Federal Register: November 10, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 217)
DOCID: fr10no10-26 FR Doc 2010-27686
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Veterans Affairs Department
CFR Citation: 50 CFR Part 17
Docket ID: [Docket No. FWS-R9-ES-2010-0065; MO-9221050083-B2]
NOTICE: Part III
DOCUMENT ACTION: Notice of review.
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Review of Native Species That Are Candidates for Listing as Endangered or Threatened; Annual Notice of Findings on Resubmitted Petitions; Annual Description of Progress on Listing Actions
DATES: We will accept information on any of the species in this Candidate Notice of Review at any time.
In this Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR), we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), present an updated list of plant and animal species native to the United States that we regard as candidates for or have proposed for addition to the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. Identification of candidate species can assist environmental planning efforts by providing advance notice of potential listings, allowing landowners and resource managers to alleviate threats and thereby possibly remove the need to list species as endangered or threatened. Even if we subsequently list a candidate species, the early notice provided here could result in more options for species management and recovery by prompting candidate conservation measures to alleviate threats to the species.
The CNOR summarizes the status and threats that we evaluated in order to determine that species qualify as candidates and to assign a listing priority number (LPN) to each species or to determine that species should be removed from candidate status. Additional material that we relied on is available in the Species Assessment and Listing Priority Assignment Forms (species assessment forms, previously called candidate forms) for each candidate species.
Overall, this CNOR recognizes five new candidates, changes the LPN for four candidates, and removes one species from candidate status. Combined with other decisions for individual species that were published separately from this CNOR in the past year, the current number of species that are candidates for listing is 251.
This document also includes our findings on resubmitted petitions and describes our progress in revising the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants during the period October 1, 2009, through September 30, 2010.
We request additional status information that may be available for the 251 candidate species identified in this CNOR.
Interior Department, Fish and Wildlife Service
We request additional status information that may be available for any of the candidate species identified in this CNOR. We will consider this information to monitor changes in the status or LPN of candidate species and to manage candidates as we prepare listing documents and future revisions to the notice of review. We also request information on additional species to consider including as candidates as we prepare future updates of this notice.
You may submit your information concerning this notice in general or for any of the species included in this notice by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section.
Speciesspecific information and materials we receive will be
available for public inspection by appointment, during normal business
hours, at the appropriate Regional Office listed below under Request
for Information in SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. General information we
receive will be available at the Branch of Candidate Conservation, Arlington, VA (see address above).
Candidate Notice of Review
The Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) (Act), requires that we identify species of wildlife and plants that are endangered or threatened, based on the best available scientific and commercial information. As defined in section 3 of the Act, an endangered species is any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range, and a threatened species is any species which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Through the Federal rulemaking process, we add species that meet these definitions to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife at 50 CFR 17.11 or the List of Endangered and Threatened Plants at 50 CFR 17.12. As part of this program, we maintain a list of species that we regard as candidates for listing. A candidate species is one for which we have on file sufficient information on biological vulnerability and threats to support a proposal to list as endangered or threatened, but for which preparation and publication of a proposal is precluded by higher priority listing actions. We may identify a species as a candidate for listing after we have conducted an evaluation of its status on our own initiative, or after we have made a positive finding on a petition to list a species, in particular we have found that listing is warranted but precluded by other higher priority listing action (see the Petition Findings section, below).
We maintain this list of candidates for a variety of reasons: To
notify the public that these species are facing threats to their
survival; to provide advance knowledge of potential listings that could
affect decisions of environmental planners and developers; to provide
information that may stimulate and guide conservation efforts that will
remove or reduce threats to these species and possibly make listing
unnecessary; to request input from interested parties to help us identify those candidate species that may not
require protection under the Act or additional species that may require the Act's protections; and to request necessary information for setting priorities for preparing listing proposals. We strongly encourage collaborative conservation efforts for candidate species, and offer technical and financial assistance to facilitate such efforts. For additional information regarding such assistance, please contact the appropriate Regional Office listed under Request for Information or visit our Web site, http://www.fws.gov/endangered/whatwedo/cca.html. Previous Notices of Review
We have been publishing candidate notices of review (CNOR) since 1975. The most recent CNOR (prior to this CNOR) was published on November 9, 2009 (74 FR 57804). CNORs published since 1994 are available on our Web site, http://www.fws.gov/endangered/whatwedo/ cnor.html. For copies of CNORs published prior to 1994, please contact the Branch of Candidate Conservation (see ADDRESSES section above).
On September 21, 1983, we published guidance for assigning an LPN for each candidate species (48 FR 43098). Using this guidance, we assign each candidate an LPN of 1 to 12, depending on the magnitude of threats, immediacy of threats, and taxonomic status; the lower the LPN, the higher the listing priority (that is, a species with an LPN of 1 would have the highest listing priority). Section 4(h)(3) of the Act (15 U.S.C. 1533(h)(3)) requires the Secretary to establish guidelines for such a priorityranking guidance system. As explained below, in using this system we first categorize based on the magnitude of the threat(s), then by the immediacy of the threat(s), and finally by taxonomic status.
