[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 227 (Monday, November 26, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 70410-70411]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-28629]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R6-ES-2012-0095; FXES11130900000-134-FF09E30000]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Initiation of 
Status Review and 5-Year Review of the Preble's Meadow Jumping Mouse

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of initiation of status review and 5-year review.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), under the 
authority of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), 
announce the initiation of a status review of the Preble's meadow 
jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius preblei) (Preble's) throughout its 
range. We conduct status reviews to determine whether a species should 
be listed as endangered or threatened under the Act. Following this 
status review, we will issue a 12-month finding on two petitions to 
delist Preble's. Because a status review also is required for the 5-
year review of listed species under section 4(c)(2)(A) of the Act, we 
are electing to prepare these reviews simultaneously. At the conclusion 
of these simultaneous reviews, we will issue the 12-month finding on 
the petitions, as provided in section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act, and make 
the requisite determination under section 4(c)(2)(B) of the Act based 
on the results of the 5-year review. Through this notice, we encourage 
all interested parties to provide us information regarding the 
Preble's. We also announce the availability of new information relevant 
to our consideration of the status of the Preble's.

DATES: To allow us adequate time to conduct these reviews, we request 
that we receive comments and information no later than December 26, 
2012. The deadline for submitting an electronic comment using the 
Federal eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES section, below) is 11:59 p.m. 
Eastern Time on this date. After December 26, 2012, you must submit 
information using the U.S. mail or hand-delivery option provided in the 
ADDRESSES section below. Please note that we may not be able to address 
or incorporate information that we receive after the above requested 

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Search for Docket No. FWS-R6-ES-2012-0095 and then follow the 
instructions for submitting comments.
     U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, 
Attn: FWS-R6-ES-2012-0095; Division of Policy and Directives 
Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 
2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
    We will post all information received on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any 
personal information you provide us (see Request for Information 
section below for more details).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan Linner, Field Supervisor, 
Colorado Ecological Services Office; mailing address P.O. Box 25486, 
DFC (MS 65412), Denver, CO 80225; telephone (303) 236-4773; office 
location: 134 Union Boulevard, Suite 670, Lakewood, CO 80228. If you 
use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at (800) 877-8339.


Previous Federal Actions

    For a detailed description of Federal actions concerning the 
Preble's, please refer to the May 13, 1998, listing under the Act (63 
FR 26517); the July 10, 2008, final rule amending the listing 
determination for the Preble's (73 FR 39790); and our August 5, 2011, 
reinstatement of listing protections for the Preble's (76 FR 47490).
    On December 23, 2003, we received two nearly identical petitions, 
one from the State of Wyoming's Office of the Governor and the second 
from Coloradans for Water Conservation and Development, seeking to 
remove the Preble's from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife (Freudenthal 2003; Sonnenberg 2003). The petitions maintained 
that Preble's should be delisted based on the taxonomic revision 
suggested by Ramey et al. (2003) and new distribution, abundance, and 
trends data that suggested the subspecies was no longer endangered or 
threatened (Freudenthal 2003, p. 1; Sonnenberg 2003, p. 1).
    On July 10, 2008, we published a final rule amending the listing 
for the Preble's by removing protections for the Preble's in Wyoming 
(73 FR 39790). In that rule, we determined that the Preble's was not 
threatened throughout all of its range, but the portion of its range 
located in Colorado represented a ``significant portion of the range'' 
(SPR) where the Preble's should retain its threatened status.
    On June 23, 2009, a petition for review of the 2008 amendment to 
the listing was filed in the United States District Court for the 
District of Colorado. The petitioners challenged, among other things, 
our interpretation of SPR as applied to the Preble's decision. The 
Service filed a motion for voluntary remand and vacatur of the 2008 
Preble's amended listing decision. On July 7, 2011, the United States 
District Court for the District of Colorado granted this motion and 
ordered the 2008 amended listing decision vacated and remanded as of 
August 6, 2011 (Center for Native Ecosystems, et al. v. Salazar, et 
al., 09-cv-01463-AP-JLK, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 72664). On August 5, 
2011, the Service issued a final rule complying with the court order 
and reinstating the regulatory protections under the Act for the 
Preble's in Wyoming, effective August 6, 2011 (76 FR 47490).
    The court also ordered that by June 1, 2013, the Service must 
complete its status review of the Preble's and publish a 12-month 
finding in the Federal Register for the petitions submitted by the 
State of Wyoming and Coloradans

[[Page 70411]]

for Water Conservation and Development to delist the Preble's.
    On December 9, 2011, we published a notice of our draft policy (76 
FR 76987) to establish a joint interpretation and application of SPR 
with the National Marine Fisheries Service that reflects a permissible 
reading of the law and its legislative history, and minimizes 
undesirable policy outcomes, while fulfilling the conservation purposes 
of the Act. To date, our draft policy on SPR has not been finalized.


