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									                                           67530             Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 225 / Wednesday, November 22, 2006 / Proposed Rules

                                           U.S.C. 3717 and will accrue from the                    be as likely to contribute to such                       (2) The NTSB public Web site, located
                                           date of the billing until the NTSB                      understanding where nothing new                       at http://www.ntsb.gov, also includes an
                                           receives payment. The NTSB shall                        would be added to the public’s                        e-mail subscription service for press
                                           follow the provisions of the Debt                       understanding.                                        releases, safety recommendations, and
                                           Collection Act of 1982 (Pub. L. 97–365,                    (iii) Whether disclosure of the                    other announcements.
                                           96 Stat. 1749), as amended, and its                     requested information would contribute                   35. Section 801.61 is added as
                                           administrative procedures, including                    to the understanding of a reasonably                  follows:
                                           the use of consumer reporting agencies,                 broad audience of persons interested in
                                           collection agencies, and offset.                        the subject, as opposed to the individual             § 801.61   Appeals of Fee Determinations.
                                              (8) Where a requester has previously                 understanding of the requester. The                     Requesters seeking an appeal of the
                                           failed to pay a properly charged FOIA                   NTSB will consider a requester’s                      FOIA Officer’s fee or fee waiver
                                           fee to the NTSB within 30 days of the                   expertise in the subject area and ability             determination must send a written
                                           date of billing, the NTSB may require                   to effectively convey information to the              appeal to the NTSB’s Managing Director
                                           the requester to pay the full amount                    public.                                               within 20 days. The NTSB’s Managing
                                           due, plus any applicable interest, and to                  (iv) Whether the disclosure is likely to           Director will determine whether to grant
                                           make an advance payment of the full                     enhance the public’s understanding of                 or deny any appeal made pursuant to
                                           amount of any anticipated fee, before                   government operations or activities.                  § 801.21 within 20 working days
                                           the NTSB begins to process a new                           (3) In determining whether the                     (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and
                                           request or continues to process a                       requester is primarily in the commercial              legal public holidays) after receipt of
                                           pending request from that requester.                    interest of the requester, the NTSB will              such appeal, except that this time limit
                                              (9) Where the NTSB reasonably                        consider the following factors:                       may be extended for as many as 10
                                           believes that a requester or group of                      (i) The existence and magnitude of                 additional working days, in accordance
                                           requesters acting together is attempting                any commercial interest the requester                 with § 801.23.
                                           to divide a request into multiple series                may have, or of any person on whose                     Dated: November 15, 2006.
                                           of requests for the purpose of avoiding                 behalf the requester may be acting. The               Vicky D’Onofrio,
                                           fees, the NTSB may aggregate those                      NTSB will provide requesters with an
                                                                                                                                                         Federal Register Liaison Officer.
                                           requests and charge accordingly.                        opportunity in the administrative
                                              (e) Requirements for waiver or                       process to submit explanatory                         [FR Doc. 06–9289 Filed 11–21–06; 8:45 am]
                                           reduction of fees. For fee purposes, the                information regarding this                            BILLING CODE 7533–01–P

                                           NTSB will determine, whenever                           consideration.
                                           reasonably possible, the use to which a                    (ii) Whether the commercial interest
                                           requester will put the requested records.               is greater in magnitude than any public               DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
                                              (1) The NTSB will furnish records                    interest in disclosure.
                                           responsive to a request without charge,                    (4) Additionally, the NTSB may, at its             Fish and Wildlife Service
                                           or at a reduced charge, where the NTSB                  discretion, waive publication,
                                           determines, based on all available                      reproduction, and search fees for                     50 CFR Part 17
                                           information, that the requester has                     qualifying foreign countries,
                                           shown that:                                                                                                   Endangered and Threatened Wildlife
                                                                                                   international organizations, nonprofit
                                              (i) Disclosure of the requested                                                                            and Plants; Proposed Rule To List Six
                                                                                                   public safety entities, State and Federal
                                           information is in the public interest                                                                         Foreign Birds as Endangered
                                                                                                   transportation agencies, and colleges
                                           because it is likely to contribute                      and universities, after approval by the               AGENCY:   Fish and Wildlife Service,
                                           significantly to public understanding of                Chief, Records Management Division.                   Interior.
                                           the operations of activities of the                        (5) Where only some of the records to              ACTION: Proposed rule.
                                           government, and                                         be released satisfy the requirements for
                                              (ii) Disclosure of the requested                     a waiver of fees, the NTSB will grant a               SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and
                                           information is not primarily in the                     waiver for those particular records.                  Wildlife Service (Service), propose to
                                           commercial interest or for the                             (6) Requests for the waiver or                     list six avian species, black stilt
                                           commercial use of the requester.                        reduction of fees should address the                  (Himantopus novaezelandiae),
                                              (2) In determining whether disclosure                factors listed in paragraphs (2) and (3)              caerulean Paradise-flycatcher
                                           of the requested information is in the                  of this subsection, insofar as they apply             (Eutrichomyias rowleyi), giant ibis
                                           public interest, the NTSB will consider                 to each request. The NTSB will exercise               (Pseudibis gigantea), Gurney’s pitta
                                           the following factors:                                  its discretion to consider the cost-                  (Pitta gurneyi), Socorro mockingbird
                                              (i) Whether the subject of the                       effectiveness of its use of administrative            (Mimodes graysoni), and long-legged
                                           requested records concerns identifiable                 resources in determining whether to                   thicketbird (Trichocichla rufa) as
                                           operations or activities of the federal                 grant waivers or reductions of fees.                  endangered, pursuant to the Endangered
                                           government, with a connection that is                      (f) Services available free of charge.             Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act).
                                           direct and clear, and not remote or                        (1) The following documents are                    This proposal, if made final, would
                                           attenuated. In this regard, the NTSB will               available without commercial                          extend the Act’s protection to these
                                           consider whether a requester’s use of                   reproduction cost until limited supplies              species. The Service seeks data and
                                           the documents would enhance                             are exhausted:                                        comments from the public on this
                                           transportation safety or contribute to the                 (i) Press releases;                                proposal.
                                           NTSB’s programs.                                           (ii) Safety Board regulations (Chapter
                                              (ii) Whether the portions of a record                VIII of Title 49, Code of Federal                     DATES: We must receive comments and
                                           subject to disclosure are meaningfully                                                                        information from all interested parties
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                                                                                                   Regulations);
                                           informative about government                               (iii) Indexes to initial decisions, Board          by February 20, 2007. Public hearing
                                           operations or activities. The disclosure                orders, opinion and orders, and staff                 requests must be received by January 8,
                                           of information already in the public                    manuals and instructions;                             2007.
                                           domain, in either a duplicative or                         (iv) Safety recommendations; and                   ADDRESSES: Submit any comments,
                                           substantially identical form, would not                    (v) NTSB Annual Reports.                           information, and questions by mail to


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                                                             Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 225 / Wednesday, November 22, 2006 / Proposed Rules                                          67531

