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Federal Register Opportunities

The Federal Register is a daily publication by the United States Government, known as the newspaper of the federal government. It includes executive orders, public notices, proclamations, and proposed and final administrative regulations for federal agencies. It also provides opportunities for the public to comment on proposed rules before they are finalized. Public comments can be submitted in writing, orally at a hearing, or, in some cases, online via e-mail.  Comment periods are typically between 30 and 90 days, though they do vary. Instructions on how, when, and where to submit comments for each proposed regulation are available in the Register and agencies are required to list the name and telephone number of a spokesperson to contact for more information. Agencies are also required to address significant issues introduced in comments and publicize changes made in response.

See below for upcoming meetings and current public comment opportunities on issues relevant to ecology.

Upcoming Public Meetings:

Opportunities for Public Comment and Nominations:

  • APHIS – Notice of Availability of an Environmental Assessment for Release of Lophodiplosis indentata for Biological Control of Melaleuca quinquenervia (Myrtaceae) in the Contiguous United States
    USDA APHIS is advising the public that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has prepared an environmental assessment (EA) relative to permitting the release of Lophodiplosis indentata (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae) for the biological control of Melaleuca quinquenervia (Myrtaceae) in the contiguous United States. Based on the EA and other relevant data, APHIS has reached a preliminary determination that the release of this control agent within the contiguous United States will not have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment. APHIS is making the EA available to the public for review and comment. The agency will consider all comments received on or before January 18, 2022.
  • BLM – Call for Nominations to the Idaho Resource Advisory Council
    The purpose of this notice is to request nominations to fill vacant positions or the positions of members whose terms are scheduled to expire for the Bureau of Land Management’s Idaho Resource Advisory Council (RAC). The RAC advises the Secretary of the Interior on the issues related to land use, planning, and the management of resources on BLM land in the State of Idaho. All nominations must be received no later than January 21, 2022.
  • BLM – Notice of Application for Withdrawal Extension and Opportunity for Public Meeting for the Holden Mine Reclamation Project, Washington
    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is providing notice of an application from the United States Forest Service (USFS) requesting that Public Land Order (PLO) No. 7533 be extended for an additional 20 years. Comments and requests for a public meeting must be received by January 25, 2022.
  • BLM – Notice of Intent To Amend Land Use Plans Regarding Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation and Prepare Associated Environmental Impact Statements
    In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) intends to address the management of Greater sage-grouse (GRSG) and sagebrush habitat on BLM-managed public lands in the States of California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming through a land use planning initiative. The BLM will prepare environmental impact statements to support the planning initiative, and by this notice is announcing the beginning of the scoping process to solicit public comments on the planning initiative. Comments may be submitted in writing until February 7, 2022.
  • BLM – Call for Nominations to the Missouri Basin and Western Montana Resource Advisory Councils
    The purpose of this notice is to request public nominations for the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Missouri Basin and Western Montana Resource Advisory Councils (RACs) to fill existing vacancies, as well as for member terms that are scheduled to expire. The RACs provide advice and recommendations to the BLM on land use planning and management of the National System of Public Lands within their geographic areas. All nominations must be received no later than February 11, 2022.
  • BLM – Notice of Availability of the Pine Valley Water Supply Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement, Beaver and Iron Counties, UT
    In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announces the availability of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a right-of-way (ROW) application submitted by the Central Iron County Water Conservancy District, referred to as the Pine Valley Water Supply (PVWS) Project. To ensure comments will be considered, the BLM must receive written comments on the proposed PVWS Project Draft EIS by February 22, 2022.
  • BLM – Notice of Proposed Withdrawal and Public Meetings; San Juan County, NM
    At the request of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and subject to valid existing rights, the Secretary of the Interior proposes to withdraw 351,479.97 acres of public lands from location and entry under the United States mining laws and from leasing under the mineral leasing laws, but not disposal under the mineral materials laws, for a 20-year term. This notice segregates the lands for up to 2 years from location and entry under the United States mining laws and from leasing under the mineral leasing laws, subject to valid existing rights, initiates a 90-day public comment period on the withdrawal application, and notifies the public that one or more public meetings will be held regarding the application. Comments and public meeting requests must be received by April 6, 2022. In-person public meetings regarding the withdrawal application will be held on February 23, 2022, from 3:00-4:30 p.m. and 6:00-7:30 p.m. at San Juan College Henderson Fine Arts Building, 4601 College Boulevard, Farmington, New Mexico.
