[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 105 (Thursday, May 31, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 32075-32080]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-12867]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[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; availability of supplementary documents and 
announcement of public hearing.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the

[[Page 32076]]

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 also announce the 
availability of a draft economic analysis of the proposed designation 
and an amended required determinations section of the proposal. We are 
reopening the comment period to allow all interested parties an 
opportunity to comment simultaneously on the proposed rule, the 
associated draft economic analysis, and the amended required 
determinations section. 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 July 2, 2012. Comments must be received by 
11:59 p.m. Eastern 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 a.m., followed by a 
public hearing from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., on June 16, 2012, in Coolin, 
Idaho. Speaker registration will begin at 1 p.m. (see ADDRESSES).

ADDRESSES: 
    Document availability: You may obtain copies of the proposed rule 
and the draft economic analysis 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).
    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: 
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 Inn at Priest 
Lake, 5310 Dickensheet Highway, Coolin, Idaho 83821. 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, as soon as possible (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Kelly, State Supervisor, Idaho 
Fish and Wildlife Office, 1387 S. Vinnell Way, Room 368, Boise, ID 
83709; telephone 208-378-5243; facsimile 208-378-5262. Persons who use 
a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Public Comments

    We will accept written comments and information during this 
reopened comment period on our proposed 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), 
our draft economic analysis of the proposed designation, and the 
amended required determinations provided in this document. 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 information on any 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 which were occupied at the time of listing and 
contain the physical and biological features essential to the 
conservation of the species should be included in the designation and 
why.
    (c) What areas outside the geographical area occupied at the time 
of listing are essential for the conservation of the species and why.
    (d) Special management considerations or protections that may be 
required for the physical or biological features essential to the 
conservation of the southern Selkirk Mountains population of woodland 
caribou that have been identified in this proposal, including 
management for the potential effects of climate change.
    (3) Land use designations and current or planned activities in the 
subject areas and their possible impacts on the proposed critical 
habitat.
    (4) Any reasonably foreseeable economic, national security, or 
other relevant impacts of the proposed critical habitat 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) 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.
    (6) 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.
    (7) Information on the extent to which the description of economic 
impacts in the draft economic analysis is complete and accurate.
    (8) The likelihood of adverse social reactions to the designation 
of critical habitat, as discussed in the draft economic analysis, and 
how the consequences of such reactions, if likely to occur, would 
relate to the conservation and regulatory benefits of the proposed 
critical habitat designation.

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 held an informational 
session (a brief presentation about the proposed rule with a question-
and-answer period), and a public hearing on April 28, 2012, in Bonners 
Ferry, Idaho (77 FR 16512; March 21, 2012). With this notice, we are 
announcing an additional informational session and 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

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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 at the hearing. 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. On February 
28, 2012, and March 26, 2012, we participated in meetings with the 
Bonner County Idaho Commission, and on April 19, 2012, we participated 
in a meeting with the Boundary County Idaho Commission. All meetings 
were open to the public.
    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 
periods, comments from peer reviewers, comments and public testimony 
received during the public hearings, and all information we receive in 
response to the draft economic analysis. All public comments will be 
included in the public record for this rulemaking. On the basis of 
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 have incorporated them 
into the public record, and will fully consider them in the preparation 
of our final determination.
    You may submit your comments and materials concerning our proposed 
rule or draft economic analysis 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 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 the proposed rule and draft economic 
analysis, 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 and the draft economic analysis on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket Number FWS-R1-ES-2011-0096, or by mail 
from the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT).

Background

    It is our intent to discuss only those topics directly relevant to 
the designate of 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 critical habitat rule, 
as described below.

Previous Federal Actions

    On November 30, 2011 (76 FR 74108), we published a proposed rule to 
designate critical habitat for the southern Selkirk Mountains 
population of woodland caribou. We proposed to designate as critical 
habitat approximately 375,562 acres (ac) (151,985 hectares (ha)) in a 
single unit (with two subunits) in Boundary and Bonner counties in 
Idaho, and Pend Oreille County in Washington. That proposal had a 60-
day comment period, ending on January 30, 2012. On March 21, 2012 (77 
FR 16512), we reopened the comment period for an additional 60 days, 
and we conducted a public informational session and public hearing on 
April 28, 2012, in Bonners Ferry, Idaho, at the request of the Governor 
of Idaho and the Bonner County, Idaho, Commissioners.