                                           the Chief, Division of Scientific                       and Riley 2000). It is only known to                  extremely rare (Matheu and del Hoyo
                                           Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife                       occur in one small, unprotected forest                1992; BirdLife International 2000). The
                                           Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Room                    on the island of Sangihe, north of                    remaining giant ibis population is found
                                           750, Arlington, VA 22203; or by fax to                  Sulawesi, Indonesia (BirdLife                         in Cambodia, although several sightings
                                           703–358–2276; by e-mail to                              International 2001; British Broadcasting              of giant ibis have been reported from
                                           ScientificAuthority@fws.gov or through                  Corporation 2003). This flycatcher is a               southern Laos. The species is
                                           the Federal eRulemaking Portal at                       sedentary insectivore that prefers lower-             considered extirpated from Viet Nam
                                           http://www.regulations.gov. Comments                    elevation primary forest habitat;                     and Thailand (BirdLife International
                                           and supporting information will be                      however, individuals have recently been               2000).
                                           available for public inspection, by                     found in steep, forested gullies (Birdlife               The IUCN categorizes the giant ibis as
                                           appointment, Monday through Friday                      International 2004).                                  a ‘‘Critically Endangered’’ species (IUCN
                                           from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the above                         In a review of Indonesia’s                         2005). The current status and trend for
                                           address.                                                development, degraded rainforests, and                the giant ibis is described as declining
                                                                                                   decreasing biological diversity,                      (IUCN 2005). The entire giant ibis
                                           FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
                                                                                                   Thompson (1996) noted that the                        population was estimated at about 250
                                           Marie T. Maltese at the above address,                  Indonesian rain forests are biologically              individuals in 1997, but current
                                           or by telephone, 703–358–1708; fax,                     rich, with more than 10,000 species of                estimates put the population at fewer
                                           703–358–2276; or e-mail,                                trees, 500 species of mammals, and                    than 50 mature individuals (BirdLife
                                           ScientificAuthority@fws.gov.                            1,500 species of birds, all playing a vital           International 2000).
                                           SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:                              role in regulating the ecosystem.
                                                                                                                                                         Gurney’s pitta
                                                                                                   However, Indonesia also has the world’s
                                           Background                                                                                                       The Gurney’s pitta, first described by
                                                                                                   longest list of species threatened with
                                              In this proposed rule, we propose to                 extinction, and in his review Thompson                Hume in 1875, is classified as
                                           list six foreign bird species as                        stated that the caerulean Paradise-                   ‘‘Critically Endangered’’ by the IUCN,
                                           endangered, pursuant to the Act (16                     flycatcher was believed to have become                and is considered to be on the verge of
                                           U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). These species are:                extinct during the 1980s. There were no               extinction (IUCN 2005). Until recently,
                                           giant ibis (Pseudibis gigantea), black                  sightings of live caerulean Paradise-                 the species was known only from a
                                           stilt (Himantopus novaezelandiae),                      flycatchers during the last century, and              single declining population in Thailand,
                                           Gurney’s pitta (Pitta gurneyi), Socorro                 the species was known only from the                   which occupies an extremely small and
                                           mockingbird (Mimodes graysoni),                         type specimen. Searches in 1985 and                   declining range (Rose 2003). However,
                                           caerulean Paradise-flycatcher                           1986 failed to locate the species, fueling            in 2003, surveys in southern
                                           (Eutrichomyias rowleyi), and long-                      the belief that the species was extinct.              Tenasserim, Myanmar, revealed a
                                           legged thicketbird (Trichocichla rufa).                 However, in 1998, a single female was                 minimum of 4 populations, although
                                                                                                   discovered by a joint expedition of the               these are extremely small, numbering no
                                           Black stilt                                                                                                   more than 10–12 pairs at a given
                                                                                                   University of Sam Ratulangi in
                                              The black stilt, or kaki, was first                  Indonesia and Britain’s York University.              location (BirdLife International 2003c).
                                           described by Gould in 1841 (BirdLife                    Subsequent expeditions located a                         The Gurney’s pitta was formerly
                                           International 2006). A small black                      population of at least 21 birds in 6                  considered common across much of its
                                           wading bird with long red legs, the                     localities around the base of Gunung                  range in lowland evergreen forests in
                                           species was formerly widespread across                  Sahendaruman, a mountain on the small                 peninsular Thailand and adjacent
                                           New Zealand. In 1950, the total                         island of Sangihe (Birdlife International             southern Tenasserim, Myanmar.
                                           population was estimated at 1,000 birds;                2004). The total caerulean Paradise-                  However, the species was not
                                           however, within one decade the                          flycatcher population is currently                    documented in Myanmar from 1914 to
                                           population decreased to fewer than 100                  estimated to range from 19 to 135 birds               2003, and between 1952 and 1986, there
                                           birds (Pierce 1996). When a concerted                   (BirdLife International 2005). The                    were no reported field observations in
                                           effort to manage the species began in                   species is considered ‘‘Critically                    Thailand. A few pittas were finally
                                           1981, only 23 adults remained in the                    Endangered’’ by the IUCN because of its               located in a small forest patch in
                                           wild population (Van Heezik et al.                      low estimated population and extremely                southern Thailand with the help of a
                                           2005). In August 2000, there were 48                    limited range, both which continue to                 wildlife smuggler in Bangkok, after he
                                           adults in the wild, of which 15–18 were                 undergo major and continuing declines                 was found to have an individual bird in
                                           females. An additional 11 male and 9                    (IUCN 2005).                                          his possession (Round and Gretton
                                           female adult black stilts are held in                                                                         1989). Intensive surveys since 1986
                                                                                                   Giant ibis                                            located the species in at least five
                                           captivity (Maloney and Murray 2001).
                                           Despite the release of captive-hatched                    The giant ibis is a lowland bird found              localities, although it has since been
                                           young, by 2005, only 4–13 breeding                      in both open and forested wetland                     extirpated from all but one of these
                                           pairs were observed in the wild (Van                    habitats (Collar et al. 1994). It inhabits            areas (BirdLife International 2000). The
                                           Heezik et al. 2005). The species is listed              open deciduous forest in extreme                      remaining viable population is located
                                           as ‘‘Critically Endangered’’ by the IUCN                southern Laos and a portion of northern               in a 2-square-mile area of Khao Nor
                                           (World Conservation Union) and the                      and eastern Cambodia (BirdLife                        Chuchi (Round and Gretton 1989) and
                                           New Zealand Department of                               International 2001). The species’ range               declined from 44–45 pairs in 1986, to 9
                                           Conservation (Maloney and Murray                        has been remarkably reduced,                          pairs in 1997, most of which were
                                           2001), and is considered one of the most                considering its historic range spanned                located outside of protected areas
                                           threatened shorebirds in the world                      central and peninsular Thailand, central              (BirdLife International 2000). Surveys in
                                                                                                   and northern Cambodia, southern and                   2000 and 2001 later estimated the total
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                                           (IUCN 2005).
                                                                                                   central Laos, and southern Viet Nam                   world population of the Gurney’s pitta
                                           Caerulean Paradise-flycatcher                           (King et al. 1975, as cited in Collar et              to be no more than 30 individuals, with
                                              The caerulean Paradise-flycatcher was                al. 1994). It appears that the species has            11–12 territories located in Khao Nor
                                           first recorded in 1874, and was not                     always been uncommon and local                        Chuchi and another 2 at nearby Tambon
                                           observed again until recently (Wardill                  throughout its range; sightings are                   Aw Tong, in Trang (Rose 2003). Field


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                                           67532             Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 225 / Wednesday, November 22, 2006 / Proposed Rules

                                           surveys in Myanmar resulted in the                      long been considered extinct and was                  information in response to the Annual
                                           discovery of four small populations.                    only recently rediscovered by                         Notice of Findings indicating that the
                                           BirdLife International has begun                        researchers after an absence of sightings             species exists, albeit in very small
                                           comprehensive surveys of remaining                      since 1894 (BirdLife International                    numbers. The magnitude of the threat to
                                           populations in southern Myanmar and                     2003b). It is classified as ‘‘Data                    the species is high, and the immediacy
                                           is working to conserve remaining                        Deficient’’ by the IUCN (IUCN 2005). A                of threat is imminent. Therefore, we
                                           lowland forests there (BirdLife                         taxon is designated as Data Deficient                 assigned this species a listing priority
                                           International 2004, 2005).                              when there is inadequate information to               ranking of 1 and determined that listing
                                                                                                   make a direct, or indirect, assessment of             this species is warranted at this time.
                                           Socorro Mockingbird
                                                                                                   its risk of extinction based on its                   Previous Federal Action
                                              The Socorro mockingbird is endemic                   distribution and/or population status.
                                           to Socorro Island in the Revillagigedo                  Listing of taxa in this category indicates               Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act requires
                                           Islands, Mexico (BirdLife International                 that more information is required and                 the Service to make a finding known as
                                           2000). In 1925, it was the most abundant                acknowledges the possibility that future              a ‘‘90-day finding’’ on whether a
                                           land-based bird in the area and was still               research will show that a threatened                  petition to list, delist, or reclassify a
                                           considered abundant in 1958. However,                   classification is appropriate (IUCN                   species has presented substantial
                                           the species began to decline over the                   2004). On November 28, 2003, BirdLife                 information indicating that the
                                           next 20 years, and by 1978, it was                      International announced that the                      requested action may be warranted. To
                                           believed to be on the verge of extinction               species had been located during a                     the maximum extent practicable, the
                                           (BirdLife International 2000). From 1988                survey of rare birds in Fiji. The long-               finding shall be made within 90 days
                                           through 1990, an estimated population                   legged thicketbird is only found in                   following receipt of the petition and
                                           of 50–200 pairs of mockingbirds                         dense undergrowth on the mountains of                 published promptly in the Federal
                                           remained in the area (Castellanos and                   Fiji. Researchers, it was reported,                   Register. If the 90-day finding is
                                           Rodriguez-Estrella 1993, as cited in                    discovered 12 pairs in Wabu, a remote                 positive (i.e., the petition has presented
                                           BirdLife International 2000). By 1993–                  Forest Reserve on the island of Viti                  substantial information indicating that
                                           1994, an estimated 350 individuals                      Levu, in Fiji (BirdLife International                 the requested action may be warranted),
                                           remained (Mart and Curry 1996, as cited                 2003b). The Darwin Initiative funded                  Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act requires the
                                           in BirdLife International 2000), and of                 the rare bird survey, which was                       Service to commence a status review of
                                           the 215 birds that were banded, 55                      conducted by BirdLife International,
                                                                                                                                                         the species if one has not already been
                                           percent were subadults (BirdLife                                                                              initiated under the Service’s internal
                                                                                                   and the project’s coordinator was the
                                           International 2000). The large                                                                                candidate assessment process. In
                                                                                                   first to hear the thicketbird’s song. It
                                           percentage of subadults suggests that the                                                                     addition, Section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act
                                                                                                   was this song that revealed the species’
                                           number of mature individuals is quite                                                                         also requires the Service to make a
                                                                                                   presence to the researchers as they were
                                           small (IUCN 2005). Current estimates of                                                                       finding within 12 months following
                                                                                                   recording the previously undescribed
                                           population size for the species range                                                                         receipt of the petition on whether the
                                                                                                   and unknown song (BirdLife
                                           from 50 to 249 individuals (BirdLife                                                                          requested action is warranted, not
                                                                                                   International 2003b). Nine pairs were
                                           International 2000). The Socorro                                                                              warranted, or warranted but precluded
                                                                                                   found along a 2-km length of stream in
                                           mockingbird is listed as ‘‘Critically                                                                         by higher-priority listing actions (this
                                                                                                   dense undergrowth thickets.                           finding is referred to as the ‘‘12-month
                                           Endangered’’ by the IUCN (IUCN 2005).
                                              The Socorro mockingbird dwells in                    Researchers believe these 18 birds                    finding’’). The 12-month finding is also
                                           moist dwarf forest and ravines with a                   reflect a relatively high local density in            to be published promptly in the Federal
                                           mixture of shrubs above 600 meters in                   this unlogged forest at an elevation of               Register. If the listing of a species is
                                           altitude (Mart and Curry 1996, as cited                 800–1000 meters (BirdLife International               found to be warranted but precluded,
                                           in BirdLife International 2000). Habitat                2003b). Two of the pairs were                         then the petition to list that species is
                                           vegetation is dominated by several tree                 accompanied by recently fledged                       treated as if it is a petition that is
                                           species, including Ilex socorrensis,                    juveniles. Encouraged by identifying the              resubmitted on the date of the finding,
                                           Guettarda insularis, and Oreopanax                      species’ song, researchers plan to fully              and is therefore subject to a new 12-
                                           xalapensis (BirdLife International 2000).               assess the population’s status and                    month finding within one year. The
                                           Understory vegetation includes                          develop a conservation plan. The local                Service publishes an Annual Notice of
                                           Triumfetta socorrensis and Eupatorium                   residents named the secretive                         Resubmitted Petition Findings (Annual
                                           pacificum (BirdLife International 2000).                thicketbird ‘‘Manu Kalou,’’ or ‘‘Spirit               Notice) for all foreign species for which
                                           The species is less common in taller                    Bird,’’ during the 19th century because               listings were previously found to be
                                           forest patches and groves of fig (Ficus                 of its ethereal voice. The thicketbird is             warranted but precluded.
                                           cotinifolia) at low and mid elevations,                 only known from four birds that were                     On November 28, 1980, we received
                                           and is no longer present in areas of                    collected from 1890 to 1894, and                      a petition (1980 petition) from Dr.
                                           Croton masonii scrub near sea-level                     unconfirmed reports of sightings in                   Warren B. King, Chairman, United
                                           (Mart and Curry 1996, as cited in                       1967, 1973, and 1991 (BirdLife                        States Section, International Council for
                                           BirdLife International 2000). The                       International 2000). Two individuals of               Bird Preservation (ICBP), to add 77
                                           species was previously widespread in                    a subspecies, Trichocichla rufa clunei,               foreign and native bird species to the
                                           all vegetation types on the Island,                     were discovered in 1974, but since then,              list of Threatened and Endangered
                                           including scrub, woodland, and                          there has been no evidence of its                     Wildlife (CFR 17.11). The species
                                           woodland edge (Cody 2005). Its current                  continued existence (BirdLife                         covered by the 1980 petition comprised
                                           range is extremely limited and                          International 2003b).                                 19 native species and 58 foreign species,
                                                                                                      We had previously concluded from                   including the black stilt and long-legged
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                                           continuing to decline (BirdLife
                                           International 2000).                                    the best available scientific and                     thicketbird (or long-legged warbler,
                                                                                                   commercial information that the long-                 which was the common name used in
                                           Long-Legged Thicketbird                                 legged thicketbird was likely to be                   the petition). In response to the 1980
                                             The long-legged thicketbird, originally               extinct, and listing the species was no               petition, we published a Notice to
                                           described by Reichenow in 1890, has                     longer warranted. However, we received                announce a positive 90-day finding and


