RULES AND REGULATIONS
FISH AND BOAT COMMISSION
[ 58 PA. CODE CHS. 75 AND 79 ]
[40 Pa.B. 1500]
[Saturday, March 20, 2010]
The Fish and Boat Commission (Commission) amends Chapters 75 and 79 (relating to endangered species; and reptiles and amphibians). The Commission is publishing this final-form rulemaking under the authority of 30 Pa.C.S. (relating to the Fish and Boat Code) (code) and other authorities described as follows.
A. Effective Date
This final-form rulemaking will go into effect immediately upon publication of this order in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
B. Contact Person
For further information on the final-form rulemaking, contact Jason E. Oyler, Esq., P. O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000, (717) 705-7810. This final-form rulemaking is available on the Commission's web site at www.fish.state.pa.us.
C. Statutory Authority
These amendments are published under the statutory authority of section 506 of The Administrative Code of 1929 (71 P. S. § 186). These amendments also are published in accordance with section 204 of the act of July 31, 1968 (P. L. 769, No. 240) known as the Commonwealth Documents Law (CDL) (45 P. S. § 1204), which provides that an agency may omit or modify the procedures specified in sections 201 and 202 of the CDL if the administrative regulation or change relates to agency organization, management or personnel; agency procedure or practice; or Commonwealth property or if the agency for good cause finds (and incorporates the finding and a brief statement of the reasons therefor in the order adopting the administrative regulation or change therein) that the procedures specified in sections 201 and 202 of the CDL are under the circumstances impracticable, unnecessary or contrary to the public interest.
D. Purpose and Background
Under 58 Pa. Code § 51.5 (relating to correction of regulations), the Executive Director is authorized to take immediate corrective action on the Commission's behalf if the Executive Director or the Commission's staff discovers an error or omission in the text of a Commission regulation as published in the Pennsylvania Code or Pennsylvania Bulletin. Taxonomy and species nomenclature is a dynamic field where the classification of species, both common and scientific names, occurs on a regular basis. Based on the most recent compilation of information on the taxonomy of reptiles and amphibians, the Commission reviewed its regulations that refer to specific species of reptiles and amphibians. This review has revealed that there are inaccuracies in the text of several Commission regulations as related to the common and scientific names of reptiles and amphibians, as more particularly described in the summary of changes. The purpose of this final-form rulemaking is to correct these inaccuracies and update the Commission's regulations with the latest scientific consensus on the proper species nomenclature.
E. Summary of Changes
Taxonomy and species nomenclature is a dynamic field, and research geneticists are regularly revising the classification of species. Recognizing the importance of maintaining consistency in the use of both scientific and common names of reptiles and amphibians for regulatory, conservation and educational applications, two herpetological societies maintain regularly updated lists of common and scientific names of reptiles and amphibians.
The Center for North American Herpetology (CNAH) serves as a data bank for information about North American amphibians, turtles, reptiles and crocodilians. The sixth edition of their common name compilation (Collins and Taggart 2009), published in printed form on April 5, 2009, lists 621 species of amphibians, turtles, reptiles and crocodilians in the United States and Canada, an increase of 167 species since 1978 and an increase of 232 species since 1956. The Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR), a nonprofit organization established to advance research, conservation and education concerning amphibians and reptiles, publishes a similar list of the scientific and common names of North American amphibians and reptiles (Crother 2008).
The Herpetological Technical Committee of the Pennsylvania Biological Survey (PABS) recently undertook a comprehensive review of the Commonwealth's list of native species of reptiles and amphibians and has recommended numerous name changes to better reflect current taxonomic understanding and maintain consistency with the herpetological community. The PABS is a nonprofit scientific, educational and advisory organization that was formed to foster the perpetuation of the natural biological diversity of the Commonwealth. It has a number of technical committees that serve in an advisory role to Commission staff. Each technical committee of the PABS is made up of volunteer taxonomic experts recognized in their field.
All of the proposed name changes were recommended by the PABS to update the Commission's regulations and maintain consistency with the published lists referenced previously. In cases where the two lists (CNAH and SSAR) conflicted, the PABS committee determined the name that would be most consistent with current use in this Commonwealth, for the most part deferring to Crother (2008).
(1) Section 75.1(c)(2) and (3) (relating to endangered species) has been revised as follows: The revised scientific name of the New Jersey Chorus Frog is Pseudacris kalmi; the Coastal Plain Leopard Frog, Rana sphenocephala, has been removed from the large and predominately Eurasian genus, Rana, and is now classified as the Southern Leopard Frog, Lithobates sphenocephalus utricularius.
(2) Section 75.2(c)(2) (relating to threatened species) has been revised to change the common name of the Red-bellied Turtle to the Eastern Redbelly Turtle. This change will provide consistency with other published lists for this species.
(3) Section 75.3(c)(1) and (2) (relating to candidate species) has been revised as follows: The revised scientific name of the Blanding's Turtle is Emydoidea blandingii; the revised common and scientific name for the Broad-headed Skink, Eumeces laticeps, is Broadhead Skink, Plestiodon laticeps.
