[Federal Register Volume 59, Number 1 (Monday, January 3, 1994)]
[Unknown Section]
[Page 0]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 93-32052]


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[Federal Register: January 3, 1994]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AC12

 

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed 
Endangered Status for the Puerto Rican Broad-winged Hawk and the Puerto 
Rican Sharp-shinned Hawk

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: The Service proposes to determine the Puerto Rican broad-
winged hawk (Buteo platypterus brunnescens) and the Puerto Rican sharp-
shinned hawk (Accipiter striatus venator) to be endangered pursuant to 
the Endangered Species Act (Act) of 1973, as amended. These uncommon 
woodland raptors are restricted to montane, government-owned forests 
along the Cordillera Central, Sierra de Cayey and Sierra de Luquillo. 
There are approximately 155 sharp-shinned hawks and 124 broad-winged 
hawks island-wide. Both species are currently threatened by: Timber 
harvest and management practices in the forests; road construction in 
relation to timbering and recreational activities; increase in numbers 
of recreational facilities, and the disturbance associated with public 
use; mortality and habitat destruction from hurricanes; the lack of 
comprehensive management plans for the Commonwealth forests; possible 
loss of genetic variation due to low population levels: and the 
potential for illegal shooting. The Puerto Rican sharp-shinned hawk is 
also affected by warble fly parasitism. This proposal, if made final, 
would provide these species with the Act's protection and recovery 
provisions. The Service seeks data and comments from the public on this 
proposal.

DATES: Comments from all interested parties must be received by May 3, 
1994. Public hearing requests must be received by February 17, 1994.

