Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Recovery Plan for the New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse

CourtFish And Wildlife Service
Citation87 FR 1774
Record Number2022-00362
Publication Date12 January 2022
Federal Register, Volume 87 Issue 8 (Wednesday, January 12, 2022)
[Federal Register Volume 87, Number 8 (Wednesday, January 12, 2022)]
                [Notices]
                [Pages 1774-1776]
                From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
                [FR Doc No: 2022-00362]
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                DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
                Fish and Wildlife Service
                [FWS-R2-ES-2021-0136; FXES11130200000-212-FF02ENEH00]
                Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Recovery
                Plan for the New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse
                AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
                ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.
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                SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the
                availability of our 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. We
                request review and comment on this draft recovery plan from local,
                State, and Federal agencies; Tribes; nongovernmental organizations; and
                the public.
                DATES: We must receive any comments on or before March 14, 2022.
                Comments submitted online at http://www.regulations.gov (see ADDRESSES)
                must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on March 14, 2022.
                ADDRESSES:
                 Obtaining Documents: You may obtain a copy of the draft recovery
                plan and species status assessment by the following methods:
                 Internet: Go to one of the following sites:
                 [cir] http://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2021-0136;
                 [cir] http://ecos.fws.gov/ecp/species/7965; or
                 [cir] https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/NewMexico/.
                 U.S. mail: Send a request to U.S. Fish and Wildlife
                Service, New Mexico Ecological Services Field Office (NMESFO), 2105
                Osuna NE, Albuquerque, NM 87113.
                 Telephone: 505-346-2525 or 800-299-0196.
                 Submitting Comments: Submit your comments in writing by one of the
                following methods:
                 Internet: http://www.regulations.gov. Search for and
                submit comments on Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2021-0136.
                 U.S. mail: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No.
                FWS-R2-ES-2021-0136; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS:
                PRB/3W, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.
                 For additional information about submitting comments, see Request
                for Public Comments and Public Availability of Comments under
                SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.
                FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Shawn Sartorius, Field Supervisor, at
                505-346-2525, or by email at [email protected]. Individuals who are
                hearing or speech impaired may call the Federal Relay Service at 1-800-
                877-8339 for TTY assistance.
                SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
                (USFWS), announce the availability of our draft recovery plan for New
                Mexico meadow jumping mouse (Zapus hudsonius luteus), which we listed
                as endangered in 2014 (79 FR 33119) under the Endangered Species Act of
                1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The subspecies is
                endemic to New Mexico, Arizona, and a small area of southern Colorado.
                It nests in dry soils and uses dense riparian vegetation up to an
                elevation of about 9,500 feet. The draft recovery plan includes
                specific goals, objectives, and criteria that may help to inform our
                consideration of whether to reclassify the species as threatened (i.e.,
                ``downlist'') or remove the subspecies from the Federal List of
                Endangered and Threatened Wildlife (i.e., ``delist''). We request
                review of and comment on the draft recovery plan from local, State, and
                Federal agencies; Tribes; nongovernmental organizations; and the
                public.
                Recovery Planning and Implementation
                 Section 4(f) of the ESA requires the development of recovery plans
                for listed species, unless such a plan would not promote the
                conservation of a particular species. Also pursuant to section 4(f) of
                the ESA, a recovery plan must, to the maximum extent practicable,
                include:
                 (1) A description of site-specific management actions as may be
                necessary to achieve the plan's goals for the conservation and survival
                of the species;
                 (2) Objective, measurable criteria that, when met, would support a
                determination under section 4(a)(1) that the species should be removed
                from the List of Endangered and Threatened Species; and
                 (3) Estimates of the time and costs required to carry out those
                measures needed to achieve the plan's goal and to achieve intermediate
                steps toward that goal.
                 In 2016 the USFWS revised its approach to recovery planning, and is
                now using a process termed recovery planning and implementation (RPI)
                (see https://www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/RPI.pdf). The RPI
                approach is intended to reduce the time needed to develop and implement
                recovery plans, increase recovery plan relevance 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 addresses the statutorily required elements under section 4(f) of
                the Act, including site-specific management actions, objective and
                measurable recovery criteria, and the estimated time and cost to
                recovery. The RPI recovery plan is supported by two supplementary
                documents: A species status assessment (SSA), which describes the best
                [[Page 1775]]
                available scientific information related to the biological needs of the
                species and assessment of threats, and a recovery implementation
                strategy, which details the particular near-term activities needed to
                implement the recovery actions identified in the recovery plan. Under
                this approach, we can more nimbly incorporate new information on
                species biology or details of recovery implementation by updating these
                supplementary documents without concurrent revision of the entire
                recovery plan, unless changes to statutorily required elements are
                necessary.
                Species Background
                 On June 10, 2014, we published a final rule (79 FR 33119) to list
                the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse as endangered. On March 16, 2016,
                we published a final rule (81 FR 14264) designating critical habitat
                for the subspecies. The New Mexico meadow jumping mouse is a small (181
                to 233 millimeters (mm); 7.1 to 9.2 inches (in) in total length) dark
                brown rodent with an extremely long, bicolored tail (125.1 mm; 4.9 in),
                with a white underside and yellowish-brown sides. It is a true
                hibernator, hibernating from October through May, and is active from
                late May or early June into early October. The subspecies occurs within
                elevations ranging from approximately 1,372 m (4,500 ft) up to
                approximately 2,896 m (9,500 ft). It is a habitat specialist that
                requires dense riparian herbaceous vegetation with a minimum height of
                61 cm (24 in) associated with seasonally available or perennial
                (persistent) flowing water, moist soils, and adjacent uplands that can
                support the vegetation characteristics needed for jumping mouse
                foraging, breeding, and hibernating.
