. However, we believe this subunit is essential for the 
conservation of the dusky gopher frog because it consists of an area, 
within the dispersal range of the dusky gopher frog (from Subunit A), 
which provides an important breeding site and associated forested 
uplands for recovery and metapopulation structure that will protect the 
dusky gopher frog from extinction. This unoccupied area consists of a 
single pond and its associated uplands. This area is actively managed 
to benefit the recovery of the dusky gopher frog. Due to the low number 
of remaining populations and severely restricted range of the dusky 
gopher frog, the species may be at risk of extirpation from stochastic 
events, such as disease or drought. Maintaining this area as suitable 
habitat is essential to decrease the potential risk of extinction of 
the species and provide for the species' eventual recovery.

Unit 6: Jackson County, Mississippi

    Unit 6 encompasses 121 ha (299 ac) on Federal land in Jackson 
County, Mississippi. This unit is located on the Ward Bayou Wildlife 
Management Area (WMA) approximately 4.8 km (3 mi) northeast of State 
Hwy. 57 and the community of Vancleave. This land is owned by the U.S. 
Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and managed by the Mississippi 
Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) to benefit the 
recovery of the dusky gopher frog.
    Unit 6 is not within the geographic range of the species occupied 
at the time of listing and is currently unoccupied. This area consists 
of a pond and its associated uplands on the WMA and has been given the 
name of Mayhaw Pond during ongoing recovery initiatives. We believe 
this area is essential for the conservation of the dusky gopher frog 
because it provides an important breeding site and associated forested 
uplands for recovery. Due to the low number of remaining populations 
and severely restricted range of the dusky gopher frog, the species may 
be at risk of extirpation from stochastic events, such as disease or 
drought. Maintaining this area of suitable habitat, into which dusky 
gopher frogs could be translocated, is essential to decrease the 
potential risk of extinction of the species and provide for the 
species' eventual recovery.

Unit 7: Jackson County, Mississippi

    Unit 7 encompasses 121 ha (299 ac) on State and private land in 
Jackson County, Mississippi. This unit is located approximately 4.2 km 
(2.6 mi) east of the intersection of State Hwy. 63 and State Hwy. 613; 
it is 3.8 km (2.4 mi) west of the Escatawpa River, and 3.2 km (2 mi) 
northeast of Helena, Mississippi. The portion of this unit in State 
ownership (107 ha (264 ac)) is 16th section land held in trust by the 
State of Mississippi as a local funding source for public education in 
Jackson County. The Jackson County School board has jurisdiction and 
control of the land. The balance of this unit is on private land (14 ha 
(35 ac)).
    Unit 7 is currently occupied, but was not known to be occupied at 
the time of listing. The area, discovered in 2004 subsequent to the 
listing of the dusky gopher frog, contains a breeding pond named 
McCoy's Pond and associated uplands. We believe this area is essential 
for the conservation of the species because it provides an important 
breeding site and associated forested uplands for recovery of the dusky 
gopher frog. Currently, the State-owned portion of the area is managed 
for timber production by the Mississippi Forestry Commission for the 
Jackson County School Board. Due to the low number of remaining 
populations and severely restricted range of the dusky gopher frog, it 
may be at high risk of extirpation from stochastic events, such as 
disease or drought. Maintaining this area of currently occupied habitat 
for dusky gopher frogs is essential to decrease the risk of extinction 
of the species and provide for the species' eventual recovery.

Unit 8: Forrest County, Mississippi

    Unit 8 encompasses 121 ha (299 ac) on Federal land in Forrest 
County, Mississippi. This unit is located in the DNF approximately 1.9 
km (1.2 mi) east of U.S. Hwy. 49, approximately 1.7 km (1.1 mi) south 
of Black Creek, and approximately 3.1 km (1.9 mi) southeast of the 
community of Brooklyn, Mississippi.
    Unit 8 is not within the geographic range of the species occupied 
at the time of listing and is currently unoccupied. This area consists 
of a pond and associated uplands that have been selected as a future 
dusky gopher frog translocation site during ongoing recovery 
initiatives. We believe this area is essential for the conservation of 
the species because it provides an important breeding site and 
associated forested uplands for recovery of the dusky gopher frog.
    Unit 8 is being actively managed by the USFS to benefit the 
recovery of the dusky gopher frog. Due to the low number of remaining 
populations and severely restricted range of the dusky gopher frog, the 
species may be at risk of extirpation from stochastic events, such as 
disease or drought. Maintaining this area as suitable habitat, into 
which dusky gopher frogs could be translocated, is essential to 
decrease the potential risk of extinction of the species and provide 
for the species' eventual recovery.

Unit 9: Forrest County, Mississippi

    Unit 9 encompasses 121 ha (299 ac) on Federal land and private land 
in Forrest County, Mississippi. The majority of this unit (120 ha (297 
ac)) is located in the DNF and the balance (1

[[Page 35138]]

ha (2.5 ac)) on private land. This unit is located approximately 3.9 km 
(2.4 mi) east of U.S. Hwy. 49, approximately 4.3 km (2.7 mi) south of 
Black Creek, and approximately 6.1 km (3.8 mi) southeast of the 
community of Brooklyn, Mississippi, at the Perry County line.
    Unit 9 is not within the geographic range of the species occupied 
at the time of listing and is currently unoccupied. This area consists 
of a pond and associated uplands that have been selected as a future 
dusky gopher frog translocation site during ongoing recovery 
initiatives. We believe this area is essential for the conservation of 
the species because it provides an important breeding site and 
associated forested uplands for recovery of the dusky gopher frog.
    Most of Unit 9 is being actively managed by the USFS to benefit the 
recovery of the dusky gopher frog. Due to the low number of remaining 
populations and severely restricted range of the dusky gopher frog, the 
species may be at risk of extirpation from stochastic events, such as 
disease or drought. Maintaining this area as suitable habitat, into 
which dusky gopher frogs could be translocated, is essential to 
decrease the potential risk of extinction of the species and provide 
for the species' eventual recovery.

Unit 10: Perry County, Mississippi

    Unit 10 encompasses 147 ha (363 ac) on Federal land and private 
land in Perry County, Mississippi. The majority of this unit (127 ha 
(314 ac)) is located in the DNF and the balance (20 ha (49 ac)) is 
located on private land. This unit is located at the intersection of 
Benndale Road and Mars Hill Road, approximately 2.6 km (1.6 mi) 
northwest of the intersection of the Perry County, Stone County, and 
George County lines and approximately 7.2 km (4.5 mi) north of State 
Hwy. 26.
    Unit 10 is not within the geographic range of the species occupied 
at the time of listing and is currently unoccupied. This area consists 
of two ponds and their associated uplands that have been selected as 
future dusky gopher frog translocation sites during ongoing recovery 
initiatives. It provides the habitat for establishing new breeding 
ponds and metapopulation structure that will protect the dusky gopher 
frog from extinction. We believe this area is essential for the 
conservation of the dusky gopher frog because it provides two important 
breeding sites and their associated forested uplands for recovery of 
the dusky gopher frog.
    Most of Unit 10 is being actively managed by the USFS to benefit 
the recovery of the dusky gopher frog. Due to the low number of 
remaining populations and severely restricted range of the dusky gopher 
frog, the species may be at high risk of extirpation from stochastic 
events, such as disease or drought. Maintaining this area as suitable 
habitat, into which dusky gopher frogs could be translocated, is 
essential to decrease the risk of extinction of the species and provide 
for the species' eventual recovery.

Unit 11: Perry County, Mississippi

    Unit 11 encompasses 121 ha (299 ac) on Federal land and private 
land in Perry County, Mississippi. The majority of this unit (119 ha 
(294 ac)) is located in the DNF and the balance (2 ha (5 ac)) is 
located on private land. This unit borders the north side of Benndale 
Road northeast of the intersection of the Perry County, Stone County, 
and George County lines, approximately 6.4 km (4 mi) north of State 
Hwy. 26.
    Unit 11 is not within the geographic range of the species occupied 
at the time of listing and is currently unoccupied. This area consists 
of a pond and associated uplands that have been selected as a future 
dusky gopher frog translocation site during ongoing recovery 
initiatives. We believe this area is essential for the conservation of 
the gopher dusky frog because it provides an important breeding site 
and associated forested uplands for recovery of the dusky gopher frog.
    Most of Unit 11 is being actively managed by the USFS to benefit 
the recovery of the dusky gopher frog. Due to the low number of 
remaining populations and severely restricted range of the dusky gopher 
frog, the species may be at risk of extirpation from stochastic events, 
such as disease or drought. Maintaining this area as suitable habitat, 
into which dusky gopher frogs could be translocated, is essential to 
decrease the potential risk of extinction of the species and provide 
for the species' eventual recovery.

Unit 12: Perry County, Mississippi

    Unit 12 encompasses 121 ha (299 ac) on Federal land and private 
land in Perry County, Mississippi. The majority of this unit (115 ha 
(284 ac)) is located in the DNF and the remaining balance (6 ha (15 
ac)) is located on private land. This unit is located approximately 1.2 
km (0.75 mi) east of Mars Hill Road, approximately 3.9 km (2.4 mi) 
north of the intersection of the Perry County, Stone County, and George 
County lines, and approximately 10.2 km (6.4 mi) north of State Hwy. 
26.
    Unit 12 is not within the geographic range of the species occupied 
at the time of listing and is currently unoccupied. This area consists 
of a pond and its associated uplands that have been selected as a 
future dusky gopher frog translocation site during ongoing recovery 
initiatives. We believe this area is essential for the conservation of 
the dusky gopher frog because it provides an important breeding site 
and associated forested uplands for recovery of the dusky gopher frog.
    Most of Unit 12 is being actively managed by the USFS to benefit 
the recovery of the dusky gopher frog. Due to the low number of 
remaining populations and severely restricted range of the dusky gopher 
frog, the species may be at risk of extirpation from stochastic events 
such as disease or drought. Maintaining this area as suitable habitat 
into which dusky gopher frogs could be translocated is essential to 
decrease the potential risk of extinction of the species and provide 
for the species' eventual recovery.

Effects of Critical Habitat Designation

Section 7 Consultation

    Section 7(a)(2) of the Act requires Federal agencies, including the 
Service, to ensure that any action they fund, authorize, or carry out 
is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered 
species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse 
modification of designated critical habitat of such species. In 
addition, section 7(a)(4) of the Act requires Federal agencies to 
confer with the Service on any agency action which is likely to 
jeopardize the continued existence of any species proposed to be listed 
under the Act or result in the destruction or adverse modification of 
proposed critical habitat.
    Decisions by the 5th and 9th Circuit Courts of Appeals have 
invalidated our definition of ``destruction or adverse modification'' 
(50 CFR 402.02) (see Gifford Pinchot Task Force v. U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 378 F.3d 1059 (9th Cir. 2004) and Sierra Club v. U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, 245 F.3d 434, 442 (5th Cir. 2001)), and we 
do not rely on this regulatory definition when analyzing whether an 
action is likely to destroy or adversely modify critical habitat. Under 
the provisions of the Act, we determine destruction or adverse 
modification on the basis of whether, with implementation of the 
proposed Federal action, the affected critical habitat would continue 
to serve its intended conservation role for the species.
    If a Federal action may affect a listed species or its critical 
habitat, the responsible Federal agency (action

[[Page 35139]]

agency) must enter into consultation with us. Examples of actions that 
are subject to the section 7 consultation process are actions on State, 
tribal, local, or private lands that require a Federal permit (such as 
a permit from the Corps under section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 
U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) or a permit from the Service under section 10 of 
the Act) or that involve some other Federal action (such as funding 
from the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Aviation 
Administration, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency). Federal 
actions not affecting listed species or critical habitat, and actions 
on State, tribal, local or private lands that are not federally funded 
or authorized, do not require section 7 consultation.
    As a result of section 7 consultation, we document compliance with 
the requirements of section 7(a)(2) through our issuance of:
    (1) A concurrence letter for Federal actions that may affect, but 
are not likely to adversely affect, listed species or critical habitat; 
or
    (2) A biological opinion for Federal actions that may affect, or 
are likely to adversely affect, listed species or critical habitat.
    When we issue a biological opinion concluding that a project is 
likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species and/or 
destroy or adversely modify critical habitat, we provide reasonable and 
prudent alternatives to the project, if any are identifiable, that 
would avoid the likelihood of jeopardy and/or destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat. We define ``reasonable and prudent 
alternatives'' (at 50 CFR 402.02) as alternative actions identified 
during consultation that:
    (1) Can be implemented in a manner consistent with the intended 
purpose of the action,
    (2) Can be implemented consistent with the scope of the Federal 
agency's legal authority and jurisdiction,
    (3) Are economically and technologically feasible, and
    (4) Would, in the Director's opinion, avoid the likelihood of 
jeopardizing the continued existence of the listed species and/or avoid 
the likelihood of destroying or adversely modifying critical habitat.
    Reasonable and prudent alternatives can vary from slight project 
modifications to extensive redesign or relocation of the project. Costs 
associated with implementing a reasonable and prudent alternative are 
similarly variable.
    Regulations at 50 CFR 402.16 require Federal agencies to reinitiate 
consultation on previously reviewed actions in instances where we have 
listed a new species or subsequently designated critical habitat that 
may be affected and the Federal agency has retained discretionary 
involvement or control over the action (or the agency's discretionary 
involvement or control is authorized by law). Consequently, Federal 
agencies may need to request reinitiation of consultation with us on 
actions for which formal consultation has been completed, if those 
actions with discretionary involvement or control may affect 
subsequently listed species or designated critical habitat.