Under this priorityranking system, magnitude of threat can be
either ``high'' or ``moderate to low.'' This criterion helps ensure
that the species facing the greatest threats to their continued
existence receive the highest listing priority. It is important to
recognize that all candidate species face threats to their continued
existence, so the magnitude of threats is in relative terms. For all
candidate species, the threats are of sufficiently high magnitude to
put them in danger of extinction, or make them likely to become in
danger of extinction in the foreseeable future. But for species with
higher magnitude threats, the threats have a greater likelihood of
bringing about extinction or are expected to bring about extinction on
a shorter time scale (once the threats are imminent) than for species
with lower magnitude threats. Since we do not routinely quantify how
likely or how soon extinction would be expected to occur absent
listing, we must evaluate factors that contribute to the likelihood and
time scale for extinction. We therefore consider information such as:
The number of populations and/or extent of range of the species
affected by the threat(s); the biological significance of the affected population(s), taking into consideration the lifehistory
characteristics of the species and its current abundance and distribution; whether the threats affect the species in only a portion of its range, and if so the likelihood of persistence of the species in the unaffected portions; the severity of the effects and the rapidity with which they have caused or are likely to cause mortality to individuals and accompanying declines in population levels; whether the effects are likely to be permanent; and the extent to which any ongoing conservation efforts reduce the severity of the threat.
As used in our priorityranking system, immediacy of threat is categorized as either ``imminent'' or ``nonimminent'' and is not a measure of how quickly the species is likely to become extinct if the threats are not addressed; rather, immediacy is based on when the threats will begin. If a threat is currently occurring or likely to occur in the very near future, we classify the threat as imminent. Determining the immediacy of threats helps ensure that species facing actual, identifiable threats are given priority for listing proposals over those for which threats are only potential or species that are intrinsically vulnerable to certain types of threats but are not known to be presently facing such threats.
Our priority ranking system has three categories for taxonomic status: Species that are the sole members of a genus; full species (in genera that have more than one species); and subspecies and distinct population segments of vertebrate species (DPS). We also apply this last category to species that are threatened or endangered in only significant portions of their ranges rather than their entire ranges.
The result of the ranking system is that we assign each candidate a listing priority number of 1 to 12. For example, if the threat(s) is of high magnitude, with immediacy classified as imminent, the listable entity is assigned an LPN of 1, 2, or 3 based on its taxonomic status (i.e., a species that is the only member of its genus would be assigned to the LPN 1 category, a full species to LPN 2, and a subspecies, DPS, or a species that is threatened or endangered in only a significant portion of its range would be assigned to LPN 3). In summary, the LPN ranking system provides a basis for making decisions about the relative priority for preparing a proposed rule to list a given species. No matter which LPN we assign to a species, each species included in this notice as a candidate is one for which we have sufficient information to prepare a proposed rule to list it because it is in danger of extinction or likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
For more information on the process and standards used in assigning LPNs, a copy of the 1983 guidance is available on our Web site at: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/esalibrary/pdf/48fr4309843105.pdf. For more information on the LPN assigned to a particular species, the species assessment for each candidate contains the LPN chart and a rationale for the determination of the magnitude and immediacy of threat(s) and assignment of the LPN; that information is summarized in this CNOR.
This revised notice supersedes all previous animal, plant, and combined candidate notices of review.
Summary of This CNOR
Since publication of the previous CNOR on November 9, 2009 (74 FR 57804), we reviewed the available information on candidate species to ensure that a proposed listing is justified for each species, and reevaluated the relative LPN assigned to each species. We also evaluated the need to emergencylist any of these species, particularly species with high priorities (i.e., species with LPNs of 1, 2, or 3). This review and reevaluation ensures that we focus conservation efforts on those species at greatest risk first.
In addition to reviewing candidate species since publication of the last CNOR, we have worked on numerous findings in response to petitions to list species, and on proposed and final determinations for rules to list species under the Act. Some of these findings and determinations have been completed and published in the Federal Register, while work on others is still under way (see Preclusion and Expeditious Progress, below, for details).
Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial
information, with this CNOR we identify five new candidate species (see
New Candidates, below), change the LPN for four candidates (see Listing
Priority Changes in Candidates, below) and determine that a listing
proposal is not warranted for one species and thus remove it from candidate status (see
Candidate Removals, below). Combined with the other decisions published separately from this CNOR for individual species that previously were candidates, a total of 251 species (including 110 plant and 141 animal species) are now candidates awaiting preparation of rules proposing their listing. These 251 species, along with the 18 species currently proposed for listing (includes 1 species proposed for listing due to similarity in appearance), are included in Table 1.
Table 2 lists the changes from the previous CNOR, and includes 55 species identified in the previous CNOR as either proposed for listing or classified as candidates that are no longer in those categories. This includes 54 species for which we published a final rule to list, plus the 1 species that we have determined does not meet the definition of endangered or threatened and therefore does not warrant listing. We have removed this species from candidate status in this CNOR. New Candidates
Below we present a brief summary of one new fish, one new snail, one new crustacean, and two new plant candidates, which we are recognizing in this CNOR. Complete information, including references, can be found in the species assessment forms. You may obtain a copy of these forms from the Regional Office having the lead for the species, or from our Web site (http://ecos.fws.gov/tess_public/pub/ SpeciesReport.do?listingType=C&mapstatus=1). For these species, we find that we have on file sufficient information on biological vulnerability and threats to support a proposal to list as endangered or threatened, but that preparation and publication of a proposal is precluded by higher priority listing actions (i.e., it met our definition of a candidate species). We also note below that nine other species Sprague's pipit, greater sagegrouse, BiState DPS of greater sage grouse, Gunnison sagegrouse, least chub, upper Missouri River DPS of Arctic grayling, Tucson shovelnosed snake, Jemez Mountains salamander, and Agave eggersianawere identified as candidates earlier this year as a result of separate petition findings published in the Federal Register.
Sprague's pipit (Anthus spragueii)We previously announced candidate status for this species, and described the reasons and data on which the finding was based, in a separate warrantedbutprecluded 12month petition finding published on September 14, 2010 (75 FR 56028).