  • Delaware River Basin Commission – Notice of Proposed Methodology for the 2022 Delaware River and Bay Water Quality Assessment Report
    Notice is hereby given that the methodology proposed to be used in the 2022 Delaware River and Bay Water Quality Assessment Report is available for review and comment. Comments on the assessment methodology or recommendations for the consideration of data sets should be submitted in writing before 5:00 p.m. Eastern on February 18, 2022.
  • EPA and Army Corps of Engineers – Revised Definition of “Waters of the United States”
    The EPA and the Department of the Army are publishing for public comment a proposed rule defining the scope of waters protected under the Clean Water Act. This proposal is consistent with the Executive Order signed on January 20, 2021, on “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis,” which directed the agencies to review the agencies’ rule promulgated in 2020 defining “waters of the United States.” This proposed rule would meet the objective of the Clean Water Act and ensure critical protections for the nation’s vital water resources, which support public health, environmental protection, agricultural activity, and economic growth across the United States. Comments must be received on or before February 7, 2022.
  • EPA – Notice of Request for Nominations of Candidates to the Environmental Financial Advisory Board
    The EPA invites nominations of qualified candidates to be considered for appointment to the Environmental Financial Advisory Board (the Board or EFAB). The Board provides advice to EPA on ways to lower the costs of, and increase investments in, environmental and public health protection. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (signed November 2021) provides funding to EPA that includes more than $50 billion for clean water projects, more than $5 billion for Superfund and brownfields cleanup work, $5 billion for decarbonizing our nation’s school buses, and $100 million for pollution prevention. Board members will provide recommendations on ways EPA can implement these funds to advance environmental justice, tackle the climate crisis, and protect public health. Appointments will be made by the Administrator and will be announced in June 2022. Nominations should be submitted in time to arrive no later than January 18, 2022.
  • Forest Service – Special Areas; Roadless Area Conservation; National Forest System Lands in Alaska
    On January 20, 2021, President Biden ordered all executive departments and agencies to immediately review and, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, take action to address the promulgation of Federal regulations during the last 4 years that may conflict with protecting the environment, and to immediately commence work to confront the climate crisis (Executive Order 13990). In addition, on January 26, 2021, President Biden directed all Federal agencies to review tribal consultation policies and practices and recommit to more robust nation-to-nation relationships and respect for our Federal trust responsibilities. Consistent with these Presidential directives, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA or Department), proposes to repeal a final rule promulgated in 2020 that exempted the Tongass National Forest from the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule. The 2001 Roadless Rule prohibited timber harvest and road construction or reconstruction within designated Inventoried Roadless Areas, with limited exceptions. Repealing the Subpart E exemption would reinstate application of the 2001 Roadless Rule to the Tongass (as provided for in the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska’s Judgment in Organized Village of Kake v. USDA). USDA invites written comments on the proposed rule and associated documents. Substantive comments received during the comment period will be considered in developing the final rule. Written comments must be received or postmarked by January 24, 2022.
  • Forest Service – Secure Rural Schools Resource Advisory Committees
    The Forest Service is seeking nominations for the Secure Rural School Resource Advisory Committees (SRS RACs) pursuant the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act (the Act) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). Additional information on the SRS RACs can be found by visiting the SRS RACs website at: https://cms.fs.usda.gov/​working-with-us/​secure-rural-schools/​title-2. Written nominations must be received by January 28, 2022.