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                                                             Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 225 / Wednesday, November 22, 2006 / Proposed Rules                                            67533

                                           initiation of status review on May 12,                  included the black stilt, caerulean                   development (Collar et al. 1994).
                                           1981 (46 FR 26464). On January 20,                      Paradise-flycatcher, giant ibis, Gurney’s             Further habitat disruption has been
                                           1984 (49 FR 2485), we published a                       pitta, and Socorro mockingbird. We                    attributed to overgrazing of wetlands,
                                           Notice of findings on pending petitions                 later determined that listing the long-               water extraction for agricultural
                                           and description of progress in listing                  legged thicketbird was warranted at this              irrigation, river channelization and
                                           actions (hereafter referred to as a Notice              time, after information received in                   modification for flood control schemes,
                                           of findings), but no action on the 1980                 response to the Annual Notice of                      and the proliferation of introduced
                                           petition was discussed. On May 10,                      Findings revealed that the species still              weeds (Maloney and Murray 2001).
                                           1985 (50 FR 19761), we published a                      exists in very low numbers.                           Land is seldom returned to its original
                                           Notice of findings in which we found                                                                          state once it has been modified for
                                                                                                   Summary of Factors Affecting the Black
                                           that the listing of all 58 foreign bird                                                                       agriculture or flood-control purposes.
                                                                                                   Stilt, Caerulean Paradise-Flycatcher,
                                           species listed on the 1980 petition was                                                                       The lack of suitable habitat for feeding
                                                                                                   Giant Ibis, Gurney’s Pitta, Socorro
                                           warranted but precluded by higher-                                                                            and successful nesting increases the
                                                                                                   Mockingbird, and Long-Legged
                                           priority listing actions (warranted but                                                                       species’ risk of extinction.
                                                                                                   Thicketbird                                              B. Overutilization for commercial,
                                           precluded). In our next Notice of
                                           findings, published on January 9, 1986                    Section 4(a)(1) of the Act (16 U.S.C.               recreational, scientific, or educational
                                           (51 FR 996), we found that the listing of               1533(a)(1)) and regulations promulgated               purposes. There is no known threat to
                                           54 species from the 1980 petition                       to implement the listing provisions of                the species from use for commercial,
                                           (including the black stilt and the long-                the Act (50 CFR part 424) set forth the               recreational, scientific, or educational
                                           legged thicketbird) continued to be                     procedures for adding species to the                  purposes.
                                           warranted but precluded, whereas new                    Federal lists. A species may be                          C. Disease or predation. Researchers
                                           information caused us to find that the                  determined to be an endangered or                     at the Auckland Zoo Wildlife Health
                                           listing of the 4 remaining species was no               threatened species due to one or more                 and Research Centre have identified a
                                           longer warranted. We published                          of the five factors described in section              number of ‘‘diseases of concern’’ for
                                           additional Notices of findings on July 7,               4(a)(1). These factors and their                      black stilts and other wading birds
                                           1988 (53 FR 25511), December 29, 1988                   application to the black stilt, caerulean             (Jakob-Hoff 2001). The diseases are
                                           (53 FR 52746), January 6, 1989 (54 FR                   Paradise-flycatcher, giant ibis, Gurney’s             considered threats to the wild
                                           554), and December 29, 1989 (54 FR                      pitta, Socorro mockingbird, and Long-                 population, particularly when releasing
                                                                                                   legged thicketbird follow.                            captive-reared birds to augment the wild
                                           554) in which the listing of the black
                                           stilt and long-legged thicketbird                                                                             population. These diseases include
                                                                                                   Black Stilt
                                           remained warranted but precluded.                                                                             salmonellosis, yersiniosis,
                                                                                                      A. The present or threatened                       campylobacteriosis, pasteurellosis (fowl
                                              On December 16, 1991, in response to                 destruction, modification, or                         cholera), capillariasis, cestodiasis,
                                           a petition submitted by the ICBP that we                curtailment of the black stilt’s habitat or           trematodiasis, avian malaria, and
                                           received on May 6, 1991 (1991 petition),                range. Habitat loss is one of the primary             coccidiosis (Jakob-Hoff 2001). Often
                                           we published a positive 90-day finding                  threats to the survival of the black stilt.           illness and mortality in captive-reared
                                           and announced the initiation of a status                Although the black stilt was once                     birds can be attributed to deficient
                                           review of 53 foreign birds (56 FR                       widespread throughout the wetlands of                 husbandry methods; therefore,
                                           65207). The 1991 petition included the                  North and South Islands, New Zealand,                 improved captive-rearing husbandry
                                           giant ibis, Gurney’s pitta, Socorro                     the species’ current breeding range is                techniques have been developed. The
                                           mockingbird, and caerulean Paradise-                    now restricted to wetlands and rivers of              need for a surveillance program to
                                           flycatcher among the 53 foreign birds                   the Upper Waitaki Valley, on the eastern              determine the prevalence of significant
                                           that the petitioner proposed to be added                side of the Southern Alps, in central                 disease outbreaks in wild black stilts,
                                           to the List of Endangered and                           South Island, New Zealand (Maloney                    and other wading birds, has been
                                           Threatened Wildlife. On March 28, 1994                  and Murray 2001). A few black stilts                  recommended, so that pre-release
                                           (59 FR 14496), we published a Proposed                  winter on North Island (BirdLife                      quarantine and health-screening
                                           rule to list 30 African birds from both                 International 2000). New Zealand’s                    protocols for captive-reared birds can be
                                           the 1980 and 1991 petitions, but in the                 black stilt recovery team has determined              developed to protect wild birds (Jakob-
                                           same Federal Register document we                       that approximately 10 percent of the                  Hoff 2001).
                                           included a Notice of findings in which                  population migrates to post-breeding                     Although habitat loss is a primary
                                           we announced our determination that                     grounds in coastal Canterbury and the                 threat to the survival of the black stilt,
                                           listing of 38 remaining species from the                northern North Island estuaries, where                the other is predation by animals that
                                           1991 petition was warranted but                         it utilizes these sites from February                 have been introduced to New Zealand,
                                           precluded. The species whose listing                    through June, before returning to                     including feral cats (Felis catus), ferrets
                                           was found to be warranted but                           breeding sites in July and August                     (Mustelo furo), stoats (M. erminea),
                                           precluded included the giant ibis,                      (Maloney and Murray 2001). The black                  hedgehogs (Erinaceus europaeus), and
                                           Gurney’s pitta, Socorro mockingbird,                    stilt requires large areas of habitat for             brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) (BirdLife
                                           and caerulean Paradise-flycatcher. Our                  feeding and nesting. Preferred habitat                International 2001, 2005). In addition,
                                           most recent Annual Notice of Findings                   includes riverbanks, lakeshores,                      populations of avian predators, such as
                                           on Resubmitted Petitions for Foreign                    swamps, and shallow ponds (Maloney                    the Australian harrier (Circus
                                           Species; Annual Description of Progress                 and Murray 2001).                                     approximans) and kelp gull (Larus
                                           on Listing Actions (Annual Notice of                       Habitat loss and degradation are                   dominicanus), are unnaturally high
                                           Findings) was published in the Federal                  largely human-induced and are the most                because of human-induced changes,
                                           Register on May 21, 2004 (69 FR 29354).                 difficult threats to control when                     such as the introduction of rabbits,
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                                           In that Annual Notice of Findings, based                undertaking the recovery of the species               agricultural development, and the
                                           on numerical rankings and other listing                 (IUCN 2005). Breeding grounds and                     presence of rubbish dumps (Maloney
                                           priorities, we found that listing five of               nesting sites have been eliminated by                 and Murray 2001). Most of the predation
                                           the previously petitioned species was                   drainage for agricultural purposes and                occurs at sunset or sunrise (Sanders and
                                           now warranted. The five species                         diversion of rivers for hydroelectric                 Maloney 2002). Sanders and Maloney


