July 8, 2020

Draft Supplement to the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Supplement to the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan: Habitat-Based Recovery Criteria for the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of a draft Supplement to the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan: Habitat-Based Recovery Criteria for the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE). The draft supplement, which will be appended to the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan upon finalization, proposes to establish habitat-based recovery criteria for the NCDE grizzly bear population. In addition, the Service hereby gives notice that a public workshop will be held to review the habitat-based recovery criteria for the grizzly bear in the NCDE. The workshop will allow scientists and the public to submit oral and written comments. The Service solicits review and comment from the public on this draft supplement.

An electronic copy of the draft Supplement to the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan is available at http://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FWS-R6-ES-2017-0057, and also at http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/es/grizzlyBear.php 

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Final Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan, First Revision

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of our Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan, First Revision (Recovery Plan). The Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA), and is currently found in the U.S. States of Arizona and New Mexico, and in Chihuahua, Mexico. The recovery plan includes specific recovery criteria to be met to enable us to remove this species from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. The first Mexican wolf recovery plan was completed in 1982. ADDRESSES: You may obtain a copy of the recovery plan from our Web site at http://www.fws.gov/endangered/species/recovery-plans.html or the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program Web site at https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/.

Background A primary goal of our endangered species program and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) is recovering endangered or threatened animals and plants to the point they are again secure, viable ecosystem members. Recovery means improving listed species’ status to the point at which they no longer meet the definition of threatened or endangered and listing is no longer appropriate under the criteria set out in in section 4(a)(1) of the ESA. The ESA requires developing recovery plans for listed species, unless such a plan would not promote a particular species’ conservation.

The Service has revised its approach to recovery planning; the revised process is called Recovery Planning and Implementation (RPI). The RPI process is intended to reduce the time needed to develop and implement recovery plans, increase recovery plan relevancy over a longer timeframe, and add flexibility to recovery plans so they can be adjusted to new information or circumstances. Under RPI, a recovery plan will include statutorily required elements (measurable criteria, site-specific management actions, and estimates of time and costs), along with a concise introduction and our strategy for how we plan to achieve species recovery. The RPI recovery plan is supported by a separate Species Status Assessment, or in some cases, a species biological report that provides the background information and threat assessment, which are key to recovery plan development. The essential component to flexible implementation under RPI is producing a separate working document called the Recovery Implementation Strategy (implementation strategy). The implementation strategy steps down from the more general description of actions described in the recovery plan to detail the specific, near-term activities needed to implement the recovery plan. The implementation strategy will be adaptable by being able to incorporate new information without having to concurrently revise the recovery plan, unless changes to statutory elements are required.

The Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan, First Revision, represents one of the first products the Service has developed using RPI. On June 30, 2017, the Service made the draft Recovery Plan available for a 60-day public comment period during which we received more than 100,000 comments (82 FR 29918). The public comments and additional materials related to the Recovery Plan are available for public review online at http://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2017-0036.

In addition to the recovery plan and implementation strategy, we completed a Biological Report describing the Mexican wolf’s current status. The Biological Report supports the recovery plan by providing the background, life-history, and threat assessment information. The Biological Report and Recovery Plan were independently peer-reviewed by scientists outside of the Service. As with the implementation strategy, we will update the Biological Report as new species status information becomes available.

Recovery Plan Strategy

The overall strategy for recovering the Mexican wolf focuses on improving the two populations’ resilience (i.e., population size) and genetic representation, one focused south of Interstate 40 in Arizona and New Mexico in the United States, and one focused in the northern portion of the Sierra Madre Occidental in Mexico, across an adequate ecological and geographic range of representation within each population. The strategy involves carefully managing the captive- breeding program, releasing Mexican wolves from the captive-breeding program into the wild, and translocating Mexican wolves from the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area in portions of New Mexico and Arizona to Mexico, to ensure two genetically and demographically viable populations are extant in the wild for redundancy.

Another key component of the strategy includes working with Federal, State, Tribal, local partners, and the public, to improve Mexican wolf tolerance on the landscape.

Authority: We developed our recovery plan and publish this notice under the authority of the Endangered Species Act, section 4(f), 16 U.S.C. 1533(f).

Dated: October 24, 2017.

