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NFC: Fw: Re: Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: 90-


You know I'm a fishy kind of guy.  I'm forwarding it to the NFC.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Hagan Mark Civ AFFTC/EM" <mark.hagan at edwards_af.mil>
To: <KonSchmidt at msn_com>
Sent: Friday, December 14, 2001 11:44 AM
Subject: FW: Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: 90-

> Konrad,
> Don't know if are interested or if the fish conservancy would be.
> But here is some fish news.
> Mark
> [Federal Register: December 14, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 241)]
> [Proposed Rules]
> [Page 64793-64795]
> >From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
> [DOCID:fr14de01-23]
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
> 50 CFR Parts 223 and 224
> [Docket No. 011130289-1289-01; I.D. 111501C]
> Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: 90-Day Finding for 
> a Petition to List North American Green Sturgeon as Threatened or 
> Endangered under the Endangered Species Act
> AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and 
> Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.
> ACTION: Notice of petition finding; request for information and 
> comments.
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> SUMMARY: NMFS announces a 90-day finding for a petition to list the 
> North American green sturgeon (Acipenser medirostris) as a threatened 
> or endangered species and to designate critical habitat under the 
> Endangered Species Act (ESA). NMFS finds that the petition presents 
> substantial scientific information indicating that the petitioned 
> action may be warranted. NMFS will conduct a status review of the green

> sturgeon to determine if the petitioned action is warranted. To ensure 
> that the review is comprehensive, NMFS is soliciting information and 
> comments pertaining to this species, and seeks suggestions from the 
> public for peer reviewers for the agency's review of the petitioned 
> action.
> DATES: Information and comments on the action must be received by March

> 14, 2002.
> ADDRESSES: Requests for copies of the petition, and information and 
> comments on this action should be submitted to the Assistant Regional 
> Administrator, Protected Resources Division, NMFS, 501 West Ocean 
> Blvd., Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802-4213. The petition is available

> for public inspection by appointment, Monday through Friday, at the 
> same address.
> FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Craig Wingert, NMFS, Southwest Region,

> (562) 980-4021 or David O'Brien, NMFS, Office of Protected Resources, 
> (301) 713-1401.
> Background
>     Section 4 (b)(3)(A) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires 
> that NMFS make a finding as to whether a petition to list, delist, or 
> reclassify a species presents substantial scientific or commercial 
> information to indicate that the petitioned action may be warranted. 
> NMFS' ESA implementing regulations (50 CFR 424.14) define ``substantial

> information'' as the amount of information that would lead a reasonable

> person to believe that the measure proposed in the petition may be 
> warranted. In determining whether substantial information exists for a 
> petition to list a species, NMFS takes into account several factors, 
> including information submitted with and referenced in the petition and

> all other information readily available in NMFS files. To the maximum 
> extent practicable, this finding is to be made within 90 days of the 
> receipt of the petition, and the finding is to be published promptly in

> the Federal Register. If NMFS finds that a petition presents 
> substantial information indicating that the requested action may be 
> warranted, section 4 (b)(3)(B) of the ESA requires the Secretary of 
> Commerce (Secretary) to conduct a status review of the species and make

> a finding as to whether the petitioned action is warranted within 1 
> year of the receipt of the petition.
> Analysis of Petition
>     On June 12, 2001, NMFS received a petition from the Environmental 
> Protection Information Center, Center for Biological Diversity, and 
> Waterkeepers Northern California regarding the North American green 
> sturgeon. The petition requested that NMFS list the North American 
> green sturgeon as either an endangered or threatened species under the 
> ESA, and that it designate critical habitat for the species 
> concurrently with any listing determination.
>     The green sturgeon is a large, anadromous fish. In North America, 
> the green sturgeon ranges from Alaska to
> [[Page 64794]]
> Mexico in marine waters and forages in estuaries and bays ranging from 
> San Francisco Bay to British Columbia. The green sturgeon is recognized

