[Coral-List] UPDATE: ESA Threatened Corals
Sarah.Heberling at noaa.gov
Mon Mar 17 10:38:36 EDT 2008
Hello All -
Just an update on recent happenings related to elkhorn and staghorn
corals, which were recently listed as "threatened" under the Endangered
Species Act (ESA).
Last week, Jennifer Moore and I completed the round of public comment
hearings for the proposed critical habitat designations for threatened
elkhorn and staghorn corals. For those of you that were able to
participate in these hearings, thank you! Your involvement, interest,
and concern are greatly appreciated! For those of you unable to make it
to the hearings, the presentation given by Jennifer and me is now
available on our website
The critical habitat proposal was published in the Federal Register on
February 6, 2008 and the public comment period ends on May 6, 2008.
Please refer to the /Federal Register/ notice for instructions on
submitting comments on the proposed rule and on the draft 4(b)(2)
Impacts report, which details the economic impacts of designating
Once the public comment period closes for the proposed critical habitat
designations, Jennifer and I will reviewing all comments and evaluating
whether changes to the proposal are necessary. We have a court-ordered
date for finalizing critical habitat for these species, which is
November 30, 2008.
On December 14, 2008, NOAA Fisheries Service published proposed ESA 4(d)
Regulations for threatened corals, which would prohibit "take" of these
species, as it is defined by the ESA. The public comment period for
this proposal ended on March 13, 2008. Now that the public comment
period for the proposed 4(d) rule has closed, Jennifer and I will go
through the same review and evaluation process as described for the
critical habitat rule for all comments received. A final 4(d) rule will
be published in the /Federal Register /and all comments will be
addressed in the final rule. More information on this proposal is
available on our website (http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/esa/acropora.htm).
Recovery planning for these two species has already begun. A 17-person
recovery team was appointed last year and the team has met twice
already. Members of the recovery team represent governmental agencies,
non-governmental organizations, and user groups at the local,
State/Territorial, and Federal levels. A week long writing workshop is
planned for this September and it is hoped that the draft recovery plan
resulting from that workshop will be available for public comment in
late winter. The recovery plan serves as a road map for species
recovery -- it lays out where we need to go and how best to get there
through prioritized site-specific recovery actions.
If you have questions or concerns about anything related to these two
threatened corals, please do not hesitate to contact either Jennifer
(Jennifer.Moore at noaa.gov) or me (Sarah.Heberling at noaa.gov).
If you would _not_ like to receive future updates on threatened elkhorn
and staghorn corals or if you would like to update your contact
information, please email me.
Sarah E. Heberling
Natural Resource Specialist
Protected Resources Division
NOAA Fisheries Service
263 13th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Phone: (727) 824-5312
Fax: (727) 824-5309
Email: Sarah.Heberling at noaa.gov
"What good is a used up world; and how could it be worth having?"
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