Federal Register: May 16, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 96)
DOCID: fr16my08-18 FR Doc E8-9282
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Fish and Wildlife Service
CFR Citation: 50 CFR Part 17
RIN ID: RIN 1018-AU67
FWS ID: [FWS-R6-ES-2008-0001; 92220-1113-0000-C6]
NOTICE: PROPOSED RULES
ACTION: Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants:
DOCUMENT ACTION: Proposed rule; notice of availability.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Removal of Erigeron maguirei From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants; Availability of Post-Delisting Monitoring Plan
DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before July 15, 2008. Public hearing requests must be received by June 30, 2008.
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act) (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), propose to remove the plant Erigeron maguirei (commonly referred to as Maguire daisy) from the List of Endangered and Threatened Plants. The best scientific and commercial data available indicate that this species has recovered and no longer meets the definition of threatened or endangered under the Act. Our review of the status of this species shows that populations are stable, threats have been addressed, and adequate regulatory mechanisms ensure the species is not currently and is not likely to again become an endangered species within the foreseeable future in all or a significant portion of its range. We seek information, data, and comments from the public regarding E. maguirei, this proposal to delist, and the PostDelisting Monitoring Plan. This proposed rule completes the 5year status review initiated on April 7, 2006 (71 FR 17900).
Proposed Removal of Erigeron Maguirei from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants; Availability of Post-Delisting Monitoring Plan,
Public Comments Solicited
We intend that any final action resulting from this proposal will
be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we hereby
request data, comments, new information, or suggestions from the
public, other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific
community, Tribes, industry, or any other interested party concerning
this proposed rule. We particularly seek comments concerning: (1) Biological information concerning this species;
(2) Relevant data concerning any current or likely future threats (or lack thereof) to this species, including the extent and adequacy of Federal and State protection and management that would be provided to the Erigeron maguirei as a delisted species;
(3) Additional information concerning the range, distribution, population size, and population trends of this species, including the locations of any additional populations of this species;
(4) Current or planned activities in the subject area and their possible impacts on this species; and
(5) Our draft PostDelisting Monitoring Plan.
You may submit your comments and materials concerning this proposed rule by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. We will not accept comments sent by email or fax or to an address not listed in the ADDRESSES section.
If you submit a comment via http://www.regulations.gov, your entire commentincluding any personal identifying informationwill be posted on the Web site. If you submit a hardcopy comment that includes personal identifying information, you may request at the top of your document that we withhold this information from public review. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. We will post all hardcopy comments on http://www.regulations.gov.
Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation we used in preparing this proposed rule, will be available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, or by appointment during normal business hours at the Utah Field Office, 2369 West Orton Circle, West Valley City, UT 84119 (801/9753330). Public Hearing
The Act provides for one or more public hearings on this proposal, if requested. Requests must be received by June 30, 2008. Such requests must be made in writing and addressed to the Field Supervisor (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section).
Previous Federal Action
Section 12 of the Act directed the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution to prepare a report on those plants considered to be endangered, threatened, or extinct. On July 1, 1975, the Service published a notice in the Federal Register (40 FR 27824) accepting the Smithsonian report as a petition to list taxa named therein under section 4(c)(2) (now 4(b)(3)) of the Act) and announced our intention to review the status of those plants. Erigeron maguirei was included in that report (40 FR 27880, July 1, 1975). Maguire daisy is the common name for Erigeron maguirei, however we will use primarily the scientific name of this species throughout this proposed rule to clarify taxonomic issues or the legal status of the plant.
On June 16, 1976, we published a rule in the Federal Register (41 FR 24524) to designate approximately 1,700 vascular plant species, including Erigeron maguirei, as endangered pursuant to section 4 of the Act. The 1978 amendments to the Act required that all proposals over 2 years old be withdrawn. On December 10, 1979, we published a notice of withdrawal (44 FR 70796) of that portion of the June 16, 1976, proposal that had not been made final, which included E maguirei.
On December 15, 1980, we published a revised notice of review for
native plants in the Federal Register designating Erigeron maguirei as
a candidate species (45 FR 82480). Section 4(b)(3)(B) of the 1982 [[Page 28411]]
amendments to the Act required that the Secretary of the Interior make a finding on a petition within 1 year of its receipt. In addition, section 2(b)(1) of the 1982 amendments to the Act required that all petitions pending as of October 13, 1982, be treated as if newly submitted on that date. Since the 1975 Smithsonian report was accepted as a petition, all the taxa contained in those notices, including E. maguirei, were treated as being newly petitioned as of October 13, 1982. On October 13, 1983, the Service made a 12month finding that the petition to list E. maguirei var. maguirei was warranted but precluded by other listing actions of a higher priority. Notification of this finding was published in the Federal Register on November 28, 1983 (48 FR 53640).
On July 27, 1984, the Service published a proposed rule to designate Erigeron maguirei var. maguirei as an endangered species (49 FR 30211). The final rule designating the variety of the species as endangered was published on September 5, 1985 (50 FR 36089).
In 1983, E. maguirei var. harrisonii was described as a separate variety of E. maguirei. In this description, Welsh (1983a, p. 367) noted two previous collections of the variety at canyon bottom sites in Wayne County, Utah, in the 1930s. On September 27, 1985, the Service published a notice of review for plants (50 FR 39526) which included Erigeron maguirei var. harrisonii as a candidate species (50 FR 39548). Erigeron maguirei var. harrisonii remained as a candidate through the revised plant notice of review published on September 30, 1993 (58 FR 51144).
On September 7, 1994 (59 FR 46219), the Service proposed to reclassify the species from endangered to threatened based on the new genetic information that led to a taxonomic revision, changing the entry for Erigeron maguirei var. maguirei to E. maguirei. The proposed rule noted that this entity also included the plant variety formerly known as E. m. var harrisonii.
On June 19, 1996, the Service finalized the rule reclassifying Maguire daisy from endangered to threatened in large part due to a taxonomic revision and resultant increase in the population considered as Erigeron maguirei (61 FR 31054).
A member of the sunflower family, Erigeron maguirei is a perennial herb with a branched woody base. Its stems and spatulateshaped leaves are densely spreading and hairy. Its flowers are dime sized with white or pink petals. Bits of sand commonly cling to the hairs of the leaves and stems. The species is further described in our June 19, 1996, final rule reclassifying the species as threatened (61 FR 31054).
Erigeron maguirei has been located from 1,585 to 2,621 meters (m) (5,200 to 8,600 feet (ft)) in elevation (Clark et al. 2006, pp. 911). Highest plant densities occur on mesa tops between 1,829 and 2,134 m (6,000 and 7,000 ft) in elevation (Kass 1990, p. 27; Service 1995, p. 2; Clark 2001, p. 15; Clark et al. 2006, p. 14).