(4) Section 79.3(h) (relating to season and daily possession limits) has been revised as follows:
• The revised scientific names for the Blanding's Turtle and Broadhead Skink outlined for § 75.3(c) have been made.
• The common name for the Northern Copperhead has been changed to simply Copperhead as the ''northern'' designation belongs to a subspecific designation that is not in use in this Commonwealth.
• The scientific name of the Eastern Worm Snake has been revised to Carphophis amoenus amoenus.
• The scientific name of the Northern Coal Skink has been revised to Plestiodon anthracinus anthracinus.
• The common and scientific names for the Ravine Salamander, Plethodon richmondi, have been revised to Northern Ravine Salamander, Plethodon electromorphus, to reflect its classification as a distinct species of Ravine Salamander.
• The Striped Chorus Frog Complex, Pseudocris feriarum feriarum, Psuedocris feriarum triseriata has been split into Upland Chorus Frog, Pseudocris feriarum, and Western Chorus Frog, Psuedocris triseriata.
• The scientific name of the Bullfrog has been revised to Lithobates catesbeiana, to remove it from the large and predominately Eurasian genus Rana.
• The common and scientific names of the Green Frog, Rana clamitans, have been revised to Northern Green Frog, Lithobates clamitans melanotus, to remove it from the large and predominately Eurasian genus Rana.
• The common and scientific names of the Smooth Earth Snake, Virginia valeriae, have been revised to Eastern Smooth Earth Snake, Virginia valeriae valeriae, to promote consistency with published lists.
(5) Section 79.6(a) and (b) (relating to venomous snake permits) has been revised to substitute the new common name of ''Copperhead'' for ''Northern Copperhead.''
The Commission has adopted the amendments to §§ 75.1, 75.2, 75.3, 79.3 and 79.6 to read as set forth in Annex A.
This final-form rulemaking will not increase paperwork and will create no new paperwork requirements.
G. Fiscal Impact
This final-form rulemaking will have no adverse fiscal impact on the Commonwealth or its political subdivisions. The final-form rulemaking will impose no new costs on the private sector or the general public.
H. Public Involvement
Under section 204 of the CDL (45 P. S. § 1204), an agency may omit the procedures specified in sections 201 and 202 of the CDL if the agency finds that these procedures are impractical or unnecessary or if the administrative regulation or change relates to agency procedure or practice. The Commission, therefore, did not publish these amendments as a notice of proposed rulemaking or solicit public comment.
The Commission finds:
(1) Inaccuracies with respect to the most up-to-date scientifically recognized common and scientific names of species were discovered in the text of 58 Pa. Code §§ 75.1, 75.2, 75.3, 79.3 and 79.6 as published in the Pennsylvania Code.
(2) Under § 51.5, the Executive Director is authorized to take immediate corrective action on behalf of the Commission, including, if necessary, the issuance of an order to make the necessary correction, if the Executive Director or the Commission's staff discovers an error or omission in the text of a Commission regulation as published in the Pennsylvania Code.
(3) The nature of the amendments is minor and designed to update the common and scientific names of species contained within the Commission's regulations to reflect the latest taxonomy and species nomenclature.
(4) The changes adopted in this final-form rulemaking do not affect the substance of the Commission's regulations in any way, as no species is added or removed and no changes in any seasons, sizes and creel limits are made.
(5) Seeking public comment on the updating of the common and scientific names of these species is unnecessary and impractical.
(6) For the foregoing reasons, the Commission finds that the procedures of sections 201 and 202 of the CDL are impracticable and unnecessary for this rulemaking.
The Commission, acting under the authorizing statutes, orders that:
(a) The regulations of the Commission, 58 Pa. Code Chapters 75 and 79, are amended by amending §§ 75.1, 75.2, 75.3, 79.3 and 79.6 to read as set forth in Annex A, with ellipses referring to the existing text of the regulations.
(b) The Acting Executive Director will submit this order and Annex A to the Attorney General for approval as to legality as required by law.
(c) The Acting Executive Director shall certify this order and Annex A and deposit the same with the Legislative Reference Bureau as required by law.
(d) This order shall take effect immediately upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
BRIAN P. BARNER
Acting Executive Director
Fiscal Note: 48A-217. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.
TITLE 58. RECREATION
PART II. FISH AND BOAT COMMISSION
Subpart B. FISHING
CHAPTER 75. ENDANGERED SPECIES
§ 75.1. Endangered species.
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(c) Reptiles and amphibians. The following species are endangered:
(1) Bog Turtle, Glyptemys muhlenbergii.
(2) New Jersey Chorus Frog, Pseudacris kalmi.
(3) Southern Leopard Frog, Lithobates sphenocephalus utricularius.
(4) Massasauga Rattlesnake, Sistrurus catenatus.
(5) Kirtland's Snake, Clonophis kirtlandii.
