[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 230 (Wednesday, November 30, 2016)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 86315-86318]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-28513]



[[Page 86315]]

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[4500030115]


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Findings on 
Three Petitions

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of petition findings and initiation of status reviews.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce 90-
day findings on three petitions to list or reclassify wildlife or 
plants under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). 
Based on our review, we find that one petition does not present 
substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the 
petitioned action may be warranted, and we are not initiating a status 
review in response to this petition. We refer to this as the ``not-
substantial'' petition finding. We also find that two petitions present 
substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the 
petitioned actions may be warranted. Therefore, with the publication of 
this document, we announce that we plan to initiate a review of the 
status of these species to determine if the petitioned actions are 
warranted. To ensure that these status reviews are comprehensive, we 
are requesting scientific and commercial data and other information 
regarding these species. Based on the status reviews, we will issue 12-
month findings on the petitions, which will address whether the 
petitioned action is warranted, as provided in section 4(b)(3)(B) of 
the Act.

DATES: When we conduct status reviews, we will consider all information 
that we have received. To ensure that we will have adequate time to 
consider submitted information during the status reviews, we request 
that we receive information no later than January 30, 2017. For 
information submitted electronically using the Federal eRulemaking 
Portal (see ADDRESSES, below), this means submitting the information 
electronically by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on that date.

ADDRESSES: Not-substantial petition finding: A summary of the basis for 
the not-substantial petition finding contained in this document is 
available on http://www.regulations.gov under the appropriate docket 
number (see Table 1 under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION), or on the 
Service's Web site at http://ecos.fws.gov. Supporting information in 
preparing this finding is available for public inspection, by 
appointment, during normal business hours by contacting the appropriate 
person, as specified in Table 3 under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. If you 
have new information concerning the status of, or threats to, this 
species or its habitat, please submit that information to the person 
listed in Table 3 under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.
    Status reviews: You may submit information on species for which a 
status review is being initiated by one of the following methods:
    (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter the appropriate docket 
number (see Table 2 under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION). Then, click on 
the Search button. After finding the correct document, you may submit 
information by clicking on ``Comment Now!'' If your information will 
fit in the provided comment box, please use this feature of http://www.regulations.gov, as it is most compatible with our information 
review procedures. If you attach your information as a separate 
document, our preferred file format is Microsoft Word. If you attach 
multiple comments (such as form letters), our preferred format is a 
spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel.
    (2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public 
Comments Processing, Attn: [Insert appropriate docket number; see Table 
2 under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION]; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: 
BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike; Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.
    We request that you send information only by the methods described 
above. We will post all information we receive on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any 
personal information you provide us (see Request for Information for 
Status Reviews, below, for more information).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: See Table 3 under SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION for specific people to contact for each species.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Not-Substantial Finding

    The not-substantial petition finding contained in this document is 
listed in Table 1 below, and a summary of the basis for the finding, 
along with supporting information, are available on http://www.regulations.gov under the appropriate docket number, or on the 
Service's Web site at http://ecos.fws.gov.

                                        Table 1--Not-Substantial Finding
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                                                                                      URL to Docket on http://
              Common name                               Docket No.                      www.regulations.gov
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Tetraneuris verdiensis (Verde four-     FWS-R2-ES-2016-0132                        http://www.regulations.gov/
 nerve daisy).                                                                      #!docketDetail;D=FWS-R2-ES-
                                                                                    2016-0132.
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Substantial Findings

List of Substantial Findings

    The list of substantial findings contained in this document is 
given below in Table 2, and the basis for the findings, along with 
supporting information, are available on http://www.regulations.gov 
under the appropriate docket number, or on the Service's Web site at 
http://ecos.fws.gov.