> as a single species, but until recently, geographic variation in the 
> species that could indicate the presence of subspecies or distinct 
> populations had received little attention. Although Russian and Asian 
> forms of the green sturgeon are morphologically similar to the North 
> American form, Moyle et al. (1992) indicated the Russian and Asian 
> forms likely belong to a different taxon. Birstein (1993), among 
> others, recently demonstrated genetic differences between the Asian and

> North American forms, suggesting they are two distinct species. The 
> green sturgeon has been aged to 42 years old, but this is probably an 
> underestimate and ages of 60 to 70 are more likely. Males mature 
> sexually sometime after they reach 120 cm, or approximately 17 years 
> old. Females mature after attaining 145 cm, or approximately 21 years 
> old and may return to spawn every 3 to 7 years. Males spawn more 
> frequently.
>     Sturgeon species worldwide have experienced population declines 
> because they are a long-lived, late-maturing species that have low 
> fecundity and spawn only periodically, a combination of traits that 
> makes them particularly susceptible to over-fishing and habitat 
> degradation (Musick, 1999). Spawning green sturgeon are highly 
> vulnerable to over-fishing because they tend to hold in deep, cold 
> pools in rivers, thus concentrating the spawning population. In a 
> recent review paper, Musick et al. (2000) cited evidence that green 
> sturgeon populations have declined by 88 percent throughout much of its

> range, and there appears to have been recent declines in green sturgeon

> in the Umpqua River in Oregon and the Fraser River in Canada. Each of 
> the known or suspected spawning populations of green sturgeon presently

> contain at most a few hundred mature females (Musick et al., 2000).
>     The current spawning range of green sturgeon in North America has 
> contracted from its historic range, and they now spawn in only a 
> limited number of large river systems. Green sturgeon historically 
> spawned in the Eel, the South Fork Trinity, and the San Joaquin Rivers 
> in California, but apparently no spawning occurs there currently. The 
> only known remaining spawning populations of the North American green 
> sturgeon are in the Sacramento and Klamath River basins in California, 
> with more spawning apparently occurring in the Klamath River basin. It 
> is also possible that spawning occurs in the Rogue River in Oregon 
> since running-ripe adults and young of the year have been observed in 
> the Rogue River, but exact spawning locations have not been confirmed. 
> The contraction in spawning range, and the reduction in the number and 
> size of green sturgeon spawning populations, could represent a 
> significant reduction in the spawning area and potential for the 
> species. Since North American green sturgeon spawning is limited to low

> numbers of spawners in a very few rivers, they are vulnerable to local 
> changes in flow and temperature resulting from water diversions, 
> increased sedimentation, entrainment in pumping facilities, and 
> contaminant loading.
>     The green sturgeon in North America may face ongoing threats from 
> the loss and/or degradation of habitat, particularly in those river 
> systems where they are known or thought to spawn (e.g. Klamath and 
> Sacramento River basins), and impacts to the species from harvest in 
> sport fisheries or as bycatch in other fisheries (e.g. white sturgeon 
> fishery). Specific concerns regarding habitat loss and degradation 
> cited by the petitioners include the construction of dams and operation

> of large scale water projects in the Sacramento and Klamath Rivers and 
> other coastal systems, and logging agriculture, mining, road 
> construction and urban development in coastal watersheds. Some 
> fisheries that occur in coastal Washington and the Columbia River that 
> target white sturgeon or salmon take green sturgeon as bycatch. Some of

> this bycatch is in areas where green sturgeon spawning does not occur, 
> suggesting that green sturgeon harvest in some areas is supported by 
> the limited number of known spawning populations (e.g., Klamath and 
> Sacramento River basins).
> Petition Finding
>     Given documented declines in abundance and contraction of spawning 
> range, and the possibility of ongoing threats, NMFS has determined that

