[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 81 (Thursday, April 26, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 24915-24924]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-9884]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R6-ES-2011-0030; FXES11130900000C6-123-FF09E30000; 
92220-1113-0000-C6]
RIN 1018-AW02


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revising the 
Proposed Special Rule for the Utah Prairie Dog

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking; reopening of public 
comment period and notice of document availability.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) notify the 
public that we are making changes to our proposed rule of June 2, 2011, 
to revise the special rule for the Utah prairie dog (Cynomys 
parvidens). We are reopening the comment period because we are making 
substantive changes and one addition to our proposed rule based on 
public and peer review comments received. Comments previously submitted 
will be considered and do not need to be resubmitted now. However, we 
invite comments on the new information presented in this announcement 
relevant to our consideration of these changes, as described below. We 
encourage those who may have commented previously to submit additional 
comments, if appropriate, in light of this new information. We are also 
making available for public review the draft

[[Page 24916]]

Environmental Assessment (EA) on our proposed actions, in accordance 
with the National Environmental Policy Act.

DATES: To ensure that we are able to consider your comments and 
information, we request that we receive them no later than May 29, 
2012. Please note that, if you are using the Federal eRulemaking Portal 
(see ADDRESSES, below), the deadline for submitting an electronic 
comment is 11:59 p.m., Eastern Daylight Saving Time on this date. We 
may not be able to address or incorporate information that is submitted 
after the above requested date. We must receive requests for public 
hearings, in writing, at the address shown in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT by May 11, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the 2011 proposed revision to the 
special rule for the Utah prairie dog, comments received on that 
proposal, and the draft EA for the proposed special rule can be 
obtained at http://www.regulations.gov, Docket No. [FWS-R6-ES-2011-
0030]. You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
    Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter Docket No. [FWS-R6-ES-
2011-0030], which is the docket number for this rulemaking. Follow the 
instructions for submitting a comment.
    By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery: to Public 
Comments Processing, Attention: [FWS-R6-ES-2011-0030]; Division of 
Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 
North 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 details).
    Copies of Documents: The June 2, 2011, proposed rule and draft EA 
are available on http://www.regulations.gov. In addition, the 
supporting files for the proposed rule and draft EA will be available 
for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours, at 
the Utah Ecological Services Field Office, 2369 West Orton Circle, West 
Valley City, Utah 84119, telephone 801-975-3330. Persons who use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Larry Crist, Field Supervisor, 
(telephone 801-975-3330; facsimile 801-975-3331). Direct all questions 
or request for additional information to: UTAH PRAIRIE DOG SPECIAL RULE 
QUESTIONS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Utah Ecological Services 
Field Office, 2369 West Orton Circle, Suite 50, West Valley City, UT 
84119. Individuals who are hearing-impaired or speech-impaired may call 
the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339 for TTY 
assistance.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Public Comments

    We want any final rule resulting from this proposal to be as 
effective as possible. Therefore, we invite tribal and governmental 
agencies, the scientific community, industry, and other interested 
parties to submit comments regarding our recommendations regarding the 
six substantive changes to our proposed rule, and comments on our draft 
EA associated with our proposed revised special rule for the Utah 
prairie dog. Comments should be as specific as possible.
    Before issuing a final rule to implement this proposed action, we 
will take into account all comments and any additional information we 
receive. Such communications may lead to a final rule that differs from 
our proposal. All comments, including commenters' names and addresses, 
if provided to us, will become part of the supporting record.
    You may submit your comments and materials concerning our changes 
to the proposed rule, and/or our draft Environmental Assessment by one 
of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. Comments must be 
submitted to http://www.regulations.gov before 11:59 p.m. (Eastern 
Time) on the date specified in the DATES section.
    We will post your entire comment--including your personal 
identifying information--on http://www.regulations.gov. If you provide 
personal identifying information in your comment, 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, 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, Utah Ecological Services Field Office (see FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT).

Background

    The Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act or ESA) (16 
U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), provides measures to prevent the loss of species 
and their habitats. Section 4 of the Act sets forth the procedures for 
adding species to the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and 
Plants, and section 4(d) authorizes the Secretary of the Interior 
(Secretary) to extend to threatened species the prohibitions provided 
for endangered species under section 9. Our implementing regulations 
for threatened wildlife, found at title 50 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations (CFR) in Sec.  17.31, incorporate the section 9 
prohibitions for endangered wildlife, except when a special rule is 
promulgated. Under section 4(d) of the Act, the Secretary may specify 
the prohibitions and any exceptions to those prohibitions that are 
appropriate for a threatened species, provided that those prohibitions 
and exceptions are necessary and advisable to provide for the species' 
conservation. A special rule issued under section 4(d) of the Act for a 
threatened species includes provisions tailored specifically for the 
conservation needs of that species, and these provisions may be more or 
less restrictive than the general provisions at 50 CFR 17.31.
    Since 1984, the Service has implemented a special rule for the Utah 
prairie dog. This special rule (also referred to as a ``4(d) rule'') is 
found in 50 CFR 17.40(g). We published a proposed rule to revise the 
current special rule for the Utah prairie dog on June 2, 2011 (76 FR 
31906). It is our intent in this document to discuss only those topics 
directly relevant to (1) our substantive changes to our June 2, 2011, 
proposed rule (76 FR 31906) to revise the special rule for the Utah 
prairie dog, and (2) information related to our draft environmental 
assessment. For more information on previous Federal actions concerning 
the special rule for Utah prairie dogs and species information, refer 
to the June 2, 2011, proposed rule, which is available online at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket Number FWS-R6-ES-2011-0030, or by 
appointment during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Utah Ecological Services Field Office (see FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT).

