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   U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Reopens Comment Period for Santa Ana Sucker Critical Habitat Proposal and Economic Analysis, 10/27/04 USFWS

"Results of the draft analysis estimate potential costs associated with
conservation activities for the Santa Ana sucker could range from $21.8 to
$30.5 million over the next years"


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today it is opening another
public comment period on its proposal to designate critical habitat for the
federally threatened Santa Ana sucker (Catostomus santaanae). Information
and comments on the proposed critical habitat rule and draft economic
analysis will be accepted until 5:00 pm on November 24, 2004.

The draft economic analysis, which provides a comprehensive overview of
past and potential costs associated with conservation activities for the
Santa Ana sucker, was made available for initial public review and comment
from October 1 through October 12.

Results of the draft analysis estimate potential costs associated with
conservation activities for the Santa Ana sucker could range from $21.8 to
$30.5 million over the next years. Past costs associated with conservation
of the species from the time it was listed in 1998 until the present are
estimated to be $4.2 million, with the bulk of these costs associated with
transportation projects.

"Given the complexity of information presented in the draft analysis, we
want to provide affected stakeholders, scientists, and the public with more
time to review and formulate comments," said Steve Thompson, Manager of the
Service's California/Nevada Operations Office. "We believe a 30-day comment
period is necessary to ensure adequate review of the analysis."

In compliance with a court order, the Service designated critical habitat
for the Santa Ana sucker on February 26, 2004. To provide the public with a
meaningful opportunity to comment on the designation of critical habitat
for this species, the Service published a proposed rule concurrent with the
final rule.

Comments and information received by the Service on the proposed rule and
draft economic analysis will be used to develop a revised final critical
habitat designation. Until such time as a revised final designation is
completed, the current critical habitat designation will remain in effect.

Information about the critical habitat proposal and draft economic analysis
is available on the Internet at http://carlsbad.fws.gov.

Comments and information on the proposed rule and draft analysis can be
submitted in writing to the Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife
Office, 6010 Hidden Valley Road, Carlsbad, California 92009. Comments and
materials may also be sent by facsimile to 760/431-9618 or by electronic
mail to fw1sasu@r1.fws.gov. If you are sending comments by electronic mail,
please use ASCII file format and avoid the use of special characters or
encryption. Also, please include "Attn: Santa Ana Sucker Critical Habitat"
in the subject line and provide your name and return address in the body of
your message.

Comments and information already submitted to the Service during one of the
previous comments periods that accompanied the publication of the proposed
rule and draft economic analysis do not need to be resent. All previously
submitted materials are already part of the supporting record and will be
considered in making a revised final critical habitat determination.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency
responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and
plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American
people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge
System, which encompasses 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small
wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national
fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services
field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the
Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores
nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat
such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments
with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance
program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes
on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our
home page at http://www.fws.gov
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