> the petition presents substantial information that listing green 
> sturgeon in North America under the ESA may be warranted. Accordingly, 
> NMFS will initiate a status review of the North American green 
> sturgeon. In accordance with section 4 (b)(3)(B) of the ESA, the 
> Secretary will make his determination whether the petitioned action is 
> warranted within 12 months from the date the petition was received 
> (June 12, 2001) following completion of an ESA status review.
> Listing Factors and Basis for Determination
>     Under section 4 (a)(1) of the ESA, a species may be determined to 
> be threatened or endangered based on any of the following factors: (1) 
> The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of 
> its habitat or range; (2) overutilization for commercial, recreational,

> scientific, or educational purposes; (3) disease or predation; (4) 
> inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or (5) other natural or 
> manmade factors affecting its continuing existence. Listing 
> determinations are based solely on the best available scientific and 
> commercial data after taking into account any efforts being made by any

> state or foreign nation to protect the species.
> Information Solicited
>     To ensure that North American green sturgeon status review is 
> complete and is based on the best available scientific and commercial 
> data, NMFS is soliciting information and comments on this species. NMFS

> specifically requests the following information: (1) Biological or 
> other relevant data that may help identify distinct population segments

> of this species (e.g., age structure, genetics, migratory patterns, 
> morphology); (2) the range, distribution, habitat use and abundance of 
> this species, including information on the spawning populations of the 
> species; (3) current or planned activities and their possible impact on

> this species (e.g., harvest impacts, habitat impacting activities or 
> actions); (4) efforts being made to protect this species in California,

> Oregon, Washington and Canada.
> Critical Habitat
>     NMFS is also requesting information on areas that may qualify for 
> critical habitat for the North American green sturgeon. Areas that 
> include the physical and biological features essential to the 
> conservation of the species should be identified. Essential features 
> include, but are not limited to: (1) space for individual and 
> population growth and for normal behavior; (2) food, water, air, light,

> minerals, or other nutritional or physiological requirements; (3) cover

> or shelter; (4) sites for reproduction and development of offspring; 
> and (5) habitats that are protected from disturbance or are 
> representative of the historical, geographical and ecological 
> distributions of the species (50 CFR 424.12).
>     For areas potentially qualifying as critical habitat, NMFS requests

> information describing (1) the activities
> [[Page 64795]]
> that affect the areas or could be affected by the designation, and (2) 
> the economic costs and benefits of additional requirements of 
> management measures likely to result from the designation.
> Peer Review
>     On July 1, 1994, NMFS, jointly with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
> Service, published a series of policies regarding listings under the 
> ESA, including a policy for peer review of scientific data (59 FR 
> 34270). The intent of the peer review policy is to ensure that listings

> are based on the best scientific and commercial data available. NMFS is

> soliciting the names of recognized experts in the field that could take

> part in the peer review process for this status review. Independent 
> peer reviewers will be selected from the academic and scientific 
> community, tribal and other Native American groups, Federal and state 
> agencies, the private sector, and public interest groups.
> References Cited
>     Birstein, V.J. 1993. Is Acipencer medirostris one or two species? 
> The Sturgeon Quarterly 1(2):8 (1993).
>     Moyle, P.B., P.J. Foley and R.M. Yoshiyama. 1992. Status of green 
> sturgeon, Acipencer medirostris, in California. Final Report submitted 
> to National Marine Fisheries Service, Terminal Island, CA.
>     Musick, J.A., M.M. Harbin, S.A. Berkeley, G.H. Burgess, A.M. 
> Eklund, L. Findley, R.G. Gilmore, J.T. Golden, D.S. Ha, G.R. Huntsman, 
> J.C. McGovern, S.J. Parker, S.G. Poss, E. Sala, T.W. Schmidt, G.R. 
> Sedberry, H. Weeks, and S.G. Wright. 2000. Marine, Estuarine, and 
> Diadromous Fish Stocks at Risk of Extinction in North America 
> (Exclusive of Pacific Salmonids). Fisheries 25(11): 6-30.
>     Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.
>     Dated: December 10, 2001.
> William T. Hogarth,
> Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries 
> Service.
> [FR Doc. 01-30930 Filed 12-13-01; 8:45 am]
> BILLING CODE 3510-22-S