Application of the ``Adverse Modification'' Standard

    The key factor related to the adverse modification determination is 
whether, with implementation of the proposed Federal action, the 
affected critical habitat would continue to serve its intended 
conservation role for the species. Activities that may destroy or 
adversely modify critical habitat are those that alter the physical and 
biological features to an extent that appreciably reduces the 
conservation value of critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog. As 
discussed above, the role of critical habitat is to support life-
history needs of the species and provide for the conservation of the 
species.
    Section 4(b)(8) of the Act requires us to briefly evaluate and 
describe, in any proposed or final regulation that designates critical 
habitat, activities involving a Federal action that may destroy or 
adversely modify such habitat, or that may be affected by such 
designation.
    Activities that may affect critical habitat, when carried out, 
funded, or authorized by a Federal agency, should result in 
consultation for the dusky gopher frog. These activities include, but 
are not limited to:
    (1) Actions that would alter the hydrology or water quality of 
dusky gopher frog wetland habitats. Such activities could include, but 
are not limited to, discharge of fill material; release of chemicals 
and/or biological pollutants; clearcutting, draining, ditching, 
grading, or bedding; diversion or alteration of surface or ground water 
flow into or out of a wetland (i.e., due to roads, fire breaks, 
impoundments, discharge pipes, etc.); discharge or dumping of toxic 
chemicals, silt, or other pollutants (i.e., sewage, oil, pesticides, 
and gasoline); and use of vehicles within wetlands. These activities 
could destroy dusky gopher frog breeding sites; reduce hydroperiod 
below what is necessary for successful larval metamorphosis; and/or 
eliminate or reduce the habitat necessary for the growth and 
reproduction, and affect the prey base, of the dusky gopher frog.
    (2) Forestry management actions in pine habitat that would 
significantly alter the suitability of dusky gopher frog terrestrial 
habitat. Such activities could include, but are not limited to, 
conversion of timber land to another use and timber management, 
including clearcutting, site preparation involving ground disturbance, 
prescribed burning, and unlawful pesticide application. These 
activities could destroy or alter the uplands necessary for the growth 
and development of juvenile and adult dusky gopher frogs.
    (3) Actions that would significantly fragment and isolate dusky 
gopher frog wetland and upland habitats from each other. Such 
activities could include, but are not limited to, constructing new 
structures or new roads and converting forested habitat to other uses. 
These activities could limit or prevent the dispersal of dusky gopher 
frogs from breeding sites to upland habitat or vice versa due to 
obstructions to movement caused by structures, certain types of curbs, 
increased traffic density, or inhospitable habitat.

Exemptions

Application of Section 4(a)(3) of the Act

    The Sikes Act Improvement Act of 1997 (Sikes Act) (16 U.S.C. 670a) 
required each military installation that includes land and water 
suitable for the conservation and management of natural resources to 
complete an integrated natural resources management plan (INRMP) by 
November 17, 2001. An INRMP integrates implementation of the military 
mission of the installation with stewardship of the natural resources 
found on the base.
    The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 (Pub. 
L. 108-136) amended the Act to limit areas eligible for designation as 
critical habitat. Specifically, section 4(a)(3)(B)(i) of the Act (16 
U.S.C. 1533(a)(3)(B)(i)) now provides: ``The Secretary shall not 
designate as critical habitat any lands or other geographical areas 
owned or controlled by the Department of Defense (DOD), or designated 
for its use, that are subject to an integrated natural resources 
management plan prepared under section 101 of the Sikes Act (16 U.S.C. 
670a), if the Secretary determines in writing that such plan provides a 
benefit to the species for which critical habitat is proposed for 
designation.''
    There are no DOD lands with a completed INRMP within the critical 
habitat designation. Therefore, we are

[[Page 35140]]

not exempting any lands owned or managed by the DOD from this 
designation of critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog under section 
4(a)(3)(B)(i) of the Act.

Exclusions

Application of Section 4(b)(2) of the Act

    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act states that the Secretary shall 
designate and make revisions to critical habitat on the basis of the 
best available scientific data after taking into consideration the 
economic impact, national security impact, and any other relevant 
impact of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. The 
Secretary may exclude an area from critical habitat if he determines 
that the benefits of such exclusion outweigh the benefits of specifying 
such area as part of the critical habitat, unless he determines, based 
on the best scientific data available, that the failure to designate 
such area as critical habitat will result in the extinction of the 
species. The statute on its face, as well as the legislative history, 
is clear that the Secretary has broad discretion regarding which 
factor(s) to use and how much weight to give to any factor in making 
that determination.
    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, the Secretary may exclude an area 
from designated critical habitat based on economic impacts, impacts on 
national security, or any other relevant impacts. In considering 
whether to exclude a particular area from the designation, we identify 
the benefits of including the area in the designation, identify the 
benefits of excluding the area from the designation, and evaluate 
whether the benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of inclusion. 
If the analysis indicates that the benefits of exclusion outweigh the 
benefits of inclusion, the Secretary may exercise his discretion to 
exclude the area only if such exclusion will not result in the 
extinction of the species.
Economic Impacts
    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we consider the economic impacts 
of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. In order to 
consider economic impacts, we prepared a draft economic analysis of the 
proposed critical habitat designation and related factors (Industrial 
Economics 2011, pp. 1-87). The draft analysis, dated August 17, 2011, 
was made available for public comment from September 27, 2011, through 
November 28, 2011 (76 FR 59774, 77 FR 2254) and again from January 17, 
2012 through March 2, 2012 (77 FR 2254). Following the close of the 
comment periods, a final analysis ((FEA) dated April 6, 2012) of the 
potential economic effects of the designation was developed taking into 
consideration the public comments and any new information (Industrial 
Economics 2012, entire).
    The intent of the FEA is to quantify the economic impacts of all 
potential conservation efforts for the dusky gopher frog; some of these 
costs will likely be incurred regardless of whether we designate 
critical habitat (baseline). The economic impact of the final critical 
habitat designation is analyzed by comparing scenarios both ``with 
critical habitat'' and ``without critical habitat.'' The ``without 
critical habitat'' scenario represents the baseline for the analysis, 
considering protections already in place for the species (e.g., under 
the Federal listing and other Federal, State, and local regulations). 
The baseline, therefore, represents the costs incurred regardless of 
whether critical habitat is designated. The ``with critical habitat'' 
scenario describes the incremental impacts associated specifically with 
the designation of critical habitat for the species. The incremental 
conservation efforts and associated economic impacts are those not 
expected to occur absent the designation of critical habitat for the 
species. In other words, the incremental costs are those attributable 
solely to the designation of critical habitat above and beyond the 
baseline costs; these are the costs we consider in the final 
designation of critical habitat. The analysis looks retrospectively at 
baseline impacts incurred since the species was listed, and forecasts 
both baseline and incremental impacts likely to occur with the 
designation of critical habitat.
    The FEA also addresses how potential economic impacts are likely to 
be distributed, including an assessment of any local or regional 
impacts of habitat conservation and the potential effects of 
conservation activities on government agencies, private businesses, and 
individuals. The FEA measures lost economic efficiency associated with 
residential and commercial development and public projects and 
activities, such as economic impacts on water management and 
transportation projects, Federal lands, small entities, and the energy 
industry. Decision makers can use this information to assess whether 
the effects of the designation might unduly burden a particular group 
or economic sector. Finally, the FEA looks retrospectively at baseline 
costs that have been incurred since 2001 (year of the species' listing) 
(66 FR 62993), and uses this information to inform the economic 
analysis which quantifies those costs that may occur in the 20 years 
following the designation of critical habitat, which was determined to 
be the appropriate period for analysis because limited planning 
information was available for most activities to forecast activity 
levels for projects beyond a 20-year timeframe.
    The FEA quantifies economic impacts of dusky gopher frog 
conservation efforts associated with the following categories of 
activity: Active species management, residential and commercial 
development, timber management, and military activities. The FEA 
estimates present value incremental impacts of critical habitat 
designation of $102,000, $20.5 million, or $34.0 million according to 
three scenarios (applying a 7 percent discount rate). This equates to 
$9,610, $1.93 million, and $3.21 million in annualized impacts 
(applying a 7 percent discount rate). This approach was taken because 
most of the estimated incremental impacts are related to possible lost 
development value in Unit 1; considerable uncertainty exists regarding 
the likelihood of a Federal nexus for development activities there; and 
potential exists for the Service to recommend conservation measures if 
consultation were to occur.
    Under scenario 1, development occurring in Unit 1 avoids impacts to 
jurisdictional wetlands and as such, there is no Federal nexus (no 
Federal permit is required) triggering section 7 consultation regarding 
dusky gopher frog critical habitat. Absent consultation, no 
conservation measures are implemented for the species, and critical 
habitat designation of Unit 1 does not result in any incremental 
economic impact. Therefore, all incremental economic costs will be 
attributed to the administrative costs of future section 7 
consultations in all other units. Total present value of incremental 
impacts of critical habitat designation of the remaining units are 
$102,000 ($9,610 in annualized impacts) over the timeframe of the 
analysis (2012 to 2031), applying a 7 percent discount rate.
    According to scenarios 2 and 3, the vast majority of the 
incremental impacts would stem from the lost development value of land 
in Unit 1. Under scenarios 2 and 3, less than one percent of the 
incremental impacts stem from the administrative costs of future 
section 7 consultations. Under scenario 2, the analysis assumes the 
proposed development of Unit 1 requires a Section 404 permit from the 
Corps due to the presence of jurisdictional wetlands. The development 
would therefore be subject to section 7

[[Page 35141]]

consultation considering critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog. 
This scenario further assumes that the Service works with the landowner 
to establish conservation areas for the dusky gopher frog within the 
unit. The Service anticipates that approximately 40 percent of the unit 
may be developed and 60 percent is managed for dusky gopher frog 
conservation and recovery. According to this scenario, present value 
incremental impacts of critical habitat designation due to the lost 
option for developing 60 percent of Unit 1 lands are $20.4 million. 
Total present value incremental impacts of critical habitat designation 
across all units are therefore $20.5 million ($1.93 million in 
annualized impacts), applying a 7 percent discount rate.
    Scenario 3 again assumes that the proposed development of Unit 1 
requires a Section 404 permit and therefore is subject to section 7 
consultation. This scenario further assumes that, due to the importance 
of the unit in the conservation and recovery of the species, the 
Service recommends that no development occur within the unit. According 
to this scenario, present value impacts of the lost option for 
development in 100 percent of the unit are $33.9 million. Total present 
value incremental impacts of critical habitat designation across all 
units are therefore $34.0 million ($3.21 million in annualized 
impacts), applying a 7 percent discount rate.
    The FEA also discusses the potential economic benefits associated 
with the designation of critical habitat. However, because the Service 
believes that the direct benefits of the designation are best expressed 
in biological terms, this analysis does not quantify or monetize 
benefits; only a qualitative discussion of economic benefits is 
provided.
    Our economic analysis did not identify any disproportionate costs 
that are likely to result from the designation. Consequently, the 
Secretary is not exercising his discretion to exclude any areas from 
this designation of critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog based on 
economic impacts.
    A copy of the FEA with supporting documents may be obtained by 
contacting the Mississippi Ecological Services Field Office (see 
ADDRESSES) or by downloading from the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov.
National Security Impacts
    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we consider whether there are 
lands owned or managed by the DOD where a national security impact 
might exist. The Mississippi Army National Guard (MANG) conducts 
training in an area of the DNF where Units 10, 11, and 12 are located 
and has requested exclusion under section 4(b)(2) due to significant 
impacts to national security. The current training is authorized by a 
Special Use Permit with the USFS. The lands covered by the permit are 
part of the Leaf River WMA, which is open to the public for hunting and 
other recreational activities. The USFS manages the Leaf River WMA for 
timber production and as part of a habitat management area (HMA) to 
support recovery efforts for the red-cockaded woodpecker. As a result 
of the HMA, there are existing limitations to training activities in 
this area. Permitted use by the military includes driving military 
vehicles on existing roads bivouacking or orienteering in the forested 
areas. No live ammunition is used in the area, and wetlands are 
excluded from military use. In preparing this final rule, we have 
determined that lands within the designation of critical habitat for 
the dusky gopher frog are not owned or managed by DOD (See Comment 19 
for further information). Consequently, the Secretary is not exercising 
his discretion to exclude any areas from this final designation based 
on impacts to national security.
Other Relevant Impacts
    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we consider any other relevant 
impacts, in addition to economic impacts and impacts on national 
security. We consider a number of factors, including whether the 
landowners have developed any HCPs or other management plans for the 
area, or whether there are conservation partnerships that would be 
encouraged by designation of, or exclusion from, critical habitat. In 
addition, we look at any tribal issues, and consider the government-to-
government relationship of the United States with tribal entities. We 
also consider any social impacts that might occur because of the 
designation.
    In preparing this final rule, we have determined that there are 
currently no HCPs or other management plans for the dusky gopher frog, 
and this final designation does not include any tribal lands or trust 
resources. We anticipate no impact on tribal lands, partnerships, or 
HCPs from this critical habitat designation. Accordingly, the Secretary 
is not exercising his discretion to exclude any areas from the final 
designation based on other relevant impacts.

Required Determinations

Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

    Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) will review all significant rules. The Office 
of Information and Regulatory Affairs has determined that this rule is 
not significant.
    Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 12866 while 
calling for improvements in the Nation's regulatory system to promote 
predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most 
innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. 
The executive order directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches 
that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for 
the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and 
consistent with regulatory objectives. E.O. 13563 emphasizes further 
that regulations must be based on the best available science and that 
the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open 
exchange of ideas. We have developed this rule in a manner consistent 
with these requirements.

Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.)