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                                           67534             Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 225 / Wednesday, November 22, 2006 / Proposed Rules

                                           (2002) observed cats taking adult birds                 species still exist throughout its historic           offspring of pure black stilt pairs. The
                                           during their study in the Upper Waitaki                 range (Maloney and Murray 2001).                      relatedness of all black stilts in the
                                           Basin, South Island.                                       The black stilt’s breeding success is              population has yet to be determined, but
                                              The black stilt’s life history and                   very low; for example, from 1977 to                   inbreeding depression is believed to be
                                           nesting behavior also contribute to                     1979, only 2 (6.1 percent) of the 33                  a possible threat (Maloney and Murray
                                           heavy predation losses experienced by                   chicks that hatched in unmanaged nests                2001).
                                           the species. They are solitary nesters,                 survived to fledge. Breeding success                     Based on the best available
                                           with a lengthy fledgling period, and                    (nesting success plus breeding success)               information, we find that the black stilt
                                           exhibit ineffective anti-predator                       for the same period was 0.9 percent. In               is in danger of extinction throughout its
                                           behavior, all factors contributing to                   1981, the New Zealand Department of                   range because of several threats, which
                                           significant mortality of nestlings and                  Conservation undertook management of                  are not easy to manage or control. The
                                           fledglings (Pierce 1996). They also                     the wild black stilt population. Predator             primary threat to the species is loss of
                                           prefer dry, stable riverbank locations for              control was initiated, which resulted in              the extensive habitat required for
                                           nesting, which may increase their                       fledging and breeding increases to 32.5               successful reproduction of the species.
                                           susceptibility to predation by                          percent and 10.8 percent, respectively.               Increased demand for electrical power
                                           mammalian predators, such as feral cats                 From 1992 through 1999, utilizing                     to fuel growing economies has resulted
                                           and ferrets, which use the banks as                     limited predator control and artificial               in the loss of wetlands due to river
                                           pathways (Pierce 1986, as cited in Collar               incubation, the fledging rate for 189                 diversions for hydroelectric power.
                                           et al. 1994; Maloney and Murray 2001).                  artificially incubated eggs that were                 Development of former breeding
                                           Despite 20 years of predator trapping,                  starting to hatch when they were placed               grounds and nesting sites, for
                                           there is only limited evidence to suggest               in the wild was 17 percent. Breeding                  agricultural purposes to provide food for
                                           that predator trapping is beneficial to                 success and the subsequent hatching                   rapidly increasing human populations,
                                           the survival of the black stilt (Keedwell               rates for wild chicks was 16.5 percent.               has further reduced available habitat.
                                           et al. 2002).                                           Recruitment rates are much lower, and                 Furthermore, the continuing reduction
                                              D. The inadequacy of existing                        the rate of natural wild recruitment is               and modification of wetland habitats
                                           regulatory mechanisms The species is                    unknown because the population has                    severely impacts New Zealand’s black
                                           not protected in the Appendices of the                  been artificially managed for the past 23             stilt reintroduction program due to the
                                           Convention on International Trade in                    years. The minimum recruitment rate                   lack of suitable available habitat for
                                           Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and                    (age ≥ 1 year) of captive-reared and                  release sites. A number of disease
                                           Flora (CITES) (CITES 2006).                             released black stilts is 22 percent                   organisms have been identified as
                                              The black stilt is a taonga species for              (Maloney and Murray 2001). However,                   significant threats to black stilts and
                                           the Ngai Tahu, the native tribal                        during the period from 1992 to 1999,                  other wading birds. This issue is most
                                           population in New Zealand. Taonga                       researchers found that only 8 of the 189              important when considering the vital
                                           species are birds, plants, and other                    artificially incubated chicks (4 percent)             importance of reintroduction programs
                                           animals found within the Ngai Tahu                      that hatched survived to 2 years of age               utilizing captive-reared birds. A
                                           Claim Area. Taonga species of the Ngai                  (Maloney and Murray 2001).                            surveillance program to determine the
                                           Tahu are legally recognized under the                      Disturbance of breeding and nesting                prevalence of disease outbreaks in wild
                                           Ngai Tahu Claims Settlement Act of                      grounds by outdoor recreational users of              black stilts and pre-release quarantine
                                           1998, which requires the New Zealand                    riverine habitats is also considered to be            and health-screening protocols for
                                           Department of Conservation to consult                   a serious threat to the species. These                captive-reared birds would help to
                                           with and have particular regard to the                  activities include indiscriminate use of              protect wild birds before reintroduction
                                           views of the Ngai Tahu when making                      off-road vehicles and jet-boats,                      of captive-reared birds but has not yet
                                           management decisions concerning these                   disturbance by hikers and dogs, and                   been implemented. Predation is a
                                           species (Maloney and Murray 2001).                      fishing and camping activities (Maloney               serious threat to the species, and
                                              E. Other natural or manmade factors                  and Murray 2001). Recreational use of                 predator control has been undertaken by
                                           affecting the continued existence of the                riverbed sites disturbs nesting birds and             the New Zealand Department of
                                           species. Conservation efforts for the                   prevents successful rearing of offspring              Conservation for over 20 years, but there
                                           species have been guided by two                         (BirdLife International 2006).                        is little evidence that it has been
                                           recovery plans, the first published in                     Conservation authorities and                       effective in increasing fledgling survival
                                           1993 and a second approved in 2002;                     scientists cite the risk of a single                  and recruitment.
                                           the latter covers the period 2001–2011.                 catastrophic level event destroying most
                                           The goal of the current recovery plan is                of the population as a serious threat,                Caerulean Paradise-Flycatcher
                                           to increase the black stilt population                  due to the species’ small population size                A. The present or threatened
                                           within the next 10 years to more than                   (Maloney and Murray 2001). Finally, the               destruction, modification, or
                                           250 breeding individuals, with a mean                   dispersed nature of individual birds                  curtailment of the caerulean Paradise-
                                           annual recruitment rate that exceeds the                limits potential contact between                      flycatcher’s habitat or range. The
                                           mean annual adult mortality rate                        possible mates, increasing the                        caerulean Paradise-flycatcher inhabits
                                           (Maloney and Murray 2001). A multi-                     likelihood of hybridization (Maloney                  one small primary forest around the
                                           phased program will be used to achieve                  and Murray 2001). In fact, interbreeding              base of Gunung Sahendaruman, on the
                                           this goal. The first phase involves                     with the pied stilt, or poaka (H.                     Island of Sangihe, Indonesia (BirdLife
                                           captive-rearing black stilts and releasing              himantopus), has been documented as                   International 2001). Virtually the entire
                                           large numbers of young. The second                      the population size has decreased                     Island of Sangihe has been deforested
                                           phase will utilize scientific research to               (Pierce 1996). Excess black stilt males               and converted to agricultural use. The
                                           determine the primary causes of adult                   are mating with female pied stilts in the             total area of forest available to the
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                                           and chick mortality and develop                         absence of black stilt females (Maloney               species is probably less than 8 km2
                                           mitigation measures to prevent excess                   and Murray 2001). Black stilt males and               (BirdLife International 2005).
                                           mortality (Maloney and Murray 2001). It                 pied stilt females can produce fertile                Monoculture agricultural practices such
                                           should be noted that all of the threats                 offspring, but survival to adult age is               as commercial coconut and nutmeg
                                           that have resulted in the decline of the                about 50 percent of the survival rate of              plantations, clear-cutting forests for


