The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has proposed (pdf) to designate approximately 12.28 acres of critical habitat for the Sonoyta mud turtle (Kinosternon sonoriense longifemorale) in Pima County, Arizona. The proposed critical habitat would be located entirely within the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.
The Service previously issued a final rule listing the species as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in September 2017, finding that the Sonoyta mud turtle has been threatened by habitat loss and degradation due to surface water loss and riparian vegetation loss. The species’ primary future stressors also include the effects of climate change and small population dynamics.
In addition to the proposed rule, the Service has prepared a draft economic analysis of the proposed critical habitat designation. The proposed rule notes that the comment period on the proposed rule and draft economic analysis ends on February 4, 2019.