               Table 2--List of Substantial Findings for Which a Status Review Is Being Initiated
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                                                                                      URL to Docket on http://
              Common name                               Docket No.                      www.regulations.gov
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Leopard...............................  FWS-HQ-ES-2016-0131                        http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FWS-HQ-ES-
                                                                                    2016-0131.
Lesser prairie-chicken................  FWS-R2-ES-2016-0133                        http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=FWS-R2-ES-
                                                                                    2016-0133.
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[[Page 86316]]

Request for Information for Status Reviews

    When we make a finding that a petition presents substantial 
information indicating that listing, reclassification, or delisting a 
species may be warranted, we are required to review the status of the 
species (status review). For the status review to be complete and based 
on the best available scientific and commercial information, we request 
information on these species from governmental agencies, Native 
American Tribes, the scientific community, industry, and any other 
interested parties. We seek information on:
    (1) The species' biology, range, and population trends, including:
    (a) Habitat requirements;
    (b) Genetics and taxonomy;
    (c) Historical and current range, including distribution patterns; 
and
    (d) Historical and current population levels, and current and 
projected trends.
    (2) The five factors that are the basis for making a listing, 
reclassification, or delisting determination for a species under 
section 4(a) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), including past and 
ongoing conservation measures that could decrease the extent to which 
one or more of the factors affect the species, its habitat, or both. 
The five factors are:
    (a) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of its habitat or range (Factor A);
    (b) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes (Factor B);
    (c) Disease or predation (Factor C);
    (d) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms (Factor D); or
    (e) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued 
existence (Factor E).
    (3) The potential effects of climate change on the species and its 
habitat, and the extent to which it affects the habitat or range of the 
species.
    If, after the status review, we determine that listing is 
warranted, we will propose critical habitat (see definition at section 
3(5)(A) of the Act) for domestic (U.S.) species under section 4 of the 
Act, to the maximum extent prudent and determinable at the time we 
propose to list the species. Therefore, we also request data and 
information (submitted as provided for in ADDRESSES, above) for the 
species listed in Table 2 on:
    (1) What may constitute ``physical or biological features essential 
to the conservation of the species,'' within the geographical range 
occupied by the species;
    (2) Where these features are currently found;
    (3) Whether or not any of these features may require special 
management considerations or protection;
    (4) Specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the 
species that are ``essential for the conservation of the species''; and
    (5) What, if any, critical habitat you think we should propose for 
designation if the species is proposed for listing, and why such 
habitat falls within the definition of ``critical habitat'' at section 
3(5) of the Act.
    Please include sufficient information with your submission (such as 
scientific journal articles or other publications) to allow us to 
verify any scientific or commercial information you include.
    Submissions merely stating support for or opposition to the actions 
under consideration without providing supporting information, although 
noted, will not be considered in making a determination. Section 
4(b)(1)(A) of the Act directs that determinations as to whether any 
species is an endangered or threatened species must be made ``solely on 
the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available.''
    You may submit your information concerning these status reviews by 
one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. If you submit information via 
http://www.regulations.gov, your entire submission--including any 
personal identifying information--will be posted on the Web site. If 
you submit a hardcopy that includes personal identifying information, 
you may request at the top of your document that we withhold this 
personal identifying information from public review. However, we cannot 
guarantee that we will be able to do so. We will post all hardcopy 
submissions on http://www.regulations.gov.

Contacts

    Contact information is provided below in Table 3 for both 
substantial and not-substantial findings.

                            Table 3--Contacts
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                Common name                        Contact person
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Leopard...................................  Janine VanNorman, 703-358-
                                             2370;
                                             [email protected].
Lesser prairie-chicken....................  Clay Nichols, 817-471-6357;
                                             [email protected].
Verde four-nerve daisy....................  Shaula Hedwall, 928-556-
                                             2118;
                                             [email protected].
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    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), please 
call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