Greater sagegrouse (Centrocercus urophasianus)We previously announced candidate status for this species, and described the reasons and data on which the finding was based, in a separate warrantedbut precluded 12month petition finding published on March 23, 2010 (75 FR 13910).
Greater sagegrouse, BiState DPS (Centrocercus urophasianus)We previously announced candidate status for this species, and described the reasons and data on which the finding was based, in a separate warrantedbutprecluded 12month petition finding published on March 23, 2010 (75 FR 13910).
Gunnison sagegrouse (Centrocercus minimus)We previously announced candidate status for this species, and described the reasons and data on which the finding was based, in a separate warrantedbut precluded 12month petition finding published on September 28, 2010 (75 FR 59803).
Tucson ShovelNosed Snake (Chionactis occipitalis klauberi)We previously announced candidate status for this species, and described the reasons and data on which the finding was based, in a separate warrantedbutprecluded 12month petition finding published on March 31, 2010 (75 FR 16050).
Jemez Mountains salamander (Plethodon neomexicanus)We previously announced candidate status for this species, and described the reasons and data on which the finding was based, in a separate warrantedbut precluded 12month petition finding published on September 9, 2010 (75 FR 54822).
Least chub (Iotichthys phlegethontis)We previously announced candidate status for this species, and described the reasons and data on which the finding was based, in a separate warrantedbutprecluded 12month petition finding published on June 22, 2010 (75 FR 35398).
Kentucky arrow darter (Etheostoma sagitta spilotum)The following summary is based on information in our files. The Kentucky arrow darter is a rather large (total length of 4.6 inches (116 millimeters)), brightly colored darter that is restricted to the upper Kentucky River basin in eastern Kentucky. The species' preferred habitat consists of pools or transitional areas between riffles and pools (runs and glides) in moderate to high gradient streams with bedrock, boulder, and cobble substrates. In most recent surveys, the Kentucky arrow darter has been observed in streams ranging in size from first to third order, with most individuals occurring in second order streams in watersheds encompassing 7.7 square miles (20 square kilometers) or less. Kentucky arrow darters feed on a variety of aquatic invertebrates, but adults feed predominantly on larval mayflies (order Ephemeroptera), specifically the families Heptageniidae and Baetidae. Rangewide surveys from 2007 to 2009 revealed that the Kentucky arrow darter has disappeared from portions of its range. During these surveys, the species was observed at only 33 of 68 historical streams and 45 of 100 historical sites.
The subspecies' habitat and range have been severely degraded and limited by water pollution from surface coal mining and gasexploration activities; removal of riparian vegetation; stream channelization; increased siltation associated with poor mining, logging, and agricultural practices; and deforestation of watersheds. The threats are high in magnitude because they are widespread across the subspecies' range. In addition, the magnitude (severity or intensity) of these threats, especially impacts from mining and gasexploration activities, is high because these activities have the potential to alter stream water quality permanently throughout the range by contributing sediment, dissolved metals, and other solids to streams supporting Kentucky arrow darters, resulting in direct mortality or reduced reproductive capacity. The threats are imminent because the effects are manifested immediately and will continue for the foreseeable future. Consequently, we assigned an LPN of 3 to this subspecies.
Arctic grayling, Missouri River DPS (Thymallus arcticus)We previously announced candidate status for this species, and described the reasons and data on which the finding was based, in a separate warrantedbutprecluded 12month petition finding published on September 8, 2010 (75 FR 54707).
Rosemont talussnail (Sonorella rosemontensis)the following
summary is based on information in our files. The petition we received
on June 24, 2010, provided no new information beyond what we had
already included in our assessment of this species. The Rosemont
talussnail, a land snail in the family Helminthoglyptidae, is known [[Page 69225]]
from three talus slopes in the Santa Rita Mountains, Pima County, Arizona. The primary threat to Rosemont talussnail is hard rock mining. The entire range of the species is located on patented mining claims and can reasonably be expected to be subjected to mining activities in the foreseeable future. Hard rock mining typically involves the blasting of hillsides and the crushing of oreladen rock. Such activities would kill talussnails and render their habitats unsuitable for occupation. Since mining may occur across the entire range of the species within the foreseeable future, potentially resulting in rangewide habitat destruction and population losses, the threats are of a high magnitude. However, mining on patented mining claims, although a reasonably anticipated action, is neither currently ongoing nor imminent. Although the Rosemont Copper Mine is scheduled to commence as soon as 2011, there exists uncertainty regarding its scope, and therefore its potential effect on habitat of the Rosemont talussnail. Accordingly, we find that overall threats to the Rosemont talussnail are nonimminent and we assign an LPN of 5 to this species.
Kenk's amphipod (Stygobromus kenki)Amphipods of the genus Stygobromus, occur in groundwater and groundwaterrelated habitats. In the case of Kenk's amphipod, these include seeps, small springs, and possibly wells. Kenk's amphipod is a small, eyeless, unpigmented crustacean adapted for survival in subterranean habitats. It can be found in dead leaves or fine sediment submerged in the waters of its spring/seep outflows. The species is currently known only from five spring or seep sites in Washington, DC, and Montgomery County, Maryland. Four of these sites are within the Rock Creek drainage, and the fifth is within the Northwest Branch drainage.
Within the limited area encompassing the current range of this species, the vast majority of potential expanses of habitat large enough to support this species have been significantly impacted or completely destroyed by urban and suburban development. Kenk's amphipod is now vulnerable because of its limited geographic distribution and infringement of urban development on its habitat. Degradation of water quality and modifications of hydrology are among the principal threats to this species' spring or seep habitats. Specific threats include toxic spills, nonpoint source pollution, sanitary sewer leaks, excessive stormwater flows, and additional land disturbance. In addition, climate change has the potential to adversely affect the species, particularly if it results in a significant change in the amount of precipitation in the Washington, DC, area.