Previous Federal Actions

    Our 1984 special regulations for the Utah prairie dog, as amended 
in 1991, did not apply the take prohibitions described in section 9 of 
the ESA to activities occurring on private lands across the range of 
the species, under a permit system developed by the Utah Division of 
Wildlife Resources (UDWR), as authorized by Utah Code R657-19-6 and 
R657-19-7. Our June 2, 2011 (76 FR 31906), proposed rule would revise 
the

[[Page 24917]]

1991 rule to provide limits to the allowable take and to expand the 
range of otherwise legal activities where applying the take 
prohibitions in section 9 of the Act is not necessary and advisable. 
Our June 2, 2011, proposal had a 60-day comment period, ending August 
2, 2011. We received no requests for a public hearing; therefore, no 
public hearing was held.

Draft Environmental Assessment

    We have prepared a draft EA analyzing the proposed revisions to our 
4(d) regulations. The draft EA incorporates the substantive changes to 
our proposed rule, as described in the following section. We evaluated 
three alternatives in the draft EA:
    1. Alternative 1 (No Action)--continuation of the current special 
rule as implemented by the UDWR permitting process under Utah State 
Code R657-19-6 and R657-19-7.
    2. Alternative 2 (Preferred Action)--limiting where direct take can 
be permitted, limiting the amount of rangewide direct take allowed, 
providing site-specific limits on the amount of direct take, 
identifying timing of permitted direct take, identifying methods 
allowed to implement direct take, and adding incidental take 
authorization for standard agricultural practices.
    3. Alternative 3--promulgating the blanket 4(d) rule that applies 
all Endangered Species Act section 9(a) take prohibitions to the Utah 
prairie dog. Under this alternative, lethal take would not be allowed 
unless permitted pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Act.
    We are seeking comment on the draft EA, which is available upon 
request or online at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R6-
ES-2011-0030 or at http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/UTprairiedog/index.htm.

Addition to the Proposed Rule--Allowing Take Where Utah Prairie Dogs 
Cause Serious Human Safety Hazards or Disturb the Sanctity of 
Significant Human Cultural or Burial Sites

    Public comments received on our June 2, 2011, proposed rule 
included a recommendation that we should amend the proposed 4(d) rule 
to allow take in situations where human safety is at risk and in 
cemeteries. We are now proposing to include properties where Utah 
prairie dogs create serious human safety hazards or disturb the 
sanctity of significant cultural or human burial sites as locations 
where take would not be prohibited.
    Take would be allowed in these areas when Utah prairie dogs are 
determined, with the written approval of the Service to be presenting a 
serious human safety hazard (e.g., airport safety areas, recreational 
sports fields, nursing homes, schools), or disturbing the sanctity of a 
significant human cultural or human burial site sites (e.g., public 
cemetery, sacred tribal sites) if these lands are determined not 
necessary for the conservation of the species. No UDWR permit would be 
required in these instances. This change would only apply to areas 
where a credible, serious public safety hazard or harm to significant 
human cultural or human burial sites could be clearly demonstrated. 
Areas of serious human safety hazards would not include public 
rangelands or properties being developed for residential or commercial 
uses. In addition, we would not intend for this rule to be used to 
eliminate prairie dogs because of concerns regarding plague 
transmission to humans, unless this disease becomes a proven human 
safety issue in the future, and is directly linked to the presence of 
Utah prairie dogs in specific circumstances.
    Lethal take in these situations would be used as a last resort, and 
only allowable after all practicable measures to resolve the conflict 
are implemented. All practicable measures means, with respect to these 
situations, the (1) construction of a prairie-dog proof fence, above 
and below grade to specifications approved by the Service, around the 
area in which there is concern, and (2) translocation of Utah prairie 
dogs out of the area in which there is a concern. Lethal take would be 
allowed only to remove prairie dogs that remain in these areas after 
the measures to fence and translocate are successfully carried out. 
Despite our best engineering efforts, prairie-dog proof fences may 
still be breached by prairie dogs. The local communities or private 
entities would be required to maintain the fence, fix any breaches, or 
modify the fences as necessary to limit access of prairie dogs in order 
for the lethal take authorization to be sustained long-term. These 
qualifying circumstances would be certified in writing by the Service 
following any necessary site visits and coordination with the 
requesting entity. As stated above, a UDWR permit would not be required 
to allow take under these conditions.
    We would not limit the amount, timing, or methods of lethal take 
allowed on lands where Utah prairie dogs create serious human safety 
hazards or disturb the sanctity of significant human cultural or human 
burial sites, as long as the qualifying circumstances described above 
are met. These sites are relatively small areas, would be fenced, and 
prairie dogs would be removed by translocation prior to the permitting 
of lethal take. Thus, we expect that the numbers of Utah prairie dogs 
lethally removed would be small. In addition, these areas do not 
contribute to conservation of the species because they are generally 
within otherwise developed areas with substantial human activity and 
habitat fragmentation.