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA; 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), 
as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act 
(SBREFA) of 1996 (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), whenever an agency must 
publish a notice of rulemaking for any proposed or final rule, it must 
prepare and make available for public comment a regulatory flexibility 
analysis that describes the effects of the rule on small entities 
(small businesses, small organizations, and small government 
jurisdictions). However, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required 
if the head of an agency certifies the rule will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The SBREFA 
amended the RFA to require Federal agencies to provide a certification 
statement of the factual basis for certifying that the rule will not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. In this final rule, we are certifying that the critical 
habitat designation for the dusky gopher frog will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
The following discussion explains our rationale.
    According to the Small Business Administration, small entities 
include small organizations such as

[[Page 35142]]

independent nonprofit organizations; small governmental jurisdictions, 
including school boards and city and town governments that serve fewer 
than 50,000 residents; and small businesses (13 CFR 121.201). Small 
businesses include manufacturing and mining concerns with fewer than 
500 employees, wholesale trade entities with fewer than 100 employees, 
retail and service businesses with less than $5 million in annual 
sales, general and heavy construction businesses with less than $27.5 
million in annual business, special trade contractors doing less than 
$11.5 million in annual business, and agricultural businesses with 
annual sales less than $750,000. To determine if potential economic 
impacts on these small entities are significant, we consider the types 
of activities that might trigger regulatory impacts under this rule, as 
well as types of project modifications that may result. In general, the 
term ``significant economic impact'' is meant to apply to the typical 
operations of a small business.
    To determine if the rule could significantly affect a substantial 
number of small entities, we considered the number of small entities 
affected within particular types of economic activities, such as timber 
operations, and residential and commercial development, along with the 
accompanying infrastructure associated with such projects, including 
construction of roads, storm water drainage, and bridges and culverts 
and the maintenance of these structures. We apply the ``substantial 
number'' test individually to each industry to determine if 
certification is appropriate. However, the SBREFA does not explicitly 
define ``substantial number'' or ``significant economic impact.'' 
Consequently, to assess whether a ``substantial number'' of small 
entities is affected by this designation, this analysis considers the 
relative number of small entities likely to be impacted in an area. In 
some circumstances, especially with critical habitat designations of 
limited extent, we may aggregate across all industries and consider 
whether the total number of small entities affected is substantial. In 
estimating the numbers of small entities potentially affected, we also 
considered whether their activities have any Federal involvement.
    Designation of critical habitat only affects activities authorized, 
funded, or carried out by Federal agencies. Some kinds of activities 
are unlikely to have any Federal involvement and so will not be 
affected by critical habitat designation. In areas where the species is 
present, Federal agencies already are required to consult with us under 
section 7 of the Act on activities they authorize, fund, or carry out 
that may affect the dusky gopher frog. Federal agencies also must 
consult with us if their activities may affect critical habitat. 
Designation of critical habitat, therefore, could result in an 
additional economic impact on small entities due to the requirement to 
reinitiate consultation for ongoing Federal activities (see Application 
of the ``Adverse Modification'' Standard).
    In our FEA of the critical habitat designation, we evaluated the 
potential economic effects on small entities resulting from 
conservation actions related to the listing of the dusky gopher frog 
and the designation of critical habitat. The analysis is based on the 
estimated impacts associated with the rulemaking as described in 
Chapters 1 through 5 and Appendix A of the analysis and evaluates the 
potential for economic impacts related to: (1) Species management; (2) 
development; (3) timber management; and (4) military activities.
    The FEA indicates that the incremental impacts potentially incurred 
by small entities are limited to development activities on Tradition 
Properties in Subunits 2a and 2b (where 59 acres of critical habitat 
overlap a planning area for a large-scale development), and potential 
future development within 1,544-acre Unit 1 owned by four small 
businesses and an individual. Of the 129 small businesses in this 
sector, there are five small businesses, considered small Land 
Subdividers, which represent approximately 3.9 percent of the total 
within the counties containing proposed critical habitat for the dusky 
gopher frog. At the national scale this percentage is much less. 
Incremental costs of dusky gopher frog critical habitat to Tradition 
Properties are anticipated to result in an annualized impact of $127 
(which would represent less than 0.01 percent of Tradition Properties' 
average annual revenues). Annualized impacts to the four small 
businesses in Unit 1 were evaluated according to the three scenarios 
described above in the Economic Impacts section. Under Scenario 1, 
there would be no impact to small businesses. Under scenario 2, an 
impact of $1.93 million was calculated, approximately 26.8 percent of 
annual revenues; under scenario 3, an impact of $3.21 million was 
calculated, approximately 44.7 percent of annual revenues.
    Our analysis constitutes an evaluation of not only potentially 
directly affected parties, but those also potentially indirectly 
affected. Under the RFA and following recent case law, we are only 
required to evaluate the direct effects of a regulation to determine 
compliance. As the regulatory effect of critical habitat is through 
section 7 of the Act, which applies only to Federal agencies, we have 
determined that only Federal agencies are directly affected by this 
rulemaking. Other entities, such as small businesses, are only 
indirectly affected. However, to better understand the potential 
effects of a designation of critical habitat, we frequently evaluate 
the potential impact to those entities that may be indirectly affected, 
as was the case for this rulemaking. In doing so, we focus on the 
specific areas being designated as critical habitat and compare the 
number of small business entities potentially affected in that area 
with other small business entities in the regional area, versus 
comparing the entities in the area of designation with entities 
nationally--which is more commonly done. This results in a estimation 
of a higher proportion of small businesses potentially affected. In 
this rulemaking, we calculate that the proportion of small businesses 
potentially affected is 3.9 percent of those regionally. If we were to 
calculate that value based on the proportion nationally, then our 
estimate would be significantly lower than 1 percent.
    Following our evaluation of potential effects to small business 
entities from this rulemaking, we do not believe that the five small 
businesses, representing 3.9 percent of the small businesses in the 
affected sector, constitutes a substantial number. However, we 
recognize that the potential effects to these small businesses under 
Scenarios 2 and 3 may be significant, but still would not represent a 
substantial number of affected entities in the sector nationally.
    In summary, we considered whether this designation will result in a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
Based on the above reasoning and currently available information, we 
concluded that this rule will not result in a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small business entities. Therefore, 
we are certifying that the designation of critical habitat for the 
dusky gopher frog will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities, and a regulatory flexibility 
analysis is not required.

Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use--Executive Order 13211

    Executive Order 13211 (Actions Concerning Regulations That 
Significantly Affect Energy Supply,

[[Page 35143]]

Distribution, or Use) requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy 
Effects when undertaking certain actions. OMB has provided guidance for 
implementing this Executive Order that outlines nine outcomes that may 
constitute ``a significant adverse effect'' when compared to not taking 
the regulatory action under consideration:
     Reductions in crude oil supply in excess of 10,000 barrels 
per day;
     Reductions in fuel production in excess of 4,000 barrels 
per day;
     Reductions in coal production in excess of 5 million tons 
per year;
     Reductions in natural gas production in excess of 25 
million thousand cubic feet per year;
     Reductions in electricity production in excess of 1 
billion kilowatt-hours per year or in excess of 500 megawatts of 
installed capacity;
     Increases in energy use required by the regulatory action 
that exceed the thresholds above;
     Increases in the cost of energy production in excess of 
one percent;
     Increases in the cost of energy distribution in excess of 
one percent; or
     Other similarly adverse outcomes.
    While the landowner of Unit 1 has expressed interest in developing 
the land for oil and gas, the Service does not anticipate critical 
habitat designation will result in the complete loss of oil and gas 
development in Unit 1. In addition, the level and timing of such 
development is significantly uncertain regardless, as no oil and gas 
development has occurred within the region to date. Consequently, this 
analysis does not anticipate the rule will affect the production, 
distribution, or use of energy according to the above criteria. Thus, 
based on information in the economic analysis, no energy-related 
impacts associated with dusky gopher frog conservation activities 
within critical habitat are expected. As such, the designation of 
critical habitat is not expected to significantly affect energy 
supplies, distribution, or use. Therefore, this action is not a 
significant energy action, and no Statement of Energy Effects is 
required.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.)

    In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 
et seq.), we make the following findings:

    (1) This rule will not produce a Federal mandate. In general, a 
Federal mandate is a provision in legislation, statute, or 
regulation that would impose an enforceable duty upon State, local, 
or Tribal governments, or the private sector, and includes both 
``Federal intergovernmental mandates'' and ``Federal private sector 
mandates.'' These terms are defined in 2 U.S.C. 658(5)-(7). 
``Federal intergovernmental mandate'' includes a regulation that 
``would impose an enforceable duty upon State, local, or tribal 
governments,'' with two exceptions. It excludes ``a condition of 
Federal assistance.'' It also excludes ``a duty arising from 
participation in a voluntary Federal program,'' unless the 
regulation ``relates to a then-existing Federal program under which 
$500,000,000 or more is provided annually to State, local, and 
tribal governments under entitlement authority,'' if the provision 
would ``increase the stringency of conditions of assistance'' or 
``place caps upon, or otherwise decrease, the Federal Government's 
responsibility to provide funding,'' and the State, local, or tribal 
governments ``lack authority'' to adjust accordingly. At the time of 
enactment, these entitlement programs were: Medicaid; Aid for 
Families with Dependent Children work programs; Child Nutrition; 
Food Stamps; Social Services Block Grants; Vocational Rehabilitation 
State Grants; Foster Care, Adoption Assistance, and Independent 
Living; Family Support Welfare Services; and Child Support 
Enforcement. ``Federal private sector mandate'' includes a 
regulation that ``would impose an enforceable duty upon the private 
sector, except (i) a condition of Federal assistance or (ii) a duty 
arising from participation in a voluntary Federal program.''
    The designation of critical habitat does not impose a legally 
binding duty on non-Federal government entities or private parties. 
Under the Act, the only regulatory effect is that Federal agencies 
must ensure that their actions do not destroy or adversely modify 
critical habitat under section 7. While non-Federal entities that 
receive Federal funding, assistance, or permits, or that otherwise 
require approval or authorization from a Federal agency for an 
action, may be indirectly impacted by the designation of critical 
habitat, the legally binding duty to avoid destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat rests squarely on the Federal 
agency. Furthermore, to the extent that non-Federal entities are 
indirectly impacted because they receive Federal assistance or 
participate in a voluntary Federal aid program, the Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act would not apply; nor would critical habitat 
shift the costs of the large entitlement programs listed above onto 
State governments.

    (2) We do not believe that this rule will significantly or uniquely 
affect small governments because the dusky gopher frog occurs primarily 
on Federal and privately owned lands. The designation of critical 
habitat imposes no obligations on State or local governments. By 
definition Federal agencies are not considered small entities, although 
the activities they fund or permit may be proposed or carried out by 
small entities. Consequently, we do not believe that the critical 
habitat designation will significantly or uniquely affect small 
government entities. Accordingly, a Small Government Agency Plan is not 
required.

Takings--Executive Order 12630

    In accordance with Executive Order 12630 (Government Actions and 
Interference with Constitutionally Protected Private Property Rights), 
the Service analyzed the potential takings implications of designating 
critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog and included this analysis 
in our administrative record. To a property owner, the designation of 
critical habitat becomes important when viewed in the context of 
section 7 of the Act, which requires all Federal agencies to ensure, in 
consultation with us, that any action authorized, funded, or carried 
out by the agency does not result in the destruction or adverse 
modification of designated critical habitat. If, after consultation, 
the Service's biological opinion concludes that a proposed action is 
likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical 
habitat, we are required to suggest reasonable and prudent alternatives 
to the action that would avoid the destruction or adverse modification 
of the critical habitat (16 U.S.C. 1536(b)(3)(A)). If we do not suggest 
acceptable reasonable and prudent alternatives, the agency (or the 
applicant) may apply for an exemption from the Endangered Species 
Committee under section 7(e)-(n) of the Act.
    We have identified two ``taking'' scenarios that are relevant to 
the designation of critical habitat. The first is a physical taking 
when the government's action amounts to a physical occupation or 
invasion of the property, including the functional equivalent of a 
practical ouster of the owner's possession. The proposed designation of 
critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog would not result in physical 
occupation or invasion of private property. On non-Federal lands, 
activities that lack Federal involvement would not be affected by the 
critical habitat designation; these activities are likely to include 
timber management and oil and gas extraction. However, activities of an 
economic nature that are likely to occur on non-Federal lands in the 
area encompassed by this designation, and where Federal involvement may 
occur, consist of construction of utilities, residential or commercial 
development, and road construction and maintenance. The second scenario 
is where a regulation denies all economically beneficial or productive 
use of land, commonly referred to as a categorical taking. However, the 
mere promulgation of a regulation designating critical habitat does not 
on its face deny property

[[Page 35144]]

owners all economically viable use of their land. The Act does not 
automatically restrict all uses of critical habitat, but only imposes 
restrictions under section 7(a)(2) on Federal agency actions that may 
result in destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. 
Furthermore, as discussed above, if a biological opinion concludes that 
a proposed action is likely to result in the destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat, we are required to suggest reasonable 
and prudent alternatives to the action that would avoid the destruction 
or adverse modification of critical habitat. Such alternatives must be 
economically, as well as technologically, feasible (50 CFR 402.02). 
Based on information contained in the final economic analysis 
assessment and described within this document, it is not likely that 
economic impacts to a property owner would be of a sufficient magnitude 
to support a takings action. The takings implications assessment 
concludes that this designation of critical habitat for the dusky 
gopher frog does not pose significant takings implications for lands 
within or affected by the designation.

Federalism--Executive Order 13132

    In accordance with Executive Order 13132 (Federalism), this rule 
does not have significant Federalism effects. A federalism impact 
summary statement is not required. In keeping with Department of the 
Interior and Department of Commerce policy, we requested information 
from, and coordinated development of, this critical habitat designation 
with appropriate State resource agencies in Louisiana and Mississippi. 
We received no comments responsive to the critical habitat designation 
from a state agency except for a response from one of the peer 
reviewers who is employed by a state agency. The peer reviewer's 
comments were incorporated in the final rule (See Section ``Summary of 
Comments and Recommendations''). The designation of critical habitat in 
areas currently occupied by the dusky gopher frog imposes no additional 
restrictions beyond those currently in place, although the designation 
of areas currently unoccupied by the dusky gopher frog may impose 
nominal additional regulatory restrictions. In total, the critical 
habitat designation has little incremental impact on State and local 
governments and their activities. The designation may have some benefit 
to these governments in that the areas that contain the physical and 
biological features essential to the conservation of the species are 
more clearly defined, and the elements of the features necessary to the 
conservation of the species are specifically identified. This 
information does not alter where and what federally sponsored 
activities may occur. However, it may assist local governments in long-
range planning (rather than having them wait for case-by-case section 7 
consultations to occur).
    Where State and local governments require approval or authorization 
from a Federal agency for actions that may affect critical habitat, 
consultation under section 7(a)(2) will be required. While non-Federal 
entities that receive Federal funding, assistance, or permits, or that 
otherwise require approval or authorization from a Federal agency for 
an action, may be indirectly impacted by the designation of critical 
habitat, the legally binding duty to avoid destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat rests squarely on the Federal agency.

Civil Justice Reform--Executive Order 12988

    In accordance with Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform), 
the Office of the Solicitor has determined that the rule does not 
unduly burden the judicial system and that it meets the applicable 
standards set forth in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of the Order. We are 
designating critical habitat in accordance with the provisions of the 
Act. This final rule uses standard property descriptions and identifies 
the elements of physical or biological features essential to the 
conservation of the dusky gopher frog within the designated areas to 
assist the public in understanding the habitat needs of the species.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.)

    This rule does not contain any new collections of information that 
require approval by OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 
U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). This rule will not impose recordkeeping or 
reporting requirements on State or local governments, individuals, 
businesses, or organizations. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and 
a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information 
unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.)

    It is our position that, outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. Court 
of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, we do not need to prepare 
environmental analyses pursuant to the National Environmental Policy 
Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) in connection with designating 
critical habitat under the Act. We published a notice outlining our 
reasons for this determination in the Federal Register on October 25, 
1983 (48 FR 49244). This position was upheld by the U.S. Court of 
Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Douglas County v. Babbitt, 48 F.3d 1495 
(9th Cir. 1995), cert. denied 516 U.S. 1042 (1996)).

Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, 
(Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal 
Governments; (59 FR 22951), Executive Order 13175 (Consultation and 
Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments), and the Department of 
Interior's manual at 512 DM 2, we readily acknowledge our 
responsibility to communicate meaningfully with recognized Federal 
Tribes on a government-to-government basis. In accordance with 
Secretarial Order 3206 of June 5, 1997 (American Indian Tribal Rights, 
Federal-Tribal Trust Responsibilities, and the Endangered Species Act), 
we readily acknowledge our responsibilities to work directly with 
tribes in developing programs for healthy ecosystems, to acknowledge 
that tribal lands are not subject to the same controls as Federal 
public lands, to remain sensitive to Indian culture, and to make 
information available to tribes. We determined that there are no tribal 
lands occupied by the dusky gopher frog at the time of listing that 
contain the features essential for the conservation of the species, and 
no tribal lands unoccupied by the dusky gopher frog that are essential 
for the conservation of the species. Therefore, we are not designating 
critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog on tribal lands.

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited in this rulemaking is 
available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov and upon 
request from the Mississippi Ecological Services Field Office (see 
ADDRESSES).

Author

    The primary author of this rulemaking is Linda LaClaire of the 
Mississippi Ecological Services Field Office.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

[[Page 35145]]

Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, we amend part 17, subchapter B of chapter I, title 50 
of the Code of Federal Regulations, as set forth below:

PART 17--[AMENDED]

0
1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 16 U.S.C. 1531-1544; 16 U.S.C. 
4201-4245; Pub. L. 99-625, 100 Stat. 3500; unless otherwise noted.

0
2. Amend Sec.  17.11(h), the List of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife, as follows:
0
a. By removing the entry for ``Frog, Mississippi gopher'' under 
``AMPHIBIANS''; and
0
b. By adding an entry for ``Frog, dusky gopher'' in alphabetical order 
under ``AMPHIBIANS'' to read as follows:


Sec.  17.11  Endangered and threatened wildlife.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Species                                                     Vertebrate
--------------------------------------------------------                         population where                                 Critical     Special
                                                            Historic range        endangered or         Status     When listed    habitat       rules
           Common name                Scientific name                               threatened
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
            Amphibians
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Frog, dusky gopher...............  Rana sevosa.........  U.S.A. (AL, LA, MS).  Entire.............  E                      718     17.95(d)           NA
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sec.  17.95--[Amended]  

0
3. In Sec.  17.95, amend paragraph (d) by adding an entry for ``Dusky 
Gopher Frog (Rana sevosa),'' in the same alphabetical order that the 
species appears in the table at Sec.  17.11(h), to read as follows:


Sec.  17.95  Critical habitat--fish and wildlife.

* * * * *
    (d) Amphibians.
* * * * *
Dusky Gopher Frog (Rana sevosa)
    (1) Critical habitat units are depicted for St. Tammany Parish, 
Louisiana, and Forrest, Harrison, Jackson, and Perry Counties in 
Mississippi, on the maps below.
    (2) Within these areas, the primary constituent elements of the 
physical or biological features essential to the conservation of the 
dusky gopher frog are:
    (i) Ephemeral wetland habitat. Breeding ponds, geographically 
isolated from other waterbodies and embedded in forests historically 
dominated by longleaf pine communities, that are small (generally <0.4 
to 4.0 hectares (<1 to 10 acres)), ephemeral, and acidic. Specific 
conditions necessary in breeding ponds to allow for successful 
reproduction of dusky gopher frogs are:
    (A) An open canopy with emergent herbaceous vegetation for egg 
attachment;
    (B) An absence of large, predatory fish that prey on frog larvae;
    (C) Water quality such that frogs, their eggs, or larvae are not 
exposed to pesticides or chemicals and sediment associated with road 
runoff; and
    (D) Surface water that lasts for a minimum of 195 days during the 
breeding season to allow a sufficient period for larvae to hatch, 
mature, and metamorphose.
    (ii) Upland forested nonbreeding habitat. Forests historically 
dominated by longleaf pine, adjacent to and accessible to and from 
breeding ponds, that are maintained by fires frequent enough to support 
an open canopy and abundant herbaceous ground cover and gopher tortoise 
burrows, small mammal burrows, stump holes, or other underground 
habitat that the dusky gopher frog depends upon for food, shelter, and 
protection from the elements and predation.
    (iii) Upland connectivity habitat. Accessible upland habitat 
between breeding and nonbreeding habitats to allow for dusky gopher 
frog movements between and among such sites. This habitat is 
characterized by an open canopy, abundant native herbaceous species, 
and a subsurface structure that provides shelter for dusky gopher frogs 
during seasonal movements, such as that created by deep litter cover, 
clumps of grass, or burrows.
    (3) Critical habitat does not include manmade structures (such as 
buildings, aqueducts, runways, roads, and other paved areas) and the 
land on which they are located existing within the legal boundaries on 
the effective date of this rule.
    (4) Critical habitat unit maps. Data layers defining map units were 
developed from USGS 7.5' quadrangles, and critical habitat units were 
then mapped using Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) coordinates.
    (5)  Note: Index map of the critical habitat units for the dusky 
gopher frog follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 35146]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR12JN12.000

    (6) Unit 1: St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 quadrangle map Hickory, Louisiana. Land 
bounded by the following UTM Zone 16N, NAD 83 coordinates, (E, N): 
228777, 3368004; 229406, 3365105; 229384, 3365104; 229362, 3365105; 
229339, 3365106; 229317, 365108; 229295, 3365110; 229273, 3365114; 
229252, 3365118; 229230, 3365123; 229209, 3365129; 229188, 3365136; 
229167, 3365143; 229146, 3365151; 229126, 3365160; 229106, 3365170; 
229086, 3365180; 229067, 3365191; 229048, 3365203; 229030, 3365215; 
229012, 3365228; 228994, 3365242; 228977, 3365256; 228961, 3365271; 
228945, 3365286; 228929, 3365302; 228914, 3365318; 228900, 3365335; 
228887, 3365353; 228874, 3365371; 228861, 3365389; 228850, 3365408; 
228839, 3365428; 228828, 3365447; 228819, 3365467; 228810, 3365487; 
228802, 3365508; 228794, 3365529; 228788, 3365550; 228782, 3365572; 
228777, 3365593; 228773, 3365615; 228769, 3365637; 228766, 3365659; 
228764, 3365681; 228763, 3365700; 228688, 3366732; 228321, 3367548; 
227537, 3368623; 227307, 3368893; 227292, 3368909; 227278, 3368926; 
227264, 3368944; 227251, 3368962; 227239, 3368980; 227227, 3368999; 
227216, 3369018; 227206, 3369038; 227196, 3369058; 227187, 3369078; 
227179, 3369099;

[[Page 35147]]

227172, 3369120; 227165, 3369141; 227159, 3369163; 227154, 3369184; 
227150, 3369206; 227146, 3369228; 227144, 3369250; 227142, 3369272; 
227140, 3369294; 227140, 3369316; 227140, 3369338; 227142, 3369360; 
227144, 3369382; 227146, 3369404; 227150, 3369426; 227154, 3369448; 
227159, 3369470; 227165, 3369491; 227172, 3369512; 227179, 3369533; 
227187, 3369554; 227196, 3369574; 227206, 3369594; 227216, 3369614; 
227227, 3369633; 227239, 3369652; 227251, 3369670; 227264, 3369688; 
227278, 3369706; 227292, 3369723; 227307, 3369739; 227322, 3369755; 
227338, 3369771; 227354, 3369785; 227371, 3369800; 227389, 3369813; 
227407, 3369826; 227425, 3369839; 227444, 3369850; 227463, 3369861; 
227483, 3369871; 227503, 3369881; 227523, 3369890; 227544, 3369898; 
227565, 3369905; 227586, 3369912; 227608, 3369918; 227629, 3369923; 
227651, 3369927; 227673, 3369931; 227695, 3369934; 227717, 3369936; 
227739, 3369937; 227761, 3369937; 227783, 3369937; 227805, 3369936; 
227827, 3369934; 227849, 3369931; 227871, 3369927; 227893, 3369923; 
227915, 3369918; 227936, 3369912; 227957, 3369905; 227978, 3369898; 
227999, 3369890; 228019, 3369881; 228039, 3369871; 228059, 3369861; 
228078, 3369850; 228097, 3369839; 228115, 3369826; 228133, 3369813; 
228151, 3369800; 228168, 3369785; 228184, 3369771; 228200, 3369755; 
228216, 3369739; 228230, 3369723; 228245, 3369706; 228254, 3369693; 
228903, 3368930; 228918, 3368913; 228932, 3368896; 228946, 3368879; 
228959, 3368861; 228971, 3368843; 228983, 3368824; 229573, 3367995; 
229585, 3367977; 229597, 3367958; 229608, 3367938; 229618, 3367919; 
229628, 3367899; 229636, 3367878; 229645, 3367858; 229652, 3367837; 
229659, 3367816; 229664, 3367794; 229670, 3367773; 229674, 3367751; 
229677, 3367729; 229679, 3367716; 229989, 3365862; 229990, 3365857; 
229995, 3365835; 229998, 3365814; 230001, 3365792; 230003, 3365769; 
230004, 3365747; 230005, 3365725; 230004, 3365703; 230003, 3365681; 
230001, 3365659; 229998, 3365637; 229995, 3365615; 229990, 3365593; 
229985, 3365572; 229980, 3365550; 229973, 3365529; 229966, 3365508; 
229957, 3365487; 229949, 3365467; 229939, 3365447; 229929, 3365428; 
229918, 3365408; 229906, 3365389; 229894, 3365371; 229881, 3365353; 
229867, 3365335; 229853, 3365318; 229838, 3365302; 229823, 3365286; 
229807, 3365271; 229790, 3365256; 229773, 3365242; 229756, 3365228; 
229738, 3365215; 229719, 3365203; 229701, 3365191; 229681, 3365180; 
229662, 3365170; 229642, 3365160; 229621, 3365151; 229601, 3365143; 
229580, 3365136; 229559, 3365129; 229537, 3365123; 229516, 3365118; 
229494, 3365114; 229472, 3365110; 229450, 3365108; 229428, 3365106; 
229406, 3365105.
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 1 follows:

[[Page 35148]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR12JN12.001

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (7) Unit 2: Harrison County, Mississippi.
    (i) Subunit 2A, Harrison County, Mississippi. From USGS 1:24,000 
scale quadrangle map Success, Mississippi. Land bounded by the 
following UTM Zone 16N, NAD 83 coordinates, (E, N): 300727, 3382207; 
300749, 3381710; 300727, 3381710; 300705, 3381710; 300683, 3381711; 
300661, 3381713; 300639, 3381716; 300617, 3381720; 300595, 3381724; 
300574, 3381729; 300552, 3381735; 300531, 3381742; 300510, 3381749; 
300490, 3381757; 300469, 3381766; 300449, 3381775; 300430, 3381786; 
300410, 3381797; 300391, 3381808; 300373, 3381821; 300355, 3381834; 
300338, 3381847; 300321, 3381861; 300304, 3381876; 300288, 3381892; 
300273, 3381908; 300258, 3381924; 300244, 3381941; 300230, 3381959; 
300217, 3381977; 300205, 3381995; 300193, 3382014; 300182, 3382033; 
300172, 3382053; 300162, 3382073; 300153, 3382093; 300145, 3382114; 
300138, 3382135; 300131, 3382156; 300125, 3382177; 300120, 3382199; 
300116, 3382220; 300113, 3382242; 300110, 3382264; 300108, 3382286; 
300107, 3382309; 300106, 3382331; 300107, 3382353; 300108, 3382375; 
300110, 3382397; 300113, 3382419; 300116, 3382441; 300120, 3382463; 
300123, 3382473; 300125, 3382484; 300131, 3382506; 300138, 3382527; 
300145, 3382548;

[[Page 35149]]