Although all five known sites of occurrence face threats to the hydrology and water quality of their springs, these threats are chronic in nature and appear to be increasing only gradually and are not currently resulting in major mortality events or impairment of reproduction. Thus, the threats are moderate in magnitude. Several threats are imminent because they are ongoing and expected to continue. Therefore, we assigned this species LPN of 8.
Agave eggersiana (no common name)We previously announced candidate status for this species, and described the reasons and data on which the finding was based, in a separate warrantedbutprecluded 12month petition finding published on September 22, 2010 (75 FR 57720).
Astragalus cusickii var. packardiae (Packard's milkvetch)The following summary is based on information contained in our files. This plant is a narrow endemic located in northeastern Payette County, Idaho. Its entire known range is only approximately 10 square miles (26 square kilometers). The lightcolored, sparsely vegetated sedimentary outcrops to which this species is restricted are found scattered throughout the landscape, but are limited in extent. The size of occupied outcrops ranges from less than 0.04 hectares (0.1 acre) to approximately 1.2 hectares (3 acres). The entire population of A. cusickii var. packardiae is currently estimated at 5,000 plants located within 26 occurrences (17 on Bureau of Land Management, 4 on State, and 5 on private land).
The primary threats to Astragalus cusickii var. packardiae include wildfire, nonnative invasive plant species, and more recently, offroad vehicle (ORV) use. Vegetation within the range of A. cusickii var. packardiae was originally sagebrushsteppe habitat; however, due to habitat impacts from a century of wildfires, livestock use, and invasive nonnative plant species, much of the area has been converted to annual grassland dominated by two nonnative grass species, Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass) and Taeniatherum caputmedusae (medusahead). Invasive nonnative plants affect A. cusickii var. packardiae directly through competition and indirectly by providing continuous fine fuels that contribute to the increased frequency and extent of wildfires.
ORV use, which is currently considered the most immediate threat to Astragalus cusickii var. packardiae and its habitat, was not identified as a threat during the original 1999 surveys for this species, but monitoring conducted in 2008 and 2009 indicate it has since become a widespread activity, occurring throughout the limited range of A. cusickii var. packardiae. ORVs are traveling directly through outcrops occupied by A. cusickii var. packardiae, as well as along the rims, spur ridges, and slope bases that form the margins of the occupied outcrops, with tracks ranging from single passage treads to major hill climbing runways. Based on monitoring data, this use appears to be increasing in scope and has resulted in the crushing of A. cusickii var. packardiae plants, as well as accelerated erosion of the fine, loose substrate occupied by this species.
Based on this information, the magnitude of the primary threats to Astragalus cusickii var. packardiae and its habitat is high because ORV use, wildfires, and nonnative invasive species affect the species throughout its range, appear to be increasing in extent, and result in severe and direct impacts to individuals and population levels., Because these threats are ongoing throughout A. cusickii var. packardiae's limited range, these threats are imminent. Thus, we assign an LPN of 3 to this plant variety.
Mimulus fremontii var. vandenbergensis (Vandenberg monkeyflower) Mimulus fremontii var. vandenbergensis is a small, shortlived annual herb in the Phrymaceae family (no common family name). It ranges from 0.5 to 10 inches (1 to 20 centimeters) tall and produces flowers that are bright yellow with reddish brown markings near the mouth. The seeds are small and numerous, and seed is likely dispersed by the wind as the seed pods open. As with other annual species that are sensitive to annual levels of rainfall, germination of resident seed banks may be low or nonexistent in unfavorable years, with little or no aboveground expression of the species visible.
Mimulus fremontii var. vandenbergensis occurs only in western Santa
Barbara County, California, at lower elevations and closer to the
coast, in sandy openings of coastal scrub, chaparral, and woodlands on
an old dune sheet known as Burton Mesa. Seven populations occur across
the mesa over a distance of approximately 6 miles, generally in alignment with the prevailing winds. Two populations
occur on Vandenberg Air Force Base, two occur on State Park lands at La Purisima State Historic Park, two occur primarily on Department of Fish and Game lands on Burton Mesa Ecological Reserve, and one occurs primarily on private lands.
The threats currently facing Mimulus fremontii var. vandenbergensis include alteration and destruction of habitat from development and associated secondary impacts, including increased fragmentation, alteration of hydrology, competition with nonnative species, and alteration of fire regimes. The taxon is also threatened with stochastic extinction due to small population size: Of the 7 populations, 3 have supported fewer than 100 individuals based on at least 2 years of observations. We consider competition with nonnative plant species to be the largest and most immediate threat: Veldt grass, pampas grass, bromes, Sahara mustard, star thistle, Italian thistle, and bull thistle are present at various sites where Mimulus fremontii var. vandenbergensis occurs. Habitat for one population on private land was graded in 2007 in preparation for construction of a housing development. Construction has been stalled, and in the meantime, veldt grass has become established in the graded lot and has increased the rate at which this species is spreading in adjacent habitat for Mimulus fremontii var. vandenbergensis, including the Burton Mesa Ecological Reserve. Veldt grass is also present and rapidly spreading at population sites on Vandenberg Air Force Base and La Purisima State Historic Park.
The threats are of a high magnitude because all three of the largest populations are at risk of being lost from the invasion of nonnative species. The third largest population is also threatened by secondary impacts from a planned development and firefighting activities. Losses of some or all of the three largest populations will increase the risk of extinction of the taxon as a whole because the remaining populations are smaller and more vulnerable to stochastic extirpation, which compounds the other threats these small populations face. The threats are ongoing and, therefore, imminent. Consequently, we have assigned a LPN of 3 to this plant variety.