ADDRESSES: Comments and materials concerning this proposal should be 
sent to the Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Caribbean 
Field Office, P.O. Box 491, Boqueron, Puerto Rico 00622. Comments and 
materials received will be available for public inspection, by 
appointment, during normal business hours, at the Caribbean Field 
Office and at the Service's Southeast Regional Office, suite 1282, 75 
Spring Street, SW., Atlanta, Georgia 30303.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Marelisa Rivera at the Caribbean 
Field Office address (809/851-7297), or Mr. Dave Flemming at the 
Atlanta Regional Office address (404/331-3583).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The broad-winged hawk (Buteo platypterus) was first reported in 
Puerto Rico by Gundlach (1878). He reported this species as ``common'' 
in the ``interior'' of Puerto Rico. Stahl (1883) reported the species 
as ``transient''. In the first half of the 20th century, the species 
was not reported by other naturalists that visited the island (Bowdish 
1902, Wetmore 1914, and Danforth 1931). Wetmore (1927) believed the 
species extinct. Danforth and Smyth (1935) collected a specimen in 
Luquillo (Caribbean National Forest) and described it as a distinct 
resident subspecies, the Puerto Rican broad-winged hawk (Buteo 
platypterus brunnescens). Danforth (1936) reported sightings of broad-
winged hawks from Utuado. Leopold (1963) reported the species from 
Luquillo, Utuado and Maricao forests.
    The Puerto Rican broad-winged hawk is a dark chocolate brown, 
small-sized hawk that measures approximately 39 centimeters (15.5 
inches). It is smaller than Buteo platypterus platypterus but larger 
than the Lesser Antillean subspecies. This is the darkest subspecies of 
the broad-winged hawk. In adults, the tail, broadly banded with black 
and white, and the rufous breast are characteristic. Immature birds 
have dark bars on the breast and lack the distinctive tail bands of the 
adult. Broadwings flap more than the similar but larger red-tailed hawk 
(Raffaele 1989). Knowledge of the biology of the Puerto Rican broad-
winged hawk is limited. Snyder et al. (1987) conducted food-habit 
studies on one of the three nests found in the Caribbean National 
Forest in 1976 and one nest found in Rio Abajo in 1978. The prey types 
taken included centipedes, frogs, lizards, mice, rats and birds 
(including some as large as 200 grams). Studies of breeding biology, 
habitat requirements and other aspects of this species' biology are not 
available in the literature.
    The Puerto Rican broad-winged hawk is an uncommon and extremely 
local resident. Extant populations are restricted to montane habitats 
of three forests: Rio Abajo Commonwealth Forest, Carite Commonwealth 
Forest and Caribbean National Forest. Breeding has not been documented 
in the Carite forest (Hernandez 1980, Snyder et al. 1987). In the mid-
1980's, the population in the Caribbean National Forest was estimated 
to be 40-60 individuals and 15-20 breeding pairs (Santana and Temple 
1984, Snyder et al. 1987). The broad-winged hawks were more often seen 
in the eastern side of the Caribbean National Forest, and the tabonuco 
and palo colorado forest types were reported to be the preferred 
habitats for the species (Wiley and Bauer 1985). In 1992, 12 broad-
winged hawks were sighted in the Caribbean National Forest and the 
population was estimated at 22 individuals (Delannoy 1992). These 
individuals were observed to be clustered in the north-central part of 
the forest within the subtropical wet forest and subtropical rain 
forest life zones, where the tabonuco is the dominant forest type.
    Very little is known about the Rio Abajo and Carite forest 
populations. However, it appears that the existence of the Rio Abajo 
population was known by Danforth (1936) and Leopold (1963) since they 
both reported sightings of broad-winged hawks from Utuado. Snyder et 
al. (1987) believed that the Rio Abajo forest sustains not more than 50 
