[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 211 (Tuesday, November 1, 2016)]
[Pages 75837-75838]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-26330]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R4-ES-2016-N152]; [FXES11130400000C2-167-FF04E00000]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Technical/Agency 
Draft Recovery Plan for the Chucky Madtom

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability and request for public comment.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of the technical/agency draft recovery plan for the 
endangered chucky madtom, a fish. The draft recovery plan includes 
specific recovery objectives and criteria that must be met in order for 
us to reclassify this species to threatened status under the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We request review and comment on 
this draft recovery plan from local, State, and Federal agencies, and 
the public.

DATES: In order to be considered, comments on the draft recovery plan 
must be received on or before January 3, 2017.

ADDRESSES: Reviewing documents: If you wish to review this technical/
agency draft recovery plan, you may obtain a copy by contacting Mary E. 
Jennings, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Tennessee 
Ecological Services Field Office, 446 Neal Street, Cookeville, TN 
38501; tel. 931-528-6481; or by visiting the Service's Tennessee Field 
Office Web site at http://www.fws.gov/cookeville.
    Submitting comments: If you wish to comment, you may submit your 
comments by one of the following methods:
    1. You may submit written comments and materials to us, at the 
above address.
    2. You may hand-deliver written comments to our Tennessee Field 
Office, at the above address, or fax them to 931-528-7075.
    3. You may send comments by email to [email protected]. 
Please include ``Chucky Madtom Draft Recovery Plan Comments'' on the 
subject line.
    For additional information about submitting comments, see the 
``Request for Public Comments'' section below.




    We listed the chucky madtom (Noturus crypticus; a small fish) as 
endangered under the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) on August 9, 2011 (76 
FR 48722). The chucky madtom grows to 2.9 inches (7.4 centimeters) 
total length and is endemic to the upper Tennessee River system in 
Tennessee. This fish is historically known from two creek systems, but 
only currently persists in Little Chucky Creek where only 14 
individuals have ever been collected. All 14 have been collected at 
this site since 1991; however, none have been captured since 2004.
    Chucky madtoms are currently known from a single tributary to the 
Nolichucky River in stream sections 5 to 7 meters (16 to 23 feet) wide 
in riffle and swim through streams lined by water willow (Justicia 
americana) beds with slow-to-moderate current over pea-sized gravel, 
cobble, or slab-rock substrates. In addition to habitat degradation, 
threats to the species include extreme curtailment of habitat and 
range, small population size and low numbers, inability to offset 
mortality with natural reproduction and recruitment, and their 
resulting vulnerability to natural or human induced catastrophic events 
(e.g., droughts, pollution spills, etc.). Surviving populations are 
threatened by water quality and habitat deterioration. Another 
potential threat is introduced crayfishes (Orconectes sp.), which are 
thought to compete with chucky madtoms for access to the little habitat 
that is available in Little Chucky Creek.
    Approximately 20 river miles (32 river kilometers) of stream 
channels in Little Chucky Creek, Greene County, Tennessee, have been 
designated as critical habitat for the chucky madtom (77 FR 63604). 
This fish has a recovery priority number of 5 which indicates the 
species faces a high degree of threat, but has a low recovery 
    Restoring an endangered or threatened animal or plant to the point 
where it is again a secure, self-sustaining member of its ecosystem is 
a primary goal of our endangered species program. To help guide the 
recovery effort, we prepare recovery plans for most listed species. 
Recovery plans describe actions considered necessary for conservation 
of the species, establish criteria for downlisting or delisting, and

[[Page 75838]]

estimate time and cost for implementing recovery measures.
    The Act requires the development of recovery plans for listed 
species, unless such a plan would not promote the conservation of a 
particular species. Section 4(f) of the Act requires us to provide 
public notice and an opportunity for public review and comment during 
recovery plan development. We will consider all information presented 
during a public comment period prior to approval of each new or revised 
recovery plan. We and other Federal agencies will take these comments 
into account in the course of implementing approved recovery plans.

Recovery Plan Components

    The recovery objectives are to work to reduce threats in order to 
downlist the chucky madtom to threatened status. Defining reasonable 
delisting criteria is not possible at this time given the current low 
number of individuals, extreme curtailment of the species' range, 
extensive modification and fragment of habitat with the species' 
historical range, lack of information about the species' biology, and 
magnitude of other existing threats. Therefore, this recovery plan 
establishes only downlisting criteria for this catfish. Criteria will 
be reevaluated as new information becomes available.
    Downlisting of chucky madtom will be considered when:
    1. Suitable instream and riparian habitat, flows, and water quality 
for chucky madtom as defined by the best available science (to be 
refined by recovery actions), exist in occupied streams (addresses 
Factor A).
    2. Population studies show that a viable chucky madtom population 
in Little Chucky Creek and at least 1 other stream (Dunn Creek, Jackson 
Branch; e.g., the only known stream representing the historical range 
of the species) are naturally recruiting (consisting of two year 
classes in the fall months) and sustainable over a period of 20-30 
years (10 generations) (addresses Factors A, C, and E).

Request for Public Comments

    We request written comments on the draft recovery plan. We will 
consider all comments we receive by the date specified in DATES prior 
to final approval of the plan.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, email address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.


    The authority for this action is section 4(f) of the Endangered 
Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(f).

    Dated: September 6, 2016.
Mike Oetker,
Acting Regional Director, Southeast Region.
[FR Doc. 2016-26330 Filed 10-31-16; 8:45 am]