Substantive Changes to the Proposed Rule

    Based on public and peer review comments received on our June 2, 
2011, proposed rule, we are proposing to make substantive changes for 
our final rule. These changes are described below in response to the 
comments received, and tables comparing the provisions of the current 
special rule, the proposed revisions to that rule, and the Utah code 
follows this discussion.
Permitting Take
    We received a comment from the State of Utah recommending that 
entities other than the UDWR be allowed to issue permits for control of 
Utah prairie dogs. The previous special rules (49 FR 22330, May 29, 
1984; 56 FR 27438, June 14, 1991) allowed take of Utah prairie dogs 
when permitted by UDWR. Under these rules, UDWR biologists were 
required to count Utah prairie dogs, determine extent of damage, 
determine level of take, and issue permits to applicants who requested 
the ability to control prairie dogs on their lands. At the time the 
previous rules were published, UDWR biologists were likely the only 
persons with the expertise to perform these permitting tasks. However, 
we now have a larger partnership effort, in the form of the Utah 
Prairie Dog Recovery Implementation Program, in which members of other 
state, federal, tribal, local entities and the public are working 
together on various programs to facilitate the species' recovery. 
Because of this partnership, we can reasonably assume that other 
entities may be available to conduct many of the permitting 
responsibilities previously undertaken by the UDWR. Approved permitting 
entities would at a minimum be required to employ a sufficient number 
of professional wildlife biologists to conduct all permitting 
responsibilities; request and complete permitting training from the 
UDWR for staff assigned to permitting; complete the Service's annual 
Utah prairie dog survey training; maintain a complete

[[Page 24918]]

reporting and tracking system for take, including annual reports on the 
number and location of permits issued, spring population counts and 
boundaries of permitted colonies, number of animals allowed to be 
taken, number of animals actually taken, method of take, and method of 
disposal of all Utah prairie dogs taken. Thus, we are proposing that 
this special rule will allow, with the Service's written approval, 
other entities to perform the permitting and reporting tasks for 
control activities formerly only conducted by UDWR.
Limiting the Amount and Distribution of Direct Take That Can Be 
Permitted
    In this section of the proposed rule, we propose to make changes to 
(1) limiting take by season and (2) limiting the amount of take--
    (1) Limiting Take by Season--One commenter recommended that we 
revise our timing of permitted take from June 1 to July 1 on the Awapa 
and Paunsaugunt recovery units to protect pups in these areas, which 
emerge later than those within the West Desert Recovery Unit. We 
reviewed the available literature and discussed the permit dates with 
the Utah Prairie Dog Recovery Team relative to differences in pup 
emergence from dens in the lower elevations of the West Desert Recovery 
Unit as compared to the Awapa and Paunsaugunt Recovery Units. 
Generally, pups emerge from their dens earlier in the West Desert 
Recovery Unit as compared to the Awapa and Paunsaugunt Recovery Units. 
We propose to allow direct lethal take to start on June 15 each year 
throughout the range of the species, including the West Desert Recovery 
Area. Despite the earlier emergence of pups in the West Desert, we find 
it prudent for consistency and simplicity to select a range of dates 
best supported by the available scientific information to apply 
throughout the range of the species. This is a moderate change from the 
dates of June 1 through December 31 proposed in our June 2, 2011 
proposed rule and authorized by the 1991 special rule.
    Our proposed change is based on our most current knowledge of the 
species biology: pups emerge from their burrows by mid to late June at 
which time they are foraging independently (Hoogland 2003, p. 236). 
Therefore, the loss of female adult prairie dogs after the pups emerge 
from their dens would not negatively affect the survivability of the 
remaining young. In addition, prairie dog populations with seasonal 
shooting closures of March 14 to June 15 show positive population 
growths and low to negligible risk of extirpation (Colorado Division of 
Wildlife 2007, p. 135). These seasonal shooting closure dates directly 
correspond to our proposed timing of June 15 through December 31 for 
allowing direct lethal take. Thus, we can conclude that restricting use 
of the 4(d) rule between the dates of January 1 through June 14 would 
result in positive population growths with low to negligible risk of 
extinction. This conclusion is supported by our observations that we 
have never verified the loss of a Utah prairie dog colony because of 
take permitted by UDWR, and prairie dog counts have remained stable to 
increasing on sites where permits were repeatedly requested over the 
last 25 years (Day 2010). In this timeframe, UDWR provided permits to 
landowners beginning June 1. Thus, our proposed revision to June 15 is 
more conservative than past practice, and is based on the best current 
available science.
    (2) Limiting the Amount of Take--We received comments from a couple 
of peer reviewers questioning whether our proposed rule was supported 
by the available modeling of population responses to shooting. Based on 
the comments, we reevaluated the available literature.
    According to the literature, a harvest rate based on a percentage 
of the known population (i.e., fluctuating harvest rate) can ensure the 
maintenance of a sustainable population, with no risk of extinction 
(Reeve and Vosburgh 2006, pp. 123-125). Our June 2, 2011, proposed rule 
limits the allowable permitted direct take on agricultural lands and 
properties neighboring conservation lands to no more than 10 percent of 
the estimated annual rangewide population (adults and juveniles)--
agricultural lands would be limited to take not exceeding 7 percent of 
the estimated annual rangewide population and the remaining allowable 
take is reserved for properties neighboring conservation lands. We 
conclude that our proposed limit is a fluctuating harvest rate, is 
conservative, based on available modeling, and will continue to result 
in stable to increasing Utah prairie dog population trends. Therefore, 
we do not propose to change this portion of our proposed rule based on 
the available literature.
    Our proposed rule of June 2, 2011, established that UDWR could only 
permit direct lethal take under the revised 4(d) rule on prairie dog 
colonies that had a minimum spring count of five animals (total 
population estimate = 36 animals; see our June 2, 2011, proposed rule 
for population calculations). After reviewing public and peer review 
comments, we are now proposing that a minimum spring count of seven 
animals (total population estimate = 50 animals) is established to 
ensure that permits are authorized only where resident prairie dogs 
have become established on agricultural lands and to ensure that 
shooting does not result in the loss of a colony. If the maximum amount 
of take (one-half of the colony's productivity = 18 prairie dogs) 
occurs on this size colony, it would reduce the total colony size to 32 
animals prior to the following breeding season. Colonies of at least 25 
prairie dogs are likely to show population growth with very little risk 
of extinction. Populations with 50 or greater animals show no risk of 
extinction and strong population growth (Colorado Division of Wildlife 
2007, p. 128). Therefore, we would expect prairie dog colonies of 32 
animals to continue to exist long-term with annual, regulated shooting 
pressure. This conclusion is supported by our observations that we have 
never verified the loss of a Utah prairie dog colony because of take 
permitted by UDWR and prairie dog counts have remained stable to 
increasing on sites where permits were repeatedly requested since 1985 
(Day 2010).
    In addition, we are proposing to include a provision that UDWR or 
other entities (as described above) would spatially distribute the 7 
percent allowed take on agricultural lands across the three Recovery 
Units, based on the distribution of the total annual population 
estimate within each Recovery Unit. This spatial distribution will help 
ensure that the take is not clustered in one area, and is instead more 
uniform based on comparative annual population numbers.
    Several commenters, including peer reviewers, were confused because 
we used two numeric limits to take--an upper annual limit of 6,000 Utah 
prairie dogs, and a limit based on calculating 10 percent of the total 
estimated annual rangewide Utah prairie dog population.
    We propose to limit take using only the 10 percent limit. This is a 
fluctuating harvest rate that is supported by the available literature 
and based on total annual Utah prairie dog population numbers. 
Therefore, we do not believe there is a need to place an additional 
limit at 6,000 animals annually.
    We conclude that these proposed changes are consistent with the 
available population models and ensure that our proposed rule is based 
on the best available science. These proposed changes are more 
restrictive than past practice under the 1984 special rule, as amended 
in 1991. In the last 25 years, Utah prairie dog population trends have 
remained stable to increasing. Thus, we