individuals. Delannoy (1992) reported 26 broad-winged hawks, or an 
estimated population of 52 individuals, in the Rio Abajo forest. The 
Puerto Rican broad-winged hawk was unknown from the Carite forest until 
1980, when the existence of a resident population present year-round 
was reported (Hernandez 1980). In 1992, 20 broad-winged hawks were 
censused in the Carite forest and a population of 22 individuals was 
estimated (Delannoy 1992). In the Carite forest the species has been 
reported from the elfin, caimitillo, granadillo, tabonuco, and slope 
forest types (Hernandez 1980, Delannoy 1992).
    The 206.4 square kilometers censused in three forests (Rio Abajo, 
Carite and Caribbean National Forest) in 1992 yielded a count of 58 
broad-winged hawks, and a total population estimate of 124 individuals 
(Delannoy 1992). Sightings of the broad-winged hawk have been reported 
from other areas, such as Cayey (next to the Carite forest), Utuado, 
Jayuya, Adjuntas, Villalba, and the Maricao and Toro Negro forests 
(Leopold 1963, Perez-Rivera and Cotte-Santana 1977). Nevertheless, 
Delannoy (1991) established that the Maricao and Toro Negro forests do 
not have resident populations. Broad-winged hawks have been searched 
for, but not sighted, in upland forested habitats in Utuado, Jayuya, 
Adjuntas, Orocovis, and Barranquitas (Delannoy 1992).
    The sharp-shinned hawk (Accipiter striatus) is a polytypic species 
with nine subspecies distributed in the western hemisphere, from Alaska 
to Canada south to Argentina and to the West Indies (Cuba, Hispaniola 
and Puerto Rico) (Wattel 1973). The Puerto Rican sharp-shinned hawk was 
first discovered in 1912 in the Maricao Commonwealth Forest, and 
described as a distinct subspecies, Accipiter striatus venator (Wetmore 
1914).
    The Puerto Rican sharp-shinned hawk is a small hawk measuring 
approximately 28-33 centimeters (11-13 inches). The dark slate gray 
upper parts and heavily barred rufous underparts of the adults are 
distinctive. Immatures are brown above and heavily streaked below. It 
has a short, squared tail, often appearing notched when folded, and a 
small head and neck. In flight, the short, rounded wings and long, 
narrow tail are characteristic (Raffaele 1989).
    Extant breeding populations of the Puerto Rican sharp-shinned hawk 
were located in the mountain forest of the Maricao Commonwealth Forest, 
Toro Negro Commonwealth Forest, Guilarte Commonwealth Forest, Carite 
Commonwealth Forest and Caribbean National Forest (Cruz and Delannoy 
1986). Sixty individuals were counted in island-wide surveys conducted 
in 1983, and a breeding density of .73 hawks/km\2\ was estimated (Cruz 
and Delannoy 1986). In 1985, 72 individuals were counted and a breeding 
population of .76 hawk/km\2\ (230-250 island-wide) were estimated in 
island-wide surveys (Cruz and Delannoy 1986). In 1992, 285.6 square 
kilometers censused yielded 82 sharp-shinned hawks; 40 were counted in 
Maricao, 30 in Toro Negro, 10 in Carite and 2 in the Caribbean National 
Forest. An overall population of 129 individuals has been estimated for 
these forests (Delannoy 1992). Although the Guilarte forest population 
was not censused in 1992, a population of 25 individuals was estimated 
for the forest in 1985 (Cruz and Delannoy 1986).
    Studies on breeding and nesting habitat of this species, conducted 
by Cruz and Delannoy (1986) showed that the sharp-shinned hawk 
population in Maricao nests in both natural and modified (Calophyllum 
plantation) habitats. Plantation nest sites tended to have large canopy 
trees and fewer understory trees than natural forest nest sites. Sharp-
shinned hawks appear to select plantation and natural forest nest sites 
with similar vegetative structure and topography. Results suggested 
that special vegetation structural requirements (closed canopies and 
dense stands) are sought by the Puerto Rican sharp-shinned hawks in the 
selection of nest sites in Maricao and apparently in other parts of its 
