[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 65 (Tuesday, April 6, 2010)]
[Pages 17377-17378]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-7766]



National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XV19

Endangered and Threatened Species; Initiation of 5-Year Review 
for Southern Resident Killer Whales

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of initiation of 5-year review; request for information.


SUMMARY: NMFS announces a 5-year review of Southern Resident killer 
whales (Orcinus orca) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended (ESA). A 5-year review is a periodic process conducted to 
ensure that the listing classification of a species is accurate. A 5-
year review is based on the best scientific and commercial data 
available at the time of the review; therefore, we are requesting 
submission of any such information on Southern Resident killer whales 
that has become available since their original listing as endangered in 
November 2005. Based on the results of this 5-year review, we will make 
the requisite finding under the ESA.

DATES: To allow us adequate time to conduct this review, we must 
receive your information no later than July 6, 2010. However, we will 
continue to accept new information about any listed species at any 

ADDRESSES: Please submit information on Southern Resident killer whales 
to Lynne Barre, NMFS Northwest Region, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, Seattle, 
WA 98115. Information may also be submitted via email to 
[email protected]. Information received in response to this notice 
will be available for public inspection by appointment, during normal 
business hours, at the above address. We will consider all comments and 
information received during the comment period in preparing a 5-year 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lynne Barre, Northwest Regional 
Office, 206-526-4745; or Susan Pultz, Office of Protected Resources, 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under the ESA, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service maintains a list of endangered and threatened wildlife and 
plant species at 50 CFR 17.11 (for animals) and 17.12 (for plants). 
Section 4(c)(2)(A) of the ESA requires that we conduct a review of 
listed species at least once every five years. On the basis of such 
reviews under section 4(c)(2)(B), we determine whether or not any 
species should be removed from the List (delisted), or reclassified 
from endangered to threatened or from threatened to endangered. 
Delisting a species must be supported by the best scientific and 
commercial data available and only considered if such data 
substantiates that the species is neither endangered nor threatened for 
one or more of the following reasons: (1) the species is considered 
extinct; (2) the species is considered to be recovered; and/or (3) the 
original data available when the species was listed, or the 
interpretation of such data, were in error. Any change in Federal 
classification would require a separate rulemaking process. The 
regulations in 50 CFR 424.21 require that we publish a notice in the 
Federal Register announcing those species currently under active 
review. This notice announces our active review of the Southern 
Resident killer whale distinct population segment (DPS) currently 
listed as endangered (70 FR 69903; November 18, 2005).
    Background information on Southern Resident killer whales including 
the endangered listing, critical habitat designation, recovery planning 

[[Page 17378]]

protective regulations is available on the NMFS Northwest Region Web 
site at http://www.nwr.noaa.gov/. Critical habitat was designated in 
November 2006 (71 FR 69054) and includes 2,560 square miles (6,630 sq 
km) of marine habitat in Haro Strait and waters around the San Juan 
Islands, Puget Sound, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The final 
Recovery Plan was released in January 2008 (73 FR 4176), and contains 
detailed information on status, threats and recovery actions for 
Southern Residents, including updates since the ESA listing in 2005. 
Proposed regulations to protect Southern Resident killer whales from 
vessel effects were released in July 2009 (74 FR 37674).

Determining if a Species is Threatened or Endangered

    Section 4(a)(1) of the ESA requires that we determine whether a 
species is endangered or threatened based on one or more of the five 
following factors: (1) The present or threatened destruction, 
modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (2) 
overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes; (3) disease or predation; (4) the inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms; or (5) other natural or manmade factors 
affecting its continued existence. Section 4(b) also requires that our 
determination be made on the basis of the best scientific and 
commercial data available after taking into account those efforts, if 
any, being made by any State or foreign nation, to protect such 

Public Solicitation of New Information

    To ensure that the 5-year review is complete and based on the best 
available scientific and commercial information, we are soliciting new 
information from the public, governmental agencies, Tribes, the 
scientific community, industry, environmental entities, and any other 
interested parties concerning the status of Southern Resident killer 
whales. The 5-year review considers the best scientific and commercial 
data and all new information that has become available since the 
listing determination or most recent status review. Categories of 
requested information include: (1) species biology including, but not 
limited to, population trends, distribution, abundance, demographics, 
and genetics; (2) habitat conditions including, but not limited to, 
amount, distribution, and suitability; (3) conservation measures that 
have been implemented that benefit the species; (4) status and trends 
of threats; and (5) other new information, data, or corrections 
including, but not limited to, taxonomic or nomenclatural changes, 
identification of erroneous information contained in the List, and 
improved analytical methods.
    Any new information will be considered during the 5-year review and 
will also be useful in evaluating the ongoing recovery program for 
Southern Resident killer whales. For example, information on 
conservation measures will assist in tracking implementation of 
recovery actions. Habitat information received during the 5-year review 
process will also be useful in any future consideration of amending the 
designated critical habitat for Southern Resident killer whales. At the 
time critical habitat was designated (71 FR 69054; November 26, 2006), 
we concluded there was insufficient data to identify specific areas in 
offshore waters in which essential habitat features are found and 
stated we would consider any new information on coastal and offshore 
habitats that becomes available.
    If you wish to provide information for this 5-year review, you may 
submit your information and materials to Lynne Barre (see ADDRESSES 
section). Our practice is to make submissions of information, including 
names and home addresses of respondents, available for public review on 
the Northwest Regional Web page and in our office during regular 
business hours. Respondents may request that we withhold a respondent's 
identity, as allowable by law. If you wish us to withhold your name or 
address, you must state this request prominently at the beginning of 
your submission. We will not, however, consider anonymous submissions. 
To the extent consistent with applicable law, we will make all 
submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals 
identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations 
or businesses, available for public inspection in their entirety. 
Information and materials received will be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours (see ADDRESSES 

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.

    Dated: March 30, 2010.
Angela Somma,
Chief, Endangered Species Division, Office of Protected Resources, 
National Marine Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2010-7766 Filed 4-5-10; 8:45 am]