[[Page 24919]]

conclude that these proposed changes will continue to support Utah 
prairie dog conservation efforts and are based on the best available 
science.
Limiting Methods Allowed To Implement Direct Take
    One peer reviewer recommended that we prohibit the use of gas 
cartridges, anticoagulants, and explosive devices as methods of 
permissible lethal control. The revised 4(d) rule would specifically 
prohibit the use of gas cartridges, anticoagulants, and explosive 
devices as methods of permissible lethal control on agricultural lands 
and properties adjacent to conservation lands. These types of methods 
could be applied across large areas and kill large numbers of prairie 
dogs. These techniques do not allow control agents to target a specific 
number of prairie dogs or track actual take. However, the use of any 
methodology will be allowed in areas where Utah prairie dogs create 
serious human safety hazards or disturb the sanctity of significant 
cultural or human burial sites (see Addition to the Proposed Rule--
Allowing Take at Significant Human Cultural or Burial Sites, above).

Summary

    Table 1 describes the Current Special Rule and Practice of 1991, 
the revisions we proposed in our June 2, 2011 rule (76 FR 311906), and 
the additions and changes included in this revised proposed rule. Table 
2 provides a summary of our proposed amendments to the existing special 
rule based on both our June 2, 2011, proposed rule and the additions 
and changes described in this revised proposed rule.

 Table 1--Comparison of the Current Rule and Practice (1991); the Proposed Rule of June 2, 2011 and This Revised
                                                  Proposed Rule
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           Current rule and                               Revised proposed rule
                                           practice  (1991)      Proposed rule  (2011)            (2012)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Who Can Allow Take...................  Utah Division of         UDWR...................  UDWR, or other entities
                                        Wildlife Resources                                with the Service's
                                        (UDWR).                                           written approval.
                                                                                         Add that no permit is
                                                                                          needed where prairie
                                                                                          dogs create serious
                                                                                          human safety hazards
                                                                                          or disturb the
                                                                                          sanctity of
                                                                                          significant human
                                                                                          cultural or burial
                                                                                          sites. Written
                                                                                          approval from the
                                                                                          Service is sufficient
                                                                                          in these
                                                                                          circumstances.
Where Direct Take Is Allowed.........  Existing Special Rule--  Agricultural lands and   Retain agricultural
                                        private lands.           properties adjacent to   lands and properties
                                       Utah Code--               conservation lands.      adjacent to
                                        agricultural lands.                               conservation lands.
                                                                                         Add properties where
                                                                                          prairie dogs create
                                                                                          serious human safety
                                                                                          hazards or disturb the
                                                                                          sanctity of
                                                                                          significant human
                                                                                          cultural or burial
                                                                                          sites.
Amount of Rangewide Direct Take        6,000 animals annually.  Maintains the current    The upper annual
 Allowed.                                                        rule's upper annual      permitted take limit
                                                                 permitted take limit     of 6,000 animals
                                                                 of 6,000 animals. Adds   annually is removed.
                                                                 a condition that the    The upper permitted
                                                                 upper permitted take     take limit may not
                                                                 limit may not exceed     exceed 10 percent of
                                                                 10 percent of the        the estimated
                                                                 estimated rangewide      rangewide population
                                                                 population annually.     annually; and, on
                                                                                          agricultural lands,
                                                                                          may not exceed 7
                                                                                          percent of the
                                                                                          estimated annual
                                                                                          rangewide population
                                                                                          annually.
                                                                                         Take in areas where
                                                                                          prairie dogs create
                                                                                          serious human safety
                                                                                          hazards or disturb the
                                                                                          sanctity of
                                                                                          significant human
                                                                                          cultural or burial
                                                                                          sites does not
                                                                                          contribute to the take
                                                                                          allowance.
Site Specific Limits on Amount of      No restrictions          On agricultural lands,   Retain limits of
 Direct Take.                           specified.               within-colony take is    Proposed Rule for
                                                                 limited to one-half of   agricultural lands and
                                                                 a colony's estimated     properties neighboring
                                                                 annual production        conservation lands.
                                                                 (approximately 36       Add that there are no
                                                                 percent of estimated     limits on the amount
                                                                 total population). On    of direct take where
                                                                 properties neighboring   prairie dogs create
                                                                 conservation lands,      serious human safety
                                                                 take is restricted to    hazards or disturb the
                                                                 animals in excess of     sanctity of
                                                                 the baseline             significant human
                                                                 population.              cultural or burial
                                                                                          sites.
Timing of Allowed Direct Take........  June 1 to December 31..  June 15 to December 31.  Retain the June 15 to
                                                                                          December 31 seasonal
                                                                                          limits on agricultural
                                                                                          lands and properties
                                                                                          neighboring
                                                                                          conservation lands.
                                                                                         Add that there is no
                                                                                          timing restriction
                                                                                          where prairie dogs
                                                                                          create serious human
                                                                                          safety hazards or
                                                                                          disturb the sanctity
                                                                                          of significant human
                                                                                          cultural or burial
                                                                                          sites, except that
                                                                                          translocations will be
                                                                                          conducted before
                                                                                          lethal measures of
                                                                                          control are allowed.