  • Forest Service – Black Hills National Forest; Lawrence, Meade, Pennington, Custer, and Fall River Counties, South Dakota; Crook and Weston Counties, Wyoming; Revision of the Land and Resource Management Plan for the Black Hills National Forest
    The Forest Service is initiating the Land Management Plan revision process, pursuant to the 2012 Planning Rule and as directed by the National Forest Management Act, for the Black Hills National Forest located in western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming. This process will result in a revised Land Management Plan which will guide all resource management activities on the Black Hills National Forest for approximately fifteen years. This notice announces the initiation of the assessment phase, the preliminary stage of the plan revision process. Assessments will identify and consider relevant and readily accessible material about ecological, social, and economic conditions and trends in the planning area, including best available scientific information. Findings will be documented in assessment reports. Trends and conditions identified in the assessments will then help describe a need to change the existing plan and inform the revision of the Forest Plan. In the fall and winter of 2021, the public will be invited to engage and participate in the assessment phase of the revision process; engagement opportunities will be posted on the Black Hills National Forest Planning website, located at http://www.fs.usda.gov/​goto/​ blackhills/forestplanrevision. The Black Hills will conduct consultation with Tribes as part of the assessment phase of revision. Information will also be shared through electronic mailing lists, social media, and media outlets. If members of the public are interested in learning more, please visit the website listed above and select the link to subscribe to updates on the Black Hills Forest Plan Revision. The public can also sign up by sending an email to SM.FS.BlackhillFPR@nullusda.gov.
  • Interior Department – Request for Information To Inform Interagency Efforts To Develop the American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas
    The Department of the Interior, on behalf of an interagency working group co-led with the Council on Environmental Quality, Department of Agriculture and Department of Commerce through National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is soliciting comments to inform how the American Conservation and Stewardship Atlas can best serve as a useful tool for the public and how it should reflect a continuum of conservation actions in the America the Beautiful initiative, recognizing that many uses of lands and waters can be consistent with the long-term health of natural systems and contribute to addressing climate change and environmental injustices. The input received will be used to develop the Atlas. Interested persons are invited to submit comments by 11:59 p.m. on March 7, 2022. The interagency group will hold virtual public listening sessions on January 13 (2:00pm to 3:30 pm ET), January 19 (6:00pm to 7:30pm ET) and January 21 (11:00 am to 12:30pm ET).
  • NOAA – Draft Revised Management Plan for the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve
    NOAA is soliciting comments from the public regarding a proposed revision of the management plan for the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR or Reserve). A management plan provides a framework for the direction and timing of a reserve’s programs, allows reserve managers to assess a reserve’s success in meeting its goals and to identify any necessary changes in direction, and is used to guide programmatic evaluations of the reserve. Plan revisions are required of each reserve in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System at least every five years. This revised plan is intended to replace the plan approved in 2013. Comments must be received at the appropriate address on or before January 18, 2022.
  • NOAA – Notice of Intent To Conduct Scoping and To Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary
    NOAA is initiating a process to consider designating a portion of waters along and offshore of the central coast of California as a national marine sanctuary. NOAA is initiating this process based on the area’s qualities and boundaries as described in the community-based nomination submitted on July 17, 2015, excluding any geographical overlap of the boundaries proposed for the Morro Bay 399 Area as described in the July 29, Federal Register notice. The designation process will be conducted concurrently with a public process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to prepare an environmental impact statement. NOAA is initiating this public scoping process to invite comments on the scope and significance of issues to be addressed in the environmental impact statement that are related to designating this area as a national marine sanctuary. The results of this scoping process will assist NOAA in moving forward with the designation process, including preparation and release of draft designation documents, and in formulating alternatives for the draft environmental impact statement, including developing national marine sanctuary boundaries, regulations, and a management plan. This scoping process will also inform the initiation of any consultations with federal, state, or local agencies, tribes, and other interested parties, as appropriate. Comments are due by January 31, 2022 (comment period extended).
