[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 55 (Wednesday, March 21, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 16512-16514]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-6853]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R1-ES-2011-0096; 4500030114]
RIN 1018-AX38


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of 
Critical Habitat for the Southern Selkirk Mountains Population of 
Woodland Caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of comment period and announcement of 
public hearing.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
reopening of the comment period on our November 30, 2011, proposed rule 
to designate critical habitat for the southern Selkirk Mountains 
population of woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) under the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We are reopening the 
public comment period to allow all interested parties another 
opportunity to comment on the proposed rule. Comments previously 
submitted need not be resubmitted and will be fully considered in 
preparation of the final rule. We will also hold a public informational 
session and hearing (see DATES and ADDRESSES).

DATES: Written Comments: We will consider comments received or 
postmarked on or before May 21, 2012. Comments must be received by 
11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on the closing date.
    Public informational session and public hearing: We will hold a 
public informational session from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., followed by 
a public hearing from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., on April 28, 2012, in Bonners 
Ferry, Idaho (see ADDRESSES).

ADDRESSES: Written Comments: You may submit comments by one of the 
following methods:
    (1) Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the 
Search box, enter the Docket number for this proposed rule, which is 
FWS-R1-ES-2011-0096. Please ensure that you have found the correct 
rulemaking before submitting your comment.
    (2) U.S. mail or hand delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: 
Docket No. FWS-R1-ES-2011-0096; Division of Policy and Directives 
Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 
2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
    We request that you send comments only by the methods described 
above. 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).
    Public informational session and public hearing: The public 
informational session and hearing will be held at the Bonners Ferry 
High School, 6485 Tamarack Lane, Bonners Ferry, ID 83805. People 
needing reasonable accommodations in order to attend and participate in 
the public hearing should contact Brian Kelly, State Supervisor, Idaho 
Fish and Wildlife Office, at (208) 378-5243, as soon as possible (see 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Kelly, State Supervisor, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office, 1387 South 
Vinnell Way, Room 368, Boise, ID 83709; telephone 208-378-5243; 
facsimile

[[Page 16513]]

208-378-5262. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf 
(TDD), call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-
8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    It is our intent to discuss only those topics directly relevant to 
the proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the southern 
Selkirk Mountains population of woodland caribou. On November 30, 2011, 
we published a proposed rule (76 FR 74018) to designate critical 
habitat for the southern Selkirk Mountains population of woodland 
caribou. For a description of the previous Federal actions concerning 
the southern Selkirk Mountains population of woodland caribou, please 
refer to the proposed rule. In response to comments we received during 
the public comment period that opened on November 30, 2011, and closed 
on January 30, 2012, we have decided to allow the public more time to 
submit comments, and to hold an informational session and public 
hearing (as described above). All details of the proposed critical 
habitat designation are provided in our November 30, 2011, proposed 
rule, available online at http://www.regulations.gov, or by contacting 
the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT 
section).
    We will announce the availability of the draft economic analysis of 
the proposed designation as soon as it is completed, at which time we 
will seek additional public review and comment both on the draft 
economic analysis as well as the proposed designation of critical 
habitat for the southern Selkirk Mountains population of woodland 
caribou. Copies of the draft economic analysis will be available for 
downloading from the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov, or from 
the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT).

Public Comments

    We will accept written comments and information during this 
reopened comment period for the proposed rule to designate critical 
habitat for the southern Selkirk Mountains population of woodland 
caribou that was published in the Federal Register on November 30, 2011 
(76 FR 74018). We intend that any final action resulting from this 
proposed rule will be based on the best scientific and commercial data 
available and be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, 
we request comments or information from the public, other concerned 
government agencies, the scientific community, industry, or other 
interested parties concerning this proposed rule. We will consider 
information and recommendations from all interested parties. We are 
particularly interested in comments concerning:
    (1) The reasons why we should or should not designate habitat as 
``critical habitat'' under section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.), including whether there are threats to the southern Selkirk 
Mountains population of woodland caribou from human activity, the 
degree of which can be expected to increase due to the designation, 
such that the designation of critical habitat may not be prudent.
    (2) Specific information on:
    (a) The amount and distribution of habitat for the southern Selkirk 
Mountains population of woodland caribou in the United States;
    (b) What areas occupied at the time of listing that contain the 
physical and biological features essential to the conservation of the 
species should be included in the designation and why; and
    (c) Special management considerations or protections that may be 
needed in critical habitat areas we are proposing, including managing 
for the potential effects of climate change; and
    (d) What areas not occupied at the time of listing are essential 
for the conservation of the species and why.
    (3) Land use designations and current or planned activities in the 
subject areas and their possible impacts on proposed critical habitat.
    (4) Any probable economic, national security, or other relevant 
impacts of designating any area that may be included in the final 
designation. We are particularly interested in any impacts on small 
entities or families, and the benefits of including or excluding areas 
that exhibit these impacts.
    (5) Information on the projected and reasonably likely impacts of 
climate change on the southern Selkirk Mountains population of woodland 
caribou and the proposed critical habitat.
    (6) Whether any specific areas we are proposing for critical 
habitat designation should be considered for exclusion under section 
4(b)(2) of the Act, and whether the benefits of potentially excluding 
any specific area outweigh the benefits of including that area under 
section 4(b)(2) of the Act and why.
    (7) Whether we could improve or modify our approach to designating 
critical habitat in any way to provide for greater public participation 
and understanding, or to better accommodate public concerns and 
comments.