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                                           wood and paper production, and                          mortalities, such that the species is                 International 2005). The giant ibis also
                                           encroaching human habitation are                        unable to recover and slowly dwindles                 inhabits lakes, swamps, seasonally
                                           responsible for the large-scale land                    into extinction. The extinction of the                flooded marshes, paddy fields, open
                                           clearances that have occurred on                        species may even occur during a single                wooded plains, humid clearings, and
                                           Sangihe Island (BirdLife International                  event.                                                pools in deep forest (Matheu and del
                                           2001; Thompson 1996). The remaining                        Based on the best available                        Hoyo 1992). During drought conditions,
                                           habitat that does exist for the caerulean               information, we find that the caerulean               the species congregates at permanent
                                           Paradise-flycatcher is considered sub-                  Paradise-flycatcher is in danger of                   water holes (Matheu and del Hoyo
                                           optimal because the species prefers                     extinction throughout its range because               1992). However, the habitat loss through
                                           lower elevations (BirdLife International                of loss of habitat, and the diminished                wetland drainage for agricultural
                                           2001; Thompson 1996). Deforestation                     number of individuals remaining in the                purposes has reduced foraging and
                                           activities and destruction of habitat is a              only extant population. The caerulean                 roosting areas (BirdLife International
                                           constant and continuing problem on                      Paradise-flycatcher is found only in a                2005).
                                           Sangihe Island (Kirby 2003; BirdLife                    single 8 square kilometer forest on                      B. Overutilization for commercial,
                                           International 2001; Thompson 1996).                     Sangihe Island, Indonesia. However, the               recreational, scientific, or educational
                                              Since 1995, this species has been                    forests of Sangihe Island are rapidly                 purposes. We are unaware of any threats
                                           included in a biodiversity project,                     being clear-cut for wood and paper                    to the giant ibis from overutilization for
                                           Action Sampiri, which has resulted in                   production and the development of                     commercial, recreational, scientific, or
                                           the development of plans to reclassify 4                monoculture agricultural practices such               educational purposes.
                                           km2 of protection forest on Gunung                      as commercial coconut and nutmeg                         C. Disease or predation. There is no
                                           Sahengbalira as a wildlife reserve, with                plantations. The remaining habitat that               available information indicating that
                                           core areas as a strict nature reserve                   exists for the caerulean Paradise-                    disease or predation are threats to the
                                           (BirdLife International 2005). This                     flycatcher is considered sub-optimal                  species.
                                           conservation measure, however, has not                  because the species prefers forested                     D. The inadequacy of existing
                                           yet been implemented.                                   cover at lower elevations. Until 1998,                regulatory mechanisms. The species is
                                              B. Overutilization for commercial,                   when a single female was located, the                 not protected under CITES. It occurs
                                           recreational, scientific, or educational                species had been considered extinct.                  seasonally in the Xe Pian National
                                           purposes. There is no known threat to                   Later expeditions have located other                  Biodiversity Conservation Area (NBCA)
                                           the caerulean Paradise-flycatcher from                  individuals, and the current population               and the Dong Khanthung proposed
                                           use for commercial, recreational,                       is now believed to range from 19 to 135               NBCA, Laos, where the species is
                                           scientific, or educational purposes.                    individuals. The continuing threat to                 marginally protected by the NBCA
                                              C. Disease or predation. There is no                 the species’ habitat, considered in the               designation for a portion of each year.
                                           available evidence indicating that                      context of the small number of surviving              The giant ibis also occurs in land set
                                           disease or predation have led to the                    individuals is magnified and places the               aside as the Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary
                                           decline in caerulean Paradise-flycatcher                caerulean Paradise-flycatcher at risk of              (Sanctuary), Cambodia, which is
                                           populations or contribute to the species’               extinction. Other threats may also be                 considered to be one of the most
                                           risk of extinction.                                     affecting the species’ survival, but                  important areas for wildlife in
                                              D. The inadequacy of existing                        knowledge of the species is limited at                Cambodia. In 2003 and 2004, the
                                           regulatory mechanisms. The species is                   this time.                                            Service’s Rhino and Tiger Conservation
                                           not protected under CITES, and                                                                                Fund supported the Lomphat
                                           according to BirdLife International                     Giant Ibis                                            Conservation Project (LCP), which has a
                                           (2003), has no legal protection                            A. The present or threatened                       long-term goal of assisting rangers and
                                           nationally or internationally.                          destruction, modification, or                         field staff in the conservation of the
                                              E. Other natural or manmade factors                  curtailment of the giant ibis’ habitat or             Sanctuary’s living resources. The LCP
                                           affecting the continued existence of the                range. The giant ibis’ historic range                 had three goals: (1) Train and equip
                                           species. The total caerulean Paradise-                  extended from central and peninsular                  sufficient park rangers to prevent
                                           flycatcher population is currently                      Thailand, through central and northern                poaching and illegal take of wildlife and
                                           estimated to range from 19 to 135 birds                 Cambodia, southern and central Laos,                  forest products; (2) community outreach
                                           (BirdLife International 2005). The                      and southern Viet Nam (King et al.                    and education; and (3) wildlife
                                           species is considered ‘‘Critically                      1975, as cited in N.J. Collar et al. 1994).           monitoring. Six teams of rangers were
                                           Endangered’’ by the IUCN because of its                 Although never believed to be a                       trained during the duration of the LCP
                                           low estimated population and extremely                  common bird species, its range has been               and at that time, the Sanctuary had
                                           limited range, both which continue to                   reduced, with only a few birds                        instituted patrols no less than 15 days
                                           undergo major and continuing declines                   remaining in open deciduous forest                    per month. The rangers have been
                                           (IUCN 2005). Small populations are                      habitat in extreme southern Laos and a                extremely efficient in locating poachers,
                                           subject to three primary genetic risks:                 portion of northern and eastern                       illegal loggers, and entire camps set
                                           Inbreeding depression, loss of genetic                  Cambodia (BirdLife International 2001).               aside for poachers. The rangers have
                                           variation, and accumulation of new                      The species is considered to be                       been assisted by local villagers who are
                                           mutations. Inbreeding can have                          extirpated from Viet Nam and Thailand                 quite interested in offering information
                                           individual and population                               (BirdLife International 2000).                        to protect their resources. The
                                           consequences by either increasing the                      This lowland wading bird prefers                   relationship between the local
                                           phenotypic expression of recessive,                     open and forested wetland habitats,                   community and the rangers was
                                           deleterious alleles (Charlesworth and                   which have become increasingly rare in                developed using extensive public
                                                                                                   its remaining range (N.J. Collar et al.               outreach and education which has
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                                           Charlesworth 1987) or by reducing the
                                           overall fitness of individuals in the                   1994). Although little is known of its                improved conservation awareness
                                           population.                                             breeding biology, the giant ibis is                   throughout the Sanctuary and around its
                                              Stochastic events such as fire,                      believed to nest in trees. Deforestation              borders. Educational materials were
                                           typhoon, earthquake, tsunami, or other                  has reduced the number of nesting sites               developed and tailored to the villagers’
                                           natural disasters can result in extensive               available to the species (BirdLife                    after a socio-economic assessment was


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                                           67536             Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 225 / Wednesday, November 22, 2006 / Proposed Rules