Critical Habitat

    Section 3 of the Act defines critical habitat as the specific areas 
within the geographical area occupied by a species, at the time it is 
listed in accordance with the provisions of section 4 of the Act, on 
which are found those physical or biological features essential to the 
conservation of the species and which may require special management 
considerations or protection, and specific areas outside the 
geographical area occupied by a species at the time it is listed, upon 
a determination by the Secretary that such areas are essential for the 
conservation of the species. If the proposed rule is made final, 
section 7(a)(2) of the Act will prohibit destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat by any activity funded, authorized, or 
carried out by any Federal agency. Federal agencies proposing actions 
that may affect critical habitat must consult with us on the effects of 
their proposed actions pursuant to the requirements of section 7(a)(2) 
of the Act.

Consideration of Impacts Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act

    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act requires that we designate or revise 
critical habitat based upon the best scientific data available, and 
after taking into consideration the economic impact, the impact on 
national security, and any other relevant impact of specifying any 
particular area as critical habitat. The Secretary may exclude an area 
from critical habitat if he determines that the benefits of such 
exclusion outweigh the benefits of specifying such area as part of the 
critical habitat, unless he determines, based on the best scientific 
and commercial data available, that failure to designate such area will 
result in the extinction of the species concerned.
    When considering the benefits of inclusion for an area, we consider 
the additional regulatory benefits that area would receive from the 
protection from adverse modification or destruction as a result of 
actions with a Federal nexus (activities conducted, funded, permitted, 
or authorized by Federal agencies), the educational benefits of mapping 
areas containing essential features that aid in the recovery of the 
listed species, and any benefits that may result from designation due 
to State or Federal laws that may apply to critical habitat.
    When considering the benefits of exclusion, we consider, among 
other things, whether exclusion of a specific

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area is likely to result in conservation; the continuation, 
strengthening, or encouragement of partnerships; or implementation of a 
management plan. In the case of the southern Selkirk Mountains 
population of woodland caribou, the benefits of critical habitat 
include public awareness of the presence of the species and the 
importance of habitat protection, and, where a Federal nexus exists, 
increased habitat protection for the species due to protection from 
adverse modification or destruction of critical habitat. In practice, 
situations with a Federal nexus exist primarily on Federal lands or for 
projects undertaken by, or with the authorization or permission of, 
Federal agencies.
    We have not proposed to exclude any areas from critical habitat. 
However, the final decision on whether to exclude any areas will be 
based on the best available scientific and commercial data available, 
information obtained during the comment period concerning economic 
impacts, impacts to national security, or any other relevant impacts of 
the proposed designation. With regard to economic impacts, we have 
prepared a draft economic analysis concerning the proposed critical 
habitat designation, which is available for review and comment (see 
ADDRESSES).