  • NOAA – Notice of Availability of Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary Draft Management Plan and Draft Environmental Assessment
    NOAA has prepared a draft management plan as part of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (SBNMS or sanctuary) management plan review pursuant to the National Marine Sanctuaries Act. The draft management plan, which would update the 2010 sanctuary management plan, addresses current and emerging threats in SBNMS and reflects changes in new science and technologies, how people use the sanctuary, and community needs. The draft management plan supports continued protection of sanctuary resources through enforcement of existing sanctuary regulations, education and outreach strategies that promote ocean stewardship, and community engagement. Consistent with the information provided in the 2020 Notice of Intent, NOAA is not proposing modifications to the sanctuary regulations at this time, but may consider regulatory changes in the future. NOAA also prepared an environmental assessment, which evaluates the environmental impacts of implementing the draft management plan and ongoing field activities. NOAA is soliciting public comments on the draft updated management plan and environmental assessment at this time. Comments on the draft management plan and environmental assessment are due by January 21, 2022. NOAA will hold virtual public meetings on January 11 and 22.
  • NOAA  -Notice of Intent To Conduct Scoping and To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Designation of a National Marine Sanctuary Within Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument
    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the State of Hawai’i, and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), is initiating the process to consider designating marine portions of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument as a national marine sanctuary. Per the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and National Marine Sanctuaries Act (NMSA), NOAA will prepare a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for the sanctuary designation process to evaluate potential environmental effects of this action. NOAA will also coordinate its responsibility under the National Historic Preservation Act with the NEPA process. NOAA is initiating the public scoping process to invite comments on the scope and significance of issues to be addressed in the environmental impact statement that are related to designating this area as a national marine sanctuary. The results of this scoping process will assist NOAA in moving forward with the designation process, including preparation and release of draft designation documents, and formulating alternatives for the DEIS. Comments must be received by NOAA on or before January 31, 2022.
  • NOAA – Request for Public Comment on the Alaska Coastal Mapping Strategy Implementation Plan
    On behalf of the Alaska Mapping Executive Committee (AMEC), a Federal-state partnership to coordinate the modernization of critical Alaska map layers, NOAA requests review of the draft Alaska Coastal Mapping Strategy Implementation Plan from all interested parties. Through this request for information, AMEC’s Coastal Subcommittee seeks input from the public on the Implementation Plan and its milestones targeted at improving the coordination and collection of coastal mapping in Alaska. AMEC seeks to ensure that program implementation is informed by and responsive to all sectors through sustained engagement and effective partnerships. Comments must be received via email by 5 p.m. ET on January 31, 2022.
  • NOAA – Nominations for the National Sea Grant Advisory Board
    This notice also responds to the Sea Grant Program Improvement Act, which requires the Secretary of Commerce to solicit nominations at least once a year for membership on the National Sea Grant Advisory Board. To apply for membership to the Board, applicants should submit a current resume. A cover letter highlighting specific areas of expertise relevant to the purpose of the Board is helpful, but not required. There is no due date for nominations, however the program intends to begin reviewing applications to fill upcoming vacancies by January 31, 2022. Applications will be kept on file for consideration of any Board vacancy for a period of three years from January 31, 2024.
  • NOAA – Public Comment on the Annotated Outline of the Fifth National Climate Assessment
    This notice sets forth the U.S. Global Change Research Program seeks public comment on the proposed themes and framework of the Fifth National Climate Assessment as indicated by the chapter annotated outlines linked here. Based on input received from this notice, chapter author teams will develop the draft chapters. Comments must be submitted by February 20, 2022.
  • NOAA – Notice of Availability of a Draft Management Plan and Draft Environmental Assessment for the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary; Announcement of Public Meetings
    NOAA has prepared a draft management plan (DMP) as part of the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS) management plan review. The DMP, which replaces a 2009 sanctuary management plan, addresses current and emerging threats in CINMS and reflects changes in new science and technologies, how people use the sanctuary, and community needs. The DMP supports continued protection of sanctuary resources through enforcement of existing sanctuary regulations, education and outreach strategies that promote ocean stewardship, and community-inclusive involvement. Consistent with the information provided in the 2019 Notice of Intent, NOAA is not proposing modifications to the sanctuary regulations at this time, but may consider regulatory changes in the future. NOAA also prepared a draft environmental assessment (DEA), which evaluates the environmental impacts of implementing the DMP, ongoing field activities, and the existing sanctuary regulations. NOAA is soliciting public comments on the DMP and DEA at this time. Comments are due by February 24, 2022. NOAAA will host virtual public scoping meetings on January 18 and 27.