[[Page 24920]]

 
Methods Allowed to Implement Direct    Existing Special Rule--  Limited to               Retain restrictions on
 Take.                                  no restrictions          translocations,          agricultural lands and
                                        specified.               trapping intended to     properties neighboring
                                       Utah Code--limited to     lethally remove          conservation lands.
                                        firearms and trapping,   prairie dogs, and       Add that no
                                        and chemical toxicants   shooting. Actions        restrictions on
                                        specifically             intended to drown or     methods to implement
                                        prohibited.              poison prairie dogs,     direct take are
                                                                 and the use of gas       applied to areas where
                                                                 cartridges,              prairie dogs create
                                                                 anticoagulants, and      serious human safety
                                                                 explosive devices are    hazards or disturb the
                                                                 prohibited.              sanctity of
                                                                                          significant human
                                                                                          cultural or burial
                                                                                          sites, except that
                                                                                          translocations will be
                                                                                          conducted before
                                                                                          lethal measures of
                                                                                          control are allowed.
Service Ability to Further Restrict    The Service may          Unchanged..............  Unchanged.
 Direct Take.                           immediately prohibit
                                        or restrict such
                                        taking as appropriate
                                        for the conservation
                                        of the species.
Incidental Take......................  Not authorized.........  Authorized when take is  Unchanged.
                                                                 incidental to
                                                                 otherwise legal
                                                                 activities associated
                                                                 with standard
                                                                 agricultural practices.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


               Table 2--Summary of Our Proposed Amendments
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             Proposed amendments
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Who Can Allow Take................  UDWR or, with the Service's written
                                     approval, other entities can
                                     perform the permitting and
                                     reporting tasks for control
                                     activities on agricultural lands or
                                     properties adjacent to conservation
                                     lands. No permits are required for
                                     take in areas where prairie dogs
                                     create serious human safety hazards
                                     or disturb the sanctity of
                                     significant human cultural or
                                     burial sites.
Where Direct Take Is Allowed......  Direct take is limited to:
                                     Agricultural land being physically
                                     or economically impacted by Utah
                                     prairie dogs when the spring count
                                     on the agricultural lands is seven
                                     or more individuals; private
                                     properties within 0.8 km (0.5 mi)
                                     of Utah prairie dog conservation
                                     land; and areas where human safety
                                     hazards or the sanctity of
                                     significant cultural or human
                                     burial sites are a serious concern,
                                     but only after all practicable
                                     measures to resolve the conflict
                                     are implemented.
Amount of Rangewide Direct Take     The upper permitted take limit may
 Allowed.                            not exceed 10 percent of the
                                     estimated rangewide population
                                     annually for agricultural lands and
                                     properties adjacent to conservation
                                     lands; and, on agricultural lands,
                                     may not exceed 7 percent of the
                                     estimated annual rangewide
                                     population annually. There is no
                                     limit for the amount of take in
                                     areas where prairie dogs create
                                     serious human safety hazards or
                                     disturb the sanctity of significant
                                     human cultural or burial sites, and
                                     take in these circumstances does
                                     not contribute to the upper
                                     permitted take limits described
                                     above.
Site-Specific Limits on Amount of   On agricultural lands, within-colony
 Direct Take.                        take is limited to one-half of a
                                     colony's estimated annual
                                     production (approximately 36
                                     percent of estimated total
                                     population). On properties
                                     neighboring conservation lands,
                                     take is restricted to animals in
                                     excess of the baseline population.
                                     The baseline population is the
                                     highest estimated total (summer)
                                     population size on that property
                                     during the 5 years prior to
                                     establishment of the conservation
                                     property. There are no site-
                                     specific direct take limits in
                                     areas where prairie dogs create
                                     serious human safety hazards or
                                     disturb the sanctity of significant
                                     human cultural or burial sites.
Timing of Allowed Direct Take.....  The timing of permitted direct take
                                     on agricultural lands and
                                     properties adjacent to conservation
                                     lands is limited to June 15 through
                                     December 31. There is no timing
                                     restriction where prairie dogs
                                     create serious human safety hazards
                                     or disturb the sanctity of
                                     significant human cultural or
                                     burial sites, except that
                                     translocations must be completed
                                     prior to conducting any lethal
                                     take.
Methods Allowed to Implement        On agricultural lands and properties
 Direct Take.                        adjacent to conservation lands,
                                     direct take is limited to
                                     activities associated with
                                     translocation efforts by trained
                                     and permitted individuals complying
                                     with current Service-approved
                                     guidance, trapping intended to
                                     lethally remove prairie dogs, and
                                     shooting. Actions intended to drown
                                     or poison prairie dogs, and the use
                                     of gas cartridges, anticoagulants,
                                     or explosive devices is prohibited
                                     in these areas. There are no
                                     restrictions on methods to
                                     implement take in areas where
                                     prairie dogs create serious human
                                     safety hazards or disturb the
                                     sanctity of significant human
                                     cultural or burial sites, except
                                     that translocations will be
                                     conducted before lethal measures of
                                     control are allowed.
Service Ability to Further          Unchanged.
 Restrict Direct Take.
Incidental Take...................  Utah prairie dogs may be taken when
                                     take is incidental to otherwise
                                     legal activities associated with
                                     standard agricultural practices
                                     (see rule for specifics).
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Required Determinations