range in Puerto Rico (Cruz and Delannoy 1986). Furthermore, these 
authors reported low reproductive success, high desertion of eggs, and 
high nestling mortality due to parasitism by the warble fly Philornis 
spp.
    The center of sharp-shinned hawk courtship and territorial 
activities in Maricao forest was located in the north-central and 
eastern parts, within the subtropical lower montane wet forest and 
subtropical wet forest life zones. In the Carite forest, territorial 
and courtship activities occurred in the northeastern and north-central 
parts, within the caimitillo-granadillo forest types (Delannoy 1992). 
In Toro Negro, these activities took place in the elfin woodland, 
sierra palm, caimitillo-granadillo and tabonuco forest types. In the 
Caribbean National Forest, the only two sharp-shinned hawks sighted (a 
solitary territorial pair) were detected in the south-central part of 
the forest, confined to the palo colorado forest type of the lower 
montane forest life zone (Delannoy 1992).
    Although the sharp-shinned hawk was previously known from the karst 
region of Rio Abajo and Guajataca Commonwealth Forests, Cruz and 
Delannoy (1986) did not find any evidence of its presence in these 
areas. Fossil evidence indicates that the species was once more 
widespread in the karst region (Wetmore 1922). Sharp-shinned hawks have 
been searched for and not sighted in Cambalache, Vega, Susua, and 
Guanica forests (Cruz and Delannoy 1986).
    On November 24, 1980, the Service received a petition from Dr. 
Warren B. King from the International Council for Bird Preservation 
requesting that the Puerto Rican broad-winged hawk and the Puerto Rican 
sharp-shinned hawk (and other bird species) be added to the List of 
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. On May 12, 1981, the Service 
published a notice of petition acceptance and status review in the 
Federal Register (46 FR 26464).
    In the case of any petition accepted by the Service as containing 
substantial information, Section 4(b)(3) of the Endangered Species Act 
(16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), as amended in 1982, requires that a 
subsequent finding be made within 12 months as to whether the measure 
is warranted, not warranted, or warranted but precluded by higher 
priority listing actions. In regard to the Puerto Rican broad-winged 
hawk, the Service has made administrative findings of ``warranted but 
precluded'' each year, beginning in October of 1983, as required by the 
Act. In the case of the Puerto Rican sharp-shinned hawk, a status 
survey completed in 1986 resulted in a final petition finding of ``not 
warranted'' that was announced in the Federal Register of April 25, 
1990 (55 FR 17475).
    In the Service's notice of review for vertebrate candidates 
published in the Federal Register of December 30, 1982 (47 FR 58454) 
and September 18, 1985 (50 FR 37958), both hawks were included as 
category 2 species, i.e., taxa for which there is information to 
indicate that listing may be appropriate, but for which there is 
insufficient data to support a listing proposal. In the animal notice 
of review published January 6, 1989 (54 FR 554), the Puerto Rican 
sharp-shinned hawk was moved to category 3C based on status information 
gathered in 1986. Category 3C taxa are those that do not presently 
qualify for the Act's protection due to absence of significant threats. 
The Puerto Rican broad-winged hawk was retained in category 2 for the 
1989 notice of review and for the subsequent notice published November 
21, 1991 (56 FR 58804).
    Status surveys conducted in 1991 and 1992 indicated that both 
species have experienced recent population declines, exist in low 
numbers, have restricted distribution and currently face significant 
threats. Based on this information, the Service recently that elevated 
both hawks to category 1 and is now proposing them for endangered 
status. The current proposed rule represents the final finding on the 
petitioned action for the Puerto Rican broad-winged hawk.