  • NOAA – Hydrographic Services Review Panel Nominations
    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is seeking nominations for members to serve on the Hydrographic Services Review Panel with nominations due by April 15, 2022.
  • NOAA NMFS – Endangered and Threatened Species; Notice of Initiation of a 5-Year Review of the Common Angelshark (Squatina squatina)
    NMFS announces the initiation of a 5-year review for the common angelshark (Squatina squatina). NMFS is required by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to conduct 5-year reviews to ensure that the listing classifications of species are accurate. The 5-year review must be based on the best scientific and commercial data available at the time of the review; therefore, NMFS requests submission of any such information on the common angelshark that has become available since the species was listed in 2016. To allow NMFS adequate time to conduct this review, they must receive your information no later than January 14, 2022.
  • NOAA NMFS – Pacific Island Fisheries; Amendment 6 to the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for the Mariana Archipelago; Rebuilding Plan for Guam Bottomfish
    NMFS announces that the Western Pacific Fishery Management Council proposes to amend the Fishery Ecosystem Plan for the Mariana Archipelago. If approved, Amendment 6 would establish a rebuilding plan for the Guam bottomfish stock complex. The Council recommended Amendment 6 to rebuild the Guam bottomfish stock, which is overfished. NMFS must receive comments on Amendment 6 by January 14, 2022.
  • NOAA NMFS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List the Atlantic Humpback Dolphin as Threatened or Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act
    NMFS announces a 90-day finding on a petition to list the Atlantic humpback dolphin (Sousa teuszii) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The agency finds that the petition presents substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted. Therefore, NOAA is initiating a status review of the species to determine whether listing under the ESA is warranted. To ensure this status review is comprehensive, NOAA is soliciting scientific and commercial information regarding this species. Scientific and commercial information pertinent to the petitioned action must be received by January 31, 2022.
  • NOAA NMFS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of Johnson’s Seagrass From the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Species and Removal of the Corresponding Designated Critical Habitat
    NMFS proposes to remove Johnson’s seagrass (Halophila johnsonii) from the Federal List of Threatened and Endangered Species. To correspond with this action, NMFS is also proposing to remove the critical habitat designation for Johnson’s seagrass. NOAA proposes these actions based on newly obtained genetic data that demonstrate that Johnson’s seagrass is not a unique taxon but rather a clone of an Indo-Pacific species, Halophila ovalis. Information and comments on the subject action must be received by February 22, 2022.
  • NOAA NMFS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife; 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List the Sunflower Sea Star as Threatened or Endangered Under the Endangered Species Act
    NMFS announces a 90-day finding on a petition to list the sunflower sea star (Pycnopodia helianthoides) as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and to designate critical habitat concurrent with the listing. NMFS finds that the petition presents substantial scientific information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted. Therefore, NMFS is initiating a status review of the species to determine whether listing under the ESA is warranted. To ensure this status review is comprehensive, NMFS is soliciting scientific and commercial information regarding this species. Scientific and commercial information pertinent to the petitioned action must be received by February 25, 2022.
  • NOAA NMFS – Pacific Council Ocean Salmon Fisheries Documents and Meetings
    The Pacific Fishery Management Council (Pacific Council) has begun its annual preseason management process for the 2022 ocean salmon fisheries. This document announces the availability of Pacific Council documents, as well as the anticipated dates and locations of upcoming Pacific Council meetings and public hearings hosted by the Pacific Council. These documents and events comprise the Pacific Council’s complete schedule for determining the annual proposed and final modifications to ocean salmon fishery management measures. The agendas for the March and April 2022 Pacific Council meetings will be published in subsequent Federal Register documents prior to the actual meetings. Written comments on the salmon management alternatives must be submitted through the Pacific Council’s e-portal (https://pfmc.psmfc.org) and received by the public comment deadline prior to the April 2022 Council meeting. Information will be available on the Pacific Council’s website (http://www.pcouncil.org) as the date for the April Council meeting approaches.