Regulatory Planning and Review

    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has determined that this 
rule is not significant and has not reviewed this proposed rule under 
Executive Order 12866 (E.O. 12866). OMB bases its determination upon 
the following four criteria:
    a. Whether the rule will have an annual effect of $100 million or 
more on the economy or adversely affect an economic sector, 
productivity, jobs, the environment, or other units of the government;

[[Page 24921]]

    b. Whether the rule will create inconsistencies with other Federal 
agencies' actions;
    c. Whether the rule will materially affect entitlements, grants, 
user fees, loan programs, or the rights and obligations of their 
recipients; or
    d. Whether the rule raises novel legal or policy issues.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    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), whenever an agency publishes 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 the agency 
certifies the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. The SBREFA amended RFA to require 
Federal agencies to provide a statement of the factual basis for 
certifying that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on 
a substantial number of small entities. Thus, for a regulatory 
flexibility analysis to be required, impacts must exceed a threshold 
for ``significant impact'' and a threshold for a ``substantial number 
of small entities.'' See 5 U.S.C. 605(b). Based on the information that 
is available to us at this time, we certify that this regulation will 
not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The following discussion explains our rationale.
    Utah prairie dogs have been listed under the ESA since the early 
1970s (38 FR 14678, June 4, 1973; 39 FR 1158, January 4, 1974). A 4(d) 
special rule has been in place since 1984 that provides protections 
deemed necessary and advisable to provide for the conservation of the 
species (49 FR 22330, May 29, 1984; 56 FR 27438, June 14, 1991). These 
special regulations allow limited take of Utah prairie dogs on private 
land from June 1 through December 31, as permitted by UDWR (50 CFR 
17.40(g)). While this proposed rule places limits on the current 
special rule, the proposed changes are largely consistent with current 
UDWR permitting practices. Because this proposal largely 
institutionalizes current practices, there should be little or no 
increased costs associated with this proposed regulation compared to 
the past similar special rules that were in effect for the last several 
decades.
    In summary, we have considered whether the proposed rule would 
result in a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities. For the above reasons and based on currently available 
information, we certify that these amendments if promulgated would not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. Therefore, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not 
required.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 
et seq.), we make the following findings:
    a. If adopted, this proposal 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 [T]ribal 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. 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.''
    This proposed rule would not impose a legally binding duty on non-
Federal Government entities or private parties. Instead, this proposed 
amendment to the existing special rule proposes to establish take 
authorizations and limitations deemed necessary and advisable to 
provide for the conservation of the Utah prairie dog. Application of 
the provisions within this proposed rule, as limited by existing 
regulations and this proposed amendment, is optional.
    b. We do not believe that this rule would significantly or uniquely 
affect small governments. The State of Utah originally requested 
measures such as this proposed regulation to assist with reducing 
conflicts between Utah prairie dogs and local landowners on 
agricultural lands (49 FR 22331, May 29, 1984). In addition, the UDWR 
actively assists with implementation of the current special rule, and 
would do the same under this proposed regulation, through a permitting 
system. Thus, no intrusion on State policy or administration is 
expected; roles or responsibilities of Federal or State governments 
will not change; and fiscal capacity will not be substantially directly 
affected. The special rule operates to maintain the existing 
relationship between the States and the Federal Government. 
Furthermore, the proposed limitations on where permitted take can 
occur, the amount of take that can be permitted, and methods of take 
that can be permitted, are largely consistent with current UDWR 
practices. Therefore, the rule would not have a significant or unique 
effect on State, local, or Tribal governments or the private sector. A 
statement containing the information required by the Unfunded Mandates 
Reform Act is not required.