300153, 3382568; 300162, 3382589; 300172, 3382609; 300182, 3382628; 
300193, 3382648; 300205, 3382666; 300217, 3382685; 300230, 3382703; 
300244, 3382720; 300258, 3382737; 300273, 3382754; 300288, 3382770; 
300304, 3382785; 300321, 3382800; 300338, 3382814; 300355, 3382828; 
300373, 3382841; 300391, 3382853; 300410, 3382865; 300430, 3382876; 
300449, 3382886; 300469, 3382896; 300490, 3382904; 300510, 3382913; 
300531, 3382920; 300552, 3382927; 300574, 3382932; 300595, 3382938; 
300617, 3382942; 300639, 3382945; 300661, 3382948; 300661, 3382948; 
300683, 3382950; 300705, 3382951; 300727, 3382952; 300749, 3382951; 
300772, 3382950; 300794, 3382948; 300816, 3382945; 300837, 3382942; 
300859, 3382938; 300881, 3382932; 300902, 3382927; 300923, 3382920; 
300944, 3382913; 300965, 3382904; 300985, 3382896; 301005, 3382886; 
301025, 3382876; 301044, 3382865; 301063, 3382853; 301081, 3382841; 
301099, 3382828; 301117, 3382814; 301134, 3382800; 301150, 3382785; 
301166, 3382770; 301182, 3382754; 301197, 3382737; 301203, 3382729; 
301211, 3382720; 301224, 3382703; 301237, 3382685; 301250, 3382666; 
301261, 3382648; 301272, 3382628; 301283, 3382609; 301292, 3382589; 
301301, 3382568; 301309, 3382548; 301316, 3382527; 301317, 3382524; 
301323, 3382506; 301329, 3382484; 301334, 3382463; 301338, 3382441; 
301342, 3382419; 301345, 3382397; 301347, 3382375; 301348, 3382353; 
301348, 3382331; 301348, 3382309; 301347, 3382286; 301345, 3382264; 
301342, 3382242; 301338, 3382220; 301334, 3382199; 301329, 3382177; 
301323, 3382156; 301316, 3382135; 301309, 3382114; 301301, 3382093; 
301292, 3382073; 301283, 3382053; 301272, 3382033; 301261, 3382014; 
301250, 3381995; 301237, 3381977; 301224, 3381959; 301211, 3381941; 
301197, 3381924; 301182, 3381908; 301166, 3381892; 301150, 3381876; 
301134, 3381861; 301117, 3381847; 301099, 3381834; 301081, 3381821; 
301063, 3381808; 301044, 3381797; 301025, 3381786; 301005, 3381775; 
300985, 3381766; 300965, 3381757; 300944, 3381749; 300923, 3381742; 
300902, 3381735; 300881, 3381729; 300859, 3381724; 300837, 3381720; 
300816, 3381716; 300794, 3381713; 300772, 3381711; 300749, 3381710.
    (ii) Subunit 2B, Harrison County, Mississippi. From USGS 1:24,000 
scale quadrangle map Success, Mississippi. Land bounded by the 
following UTM Zone 16N, NAD 83 coordinates, (E, N): 301340, 3381104; 
301399, 3382522; 302686, 3381163; 302704, 3381151; 302722, 3381138; 
302740, 3381124; 302757, 3381110; 302773, 3381095; 302789, 3381080; 
302804, 3381064; 302819, 3381048; 302833, 3381031; 302847, 3381013; 
302860, 3380995; 302872, 3380977; 302884, 3380958; 302895, 3380939; 
302905, 3380919; 302915, 3380899; 302924, 3380879; 302932, 3380858; 
302939, 3380837; 302946, 3380816; 302952, 3380794; 302957, 3380773; 
302961, 3380751; 302965, 3380729; 302967, 3380707; 302969, 3380685; 
302969, 3380684; 302970, 3380663; 302971, 3380641; 302970, 3380619; 
302969, 3380597; 302967, 3380575; 302965, 3380553; 302961, 3380531; 
302957, 3380509; 302952, 3380487; 302950, 3380482; 302946, 3380466; 
302939, 3380445; 302932, 3380424; 302924, 3380403; 302915, 3380383; 
302905, 3380363; 302895, 3380343; 302884, 3380324; 302872, 3380305; 
302860, 3380287; 302847, 3380269; 302833, 3380251; 302819, 3380234; 
302804, 3380218; 302789, 3380202; 302773, 3380186; 302757, 3380172; 
302740, 3380157; 302722, 3380144; 302704, 3380131; 302686, 3380118; 
302667, 3380107; 302647, 3380096; 302628, 3380086; 302608, 3380076; 
302588, 3380067; 302567, 3380059; 302546, 3380052; 302525, 3380045; 
302503, 3380039; 302482, 3380034; 302460, 3380030; 302438, 3380026; 
302416, 3380023; 302394, 3380022; 302372, 3380020; 302350, 3380020; 
302328, 3380020; 302306, 3380022; 302283, 3380023; 302261, 3380026; 
302240, 3380030; 302218, 3380034; 302196, 3380039; 302175, 3380045; 
302154, 3380052; 302133, 3380059; 302112, 3380067; 302092, 3380076; 
300268, 3380807; 300247, 3380814; 300226, 3380822; 300206, 3380831; 
300186, 3380841; 300166, 3380851; 300147, 3380862; 300128, 3380873; 
300110, 3380886; 300092, 3380899; 300074, 3380912; 300057, 3380927; 
300041, 3380941; 300025, 3380957; 300009, 3380973; 299994, 3380989; 
299980, 3381006; 299967, 3381024; 299954, 3381042; 299941, 3381060; 
299930, 3381079; 299919, 3381098; 299908, 3381118; 299899, 3381138; 
299890, 3381158; 299882, 3381179; 299875, 3381200; 299868, 3381221; 
299862, 3381242; 299857, 3381264; 299853, 3381286; 299849, 3381307; 
299846, 3381329; 299844, 3381352; 299843, 3381374; 299843, 3381396; 
299843, 3381418; 299844, 3381440; 299846, 3381462; 299849, 3381484; 
299853, 3381506; 299857, 3381528; 299862, 3381549; 299868, 3381571; 
299875, 3381592; 299877, 3381598; 300078, 3382312; 300123, 3382473; 
300120, 3382463; 300116, 3382441; 300113, 3382419; 300110, 3382397; 
300108, 3382375; 300107, 3382353; 300106, 3382331; 300107, 3382309; 
300108, 3382286; 300110, 3382264; 300113, 3382242; 300116, 3382220; 
300120, 3382199; 300125, 3382177; 300131, 3382156; 300138, 3382135; 
300145, 3382114; 300153, 3382093; 300162, 3382073; 300172, 3382053; 
300182, 3382033; 300193, 3382014; 300205, 3381995; 300217, 3381977; 
300230, 3381959; 300244, 3381941; 300258, 3381924; 300273, 3381908; 
300288, 3381892; 300304, 3381876; 300321, 3381861; 300338, 3381847; 
300355, 3381834; 300373, 3381821; 300391, 3381808; 300410, 3381797; 
300430, 3381786; 300449, 3381775; 300469, 3381766; 300490, 3381757; 
300510, 3381749; 300531, 3381742; 300552, 3381735; 300574, 3381729; 
300595, 3381724; 300617, 3381720; 300639, 3381716; 300661, 3381713; 
300683, 3381711; 300705, 3381710; 300727, 3381710; 300749, 3381710; 
300772, 3381711; 300794, 3381713; 300816, 3381716; 300837, 3381720; 
300859, 3381724; 300881, 3381729; 300902, 3381735; 300923, 3381742; 
300944, 3381749; 300965, 3381757; 300985, 3381766; 301005, 3381775; 
301025, 3381786; 301044, 3381797; 301063, 3381808; 301081, 3381821; 
301099, 3381834; 301117, 3381847; 301134, 3381861; 301150, 3381876; 
301166, 3381892; 301182, 3381908; 301197, 3381924; 301211, 3381941; 
301224, 3381959; 301237, 3381977; 301250, 3381995; 301261, 3382014; 
301272, 3382033; 301283, 3382053; 301292, 3382073; 301301, 3382093; 
301309, 3382114; 301316, 3382135; 301323, 3382156; 301329, 3382177; 
301334, 3382199; 301338, 3382220; 301342, 3382242; 301345, 3382264; 
301347, 3382286; 301348, 3382309; 301348, 3382331; 301348, 3382353; 
301347, 3382375; 301345, 3382397; 301342, 3382419; 301338, 3382441; 
301334, 3382463; 301329, 3382484; 301323, 3382506; 301317, 3382524; 
301316, 3382527; 301309, 3382548; 301301, 3382568; 301292, 3382589; 
301283, 3382609; 301272, 3382628; 301261, 3382648; 301250, 3382666; 
301237, 3382685; 301224, 3382703; 301211, 3382720; 301203, 3382729; 
301399, 3382522.
    (iii) Note: Map of Units 2 and 3 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 35150]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR12JN12.002

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (8) Unit 3: Harrison County, Mississippi.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangle map White Plains, 
Mississippi. Land bounded by the following UTM Zone 16N, NAD 83 
coordinates, (E, N): 311835, 3385625; 311857, 3385128; 311835, 3385128; 
311812, 3385128; 311790, 3385130; 311768, 3385132; 311746, 3385134; 
311724, 3385138; 311703, 3385142; 311681, 3385147; 311660, 3385153; 
311639, 3385160; 311618, 3385167; 311597, 3385175; 311577, 3385184; 
311557, 3385194; 311537, 3385204; 311518, 3385215; 311499, 3385227; 
311480, 3385239; 311462, 3385252; 311445, 3385265; 311428, 3385280; 
311411, 3385295; 311396, 3385310; 311380, 3385326; 311365, 3385342; 
311351, 3385359; 311338, 3385377; 311325, 3385395; 311312, 3385413; 
311301, 3385432; 311290, 3385451; 311279, 3385471; 311270, 3385491; 
311261, 3385511; 311253, 3385532; 311245, 3385553; 311239, 3385574; 
311233, 3385595; 311228, 3385617; 311224, 3385639; 311220, 3385661; 
311217, 3385683; 311215, 3385705; 311214, 3385727; 311214, 3385749; 
311214, 3385771; 311215, 3385793; 311217, 3385815; 311220, 3385837; 
311224, 3385859; 311228, 3385881; 311233, 3385903; 311239, 3385924; 
311245, 3385945; 311253, 3385966;

[[Page 35151]]

311261, 3385987; 311270, 3386007; 311279, 3386027; 311290, 3386047; 
311301, 3386066; 311312, 3386085; 311325, 3386103; 311338, 3386121; 
311351, 3386139; 311365, 3386156; 311380, 3386172; 311396, 3386188; 
311411, 3386204; 311428, 3386218; 311445, 3386233; 311462, 3386246; 
311480, 3386259; 311499, 3386271; 311518, 3386283; 311537, 3386294; 
311557, 3386304; 311577, 3386314; 311597, 3386323; 311618, 3386331; 
311639, 3386338; 311660, 3386345; 311681, 3386351; 311703, 3386356; 
311724, 3386360; 311746, 3386364; 311768, 3386366; 311790, 3386368; 
311812, 3386370; 311835, 3386370; 311857, 3386370; 311879, 3386368; 
311901, 3386366; 311923, 3386364; 311945, 3386360; 311967, 3386356; 
311988, 3386351; 312010, 3386345; 312031, 3386338; 312052, 3386331; 
312072, 3386323; 312093, 3386314; 312113, 3386304; 312132, 3386294; 
312152, 3386283; 312170, 3386271; 312189, 3386259; 312207, 3386246; 
312224, 3386233; 312241, 3386218; 312258, 3386204; 312274, 3386188; 
312289, 3386172; 312304, 3386156; 312318, 3386139; 312332, 3386121; 
312345, 3386103; 312357, 3386085; 312369, 3386066; 312380, 3386047; 
312390, 3386027; 312400, 3386007; 312408, 3385987; 312416, 3385966; 
312424, 3385945; 312430, 3385924; 312436, 3385903; 312441, 3385881; 
312446, 3385859; 312449, 3385837; 312452, 3385815; 312454, 3385793; 
312455, 3385771; 312456, 3385749; 312455, 3385727; 312454, 3385705; 
312452, 3385683; 312449, 3385661; 312446, 3385639; 312441, 3385617; 
312436, 3385595; 312430, 3385574; 312424, 3385553; 312416, 3385532; 
312408, 3385511; 312400, 3385491; 312390, 3385471; 312380, 3385451; 
312369, 3385432; 312357, 3385413; 312345, 3385395; 312332, 3385377; 
312318, 3385359; 312304, 3385342; 312289, 3385326; 312274, 3385310; 
312258, 3385295; 312241, 3385280; 312224, 3385265; 312207, 3385252; 
312189, 3385239; 312170, 3385227; 312152, 3385215; 312132, 3385204; 
312113, 3385194; 312093, 3385184; 312072, 3385175; 312052, 3385167; 
312031, 3385160; 312010, 3385153; 311988, 3385147; 311967, 3385142; 
311945, 3385138; 311923, 3385134; 311901, 3385132; 311879, 3385130; 
311857, 3385128.
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 3 is provided at paragraph (7)(iii) of this 
entry.
    (9) Unit 4: Jackson County, Mississippi.
    (i) Subunit 4A. From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangle map Gauthier 
North, Mississippi. Land bounded by the following UTM Zone 16N, NAD 83 
coordinates, (E, N): 333109, 3370810; 333632, 3370599; 333619, 3370580; 
333606, 3370562; 333593, 3370545; 333579, 3370528; 333564, 3370511; 
333548, 3370495; 333532, 3370480; 333516, 3370465; 333499, 3370451; 
333481, 3370437; 333463, 3370425; 333445, 3370412; 333426, 3370401; 
333407, 3370390; 333387, 3370379; 333367, 3370370; 333347, 3370361; 
333326, 3370353; 333305, 3370345; 333284, 3370339; 333263, 3370333; 
333241, 3370328; 333220, 3370323; 333198, 3370320; 333176, 3370317; 
333154, 3370315; 333131, 3370314; 333109, 3370314; 333087, 3370314; 
333065, 3370315; 333043, 3370317; 333021, 3370320; 332999, 3370323; 
332977, 3370328; 332956, 3370333; 332934, 3370339; 332913, 3370345; 
332892, 3370353; 332872, 3370361; 332851, 3370370; 332831, 3370379; 
332812, 3370390; 332792, 3370401; 332774, 3370412; 332755, 3370425; 
332737, 3370437; 332720, 3370451; 332703, 3370465; 332686, 3370480; 
332670, 3370495; 332655, 3370511; 332640, 3370528; 332626, 3370545; 
332612, 3370562; 332599, 3370580; 332587, 3370599; 332575, 3370618; 
332564, 3370637; 332554, 3370657; 332544, 3370677; 332536, 3370697; 
332527, 3370718; 332520, 3370739; 332513, 3370760; 332508, 3370781; 
332502, 3370803; 332498, 3370824; 332495, 3370846; 332492, 3370868; 
332490, 3370890; 332489, 3370912; 332488, 3370935; 332489, 3370957; 
332490, 3370979; 332492, 3371001; 332495, 3371023; 332498, 3371045; 
332502, 3371067; 332508, 3371088; 332513, 3371110; 332520, 3371131; 
332527, 3371152; 332536, 3371172; 332544, 3371193; 332554, 3371213; 
332564, 3371232; 332575, 3371251; 332587, 3371270; 332599, 3371289; 
332612, 3371307; 332626, 3371324; 332640, 3371341; 332655, 3371358; 
332670, 3371374; 332686, 3371389; 332703, 3371404; 332720, 3371418; 
332737, 3371432; 332755, 3371445; 332766, 3371452; 332774, 3371457; 
332792, 3371469; 332812, 3371480; 332831, 3371490; 332851, 3371499; 
332872, 3371508; 332892, 3371516; 332913, 3371524; 332934, 3371530; 
332956, 3371536; 332977, 3371541; 332999, 3371546; 333021, 3371549; 
333043, 3371552; 333065, 3371554; 333087, 3371555; 333109, 3371556; 
333131, 3371555; 333154, 3371554; 333176, 3371552; 333198, 3371549; 
333220, 3371546; 333241, 3371541; 333263, 3371536; 333284, 3371530; 
333305, 3371524; 333326, 3371516; 333347, 3371508; 333367, 3371499; 
333387, 3371490; 333407, 3371480; 333426, 3371469; 333445, 3371457; 
333463, 3371445; 333481, 3371432; 333499, 3371418; 333516, 3371404; 
333532, 3371389; 333548, 3371374; 333564, 3371358; 333579, 3371341; 
333593, 3371324; 333606, 3371307; 333619, 3371289; 333632, 3371270; 
333643, 3371251; 333654, 3371232; 333665, 3371213; 333674, 3371193; 
333683, 3371172; 333691, 3371152; 333699, 3371131; 333705, 3371110; 
333711, 3371088; 333716, 3371067; 333720, 3371045; 333724, 3371023; 
333727, 3371001; 333729, 3370979; 333730, 3370957; 333730, 3370935; 
333730, 3370912; 333729, 3370890; 333727, 3370868; 333724, 3370846; 
333720, 3370824; 333716, 3370803; 333711, 3370781; 333705, 3370760; 
333699, 3370739; 333691, 3370718; 333683, 3370697; 333674, 3370677; 
333665, 3370657; 333654, 3370637; 333643, 3370618; 333632, 3370599.
    (ii) Subunit 4B. From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangle maps Gauthier 
North and Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Land bounded by the following UTM 
Zone 16N, NAD 83 coordinates, (E, N): 332162, 3370411; 332175, 3369717; 
331717, 3369908; 331711, 3369915; 331696, 3369932; 331682, 3369949; 
331668, 3369966; 331655, 3369984; 331643, 3370003; 331631, 3370021; 
331621, 3370041; 331610, 3370060; 331601, 3370080; 331592, 3370101; 
331584, 3370121; 331576, 3370142; 331570, 3370163; 331564, 3370185; 
331559, 3370206; 331554, 3370228; 331551, 3370250; 331548, 3370272; 
331546, 3370294; 331545, 3370316; 331545, 3370338; 331545, 3370360; 
331546, 3370383; 331548, 3370405; 331551, 3370427; 331554, 3370448; 
331559, 3370470; 331564, 3370492; 331570, 3370513; 331576, 3370534; 
331584, 3370555; 331592, 3370576; 331601, 3370596; 331610, 3370616; 
331621, 3370636; 331631, 3370655; 331643, 3370674; 331655, 3370692; 
331668, 3370710; 331682, 3370728; 331696, 3370745; 331711, 3370761; 
331726, 3370777; 331742, 3370793; 331759, 3370808; 331776, 3370822; 
331793, 3370835; 331811, 3370848; 331830, 3370861; 331849, 3370872; 
332766, 3371452; 332755, 3371445; 332737, 3371432; 332720, 3371418; 
332703, 3371404; 332686, 3371389; 332670, 3371374; 332655, 3371358; 
332640, 3371341; 332626, 3371324; 332612, 3371307; 332599, 3371289; 
332587, 3371270; 332575, 3371251; 332564, 3371232; 332554, 3371213; 
332544, 3371193; 332536, 3371172; 332527, 3371152; 332520, 3371131; 
332513, 3371110; 332508, 3371088; 332502, 3371067; 332498, 3371045; 
332495, 3371023; 332492, 3371001; 332490, 3370979; 332489, 3370957;