Background

    Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act requires that we make a finding on 
whether a petition to list, delist, or reclassify a species presents 
substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the 
petitioned action may be warranted. To the maximum extent practicable, 
we are to make this finding within 90 days of our receipt of the 
petition and publish our notice of the finding promptly in the Federal 
Register.
    Our regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) establish 
that the standard for substantial scientific or commercial information 
with regard to a 90-day petition finding is ``that amount of 
information that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the 
measure proposed in the petition may be warranted'' (50 CFR 424.14(b)). 
If we find that a petition presents substantial scientific or 
commercial information, we are required to promptly commence a review 
of the status of the species, and we will subsequently summarize the 
status review in our 12-month finding.
    Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and its implementing 
regulations at 50 CFR part 424 set forth the procedures for adding a 
species to, or removing a species from, the Federal Lists of Endangered 
and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. A species may be determined to be 
an endangered or threatened species because of one or more of the five 
factors described in section 4(a)(1) of the Act (see Request for 
Information for Status Reviews, above).
    In considering whether conditions described within one or more of 
the factors might constitute threats, we must look beyond the exposure 
of the species to those conditions to evaluate whether the species may 
respond to the conditions in a way that causes actual impacts to the 
species. If there is exposure to a condition and the species responds 
negatively, the condition qualifies as a stressor and, during the 
subsequent status review, we attempt to determine how significant the 
stressor is. If the stressor is sufficiently significant that it 
drives, or contributes to, the risk of extinction of the species such 
that the species may warrant listing as endangered or threatened as 
those terms are defined in the Act, the stressor constitutes a threat 
to the species. Thus, the identification of conditions that could 
affect a species negatively may not be sufficient to compel a finding 
that the information in

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the petition and our files is substantial. The information must include 
evidence sufficient to suggest that these conditions may be operative 
threats that individually or cumulatively act on the species to a 
sufficient degree that the species may meet the definition of an 
endangered or threatened species under the Act.

Evaluation of a Petition To List Tetraneuris verdiensis (Verde Four-
nerve Daisy) as an Endangered or Threatened Species Under the Act

    Additional information regarding our review of this petition can be 
found as an appendix at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. 
FWS-R2-ES-2016-0132 under the Supporting Documents section.

Species and Range

    Tetraneuris verdiensis (Verde four-nerve daisy): Arizona.

Petition History

    On April 21, 2016, we received a petition dated March 11, 2016, 
from the Center for Biological Diversity requesting that Tetraneuris 
verdiensis be listed as endangered or threatened and that critical 
habitat be designated for this species under the Act. The petition 
clearly identified itself as a petition under section 4 of the Act and 
included the identification information for the petitioner as required 
at 50 CFR 424.14(a). We responded to the petitioner on June 29, 2016, 
with an email message acknowledging the receipt of the petition. This 
finding addresses the petition.

Finding

    Based on our review of the petition and sources cited in the 
petition, we find that the petition does not present substantial 
scientific or commercial information indicating that listing the 
Tetraneuris verdiensis may be warranted. Because the petition does not 
present substantial information indicating that listing Tetraneuris 
verdiensis may be warranted, we are not initiating a status review of 
this species in response to this petition. The basis and scientific 
support for this finding can be found as an appendix at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2016-0132 under the 
Supporting Documents section. However, we ask that the public submit to 
us any new information that becomes available concerning the status of, 
or threats to, this species or its habitat at any time (see Table 3, 
above).

Evaluation of a Petition To Reclassify Leopards Currently Listed as 
Threatened Species to Endangered Species Under the Act

    Additional information regarding our review of this petition can be 
found as an appendix at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. 
FWS-HQ-ES-2016-0131 under the Supporting Documents section.

Species and Range

    Leopard (Panthera pardus): Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, 
Kenya, and Uganda.

Petition History

    On July 26, 2016, we received a petition dated July 25, 2016, from 
The Humane Society of the United States and the Fund for Animals, 
requesting that the leopard be reclassified as endangered throughout 
its range under the Act. The petition clearly identified itself as such 
and included the requisite identification information for the 
petitioner, required at 50 CFR 424.14(a). This finding addresses the 
petition.