  • NPS – Request for Nominations for the National Park System Advisory Board
    The National Park Service is seeking nominations for individuals to be considered for appointment to the National Park System Advisory Board (Board). The Board advises the Secretary of the Interior and the Director of the National Park Service on matters relating to the National Park Service, the National Park System, and programs administered by the NPS; the designation of National Historic Landmarks and National Natural Landmarks; and the national historic significance of proposed National Historic Trails. Nominations must be postmarked by January 24, 2022.
  • NOAA and USFWS – Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument Management Plan
    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), as co-leads, announce their intention to prepare a Monument Management Plan (MMP) for the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (Monument). NOAA and USFWS are updating their original notice of intent to draft the MMP to include information about the expansion of the Monument in 2014, and to announce that NOAA and USFWS are co-leads in drafting the MMP. NOAA and USFWS are seeking input on issues, concerns, ideas, and suggestions for the future management of the Monument. NOAA and USFWS will also prepare a draft environmental assessment, concurrent with the management plan, to evaluate potential effects of implementing the proposed management alternatives for the Monument. Following the completion of the MMP, USFWS will prepare new individual Comprehensive Conservation Plans (CCPs) and revise existing CCPs for National Wildlife Refuges within the Monument, as appropriate. USFWS and NOAA must receive comments by January 20, 2022.
  • USDA – Request for Nominations of Members for the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics (NAREEE) Advisory Board, Specialty Crop Committee (SCC), Citrus Disease Subcommittee (CDS), and National Genetic Resources Advisory Council (NGRAC)
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture announces the opening of the solicitation for nominations to fill vacancies on the National Agricultural Research, Extension, Education, and Economics (NAREEE) Advisory Board and its committees and subcommittees for Fiscal Year 2023 and any vacancies that may occur in the current fiscal year. Written nominations will be received continuously until September 30, 2022.
  • USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of the Okaloosa Darter From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to remove the Okaloosa darter (Etheostoma okaloosae) from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife due to recovery. Their review of the best available scientific and commercial data indicates that the threats to the species have been eliminated or reduced to the point that the species no longer meets the definition of a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. USFWS requests information and comments from the public regarding this proposed rule and the draft post-delisting monitoring (PDM) plan for Okaloosa darters. If this proposal is finalized, Okaloosa darters will be removed from the List and the prohibitions and conservation measures provided by the Act, particularly through sections 7 and 9, would no longer apply to the species. USFWS will accept comments received or postmarked on or before January 18, 2022.
  • USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding for Pascagoula Map Turtle; Threatened Species Status With Section 4(d) Rule for Pearl River Map Turtle; and Threatened Species Status for Alabama Map Turtle, Barbour’s Map Turtle, Escambia Map Turtle, and Pascagoula Map Turtle Due to Similarity of Appearance With a Section 4(d) Rule
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces their 12-month findings for two freshwater turtle species, the Pascagoula map turtle (Graptemys gibbonsi) and the Pearl River map turtle (Graptemys pearlensis), as endangered or threatened species. The Pascagoula map turtle is endemic to the Pascagoula River drainage in Mississippi, and the Pearl River map turtle is endemic to the Pearl River drainage in Mississippi and Louisiana. USFWS proposes to list the Pearl River map turtle as a threatened species with a rule issued under section 4(d) of the Act (“4(d) rule”). After a thorough review of the best available scientific and commercial information, USFWS finds that it is not warranted at this time to list the Pascagoula map turtle; however, USFWS proposes to list the Pascagoula map turtle along with Alabama map turtle (Graptemys pulchra), Barbour’s map turtle (Graptemys barbouri), and Escambia map turtle (Graptemys ernsti) as threatened species due to similarity of appearance to the Pearl River map turtle with a 4(d) rule. If USFWS finalizes this rule as proposed, it would add the Pearl River map turtle, Alabama map turtle, Barbour’s map turtle, Escambia map turtle, and Pascagoula map turtle to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and extend the Act’s protections to the species. For the proposed rules to list the Pearl River map turtle and the four other species (Alabama map turtle, Barbour’s map turtle, Escambia map turtle, and Pascagoula map turtle) due to similarity of appearance, USFWS will accept comments received or postmarked on or before January 24, 2022. USFWS also requests comments on the proposed 4(d) rule for the Pearl River map turtle and the proposed 4(d) rule for the Alabama map turtle, Barbour’s map turtle, Escambia map turtle, and Pascagoula map turtle during the same timeframe as comments for the proposed listing actions.
  • USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revision to the Nonessential Experimental Population of the Mexican Wolf
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) proposes new revisions to the existing experimental population designation of the Mexican wolf ( Canis lupus baileyi ) in the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area (MWEPA) in Arizona and New Mexico under section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act. USFWS is taking this action in response to a court-ordered remand of our January 16, 2015, final rule revising the regulations for the nonessential experimental population of the Mexican wolf. This document proposes to modify the population objective, establish a genetic objective, and temporarily restrict three of the forms of take of Mexican wolves in the MWEPA that they adopted in the January 16, 2015, final rule. We are proposing these revisions to ensure the long-term conservation and recovery of the Mexican wolf. In addition, this document proposes to maintain the nonessential designation for the experimental population. USFWS is not proposing to revise the geographic boundaries of the MWEPA. The agency is seeking comment from the public on the proposed regulatory revisions and on a draft supplemental environmental impact statement for the proposed revisions. USFWS also announces public information sessions and public hearings on this proposed rule and the associated draft supplemental environmental impact statement. USFWS will accept public comments received or postmarked on or before January 27, 2022.
  • USFWS – Receipt of Incidental Take Permit Application and Proposed Habitat Conservation Plan for the Indiana Crossroads Wind Farm, White County, Indiana; Categorical Exclusion
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has received an application from Indiana Crossroads Wind Farm LLC (applicant), for an incidental take permit (ITP) under the Endangered Species Act, for its Indiana Crossroads Wind Farm (project). If approved, the ITP would be for a 6-year period and would authorize the incidental take of an endangered species, the Indiana bat, and a threatened species, the northern long-eared bat. The applicant has prepared a habitat conservation plan that describes the actions and measures that the applicant would implement to avoid, minimize, and mitigate incidental take of the Indiana bat and northern long-eared bat. USFWS requests public comment on the application, which includes the applicant’s proposed habitat conservation plan (HCP), and on the Service’s preliminary determination that this HCP qualifies as “low-effect,” categorically excluded under the National Environmental Policy Act. To make this determination, USFWS used their environmental action statement and low-effect screening form, both of which are also able for public review. USFWS will accept comments received or postmarked on or before January 27, 2022.
  • USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of 23 Extinct Species From the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Ivory-Billed Woodpecker
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reopening the public comment period on their September 30, 2021, proposal to remove the ivory-billed woodpecker from the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants due to extinction. We are taking this action to conduct a public hearing on the proposal to remove the ivory-billed woodpecker from the List and to allow all interested parties additional time to comment on the proposed rule to delist the ivory-billed woodpecker (docket number: FWS-R4-ES-2020-0109). Comments previously submitted need not be resubmitted and will be fully considered in preparation of the final rule. This comment period reopening is only for the ivory-billed woodpecker proposed delisting; they are not taking any comments in regard to the other 22 species proposed in the same rule, for which the comment periods closed on November 29, 2021. USFWS will accept comments on the ivory-billed woodpecker proposed delisting that are received or postmarked on or before February 10, 2022.
  • USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Recovery Plan for Canelo Hills Ladies-Tresses
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces the availability of our draft recovery plan for Canelo Hills ladies-tresses (Spiranthes delitescens), an endangered orchid that occurs in desert wetland habitats in southern Arizona. USFWS requests review and comment on this draft recovery plan from local, State, and Federal agencies; Tribal governments; nongovernmental organizations; and the public. USFWS must receive any comments on or before February 14, 2022.
  • USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Recovery Plan for Parachute Beardtongue
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces the availability of a draft recovery plan for Parachute beardtongue, a plant species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. USFWS is requesting review and comment from the public on this draft plan. USFWS must receive any comments on the draft recovery plan on or before February 14, 2022.
  • USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Recovery Plan for Meltwater Lednian Stonefly (Lednia tumana) and Western Glacier Stonefly (Zapada glacier)
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces the availability of a draft recovery plan for meltwater lednian stonefly and western glacier stonefly, two insect species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. USFWS requests review and comment on this draft recovery plan from Federal, State, Tribal, and local agencies and the public. USFWS must receive any comments on the draft recovery plan on or before February 14, 2022.
  • USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Incidental Take Permit Application; Proposed Low-Effect Habitat Conservation Plan and Associated Documents; County of San Diego, California
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has received an application from the Ramona Municipal Water District (applicant) for a 4-year incidental take permit for the endangered Stephens’ kangaroo rat and arroyo toad pursuant to the Endangered Species Act. USFWS is requesting comments on the permit application and on the preliminary determination that the proposed habitat conservation plan (HCP) qualifies as a “low-effect” HCP, eligible for a categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act. The basis for this determination is discussed in the environmental action statement and the associated low-effect screening form, which are also available for public review. USFWS will accept comments received or postmarked on or before February 14, 2022.
  • USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Threatened Species Status With Section 4(d) Rule for Cactus Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to list the cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl (Glaucidium brasilianum cactorum), a subspecies found in Mexico, southern Arizona, and southern Texas, as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. This determination also serves as their 12-month finding on a petition to list the cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl. After a review of the best available scientific and commercial information, USFWS finds that listing the subspecies is warranted. Accordingly, they propose to list the cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl as a threatened species with a rule issued under section 4(d) of the Act. If they finalize this rule as proposed, it would add this subspecies to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and extend the Act’s protections to the subspecies. The finalization of this rule as proposed would include the issuance of a 4(d) rule. Designation of critical habitat was found to be prudent, but not determinable at this time. USFWS is also are notifying the public that we have scheduled an informational meeting followed by a public hearing on the proposed rule. USFWS will accept comments received or postmarked on or before February 22, 2022.
  • USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Foothill Yellow-Legged Frog; Threatened Status With Section 4(d) Rule for Two Distinct Population Segments and Endangered Status for Two Distinct Population Segments
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to list four of six distinct population segments (DPSs) of the foothill yellow-legged frog (Rana boylii), a stream dwelling amphibian from Oregon and California, under the Endangered Species Act. This determination also serves as the 12-month finding on a petition to list the foothill yellow-legged frog. After a review of the best scientific and commercial information available, USFWS finds that listing the South Sierra and South Coast DPSs as endangered and the North Feather and Central Coast DPSs as threatened is warranted. Accordingly, USFWS proposes to list these four DPSs under the Act, with the South Sierra and South Coast DPSs listed as endangered species, and the North Feather and Central Coast DPSs listed as threatened species. USFWS; proposal to list the North Feather and Central Coast DPSs as threatened species also includes a rule issued under section 4(d) of the Act for each of these two DPSs. If USFWS finalizes this proposed rule for these four DPSs, USFWS will then add them to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and extend the Act’s protections to them. USFWS has determined that designation of critical habitat for these four DPSs is not determinable at this time. USFWS has also determined that the North Coast DPS (in Oregon and northern California) and the North Sierra DPS (in Yuba, Sierra, Nevada, and Placer Counties, California) of the foothill yellow-legged frog do not warrant listing at this time. USFWS will accept comments received or postmarked on or before February 28, 2022.
  • USFWS – Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Recovery Plan for the New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse
    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces the availability of their draft recovery plan for the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius luteus). This subspecies occurs in riparian habitats in New Mexico, Arizona, and southern Colorado, and was listed as endangered in 2014 under the Endangered Species Act. USFWS requests review and comment on this draft recovery plan from local, State, and Federal agencies; Tribes; nongovernmental organizations; and the public. USFWS must receive any comments on or before March 14, 2022.

 

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