Listing Priority Changes in Candidates
We reviewed the LPN for all candidate species and are changing the numbers for the following species discussed below. Some of the changes reflect actual changes in either the magnitude or immediacy of the threats. For some species, the LPN change reflects efforts to ensure national consistency as well as closer adherence to the 1983 guidelines in assigning these numbers, rather than an actual change in the nature of the threats.
Page springsnail (Pyrgulopsis morrisoni)The following summary is based on information contained in our files. The Page springsnail is known to exist only within a complex of springs located within an approximately 0.93mi (1.5km) stretch along the west side of Oak Creek around the community of Page Springs, and within springs located along Spring Creek, tributary to Oak Creek, Yavapai County, Arizona.
The primary threat to the Page springsnail is modification of habitat by domestic, agricultural, ranching, fish hatchery, and recreational activities. Many of the springs where the species occurs have been subjected to some level of such modification. Based on recent survey data, it appears that the Page springsnail is abundant within natural habitats and persists in modified habitats, albeit at reduced densities. Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD) management plans for the Bubbling Ponds and Page Springs fish hatcheries include commitments to replace lost habitat and to monitor remaining populations of invertebrates such as the Page springsnail. The AGFD and the Service recently entered into a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances that calls for evaluating the restoration and creation of natural springhead integrity, including springs on AGFD properties. In fact, several conservation measures have already been implemented. Also, the National Park Service recently acquired Shea Springs, a site that the Page springsnail occupied historically, and has expressed an interest in restoring natural springhead integrity to that site. Accordingly, implementation of the CCAA reduces the magnitude of threats to a moderate level and greatly reduces the chances of extirpation or extinction. The immediacy of the threat of groundwater withdrawal is uncertain, due to conflicting information regarding imminence. However, overall, the threats are imminent, because modification of the species' habitat by threats other than groundwater withdrawal is currently occurring. Therefore, we are changing the LPN for the Page springsnail from a 2 to an 8.
Hibiscus dasycalyx (Neches River rosemallow)The following summary is based on information contained in our files. This species, found in eastern Texas, appears to be restricted to those portions of wetlands that are exposed to open sun and normally hold standing water early in the growing season, with water levels dropping during late summer and fall. This habitat has been affected by drainage or filling of floodplain depressions and oxbows, stream channelization, road construction, timber harvesting, agricultural activities (primarily mowing and grazing), and herbicide use. Threats that continue to affect the species include wetland alteration, herbicide use, grazing, mowing during the species' growing and flowering period, and genetic swamping by other Hibiscus species.
A 1995 status survey of 10 counties resulted in confirmation of the
species at only three sites, but in three separate counties and three
different watersheds, suggesting a relatively wide historical range.
These three populations were all within highway rightsofway and
vulnerable to herbicides and adjacent agricultural activities. As of
2005, only 20 plants remained at one of these sites. Additional surveys
for Hibiscus dasycalyx discovered new populations. About 300 plants
were found on land owned by TempleInland Corporation in east Trinity
County. Smaller plant numbers have been seen at this site and in 2005
no plants were observed. This site may be too dry to support this
species, possibly due to changes in the wetland's hydrology. Another
site discovered on land previously owned by Champion International
Corporation (near White Rock Creek in west Trinity County) once
supported 300400 plants. This site was modified in 2007. In west
Houston County, a population of 300 to 400 plants discovered on private
land has been purchased by the Natural Area Preservation Association in
order to protect this land in perpetuity. In east Houston County, a
population discovered in Compartment 55 in Davy Crockett National
Forest numbered over 1,000 in 2006. In 2000, nearly 800 plants were
introduced into Compartments 16 and 20 of Davy Crockett National Forest
as part of a reintroduction effort. One population retained high
numbers (350 in 2006), but was subjected to high water conditions in
2007 and may have been adversely affected. The second site was affected
by a change in hydrology and had declined to 50 plants in 2006. In
2004, 200 plants were placed in a wetland in Compartment 11 of Davy
Crockett National Forest, but only 10 plants were seen in 2006. High water from heavy spring and summer rains
prevented further assessment of these rosemallow sites.
The threats to the species continue to be of a high magnitude because all of the populations are severely affected by some combination of the threats, and the effectiveness of the re introduction and preservation efforts has not been established. After evaluating the current conditions of the species' habitat, we now find that threats are imminent overall. Threats are currently occurring and ongoing for nearly all of the populations (herbicides and adjacent agricultural activities for the 3 populations identified in 1995, and hydrology alteration and other modifications for the 2 populations in east Trinity County and the 3 populations reintroduced in Davy Crockett National Forest). Thus, in light of this information and to ensure consistency in the application of our listing priority process we have changed the LPN from a 5 to a 2 for the Neches River rosemallow to reflect imminent threats of high magnitude.
Linum arenicola (Sand flax)The following summary is based on information contained in our files. Sand flax is found in pine rockland and marl prairie habitats, which require periodic wildfires in order to maintain an open, shrubfree subcanopy and reduce leaflitter levels. Based upon available data, there are 11 extant occurrences of sand flax; 11 others have been extirpated or destroyed. For the most part, only small and isolated occurrences remain in low lying areas in a restricted range of southern Florida and the Florida Keys. In general, viability is uncertain for 9 of 11 occurrences.