The species occurs from the San Rafael Swell in Emery County, Utah,
south into Wayne and Garfield Counties, Utah, through the Waterpocket
Fold in Capitol Reef National Park (Capitol Reef) (Heil 1987, p. 5,
figure 5; Heil 1989, p. 26; Kass 1990, pp. 23, 2627; Harper and Van
Buren 1998, appendix A; Clark 2001, p. 3; Clark 2002, pp. 1314; Clark
et al. 2005, p. 7; Clark et al. 2006, p. 7) (see Figure 1). Erigeron
maguirei occurs primarily on the Navajo Sandstone formation.
Individuals have been located within steep, narrow, dry, rocky, and
sandy canyon or wash bottoms of the Wingate, Chinle, and Navajo
Sandstone formations; sandstone walls of the Wingate, Navajo, and
Cutler formations; cracks of large boulders; slickrock; and atop mesas
of the Navajo Sandstone formation (Cronquist 1947, p. 165; Anderson
1982, pp. 12; Heil 1989, pp. 2526; Kass 1990, p. 22; Harper and Van
Buren 1998, p. 1). Populations within canyon bottoms are apparently
established from seeds dispersed by wind or overland flow from source
populations on the mesa tops (Heil 1989, p. 25; Kass 1990, p. 27;
Service 1995, p. 2). These canyon populations are generally small
compared with those on the mesa tops (Heil 1989, p. 25; Kass 1990, p. 27; Service 1995, p. 2).
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Erigeron maguirei has been found primarily in the Dwarf Mountain Mahogany Slickrock plant community, a community endemic to the Colorado Plateau Region (Heil 1989, p. 23; Clark 2001, pp. 1516; Clark et al. 2006, p. 15). E. maguirei also is associated with pinyon/junipertall shrub, ponderosa pinetall shrub slickrock pockets, mesic canyon bottoms, mountain shrub, and intermittent riparian communities (Kass 1990, p. 22; Harper and Van Buren 1998, p. 1; Clark 2002, pp. 1516; Clark et al. 2005, p. 7; Clark et al. 2006, p. 15).
Flowering occurs from May to June and takes 4 to 6 weeks to go from the small green ``button'' bud stage to completion of anthesis, when the flower is no longer open and functional (Alston and Tepedino 2005, p. 54; Clark et al. 2006, p. 17). It appears that Erigeron maguirei lacks selfcompatibility, and that pollinators are necessary for cross pollination to occur (Alston and Tepedino 2005, p. 61). Because of the open nature of the flower head, E. maguirei tends to be visited by opportunistic insects searching for nectar (Alston and Tepedino 2005, p. 60). Pollinators include various flies, wasps, and bees (Alston and Tepedino 2005, p. 60).
Van Buren and Harper (2002, p. 1) collected demographic data on
three Erigeron maguirei populations for a period of 9 years. The
demographic data collected included plant diameter, size class, plant
height, plant condition, and number of flower heads produced for
individual tagged plants (Van Buren and Harper 2002, p. 2). At the
Eagle Canyon study site, 124 plants were tagged in 1992 and 41 of these
were still alive in 2001 (Van Buren and Harper 2002, pp. 23). This
demographic monitoring study suggests the species is long lived, has a
low mortality rate, and has the ability to replace individuals at a
rate that compensates for mortality (Van Buren and Harper 2002, pp. 2
5). Overall, monitored populations appear stable (Van Buren and Harper 2002, p. 2).
Recovery plans are not regulatory documents and are instead intended to provide guidance to the Service, States, and other partners on methods of minimizing threats to listed species and on criteria that may be used to determine when recovery is achieved. There are many paths to accomplishing recovery of a species, and recovery may be achieved without all criteria being fully met. For example, one or more criteria may have been exceeded while other criteria may not have been accomplished. In that instance, the Service may judge that the threats have been minimized sufficiently, and the species is robust enough to reclassify from endangered to threatened or to delist. In other cases, recovery opportunities may have been recognized that were not known at the time the recovery plan was finalized. These opportunities may be used instead of methods identified in the recovery plan. Likewise, information on the species may be learned that was not known at the time the recovery plan was finalized. The new information may change the extent that criteria need to be met for recognizing recovery of the species. Recovery of a species is a dynamic process requiring adaptive management that may, or may not, fully follow the guidance provided in a recovery plan.
The Maguire Daisy (Erigeron maguirei) Recovery Plan was approved by the Service on August 15, 1995. The Recovery Plan outlined three delisting criteria. These criteria, and the status of the species relative to these criteria, are outlined below.
Delisting Criterion OneLocate and/or establish additional populations. Maintain 20 populations which have been demonstrated to be above minimum viable population levels. Until minimum viable population levels are determined, it is assumed that the minimum viable population level will be about 500 individuals (Service 1995, p. ii). At the time the Recovery Plan was written, the species was known from 7 populations (32 sites) with the total population estimated at 5,000 (Service 1995, p. 2). To achieve this criterion, the Recovery Plan recommended land managers inventory suitable habitat to determine with a reasonable degree of accuracy its population and distribution (Service 1995, pp. ii, 6, 7, 12).
Thus, in 1999, the Service, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service (Forest Service), and the National Park Service (NPS) established an Interagency Rare Plant Agreement to direct conservation measures for listed and sensitive plant species endemic to central Utah, including Erigeron maguirei (Clark 2002, p. 3). Through this interagency agreement, the agencies committed funding to survey and monitor E. maguirei throughout its range, regardless of agency boundaries (Clark 2002, p. 3). Beginning in 1999, these agencies hired an Interagency Botanist to oversee a team of seasonal employees, thus creating an Interagency Rare Plant Team (Forest Service et al. 2006, p. 6). As part of recovery activities for the E. maguirei, from 1999 to 2002, approximately 3,521 hectares (8,700 acres) were surveyed for E. maguirei on NPS, BLM, and Forest Service lands (Clark and Clark 1999, p. 45; Clark 2002, p. 13). During this period, approximately 2,445 personhours were allocated by the Interagency Rare Plant Team for E. maguirei surveys (Clark 2002, p. 13).
The recovery criterion of maintaining 20 viable populations was based primarily on the assumption that numerous small sites would remain scattered and disconnected (Clark 2006c). Instead of identifying more populations, increased survey efforts conducted under Action 2.0 in the Recovery Plan identified both broader plant distributions and larger population sizes that are evenly distributed across the landscape (Harper and Van Buren 1998, p. 2; Clark and Clark 1999, p. 47; Clark 2001, p. 3; Clark 2002, pp. 1314; Clark et al. 2005, p. 17; Clark et al. 2006, p. 17). Based on our current knowledge of the species, 9 known populations exist (118 sites) within 4 meta populations comprised of approximately 164,250 Erigeron maguirei individuals (see Figure 1 and Table 1) (Clark et al. 2006, p. 16). Sites are defined as occurrence locations recorded by one or more researcher over time (Clark 2006b, p. 5). Populations are defined as groups of occurrence records (i.e., sites) located in the same geographic vicinity (Clark 2006b, p. 5). A metapopulation is comprised of a number of individual populations less than 2.4 kilometers (1.5 miles) apart, typically linked by continuous suitable habitat (Clark 2006b, p. 5, Clark 2006c). The populations cannot be split into more than nine separate populations based on any meaningful criteria (Clark 2006c).
