The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to list the eastern massasauga rattlesnake (Sistrurus catenatus) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register on September 30, 2015. Publication of the proposed rule opens a 60-day public comment period that will close on November 30, 2015.
Eastern massasaugas live in an area that extends from western New York and southern Ontario to southern Iowa. Historically, the snake's range covered this same area, but within this large area, the number of populations and the number of snakes within populations have steadily shrunk. The eastern massasauga is generally found in small, isolated populations through its range. All states and provinces in its existing range have already listed it as endangered, threatened or a species of concern.
The eastern massasauga has been a candidate species for listing under the Endangered Species Act since 1999. The Fish and Wildlife Service developed a Species Status Assessment report to asses the current and projected future ability of the eastern massasauga to survive, which can be viewed here: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/reptiles/eama/pdf/SSAFinal23July2015EMR.pdf
Comments on all aspects of the proposal are welcomed. The public comment period for the Service's Federal Register proposed rule closes November 30, 2015. All new information and comments will then be evaluated and addressed before a final decision is made.
Comments may be submitted using one of the following methods:
Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov
In the search box, enter FWS-RE-ES-2015-0145, which is the docket number for this rule making. Then, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, click on the Proposed Rules link to locate this document. You may submit a comment by clicking on "Comment Now!"
2. Submit hard copies by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to:
Public Comments Processing
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Headquarters, MS: BPHC
5275 Leesburg Pike
Falls Church, VA 22041-3803
For additional information about the eastern massasauga and the proposal to list it as a threatened species, please visit www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/reptiles/eama