U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Extends Comment Period for Greater Sage-Grouse and Designates Critical Habitat for Franciscan Manzanita
Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ("Service") announced (pdf) the extension of the public comment period on the proposals to list and designate critical habitat for the the Bi-State Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) along the California-Nevada border under the Endangered Species Act, and also announced the designation of approximately 230 acres in San Francisco County as critical habitat for the endangered Franciscan manzanita (Arctostaphylos franciscana). The Service also released the final economic analysis of the estimated incremental impact of the critical habitat designation in San Francisco County, which projected that the direct incremental cost of the critical habitat designation would be $31,435 over the next 20 years. The economic analysis concludes that a large portion of the estimated costs would be due to additional consultation costs. As for the sage-grouse DPS, the Service's announcement states that the comment period on the proposed listing and the proposed 1.86 million acre critical habitat designation would both be extended to February 10, 2014.