                                           completed to determine how the                          periods of armed conflict and war.                    by the ground-dwelling pitta (Rose
                                           villagers used the local resources                      Hunting has also been a major threat to               2003).
                                           (WildAid 2003).                                         the species. However, habitat loss and                   Until 2003, ornithologists believed
                                              Unregulated hunting is believed to be                degradation, and decreased availability               approximately 20 Gurney’s pittas had
                                           a primary factor in the species’ decline,               of nesting sites, are the largest threats to          survived in the wild. However, in 2003,
                                           particularly when the birds flock around                the species. Much of the species’ former              a population of 10–20 pairs were
                                           waterholes during the dry season                        habitat has been drained, cut, irrigated,             observed at one lowland forest site in
                                           (BirdLife International 2005). The                      and plowed for agricultural uses.                     Myanmar, and in 2004, about 150 birds
                                           species’ large size probably makes it                                                                         were identified in the 50,000-ha
                                           vulnerable to hunting for subsistence                   Gurney’s Pitta
                                                                                                                                                         Ngawun Reserve Forest, the largest
                                           purposes. Furthermore, nearly                              A. The present or threatened                       remaining contiguous lowland forest in
                                           continuous war during much of the                       destruction, modification, or                         southern Myanmar (BirdLife
                                           previous century throughout much of                     curtailment of the Gurney’s pitta’s                   International 2003c, 2004). However,
                                           the species’ range has likely contributed               habitat or range. Gurney’s pitta prefers              the habitat is largely unprotected.
                                           to the decline of the species (Matheu                   secondary, lowland semi-evergreen                        B. Overutilization for commercial,
                                           and del Hoyo 1992). A public-awareness                  forest, usually 160 meters (m) or less in             recreational, scientific, or educational
                                           campaign to reduce hunting of large                     elevation. The species nests in                       purposes. Gurney’s pitta was formerly
                                           waterbirds in Laos and Cambodia uses                    understory Salacca palms during the                   popular in the pet trade and was
                                           the giant ibis as a symbol to depict all                wet season, from April through October.               overutilized for this purpose by local
                                           threatened waterbirds on the campaign’s                 Territories contain access to water and               snare-trappers (Rose 2003; BirdLife
                                           posters and books (BirdLife                             are located in forest edge habitat near               International 2005). Trapping for the
                                           International 2003). The materials are                  gully systems where moist conditions                  caged-bird trade continued to be a
                                           produced and distributed by The                         remain year-round (BirdLife                           serious threat until the early 1990s.
                                           Wildlife Conservation Society in Laos                   International 2000). The primary cause                Although trapping appears to have
                                           and Cambodia’s Wildlife Protection                      for the species’ decline is the nearly                ceased as the result of few available
                                           Office distributes information in an                    total clearance of lowland forest habitat             individuals, some hunting and trapping
                                           effort to reduce hunting of waterbirds                  in southern Myanmar and peninsular                    continues in the Khao Nor Chuchi
                                           (IUCN 2006). We are not aware of any                    Thailand (BirdLife International 2000).               protected area (Rose 2003). There is no
                                           national protective legislation.                        The lowland forests have been clear-cut               information indicating that scientific or
                                              E. Other natural or manmade factors                  for timber and conversion to croplands,               educational uses of the species are a
                                           affecting the continued existence of the                fruit orchards, and coffee, rubber, and               threat.
                                           species. The entire giant ibis population               oil-palm plantations. By 1987, only 20–
                                           was estimated at 250 individuals in                                                                              C. Disease or predation. There is no
                                                                                                   50 km2 of forest below 100 m remained                 information that indicates any threats to
                                           1997 (Rose and Scott 1997, as cited in                  in peninsular Thailand, and available
                                           BirdLife International 2006). The most                                                                        the species from disease or predation.
                                                                                                   habitat in this area continues to decline                D. The inadequacy of existing
                                           recent estimate indicates a total world-
                                                                                                   (BirdLife International 2000).                        regulatory mechanisms. The species
                                           wide population ranging from 50 to 249
                                           birds (BirdLife International 2006). The                   Attempts to census the species are                 was listed in CITES Appendix III by
                                           species occurs over a wide range and is                 difficult because the Gurney’s pitta is               Thailand in 1987 (CITES 2006), which
                                           highly sensitive to disturbance by                      shy, secretive, and relatively silent                 required that exports be accompanied
                                           humans. Considering the limited                         (WCMC 2004). To date, only three                      by an export permit. The species was
                                           number of mature adults believed to be                  Gurney’s pitta’s nests have been found                listed in CITES Appendix I in 1990,
                                           remaining in the population, the                        and monitored. The fledging rate from                 which prohibited further international
                                           potential exists for a reduction in                     those nests was 27.3 percent (Rose                    trade for commercial purposes, and also
                                           genetic variation. When a species                       2003). Because of the difficulty in                   required that any trade be legal and not
                                           becomes significantly reduced in                        locating the bird, until surveys were                 detrimental to the survival of wild
                                           number, the loss of genetic variation can               conducted in 1986–1989, habitat                       populations. As discussed under Factor
                                           result in inbreeding depression and an                  requirements were poorly understood.                  A, one of the few remaining populations
                                           increase in the expression of deleterious                  Following the rediscovery of Gurney’s              exists in Khao Nor Chuchi Wildlife
                                           alleles. Furthermore, small populations                 pitta at Khao Nor Chuchi in Myanmar                   Sanctuary, but nearby areas important to
                                           are more susceptible to stochastic                      in 1986, a non-hunting area was                       the species are not protected (Round
                                           events, such as severe weather, fires,                  established in 1987. This area was                    1999; BirdLife International 2000). In
                                           and other natural disasters, which could                upgraded to a wildlife sanctuary in                   1990, the Khao Nor Chuchi Lowland
                                           severely reduce or eradicate the entire                 1993; however, the most important and                 Forest Project was established to engage
                                           species in a single event. These factors                extensive areas of lowland forest have                the local community in management,
                                           contribute to an increased likelihood of                not been protected due to the presence                education programs, and ecotourism, to
                                           extinction of the species.                              of the local human population (Round                  reduce pressure on the remaining forest
                                              We are unaware of any other natural                  1999).                                                habitat. This project, however, has been
                                           or manmade factors affecting the                           Although there is a substantial                    met with only limited success as
                                           continued existence of this species.                    conservation effort involving adoption                economic incentives continue to govern
                                              Based on the best available                          of sustainable agriculture methods                    land-use decisions (BirdLife
                                           information, we find that the giant ibis                around the Khao Nor Chuchi protected                  International 2000). A survey in 2001
                                           is in danger of extinction throughout its               area, illegal forest clearance persists.              confirmed that protection and law
                                           range because of loss of habitat and                    Moreover, the recent practice of                      enforcement at Khao Nor Chuchi is
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                                           hunting. Never a common species, the                    planting oil palms (Elaeis guineensis) on             essentially nonexistent (Rose 2003).
                                           giant ibis now occupies a much reduced                  illegally cleared forest patches, which                  E. Other natural or manmade factors
                                           range than it did historically. Range                   are more profitable than rubber                       affecting the continued existence of the
                                           reduction has occurred over the last                    plantations, removes the natural ground               species. We are unaware of any other
                                           century during the nearly continuous                    cover used for feeding and concealment                specific natural or manmade factors