Draft Economic Analysis

    The purpose of the draft economic analysis is to identify and 
analyze the reasonably foreseeable potential economic impacts 
associated with the proposed critical habitat designation for the 
southern Selkirk Mountains population of woodland caribou. The draft 
economic analysis describes the economic impacts of all potential 
conservation efforts for the species; some of these costs will likely 
be incurred regardless of whether we designate critical habitat. The 
economic impact of the proposed critical habitat designation is 
analyzed by comparing scenarios both ``with critical habitat'' and 
``without critical habitat.'' The ``without critical habitat'' scenario 
represents the baseline for the analysis, considering protections 
already in place for the species (e.g., under the Federal listing and 
other Federal or State regulations). The baseline, therefore, 
represents the costs incurred regardless of whether critical habitat is 
designated. The ``with critical habitat'' scenario describes the 
incremental impacts associated specifically with the designation of 
critical habitat for the species. In other words, these incremental 
impacts would not occur but for the designation. These incremental 
impacts produce the costs that we consider in the final designation of 
critical habitat when evaluating the benefits of excluding particular 
areas under section 4(b)(2) of the Act. The analysis looks 
retrospectively at baseline impacts incurred since the species was 
listed, and forecasts incremental impacts likely to occur if we 
finalize the proposed critical habitat designation.
    As described above, the draft economic analysis separates 
conservation measures into two distinct categories according to 
``without critical habitat'' and ``with critical habitat'' scenarios. 
Conservation measures implemented under the baseline (without critical 
habitat) scenario are described qualitatively within the draft economic 
analysis, but economic impacts associated with these measures are not 
quantified. Economic impacts are only quantified for conservation 
measures implemented specifically due to the designation of critical 
habitat (i.e., incremental impacts). For a further description of the 
methodology of the analysis, see Chapter 2, ``Framework for the 
Analysis,'' of the draft economic analysis.
    The draft economic analysis provides estimated costs of the 
foreseeable potential economic impacts of the proposed critical habitat 
designation for the southern Selkirk Mountains population of woodland 
caribou over the next 20 years, from 2012 through 2031. We determined 
that this 20-year timeframe was the appropriate period for analysis 
because the availability of land-use planning information becomes very 
limited for most activities beyond that timeframe. The draft economic 
analysis identifies potential incremental costs as a result of the 
proposed critical habitat designation; these are those costs attributed 
to critical habitat over and above those baseline costs attributed to 
listing and other regulatory protections. The draft economic analysis 
quantifies economic impacts of the southern Selkirk Mountains 
population of woodland caribou conservation efforts associated with the 
following categories of activity: (1) Timber harvest; (2) fire, fire 
suppression, and forest management practices; (3) transportation and 
electricity projects; (4) mining; and (5) recreational activities.
    The primary long-term threat to the southern Selkirk Mountains 
population of woodland caribou is the ongoing loss and fragmentation of 
contiguous old growth forests and forest habitats due to a combination 
of timber harvest, wildfires, and human activities that involve road 
development. The effects to woodland caribou associated with habitat 
loss and fragmentation are: (1) Reduction of the amount of space 
available for caribou, limiting the ecological carrying capacity; (2) 
reduction of the arboreal lichen supply, which is the caribou's key 
winter food source; (3) potential impacts to caribou movement patterns; 
(4) potential effects to the caribou's use of remaining fragmented 
habitat because suitable habitat parcels will be smaller and 
discontinuous; and (5) increased susceptibility of caribou to predation 
as available habitat is compressed and fragmented (Stevenson et al. 
2001, p. 10; MCTAC 2002, pp. 20-22; Cichowski et al. 2004, pp. 10, 19-
20; Apps and McLellan 2006, pp. 92-93; Wittmer et al. 2007, pp. 576-
577).
    Approximately 79 percent of the proposed critical habitat area is 
on Federal land, most of which is managed by the U.S. Forest Service 
(USFS). The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages 231 ac (93 ha) of 
the proposed critical habitat as a wilderness study area and for 
grizzly bear conservation, and approximately 294,716 ac, (119,065 ha) 
are managed by the USFS. National Forest lands involved in the proposed 
designation include the Idaho Panhandle National Forests (IPNF) in 
Idaho and Washington, and Colville National Forest (CNF) in Washington. 
Land and resource management plans (LRMPs) for the IPNF and CNF have 
been revised to incorporate management objectives and standards to 
address the above identified threats to the southern Selkirk Mountains 
population of woodland caribou, as a result of section 7 consultation 
between the Service and USFS (USFWS 2001a, b). Standards for management 
of habitat for the southern Selkirk Mountains population of woodland 
caribou were incorporated into the IPNF's 1987 and CNF's 1988 LRMP, to 
avoid the likelihood of jeopardizing the continued existence of the 
species, to contribute to caribou conservation, and to ensure 
consideration of the biological needs of the species during forest 
management planning and implementation actions (USFS 1987, pp. II-6, 
II-27, Appendix N; USFS 1988, pp. 4-10--4-17, 4-38, 4-42, 4-73--4-76, 
Appendix I). A review of our section 7 consultation records with the 
USFS indicates that no project modifications have been required to 
date, because the activities were either not within habitat for the 
southern Selkirk Mountains population of woodland caribou, or 
conservation measures were already incorporated into project designs to 
avoid impacts to the species or its habitat.
    Of the remaining 21 percent of the proposed critical habitat 
designation, 17 percent (65,218 ac, 26,393 ha) is State

