CA: Service Proposes New Revision of Critical Habitat for the Riverside Fairy Shrimp

CARLSBAD, CA — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service)
announced today a new proposed rule to revise critical habitat for
the federally endangered Riverside fairy shrimp (Streptocephalus
woottoni). Approximately 2,984 acres are proposed for designation
in areas of Ventura, Orange, Riverside, and San Diego counties,
California.

This proposal is the result of a lawsuit filed against the
Service by the Center for Biological Diversity challenging the 2005
critical habitat designation for the species. A new revised final
designation must be submitted to the Federal Register by November
15, 2012.

The Riverside fairy shrimp measures less than an inch long and
is found only in vernal pools, ponds, and other ephemeral pool-like
bodies of water. During dry periods, cysts of the species lay
dormant in the soil and hatch when adequate rainfall fills the
ponds and pools.

Areas included in this proposed revision of critical habitat
provide the appropriate water depth and chemistry, soils, and
surrounding watersheds for the Riverside fairy shrimp to complete
its lifecycle and are essential to the conservation of the
species.

Five geographic units, divided into subunits, are included as
proposed critical habitat. Most of the land proposed for critical
habitat designation is privately owned.

Designation of critical habitat does not affect land ownership
or establish a refuge or preserve. In general, a critical habitat
designation has no impact on private landowners taking actions on
their land that do not require federal funding or permits.

We are considering excluding some land owned by or under the
jurisdiction of the permittees of the Orange County Central-Coastal
Natural Community Conservation Plan/Habitat Conservation Plan, the
Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan
(HCP), the Orange County Southern Subregion HCP, and the Carlsbad
Habitat Management Plan, from critical habitat designation.

As part of designating critical habitat, the Service takes into
account potential economic, national security, and other relevant
impacts, of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. The
Service may exclude any area from critical habitat if it is
determined the benefits of excluding the area outweigh the benefits
of including the area in critical habitat, unless failure to
designate the area as critical habitat will result in the
extinction of the species.

Approximately 1,988 acres of essential habitat are exempt from
this proposal because they are managed by the Department of Defense
and covered by Integrated Natural Resource Management Plans that
benefit the species.

The Service is asking for comments and information on all
aspects of this proposal. An advanced copy of the proposed revision
of critical habitat is available online today at Federal Register
Public Inspection.

Comments and information on the proposed revision can be
submitted beginning on June 1, 2011, by e-mail at
www.regulations.gov. At the box that says “Enter Keyword or ID,”
enter: FWS-R8-ES-2011-0013 and follow the instructions for
submitting comments.

You may also submit written comments to:

Public Comments Processing

Attn: FWS-R8-ES-2011-0013

Division of Policy and Directives Management

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

4401 N. Fairfax Dr., Suite 222

Arlington, VA 22203

Comments must be received by August 2, 2011, and requests for a
public hearing must be submitted in writing to the Carlsbad Fish
and Wildlife Office by July 15, 2011.

A draft economic analysis of this proposal is in preparation and
will be released for public review and comment at a later date.

The Endangered Species Act provides a critical safety net for
America’s native fish, wildlife and plants. This landmark
conservation law has prevented the extinction of hundreds of
imperiled species across the nation and promoted the recovery of
many others.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working
with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife,
plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the
American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish
and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence,
stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated
professionals, and commitment to public service. For more
information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit
www.fws.gov. Connect with our Facebook page at
www.facebook.com/usfws, follow our tweets at
www.twitter.com/usfwshq, watch our YouTube Channel at
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page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq

 

 

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