October 12, 2007
October 12, 2007 - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is seeking comments for the proposed rules for both the Sierra Nevada Bighorn and the Peninsular Bighorn's critical designated habitats.
The USFWS decided to extend the comment period on plans to designate more than 417,000 acres as critical habitat for Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep.
The proposed critical habitat includes parts of California's Tuolumne, Mono, Fresno, Inyo and Tulare counties along the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada - all above 4,500 feet elevation.
The new comment period runs through Nov. 23 and will also feature two informal public meetings on the subject. Those meetings will be Oct. 24 at the Bridgeport Memorial Hall, Bridgeport, Calif., and Oct. 25 at the Tri-County fairgrounds in Bishop, Calif.
The USFWS is also seeking comments on plans to remove approximately 460,000 acres of land that was once considered part of the critical habitat designation for Peninsular Bighorn Sheep.
Officials at the USFWS have said they want to scale down the critical habitat designation from 844,897 acres across Riverside, San Diego and Imperial counties in California to 384,410 acres partly because some area of the current designation are not used by the sheep. A 2005 lawsuit brought forth by the Agua Calienta Bands of Cahuilla Indians also sparked the proposed rule change.
Comments on this rule will be accepted through Dec. 10, and all requests for public hearings must be received by Nov. 26.
The proposed rule for the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep appeared in the Oct. 9 Federal Register and can be accessed at http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20071800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2007/E7-19596.htm.
The proposed rule for the Peninsular Bighorn Sheep appeared in the Oct. 10 Federal Register and can be accessed at http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20071800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2007/07-4959.htm.