Takings

    This action is exempt from the requirements of E.O. 12630 
(Government Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected 
Private Property Rights). Specifically, according to section VI (D) (3) 
of the Attorney General's Guidelines for the Evaluation of Risk and 
Avoidance of Unanticipated Takings, regulations allowing the take of 
wildlife issued under the ESA are categorically exempt. This proposed 
amendment pertains to regulation of take (defined by the ESA as ``to 
harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or 
collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct'') deemed 
necessary and advisable to provide for the conservation of the Utah 
prairie dog. Thus, this exemption applies to this action.
    Regardless, we do not believe this action would pose significant 
takings implications. This rule will substantially advance a legitimate 
government interest (conservation and recovery of listed species). 
However, it will not deny property owners economically viable use of 
their land, and will not present a bar to all reasonable and expected 
beneficial use of private property. We believe the existing special 
regulation and the proposed amendments provide

[[Page 24922]]

substantial flexibility to our partners while still providing for the 
conservation of the Utah prairie dog. Should additional take provisions 
be required, an applicant has the option to develop a Habitat 
Conservation Plan and request an incidental take permit (see Section 
10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA). This approach would allow permit holders to 
proceed with an activity that is legal in all other respects, but that 
results in the ``incidental'' take of a listed species.
    We have concluded that this action would not result in any takings 
of private property. Should any takings implications associated with 
the proposed amendment be realized, they will likely be insignificant.

Federalism

    In accordance with E.O. 13132 (Federalism), this proposed rule 
would not have significant Federalism effects. A Federalism assessment 
is not required. In keeping with Department of the Interior and 
Department of Commerce policy, we requested information from, and 
coordinated development of this proposed amendment with, appropriate 
State resource agencies in Utah. The State of Utah originally requested 
measures such as this proposed regulation to assist with reducing 
conflicts between Utah prairie dogs and local landowners on 
agricultural lands (49 FR 22331, May 29, 1984). In addition, the UDWR 
actively assists with implementation of the current special rule, and 
would do the same under this proposed regulation, through a permitting 
system. Thus, no intrusion on State policy or administration is 
expected; roles or responsibilities of Federal or State governments 
will not change, and fiscal capacity will not be substantially directly 
affected. The special rule operates and, if amended, would continue to 
operate to maintain the existing relationship between the State and the 
Federal government. Therefore, this rule does not have significant 
Federalism effects or implications to warrant the preparation of a 
Federalism Assessment pursuant to the provisions of Executive Order 
13132.

Civil Justice Reform

    In accordance with E.O. 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 requirements of sections 3(a) and 
3(b)(2) of the Order. We have proposed this amendment to the existing 
special rule for the Utah prairie dog in accordance with the provisions 
of the ESA. Under section 4(d) of the ESA, the Secretary may extend to 
a threatened species those protections provided to an endangered 
species as deemed necessary and advisable to provide for the 
conservation of the species. The amendments proposed here satisfy this 
standard.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    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

    In 1983, upon recommendation of the Council on Environmental 
Quality, the Service determined that National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA) documents need not be prepared in connection with regulations 
adopted pursuant to section 4(a) of the ESA. The Service subsequently 
expanded this determination to section 4(d) rules. A section 4(d) rule 
provides the appropriate and necessary prohibitions and authorizations 
for a species that has been determined to be threatened under section 
4(a) of the ESA. It is our view that NEPA procedures unnecessarily 
overlay NEPA's own matrix upon the ESA section 4 decisionmaking 
process. For example, the opportunity for public comment--one of the 
goals of NEPA--is already provided through section 4 rulemaking 
procedures. This determination was upheld in Center for Biological 
Diversity v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, No. 04-04324 (N.D. Cal. 
2005).
    However, out of an abundance of caution, we developed a draft 
Environmental Assessment that is available for public inspection and 
comment. All appropriate NEPA documents will be finalized before this 
rule is finalized.

Clarity of This Proposed Rule

    We are required by Executive Orders 12866 and 12988 and by the 
Presidential Memorandum of June 1, 1998, to write all rules in plain 
language. This means that each rule we publish must:
    a. Be logically organized;
    b. Use the active voice to address readers directly;
    c. Use clear language rather than jargon;
    d. Be divided into short sections and sentences; and
    e. Use lists and tables wherever possible.
    If you feel that we have not met these requirements, send us 
comments by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. To 
better help us revise the rule, your comments should be as specific as 
possible. For example, you should tell us the numbers of the sections 
or paragraphs that are unclearly written, which sections or sentences 
are too long, and the sections where you feel lists or tables would be 
useful.

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), E.O. 13175, and the Department of the 
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. Therefore, we intend to coordinate 
with affected Tribes within the range of the Utah prairie dog. We will 
fully consider all of the comments on the proposed special regulations 
that are submitted by Tribes and Tribal members during the public 
comment period, and we will attempt to address those concerns, new 
data, and new information where appropriate.

Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use

    E.O. 13211, Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly 
Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use, requires agencies to 
prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. 
We do not expect this action 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.

[[Page 24923]]

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited in this rulemaking is 
available upon request from our Utah Ecological Services Field Office 
(see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section).

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 31906, June 2, 2011, as follows:

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, 100 Stat. 3500; unless otherwise noted.

    2. Amend Sec.  17.40 by revising paragraphs (g)(1), (g)(2), (g)(3) 
introductory text, (g)(3)(i)(A), (g)(3)(ii)(A), (g)(3)(iii), (g)(4), 
and (g)(5) and adding paragraphs (g)(3)(iv) and (g)(6), to read as 
follows:


Sec.  17.40  Special rules--mammals.