Summary of Factors Affecting the Species

    Section 4(a)(1) of the Endangered Species Act and regulations (50 
CFR Part 424) promulgated to implement the listing provisions of the 
Act set forth the procedures for adding species to the Federal Lists. A 
species may be determined to be an endangered or threatened species due 
to one or more of the five factors described in Section 4(a)(1). These 
factors and their application to the Puerto Rican broad-winged hawk 
(Buteo platypterus brunnescens) and the Puerto Rican sharp-shinned hawk 
(Accipiter striatus venator) are as follows:

A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment 
of Its Habitat or Range

    The Puerto Rican broad-winged hawk and the Puerto Rican sharp-
shinned hawk are uncommon and extremely local residents. Extant 
populations of the broad-winged hawk and the sharp-shinned hawk are 
restricted to three and five montane forests, respectively. The 
destruction and modification of forested habitats in Puerto Rico may be 
one of the most significant factors affecting the numbers and 
distribution of these hawk species. The patchy distribution of both 
species may have resulted from the fragmentation of forested habitats. 
During the first half of the 20th century, forested areas were 
drastically reduced for intensive agricultural uses. Only small areas 
of the montane forests remained. In the last half of this century early 
secondary forests have developed in areas that are no longer under 
intensive cultivation, and these secondary forests connect patches of 
more mature forests that were previously isolated. Nevertheless, both 
hawk species are restricted to the mature montane forests and have not 
been observed in these secondary forests (Delannoy, pers. comm.). Both 
species were searched for, but not sighted, in other upland forested 
habitats in central parts of Puerto Rico.
    Extant populations of these species occur in low numbers. The total 
population estimate of 124 broad-winged hawks island-wide is very low. 
Broad-winged hawks have experienced a local population decline of 
approximately 50 percent in the Caribbean National Forest (Delannoy 
1992). Total population numbers are significantly low in both the 
Carite and Rio Abajo forests. The sharp-shinned hawk has experienced a 
60 percent decline in the Carite forest and 93 percent decline in the 
Caribbean National Forest (Delannoy 1992).
    Timber harvest and management practices that would result in a 
reduction in numbers or in the diminishing of habitat quality of 
species already limited in their abundance and distribution could be 
detrimental. Cruz and Delannoy (1986) found that 50 percent of the 
nesting areas in the Maricao forest were in plantations of maria 
(Calophyllum brasiliense). They established that timber harvest and 
management practices could have negative effects on sharp-shinned hawks 
if vegetation structural features such as high stem density and canopy 
closure were not maintained. Adequate nest site habitat in the Maricao 
forest was considered to be in limited supply. Any activities that 
modify required structural features of vegetation in sharp-shinned hawk 
nesting areas could result in the reduction of the effective population 
size. Sharp-shinned hawks showed a strong nest site tenacity and 
returned year after year to the same nesting areas (Cruz and Delannoy 
1986).
    Road construction in the forests (related to timber programs and/or 
recreational activities) could result in substantial habitat alteration 
and fragmentation. Also, roads could provide a chronic source of human 
disturbance, reducing habitat effectiveness for species with a strong 
need for isolation. Roads could increase animal harvest and the 
introduction of exotic fauna. Road construction and/or road repair have 
been proposed in the Caribbean National Forest. In the Rio Abajo 
forest, the construction of highway P.R. 10 from Arecibo to Ponce, 
which has been under way for several years, could affect the broad-
winged hawk population. Delannoy (1992) documented, from the P.R. 
Highway and Transportation Authority files, that approximately 2.5 
kilometers of the P.R. 10 will enter and cut through forest land in the 
northeastern corner, where high densities of broad-winged hawks were 
detected. Bulldozer activities were reported less than 500 meters from 
lookout sites in the forest. He estimated that approximately 3.79 
hectares of apparently prime broad-winged hawk habitat will be 
destroyed by the road.
    Construction of recreational facilities has been proposed for the 
western and northern sides of the Caribbean National Forest, areas 
where both species occur. Such recreation facilities could potentially 
eliminate habitat or bring human activities too close to preferred 
nesting areas. Raptors are particularly sensitive to disturbance near 
their nesting territories. In the Carite forest increasing pressure for 
new recreation facilities has been identified (Delannoy 1992). In the 
Maricao forest, Cruz and Delannoy (1986) found that nest failures 
related to direct human harassment ranked third in importance among all 
causes. Five nesting areas in Maricao forest are in, or less than 100 
meters from, the camping and picnic areas. Some of the traditional 
nesting areas for the Puerto Rican sharp-shinned hawk in the Toro Negro 
forest lie near recreation facilities (Cruz and Delannoy 1986). 
Increased pressure for recreation from a growing human population could 
bring about frequent and regular human disturbance near nest sites.
    Increased pressure for new right-of-way access to farms through the 
Carite forest land, and the establishment of new communication 
facilities, could also destroy prime habitat or bring human activities 
too close to broad-winged hawks. Delannoy (1992) documented that 
destruction of substantial caimitillo-granadillo habitat occurred in 
the right-of-way access through Camino El Seis in the north-central 
part of the Carite forest. This author also reported the establishment 
of new communication facilities along an access road through sector 
Farallon in the northwestern part of the forest where the highest 
broad-winged hawk densities have been reported.
    In the Maricao forest, the Puerto Rico Energy Power Authority has a 
power substation located in the lower montane wet forest life zone, the 
center of sharp-shinned hawk nesting habitat. Many kilometers of aerial 
power lines run through forest lands. The access road for the 
substation is located adjacent to sharp-shinned hawk habitat in the 
subtropical wet forest life zone (Delannoy 1992). The construction of 
this access road resulted in the destruction of approximately 2.6 
hectares of sharp-shinned hawk habitat (Delannoy 1992). The 
construction of new communication infrastructure or the enlargement of 
the existing infrastructure could potentially eliminate important 
sharp-shinned hawk habitat.

B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes

    Taking for these purposes has not been a documented factor in the 
decline of these species. Nevertheless, the size and the appearance of 
these birds make them a potentially attractive target for some hunters.

C. Disease or Predation

    The mortality of sharp-shinned hawk nestlings due to parasitism by 
the warble fly Philornis spp. has been documented. Studies conducted in 
Maricao forest attributed 61 percent of nestling mortality to Philornis 
parasitism (Cruz and Delannoy 1986).

