The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced last week that
the public will have an additional 60 days to submit comments regarding the
agency's proposed critical habitat designation for the southern Selkirk
Mountains woodland caribou, an endangered mammal known to occur in Idaho,
Washington and British Columbia, Canada.
Idaho's Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter,
the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho and Boundary County, Idaho,
asked for an extension to the comment period and additional opportunities for
citizens to participate in public processes regarding the proposal.
"We recognize the public's interest in this issue and will work together
to help citizens fully understand our proposal to designate critical habitat
for caribou," Brian Kelly, the Service's State Supervisor for Idaho, said. "We
also seek to gain as much information as possible from all interested parties
which we will use to inform our final decision."
The Service is re-opening the public comment period on the caribou proposal for
60 days, until May 21, 2012.
Interested citizens are invited to attend a Service-hosted information meeting
on Saturday, April 28, 2012 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Citizens will have an
opportunity to learn more about the proposal by talking with Service biologists
and managers at this information meeting.
The same day, a public hearing will be held from 2-5 p.m. so that citizens will
be able to provide formal oral comments for the Service to review and consider
for its final decision. Speaker registration will begin at 1 p.m.
The information meeting and hearing will be at Bonners
Tamarack Lane, Bonners Ferry, Idaho 83805. The Service and Boundary County worked together to determine an
adequate date and location to accommodate most citizens' schedules, which is
the reason for a weekend event.
Persons with disabilities needing reasonable accommodations to participate in
the public meeting or hearing are invited to contact Cathy Rogers at 208-378-5387, email@example.com, or 503-231-6263 (TTY). Reasonable accommodations
requests should be received at least 3 business days prior to the meeting to
help ensure availability; 2 weeks notice is requested for ASL/ESL interpreter
The Service will continue to work closely with Idaho's Boundary and Bonner
Counties, and Washington's Pend Oreille County, to coordinate
information-sharing with citizens on this proposal, including why we are
designating critical habitat for the species and what this means for land-use
activities in the area. Similarly, the public will be able to provide us with
data, as well as share their concerns on the proposal, which will be used in
forming our final decision.
All oral comments will be entered into the official public record. If time does
not permit full oral testimony, the public is encouraged to bring written
testimony for incorporation into the record.
The Service will open an additional 30-day public comment period during the
economic analysis phase of the proposal, which will occur later this spring.
When the final details are arranged, the Service will notify the public about
this comment period, and information meeting and public hearing details.
In all, the three comment periods will provide citizens a total of 150 days to
engage in public processes.
The Service is proposing to designate 375,565 acres of critical habitat in Idaho and Washington
for the caribou. These lands are all currently considered to be occupied by the
species and no exclusions or exemptions are proposed.
Please submit comments and other information only by one of the methods listed
* Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal:
In the Keyword box, enter Docket No.
[FWS-R1-ES-2011-0096], which is the docket number for this rulemaking.
Then, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document
Type heading, click on the Proposed Rules link to locate this document. You may
submit a comment by clicking on "Send a Comment or Submission."
Please note that if you are using the Federal eRulemaking Portal, the deadline
for submitting an electronic comment is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on the
* By mail: Public Comments Processing, Attn:
Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS
2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
We will post your entire comment-including personal identifying information-on http://www.regulations.gov.
You may request at the top of your document that we withhold personal
information, such as your name, street address, phone number or e-mail address
from public review; however, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation we used
in preparing this proposed rule, are available for public inspection at http://www.regulations.gov,
or by appointment during normal business hours at the Idaho Fish and Wildlife
(208-378-5265 or 509-893-8014). The proposed rule, maps and other
information about the southern Selkirk Mountains
woodland caribou will also be available online at http://www.fws.gov/idaho.