The range of the species is currently estimated at approximately 1,010 square kilometers (km) (390 square miles (mi)) and extends from the San Rafael Swell south through the Waterpocket Fold of Capitol Reef (see Figure 1) (Clark et al. 2006, p. 17). All three populations within the Capitol Reef MetaPopulation are linked by contiguous suitable habitat. Although not necessary for recovery, Clark et al. (2006, p. 24) postulated that further survey work would likely find sufficient numbers of plants to link them into one contiguous population. A similar situation exists within the San Rafael Swell area where suitable habitat occurrences are separated by short distances (Clark et al. 2006, p. 24).
These large, connected, and evenly distributed populations provide the desired viability intended by the recovery plan. The 9 populations have more desirable biological attributes than the originally suggested 20 populations in the recovery plan. As mentioned above, the need for 20 populations was based on the assumption that the originally identified localities would remain widely scattered and the populations in those localities would remain small. However, the 9 current populations are well connected within 4 metapopulations, the meta populations are distributed throughout the range of the species, and most of the populations within those metapopulations have large numbers of individuals. In fact, most of the populations are well above the minimum viable population size of 500 (see Table 1). Although some of the individual populations are below the minimum viable population size, those populations are connected to other populations within meta populations, thereby increasing the species' robustness. In addition, recent population dynamics studies confirm the species' projected population stability (Van Buren and Harper 2002, pp. 15; Clark et al. 2006, p. 24). Demographic monitoring data suggests the species is long lived, has a low mortality rate, and has the ability to replace individuals at a rate that compensates for mortality (Van Buren and Harper 2002, pp. 25). The 9 current populations are functionally better than the estimated 20 populations originally identified in the recovery plan. Therefore, on the whole, the available data demonstrate that the intent of this recovery criterion has been met or exceeded. [[Page 28414]]
Table 1.Erigeron maguirei Populations, Population Estimates and Protective Land Management Designations Percent of the species' Population Population Number of Land ownership ** Protective range estimate sites designations ** within the protective designation Northern San Rafael Swell MetaPopulation Calf Canyon *................... 2,000 1 BLM................ ACEC.............. 95 2 SITLA.............. None.............. 0 Central San Rafael Swell MetaPopulation Coal Wash....................... 100 6 BLM................ WSA............... 90 ACEC.............. 100 Secret Mesa..................... 9,000 9 BLM................ WSA............... 90 ACEC.............. 100 1,000 2 SITLA.............. None.............. 0 Link Flats...................... 200 4 BLM................ None.............. 0 50 1 SITLA.............. None.............. 0 Southern San Rafael Swell MetaPopulation John's Hole..................... 300 3 BLM................ WSA............... 100 ACEC.............. 10 Seger's Hole.................... 100 2 BLM................ WSA............... 50 ACEC.............. 20 Capitol Reef MetaPopulation Deep Creek...................... 1,500 2 Forest Service..... Proposed Botanical \1\ Area. 100,000 29 NPS................ Primitive and 100 Threshold Management Zone. Capitol Reef.................... 30,000 15 NPS................ Primitive and 100 Threshold Management Zone. Waterpocket Fold................ 20,000 42 NPS................ Primitive and 100 Threshold Management Zone.
Totals...................... 164,250 118 Various............ Various........... 97
* The Calf Canyon population estimate is from 1980. Due to inaccessibility, this site has not been revisited
since 1980 and current population levels are unknown. However, other populations are doing well and there is
no reason to believe that the Calf Canyon population is not also doing well (Clark 2007a). Current
distribution among BLM and SITLA is also unknown although 1980 estimates suggest 25 percent of the range was on BLM land and 75 percent was on SITLA land.
** SITLA = Utah's School of Public Land Trust; ACEC = Area of Critical Environmental Concern; WSA = Wilderness Study Area.
\1\ 0% (will be 100% if proposed Botanical Area is finalized).
Delisting Criterion TwoEstablish formal land management designations for these populations which provide longterm, undisturbed habitat for Maguire daisy (Service 1995, p. ii). Delisting Criterion ThreeEnsure that Maguire daisy and its habitat is protected from loss of individuals and environmental degradation (Service 1995, p. ii). To achieve these criteria, the Recovery Plan recommends the Service and our partners ``document the presence of, or, if necessary, establish formal land management designations which would provide for longterm protection for Maguire daisy and its habitat'' (Service 1995, pp. ii, 6, 9, 12).
Approximately 97 percent of the species' range occurs on lands with substantial protective measures in place (see Table 1). Protections are afforded to populations occurring in Capitol Reef through the NPS General Management Plan (Capitol Reef 1998, pp. 2731). The BLM provides protections for populations occurring on their lands under the 1991 San Rafael Resource Management Plan (BLM 1991a, pp. 1226, 6364). Most of the habitat on BLM land is protected as Wilderness Study Areas or Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (see Factor D below). The BLM Price Field Office is currently proceeding with a revision of the 1991 Resource Management Plan (BLM 2004). The Record of Decision for the Final Resource Management Plan is scheduled to be completed by the summer of 2008 (BLM 2008a, p. 1). The Dixie National Forest and Fishlake National Forest released a draft Land Management Plan identifying the Billings Pass Botanical Area, which would provide protection to Erigeron maguirei (Forest Service 2006a, pp. 2c17, 2c 18, 2c43; Tait 2006). At the time of this proposed rule, a schedule was not available for the completion of this document. The Fishlake National Forest OffHighway Vehicle Route Designation Project (Forest Service 2006b, pp. 13, 2021) will eliminate cross country travel on Forest Service lands throughout the range of the species; all habitat is a minimum of 0.8 km (0.5 mi) from existing or potential motorized routes on Fishlake National Forest lands (Forest Service 2006c, pp. 123, 260263).
The Utah State School and Institutional Trust Lands (SITLA) owns lands that contain less than 2 percent of all known or estimated Erigeron maguirei plants. While SITLA does not have a specific management plan to benefit E. maguirei, we do not believe this is necessary to achieve the recovery criterion.
Since its 1985 listing, Federal land management agencies have worked collaboratively to ensure longterm protection of Erigeron maguirei and its habitat. Land management plans, policies, and regulations that provide protection to E. maguirei are in place. More information regarding the protection of E. maguirei through land management designations is contained within Factor D of the Summary of Factors Affecting the Species.
