Date: 6/28/19 9:57 am From: Jason A. Crotty <jasonacrotty...> Subject: [obol] Re: Yellow-billed Cuckoos: Thank you for the robust comments on the ESA de-listing proposal!
This has been an interesting learning experience and I'm glad OBOL occasionally allows topics stretch beyond news of recent rarities and sightings. For those who have not braved the opaqueness of the federal online notice and comment process, the comments by the Cornell folks are attached in PDF format. (All of the comments can be found here <https://www.regulations.gov/docketBrowser?rpp=25&so=DESC&sb=commentDueDate&po=0&dct=PS&D=FWS-R8-ES-2018-0027>.) As this is an issue that will surely come up again, they might consider an academic paper regarding the uses and misuses of eBird data and the limitations of eBird data, perhaps using the YBCU as a case study. That would provide a paper to cite in comments for all applicable regulatory actions and it would have whatever additional credibility the peer review process adds. And it is surely time for an assessment of how the eBird data is used (and misused).
The laws and regulations that govern the notice and comment process (primarily the Administrative Procedure Act or "APA") effectively require an agency -- here USFWS -- to substantively assess all of the comments. Thus, the final rule will likely have to grapple with the data issues.
Thanks to everyone who raised the issue and actually prompted some action on this topic.