D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanism

    The Puerto Rican sharp-shinned hawk was designated by the 
Commonwealth Department of Natural Resources as a threatened species in 
1985. Existing Commonwealth regulations for the protection of 
threatened and endangered species have not been effective at preventing 
habitat destruction or alteration. The Puerto Rican broad-winged hawk 
is not protected by Commonwealth regulations.

E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting Its Continued Existence

    One of the most important factors affecting these species in Puerto 
Rico is their limited distribution and low numbers. The Puerto Rican 
broad-winged hawk experienced a local population decline of 
approximately 50 percent in the Caribbean National Forest (from 50 
individuals in 1984 to 22 in 1992). The Puerto Rican sharp-shinned hawk 
experienced a 40 percent population decline in a period of 7 years 
(from 250 individuals in 1985 to 150 in 1992). Locally, the Carite 
population experienced a 60 percent decline, and the Caribbean National 
Forest population a 93 percent decline. Decline of both species has 
been attributed to possible direct and indirect effects from hurricane 
Hugo in 1989.
    The extensive devastation from hurricanes may be particularly 
detrimental to species with small population size and long generation 
time, such as the broad-winged hawk and sharp-shinned hawk. 
Additionally, there may also be a long-term reduction in effective 
population size if the hawks prove to require habitat characteristics 
not presently available in the storm-damaged forest.
    The lack of comprehensive management plans for the Commonwealth 
forests could be considered a serious threat for these species. In 
absence of such plans, policy makers and managers lack basic 
information on which to base decisions related to the best use and 
management of forest resources.
    The Service has carefully assessed the best scientific and 
commercial information available regarding the past, present, and 
future threats faced by these two species in determining to propose 
this rule. Based on this evaluation, the preferred action is to list 
the Puerto Rican broad-winged hawk and the Puerto Rican sharp-shinned 
hawk as endangered.
    The Puerto Rican broad-winged hawk populations are extremely small 
and limited to only three montane forests. Significant adverse effects 
to this species or its habitat could drive it to extinction. The 
potential for illegal shooting, increased human disturbance and the 
loss of prime habitat in the forests constitute serious threats to the 
continued survival of the species. The Puerto Rican sharp-shinned hawk 
has experienced a 40 percent decline in a period of 7 years. The 
potential for alteration of the species' habitat, human disturbance, 
illegal shooting, and nestling parasitism by warble flies constitute 
serious threats to the continued survival of the species. A decision to 
determine only threatened status would not adequately reflect the 
evident rarity and threats confronting these species. A decision to 
take no action would exclude these species from benefits provided by 
the Endangered Species Act. Endangered status is therefore appropriate.

Critical Habitat

    Section 4(a)(3) of the Act, as amended, requires that, to the 
maximum extent prudent and determinable, the Secretary propose critical 
habitat at the time a species is proposed to be endangered or 
threatened. The Service's regulations (50 CFR 424.12(a)(1)) state that 
designation of critical habitat is not prudent when one or both of the 
following situations exist: (1) The species is threatened by taking or 
other activity and the identification of critical habitat can be 
expected to increase the degree of threat to the species or (2) such 
designation of critical habitat would not be beneficial to the species. 
The Service finds that, in the case of the latter situation, 
designation of critical habitat is not prudent for these species due to 
lack of benefit.
    Section 7(a)(2) and regulations codified at 50 CFR part 402 require 
Federal agencies to ensure, in consultation with and with the 
assistance of the Service, that activities they authorize, fund, or 
carry out are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of 
listed species or destroy or adversely modify their critical habitat, 
if designated. (See ``Available Conservation Measures'' section for a 
further discussion of Section 7.) As part of the development of this 
proposed rule, the U.S. Forest Service and the Puerto Rico Department 
of Natural Resources (DNR) were provided available information on the 
distribution and threats to the two hawks. Should any future projects 
be proposed in areas inhabited by these hawks, the two agencies will 
already have the information needed to determine if the species may be 
impacted by the proposed action.
    Regulations promulgated for implementing Section 7 provide for both 
a jeopardy standard, based on listing alone, and for a destruction or 
adverse modification standard, in cases where critical habitat has been 
designated. The Puerto Rican broad-winged and sharp-shinned hawks 
occupy restricted areas within the borders of the Caribbean National 
Forest and several Commonwealth forests. Any significant adverse 
modification or destruction of their habitat would likely jeopardize 
their continued existence. Under these conditions, the standards for 
jeopardy and adverse modification are essentially equivalent. 
Therefore, no additional protection for the species would accrue from 
critical habitat designation that would not also accrue from listing 
these species. Once listed, the Service believes that protection of 
their habitat can be accomplished through the Section 7 jeopardy 
standard, and through Section 9 prohibitions against take. It is more 
likely, however, that any federally related actions of concern will 
receive early review and any problems will be resolved informally.