To further ensure these efforts continue postdelisting, the Interagency Rare Plant Team has developed the Central Utah Navajo Sandstone Endemics Conservation Agreement and Conservation Strategy (hereafter referred to as the Conservation Strategy), a multiyear joint project by the Forest Service, BLM, NPS, and the Service (Forest Service et al. 2006). We believe the Conservation Strategy will ensure conservation efforts that have occurred for the species since formation of the Interagency Rare Plant Team in 1999 will continue. The Conservation Strategy, signed by the Forest Service, BLM, NPS, and the Service in September 2006, outlines the procedural provisions under which the Federal agencies will manage Erigeron maguirei into the foreseeable future (Forest Service et al. 2006, pp. 2425). In addition, the Conservation Strategy documents the conservation actions needed to manage potential factors impacting the species and to promote the conservation and perpetuation of E. maguirei (Forest Service et al. 2006, pp. 3847). The Conservation Strategy can be viewed in its entirety at: http://mountainprairie.fws.gov/species/plants/ maguiredaisy/. Copies can also be obtained from the Utah field office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).
Based on the best available data, we have determined that the intent of the first criterion has been achieved and the second and third recovery criterion have been met. Current estimates suggest approximately 97 percent of all known individuals occur on lands with formal land management designations that provide for the longterm protection of the habitat. This ensures Erigeron maguirei and its habitat are protected from loss of individuals and environmental degradation.
Summary of Factors Affecting the Species
Section 4 of the Act and its implementing regulations (50 CFR part 424) set forth the procedures for listing species, reclassifying species, or removing species from listed status. ``Species'' is defined by the Act as including any species or subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct vertebrate population segment of fish or wildlife that interbreeds when mature (16 U.S.C. 1532(16)). Once the ``species'' is determined we then evaluate whether that species may be endangered or threatened because of one or more of the five factors described in section 4(a)(1) of the Act. We must consider these same five factors in delisting a species. We may delist a species according to 50 CFR 424.11(d) if the best available scientific and commercial data indicate that the species is neither endangered nor threatened for the following reasons: (1) The species is extinct; (2) the species has recovered and is no longer endangered or threatened (as is the case with the Maguire daisy); and/or (3) the original scientific data used at the time the species was classified were in error.
A recovered species is one that no longer meets the Act's definition of threatened or endangered. Determining whether a species is recovered requires consideration of the same five categories of threats specified in section 4(a)(1) of the Act. For species that are already listed as threatened or endangered, this analysis of threats is an evaluation of both the threats currently facing the species and the threats that are reasonably likely to affect the species in the foreseeable future following the delisting or downlisting and the removal or reduction of the Act's protections.
A species is ``endangered'' for purposes of the Act if it is in danger of extinction throughout all or a ``significant portion of its range'' and is ``threatened'' if it is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a ``significant portion of its range.'' The word ``range'' in the significant portion of its range (SPR) phrase refers to the range in which the species currently exists. For the purposes of this analysis, we will evaluate whether the currently listed species, the Erigeron maguirei, should be considered threatened or endangered. Then we will consider whether there are any portions of the species' range in danger of extinction or likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future.
Foreseeable future is determined by the Service on a casebycase basis, taking into account a variety of speciesspecific factors such as lifespan, genetics, breeding behavior, demography, threatprojection timeframes, and environmental variability. In this case, we do not foresee any significant changes in the level of threats for Erigeron maguirei. Land management designations (described below) provide long term security for approximately 97 percent of known plants. Other factors once thought capable of significantly impacting the species are now predicted to have little or no impact on the species' longterm conservation status. While we could consider the species secure in perpetuity, such a timeframe would introduce an unreasonable level of uncertainty into our analysis. Therefore, for the purpose of our analysis, we consider a timeframe over which it would be reasonable to expect population level or demographic effects to be detected. For the purposes of this proposed rule, we consider ``foreseeable future'' for E. maguirei to be up to 30 years. The species has been shown to live past 9 years of age and may live between 20 and 30 years (Van Buren and Harper 2002, appendices; England 2007). The available data also demonstrate that plants may begin flowering as early as 1 year and may be able to replace themselves within as little as 2 years, depending upon conditions (Van Buren and Harper 2002, appendices). Consideration of factors potentially impacting the species for up to 30 years would incorporate the long life of an individual and allow for up to 15 possible generations. We believe this represents a reasonable biological timeframe to measure demographic changes that could reflect potential threat factors.
The following analysis examines all five factors currently
affecting, or that are likely to affect, Erigeron maguirei within the foreseeable future.
A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of its Habitat or Range
The current range of Erigeron maguirei includes 9 populations (118
sites) within 4 metapopulations across approximately 1,010 square km
(390 square mi) of southeastern Utah. These populations extend from the
San Rafael Swell south through the Waterpocket Fold of Capitol Reef
(see Figure 1) (Clark et al. 2006, p. 17). The three largest
populations, including over 91 percent of all known plants, occur
primarily within Capitol Reef. One of these three populations (Deep
Creek) also includes a small portion, less than 1 percent of all the
known plants, on National Forest lands. The other six populations (Calf
Canyon, Coal Wash, Secret Mesa, Link Flats, John's Hole, and Seger's
Hole) are managed primarily by the BLM. A portion of three of these six
populations (Calf Canyon, Secret Mesa, and Link Flats) also occurs on Utah's School of Public Land Trust (SITLA) lands. Table
1 provides further detail on populations and land ownership.
When the species was originally listed, the main threat was loss of habitat specifically due to mining claims for uranium, energy exploration, grazing, and offroad vehicle recreation (50 FR 36089 36091, September 5, 1985). In addition, flooding has also been seen as a potential threat in the recent years. We address these threats to Erigeron maguirei below.
Mineral Exploration and Development OverviewMineral exploration and development were listed as threats in the 1985 listing, in the 1995 Recovery Plan, and in the 1996 downlisting (50 FR 36089, September 5, 1985; Service 1995, p. 5; 61 FR 31054, 31056, June 19, 1996). Only one active mine exists within the range of Erigeron maguirei populations according to the Utah Mineral Occurrence System (Utah Geological Survey (UGS) 2007; Clark et al. 2006, p. 9). This mine, the Lucky Strike Mine, is discussed below.
UraniumUranium mining began in the western United States in 1871 (Ringholz 1994, p. 2). In 1952, geologist Charles Steen found the first noteworthy deposits of uranium ore in Utah (Ringholz 1994, p. 2). By the end of 1962, Utah had produced approximately 9 million tons of ore (Ringholz 1994, p. 2). The Atomic Energy Commission held ample uranium ore reserves and by 1970 stopped buying uranium (Ringholz 1994, p. 3). When nuclear power plants came online in the mid1970s, a brief second boom was experienced (Ringholz 1994, p. 3). However, foreign competition, Federal regulations, and nuclear fears led to an abandonment of domestic uranium mining (Ringholz 1994, p. 3). A recent surge in prices has led to a resurgence in prospectors staking and buying up uranium claims.