Finding

    Based on our review of the petition and sources cited in the 
petition, we find that the petition presents substantial scientific or 
commercial information indicating that reclassifying the leopard 
(Panthera pardus) as endangered throughout its range may be warranted, 
based on Factors A, B, D, and E (for a listing of the factors, see (2) 
under Request for Information for Status Reviews, above). However, 
during our status review, we will thoroughly evaluate all potential 
threats to the species, including the extent to which any protections 
or other conservation efforts have reduced those threats. Thus, for 
this species, the Service requests any information relevant to whether 
the species falls within the definition of an endangered species under 
section 3(6) of the Act, including information on the five listing 
factors under section 4(a)(1) and any other factors identified in this 
finding.

Evaluation of a Petition To List the Lesser Prairie-Chicken as an 
Endangered Species Under the Act

    Additional information regarding our review of this petition can be 
found as an appendix at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. 
FWS-R2-ES-2016-0133 under the Supporting Documents section.

Species and Range

    Lesser prairie-chicken (Tympanuchus pallidus): Colorado, Kansas, 
Oklahoma, New Mexico, Texas.

Petition History

    On September 8, 2016, we received a petition dated September 8, 
2016, from WildEarth Guardians, Center for Biological Diversity, and 
Defenders of Wildlife requesting that we list the lesser prairie-
chicken (Tympanuchus pallidus) and three distinct population segments 
as endangered under the Act. The petition additionally requests that 
the sandsage and the shinnery oak prairie population segments be 
emergency listed as endangered under the Act. The petition clearly 
identified itself as such and included the requisite identification 
information for the petitioner, required at 50 CFR 424.14(a). We 
reviewed the information presented in the petition and did not find 
that an emergency listing under section 4(b)(7) of the Act was 
necessary. This finding addresses the petition.

Finding

    Based on our review of the petition and sources cited in the 
petition, we find that the petition presents substantial scientific or 
commercial information indicating that listing the lesser prairie-
chicken may be warranted, based on Factors A, D, and E (for a listing 
of the factors, see (2) under Request for Information for Status 
Reviews, above). However, during our status review, we will thoroughly 
evaluate all potential threats to the species, including the extent to 
which any protections or other conservation efforts have reduced those 
threats. Thus, for this species, the Service requests any information 
relevant to whether the species falls within the definition of either 
an endangered species under section 3(6) of the Act or a threatened 
species under section 3(20) of the Act, including information on the 
five listing factors under section 4(a)(1) and any other factors 
identified in this finding.

Conclusion

    On the basis of our evaluation of the information presented in the 
petitions under section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act, we have determined that 
the petition summarized above for Tetraneuris verdiensis (Verde four-
nerve daisy) does not present substantial scientific or commercial 
information indicating that the requested action may be warranted. 
Therefore, we are not initiating a status review for this species.
    The petitions summarized above for the leopard and lesser prairie-
chicken present substantial scientific or commercial information 
indicating that the requested actions may be warranted.
    Because we have found that these petitions present substantial

[[Page 86318]]

information indicating that the petitioned actions may be warranted, we 
are initiating status reviews to determine whether these actions under 
the Act are warranted. At the conclusion of each status review, we will 
issue a finding, in accordance with section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act, as 
to whether or not the petitioned action is warranted.
    It is important to note that the standard for a 90-day finding 
differs from the Act's standard that applies to a status review to 
determine whether a petitioned action is warranted. In making a 90-day 
finding, we consider only the information in the petition and in our 
files, and we evaluate merely whether that information constitutes 
``substantial information'' indicating that the petitioned action ``may 
be warranted.'' In a 12-month finding, we must complete a thorough 
status review of the species and evaluate the ``best scientific and 
commercial data available'' to determine whether a petitioned action 
``is warranted.'' Because the Act's standards for 90-day and 12-month 
findings are different, a substantial 90-day finding does not mean that 
the 12-month finding will result in a ``warranted'' finding.

References Cited

    A complete list of references cited is available on the Internet at 
http://www.regulations.gov and upon request from the appropriate lead 
field offices (contact the appropriate person listed in Table 3, 
above).

Authors

    The primary authors of this notice are staff members of the 
Ecological Services Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Authority

    The authority for these actions is the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: November 16, 2016.
Daniel M. Ashe,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-28513 Filed 11-29-16; 8:45 am]
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