Available Conservation Measures

    Conservation measures provided to species listed as endangered or 
threatened under the Endangered Species Act include recognition, 
recovery actions, requirements for Federal protection, and prohibitions 
against certain practices. Recognition through listing encourages and 
results in conservation actions by Federal, Commonwealth, and private 
agencies, groups, and individuals. The Endangered Species Act provides 
for possible land acquisition and cooperation with the Commonwealth, 
and requires that recovery actions be carried out for all listed 
species. Such actions are initiated by the Service following listing. 
The protection required of Federal agencies and the prohibitions 
against taking are discussed, in part, below.
    Section 7(a) of the Act, as amended, requires Federal agencies to 
evaluate their actions with respect to any species that is proposed or 
listed as endangered or threatened and with respect to its critical 
habitat, if any is being designated. Regulations implementing this 
interagency cooperation provision of the Act are codified at 50 CFR 
part 402. Section 7(a)(4) requires Federal agencies to confer 
informally with the Service on any action that is likely to jeopardize 
the continued existence of a proposed species or result in destruction 
or adverse modification of proposed critical habitat. If a species is 
subsequently listed, section 7(a)(2) requires Federal agencies to 
ensure that activities they authorize, fund, or carry out are not 
likely to jeopardize the continued existence of such a species or to 
destroy or adversely modify its critical habitat. If a Federal action 
may adversely affect a listed species or its critical habitat, the 
responsible Federal agency must enter into formal consultation with the 
Service.
    In the case of the two hawks, Federal involvement relates to 
activities to be conducted or permitted by the U.S. Forest Service in 
the Caribbean National Forest, or by other Federal agencies in 
Commonwealth forests. Federal funds or permits could be involved in the 
construction, maintenance or enlargement of facilities such as power 
substations, communication towers, and roads and trails in Commonwealth 
forests. Federal funds could be utilized by the Department of Resources 
in the management of Commonwealth forests.
    The Act and implementing regulations found at 50 CFR 17.21 set 
forth a series of general prohibitions and exceptions that apply to all 
endangered wildlife. These prohibitions, in part, make it illegal for 
any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to take 
(includes harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, hill, trap, or 
collect; or to attempt any of these), import or export, ship in 
interstate commerce in the course of commercial activity, or sell or 
offer it for sale in interstate or foreign commerce any listed species. 
It also is illegal to possess, sell, deliver, carry, transport, or ship 
any such wildlife that has been taken illegally. Certain exceptions 
apply to agents of the Service and Commonwealth conservation agencies.
    Permits may be issued to carry out otherwise prohibited activities 
involving endangered wildlife species under certain circumstances. 
Regulations governing permits are at 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.23. Such 
permits are available for scientific purposes, to enhance the 
propagation or survival of the species, and/or for incidental take in 
connection with otherwise lawful activities.

