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Endangered and Threatened Species of the Platte River
BOX 1-2 Governance Committee’s NAS Review Questions (October 31, 2002)
The Governance Committee offers these questions to focus the NAS in their scientific review. Not all members of the GC agree with all of the questions. However, we are unanimous that the NAS not review the Program, but stay focused on the science related to the questions. During the implementation of the review, individual GC members expect that they will have the opportunity to provide the NAS with their views on the specific issues and areas of concern to be reviewed. In reviewing the government’s assessments, the committee should consider how the following 10 questions apply to them.
Do current central Platte habitat conditions affect the likelihood of survival of the whooping crane? Do they limit its recovery?
Is the current designation of central Platte River habitat as “critical habitat” for the whooping crane supported by existing science?
Do current central Platte habitat conditions affect the likelihood of survival of the piping plover? Do they limit its recovery?
Is the current designation of central Platte River habitat as “critical habitat” for the piping plover supported by existing science?
Do current central Platte habitat conditions affect the likelihood of survival of the interior least tern? Do they limit its recovery?
Do current habitat conditions in the lower Platte (below the mouth of the Elkhorn River) affect the likelihood of survival of the pallid sturgeon? Do they limit its recovery?
Were the processes and methodologies used by the USFWS in developing its central Platte River Instream Flow Recommendations (i.e., species, annual pulse flows, and peak flows) scientifically valid?
Are the characteristics described in the USFWS habitat suitability guidelines for the central Platte River supported by the existing science and are they essential to the survival of the listed avian species? To the recovery of those species? Are there other Platte River habitats that provide the same values that are essential to the survival of the listed avian species and their recovery?
Are the conclusions of the Department of Interior about the interrelationships of sediment, flow, vegetation, and channel morphology in the central Platte River supported by the existing science?
What were the key information and data gaps that the NAS identified in the review?
Committee on Endangered and Threatened Species in the Platte River Basin, a panel of 13 members (later expanded to 14) that included a specialist for each listed species in the charge; two ecologists; engineers specializing in hydraulics, hydrology, and civil-environmental topics; a geomorphologist; a geographer; legal, economic, and water-policy experts; and a farmer (see Appendix A for details).