• Legal Notice The U.S. Fish an...

Legal Notice

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is inviting the public to comment on a proposal to list the trispot darter as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

The trispot darter, a small, colorful fish found in parts of the Coosa River Basin in southeastern Tennessee, northern Georgia, and northern Alabama, could disappear. The Service is proposing to list the species as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This short-lived fish, which is less than two inches long, acts like a tiny salmon: every year, it swims far upstream from the larger river habitat where it usually lives so it can breed (spawn) in the vegetation of small tributaries and seeps.

Factors in the darter’s decline include improper road crossings and dams that block trispot darters as they swim back and forth to spawning areas, loss of riparian vegetation, hydrologic changes, and poor water quality from pollution, sedimentation, agricultural contamination and development.

Currently, the trispot darter is known to occur in Little Canoe Creek and tributaries (including Gin Branch), Ballplay Creek tributaries, Conasauga River and tributaries (including Holly, Coahulla, and Mill (GA) creeks, and a Mill Creek (TN) tributary,) and Coosawattee River and a tributary (including Salacoa Creek).

The proposal to list the trispot darter comes amid a massive lawsuit and settlement agreement requiring the Service to the review the status of more than 400 species. In order to tackle this workload, we are strategically working with our partners to put the best science on the ground and safeguard vulnerable species before ESA protection is needed.

The public is invited to submit written comments on the proposal to list the trispot darter 60 days from its October 4, 2017 publication in the Federal Register. Please submit comments by December 4, 2017.

The complete listing proposal can be obtained by visiting the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov at Docket Number FWS-R4-ES-2017-0063; 4500030113. A copy can also be obtained by contacting U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1208-B Main Street, Daphne, Alabama, 36526.

Written comments and information may be submitted by: (1) online at http://www.regulations.gov by entering FWS-R4-ES-2017-0063; 4500030113 in the search box and then clicking on “Comment Now”; or (2) mail or hand deliver to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R4-ES-2017-0063; 4500030113. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Headquarters, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803. All comments must be received on or before December 4, 2017. Requests for a public hearing must be made in writing within 45 days by November 20, 2017, to the Falls Church, VA, address.

All relevant information received during the open comment period from the public, government agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested parties will be considered and addressed in the Service’s final listing determination for the trispot darter.

October 12, 2017
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PostedOctober 12, 2017