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                                           affecting the continued existence of this               purposes. There is no available                       mockingbirds (BirdLife International
                                           species.                                                information indicating that the Socorro               2000). The IUCN lists the species as
                                              Based on the best available                          mockingbird has been overutilized for                 Critically Endangered because of loss of
                                           information, we find that the Gurney’s                  commercial, recreational, scientific, or              habitat and the small remaining number
                                           pitta is in danger of extinction                        educational purposes.                                 of mature adults (IUCN 2006).
                                           throughout its range because of loss of                    C. Disease or predation. During the                Considering the limited number of
                                           habitat and overharvest for the caged                   early 1970s, cats were introduced to the              mature adults believed to be remaining
                                           bird trade, especially prior to 1990. The               islands, and predation by feral cats was              in the population, the potential exists
                                           lowland forest habitat that is preferred                initially considered a factor contributing            for a reduction in genetic variation.
                                           by the Gurney’s pitta has been nearly                   to the species’ decline (BirdLife                     When a species becomes significantly
                                           totally cleared in southern Myanmar                     International 2000). However, recent                  reduced in number, the loss of genetic
                                           and peninsular Thailand. These                          examinations of feral cat stomach                     variation can result in inbreeding
                                           lowland forests have been clear-cut for                 contents and scat have not provided                   depression and an increase in the
                                           timber and conversion to croplands,                     substantive evidence of feral cat                     expression of deleterious alleles.
                                           fruit orchards, and monoculture coffee,                 predation as a significant factor in the              Furthermore, small populations are
                                           rubber, and oil-palm plantations.                       decline of the Socorro mockingbird (J.                more susceptible to stochastic events,
                                           Gurney’s pitta was popular in the pet                   Martinez in litt., as cited in BirdLife               such as severe weather, fires, and other
                                           bird trade until fewer and fewer                        International 2000). Nonetheless, plans               natural disasters, which could severely
                                           individuals could be located during the                 to eradicate feral cats and introduced                reduce or eradicate the entire species in
                                           1980s. By 1990, the species had been                    sheep from Socorro were put forward as                a single event. These factors contribute
                                           transferred from CITES Appendix III to                  early as 1999 (B. Tershy and B. Keitt in              to an increased likelihood of extinction
                                           Appendix I, which prohibits                             litt. 1999 as cited in BirdLife                       of the species.
                                           commercial trade in the species.                        International 2000). In 2001, Grupo de                   We are unaware of any other specific
                                           However, the previous large-scale                               ´                ´
                                                                                                   Ecologıa y Conservacion de Islas, A.C.,               natural or manmade factors affecting the
                                           snaring of birds for the trade had                      (GECI) received a North American                      continued existence of this species.
                                           already reduced the population to such                  Wetlands Conservation Act grant to                       Based on the best available
                                           a small number of individuals that the                  initiate the eradication of cats and sheep            information, we find that the Socorro
                                           species has become in danger of                         from Socorro Island (USFWS 2006). We                  mockingbird is in danger of extinction
                                           extinction. Additionally, the remaining                 are not aware of any disease concerns                 throughout its range because of loss of
                                           small populations are susceptible to the                that may have led to the decline of                   habitat. The primary cause of habitat
                                           three genetic risks discussed earlier:                  Socorro mockingbird species.                          loss and range contraction is
                                           inbreeding depression, loss of genetic                     D. The inadequacy of existing                      overgrazing due to the introduction of
                                           variation, and accumulation of new                      regulatory mechanisms. The species is                 domestic sheep. Introduced rabbits and
                                           deleterious mutations.                                  not protected under CITES (CITES                      pigs have also destroyed habitat by
                                                                                                   2006). Although the Revillagigedo                     preventing woodland regeneration, thus
                                           Socorro mockingbird                                     Islands were declared a biosphere                     forcing the complete extirpation of the
                                              A. The present or threatened                         reserve in 1994, this does not confer                 Socorro mockingbird from most of its
                                           destruction, modification, or                           protection upon the Islands (Rodriguez-               former range.
                                           curtailment of Socorro mockingbird’s                    Estrella et al. 1996, as cited in BirdLife
                                           habitat or range. The Socorro                           International 2000). We are unaware of                Long-Legged Thicketbird
                                           mockingbird’s habitat and range have                    any further protection for the species.                  A. The present or threatened
                                           been severely degraded and reduced                         E. Other natural or manmade factors                destruction, modification, or
                                           due to intensive grazing by introduced                  affecting the continued existence of the              curtailment of the long-legged
                                           domestic sheep (BirdLife International                  species. In 1925, the Socorro                         thicketbird’s habitat or range. Much of
                                           2000). Rabbits and pigs that were also                  mockingbird was the most abundant                     the forest habitat the long-legged
                                           introduced in the area have destroyed                   land-based bird on Socorro Island, and                thicketbird inhabits is unprotected in
                                           habitat by preventing woodland                          it was still considered plentiful in 1958.            Fiji and there is a high probability that
                                           regeneration (Cody 2005). Prior to                      However, within the next 20 years, the                it will be logged and converted to
                                           widespread unchecked grazing, the                       species began to decline, and by 1978 it              plantations for big-leaf mahogany
                                           species was distributed in all vegetation               was feared to be on the verge of                      (Swietenia macrophylla) in the near
                                           types on the island including scrub,                    extinction (BirdLife International 2000).             future (BirdLife International 2003b).
                                           woodland, and woodland edge (Cody                       Field surveys conducted from 1988                     Converting forest habitat to mahogany
                                           2005). This species is also absent in                   through 1990 yielded population                       plantations produces unsuitable habitat
                                           degraded habitat where hop bush                         estimates of 50–200 remaining pairs                   for this species and is a putative factor
                                           (Dodonaea viscose) has replaced the                     (Castellanos and Rodr 1993 as cited in                in the species’ decline.
                                                                       ´      ´
                                           original understory (Martınez-Gomez et                  BirdLife International 2000). Further                    B. Overutilization for commercial,
                                           al. 2001). It is now restricted to mixed                surveys carried out in 1993–1994                      recreational, scientific, or educational
                                           open woodland and wooded canyons at                     resulted in a population estimate of 350              purposes. We are unaware of any threat
                                           higher elevations and is most common                    individuals inhabiting the island                     to the species from overutilization for
                                           in undisturbed habitat (Cody 2005).                     (MartGand Curry 1996 as cited in                      commercial, recreational, scientific, or
                                           Grazing has completely extirpated the                   BirdLife International 2000). During the              educational purposes.
                                           species from the southern portion of the                survey, 215 birds were banded and 55                     C. Disease or predation. Mongooses
                                           island. Reduction of habitat is                         percent of the total was found to be                  were introduced in 1883 to Fiji to kill
                                                                                                   subadults (BirdLife International 2000).              rats (IUCN et al 2006). However, they
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                                           considered the primary cause of
                                           population and range declines of the                    The large percentage of subadults                     are considered a serious predatory
                                           Socorro mockingbird (BirdLife                           suggests that the current number of                   threat because they also prey on ground-
                                           International 2000; IUCN 2005).                         mature birds is quite small (IUCN 2003).              dwelling forest birds, such as the long-
                                              B. Overutilization for commercial,                   Population estimates in 2000 ranged                   legged thicketbird (BirdLife
                                           recreational, scientific, or educational                from 50 to 249 individual Socorro                     International 2005). The mongoose is


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                                           67538             Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 225 / Wednesday, November 22, 2006 / Proposed Rules

                                           responsible for the local extirpation of                increase in the expression of deleterious             prohibitions and exceptions that apply
                                           all of the ground-nesting birds on the                  alleles. Furthermore, small populations               to all endangered wildlife. As such,
                                           main Fijian islands (BirdLife                           are more susceptible to stochastic                    these prohibitions would be applicable
                                           International 2004). It is likely that                  events, such as severe weather, fires,                to the black stilt, caerulean Paradise-
                                           mongoose predation has contributed to                   and other natural disasters, which could              flycatcher, giant ibis, Gurney’s pitta,
                                           the decline of the long-legged                          significantly reduce or eradicate the                 Socorro mockingbird, and long-legged
                                           thicketbird, given that the species is                  entire species in a single event. These               thicketbird. These prohibitions,
                                           ground-dwelling and currently                           factors contribute to an increased                    pursuant to 50 CFR 17.21, in part, make
                                           restricted to rainforests in the                        likelihood of extinction of the species.              it illegal for any person subject to the
                                           mountainous regions of the Fijian                          Based on the best available                        jurisdiction of the United States to
                                           Islands.                                                information, we find that the long-                   ‘‘take’’ (includes harass, harm, pursue,
                                              D. The inadequacy of existing                        legged thicketbird is in danger of                    hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture,
                                           regulatory mechanisms. The forest                       extinction throughout its range because               or to attempt any of these) within the
                                           habitat of the long-legged thicketbird is               the species is an island endemic found                United States or upon the high seas;
                                           unprotected in Fiji (BirdLife                           in extremely limited habitat. Other                   import or export; deliver, receive, carry,
                                           International 2004). We are not aware of                threats include loss of habitat and                   transport, or ship in interstate or foreign
                                           any existing regulatory mechanisms for                  predation. Degraded forest habitat is                 commerce in the course of commercial
                                           the conservation of the species. The                    unsuitable for the species and is                     activity; or sell or offer for sale in
                                           species is not protected under CITES                    believed to be a factor in the species’               interstate or foreign commerce any
                                           (CITES 2006).                                           decline. Predation by introduced                      endangered wildlife species. It also is
                                              E. Other natural or manmade factors                  mongoose is likely also a threat to the               illegal to possess, sell, deliver, carry,
                                           affecting the continued existence of the                species, as they have been the cause of               transport, or ship any such wildlife that
                                           species. The long-legged thicketbird is a               extirpation of many other ground-                     has been taken in violation of the Act.
                                           reclusive island endemic, found only in                 dwelling bird species in the Fijian                   Certain exceptions apply to agents of the
                                           the mountain forests of Fiji, which are                 Islands.                                              Service and State conservation agencies.
                                           rapidly being destroyed by logging and                                                                           Permits may be issued to carry out
                                           development of bigleaf mahogany                         Available Conservation Measures
                                                                                                                                                         otherwise prohibited activities
                                           plantations. Previously believed to be                     Conservation measures provided to                  involving endangered wildlife species
                                           extinct, the species was rediscovered in                species listed as endangered or                       under certain circumstances.
                                           2004, and only a small number of                        threatened under the Act include                      Regulations governing permits are
                                           individuals have been located at this                   recognition, recovery actions,                        codified at 50 CFR 17.22. With regard to
                                           time. Researchers discovered 12 pairs of                requirements for Federal protection, and              endangered wildlife, a permit may be
                                           long-legged thicketbirds in Wabu, a                     prohibitions against certain practices.               issued for the following purposes: For
                                           remote Forest Reserve on the island of                  Recognition through listing results in                scientific purposes, to enhance the
                                           Viti Levu, Fiji (BirdLife International                 public awareness, and encourages and                  propagation or survival of the species,
                                           2003). The survey coordinator was the                   results in conservation actions by                    and for incidental take in connection
                                           first to notice a previously unknown                    Federal and State governments, private                with otherwise lawful activities.
                                           bird song on Viti Levu while field                      agencies and groups, and individuals.
                                           personnel were recording other species’                    Section 7(a) of the Act, as amended,               Public Comments Solicited
                                           songs in the area. Recognition of the                   and as implemented by regulations at 50                 The Service intends that any final
                                           unknown bird song finally led the team                  CFR part 402, requires Federal agencies               action resulting from this proposal will
                                           to nine pairs of long-legged thicketbirds               to evaluate their actions within the                  be as accurate and as effective as
                                           inhabiting in dense undergrowth                         United States or on the high seas with                possible. Therefore, comments or
                                           thickets along a 2-km reach of stream at                respect to any species that is proposed               suggestions from the public, other
                                           an elevation of 800–1000 meters                         or listed as endangered or threatened,                concerned governmental agencies, the
                                           (BirdLife International 2003). Field                    and with respect to its critical habitat,             scientific community, industry, or any
                                           personnel believe that the discovery of                 if any is being designated. However,                  other interested party concerning this
                                           18 birds living in such a limited area of               given that the black stilt, caerulean                 proposed rule are hereby solicited.
                                           old-growth forest reflects a relatively                 Paradise-flycatcher, giant ibis, Gurney’s             Comments particularly are sought
                                           high local density (BirdLife                            pitta, Socorro mockingbird, and long-                 concerning biological information,
                                           International 2003). Two pairs of the                   legged thicketbird are not native to the              population status, commercial trade, or
                                           birds were accompanied by recently                      United States, no critical habitat is being           other relevant data concerning any
                                           fledged juveniles. Additional birds have                proposed for designation with this rule.              threat (or lack thereof) to these species.
                                           been located during recent surveys, and                    Section 8(a) of the Act authorizes the               Our practice is to make comments,
                                           the population is now believed to range                 provision of limited financial assistance             including names and home addresses of
                                           from 50 to 249 individuals, with a stable               for the development and management of                 respondents, available for public review
                                           trend (BirdLife International 2006). The                programs that the Secretary of the                    during regular business hours.
                                           IUCN categorizes the species as                         Interior determines to be necessary or                Individuals may request that we
                                           Endangered (IUCN 2006). Little is                       useful for the conservation of                        withhold their home addresses, which
                                           known about the species’ life history,                  endangered species in foreign countries.              we will honor to the extent allowable by
                                           except that it prefers old-growth forest,               Sections 8(b) and 8(c) of the Act                     law. In some circumstances, we may
                                           which is rapidly disappearing in the                    authorize the Secretary to encourage                  also withhold an individual’s identity,
                                           area. Similar to other species with small               conservation programs for foreign                     as allowable by law. If you wish us to
                                                                                                                                                         withhold your name or address, you
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                                           population numbers, the thicketbird                     endangered species and to provide
                                           may have experienced a reduction in                     assistance for such programs in the form              must state this request prominently at
                                           genetic variation. When a species                       of personnel and the training of                      the beginning of your comment.
                                           becomes significantly reduced in                        personnel.                                            However, we will not consider
                                           number, the loss of genetic variation can                  The Act and its implementing                       anonymous comments. To the extent
                                           result in inbreeding depression and an                  regulations set forth a series of general             consistent with applicable law, we will