[[Page 35152]]

332488, 3370935; 332489, 3370912; 332490, 3370890; 332492, 3370868; 
332495, 3370846; 332498, 3370824; 332502, 3370803; 332508, 3370781; 
332513, 3370760; 332520, 3370739; 332527, 3370718; 332536, 3370697; 
332544, 3370677; 332554, 3370657; 332564, 3370637; 332575, 3370618; 
332587, 3370599; 332599, 3370580; 332612, 3370562; 332626, 3370545; 
332640, 3370528; 332655, 3370511; 332670, 3370495; 332686, 3370480; 
332703, 3370465; 332720, 3370451; 332737, 3370437; 332755, 3370425; 
332774, 3370412; 332792, 3370401; 332812, 3370390; 332831, 3370379; 
332851, 3370370; 332872, 3370361; 332892, 3370353; 332913, 3370345; 
332934, 3370339; 332956, 3370333; 332977, 3370328; 332999, 3370323; 
333021, 3370320; 333043, 3370317; 333065, 3370315; 333087, 3370314; 
333109, 3370314; 333131, 3370314; 333154, 3370315; 333176, 3370317; 
333198, 3370320; 333220, 3370323; 333241, 3370328; 333263, 3370333; 
333284, 3370339; 333305, 3370345; 333326, 3370353; 333347, 3370361; 
333367, 3370370; 333387, 3370379; 333407, 3370390; 333426, 3370401; 
333445, 3370412; 333463, 3370425; 333481, 3370437; 333499, 3370451; 
333516, 3370465; 333532, 3370480; 333548, 3370495; 333564, 3370511; 
333579, 3370528; 333593, 3370545; 333606, 3370562; 333619, 3370580; 
333632, 3370599; 333366, 3370173; 333359, 3370159; 333348, 3370140; 
333336, 3370121; 333324, 3370103; 333311, 3370085; 333297, 3370067; 
333283, 3370050; 333268, 3370034; 333253, 3370018; 333237, 3370002; 
333220, 3369987; 333203, 3369973; 333186, 3369960; 333168, 3369947; 
333149, 3369934; 333131, 3369923; 333111, 3369912; 333092, 3369901; 
333072, 3369892; 333051, 3369883; 333031, 3369875; 333010, 3369868; 
332989, 3369861; 332967, 3369855; 332946, 3369850; 332924, 3369846; 
332902, 3369842; 332880, 3369839; 332867, 3369838; 332303, 3369733; 
332298, 3369731; 332276, 3369727; 332254, 3369724; 332232, 3369721; 
332210, 3369719; 332188, 3369718; 332175, 3369717.
    (iii) Note: Map of Units 4, 5, and 6 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 35153]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR12JN12.003

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (10) Unit 5: Jackson County, Mississippi.
    (i) Subunit 5A. From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangle map Latimer, 
Mississippi. Land bounded by the following UTM Zone 16N, NAD 83 
coordinates, (E, N): 331312, 3381629; 331800, 3382137; 331809, 3382125; 
331822, 3382107; 331834, 3382089; 331846, 3382070; 331857, 3382050; 
331867, 3382031; 331877, 3382011; 331886, 3381990; 331894, 3381970; 
331901, 3381949; 331908, 3381928; 331914, 3381906; 331919, 3381885; 
331923, 3381863; 331927, 3381841; 331929, 3381819; 331931, 3381797; 
331932, 3381775; 331933, 3381753; 331932, 3381731; 331931, 3381708; 
331929, 3381686; 331927, 3381664; 331923, 3381643; 331919, 3381621; 
331914, 3381599; 331908, 3381578; 331901, 3381557; 331894, 3381536; 
331886, 3381515; 331877, 3381495; 331867, 3381475; 331857, 3381455; 
331846, 3381436; 331834, 3381417; 331822, 3381399; 331809, 3381381; 
331795, 3381363; 331781, 3381346; 331766, 3381330; 331751, 3381314; 
331735, 3381298; 331719, 3381283; 331702, 3381269; 331684, 3381256; 
331666, 3381243; 331648, 3381230; 331629, 3381219; 331610, 3381208; 
331590, 3381197; 331570, 3381188; 331550, 3381179; 331529, 3381171; 
331508, 3381164; 331487, 3381157;

[[Page 35154]]

331465, 3381151; 331444, 3381146; 331422, 3381142; 331400, 3381138; 
331378, 3381135; 331356, 3381133; 331334, 3381132; 331312, 3381132; 
331290, 3381132; 331268, 3381133; 331246, 3381135; 331224, 3381138; 
331202, 3381142; 331180, 3381146; 331158, 3381151; 331137, 3381157; 
331116, 3381164; 331095, 3381171; 331074, 3381179; 331054, 3381188; 
331034, 3381197; 331014, 3381208; 330995, 3381219; 330976, 3381230; 
330958, 3381243; 330940, 3381256; 330922, 3381269; 330905, 3381283; 
330904, 3381284; 330889, 3381298; 330873, 3381314; 330857, 3381330; 
330843, 3381346; 330828, 3381363; 330815, 3381381; 330802, 3381399; 
330789, 3381417; 330778, 3381436; 330767, 3381455; 330757, 3381475; 
330747, 3381495; 330738, 3381515; 330730, 3381536; 330723, 3381557; 
330716, 3381578; 330710, 3381599; 330705, 3381621; 330701, 3381643; 
330697, 3381664; 330694, 3381686; 330692, 3381708; 330691, 3381731; 
330691, 3381753; 330691, 3381775; 330692, 3381797; 330694, 3381819; 
330697, 3381841; 330701, 3381863; 330705, 3381885; 330710, 3381906; 
330716, 3381928; 330723, 3381949; 330730, 3381970; 330738, 3381990; 
330747, 3382011; 330757, 3382031; 330767, 3382050; 330778, 3382070; 
330789, 3382089; 330802, 3382107; 330815, 3382125; 330828, 3382142; 
330843, 3382159; 330857, 3382176; 330873, 3382192; 330889, 3382207; 
330905, 3382222; 330922, 3382236; 330940, 3382250; 330958, 3382263; 
330976, 3382275; 330995, 3382287; 331014, 3382298; 331034, 3382308; 
331054, 3382318; 331074, 3382327; 331095, 3382335; 331116, 3382342; 
331137, 3382349; 331158, 3382355; 331180, 3382360; 331202, 3382364; 
331224, 3382367; 331246, 3382370; 331268, 3382372; 331290, 3382373; 
331312, 3382374; 331334, 3382373; 331356, 3382372; 331378, 3382370; 
331400, 3382367; 331422, 3382364; 331444, 3382360; 331465, 3382355; 
331487, 3382349; 331508, 3382342; 331529, 3382335; 331550, 3382327; 
331570, 3382318; 331590, 3382308; 331610, 3382298; 331629, 3382287; 
331648, 3382275; 331666, 3382263; 331684, 3382250; 331702, 3382236; 
331719, 3382222; 331735, 3382207; 331751, 3382192; 331766, 3382176; 
331781, 3382159; 331795, 3382142; 331800, 3382137.
    (ii) Subunit 5B. From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangle maps Latimer 
and Vancleave, Mississippi. Land bounded by the following UTM Zone 16N, 
NAD 83 coordinates, (E, N): 332002, 3381342; 330904, 3381284; 330905, 
3381283; 330922, 3381269; 330940, 3381256; 330958, 3381243; 330976, 
3381230; 330995, 3381219; 331014, 3381208; 331034, 3381197; 331054, 
3381188; 331074, 3381179; 331095, 3381171; 331116, 3381164; 331137, 
3381157; 331158, 3381151; 331180, 3381146; 331202, 3381142; 331224, 
3381138; 331246, 3381135; 331268, 3381133; 331290, 3381132; 331312, 
3381132; 331334, 3381132; 331356, 3381133; 331378, 3381135; 331400, 
3381138; 331422, 3381142; 331444, 3381146; 331465, 3381151; 331487, 
3381157; 331508, 3381164; 331529, 3381171; 331550, 3381179; 331570, 
3381188; 331590, 3381197; 331610, 3381208; 331629, 3381219; 331648, 
3381230; 331666, 3381243; 331684, 3381256; 331702, 3381269; 331719, 
3381283; 331735, 3381298; 331751, 3381314; 331766, 3381330; 331781, 
3381346; 331795, 3381363; 331809, 3381381; 331822, 3381399; 331834, 
3381417; 331846, 3381436; 331857, 3381455; 331867, 3381475; 331877, 
3381495; 331886, 3381515; 331894, 3381536; 331901, 3381557; 331908, 
3381578; 331914, 3381599; 331919, 3381621; 331923, 3381643; 331927, 
3381664; 331929, 3381686; 331931, 3381708; 331932, 3381731; 331933, 
3381753; 331932, 3381775; 331931, 3381797; 331929, 3381819; 331927, 
3381841; 331923, 3381863; 331919, 3381885; 331914, 3381906; 331908, 
3381928; 331901, 3381949; 331894, 3381970; 331886, 3381990; 331877, 
3382011; 331867, 3382031; 331857, 3382050; 331846, 3382070; 331834, 
3382089; 331822, 3382107; 331809, 3382125; 331800, 3382137; 332044, 
3381881; 332052, 3381873; 332067, 3381857; 332082, 3381840; 332096, 
3381823; 332110, 3381806; 332123, 3381788; 332135, 3381769; 332147, 
3381750; 332158, 3381731; 332168, 3381711; 332178, 3381691; 332187, 
3381671; 332195, 3381650; 332202, 3381630; 332209, 3381608; 332215, 
3381587; 332220, 3381565; 332224, 3381544; 332228, 3381522; 332230, 
3381500; 332232, 3381478; 332234, 3381456; 332234, 3381433; 332234, 
3381411; 332232, 3381389; 332230, 3381367; 332228, 3381345; 332224, 
3381323; 332220, 3381301; 332215, 3381280; 332209, 3381258; 332202, 
3381237; 332195, 3381216; 332187, 3381196; 332178, 3381175; 332168, 
3381155; 332158, 3381136; 332147, 3381117; 332135, 3381098; 332123, 
3381079; 332110, 3381061; 332096, 3381044; 332082, 3381027; 332067, 
3381010; 332052, 3380994; 332036, 3380979; 332020, 3380964; 332003, 
3380950; 331985, 3380936; 331967, 3380923; 331949, 3380911; 331930, 
3380899; 331911, 3380888; 331891, 3380878; 331871, 3380869; 331851, 
3380860; 331830, 3380852; 331809, 3380844; 331788, 3380838; 331767, 
3380832; 331745, 3380827; 331723, 3380822; 331701, 3380819; 331679, 
3380816; 331657, 3380814; 331635, 3380813; 331613, 3380812; 331591, 
3380813; 331569, 3380814; 331547, 3380816; 331525, 3380819; 331503, 
3380822; 331481, 3380827; 331459, 3380832; 331438, 3380838; 331417, 
3380844; 331396, 3380852; 331375, 3380860; 331355, 3380869; 331335, 
3380878; 331315, 3380888; 331296, 3380899; 331277, 3380911; 331259, 
3380923; 331241, 3380936; 331223, 3380950; 331206, 3380964; 331190, 
3380979; 331174, 3380994; 331158, 3381010; 331144, 3381027; 331143, 
3381027; 330904, 3381284.
    (iii) Note: Map of Unit 5 is provided at paragraph (9)(iii) of this 
entry.
    (11) Unit 6: Jackson County, Mississippi.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangle map Vancleave, Mississippi. 
Land bounded by the following UTM Zone 16N, NAD 83 coordinates, (E, N): 
343468, 3381436; 343490, 3380939; 343468, 3380939; 343446, 3380939; 
343424, 3380940; 343402, 3380942; 343380, 3380945; 343358, 3380949; 
343336, 3380953; 343314, 3380958; 343293, 3380964; 343272, 3380971; 
343251, 3380978; 343230, 3380986; 343210, 3380995; 343190, 3381005; 
343170, 3381015; 343151, 3381026; 343132, 3381037; 343114, 3381050; 
343096, 3381063; 343078, 3381076; 343061, 3381091; 343045, 3381105; 
343029, 3381121; 343014, 3381137; 342999, 3381153; 342984, 3381170; 
342971, 3381188; 342958, 3381206; 342946, 3381224; 342934, 3381243; 
342923, 3381262; 342913, 3381282; 342903, 3381302; 342894, 3381322; 
342886, 3381343; 342879, 3381364; 342872, 3381385; 342866, 3381406; 
342861, 3381428; 342857, 3381450; 342853, 3381472; 342851, 3381493; 
342849, 3381516; 342847, 3381538; 342847, 3381560; 342847, 3381582; 
342849, 3381604; 342851, 3381626; 342853, 3381648; 342857, 3381670; 
342861, 3381692; 342866, 3381713; 342872, 3381735; 342879, 3381756; 
342886, 3381777; 342894, 3381798; 342903, 3381818; 342913, 3381838; 
342923, 3381857; 342934, 3381877; 342946, 3381896; 342958, 3381914; 
342971, 3381932; 342984, 3381950; 342999, 3381967; 343014, 3381983; 
343029, 3381999; 343045, 3382014; 343061, 3382029; 343078, 3382043; 
343096, 3382057; 343114, 3382070; 343132, 3382082; 343151, 3382094; 
343170, 3382105; 343190, 3382115; 343210, 3382125; 343230, 3382134;