* * * * *
    (g) * * *
    (1) Except as noted in paragraphs (g)(2) through (6) of this 
section, all prohibitions of Sec.  17.31(a) and (b) and exemptions of 
Sec.  17.32 apply to the Utah prairie dog.
    (2) A Utah prairie dog may be directly or intentionally taken as 
described in paragraphs (g)(3) and ((4) of this section on agricultural 
lands, properties adjacent to conservation lands, and areas where 
prairie dogs create serious human safety hazards or disturb the 
sanctity of significant human cultural or human burial sites.
    (3) Agricultural lands and properties adjacent to conservation 
lands. When permitted by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, or 
other parties as authorized in writing by the Service, direct or 
intentional take is allowed on agricultural land and private property 
near conservation land. Records on permitted take will be maintained by 
the State and made available to the Service upon request.
    (i) * * *
    (A) Take may be permitted only on agricultural land being 
physically or economically affected by Utah prairie dogs, only when the 
spring count on the agricultural lands is seven or more individuals, 
and only during the period of June 15 to December 31.
* * * * *
    (ii) * * *
    (A) Take may be permitted on private properties near (within 0.8 km 
(0.5 mi)) of Utah prairie dog conservation land during the period of 
June 15 to December 31.
* * * * *
    (iii) Amount of permitted take on agricultural lands and private 
property near conservation land. (A) The Utah Division of Wildlife 
Resources, or other parties as authorized in writing by the Service, 
will ensure that permitted take on agricultural lands and properties 
within 0.8 km (0.5 mi) of conservation lands does not exceed 10 percent 
of the estimated rangewide population annually.
    (B) On agricultural lands, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, 
or other parties as authorized in writing by the Service, will limit 
permitted take to 7 percent of the estimated annual rangewide 
population and will limit within-colony take to one-half of a colony's 
estimated annual production. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, 
or other parties as authorized in writing by the Service, will 
spatially distribute the 7 percent allowed take on agricultural lands 
across the three Recovery Units, based on the distribution of the total 
annual population estimate within each Recovery Unit.
    (C) In setting take limits on properties near conservation lands, 
the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, or other parties as authorized 
in writing by the Service, will consider the amount of take that occurs 
on agricultural lands. The State will restrict the remaining permitted 
take (the amount that would bring the total take up to 10 percent of 
the estimated annual rangewide population) on properties neighboring 
conservation lands to animals in excess of the baseline population. The 
baseline population is determined in accordance with paragraph 
(g)(3)(iii)(D) of this section.
    (D) Take on properties within 0.8 km (0.5 mi) of conservation lands 
is restricted to prairie dogs in excess of the baseline population. The 
baseline population is the highest estimated total (summer) population 
size on that property during the 5 years prior to the establishment of 
the conservation property. The baseline population will be established 
by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, or other parties as 
authorized in writing by the Service.
    (E) Translocated Utah prairie dogs will count toward the take 
limits in paragraphs (g)(3)(iii)(A) through (D) of this section.
    (iv) Methods of allowed direct take on agricultural lands and 
private properties near conservation land. Methods for controlling Utah 
prairie dogs on agricultural lands and properties bordering 
conservation lands are limited to activities associated with 
translocation efforts by trained and permitted individuals complying 
with current Service-approved guidance, trapping intended for lethal 
removal, and shooting. Actions intended to drown or poison Utah prairie 
dogs and the use of gas cartridges, anticoagulants, and explosive 
devices are prohibited.
    (4) Human safety hazards and significant human cultural or burial 
sites. Direct or intentional take is allowed where Utah prairie dogs 
create serious human safety hazards or disturb the sanctity of 
significant human cultural or human burial sites, but only after all 
practicable measures to resolve the conflict are implemented, and only 
as approved in writing by the Service. A Utah Division of Wildlife 
Resources permit is not required to allow take under these conditions.
    (i) All practicable measures means, with respect to these 
situations:
    (A) Construction of prairie-dog-proof fence, above and below grade 
to specifications approved by the Service, around the area in which 
there is concern.
    (B) Translocation of Utah prairie dogs out of the area in which 
there is a concern. Lethal take is allowed only to remove prairie dogs 
that remain in these areas after the measures to fence and translocate 
are successfully carried out.
    (C) Continued maintenance or modification of the fence as needed to 
preclude Utah prairie dogs from entering the fenced sites.
    (ii) There are no restrictions on the amount, timing, or methods of 
lethal take allowed on lands where Utah prairie dogs create serious 
human safety hazards or disturb the sanctity of significant human 
cultural or human burial sites, as long as all qualifications in 
paragraphs (g)(4)(i)(A) through (C) of this section are met.
    (iii) The amount of take in areas where Utah prairie dogs create 
serious human safety hazards or disturb the sanctity of significant 
human cultural or human burial sites does not contribute to the upper 
permitted take limits described above for agricultural lands and 
private properties near conservation lands.
    (5) Incidental take. Utah prairie dogs may be taken when take is 
incidental to otherwise-legal activities associated with standard 
agricultural practices on

[[Page 24924]]

legitimately operating agricultural lands. Acceptable practices include 
plowing to depths that do not exceed 46 cm (18 in.), discing, 
harrowing, irrigating crops, mowing, harvesting, and bailing, as long 
as these activities are not intended to eradicate Utah prairie dogs. 
There is no numeric limit established for incidental take associated 
with standard agricultural practices. Incidental take is in addition 
to, and does not contribute to the take limits described in paragraphs 
(g)(2) through (4) of this section. A Utah Division of Wildlife 
Resources permit is not required for incidental take associated with 
agricultural practices.
    (6) If the Service receives evidence that take pursuant to 
paragraphs (g)(2) through (5) of this section is having an effect that 
is inconsistent with the conservation of the Utah prairie dog, the 
Service may immediately prohibit or restrict such take as appropriate 
for the conservation of the species.
* * * * *

    Dated: April 16, 2012.
Rachel Jacobson,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2012-9884 Filed 4-25-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P