[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 166 (Friday, August 26, 2011)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 53379-53381]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-21839]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R3-ES-2011-0029 ; 92220-1113-000; ABC Code: C6]
RIN 1018-AX57

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revising the List 
of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife for the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) 
in the Eastern United States

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; correction and reopening of comment period.


SUMMARY: On May 5, 2011, we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(Service), published a proposed rule to reevaluate the listing of the 
Minnesota population of gray wolves (Canis lupus) and revise the 
listing to conform to current statutory and policy requirements (76 FR 
26086). In that proposed rule, we recognized recent taxonomic 
information indicating that the gray wolf subspecies Canis lupus lycaon 
should be elevated to the full species C. lycaon. We proposed to 
identify the Minnesota population as a Western Great Lakes (WGL) 
Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of the gray wolf and to remove this 
DPS from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. We also 
proposed to revise the range of the gray wolf (the species C. lupus) by 
removing all or parts of 29 eastern States, which, based in part on 
recognition of C. lycaon, were not part of the historical range of the 
gray wolf.
    We announce the reopening of the comment period for our May 5, 
2011, proposed rule to provide for public review and comment of 
additional information regarding our recognition of C. lycaon as a 
separate species. We seek information, data, and comments from the 
public with respect to new information relevant to the taxonomy of 
wolves in North America. In addition we are making a correction to our 
May 5, 2011, proposed rule and notifying the public that we are 
considering concluding that proposed rule with two or more final rules.

DATES: We request that comments on this proposal be submitted by the 
close of business on September 26, 2011. Any comments that we receive 
after the closing date may not be considered in the final decision on 
this action.

information on how to access the new report described in this revised 
proposed rule.
    Comment submission: You may submit comments by one of the following 
    Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Enter Keyword or ID box, enter FWS-R3-ES-
2011-0029, which is the docket number for this rulemaking. Then, in the 
Search panel at the top of the screen, under the Document Type heading, 
click on the Proposed Rules link to locate this document. You may 
submit a comment by clicking on ``Submit a Comment.''
    By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public 

[[Page 53380]]

Processing, Attn: FWS-R3-ES-2011-0029; 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 comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This 
generally means that we will post any personal information you provide 
us (see the Public Comments section below for more information).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Laura Ragan, 612-713-5350. Direct all 
questions or requests for additional information to: GRAY WOLF 
QUESTIONS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, 5600 
American Blvd. West, Suite 990, Bloomington, MN 55437-1458. Additional 
information is also available on our Web site at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/wolf. Individuals who are hearing-impaired or speech-impaired 
may call the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-877-8337 for TTY 



    In our May 5, 2011, proposed rule (76 FR 26086), we specifically 
recognized the eastern wolf (Canis lycaon) as a full species. Within 
the proposed rule, we recognized three wolf species with ranges in the 
conterminous United States: Canis lupus (gray wolf), Canis lycaon 
(eastern wolf), and Canis rufus (red wolf). We also recognized that the 
ranges of C. lupus and C. lycaon overlap in the Western Great Lakes 
region, and the population of wolves in the Western Great Lakes region 
includes both gray wolf and eastern wolf. However, the available 
evidence suggested the range of C. lupus did not otherwise historically 
overlap with the ranges of C. lycaon or C. rufus in the eastern United 
States. Thus, the May 5, 2011, proposed rule reflected our 
understanding that the wolf species that historically occupied the 
northeastern United States was the eastern wolf and the wolf species 
that historically occupied the southeastern United States was the red 
wolf. Accordingly, we proposed to revise the gray wolf listing to 
remove those States.
    The comment period for that proposed rule closed on July 5, 2011. 
We received significant comments from States and other stakeholders 
highlighting the controversy in North American wolf taxonomy. As such, 
we are reopening the comment period to provide further information 
regarding the taxonomic interpretation recognized in the May 5, 2011, 
proposed rule and seek comment as to the best scientific and commercial 
data available regarding the recognition of Canis lycaon as a full 
species. In part, this conclusion was based on information summarized 
in a manuscript prepared by Service employees that is currently 
undergoing review for publication (Chambers et al., in prep.).
    On May 5, 2011, we simultaneously reissued our April 2, 2009, final 
rule that identified the Northern Rocky Mountain (NRM) population of 
gray wolf as a distinct population segment (DPS) and revised the List 
of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife by removing most of the gray 
wolves in the DPS (76 FR 25590). This action became effective upon 
publication in the Federal Register. The May 5, 2011, proposed rule did 
not reflect language from our separate May 5, 2011, final rule 
delisting most of the NRM DPS. The proposed rule language below 
corrects this to reflect the current status of those wolves. Finally, 
it is also worth noting that we received several comments on our May 5, 
2011, proposal requesting that we further subdivide the proposal into 
regional pieces. Thus, we are hereby providing notice that we are 
considering issuing separate final rules for our final determinations 
on the delisting of the Western Great Lakes DPS and the delisting of 
all or portions of the 29 States outside the historical range of the 
gray wolf, which may itself be split into separate rules for the 
Northeast and the Southeast.