[[Page 35155]]

343251, 3382142; 343272, 3382149; 343293, 3382156; 343314, 3382162; 
343336, 3382167; 343358, 3382171; 343380, 3382175; 343402, 3382177; 
343424, 3382179; 343446, 3382180; 343468, 3382181; 343490, 3382180; 
343512, 3382179; 343534, 3382177; 343556, 3382175; 343578, 3382171; 
343600, 3382167; 343622, 3382162; 343643, 3382156; 343664, 3382149; 
343685, 3382142; 343706, 3382134; 343726, 3382125; 343746, 3382115; 
343766, 3382105; 343785, 3382094; 343804, 3382082; 343822, 3382070; 
343840, 3382057; 343858, 3382043; 343875, 3382029; 343891, 3382014; 
343907, 3381999; 343923, 3381983; 343937, 3381967; 343952, 3381950; 
343965, 3381932; 343978, 3381914; 343990, 3381896; 344002, 3381877; 
344013, 3381857; 344023, 3381838; 344033, 3381818; 344042, 3381798; 
344050, 3381777; 344057, 3381756; 344064, 3381735; 344070, 3381713; 
344075, 3381692; 344079, 3381670; 344083, 3381648; 344085, 3381626; 
344087, 3381604; 344089, 3381582; 344089, 3381560; 344089, 3381538; 
344087, 3381516; 344085, 3381493; 344083, 3381472; 344079, 3381450; 
344075, 3381428; 344070, 3381406; 344064, 3381385; 344057, 3381364; 
344050, 3381343; 344042, 3381322; 344033, 3381302; 344023, 3381282; 
344013, 3381262; 344002, 3381243; 343990, 3381224; 343978, 3381206; 
343965, 3381188; 343952, 3381170; 343937, 3381153; 343923, 3381137; 
343907, 3381121; 343891, 3381105; 343875, 3381091; 343858, 3381076; 
343840, 3381063; 343822, 3381050; 343804, 3381037; 343785, 3381026; 
343766, 3381015; 343746, 3381005; 343726, 3380995; 343706, 3380986; 
343685, 3380978; 343664, 3380971; 343643, 3380964; 343622, 3380958; 
343600, 3380953; 343578, 3380949; 343556, 3380945; 343534, 3380942; 
343512, 3380940; 343490, 3380939.
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 6 is provided at paragraph (9)(iii) of this 
entry.
    (12) Unit 7: Jackson County, Mississippi.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangle map Big Point, Mississippi. 
Land bounded by the following UTM Zone 16N, NAD 83 coordinates, (E, N): 
356810, 3377501; 356832, 3377004; 356810, 3377004; 356788, 3377004; 
356766, 3377006; 356744, 3377008; 356722, 3377010; 356700, 3377014; 
356678, 3377018; 356657, 3377023; 356635, 3377029; 356614, 3377036; 
356593, 3377043; 356573, 3377051; 356552, 3377060; 356532, 3377070; 
356513, 3377080; 356493, 3377091; 356474, 3377103; 356456, 3377115; 
356438, 3377128; 356421, 3377142; 356404, 3377156; 356387, 3377171; 
356371, 3377186; 356356, 3377202; 356341, 3377218; 356327, 3377235; 
356313, 3377253; 356300, 3377271; 356288, 3377289; 356276, 3377308; 
356265, 3377327; 356255, 3377347; 356245, 3377367; 356236, 3377387; 
356228, 3377408; 356221, 3377429; 356214, 3377450; 356208, 3377471; 
356203, 3377493; 356199, 3377515; 356196, 3377537; 356193, 3377559; 
356191, 3377581; 356190, 3377603; 356189, 3377625; 356190, 3377647; 
356191, 3377669; 356193, 3377691; 356196, 3377713; 356199, 3377735; 
356203, 3377757; 356208, 3377779; 356214, 3377800; 356221, 3377821; 
356228, 3377842; 356236, 3377863; 356245, 3377883; 356255, 3377903; 
356265, 3377923; 356276, 3377942; 356288, 3377961; 356300, 3377979; 
356313, 3377997; 356327, 3378015; 356341, 3378032; 356356, 3378048; 
356371, 3378064; 356387, 3378080; 356404, 3378094; 356421, 3378109; 
356438, 3378122; 356456, 3378135; 356474, 3378147; 356493, 3378159; 
356513, 3378170; 356532, 3378180; 356552, 3378190; 356573, 3378199; 
356593, 3378207; 356614, 3378214; 356635, 3378221; 356657, 3378227; 
356678, 3378232; 356700, 3378236; 356722, 3378240; 356744, 3378242; 
356766, 3378244; 356788, 3378246; 356810, 3378246; 356832, 3378246; 
356855, 3378244; 356877, 3378242; 356899, 3378240; 356920, 3378236; 
356942, 3378232; 356964, 3378227; 356985, 3378221; 357006, 3378214; 
357027, 3378207; 357048, 3378199; 357068, 3378190; 357088, 3378180; 
357108, 3378170; 357127, 3378159; 357146, 3378147; 357164, 3378135; 
357182, 3378122; 357200, 3378109; 357217, 3378094; 357233, 3378080; 
357249, 3378064; 357265, 3378048; 357280, 3378032; 357294, 3378015; 
357307, 3377997; 357320, 3377979; 357333, 3377961; 357344, 3377942; 
357355, 3377923; 357366, 3377903; 357375, 3377883; 357384, 3377863; 
357392, 3377842; 357399, 3377821; 357406, 3377800; 357412, 3377779; 
357417, 3377757; 357421, 3377735; 357425, 3377713; 357428, 3377691; 
357430, 3377669; 357431, 3377647; 357431, 3377625; 357431, 3377603; 
357430, 3377581; 357428, 3377559; 357425, 3377537; 357421, 3377515; 
357417, 3377493; 357412, 3377471; 357406, 3377450; 357399, 3377429; 
357392, 3377408; 357384, 3377387; 357375, 3377367; 357366, 3377347; 
357355, 3377327; 357344, 3377308; 357333, 3377289; 357320, 3377271; 
357307, 3377253; 357294, 3377235; 357280, 3377218; 357265, 3377202; 
357249, 3377186; 357233, 3377171; 357217, 3377156; 357200, 3377142; 
357182, 3377128; 357164, 3377115; 357146, 3377103; 357127, 3377091; 
357108, 3377080; 357088, 3377070; 357068, 3377060; 357048, 3377051; 
357027, 3377043; 357006, 3377036; 356985, 3377029; 356964, 3377023; 
356942, 3377018; 356920, 3377014; 356899, 3377010; 356877, 3377008; 
356855, 3377006; 356832, 3377004.
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 7 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 35156]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR12JN12.004

    (13) Unit 8: Forrest County, Mississippi.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangle map Brooklyn, Mississippi. 
Land bounded by the following UTM Zone 16N, NAD 83 coordinates, (E, N): 
292305, 3434903; 292328, 3434158; 292305, 3434157; 292283, 3434158; 
292261, 3434159; 292239, 3434161; 292217, 3434164; 292195, 3434167; 
292173, 3434172; 292152, 3434177; 292130, 3434183; 292109, 3434189; 
292088, 3434197; 292068, 3434205; 292047, 3434214; 292027, 3434223; 
292008, 3434233; 291989, 3434244; 291970, 3434256; 291951, 3434268; 
291933, 3434281; 291916, 3434295; 291899, 3434309; 291882, 3434324; 
291866, 3434339; 291851, 3434355; 291836, 3434372; 291822, 3434389; 
291808, 3434406; 291795, 3434424; 291783, 3434443; 291771, 3434462; 
291760, 3434481; 291750, 3434501; 291741, 3434521; 291732, 3434541; 
291724, 3434561; 291716, 3434582; 291710, 3434604; 291704, 3434625; 
291699, 3434646; 291694, 3434668; 291691, 3434690; 291688, 3434712; 
291686, 3434734; 291685, 3434756; 291684, 3434778; 291685, 3434801; 
291686, 3434823; 291688, 3434845; 291691, 3434867; 291694, 3434889; 
291699, 3434910; 291704, 3434932; 291710, 3434953; 291716, 3434975; 
291724, 3434996; 291732, 3435016; 291741, 3435036; 291750, 3435056;

[[Page 35157]]

291760, 3435076; 291771, 3435095; 291783, 3435114; 291795, 3435133; 
291808, 3435151; 291822, 3435168; 291836, 3435185; 291851, 3435202; 
291866, 3435218; 291882, 3435233; 291899, 3435248; 291916, 3435262; 
291919, 3435265; 291922, 3435267; 291933, 3435276; 291951, 3435289; 
291970, 3435301; 291989, 3435313; 292008, 3435324; 292027, 3435334; 
292047, 3435343; 292068, 3435352; 292088, 3435360; 292109, 3435368; 
292130, 3435374; 292152, 3435380; 292173, 3435385; 292195, 3435390; 
292217, 3435393; 292239, 3435396; 292261, 3435398; 292283, 3435399; 
292305, 3435399; 292328, 3435399; 292350, 3435398; 292372, 3435396; 
292394, 3435393; 292416, 3435390; 292437, 3435385; 292459, 3435380; 
292480, 3435374; 292502, 3435368; 292522, 3435360; 292543, 3435352; 
292563, 3435343; 292583, 3435334; 292603, 3435324; 292622, 3435313; 
292641, 3435301; 292660, 3435289; 292678, 3435276; 292695, 3435262; 
292712, 3435248; 292729, 3435233; 292745, 3435218; 292760, 3435202; 
292775, 3435185; 292789, 3435168; 292803, 3435151; 292816, 3435133; 
292828, 3435114; 292839, 3435095; 292850, 3435076; 292861, 3435056; 
292870, 3435036; 292879, 3435016; 292887, 3434996; 292895, 3434975; 
292901, 3434953; 292907, 3434932; 292912, 3434910; 292917, 3434889; 
292920, 3434867; 292923, 3434845; 292925, 3434823; 292926, 3434801; 
292926, 3434778; 292926, 3434756; 292925, 3434734; 292923, 3434712; 
292920, 3434690; 292917, 3434668; 292912, 3434646; 292907, 3434625; 
292901, 3434604; 292895, 3434582; 292887, 3434561; 292879, 3434541; 
292870, 3434521; 292861, 3434501; 292850, 3434481; 292839, 3434462; 
292828, 3434443; 292816, 3434424; 292803, 3434406; 292789, 3434389; 
292775, 3434372; 292760, 3434355; 292745, 3434339; 292729, 3434324; 
292712, 3434309; 292695, 3434295; 292678, 3434281; 292660, 3434268; 
292641, 3434256; 292622, 3434244; 292603, 3434233; 292583, 3434223; 
292563, 3434214; 292543, 3434205; 292522, 3434197; 292502, 3434189; 
292480, 3434183; 292459, 3434177; 292437, 3434172; 292416, 3434167; 
292394, 3434164; 292372, 3434161; 292350, 3434159; 292328, 3434158.
    (ii) Note: Map of Units 8 and 9 follows:

[[Page 35158]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR12JN12.005

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (14) Unit 9: Forrest County, Mississippi.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangle map Brooklyn, Mississippi. 
Land bounded by the following UTM Zone 16N, NAD 83 coordinates, (E, N): 
294462, 3432341; 294484, 3431844; 294462, 3431844; 294439, 3431844; 
294417, 3431845; 294395, 3431847; 294373, 3431850; 294351, 3431854; 
294330, 3431858; 294308, 3431863; 294287, 3431869; 294266, 3431876; 
294245, 3431883; 294224, 3431891; 294204, 3431900; 294184, 3431909; 
294164, 3431920; 294145, 3431931; 294126, 3431942; 294107, 3431955; 
294089, 3431968; 294072, 3431981; 294055, 3431995; 294038, 3432010; 
294023, 3432026; 294007, 3432042; 293992, 3432058; 293978, 3432075; 
293964, 3432093; 293952, 3432111; 293939, 3432129; 293928, 3432148; 
293917, 3432167; 293906, 3432187; 293897, 3432207; 293888, 3432227; 
293880, 3432248; 293872, 3432269; 293866, 3432290; 293860, 3432311; 
293855, 3432333; 293850, 3432355; 293847, 3432376; 293844, 3432398; 
293842, 3432420; 293841, 3432443; 293841, 3432465; 293841, 3432487; 
293842, 3432509; 293844, 3432531; 293847, 3432553; 293850, 3432575; 
293855, 3432597; 293860, 3432618; 293866, 3432640; 293872, 3432661; 
293880, 3432682; 293888, 3432702;

[[Page 35159]]