Public Comments Solicited

    The Service intends that any final action resulting from this 
proposal will be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, 
any comments or suggestions from the public, other concerned 
governmental agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other 
interested party concerning any aspect of this proposed rule are hereby 
solicited. Comments particularly are sought concerning:
    (1) Biological, commercial trade, or other relevant data concerning 
any threat (or lack thereof) to the Puerto Rican broad-winged hawk and 
the Puerto Rican sharp-shinned hawk;
    (2) The location of any additional populations of these two 
species, and the reasons why any habitat should or should not be 
determined to be critical habitat as provided by section 4 of the Act;
    (3) Additional information concerning the range and distribution of 
these species; and
    (4) Current or planned activities in the subject areas and their 
possible impacts on any of these two species.
    Final promulgation of a regulation on the Puerto Rican broad-winged 
hawk and the Puerto Rican sharp-shinned hawk will take into 
consideration the comments and any additional information received by 
the Service, and such communications may lead to a final regulation 
that differs from this proposal.
    The Endangered Species Act provides for a public hearing on this 
proposal, if requested. Requests must be received within 45 days of the 
date of publication of the proposal. Such requests must be made in 
writing and addressed to the Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Caribbean Field Office, P.O. Box 491, Boqueron, Puerto Rico 
00622.

National Environmental Policy Act

    The Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that an Environmental 
Assessment, as defined under the authority of the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969, need not be prepared in connection 
with regulations adopted pursuant to Section 4(a) of the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended. A notice outlining the Service's 
reasons for this determination was published in the Federal Register on 
October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244).

References Cited

Bowdish, B.S. 1902. Birds of Porto Rico. The Auk 19: 356-366; The 
Auk 20: 10-23.
Cruz, A., and C.A. Delannoy. 1986. Status, breeding biology and 
conservation needs of the Puerto Rican sharp-shinned hawk, Accipiter 
striatus venator. Final report submitted to the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service as specified in work contract no. 14-16-0004-82-
031.
Danforth, S.T. 1931. Puerto Rican Ornithological Records. J. of 
Agriculture of the University of Puerto Rico 15: 33-106.
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broad-winged hawk. J. of Agriculture of the University of Puerto 
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Danforth, S.T. 1936. Los Pajaros de Puerto Rico. Rand McNally and 
Co., New York, U.S.A.
Delannoy, C.A. 1991. Status surveys of the Puerto Rican sharp-
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submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as specified in work 
contract no. 14-16-0004-91-031.
Delannoy, C.A. 1992. Status surveys of the Puerto Rican sharp-
shinned hawk (Accipiter striatus venator) and Puerto Rican broad-
winged hawk (Buteo platypterus brunnescens). Final report submitted 
to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as specified in work contract 
no. 14-16-0004-91-031.
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Rico. American Birds 39:12-18.

Author

    The primary author of this proposed rule is Ms. Marelisa Rivera, 
Caribbean Field Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 491, 
Boqueron, Puerto Rico 00622 (809/851-7297).

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

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

Proposed Regulations Promulgation

    Accordingly, it is hereby proposed to amend part 17, subchapter B 
of chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as set forth 
below:

Part 17--[AMENDED]

    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. Stat. 3500; unless otherwise noted.

    2. Sec. 17.12(h) is amended by adding the following, in 
alphabetical order, under BIRDS, to the List of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife to read as follows:


Sec. 17.11  Endangered and threatened wildlife.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    Species                                              Vertebrate population                                                          
-----------------------------------------------     Historic range        where endangered or           Status           When      Critical     Special 
      Common name           Scientific name                                   threatened                                listed     habitat       rules  
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                                        
                                                                      * * * * * * *                                                                     
Birds                                                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                        
                                                                      * * * * * * *                                                                     
    Hawk, Puerto Rican  Buteo platypterus       U.S.A. (PR)...........  Entire................  E....................  ........  NA.........  NA        
     broad-winged.       brunnescens.                                                                                                                   
    Hawk, Puerto Rican  Accipiter striatus      U.S.A. (PR)...........  Entire................  E....................  ........  NA.........  NA        
     sharp-shinned.      venator.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                        
                                                                      * * * * * * *                                                                     
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Dated: December 2, 1993
Richard N. Smith,
Acting Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 93-32052 Filed 12-30-93; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P