On Friday, August 26, 2011, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) opened the 60 day public comment period on their proposal to end the 24-year-old southern sea otter translocation program and to abolish the otter management zone. This is the direct result of a 2009 lawsuit brought by The Otter Project and Environmental Defense Center (EDC) against the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for their inaction to evaluate the success or failure of its rule barring otters from southernCaliforniawaters.
In a 2010 settlement agreement, the FWS agreed to release the Revised Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) before September 1, 2011 with their preferred decision.
The FWS is proposing to remove the regulations that govern southern sea otters and allow their range to naturally expand into southernCaliforniawaters. The program failed to achieve its intended purpose and FWS sea otter recovery and management goals cannot be achieved by continuing the program. Public comments are now being accepted on the proposed rule, associated Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA), and Revised Draft SEIS.
To learn more about this issue go to www.otterproject.org.
To learn how you can Take Action on the No Otter Zone and let your voice be heard , go to www.freetheotters.org . Also find us on Facebook for announcements about our Free The Otters campaign.