The Fish and Wildlife Service announced (PDF) today that it will accept comments through May 20, 2010 regarding a status review of the Sacramento splittail (Pogonichthy macrolepidotus), a fish endemic to lower-elevation waters of the Central Valley of California.  Based on the status review, the Service will issue a 12-month finding by September 30, 2010 that will address whether listing the species may be warranted under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  If warranted, the Service will also publish, concurrently with the 12-month finding, a proposed rule to list the Sacramento splittail and a final determination on or before September 29, 2011.

The status review and 12-month finding are the result of a settlement agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity, which filed a complaint (PDF) in federal court against the Service in August 2009.  The complaint challenged the Service’s removal of the Sacramento splittail from the ESA threatened species list and alleged improper political influence by a former Department of the Interior official.  The Sacramento splittail had been listed as threatened in 1999, but the Service removed (PDF) it from the list in 2003 after an earlier court decision found the listing decision to be unlawful.

Interested parties may submit comments regarding the status review to the Service by one of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: Search for Docket No. FWS–R8–ES–2010–0013 and then follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R8–ES–2010–0013; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222; Arlington, VA 22203.