                 Past and current habitat loss has resulted in the extirpation of
                historical populations and has reduced the size and increased the
                isolation of existing populations. The primary sources of current and
                anticipated future habitat loss include (1) livestock, elk, and feral
                horse grazing pressure that is incompatible with maintaining needed
                vegetation structure and diversity (i.e., contributes to riparian
                herbaceous vegetation loss); (2) incompatible water management and use
                (e.g., dams and water diversion and mowing along irrigation ditches);
                (3) lack of water due to drought (exacerbated by climate change); and
                (4) severe wildland fires that cause changes to riparian habitat (also
                exacerbated by climate change). Additional sources of habitat loss are
                likely to occur from post-fire scouring floods, stream incision
                resulting in disconnection of the floodplain from the stream channel,
                loss of beaver ponds, highway construction and maintenance, residential
                and commercial development, coalbed methane development, and
                unregulated recreation.
                Recovery Criteria
                 The draft recovery criteria are summarized below. For a complete
                description of the rationale behind the objective, measurable criteria,
                the recovery strategy, site-specific management actions, and estimated
                time and costs associated with recovery, refer to the draft recovery
                plan for New Mexico meadow jumping mouse (see ADDRESSES for document
                availability).
                 The ultimate recovery goal is to delist the subspecies by ensuring
                the long-term viability in the wild. The New Mexico meadow jumping
                mouse currently is known to occur within thirteen 8th hydrological unit
                code (HUC8) subunits distributed across the subspecies' historical
                range in eastern Arizona, southern Colorado, and New Mexico. The
                thirteen HUC8s are within six geographical units (GUs) that contain the
                currently known populations. In the recovery plan, we define the
                following criteria for downlisting and delisting.
                Downlisting Criteria
                 Criterion 1: Occupied riparian and adjacent upland New Mexico
                meadow jumping mouse habitat within each of 13 HUC8s are protected,
                maintained, and/or restored.
                 Criterion 2: Within an occupied HUC8, an overall stable or
                increasing New Mexico meadow jumping mouse estimate population trend is
                documented over an 8-year period.
                 Criterion 3: Threats to New Mexico meadow jumping mouse are
                decreasing or abated when the protection and expansion of occupied New
                Mexico meadow jumping mouse riparian functionally connected habitat and
                adjacent upland habitat meet Criteria 1 and 2.
                 Criterion 4: At least one HUC8 in each of the GUs has functional
                habitat and population(s) maintained as to meet criteria 1 and 2 above,
                to ensure genetic and ecological representation.
                Delisting Criteria
                 Criterion 1: Occupied riparian and adjacent upland New Mexico
                meadow jumping mouse habitat within each of 16 HUC8s are protected,
                maintained, and/or restored.
                 Criterion 2: Within an occupied HUC8, an overall stable or
                increasing New Mexico meadow jumping mouse estimated population trend
                is documented over a 12-year period.
                 Criterion 3: Threats to New Mexico meadow jumping mouse are
                decreasing or abated when the protection and expansion of occupied New
                Mexico meadow jumping mouse riparian functionally connected habitat and
                adjacent upland habitat meet Criteria 1 and 2, and significant threats
                that include excessive grazing, ineffective water management and/or
                water diversions, stream degradation, and stream incision with flood
                plain disconnection are controlled or managed to the extent that they
                do not pose imminent or chronic downward pressures on the New Mexico
                meadow jumping mouse and its habitat.
                 Criterion 4: At least two HUC8s in each of the GUs have functional
                habitat and populations maintained as to meet criteria 1 and 2 above to
                ensure genetic and ecological representation.
                Request for Public Comments
                 Section 4(f) of the ESA requires us to provide public notice and an
                opportunity for public review and comment during recovery plan
                development. It is also our policy to request peer review of recovery
                plans (59 FR 34270; July 1, 1994). In an appendix to the final recovery
                plan, we will summarize and respond to the issues raised during public
                comment and peer review. Substantive comments may or may not result in
                changes to the recovery plan. Comments regarding recovery plan
                implementation will be forwarded as appropriate to Federal agencies or
                other entities so that they can be taken into account during the course
                of implementation of recovery actions.
                 We invite written comments on this draft recovery plan. In
                particular, we are interested in additional information regarding the
                current threats to the species, ongoing beneficial management efforts,
                and the costs associated with implementing the recommended recovery
                actions. The species status assessment is accessible as a supporting
                document for the draft recovery plan, but we are not seeking comments
                on that document. We will consider all comments we receive by the date
                specified in DATES, above, prior to final approval of the plan.
                Public Availability of Comments
                 All comments we receive, including names and addresses, will become
                part of the administrative record and will be available to the public.
                Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other
                personal identifying information in your comment, you
                [[Page 1776]]
                should be aware that your entire comment--including your personal
                identifying information--will be publicly available. While you may
                request in your comment that we withhold your personal identifying
                information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be
                able to do so.
                Authority
                 We developed our draft recovery plan and publish this notice under
                the authority of section 4(f) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as
                amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).
                Amy L. Lueders,
                Regional Director, Southwest Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
                [FR Doc. 2022-00362 Filed 1-11-22; 8:45 am]
                BILLING CODE 4333-15-P
                

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