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                                                                  Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 225 / Wednesday, November 22, 2006 / Proposed Rules                                                                    67539

                                           make all submissions from                                    Management and Budget (OMB) under                                 make this rule easier to understand to
                                           organizations or businesses, and from                        44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. The regulation                             the Office of Regulatory Affairs,
                                           individuals identifying themselves as                        will not impose new recordkeeping or                              Department of the Interior, Room 7229,
                                           representatives or officials of                              reporting requirements on State or local                          1849 C Street, NW., Washington, DC
                                           organizations or businesses, available                       governments, individuals, businesses, or                          20240. You also may e-mail comments
                                           for public inspection in their entirety.                     organizations. We may not conduct or                              to Exsec@ios.doi.gov.
                                           Comments and materials received will                         sponsor and you are not required to
                                                                                                                                                                          References Cited
                                           be available for public inspection, by                       respond to a collection of information
                                           appointment, during normal business                          unless it displays a currently valid OMB                            A list of the references used to
                                           hours at the address listed in the                           control number.                                                   develop this proposed rule is available
                                           ADDRESSES section.                                                                                                             upon request (see ADDRESSES section).
                                                                                                        National Environmental Policy Act
                                             Final promulgation of the regulations
                                                                                                          We have determined that                                         Author
                                           concerning the listing of these species
                                           will take into consideration all                             Environmental Assessments and                                       The primary author of this notice is
                                           comments and additional information                          Environmental Impact Statements, as                               Marie T. Maltese, Division of Scientific
                                           received by the Service, and such                            defined under the authority of the                                Authority, U.S. Fish and Wildlife
                                           communications may lead to a final                           National Environmental Policy Act of                              Service (see ADDRESSES section).
                                           regulation that differs from this                            1969, need not be prepared in
                                                                                                        connection with regulations adopted                               List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17
                                           proposal.
                                             The Act provides for one or more                           pursuant to section 4(a) of the Act. A                              Endangered and threatened species,
                                           public hearings on this proposal, if                         notice outlining our reasons for this                             Exports, Imports, Reporting and
                                           requested. Requests must be received                         determination was published in the                                recordkeeping requirements,
                                           within 45 days of the date of the                            Federal Register on October 25, 1983                              Transportation.
                                           publication of the proposal in the                           (48 FR 49244).
                                                                                                                                                                          Proposed Regulation Promulgation
                                           Federal Register. Such requests must be                      Clarity of This Regulation
                                           made in writing and be addressed to the                                                                                          Accordingly, we propose to amend
                                           Chief of the Division of Scientific                            Executive Order 12866 requires each                             part 17, subchapter B of chapter I, title
                                           Authority (see ADDRESSES section).                           agency to write regulations that are easy                         50 of the Code of Federal Regulations,
                                                                                                        to understand. We invite your                                     as follows:
                                           Peer Review                                                  comments on how to make this
                                              In accordance with our policy,                            proposed rule easier to understand,                               PART 17—[AMENDED]
                                           ‘‘Notice of Interagency Cooperative                          including answers to questions such as
                                                                                                        the following: (1) Are the requirements                             1. The authority citation for part 17
                                           Policy for Peer Review in Endangered
                                                                                                        in the proposed rule clearly stated? (2)                          continues to read as follows:
                                           Species Act Activities,’’ that was
                                           published on July 1, 1994 (59 FR                             Does the proposed rule contain                                      Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361–1407; 16 U.S.C.
                                           34270), we will seek the expert opinion                      technical language or jargon that                                 1531–1544; 16 U.S.C. 4201–4245; Pub. L. 99–
                                           of at least three appropriate                                interferes with its clarity? (3) Does the                         625, 100 Stat. 3500; unless otherwise noted.
                                           independent specialists regarding this                       format of the proposed rule (groupings                              2. Amend 17.11(h) by adding new
                                           proposed rule. The purpose of such                           and order of sections, use of headings,                           entries for ‘‘Ibis, giant,’’ ‘‘Mockingbird,
                                           review is to ensure listing decisions are                    paragraphing, etc.) aid or reduce its                             Socorro,’’ ‘‘Paradise-flycatcher,
                                           based on scientifically sound data,                          clarity? (4) Would the rule be easier to                          caerulean,’’ ‘‘Pitta, Gurney’s,’’ ‘‘Stilt,
                                           assumptions, and analysis. We will send                      understand if it were divided into more                           black,’’ and ‘‘Thicketbird, Long-legged’’
                                           copies of this proposed rule to the peer                     (but shorter) sections? (5) Is the                                in alphabetical order under Birds, to the
                                           reviewers immediately following                              description of the proposed rule in the                           List of Endangered and Threatened
                                           publication in the Federal Register.                         SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of                              Wildlife as follows:
                                                                                                        the preamble helpful in understanding
                                           Paperwork Reduction Act                                      the proposed rule? What else could we                             § 17.11 Endangered and threatened
                                             This proposed rule does not contain                        do to make the proposed rule easier to                            wildlife.
                                           any new collections of information that                      understand? Send a copy of any                                    *       *    *         *        *
                                           require approval by the Office of                            comments that concern how we could                                    (h) * * *

                                                                      Species                                                             Vertebrate population                            When           Critical       Special
                                                                                                              Historic range              where endangered or                 Status       listed         habitat         rules
                                                Common name                      Scientific name                                               threatened


                                                       *                          *                       *                           *                           *                          *                       *
                                                      BIRDS

                                                      *                           *                      *                    *                            *                                *                        *
                                           Ibis, giant ....................   Pseudibis gigantea ...    Cambodia, Laos,         Entire .........................                E      ................       NA           NA
                                                                                                          Thailand, Viet Nam.

                                                   *                              *                      *                            *                           *                         *                        *
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                                           Mockingbird, Socorro               Mimodes graysoni .....    Mexico ....................... Entire .........................         E      ................       NA           NA

                                                    *                              *                      *                         *                           *                           *                        *
                                           Paradise-flycatcher,               Eutrichomyias rowleyi     Indonesia .................. Entire .........................           E      ................       NA           NA
                                             caerulean.




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                                           67540                  Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 225 / Wednesday, November 22, 2006 / Proposed Rules

                                                                      Species                                                                    Vertebrate population                         When            Critical       Special
                                                                                                                   Historic range                where endangered or               Status      listed          habitat         rules
                                                Common name                       Scientific name                                                     threatened

                                                     *                              *                         *                   *                           *                                  *                        *
                                           Pitta, Gurney’s ............       Pitta gurneyi ..............   Myanmar, Thailand ... Entire .........................                  E      ................     NA             NA

                                                      *                           *                           *                       *                           *                              *                        *
                                           Stilt, black ...................   Himantopus                     New Zealand ............. Entire .........................              E      ................     NA             NA
                                                                                novaezelandiae.

                                                     *                             *                          *                                *                           *                     *                        *
                                           Thicketbird, long-                 Trichocichla rufa .......      Fiji ............................. Entire .........................     E      ................     NA             NA
                                             legged.

                                                        *                           *                          *                             *                             *                      *                       *



                                             Dated: November 6, 2006.
                                           H. Dale Hall,
                                           Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
                                           [FR Doc. E6–19721 Filed 11–21–06; 8:45 am]
                                           BILLING CODE 4310–55–P
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