(6) Eastern Mud Salamander, Pseudotrion m. montanus.
(7) Eastern Spadefoot Toad, Scaphiopus holbrookii.
(8) Rough Green Snake, Opheodrys aestivus.
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§ 75.2. Threatened species.
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(c) Amphibians and reptiles. The following species are threatened:
(1) Green Salamander, Aneides aeneus.
(2) Eastern Redbelly Turtle, Pseudemys rubriventris.
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§ 75.3. Candidate species.
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(c) Amphibians and reptiles.
(1) Blandings Turtle, Emydoidea blandingii.
(2) Broadhead Skink, Plestiodon laticeps.
(3) Timber Rattlesnake, Crotalus horridus.
CHAPTER 79. REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS
§ 79.3. Season and daily possession limits.
* * * * *
(h) The following seasons, sizes, catch and possession limits apply to reptiles and amphibians except endangered and threatened species:
SPECIES SEASON DAILY LIMIT POSSESSION LIMIT Bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeiana) July 1 to October 31 10 (combined species) 20 (combined species) Northern green frog (Lithobates clamitans melanotus) July 1 to October 31 10 (combined species) 20 (combined species) Common snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) July 1 to October 31 15 30 Blanding's turtle (Emydoidea blandingii) No open season 0 0 Spotted turtle (Clemmys guttata) No open season 0 0 Wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) No open season 0 0 Eastern box turtle (Terrapene
No open season 0 0 Broadhead skink (Plestiodon laticeps) No open season 0 0 Northern coal skink (Plestiodon anthracinus anthracinus) No open season 0 0 Mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus) No open season 0 0 Eastern hellbender (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis) No open season 0 0 Marbled salamander (Ambystoma opacum) No open season 0 0 Jefferson salamander (Ambystoma jeffersonianum) No open season 0 0 Four-toed salamander
No open season 0 0 Northern ravine salamander (Plethodon electromorphus) No open season 0 0 Northern cricket frog (Acris crepitans crepitans) No open season 0 0 Mountain chorus frog (Pseudacris brachyphona) No open season 0 0 Upland chorus frog (Pseudacris feriarum) No open season 0 0 Western chorus frog (Pseudacris triseriata) No open season 0 0 Northern fence lizard (Sceloporus undulatus) No open season 0 0 Queen snake (Regina septemvittata) No open season 0 0 Shorthead garter snake (Thamnophis brachystoma) No open season 0 0 Eastern ribbon snake (Thamnophis sauritus) No open season 0 0 Mountain earth snake (Virginia pulchra) No open season 0 0 Eastern smooth earth snake
(Virginia valeriae valeriae)
No open season 0 0 Smooth green snake (Liochlorophis vernalis) No open season 0 0 Eastern hognose snake (Heterodon platirhinos) No open season 0 0 Eastern worm snake (Carphophis amoenus amoenus) No open season 0 0 Amphibian eggs and tadpoles No closed season 15 (combined species) 15 (combined species) Timber rattlesnake (Crotalus
Second Saturday in
June to July 31*
1 annual limit** (must be at least 42 inches in length, measured lengthwise along the dorsal surface from the snout to the tail, excluding the rattle, and must possess 21 or more subcaudal scales.) Copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix) Second Saturday in
June to July 31
1 annual limit** Native species not listed in this subsection No closed season 1 1 * It is unlawful for a person to hunt, take, catch or kill timber rattlesnakes west of Route 15 and south of Interstate 81 to the Maryland line where there is no open season. ** It is unlawful for a person to take, catch or kill more than one timber rattlesnake or copperhead per calendar year except as provided in § 79.7(f) (relating to organized reptile and amphibian hunt permits). It is unlawful for a person to possess more than one timber rattlesnake or copperhead at any time except as provided in § 79.7(f).
§ 79.6. Venomous snake permits.
(a) Application. The Commission finds, under section 2904 of the code (relating to permits for protection and management of particular fish), that it is necessary for the proper protection and management of the timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) and copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix) that persons who hunt, take, catch or kill these species have a permit for the activity. Application for a permit must be made on a form prescribed by the Commission and accompanied by the appropriate fee. Permits may be obtained by applying to: Natural Diversity Section Chief, Division of Environmental Services, 450 Robinson Lane, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 16823-9616. The fee for residents is $25 per year; the fee for nonresidents is $50 per year. The denial of a permit under this section is appealable in the manner provided by Chapter 51, Supchapter E (relating to permit procedures).
(b) Required permit. It is unlawful to hunt, take, catch, kill or possess a timber rattlesnake or copperhead, in whole or in parts, without first procuring the required permit from the Commission. The required permit shall be in the possession of the permittee at all times while hunting. Permittees shall comply with the terms and conditions of the permit and furnish the reports required thereby. It is unlawful to alter, borrow, lend or transfer a permit under this section.
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[Pa.B. Doc. No. 10-497. Filed for public inspection March 19, 2010, 9:00 a.m.]
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