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land, and 4 percent (15,379 ac, 6,225 ha) covers privately owned lands. 
The draft economic analysis concludes that critical habitat designation 
may affect timber harvest on private lands if Federal permits to use 
USFS roads are required, but estimates few additional costs associated 
with the implementation of other activities within the proposed 
critical habitat area. We believe activities on State or private lands 
are unlikely to have a Federal nexus or be subject to section 7 
consultation, based on a review of our consultation records to date. 
However, the draft economic analysis includes a highly conservative 
estimate of potential administrative costs related to section 7 
consultation on non-Federal lands, by assuming that almost all 
activities on non-Federal land would have a Federal nexus, and those 
lands would be subject to timber harvest over the next 20 years. The 
draft economic analysis, therefore, presents a worst-case scenario with 
regard to economic impacts to non-Federal lands. However, there is no 
information available to the Service that would indicate either of the 
above presumptions is reasonably foreseeable, and those estimates are 
included solely to provide additional perspective to reviewers 
regarding the potential economic impacts of the proposed critical 
habitat designation.
    Due to the extensive existing baseline protections for caribou and 
other listed species (grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis), Canada 
lynx (Lynx canadensis), and bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus)), the 
incremental impacts of critical habitat designation would be limited to 
Federal agency (primarily USFS) administrative costs of considering 
adverse modification during section 7 consultation with the Service 
(about 19 percent of total forecast costs) as well as incremental costs 
for timber harvesting on private lands, including time delays in 
harvesting (about 81 percent of total forecast costs). For small 
entities (private land owners, which comprise approximately 10 percent 
of the private land in the area proposed for designation), the draft 
economic analysis estimates incremental impacts to be $30,300 annually, 
or $343,000 over a 20-year period based on the present value discounted 
at seven percent. This estimated cost would be associated with 
potential reductions in timber harvest due to time delays affecting 
privately owned forest land controlled by small entities, if they were 
to occur. However, we have no available information which would 
indicate delays are probable or reasonably foreseeable. Forest Capital 
Partners, LLC, which owns 90 percent of the private land within the 
area proposed for designation, is not considered a small entity. The 
total incremental costs (including Federal, State, and private lands) 
are estimated to be $132,000 annually, or $1.5 million over a 20-year 
period, based on the present value discounted at seven percent.
    The proposed critical habitat designation is unlikely to generate 
economic impacts beyond administrative costs of section 7 consultation 
associated with the adverse modification analysis. Further, project 
proponents and land managers are aware of the species' presence 
throughout its range, and the need to consult with the Service for 
projects that have a Federal nexus that may affect the species. In 
conclusion, we have no information that would indicate the proposed 
designation of critical habitat for the southern Selkirk Mountains 
population of woodland caribou would change the outcome of future 
section 7 consultations. Any conservation measures implemented to 
minimize impacts to the species would very likely be sufficient to also 
minimize impacts to critical habitat. Therefore, we do not believe any 
additional conservation measures would be needed solely to minimize 
impacts to critical habitat.
    We are soliciting data and comments from the public on the draft 
economic analysis, as well as all aspects of the proposed rule and our 
amended required determinations. We may revise the proposed rule or 
supporting documents to incorporate or address information we receive 
during the public comment period. In particular, we may exclude an area 
from critical habitat if we determine that the benefits of excluding 
the area outweigh the benefits of including the area, provided the 
exclusion will not result in the extinction of the species.

Required Determinations--Amended

    In our November 30, 2011, proposed rule (76 FR 74018), we indicated 
that we would defer our determination of compliance with several 
statutes and executive orders until the information concerning 
potential economic impacts of the designation and potential effects on 
landowners and stakeholders became available in the draft economic 
analysis. We have now made use of the draft economic analysis data to 
make these determinations. In this document, we affirm the information 
in our proposed rule concerning Executive Order (E.O.) 12866 
(Regulatory Planning and Review), E.O. 12630 (Takings), E.O. 13132 
(Federalism), E.O. 12988 (Civil Justice Reform), E.O. 13211 (Energy, 
Supply, Distribution, and Use), the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 
U.S.C. 1501 et seq.), the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 
3501 et seq.), the National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et 
seq.), and the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, ``Government-
to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments'' (59 
FR 22951). However, based on the draft economic analysis data, we are 
amending our required determination concerning the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.).

Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.)