Public Comments Solicited

    We intend that any final action resulting from this proposal will 
be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we hereby 
request data, comments, new information, or suggestions from the 
public, other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific 
community, Tribes, industry, or any other interested party concerning 
this proposed rule. We particularly seek comments concerning:
    (1) The taxonomic classification of wolves in the midwestern and 
northeastern United States as described in a Service manuscript 
prepared by Chambers et al., in particular the recognition of the 
eastern wolf (Canis lycaon) as a full species.
    (2) Any other relevant information regarding wolves in eastern 
North America.
    You may submit your comments and materials concerning this proposed 
rule by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. We request that you 
send comments only by the methods described in ADDRESSES. Comments must 
be submitted to http://www.regulations.gov before midnight (Eastern 
Daylight Time) on the date specified in DATES. All comments that were 
submitted during the earlier public comment period will be included as 
part of the administrative record for this action and need not be 
    We will post your entire comment--including your personal 
identifying information--on http://www.regulations.gov. If you provide 
personal identifying information, such as your street address, phone 
number, or e-mail address, you may request at the top of your document 
that we withhold this information from public review. However, we 
cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
    Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting 
documentation we used in preparing this proposed rule including the 
Chambers et al. manuscript (in prep), will be available for public 
inspection on http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R3-ES-2011-
0029; on the Service's Internet site at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/wolf/; or by appointment, during normal business hours at the following 
Ecological Services offices:
     Twin Cities, Minnesota Ecological Services Field Office, 
4101 American Blvd. E., Bloomington, MN; 612-725-3548.
     Green Bay, Wisconsin Ecological Services Field Office, 
2661 Scott Tower Dr., New Franken, WI; 920-866-1717.
     East Lansing, Michigan Ecological Services Field Office, 
2651 Coolidge Road, Suite 101, East Lansing, MI; 517-351-2555.
     New England Ecological Services Field Office, U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, 70 Commercial St., Suite 300, Concord, NH; 603-

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

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

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

Proposed Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, we propose to further amend part 17, subchapter B of 
chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as proposed to 
be amended at 76 FR 26086, May 5, 2011, as follows:


    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.

[[Page 53381]]

    2. Amend Sec.  17.11(h) by revising the entry for ``Wolf, gray'' 
under MAMMALS in the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife to read 
as follows:

Sec.  17.11  [Amended]

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

                      Species                                                 Vertebrate population
---------------------------------------------------      Historic range        where endangered or        Status         When      Critical     Special
       Common name             Scientific name                                     threatened                           listed      habitat      rules
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Wolf, gray..............  Canis lupus.............  Holarctic..............  U.S.A.: All of CA, CO,  E                 1, 6, 13,         N/A         N/A
                                                                              KS, NE, and NV; those                       15, 35
                                                                              portions of AZ, NM,
                                                                              TX, and WY not
                                                                              included in an
                                                                              population as set
                                                                              forth below; and
                                                                              portions of IA, MO,
                                                                              ND, OK, OR, SD, TX,
                                                                              UT, and WA as
                                                                             (1) Southern IA, (that
                                                                              portion south of the
                                                                              centerline of Highway
                                                                             (2) Northwestern MO
                                                                              (that portion
                                                                              northwest of the
                                                                              centerline of
                                                                              Interstate Highway 44
                                                                              and northwest of the
                                                                              centerline of
                                                                              Interstate Highway 70
                                                                              east of St. Louis);
                                                                             (3) Western ND (that
                                                                              portion south and
                                                                              west of the Missouri
                                                                              River upstream to
                                                                              Lake Sakakawea and
                                                                              west of the
                                                                              centerline of Highway
                                                                              83 from Lake
                                                                              Sakakawea to the
                                                                              Canadian border);
                                                                             (4) Western OK (that
                                                                              portion west of the
                                                                              centerline of
                                                                              Interstate Highway 35
                                                                              and northwest of the
                                                                              centerline of
                                                                              Interstate Highway 44
                                                                              north of Oklahoma
                                                                             (5) Western OR (that
                                                                              portion west of the
                                                                              centerline of Highway
                                                                              395 and Highway 78
                                                                              north of Burns
                                                                              Junction and that
                                                                              portion of OR west of
                                                                              the centerline of
                                                                              Highway 95 south of
                                                                              Burns Junction);
                                                                             (6) Western SD (that
                                                                              portion south and
                                                                              west of the Missouri
                                                                             (7) Western TX (that
                                                                              portion west of the
                                                                              centerline of
                                                                              Interstate Highway
                                                                             (8) Most of Utah (that
                                                                              portion south and
                                                                              west of the
                                                                              centerline of Highway
                                                                              84 and that portion
                                                                              south of Highway 80
                                                                              from Echo to the UT/
                                                                              WY Stateline); and
                                                                             (9) Western WA (that
                                                                              portion west of the
                                                                              centerline of Highway
                                                                              97 and Highway 17
                                                                              north of Mesa and
                                                                              that portion west of
                                                                              the centerline of
                                                                              Highway 395 south of
Do......................  ...... do...............  ...... do..............  U.S.A. (portions of     XN                      631          NA    17.84(k)
                                                                              AZ, NM, and TX--see
                                                                              Sec.   17.84(k)).
Wolf, gray [Northern      Canis lupus.............  U.S.A. (MT, ID, WY,      U.S.A. (WY--see Sec.    XN                 561, 562          NA    17.84(i)
 Rocky Mountain DPS].                                eastern WA, eastern      17.84(i) and (n)).                                                17.84(n)
                                                     OR, and north central
                                                                      * * * * * * *

    Dated: August 16, 2011.
Gregory E. Siekanic,
Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2011-21839 Filed 8-25-11; 8:45 am]