293897, 3432723; 293906, 3432743; 293917, 3432762; 293928, 3432782; 
293939, 3432801; 293952, 3432819; 293964, 3432837; 293978, 3432854; 
293992, 3432871; 294007, 3432888; 294023, 3432904; 294038, 3432919; 
294055, 3432934; 294072, 3432948; 294089, 3432962; 294107, 3432975; 
294126, 3432987; 294145, 3432999; 294164, 3433010; 294184, 3433020; 
294204, 3433030; 294224, 3433039; 294245, 3433047; 294266, 3433054; 
294287, 3433061; 294308, 3433066; 294330, 3433072; 294351, 3433076; 
294373, 3433079; 294395, 3433082; 294417, 3433084; 294439, 3433085; 
294462, 3433086; 294484, 3433085; 294506, 3433084; 294528, 3433082; 
294550, 3433079; 294572, 3433076; 294594, 3433072; 294615, 3433066; 
294637, 3433061; 294658, 3433054; 294679, 3433047; 294699, 3433039; 
294720, 3433030; 294740, 3433020; 294759, 3433010; 294779, 3432999; 
294797, 3432987; 294816, 3432975; 294834, 3432962; 294851, 3432948; 
294868, 3432934; 294885, 3432919; 294901, 3432904; 294916, 3432888; 
294931, 3432871; 294945, 3432854; 294959, 3432837; 294972, 3432819; 
294984, 3432801; 294996, 3432782; 295007, 3432762; 295017, 3432743; 
295027, 3432723; 295035, 3432702; 295043, 3432682; 295051, 3432661; 
295057, 3432640; 295063, 3432618; 295068, 3432597; 295073, 3432575; 
295076, 3432553; 295079, 3432531; 295081, 3432509; 295082, 3432487; 
295083, 3432465; 295082, 3432443; 295081, 3432420; 295079, 3432398; 
295076, 3432376; 295073, 3432355; 295068, 3432333; 295063, 3432311; 
295057, 3432290; 295051, 3432269; 295043, 3432248; 295035, 3432227; 
295027, 3432207; 295017, 3432187; 295007, 3432167; 294996, 3432148; 
294984, 3432129; 294972, 3432111; 294959, 3432093; 294945, 3432075; 
294931, 3432058; 294916, 3432042; 294901, 3432026; 294885, 3432010; 
294874, 3432000; 294868, 3431995; 294851, 3431981; 294834, 3431968; 
294816, 3431955; 294797, 3431942; 294779, 3431931; 294759, 3431920; 
294740, 3431909; 294720, 3431900; 294699, 3431891; 294682, 3431884; 
294679, 3431883; 294658, 3431876; 294637, 3431869; 294615, 3431863; 
294594, 3431858; 294572, 3431854; 294550, 3431850; 294528, 3431847; 
294506, 3431845; 294484, 3431844.
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 9 is provided at paragraph (13)(ii) of this 
entry.
    (15) Unit 10: Perry County, Mississippi.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangle map Barbara, Mississippi. 
Land bounded by the following UTM Zone 16N, NAD 83 coordinates, (E, N): 
316810, 3422707; 317164, 3421954; 317142, 3421953; 317119, 3421954; 
317063, 3421956; 316926, 3421961; 316925, 3421961; 316735, 3421968; 
316713, 3421970; 316691, 3421972; 316669, 3421974; 316662, 3421976; 
316647, 3421978; 316626, 3421982; 316604, 3421987; 316583, 3421993; 
316561, 3422000; 316541, 3422007; 316520, 3422015; 316500, 3422024; 
316480, 3422034; 316460, 3422044; 316441, 3422055; 316422, 3422067; 
316403, 3422079; 316385, 3422092; 316368, 3422106; 316351, 3422120; 
316334, 3422135; 316318, 3422150; 316303, 3422166; 316288, 3422182; 
316274, 3422199; 316260, 3422217; 316247, 3422235; 316235, 3422253; 
316223, 3422272; 316212, 3422291; 316202, 3422311; 316193, 3422331; 
316184, 3422351; 316176, 3422372; 316168, 3422393; 316162, 3422414; 
316156, 3422436; 316151, 3422457; 316146, 3422479; 316143, 3422501; 
316140, 3422523; 316138, 3422545; 316137, 3422567; 316137, 3422589; 
316137, 3422611; 316138, 3422633; 316140, 3422655; 316143, 3422677; 
316146, 3422699; 316151, 3422721; 316156, 3422743; 316162, 3422764; 
316168, 3422785; 316176, 3422806; 316184, 3422827; 316193, 3422847; 
316202, 3422867; 316212, 3422887; 316223, 3422906; 316235, 3422925; 
316247, 3422943; 316260, 3422961; 316274, 3422979; 316288, 3422996; 
316303, 3423012; 316318, 3423028; 316334, 3423044; 316351, 3423058; 
316368, 3423073; 316385, 3423086; 316403, 3423099; 316422, 3423112; 
316441, 3423123; 316460, 3423134; 316480, 3423144; 316500, 3423154; 
316520, 3423163; 316541, 3423171; 316561, 3423178; 316583, 3423185; 
316604, 3423191; 316626, 3423196; 316647, 3423200; 316669, 3423204; 
316691, 3423207; 316713, 3423209; 316735, 3423210; 316758, 3423210; 
316780, 3423210; 316802, 3423209; 316804, 3423208; 317147, 3423195; 
317164, 3423195; 317186, 3423194; 317208, 3423192; 317230, 3423189; 
317252, 3423186; 317274, 3423181; 317295, 3423176; 317317, 3423170; 
317338, 3423164; 317359, 3423156; 317379, 3423148; 317400, 3423139; 
317420, 3423130; 317439, 3423119; 317458, 3423108; 317476, 3423097; 
317474, 3422836; 317472, 3422760; 317466, 3422451; 317463, 3422043; 
317458, 3422040; 317439, 3422029; 317420, 3422019; 317400, 3422010; 
317379, 3422001; 317359, 3421993; 317338, 3421985; 317317, 3421979; 
317295, 3421973; 317274, 3421968; 317252, 3421963; 317230, 3421960; 
317208, 3421957; 317186, 3421955; 317164, 3421954.
    (ii) Note: Map of Units 10, 11, and 12 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 35160]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR12JN12.006

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    (16) Unit 11: Perry County, Mississippi.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangle maps Barbara and Avent, 
Mississippi. Land bounded by the following UTM Zone 16N, NAD 83 
coordinates, (E, N): 320420, 3421781; 320442, 3421285; 320420, 3421284; 
320398, 3421285; 320376, 3421286; 320354, 3421288; 320332, 3421291; 
320310, 3421294; 320288, 3421298; 320267, 3421303; 320245, 3421309; 
320224, 3421316; 320203, 3421323; 320182, 3421331; 320162, 3421340; 
320142, 3421350; 320122, 3421360; 320103, 3421371; 320084, 3421383; 
320066, 3421395; 320048, 3421408; 320030, 3421422; 320013, 3421436; 
319997, 3421451; 319981, 3421466; 319966, 3421482; 319951, 3421499; 
319937, 3421516; 319923, 3421533; 319910, 3421551; 319898, 3421569; 
319886, 3421588; 319875, 3421607; 319875, 3421608; 319865, 3421627; 
319855, 3421647; 319846, 3421668; 319838, 3421688; 319831, 3421709; 
319824, 3421730; 319818, 3421752; 319813, 3421773; 319809, 3421795; 
319805, 3421817; 319803, 3421839; 319801, 3421861; 319800, 3421883; 
319799, 3421905; 319800, 3421927; 319801, 3421950; 319803, 3421972; 
319805, 3421994; 319808, 3422007; 319809, 3422015; 319813, 3422037; 
319818, 3422059; 319824, 3422080;

[[Page 35161]]

319831, 3422101; 319838, 3422122; 319846, 3422143; 319855, 3422163; 
319865, 3422183; 319875, 3422203; 319886, 3422222; 319898, 3422241; 
319910, 3422259; 319923, 3422277; 319937, 3422295; 319951, 3422312; 
319966, 3422328; 319981, 3422344; 319997, 3422360; 320013, 3422375; 
320030, 3422389; 320048, 3422402; 320066, 3422415; 320084, 3422428; 
320103, 3422439; 320122, 3422450; 320142, 3422461; 320162, 3422470; 
320182, 3422479; 320203, 3422487; 320224, 3422494; 320245, 3422501; 
320267, 3422507; 320288, 3422512; 320310, 3422516; 320332, 3422520; 
320354, 3422523; 320376, 3422525; 320398, 3422526; 320420, 3422526; 
320442, 3422526; 320464, 3422525; 320486, 3422523; 320508, 3422520; 
320530, 3422516; 320552, 3422512; 320574, 3422507; 320595, 3422501; 
320616, 3422494; 320637, 3422487; 320658, 3422479; 320678, 3422470; 
320698, 3422461; 320718, 3422450; 320737, 3422439; 320756, 3422428; 
320774, 3422415; 320792, 3422402; 320810, 3422389; 320827, 3422375; 
320843, 3422360; 320859, 3422344; 320875, 3422328; 320889, 3422312; 
320904, 3422295; 320917, 3422277; 320930, 3422259; 320943, 3422241; 
320954, 3422222; 320965, 3422203; 320975, 3422183; 320985, 3422163; 
320994, 3422143; 321002, 3422122; 321009, 3422101; 321016, 3422080; 
321022, 3422059; 321027, 3422037; 321031, 3422015; 321035, 3421994; 
321038, 3421972; 321040, 3421950; 321041, 3421927; 321041, 3421905; 
321041, 3421883; 321040, 3421861; 321038, 3421839; 321035, 3421817; 
321031, 3421795; 321027, 3421773; 321022, 3421752; 321016, 3421730; 
321009, 3421709; 321002, 3421688; 320994, 3421668; 320985, 3421647; 
320975, 3421627; 320965, 3421608; 320954, 3421588; 320943, 3421569; 
320930, 3421551; 320917, 3421533; 320904, 3421516; 320889, 3421499; 
320875, 3421482; 320859, 3421466; 320843, 3421451; 320827, 3421436; 
320810, 3421422; 320792, 3421408; 320774, 3421395; 320756, 3421383; 
320737, 3421371; 320718, 3421360; 320698, 3421350; 320678, 3421340; 
320658, 3421331; 320637, 3421323; 320616, 3421316; 320595, 3421309; 
320574, 3421303; 320552, 3421298; 320530, 3421294; 320508, 3421291; 
320486, 3421288; 320464, 3421286; 320442, 3421285.
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 11 is provided at paragraph (15)(ii) of this 
entry.
    (17) Unit 12: Perry County, Mississippi.
    (i) From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangle map Barbara, Mississippi. 
Land bounded by the following UTM Zone 16N, NAD 83 coordinates, (E, N): 
320239, 3425675; 320261, 3425178; 320239, 3425178; 320216, 3425178; 
320194, 3425180; 320172, 3425182; 320150, 3425184; 320128, 3425188; 
320107, 3425192; 320085, 3425197; 320064, 3425203; 320042, 3425210; 
320021, 3425217; 320001, 3425225; 319981, 3425234; 319961, 3425244; 
319941, 3425254; 319922, 3425265; 319903, 3425277; 319884, 3425289; 
319866, 3425302; 319849, 3425315; 319832, 3425330; 319815, 3425344; 
319799, 3425360; 319784, 3425376; 319769, 3425392; 319755, 3425409; 
319741, 3425427; 319728, 3425445; 319716, 3425463; 319704, 3425482; 
319693, 3425501; 319683, 3425521; 319674, 3425541; 319665, 3425561; 
319657, 3425582; 319649, 3425603; 319643, 3425624; 319637, 3425645; 
319632, 3425667; 319627, 3425689; 319624, 3425711; 319621, 3425733; 
319619, 3425755; 319618, 3425777; 319618, 3425799; 319618, 3425821; 
319619, 3425843; 319621, 3425865; 319624, 3425887; 319627, 3425909; 
319632, 3425931; 319637, 3425953; 319643, 3425974; 319649, 3425995; 
319656, 3426015; 319657, 3426016; 319665, 3426037; 319674, 3426057; 
319683, 3426077; 319693, 3426097; 319704, 3426116; 319716, 3426135; 
319728, 3426153; 319741, 3426171; 319755, 3426189; 319769, 3426206; 
319784, 3426222; 319799, 3426238; 319815, 3426254; 319832, 3426268; 
319849, 3426283. 319866, 3426296; 319884, 3426309; 319903, 3426321; 
319922, 3426333; 319941, 3426344; 319952, 3426350; 319961, 3426354; 
319981, 3426364; 320001, 3426373; 320021, 3426381; 320042, 3426388; 
320064, 3426395; 320085, 3426401; 320107, 3426406; 320128, 3426410; 
320150, 3426414; 320172, 3426416; 320194, 3426418; 320216, 3426420; 
320239, 3426420; 320261, 3426420; 320283, 3426418; 320305, 3426416; 
320327, 3426414; 320349, 3426410; 320371, 3426406; 320392, 3426401; 
320413, 3426395; 320435, 3426388; 320456, 3426381; 320476, 3426373; 
320496, 3426364; 320516, 3426354; 320536, 3426344; 320555, 3426333; 
320574, 3426321; 320593, 3426309; 320611, 3426296; 320628, 3426283; 
320645, 3426268; 320662, 3426254; 320678, 3426238; 320693, 3426222; 
320708, 3426206; 320722, 3426189; 320736, 3426171; 320749, 3426153; 
320761, 3426135; 320773, 3426116; 320784, 3426097; 320794, 3426077; 
320803, 3426057; 320812, 3426037; 320820, 3426016; 320828, 3425995; 
320834, 3425974; 320840, 3425953; 320845, 3425931; 320850, 3425909; 
320853, 3425887; 320856, 3425865; 320858, 3425843; 320859, 3425821; 
320860, 3425799; 320859, 3425777; 320858, 3425755; 320856, 3425733; 
320853, 3425711; 320850, 3425689; 320845, 3425667; 320840, 3425645; 
320834, 3425624; 320828, 3425603; 320820, 3425582; 320812, 3425561; 
320803, 3425541; 320794, 3425521; 320784, 3425501; 320773, 3425482; 
320761, 3425463; 320749, 3425445; 320736, 3425427; 320722, 3425409; 
320708, 3425392; 320693, 3425376; 320678, 3425360; 320662, 3425344; 
320645, 3425330; 320628, 3425315; 320611, 3425302; 320593, 3425289; 
320574, 3425277; 320555, 3425265; 320536, 3425254; 320516, 3425244; 
320496, 3425234; 320476, 3425225; 320456, 3425217; 320435, 3425210; 
320413, 3425203; 320392, 3425197; 320371, 3425192; 320349, 3425188; 
320327, 3425184; 320305, 3425182; 320283, 3425180; 320261, 3425178.
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 12 is provided at paragraph (15)(ii) of this 
entry.
* * * * *

    Dated: May 29, 2012.
Rachel Jacobson,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2012-13488 Filed 6-11-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P