Sand flax is threatened by habitat loss and degradation due to development; climatic changes and sealevel rise, which ultimately are likely to substantially reduce the extent of available habitat; fire suppression and difficulty in applying prescribed fire; road maintenance activities; exotic species; illegal dumping; natural disturbances, such as hurricanes, tropical storms, and storm surges; and the small and fragmented nature of the current population. Reduced pollinator activity and suppression of pollinator populations from pesticides used in mosquito control and decreased seed production due to increased seed predation in a fragmented wildland urban interface may also affect sand flax; however, not enough information is known on this species' reproductive biology or life history to assess these potential threats. Some of the threats to the speciesincluding fire suppression, difficulty in applying prescribed fire, road maintenance activities, exotic species, and illegal dumpingthreaten nearly all remaining populations. However, some efforts are under way to use prescribed fire to control exotics on conservation lands where this species occurs.
There are some circumstances that may mitigate the impacts of the threats upon the species. For example, a survey conducted in 2009 showed approximately 74,000 plants on a nonconservation, public site in MiamiDade County; this is far more plants than was previously known. Although a portion of the plants will be affected by development, approximately 60,000 are anticipated to be protected and managed through a Conservation Easement. Consequently, the majority of the largest occurrence in MiamiDade County is expected to be conserved and managed. In addition, much of the pine rockland on Big Pine Key, the location of the largest occurrence in the Keys, is protected from development.
Nevertheless, due to the small and fragmented nature of the current population, stochastic events, disease, or genetic bottlenecks may strongly affect this species in the Keys. One example is Hurricane Wilma, which inundated most of the species' habitat on Big Pine Key in 2005, and plants were not found 89 weeks poststorm; the density of sand flax declined to zero in all management units at The Nature Conservancy's preserve in 2006. In a 2007 posthurricane assessment, sand flax was found in northern plots, but not in any of the southern plots on Big Pine Key. More current data are not available.
Overall, the magnitude of threats is high, because the threats affect all 11 known occurrences of the species, and can result in a precipitous decline to the population levels, particularly when combined with the potential impacts from hurricanes or other natural disasters. Because development is not immediate for the majority of the largest population in MiamiDade County and another population in the Keys is also largely protected from development since much of it is within public and private conservation lands, the threat of habitat loss is now nonimminent. In addition, sea level rise is a longterm threat since we do not have evidence that it is currently affecting any population of sand flax. Therefore, based upon new information (new survey date showing a much larger population of plants), and reduced immediacy of threats, we changed the LPN of this species from a 2 to a 5.
Penstemon scariosus var. albifluvis (White River beardtongue)The following summary is based on information contained in our files and the petition we received on October 27, 1983. This species is restricted to calcareous soils derived from oil shale barrens of the Green River Formation in the Uinta Basin of northeastern Utah and adjacent Colorado. There are 14 occurrences known in Utah and 1 in Colorado. Most of the occupied habitat of the White River beardtongue is within developed and expanding oil and gas fields. The location of the species' habitat exposes it to destruction from road, pipeline, and well site construction in connection with oil and gas development. Recreational offroad vehicle use, heavy grazing by livestock, and wildlife and livestock trampling are additional threats. A future threat (and potentially the greatest threat) to the species is oil shale development.
In the 2009 CNOR, we found the threats were nonimminent and high magnitude. However, traditional oil and gas energy development in the area has expanded into habitat for this species, and therefore the threat is now imminent. In addition, BLM has adopted a Special Status Species policy and has included in its current Resource Management Plan commitments to protect this species. These protections lessen the extent of traditional oil and gas development impacts to this species, so that the threat is now of moderate magnitude. The threat from off road vehicles is also moderate because BLM limited all vehicles to designated routes, thus avoiding beardtongue habitat. Based on current information, we are changing the LPN from a 6 to a 9 for this plant variety.
As summarized below, we have evaluated the threats to the following
species and considered factors that, individually and in combination,
currently or potentially could pose a risk to this species and its
habitat. After a review of the best available scientific and commercial
data, we conclude that listing this species under the Endangered
Species Act is not warranted because the species is not likely to
become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout
all or a significant portion of its' range. Therefore, we find that
proposing a rule to list it is not warranted, and we no longer consider
it to be a candidate species for listing. We will continue to monitor
the status of this species and to accept additional information and
comments concerning this finding. We will reconsider our determination
in the event that new information indicates that the threats to the
species is of a considerably greater magnitude or imminence than identified through
assessments of information contained in our files, as summarized here. Mammals
Palm Springs roundtailed ground squirrel (Xerospermophilus tereticaudus chlorus)The following summary is based on information contained in our files. No new information was provided in the petition we received on May 11, 2004. The Palm Springs roundtailed ground squirrel was believed to be limited in range to the Coachella Valley region of Riverside County, California. The primary habitat in the Coachella Valley for roundtailed ground squirrel is the dunes and mesquite hummocks associated with Prosopis glandulosa var. torreyana (honey mesquite) and to a lesser extent those dunes and hummocks associated with Larrea tridentata (creosote), or other vegetation. The primary threat to X. t. chlorus in the Coachella Valley was from habitat loss due to urban development and drops in the groundwater table, which eliminated much of the honey mesquite in the Coachella Valley and fragmented habitat occupied by this subspecies. The Coachella Valley Association of Governments (CVAG) developed a Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (MSHCP) that was reviewed and approved by the Service in 2008. Habitat conservation and monitoring actions that have been implemented since 2008 specifically for X. t. chlorus have significantly eliminated the threat of urban development to the taxon. To date, conservation for X. t. chlorus includes protection of 244 acres of mesquite hummocks as a result of the MSHCP, in addition to 104 acres of mesquite hummocks on conservation lands in existence prior to permitting the MSHCP. Protection of additional habitat (desert shrub communities and other sandy areas with appropriate vegetation known to harbor the subspecies at lower densities) is also anticipated in other portions of the plan area. Although we do not rely upon future implementation of the additional habitat protections anticipated in the MSHCP, we do expect conservation actions specific to X. t. chlorus to continue as a result of the commitment by CVAG and the MSHCP.