According to the Utah Mineral Occurrence System database, 12 known uranium mineral locations overlap the mapped Erigeron maguirei populations (UGS 2007; Clark et al. 2006, p. 16). Only the Lucky Strike Mine is active (UGS 2007). This mine occurs along the southern edge of the mapped Link Flats population (Central San Rafael Swell Meta Population) and is accessed via an existing road that enters the population from the south (UGS 2007; Clark et al. 2006, p. 9). It is not anticipated that the mine will adversely impact substantial portions of this population in the foreseeable future as it lies on the periphery of the population and is accessed via an existing road. The remaining 11 locations include 6 sites that never produced and 5 sites that only reached small production levels (UGS 2007). All 11 of these locations occur on the periphery of the mapped populations (UGS 2007; Clark et al. 2006, p. 16).
Uranium is restricted to geologic formations such as the Moss Back Member, Monitor Butte Member, and the Mottled Siltstone Unit of the Chinle Formation, while the Maguire daisy primarily occurs in the Navajo Sandstone geologic formation. The most substantial impact of uranium mining would likely be indirectly from crossing suitable habitat while accessing the desired geologic formation (Utah Geologic Survey (UGS) 2007; Clark et al. 2006, p. 20). Based on the locations of past exploration coupled with the geologic requirements of uranium, we foresee minimal potential impacts from uranium mining to the species as a whole in the foreseeable future.
GypsumAlthough not specifically mentioned in any previous Service threats assessment, gypsum mining also occurs in the vicinity of Erigeron maguirei. While E. maguirei does not occur in the geologic formation that contains commercial quality gypsum, suitable habitat may be crossed while accessing the more desirable geologic formations (Clark et al. 2006, p. 20). According to the Utah Mineral Occurrence System database, one gypsum occurrence that never produced lies within the mapped Deep Creek population within Capitol Reef (UGS 2007). This occurrence is located on the periphery of the mapped population and within the Primitive Management Zone (Capitol Reef 1998, p. 27; UGS 2007). NPS regulations protect this population by limiting access (Capitol Reef 1998, p. 27). Travel through this Management Zone is limited to crosscountry hiking or horseback riding on unimproved trails and routes (Capitol Reef 1998, pp. 2829). Within the Primitive Management Zone, developments are not permitted and physical modifications are not allowed except for natural or cultural resource protection (Capitol Reef 1998, p. 29). More importantly, lands are withdrawn from mining and mineral exploration in Capitol Reef (Clark et al. 2006, p. 21). Therefore, gypsum mining impacts to the E. maguirei are not likely in the foreseeable future.
Oil Shale and Tar SandsThe Conservation Strategy does not recognize oil shale and tar sands as a threat (Forest Service et al. 2006, p. 37). However, the mapped populations of Calf Canyon, Secret Mesa, and Link Flats overlap the mapped tar sand areas as depicted on the Energy Resources Map of Utah (Automated Geographic Reference Center (AGRC) 2001a, 2001b; Clark et al. 2006, p. 9). Tar sands are a mixture of sand or clay, water, and extremely heavy crude oil. Typically, strip mining is the most efficient method of extraction, but other approaches include the injection of steam and/or solvents to reduce the oils viscosity allowing the oil to be pumped out of the well.
Ten percent of the mapped Calf Canyon population overlaps that of the mapped high probability tar sand areas and probable tar sand areas (AGRC 2001b; Clark et al. 2006, p. 9). The Secret Mesa population contains a small area of tar sands (AGRC 2001a; Clark et al. 2006, p. 9). The Link Flats population contains a small area of tar sands, and approximately 2 percent of the mapped area overlaps that of the mapped probable and highly probable tar sand areas (AGRC 2001a, 2001b; Clark et al. 2006, p. 9). Portions of the mapped Calf Canyon, Secret Mesa, and Link Flats populations have been identified in the Draft Oil Shale and Tar Sands Resource Management Plan Amendments to Address Land Use Allocations in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming and Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (BLM 2007, pp. 3127 and 3163; Clark et al. 2006, p. 9). The purpose of the draft programmatic Environmental Impact Statement is to describe where oil shale and tar sands resources are present, and to decide which areas will be open to application for commercial leasing, exploration, and development (BLM 2007, pp. 12). The final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement is expected to be published in 2008 (BLM 2008b). A final determination on this proposed delisting rule will not be completed until the programmatic Environmental Impact Statement is finalized; and the Record of Decision will be analyzed as part of our final determination. If tar sands development does occur in the San Rafael Swell area, the loss of significant portions of these populations from this activity is not anticipated because the mineral resources occur along the periphery of the mapped populations and only contain a small percentage of the mapped area.
Impacts to individual plants from tar sands development may still
occur. These impacts can be a result of vegetation clearing, habitat
fragmentation, alteration of topography, changes in drainage patters,
erosion, sedimentation from runoff, oil and contaminant spills,
fugitive dust, injury or mortality of individual plants, human
collection, increased human access, spread of invasive plant species,
and air pollution (BLM 2007, pp. 577). In addition, we believe the development of
tar sands may also impact pollinator species. Given where development is likely to occur and the locations of where plants occur, we expect impacts to the species to be minor.
Additionally, protective land management designations apply to the Secret Mesa population. Ninety percent of the BLM portion of the mapped Secret Mesa population occurs within Sid's Mountain and Devils Canyon WSAs (Clark et al. 2005, pp. 1617; Ivory 2006). As stated previously, WSAs are designated as primitiveclass areas and are to be managed free of evidence of human use and to maintain an environment of isolation (BLM 1991a, p. 89). Only temporary uses, and those that create no new surface disturbance nor involve permanent placement of structures, are permitted within WSAs (BLM 1976, p. 2). All WSAs are closed to use and development of minerals (BLM 1991a, pp. 19, 64).
Oil and Gas Exploration and DevelopmentOil and gas exploration and development were listed as threats in the listing rule, Recovery Plan, and downlisting rule (50 FR 36089, September 5, 1985; Service 1995, p. 5; 61 FR 31054, 31056, June 19, 1996). Oil and gas leases were located in the area of the last known Erigeron maguirei site at the time of the 1985 listing (50 FR 36090, September 5, 1985).
Lands within Capitol Reef have been withdrawn from oil and gas exploration and development (Forest Service et al. 2006, p. 56). The BLM and Forest Service lands are open to oil and gas leasing, but the potential for oil and gas is low in the Navajo Sandstone formation where Erigeron maguirei occurs (Forest Service et al. 2006, p. 34).
