→ 5-Year Status Reviews of 23 Southeastern Fish, Wildlife and Plant Species listed as endangered or threatened

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The US Fish and Wildlife Service is initiating 5-year status reviews of 23 species that are listed under the Endangered Species Act. 5-year status reviews are conducted to ensure that the classification of species as threatened or endangered on the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants is accurate. The review is an assessment of the best scientific and commercial data available at the time of the review. The Fish and Wildlife Service is therefore requesting any information that has become available since the last review of each of the following species: 

Fish / Shellfish: Cumberland darter (Etheostoma susanae), Rush darter (Etheostoma phytopilum), Vermilion darter (Etheostoma chermocki), Pygmy madtom (Noturus stanauli), Cumberland bean mussel (Villosa trabalis), Ring pink mussel (Obovaria retusa), Anthony's riversnail (Athearnia anthonyi)

Wildlife: Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi), Puerto Rican broad-winged hawk (Buteo platypterus brunnescens), Puerto Rican nightjar (Caprimulgus noctitherus)

Plants: Arabis perstellata (Braun's rock-cress), Chamaesyce deltoidea spp. deltoidea (Deltoid spurge), Clematis morefieldii (Morefield's leatherflower), Conradina verticillata (Cumberland rosemary), Galactia smallii (Small's milkpea), Lyonia truncata var. proctorii, Polygala smallii (Tiny polygala), Pityopsis ruthii (Ruth's golden aster), Sarracenia rubra ssp.alabamensis (Alabama canebrake pitcher plant), Schwalbea americana (American chaffseed), Vernonia proctorii, Adiantum vivesii

→ Withdrawal of land in Superior National Forest from mineral and geothermal leases

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This notice extends the scoping comment period for a Notice of Intent published by the Superior National Forest in January. The Notice proposed a withdrawal of approximately 234,328 acres of National Forest System (NFS) lands, for a 20-year term, within the Rainy River Watershed on the Superior National Forest from disposition under United States mineral and geothermal leasing laws, subject to valid existing rights. The purpose of the withdrawal request is protection of the natural resources and waters located on NFS lands from the potential adverse environmental impacts arising from exploration and development of fully Federally-owned minerals conducted pursuant to the mineral leasing laws within the Rainy River Watershed that flow into the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness Mining Protection Area in northeastern Minnesota. The USFS acknowledges this proposed request subjects these NFS lands to temporary segregation for up to 2 years from entry under the United States mineral and geothermal leasing laws. The USFS recognizes that any segregation or withdrawal of these lands will be subject to valid existing rights and therefore inapplicable to private lands owned in fee, private mineral estates, and private fractional minerals interests.

→ Draft Recovery Plan for Texas Coastal Bend Shortgrass Prairie Species

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The US Fish and Wildlife Service announce the availability of the draft Texas Coastal Bend Shortgrass Prairie Multi-Species Recovery Plan, which includes the slender rush-pea (Hoffmannseggia tenella) and South Texas ambrosia (Ambrosia cheiranthifolia). Both species are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The draft recovery plan includes specific recovery objectives and criteria that, when achieved, will enable removal of both species from the list of endangered and threatened plants. The US Fish and Wildlife Service request review and comment on this plan from local, State, and Federal agencies; tribes; and the public. They will also accept any new information on the status of the slender rush-pea and South Texas ambrosia throughout each species' range to assist in finalizing the recovery plan.

→ Notice of Rule-making to Revise Population Designation of North Carolina Red Wolves

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The US Fish and Wildlife Service is notifying the public and other agencies that they intend to begin gathering information necessary to revise the current population designation of red wolves (Canis rufus) in North Carolina. The red wolf is currently listed as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. Today, the only population of red wolves in the wild is the non-essential experimental population established around Alligator River in North Carolina. All other individuals of this species are found in captive facilities around the country. The Service is proposing to change the goal of the current NEP project from solely that of establishing a self-sustaining wild population to a goal of also supporting viability of the captive wolves of the red wolf breeding program, meaning that the captive wolves and the NEP will be managed as one single meta-population. To do so, the Fish and Wildlife Service will be preparing a draft environmental review. This notice calls for suggestions and information on the scope of issues that need to be included in their environmental review. 

 

→ Review of National Monuments

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This is the first ever formal public comment period for members of the public to officially weigh in on monument designations under the Antiquities Act of 1906. Executive Order 13792 directs the Secretary of the Interior to review certain National Monuments designated or expanded under the Antiquities Act of 1906. The list of monuments being reviewed can be found in the Federal Register text (use link below). Among other provisions, Section 1 of the Executive Order states that designations should reflect the Act’s “requirements and original objectives” and “appropriately balance the protection of landmarks, structures, and objects against the appropriate use of Federal lands and the effects on surrounding lands and communities.”  One consideration of the Department of the Interior is whether designated lands are appropriately classified under the Act as “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, [or] other objects of historic or scientific interest”."