Amy Lueders, Regional Director, Southwest Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. 2017-26041 Filed 12-1-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333-15-P

 

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Arizona Intent to Sue USFWS For Failure to Create Wolf Recovery Plan

*Note* Click here for a copy of letter sent to DOI/USFWS

For immediate release, Jan. 6, 2015

Arizona Game and Fish issues notice of intent to sue federal officials over Mexican wolf recovery plan development

PHOENIX – The Arizona Game and Fish Department today served a Notice of Intent with the secretary of the Department of Interior and director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service). The action was taken in an effort to support development of an updated recovery plan for Mexican wolves that utilizes the best available science as legally required by the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Game and Fish has requested an updated recovery plan from the Service on multiple occasions over the past several years because the current recovery plan for Mexican wolves developed in 1982 is so outdated that it no longer provides an adequate framework to guide the recovery effort. That plan also fails to identify the recovery criteria required by the ESA including downlisting and delisting criteria.

“This Notice of Intent is an effort to ensure that the Fish and Wildlife Service adheres to its legal obligation to develop a thorough science-based plan that will lead to a successful recovery outcome that recognizes Mexico as pivotal to achieving recovery of the Mexican wolf given that 90 percent of its historical range is there,” said Arizona Game and Fish Department Director Larry Voyles.

Bi-national recovery plans for endangered species have been successfully established with Mexico for other species including Sonoran pronghorn, Kemp’s ridley sea turtles and, most recently, thick-billed parrots. The department asserts that to succeed, Mexican wolf recovery must include an integrated, bi-national approach that incorporates the recovery work already underway in Mexico.

“I fully support today’s action and I look forward to working with the department to develop a legal and sound plan for the recovery of the Mexican wolf,” said Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich.

The Service is currently in litigation with several parties that are pushing for reestablishment of Mexican wolves in areas that are not part of the subspecies’ historical range and requesting a resolution in an unreasonable timeframe. These groups are basing their litigation on a draft report developed by a Mexican Wolf Recovery Science and Planning Subgroup. The department completed extensive analysis of the subgroup’s recommendations and found the science used as a basis for the recommendations to be significantly flawed. This misguided approach could jeopardize genetic integrity of the subspecies if the Mexican wolf is permitted to reestablish in close proximity to Northern gray wolves.

Secretary Sally Jewell of the Department of Interior has 60 days to respond to the Notice of Intent. If the secretary fails to respond, the department will pursue civil action. A Notice of Intent is a required precursor to pursuing civil action.

Arizona Game and Fish’s involvement in Mexican wolf conservation began in the mid-1980s. Since that time, the department has spent more than $7 million on wolf recovery in the state and has been the predominant on-the-ground presence working to manage Mexican wolves.

For more information on Mexican wolves, visit www.azgfd.gov/wolf.

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Laughable: Judge Molloy, “Reluctant to Second Guess” USFWS

“BILLINGS — A federal judge on Wednesday set a 2018 deadline for the government to complete a long-delayed recovery plan for imperiled Canada lynx in the Lower 48 states.

Wildlife advocates had asked U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy to push the government into faster action on the snow-loving big cats, which were added to the list of threatened species in 2000.

But after federal officials said budget issues and competing priorities were slowing their work, Molloy indicated Wednesday in an order that he was reluctant to second-guess them. He said the January 2018 deadline proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was reasonable.”<<<Read More>>>

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Another USFWS Tactic to Line the Pockets of Environmentalists?

Siding with the plaintiffs, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy on Thursday gave officials 30 days to propose a schedule for completing the recovery plan.

Molloy said the history of the case raised skepticism about the agency’s ability to get the work done without court intervention. Federal officials previously had pledged to initiate recovery plans in 2007, 2011 and, most recently, by the end of this year.

“The stutter-step approach taken by the service raises the concern — even the certainty — that if a deadline is not in place, a new impediment will continually prevent the development of a recovery plan for the lynx,” Molloy wrote.<<<Read More>>>

While it is a good thing that the people who live in the Northern Rockies region haven’t been encumbered by a fake Canada lynx “recovery” plan, the tactics used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) are typical in that environmentalists file lawsuits and line their bank accounts.

Canada lynx, just like the gray wolf, is not and never has been an endangered or even threatened species. Because of an ancient and poorly designed and interpreted Endangered Species Act, Americans have to endure such nonsense.

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