Within BLMadministered mineral resources, oil and gas leases that were issued prior to the BLM Resource Management Plan are managed under the stipulations that were in effect when the lease was issued (BLM 1991a, p. 11). Any leases issued after the Plan was signed must comply with the Resource Management Plan (BLM 1991a, p. 11, map 5). The Plan identifies specific management prescriptions by ACEC (BLM 1991a, pp. 1415). The known Erigeron maguirei populations on BLM administered lands occur within the San Rafael Canyon (middle portion), Sid's Mountain, Highway I70 Scenic Corridor, Muddy Creek, and Seger's Hole ACECs (Clark et al. 2005, pp. 1617; Ivory 2006). The San Rafael Canyon ACEC (middle portion) is open to leasing, but surface restrictions apply (BLM 1991a, p. 14). According to the Conservation Strategy, BLM will adjust surface disturbance locations to avoid E. maguirei for discretionary and leasable minerals including the San Rafael Canyon ACEC (middle portion) (Forest Service et al. 2006, pp. 34, 3638, 42 44). The remaining ACECs that contain E. maguirei populations have no surfaceoccupancy stipulations for oil and gas development attached to the lease (BLM 1991a, p. 14). Leasing with ``no surface occupancy'' means that there will be no development or disturbance whatsoever of the land surface, including establishment of wells or well pads, and construction of roads, pipelines, or powerlines. WSAs with E. maguirei populations, including the Sid's Mountain, Devils Canyon, and Muddy Creek WSAs, are open for leasing, but also have nosurfaceoccupancy stipulations (BLM 1991a, pp. 14, 64).
Seven wells have been sited within the mapped Secret Mesa and Coal Wash populations, but all of them have been plugged and abandoned (Clark et al. 2006, p. 9; Utah Division of Oil, Gas, and Mining (UDOGM) 2006a). While limited exploration has occurred, no known oil or gas fields exist within the known Erigeron maguirei populations and the potential for development is low (AGRC 2001c; Clark et al. 2006, p. 21; UDOGM 2006b, Forest Service et al. 2006, p. 34). The only gas field in the vicinity of the E. maguirei is the Last Chance Gas Field located approximately 11 km (7 mi) west of the Seger's Hole population and 10 km (6 mi) north of the Deep Creek population (AGRC 2001c; Chidsey et al. 2005; Clark et al. 2006, p. 16; UDOGM 2006b). Based on the lack of supporting evidence of viable oil and gas fields within the vicinity of the E. maguirei and the land management designations affording protections to the species, oil and gas exploration and development is no longer considered a threat, nor is it likely to become one within the foreseeable future.
Recreational UseRecreational use, including offroad vehicles and human foot traffic, have previously been cited as threats to the species (50 FR 36090, September 5, 1985; Service 1995, p. 5; 61 FR 31056, June 19, 1996). Erigeron maguirei habitat does not occur within 0.8 km (0.5 mi) of classified or potentially designated motorized routes on Fishlake National Forest lands (Forest Service 2006c, pp. 123, 260263). According to the Fishlake National Forest OffHighway Vehicle Route Designation Project, it is unlikely that motorized traffic would infringe upon the E. maguirei population on Forest Service land, thereby, providing protections from this threat to this portion of the species' range (Forest Service 2006c, p. 263). Capitol Reef, which comprises 91 percent of the species' total population, is closed to offroad vehicle use (Clark et al. 2006, p. 20).
Almost 6 percent of individual plants occur on lands administered by the BLM, of which approximately 80 percent occur within an ACEC and/ or WSA (Kass 1990, p. 23; BLM 1991a, pp. 6364; Clark et al. 2006, p. 18; Ivory 2006). Four of the six Erigeron maguirei populations that occur on BLM lands are within the Sid's Mountain, Muddy Creek, and Devils Canyon WSA (Kass 1990, p. 23; Clark et al. 2005, p. 19; Ivory 2006). These WSAs are either closed to motorized vehicles or use is limited to designated roads and trails (BLM 1991a, pp. 6364, 68, 89; Clark et al. 2006, p. 20). San Rafael Canyon (middle portion), Sid's Mountain, Highway I70 Scenic Corridor, Muddy Creek, and Seger's Hole ACECs contain five of the six known populations on BLM lands (Clark et al. 2005, pp. 1617; Ivory 2006). These areas have either been closed to offroad vehicle use or use has been limited to designated roads and trails (BLM 1991a, p. 68).
Erigeron maguirei is not prone to human disturbance because it grows primarily in cliff crevices and on sandstone domes (Clark 2002, p. 16). From 2000 to 2002, 60 sites were included within a Capitol Reef study on signs of human impacts (Clark 2002, pp. 1216). Only 2 of these sites showed any signs of human impacts (in both cases foot traffic through the site) (Clark 2002, pp. 1516). At one site monitored with an electronic counter, visitor use remained fairly stable at 10 visitors per week (Clark et al. 2006, p. 21). After over a decade of monitoring, human trampling may have impacted some individuals, but has not led to a reduction in population survivability (Clark et al. 2006, p. 21). Therefore, impacts from recreation are not a threat to E. maguirei populations in the foreseeable future.
FloodsTwo of four Capitol Reef sites monitored between 1992 and 2001 have experienced flash flood events (Van Buren and Harper 2002, p. 1). At one site, a flash flood event likely resulted in 48 plants being lost (Van Buren and Harper 2002, p. 2). However, the species is long lived and shows an ability to replace individuals lost to periodic flooding (Van Buren and Harper 2002, pp. 45). Therefore, flood events possessing the potential to meaningfully impact Erigeron maguirei populations are unlikely in the foreseeable future.
Summary of Factor AMineral exploration and development, and
recreational use were listed as threats to Erigeron maguirei in the 1985 listing
rule, 1995 Recovery Plan, and 1996 downlisting rule (50 FR 36089, September 5, 1985; Service 1995, p. 5; 61 FR 31054, June 19, 1996). Since the last Federal action, recovery efforts have increased our understanding of the species, its habitat, and its distribution and abundance (61 FR 3105431058, June 19, 1996; Harper and Van Buren 1998, p. 2; Clark and Clark 1999, p. 47; Clark 2001, p. 3; Clark 2002, pp. 1314; Clark et al. 2005, p. 17; Clark et al. 2006, p. 17). The species occurs predominantly within the Navajo Sandstone formation, which has low potential for oil and gas development and uranium mining (Forest Service et al. 2006, p. 37). Most mineral resources (like gypsum, tar sands, and oil shale) occur on the periphery of mapped populations and, therefore, are not likely to meaningfully impact any of the populations. Impacts from fragmentation are also expected to be minor. Land management protections throughout most of the species' range and an increased understanding of the species' habitat have reduced the threat of recreational use. While potential impacts to individuals could occur when either accessing the mineral resources or during recreational use, these activities are considered unlikely to materialize in a meaningful way in the foreseeable future, would be limited to small periphery portions of populations, and would not reduce the longterm viability of any of the populations. In addition, land management designations, which have been discussed briefly in this section and will be discussed in more detail under Factor D, will continue to provide protections for E. maguirei and its habitat in the foreseeable future.