    The Preble's is recognized as 1 of 12 subspecies of meadow jumping 
mouse (Zapus hudsonius), a species that ranges from the Pacific Coast 
of Alaska to the Atlantic Coast and from the northern limit of forests 
south to New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Georgia (Hafner et al. 1981, p. 501; 
Hall 1981, p. 843; Krutzsch 1954, pp. 420-421). Meadow jumping mice are 
small rodents with long tails, large hind feet, and long hind legs. 
Total length of an adult is approximately 7 to 10 inches (187 to 255 
millimeters), with the tail of 4 to 6 inches (108 to 155 millimeters) 
comprising about 60 percent of that length (Krutzsch 1954, p. 420; 
Armstrong et al. 2011, p. 189).
    The Preble's is found along the foothills in southeastern Wyoming 
southward along the eastern edge of the Front Range of Colorado to 
Colorado Springs in El Paso County, Colorado (Hall 1981, p. 844; Clark 
and Stromberg 1987, pp. 184-188; Armstrong et al. 2011, p. 189; 
Clippenger 2002, pp. 14-15, 20). Typical habitat for the Preble's is 
comprised of well-developed riparian vegetation with adjacent, 
relatively undisturbed grassland communities and a nearby water source 
(Bakeman 1997, pp. 22-31). Preble's are typically captured in areas 
with multi-storied cover with an understory of grasses or forbs or a 
mixture thereof (Bakeman 1997, pp. 22-31; Schorr 2001, pp. 23-24). The 
shrub canopy is often willow (Salix spp.), although other shrub species 
may occur (Shenk and Eussen 1998, p. 9-11). Trainor et al. (2007, pp. 
471-472) found that high-use areas for the Preble's tended to be close 
to creeks and were positively associated with the percentage of shrubs, 
grasses, and woody debris. Hydrologic regimes that support Preble's' 
habitat range from large perennial rivers, such as the South Platte 
River, to small drainages only 3 to 10 feet (1 to 3 meters) in width.
    Meadow jumping mice are primarily nocturnal or crepuscular (active 
during twilight), but also may be active during the day. The Preble's 
uses uplands at least as far out as 330 feet (100 meters) beyond the 
100-year floodplain (Shenk and Sivert 1999, p. 11; Ryon 1999, p. 12; 
Schorr 2001, p. 14; Trainor et al. 2012). While Preble's dispersal 
capabilities are thought to be limited, in one instance a Preble's was 
documented moving as far as 0.7 mile (1.1 kilometers) in 24 hours (Ryon 
1999, p. 12). The Preble's typically enters hibernation in September or 
October and emerges the following May (Whitaker 1963, p. 5; Meaney et 
al. 2003, p. 621).
    For additional information on the biology of this subspecies, see 
the May 13, 1998, final rule to list the Preble's as threatened (63 FR 
26517) and the October 8, 2009, proposal to revise critical habitat for 
the Preble's in Colorado (74 FR 52066).

Request for Information

    To ensure our determination is based on the best available 
scientific and commercial information, we request information on the 
Preble's from governmental agencies, Native American Tribes, the 
scientific community, industry, and any other interested parties. We 
are seeking any new information including:
    (1) Data from any systematic surveys for the Preble's, as well as 
any studies that may show distribution, status, population size, or 
population trends;
    (2) Information concerning the taxonomic status of the Preble's;
    (3) Quantitative information regarding the life history, ecology, 
and habitat use of the Preble's;
    (4) Information on the current and foreseeable threats faced by the 
Preble's in all or a significant portion of its range in relation to 
the five listing factors (as defined in section 4(a)(1) of the 
Endangered Species Act, as amended [16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.]);
    (5) Information regarding the effects of current and foreseeable 
land management on the status of the Preble's;
    (6) Specific information on the potential effects of climate change 
on the Preble's and its habitat;
    (7) Information demonstrating what, for the Preble's, might 
constitute an SPR in light of our December 9, 2011, draft policy on SPR 
(76 FR 76987); and
    (8) Information regarding contact and interaction among Preble's 
populations or other information relevant to a distinct population 
segment analysis (see 61 FR 4722, February 7, 1996).
    You may submit information concerning the status review or the 5-
year review by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. If 
you submit information via http://www.regulations.gov, your entire 
submission--including any personal identifying information--will be 
posted on the Web site. If you submit a hardcopy that includes personal 
identifying information, you may request at the top of your document 
that we withhold this personal identifying information from public 
review. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. We 
will post all hardcopy submissions on http://www.regulations.gov.
    Information and supporting documentation we receive and use in 
preparing a 12-month finding and 5-year review will be available for 
public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, or by appointment, 
during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Colorado Ecological Services Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 

New Information Available for Review

    Pertinent information received, developed, or analyzed since our 
July 10, 2008, final rule amending the listing determination for the 
Preble's (73 FR 39790) is available for review on the Service's Web 
site http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/preble/, or by 
contacting the Field Supervisor, Colorado Ecological Services Office 
(see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). This information includes both 
scientific publications and selected unpublished reports. Compilations 
of data, correspondence, and other information are also available on 
the Service's Web site. See the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov (Docket No. FWS-R6-ES-2012-0095) for additional 
information we receive during the comment period opened by this 

References Cited

    A complete list of all the references is available on the Internet 
at http://www.regulations.gov and upon request from the Field 
Supervisor, Colorado Ecological Services Field Office (see FOR FURTHER 


    The primary authors of this notice are staff members of the 
Colorado Ecological Services Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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

    Dated: November 15, 2012.
G. Mendel Stewart,
Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-28629 Filed 11-23-12; 8:45 am]