More significant than the ongoing conservation measures is the fact that recent results of both morphological and genetic studies indicate its range is substantially larger than previously believed. Analysis of experimental samples show X. t. chlorus is found in Hinkley Valley and Death Valley, expanding the range at minimum 150 miles northward. Because X. t. chlorus is more widespread in its range than was previously understood, and based on our review of the best available information, we no longer conclude that threats across this newly expanded range put the taxon in danger of extinction. Moreover, this subspecies is not endangered or threatened in a significant portion of the range because the conservation actions and current protections provided in Death Valley make it so it is not endangered or threatened in any portion of the range. In summary, the existing conservation provided by MSHCP in the Coachella Valley, along with the data showing the subspecies has an expanded range over which the threats are nonsignificant to the taxon as a whole, we find listing of the Palm Springs roundtailed ground squirrel (X. t. chlorus) throughout all or a significant portion of its range is no longer warranted. The subspecies no longer meets our definition of a candidate, and we have removed it from candidate status.
The Act provides two mechanisms for considering species for listing. One method allows the Secretary, on his own initiative, to identify species for listing under the standards of section 4(a)(1). We implement this through the candidate program, discussed above. The second method for listing a species provides a mechanism for the public to petition us to add a species to the Lists. The CNOR serves several purposes as part of the petition process: (1) In some instances (in particular, for petitions to list species that the Service has already identified as candidates on its own initiative), it serves as the petition finding; (2) it serves as a ``resubmitted'' petition finding that the Act requires the Service to make each year; and (3) it documents the Service's compliance with the statutory requirement to monitor the status of species for which listing is warrantedbut precluded to ascertain if they need emergency listing.
First, the CNOR serves as a petition finding in some instances.
Under section 4(b)(3)(A), when we receive a listing petition, we must
determine within 90 days, to the maximum extent practicable, whether
the petition presents substantial information indicating that listing
may be warranted (a ``90day finding''). If we make a positive 90day
finding, we must promptly commence a status review of the species under
section 4(b)(3)(A); we must then make and publish one of three possible
findings within 12 months of the receipt of the petition (a ``12month finding''):
1. The petitioned action is not warranted;
2. The petitioned action is warranted (in which case we are required to promptly publish a proposed regulation to implement the petitioned action; once we publish a proposed rule for a species, section 4(b)(5) and 4(b)(6) govern further procedures regardless of whether we issued the proposal in response to a petition); or
3. The petitioned action is warranted but (a) the immediate proposal of a regulation and final promulgation of a regulation implementing the petitioned action is precluded by pending proposals to determine whether any species is endangered or threatened, and (b) expeditious progress is being made to add qualified species to the lists of endangered or threatened species. (We refer to this third option as a ``warrantedbutprecluded finding.'')
We define ``candidate species'' to mean those species for which the Service has on file sufficient information on biological vulnerability and threat(s) to support issuance of a proposed rule to list, but for which issuance of the proposed rule is precluded (61 FR 64481; December 6, 1996). This standard for making a species a candidate through our own initiative is identical to the standard for making a warrantedbut precluded 12month petition finding on a petition to list, and we add all petitioned species for which we have made a warrantedbutprecluded 12month finding to the candidate list.
Therefore all candidate species identified through our own initiative already have received the equivalent of substantial 90day and warrantedbutprecluded 12month findings. Nevertheless, we review the status of the newly petitioned candidate species and through this CNOR publish specific section 4(b)(3) findings (i.e., substantial 90 day and warrantedbutprecluded 12month findings) in response to the petitions to list these candidate species. We publish these findings as part of the first CNOR following receipt of the petition. Since publication of the CNOR in 2009, we received petitions to list three candidate species, the Florida bonneted bat, headwater chub, and Rosemont talussnail (we received this petition after we initiated our assessment of this species for candidate status). We are making substantial 90day findings and warrantedbutprecluded 12month findings for these species as part of this notice. We have identified the candidate species for which we received petitions by the code ``C*'' in the category column on the left side of Table 1.
Second, the CNOR serves as a ``resubmitted'' petition finding. Section 4(b)(3)(C)(i) of the Act requires that when we make a warrantedbutprecluded finding on a petition, we are to treat such a petition as one that is resubmitted on the date of such a finding. Thus, we must make a 12month petition finding in compliance with section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act at least once a year, until we publish a proposal to list the species or make a final notwarranted finding. We make these annual findings for petitioned candidate species through the CNOR.
Third, through undertaking the analysis requires to complete the CNOR, the Service determines if any candidate species needs emergency listing. Section 4(b)(3)(C)(iii) of the Act requires us to ``implement a system to monitor effectively the status of all species'' for which we have made a warrantedbutprecluded 12month finding, and to ``make prompt use of the [emergency listing] authority [under section 4(b)(7)] to prevent a significant risk to the well being of any such species.'' The CNOR plays a crucial role in the monitoring system that we have implemented for all candidate species by providing notice that we are actively seeking information regarding the status of those species. We review all new information on candidate species as it becomes available, prepare an annual species assessment form that reflects monitoring results and other new information, and identify any species for which emergency listing may be appropriate. If we determine that emergency listing is appropriate for any candidate we will make prompt use of the emergency listing authority under section 4(b)(7). We have been reviewing and will continue to review, at least annually, the status of every candidate, whether or not we have received a petition to list it. Thus, the CNOR and accompanying species assessment forms constitute the Service's annual finding on the status of petitioned species pursuant to section 4(b)(3)(C)(i).