B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or Educational Purposes
Erigeron maguirei is not a highly collected or soughtafter species. One group was known to be propagating E. maguirei for private use (a European group was propagating E. maguirei for rock garden enthusiasts) (Forest Service et al. 2006, p. 35; Clark 2007b), but no longer appears to be offering plants for sale (Megown 2007). To date, unauthorized plant and seed collection has not been documented for this species (Forest Service et al. 2006, p. 35). Although the Interagency Rare Plant Team working under the Conservation Strategy will continue to monitor for illegal collection activity (Forest Service et al. 2006, p. 35), we do not believe overutilization to be a current threat to the species, nor likely to be in the foreseeable future.
C. Disease or Predation
At the time of listing, plants were observed only in rocky areas inaccessible to cattle grazing (50 FR 36090, September 5, 1985), and not in canyon bottoms where plants were originally located in 1940 and 1980. Because the plants could not be relocated in the canyon bottoms, scientists believed that predation due to cattle grazing had reduced the species' distribution (50 FR 36090, September 5, 1985; 61 FR 31056, June 19, 1996; Harper and Van Buren 1998, p. 2). By the time the Recovery Plan was drafted, it concluded that the majority of the Erigeron maguirei populations were relatively secure from direct impacts of livestock trampling, but it could be a localized threat in some areas (Service 1995, p. 5). We concluded in the final downlisting rule that concentrations of livestock in localized areas, specifically wash bottoms that have limited vegetation, may result in E. maguirei being grazed by livestock (61 FR 31056, June 19, 1996; Kass 1990, p. 28). The species is now known to prefer cliffs or rock crevices that are inaccessible to livestock (Kass 1990, p. 27; Service 1995, p. 2; Clark 2001, p. 15; Clark et al. 2005, pp. 12, 22, 24; Clark et al. 2006, pp. 2122; Forest Service et al. 2006, p. 56). Erigeron maguirei plants within canyon bottoms are small, incidental occurrences, apparently established from seeds dispersed by wind or overland flow from source populations on the mesa tops (Heil 1989, p. 25; Kass 1990, p. 27; Service 1995, p. 2).
Although seven of the nine Erigeron maguirei populations occur within cattle allotments, all seven of these populations are inaccessible to cattle grazing due to terrain conditions (Forest Service et al. 2006, p. 56). Of the two remaining populations, the Waterpocket Fold population in Capitol Reef, estimated at approximately 20,000 individuals on 42 sites, has a history of cattle trailing (Forest Service et al. 2006, p. 56). Cattle trailing, or moving cattle through the area, has occurred at this site about once every 5 years for the past 100 years (Clark et al. 2006, pp. 21, 25). Cattle trailing has impacted, and is expected to continue to impact, only a few individual plants (Clark et al. 2006, pp. 21, 25). The Conservation Strategy states that Capitol Reef will monitor for potential impacts as well as identify and implement management actions and guidelines that will help maintain longterm sustainability and conservation of the population (Forest Service et al. 2006, pp. 3537). Additionally, grazing range improvements outside of the range of E. maguirei serve to draw cattle further away from E. maguirei populations (Clark et al. 2006, pp. 21, 25). Because we now know that E. maguirei primarily occurs in areas inaccessible to livestock, in combination with the increased population and distribution, grazing is no longer considered a threat, nor is it likely to become one within the foreseeable future. D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms
Prior to the species' 1985 listing, no Federal or State laws protected Erigeron maguirei (50 FR 36090, September 5, 1985). Since then, substantial protections have been secured. The BLM Management Plan has provided protection to E. maguirei and its habitat in the San Rafael Swell areas (BLM 1991a; 61 FR 31056, June 19, 1996). The completion and implementation of the National Park Service Capitol Reef Management Plan has provided protection to the largest populations of E. maguirei and its habitat (61 FR 31056, June 19, 1996). Habitat for E. maguirei does not occur within 0.8 km (0.5 mi) of classified or potentially designated motorized routes on Fishlake National Forest lands (Forest Service 2006c, pp. 123, 260263). In addition, the proposed Fishlake National Forest Management Plan would afford protections to the remaining portions of the Capitol Reef Meta Population through the designation of the Billings Pass Botanical Area (Forest Service 2006a, pp. 2c17, 2c18, 2c43; Tait 2006).
Over 98 percent of known Erigeron maguirei plants occur on lands managed by Capitol Reef (91 percent), BLM Price Field Office (6 percent), and Fishlake National Forest (1 percent) (Clark et al. 2006, p. 16) (Table 1). Less than 2 percent of the known population occurs on lands administered by SITLA where no protections for E. maguirei exist (Clark et al. 2006, p. 16) (Table 1).
On BLM lands, WSAs are managed according to the Interim Management
Policy for Lands under Wilderness Review, BLM Handbook 85501, until
Congress either designates them into the National Wilderness
Preservation System or releases them from wilderness study for other
purposes (BLM 1976, p. 1). In 1991, BLM recommended to Congress that:
100 percent of the Muddy Creek WSA be made permanent wilderness; 99
percent of the Sid's Mountain WSA be made permanent wilderness; and
none of the Devils Canyon WSA be made permanent wilderness (BLM 1991b,
pp. 795, 807, 817). The Devils Canyon WSA includes approximately 10 percent of the BLM portion of the Secret Mesa population
(Ivory 2007). Given BLM's support for the permanent protection of the majority of the WSAs where Erigeron maguirei occurs, we believe Congressional release from the National Wilderness Preservation System is unlikely.
Four of the six known populations of Erigeron maguirei that occur on lands administered by the BLM are within the Muddy Creek, Sid's Mountain, and Devils Canyon WSA (Kass 1990, p. 23; BLM 1991a, pp. 63 64; Clark et al. 2005, p. 19; Ivory 2006). Onehundred percent of the John's Hole and 50 percent of the Seger's Hole populations occur within the Muddy Creek WSA (Clark et al. 2006, p. 16; Ivory 2006). Ninety percent of the Coal Wash population occurs within the Sid's Mountain WSA (Clark et al. 2006, p. 16; Ivory 2006). Ninety percent of the portion of the Secret Mesa population on BLM lands occurs within the Sid's Mountain and Devils Canyon WSAs (Clark et al. 2006, p. 16; Ivory 2006). The Links Flats population is the only occurrence on BLM lands without any portion of the population protected as a WSA. Table 1 further illustrates the various protections in place on each of these populations.
Except for grandfathered uses, the lands under wilderness review must be managed so as not to impair their suitability for preservation as wilderness (BLM 1976, p. 2). Grazing, a nonthreat as discussed above, is the only grandfathered use exempt from no surface occupancy stipulations. No surface disturbance stipulations apply to grandfathered mining and mineral extraction. While lands under wilderness review may not be closed to future appropriation under the mining laws, no surface occupancy stipulations apply in order to preserve their wilderness character (BLM 1976, p. 2). Temporary uses are permitted within WSAs as long as they create no new surface disturbance and do not involve permanent placement of structures (BLM 1976, p. 2).
