Press release from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service:
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced a notice that covers the current thinking and next steps prior to a status review, known as a 12-month finding, of marten in coastal northern California and coastal Oregon. The notice also summarizes the uncertainty regarding the subspecies taxonomy of the Humboldt marten and opens an information collection period regarding the Service's consideration of the coastal northern California and coastal Oregon populations of Pacific marten as single entity for purposes of a potential listing.
The objective of the forthcoming status review is to determine whether or not the marten populations in coastal northern California and coastal Oregon (described in the notice as the coastal DPS of Pacific marten) should receive Endangered Species Act protections. This status review is scheduled to be submitted to the Federal Register by April 1, 2015.
Individuals of the Humboldt marten subspecies currently described for coastal northern California, as well as individuals of the populations of marten in coastal Oregon, are about the size of a common house cat and have a long, slender body with relatively large rounded ears, triangular face, short limbs, and bushy tail. Their fur ranges in color from pale yellowish buff to tawny brown to almost black. The color of the head is usually lighter than the body, and the legs and tail are darker.
In coastal Oregon, there are two populations of Pacific marten under consideration; one in coastal central Oregon and one in coastal southern Oregon, separated from each other by about 40 miles. The coastal northern California population is located over 50 miles from the coastal southern Oregon population.
The Service was petitioned by the Center for Biological Diversity and the Environmental Protection Information Center in 2010 to consider federal protections of the (then-classified) subspecies Humboldt marten (Martes americana humboldtensis), or the (now-recognized) subspecies Humboldt marten (M. caurina humboldtensis), or the Humboldt marten Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of the Pacific marten (M. caurina), the latter of which the petitioners recognized to include the coastal Oregon populations of martens due to recent genetic analyses. A first step study (known as a 90-day finding) was completed by the Service in 2010 and found that the petition presented substantial scientific and commercial information indicating that listing may be warranted.
The Service is interested in information on historical and current population information of martens in coastal northern California and coastal Oregon, threats to these populations and their habitat, and any other relevant scientific and commercial data. More specific guidance can be found in the Federal Register notice accompanying this announcement, which is also available at www.fws.gov/arcata.
The 12-month finding will take into consideration all information received during the previous information collection period, as well as any additional information we received since the 90-day finding and during this scoping period, which is open until August 7, 2014.
Please include sufficient information with submissions (such as scientific journal articles or other publications) to allow verification of scientific or commercial information.
Scientific information may be submitted by one of the following methods:
? Electronically at http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS–R8–ES–2014–0023. You may submit information by clicking on "Comment Now."
? Paper copy, via the U.S. mail or hand delivery, to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R8–ES–2014–0023; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS, 2042–PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.