Dear Respected Partner,
This email is to inform you that the draft revision on the Virginia big-eared bat recovery plan is available for public review and comment from August 6, 2019, through September 5, 2019.
Working with partners, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) uses a range of conservation tools to recover threatened and endangered species. One of these tools is the species’ recovery plan. Recovery plans provide a road map for species’ recovery that incorporates (1) site-specific management actions for private, Tribal, federal, and state cooperation that avoid or minimize threats to listed species and their ecosystems, (2) measurable objectives against which to measure the progress towards recovery, and (3) an estimate of the time required and the cost to carry out recovery plans. A recovery plan provides guidance on how best to help listed species achieve recovery, but it is not a regulatory document.
Section 4(f) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA) includes a requirement that recovery plans incorporate “objective, measurable criteria, which when met, would result in a determination… that the species be removed from the list.” These criteria provide targets for identifying and implementing recovery actions to achieve recovery, a means of measuring progress toward recovery, and the ability to recognize when recovery may be achieved and a status analysis should be done to determine if a proposed delisting rule is appropriate. All recovery plans, including those currently under development, must include objective, measurable criteria.
The Service has identified a number of recovery plans currently in place that lack measurable, objective criteria. The West Virginia Field Office has developed a draft revision that address this goal.
Revision of recovery plans requires the solicitation and incorporation of comments via peer review and public comment, and must be approved by the Regional Director prior to their implementation. Draft and final recovery plan revisions will be publicly available on the Internet through our Environmental Conservation Online System (ECOS, https://ecos.fws.gov). The notice of availability provides instructions about submitting comments regarding the draft revisions. On August 6 the notice can be found at https://www.federalregister.gov searching docket number FWS–HQ–ES–2019–N047. The draft recovery plan can be found at https://ecos.fws.gov/docs/recovery_plan/20190313_Draft%20VBEB%20Recovery%20Plan%20Amendment.pdf
We greatly appreciate your cooperative efforts to conserve rare species, and we look forward to continued coordination in the future. If you would like additional information or have any questions about this email or recovery criteria, please contact Barbara Douglas of my staff at 304-636-6586 x 19, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daphne Carlson Bremer DVM, PhD – Acting West Virginia Field Supervisor