The BLM San Rafael Resource Management Plan was approved on May 24, 1991 (BLM 1991a). Erigeron maguirei is provided protection through land use planning decisions, including the designation of ACECs (BLM 1991a). Five of the six known populations of E. maguirei that occur on lands administered by the BLM are within the San Rafael Canyon (middle portion), Sid's Mountain, Highway I70 Scenic Corridor, Muddy Creek, and Seger's Hole ACECs (Clark et al. 2005, p. 16; Ivory 2006). Twenty five percent of Calf Canyon population's range occurs on BLM land, of which 95 percent occurs within the San Rafael Canyon ACEC (middle portion) (Clark et al. 2006, p. 16; Ivory 2006). Onehundred percent of the Coal Wash population occurs within the Sid's Mountain ACEC (Clark et al. 2006, p. 16; Ivory 2006). Onehundred percent of the portion of the Secret Mesa population on BLM land occurs within the Sid's Mountain ACEC or Highway I70 Scenic Corridor ACEC (Clark et al. 2006, p. 16; Ivory 2006). Ten percent of the John's Hole population's range occurs within the Muddy Creek ACEC (Clark et al. 2006, p. 16; Ivory 2006). Twenty percent of the Seger's Hole population's range occurs within the Seger's Hole ACEC (Clark et al. 2006, p. 16; Ivory 2006). The Links Flats population is the only occurrence on BLM lands without any portion of the population protected as an ACEC. Table 1 further illustrates the various protections in place for each population and highlights where ACECs and WSAs overlap.
Special management conditions that apply to all WSAs and ACECs include: Open to mineral entry with plans of operations; avoided for rightofway grants; excluded from private and commercial use of woodland products, except for limited onsite collection of downed dead wood for campfires; designated as closed to offroad vehicle use when ACEC is within a WSA or WSA has been designated as primitive, otherwise use is limited to designated roads and trails; and they are subject to fire suppression with special conditions (BLM 1991a, pp. 14, 6469, 81 89).
The Highway I70 Scenic Corridor, Muddy Creek, Seger's Hole, and Sid's Mountain ACECs are open to mineral leasing, but nosurface occupancy stipulations must be attached to the lease. These areas are also closed for disposal of mineral materials; open to range improvements with special conditions; excluded from land treatments; and are designated as Visual Resource Management Class I (described above) (BLM 1991a, pp. 14, 64, 8182). An exception to the nosurface occupancy stipulation may be granted in the Highway I70 Scenic Corridor ACEC if an environmental assessment concludes that the proposed action would not adversely affect scenic values (BLM 1991a, pp. 14, 8182).
The San Rafael Canyon ACEC (middle portion) is open to mineral leasing with surface restrictions; open for disposal of mineral materials with special conditions; excluded from range improvements and land treatments unless used to protect or improve riparian values; and is designated as Visual Resource Management Class II (BLM 1991a, pp. 14, 64, 8182). The objective of this class is to retain the existing character of the landscape. The level of change to the characteristic landscape should be low. Management activities may be seen, but should not attract the attention of the casual observer. Any changes must repeat the basic elements of form, line, color, and texture found in the predominant natural features of the characteristic landscape.
The Highway I70 Scenic Corridor, Muddy Creek, San Rafael Canyon (Middle Portion), Seger's Hole, and Sid's Mountain ACECs are managed to protect scenic values (BLM 1991a, pp. 8285). The Muddy Creek ACEC also contains the Tomsich Butte special emphasis area, which is managed to protect historic values (BLM 1991a, p. 82).
The BLM Price Field Office is proceeding with a revision of the 1991 Resource Management Plan (BLM 2004). Final decisions on special designations will be made in the Final Resource Management Plan by the summer of 2008 (BLM 2008a, p. 1). The WSA designations will remain until Congress acts to remove them from this status, or they are determined to be Wilderness Areas. The protective management resulting from ACEC designations could be revised by this process. Not all of the Draft Resource Management Plan alternatives contain ACEC designations. Our final determination on this proposed delisting rule will not be completed before the conclusion of this process and will consider the final decisions regarding these ACECs.
National Parks are administered under the provisions of ``An Act to establish a National Park Service and for other purposes approved August 25, 1916'' (39 Stat. 535), as amended and supplemented (commonly referred to as the ``Organic Act'' because it created the National Park System) (16 U.S.C. 1, 24). The Organic Act specifies that the NPS is to ``promote and regulate the use of the Federal areas known as national parks, monuments, and reservations * * * which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.''
Capitol Reef National Park, which contains approximately 91 percent
of the Erigeron maguirei individuals, has land management policies in
place that afford protection to the species. Capitol Reef's 1998 Final
General Management Plan/Development Concept Plan defines Primitive and
Threshold Management Zones within the Park (Capitol Reef 1998, pp. 27
31). All Capitol Reef E. maguirei sites are located within these [[Page 28420]]
Management Zones (Clark 2006a). Travel through the Primitive Management Zones is limited to crosscountry hiking or horseback riding on unimproved trails and routes and travel within the Threshold Management Zone is on paved or twowheel drive, low clearance, allweather roads (Capitol Reef 1998, pp. 2831). Grazing is not allowed within either of these zones (Capitol Reef 1998, pp. 2831). Within the Primitive Management Zone, developments are not permitted and physical modifications are not allowed except for natural or cultural resource protection (Capitol Reef 1998, p. 29). Limited development is provided in the Threshold Management Zone, but no new major structures or facilities are allowed (Capitol Reef 1998, p. 31). The remoteness of the species and its preference of the Navajo Sandstone formation, which is predominantly on top of mesas and other inaccessible areas, render the habitat for E. maguirei safe from development.
The 2006 NPS Management Policies Section 126.96.36.199, Plant and Animal Population Management Principles, states that the NPS will maintain all native plant and animal species and their habitats inside parks. In addition, these policies state that ``the (National Park) Service will work with other land managers to encourage the conservation of the populations and habitats of these species outside parks whenever possible'' (NPS 2006, p. 62).
The National Forest Management Act (1976) directs National Forests to manage habitat to maintain viable populations of existing native and desired nonnative vertebrate species in habitat distributed throughout their geographic range on National Forest System lands (Forest Service 1976). In 1983, U.S. Department of Agriculture Departmental Regulation 95004 provided further direction to the Forest Service, expanding the viability requirements to include plant species (U.S. Department of Agriculture 1983, p. 2). While the 2005 Forest Service planning regulations (70 FR 1023, January 5, 2005) would have eliminated species' viability requirements, these regulations were remanded by the court on March 30, 2007 (Citizens for Better Forestry v. U.S. Department of Agriculture
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
Larry Crist, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Utah Field Office, 2369 West Orton Circle, West Valley City, UT 84119, or telephone (801) 9753330. Individuals who are hearingimpaired or speechimpaired may call the Federal Relay Service at (800) 8778337 for TTY assistance.