FWS to Assess Revisions to Mount Graham Red Squirrel’s Critical Habitat Designation
FWS to Assess Revisions to Mount Graham Red Squirrel’s Critical Habitat Designation

This week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) published a 12-month finding on a petition to revise the critical habitat designation for the endangered Mount Graham red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus grahamensis) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The Mount Graham red squirrel is a subspecies of red squirrel occurring only in certain high-elevation areas of the Coronado National Forest in Arizona. 

In December of 2017, a group of eNGOs including the Center for Biological Diversity submitted a petition to FWS, requesting that the agency expand the subspecies’ critical habitat on an emergency basis to include occupied mixed conifer habitat and all historically occupied habitat not already included in the current critical habitat designation.  Published in 1990, the current critical habitat designation includes the Hawk Peak-Mount Graham Area, the Heliograph Peak Area, and the Webb Peak Area of the Pinaleño Mountains in the Coronado National Forest’s Safford Ranger District.  The requested revision would expand the subspecies’ critical habitat to include all mature mixed conifer and spruce-fir forests in the Pinaleño Mountains above an elevation of 7,500 feet.

The Federal Register notice indicates that FWS plans to assess the proposed revisions to the critical habitat designation after completion of a species status assessment (SSA) and a revision of the Mount Graham red squirrel's recovery plan.

The 12-month finding is available at regulations.gov, under Docket Number FWS-R2-ES-2021-0012.

  • Samantha  Savoni
    Associate

    Having begun her legal career as a Summer Associate at Nossaman, Samantha Savoni has experience preparing memoranda on questions of environmental protection legislation, civil procedure and real property. As an Associate, Sam ...

Nossaman’s Endangered Species Law & Policy blog focuses on news, events, and policies affecting endangered species issues in California and throughout the United States. Topics include listing and critical habitat decisions, conservation and recovery planning, inter-agency consultation, and related developments in law, policy, and science. We also inform readers about regulatory and legislative developments, as well as key court decisions.

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