[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 157 (Wednesday, August 14, 2013)]
[Pages 49445-49446]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-19831]



Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

[Docket No. APHIS-2013-0056]

Wildlife Services Policy on Wildlife Damage Management in Urban 

AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: We are advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health 
Inspection Service's Wildlife Services (APHIS-WS) program is making a 
policy decision on how to define ``urban rodent control,'' as referred 
to in the Act of December 22, 1987. This action is necessary to make it 
clearer when APHIS-WS may or may not conduct activities and enter into 
agreements in order to control nuisance rodent species or those rodent 
species that are reservoirs for zoonotic diseases.

Administrator, Wildlife Services, APHIS, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., 
Washington, DC, 20250; 202-799-7095.



    Wildlife is a publicly owned natural resource in the United States, 
and State and Federal wildlife agencies have an affirmative duty and 
responsibility to administer, protect, manage and conserve fish and 
wildlife. The mission of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection 
Service's Wildlife Services (APHIS-WS) program is to provide Federal 
leadership in managing problems caused by wildlife. This includes 
determining and implementing both research of and methods for 
controlling animal species that are injurious to agriculture, 
horticulture, forestry, animal husbandry, endangered and threatened 
species, other natural

[[Page 49446]]

resources, property, and that create a risk to human health and safety. 
To this end, APHIS-WS cooperates with Federal agencies, State and local 
governments, and private individuals to research and implement the best 
methods of managing conflicts between wildlife and human health and 
safety, agriculture, property, and natural resources.
    Under the Act of December 22, 1987 (7 U.S.C. 426c), APHIS-WS is 
authorized, except for urban rodent control, to conduct activities and 
enter into agreements to control nuisance bird and mammal species or 
those bird and mammal species that are reservoirs of zoonotic diseases. 
While the Act makes an exception for urban rodent control, it does not 
define the term. This has led to confusion about when APHIS-WS may 
provide wildlife damage control assistance and has created an overlap 
in services with private sector pest control companies in urban and 
suburban areas.
    The term ``rodent'' refers to the group of mammals that includes 
rats, mice, chipmunks, squirrels, porcupines, and groundhogs, among 
other species. Therefore, to maximize Federal resources and reduce 
duplication of services, we are considering ``urban rodent control,'' 
for the purposes of activities authorized by the Act of December 22, 
1987, to mean actions to directly control mice, rats, voles, squirrels, 
chipmunks, gophers, and woodchucks/groundhogs in a city or town with a 
population greater than 50,000 inhabitants, as well as the urbanized 
area contiguous and adjacent to such a city or town.
    There are some categories of actions for which APHIS will continue 
to consider requests for operational assistance. Specifically, actions 
involving Federal agencies; government entities engaged in a 
cooperative service agreement with APHIS to provide direct control of 
rodents as of October 1, 2013; a State in which direct control of the 
rodent species has been expressly authorized by State law, rulemaking, 
or a local jurisdiction's ordinance promulgated by public notice and an 
opportunity for public comment or as otherwise promulgated as required 
and authorized by the respective State or local law; and railways and 
airport air sides areas are excluded from this definition. Otherwise, 
APHIS will refer all requests for operational assistance with urban 
rodent control from private entities such as home and business owners 
and associations to private sector pest control companies.

    Done in Washington, DC, this 12th day of 2013.
Kevin Shea,
Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-19831 Filed 8-13-13; 8:45 am]