Public Informational Session and Public Hearing

    Section 4(b)(5)(E) of the Act requires that we hold one public 
hearing on a proposed regulation, if any person files a request for 
such a hearing within 45 days after the date of publication of a 
general notice. At the request of the Governor of Idaho and the 
Commissioners of Boundary County, Idaho, we have scheduled an 
informational session (a brief presentation about the proposed rule 
with a question-and-answer period), and a public hearing (see DATES and 
ADDRESSES). Anyone wishing to make an oral statement at the public 
hearing for the record is encouraged to provide a written copy of their 
statement to us at the hearing. In the event there is a large 
attendance, the time allotted for oral statements may be limited. 
Speakers can sign up at the informational meeting and hearing if they 
desire to make an oral statement. Oral and written statements receive 
equal consideration. There are no limits on the length of written 
comments submitted to us. If you have any questions concerning the 
public hearing, please contact Brian Kelly, State Supervisor, Idaho 
Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).
    The Service has conducted several outreach efforts to be responsive 
to public requests for additional information. On January 9, 2012, we 
presented information on the proposed critical habitat designation in 
Bonners Ferry, Boundary County, Idaho, at the request of the Kootenai 
Valley Resource Initiative (KVRI), and on January 24, 2012, we held an 
informational meeting in Priest Lake, at the request of the Bonner 
County, Idaho Commission. On February 13, 2012, we participated in a 
meeting in Boundary County, Idaho, sponsored by the KVRI, and on 
February 28, 2012, we participated in another meeting with the Bonner 
County Commission; both meetings were open to the public.
    To ensure the final decision is based on the best available 
information, an additional informational session and public hearing 
will be announced concurrent with the forthcoming publication of a 
notice of availability for the draft economic analysis, which is 
currently under development. Prior to a final decision on the proposed 
critical habitat designation, the Service intends to conduct two public 
hearings, each preceded by an informational session.

[[Page 16514]]

We will also continue with our ongoing outreach efforts, such as those 
described above, as needs and opportunities to do so arise.
    Our final determination concerning critical habitat for the 
southern Selkirk Mountains population of woodland caribou will take 
into consideration all written comments we receive during the comment 
period, comments from peer reviewers, comments and public testimony 
received during the public hearings, and any additional information we 
receive in response to the forthcoming notice of availability of the 
draft economic analysis. All comments will be included in the public 
record for this rulemaking. On the basis of peer reviewer and public 
comments, we may, during the development of our final determination, 
find that areas within the proposed designation do not meet the 
definition of critical habitat, that some modifications to the 
described boundaries are appropriate, or that areas may or may not be 
appropriate for exclusion under section 4(b)(2) of the Act.
    If you previously submitted comments or information on this 
proposed rule, please do not resubmit them. We will incorporate them 
into the public record as part of this comment period, and will fully 
consider them in the preparation of our final determination.
    You may submit your comments and materials concerning our proposed 
rule by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES.
    We will post your entire comment--including any personal 
identifying information--on http://www.regulations.gov. If you provide 
personal identifying information, such as your street address, phone 
number, or email address, 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. 
Please include sufficient information with your comments to allow us to 
verify any scientific or commercial information you include.
    Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting 
documentation we used in preparing this proposed rule, 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, Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT). You may obtain copies of the proposed rule on the 
Internet at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R1-ES-2011-
0096, or by mail from the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

Authors

    The primary authors of this notice are the staff of the Idaho Fish 
and Wildlife Field Office, Region 1, 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: March 12, 2012.
 Rachel Jacobson,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2012-6853 Filed 3-20-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P