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA; 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), 
as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act 
(SBREFA; 5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), whenever an agency is required to 
publish 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 effect of the rule on small entities (i.e., 
small businesses, small organizations, and small government 
jurisdictions). However, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required 
if the head of an agency certifies the rule will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The SBREFA 
amended the RFA to require Federal agencies to provide a certification 
statement describing the factual basis for certifying that the rule 
will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities. Based on comments we receive, we may revise this 
determination as part of our final rulemaking.
    According to the Small Business Administration, small entities 
include small organizations, such as independent nonprofit 
organizations; small governmental jurisdictions, including school 
boards and city and town governments that serve fewer than 50,000 
residents; and small businesses (13 CFR 121.201). For example, small 
businesses include manufacturing and mining concerns with fewer than 
500 employees, wholesale trade entities with fewer than 100 employees, 
retail and service businesses with less than $5 million in annual 
sales, general and heavy construction businesses with less than $27.5 
million in annual business, special trade contractors doing less than 
$11.5 million in annual business, and agricultural businesses with 
annual sales less than $750,000. To determine if potential economic 
impacts to these small entities are significant, we considered the 
types of activities that

[[Page 32080]]

might trigger regulatory impacts under this designation as well as 
types of project modifications that may result. In general, the term 
``significant economic impact'' is meant to apply to a typical small 
business firm's business operations.
    To determine if the proposed designation of critical habitat for 
the southern Selkirk Mountains population of woodland caribou would 
affect a substantial number of small entities, we considered the number 
of small entities affected within particular types of economic 
activities, such as timber companies. In order to determine whether it 
is appropriate for our agency to certify that this rule would not have 
a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities, we considered each industry or category individually. We also 
considered whether their activities have any Federal involvement. 
Critical habitat designation will not affect activities that do not 
have any Federal involvement; designation of critical habitat only 
affects activities conducted, funded, permitted, or authorized by 
Federal agencies. In areas where the southern Selkirk Mountains 
population of woodland caribou is present, Federal agencies already are 
required to consult with us under section 7 of the Act on activities 
they fund, permit, or implement that may affect the species. If we 
finalize this proposed critical habitat designation, consultations to 
avoid the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat would 
be incorporated into the existing consultation process.
    In the draft economic analysis, we evaluated the potential economic 
effects on small entities resulting from implementation of conservation 
actions related to the proposed designation of critical habitat for the 
southern Selkirk Mountains population of woodland caribou. As estimated 
in Chapter 4 of the draft economic analysis, incremental impacts of the 
proposed designation are limited to additional administrative costs of 
considering adverse modification during section 7 consultation with the 
Service, as well as incremental costs associated with timber harvesting 
and permitting delays on private land. Approximately 17 percent of the 
total estimated incremental costs are projected to be borne by Federal 
agencies, and approximately 83 percent are projected to be incurred by 
private entities. Small entities may participate in section 7 
consultation as a third party (the primary consulting parties being the 
Service and the Federal action agency); therefore, it is possible that 
small entities may spend additional time considering critical habitat 
during section 7 consultation for the southern Selkirk Mountains 
population of woodland caribou. Some of the forecast consultations for 
the southern Selkirk Mountains population of woodland caribou may 
involve third parties, such as timber companies and private land owners 
who may want to harvest timber on their land. The maximum annualized 
incremental impact to third parties is anticipated to total $107,000, 
based on a 7 percent discount rate; such costs are expected to be 
distributed between multiple third parties. The number of landowners is 
not known, therefore, we are unable to determine the incremental costs 
per entity. However, even if all incremental costs were borne by one 
small timber tract operations entity, which is unlikely, the entity 
would experience a 0.86 percent annual loss in revenue. This estimate 
is based on an average revenue for small timber tract operations 
companies of $3.53 million. Small entities are consequently anticipated 
to bear a relatively low cost impact as a result of the designation of 
critical habitat for the southern Selkirk Mountains population of 
woodland caribou. We do not believe this designation will have a 
significant impact on these small entities or affect a substantial 
number of them. Please refer to Appendix A of the draft economic 
analysis of the proposed critical habitat designation for a more 
detailed discussion of potential economic impacts.
    In summary, we have considered whether the proposed designation 
would result in a significant economic impact on a substantial number 
of small entities. Information for this analysis was gathered from the 
Small Business Administration, stakeholders, and the Service. For the 
above reasons and based on currently available information, we certify 
that, if promulgated, the proposed designation would not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small business 
entities. Therefore, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not 
required.
    A complete list of references cited in this rule is available on 
the internet at http://www.regulations.gov and upon request from the 
Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office (See FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, 
above).

Authors

    The primary authors of this notice are the staff members of the 
Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office, Pacific Region, 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: May 14, 2012.
Rachel Jacobson,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2012-12867 Filed 5-30-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P