Draft Economic Analysis Available on Proposed Critical Habitat for Three Sierra Amphibians: Comments Open Now

Sacramento – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) released a draft economic analysis of its proposal to designate 1,831,820 acres of critical habitat in California for the Sierra Nevada yellow-legged frog, the northern distinct population segment of the mountain yellow-legged frog, and the Yosemite toad.

The draft economic analysis estimates the costs associated with the designation of critical habitat to be $630,000 to $1.5 million over 17 years (2014 to 2030). With 97% of the proposed critical habitat designated on federal lands, the estimated costs of the designations are largely associated with federal agency consultations for actions on federal lands such as fish stocking, water operations, grazing, and recreation.

On April 25, 2013, the Service published in the Federal Register two proposals to list and designate critical habitat for the three amphibians and opened a 60 day comment period. During and after the initial comment period, the Service received several requests from the public to extend the comment period. On July 18, 2013, the Service reopened the public comment period for 120 days that closed on November 18, 2013.

The release of the draft economic analysis opens a new 60 day comment period that will close March 11, 2014. The public is invited to submit information on the draft economic analysis as well as the proposals to list and designate critical habitat.

“Comments from the public help the Service make a final decision that reflects the best information available,” said Jennifer Norris, Field Supervisor for the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office. “We especially want to invite businesses and economic stakeholders that operate in and around proposed critical habitat areas to carefully review and submit comments on the draft economic analysis.”

Comments may be submitted online at the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. The Docket Number for the proposed listing rule is FWS–R8–ES–2012–0100 and for the proposed critical habitat rule and draft economic analysis is FWS–R8–ES–2012–0074. Comments can also be sent by U.S. mail to:
Public Comments Processing
Attn: FWS–R8–ES–2012–0100 or FWS–R8–ES–2012–0074
Division of Policy and Directives Management
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM
Arlington, VA 22203

The Service will hold a public hearing on the proposed rules and draft economic analysis on Thursday, January 30, 2014 at the Sacramento Horsemen’s Association; 3200 Longview Drive; Sacramento, CA 95821. The first hearing session will start at 1:00 p.m. with doors opening at 12:30. A second hearing session will start at 6:00 p.m. with doors opening at 5:30. Written and verbal testimony will be accepted at the public hearing.

People needing reasonable accommodations in order to attend and participate in either of these public meetings or the public hearing should contact Robert Moler, External Affairs Supervisor, Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, as soon as possible by calling 916/414-6606.

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