A number of court decisions have elaborated on the nature and specificity of information that must be considered in making and describing the findings in the CNOR. The previous CNOR, which was published on November 9, 2009 (74 FR 57804), describes these court decisions in further detail. As with previous CNORs, we continue to incorporate information of the nature and specificity required by the courts. For example, we include a description of the reasons why the listing of every petitioned candidate species is both warranted and precluded at this time. We make our determinations of preclusion on a nationwide basis to ensure that the species most in need of listing will be addressed first and also because we allocate our listing budget on a nationwide basis (see below). Regional priorities can also be discerned from Table 1, which includes the lead region and the LPN for each species. Our preclusion determinations are further based upon our budget for listing activities for unlisted species only, and we explain the priority system and why the work we have accomplished does preclude action on listing candidate species.
Pursuant to section 4(b)(3)(C)(ii) and the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 551 et seq.), any party with standing may challenge the merits of any notwarranted or warrantedbutprecluded petition finding incorporated in this CNOR. The analysis included herein, together with the administrative record for the decision at issue (particularly the supporting species assessment form), will provide an adequate basis for a court to review the petition finding.
Nothing in this document or any of our policies should be construed as in any way modifying the Act's requirement that we make a resubmitted 12month petition finding for each petitioned candidate within 1 year of the date of publication of this CNOR. If we fail to make any such finding on a timely basis, whether through publication of a new CNOR or some other form of notice, any party with standing may seek judicial review.
In this CNOR, we continue to address the concerns of the courts by including specific information in our discussion on preclusion (see below). In preparing this CNOR, we reviewed the current status of, and threats to, the 166 candidates and 5 listed species for which we have received a petition and for which we have found listing or reclassification from threatened to endangered to be warranted but precluded. We also reviewed the current status of, and threats to, the Canada lynx in New Mexico for which we received a petition to add that State to the listed range. We find that the immediate issuance of a proposed rule and timely promulgation of a final rule for each of these species has been, for the preceding months, and continues to be, precluded by higher priority listing actions. Additional information that is the basis for this finding is found in the species assessments and our administrative record for each species.
Our review included updating the status of, and threats to, petitioned candidate or listed species for which we published findings, pursuant to section 4(b)(3)(B), in the previous CNOR. We have incorporated new information we gathered since the prior finding and, as a result of this review, we are making continued warrantedbut precluded 12month findings on the petitions for these species.
The immediate publication of proposed rules to list these species was precluded by our work on higher priority listing actions, listed below, during the period from October 1, 2009, through September 30, 2010. We will continue to monitor the status of all candidate species, including petitioned species, as new information becomes available to determine if a change in status is warranted, including the need to emergencylist a species under section 4(b)(7) of the Act.
In addition to identifying petitioned candidate species in Table 1 below, we also present brief summaries of why each of these candidates warrants listing. More complete information, including references, is found in the species assessment forms. You may obtain a copy of these forms from the Regional Office having the lead for the species, or from the Fish and Wildlife Service's Internet Web site: http://ecos.fws.gov/ tess_public/pub/SpeciesReport.do?listingType=C&mapstatus=1. As described above, under section 4 of the Act we may identify and propose species for listing based on the factors identified in section 4(a)(1), and section 4 also provides a mechanism for the public to petition us to add a species to the lists of threatened species or endangered species under the Act. Below we describe the actions that continue to preclude the immediate proposal and final promulgation of a regulation implementing each of the petitioned actions for which we have made a warrantedbutprecluded finding, and we describe the expeditious progress we are making to add qualified species to, and remove species from, the lists of endangered or threatened species.
Preclusion and Expeditious Progress
Preclusion is a function of the listing priority of a species in relation to the resources that are available and the cost and relative priority of competing demands for those resources. Thus, in any given fiscal year (FY), multiple factors dictate whether it will be possible to undertake work on a listing proposal regulation or whether promulgation of such a proposal is precluded by higher priority listing actions.
The resources available for listing actions are determined through the annual Congressional appropriations
process. The appropriation for the Listing Program is available to support work involving the following listing actions: Proposed and final listing rules; 90day and 12month findings on petitions to add species to the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants (Lists) or to change the status of a species from threatened to endangered; annual ``resubmitted'' petition findings on prior warrantedbutprecluded petition findings as required under section 4(b)(3)(C)(i) of the Act; critical habitat petition findings; proposed and final rules designating critical habitat; and litigationrelated, administrative, and programmanagement functions (including preparing and allocating budgets, responding to Congressional and public inquiries, and conducting public outreach regarding listing and critical habitat). The work involved in preparing various listing documents can be extensive, and may include, but is not limited to: Gathering and assessing the best scientific and commercial data available and conducting analyses used as the basis for our decisions; writing and publishing documents; and obtaining, reviewing, and evaluating public comments and peerreview comments on proposed rules and incorporating relevant information into final rules. The number of listing actions that we can undertake in a given year also is influenced by the complexity of those listing actions; that is, more complex actions generally are more costly. The median cost for preparing and publishing a 90day finding is $39,276; for a 12month finding, $100,690; for a proposed rule with critical habitat, $345,000; and for a final listing rule with critical habitat, the median cost is $305,000.
We cannot spend more than is appropriated for the Listing Program without violating the AntiDeficiency Act (see 31 U.S.C.
1341(a)(1)(A)). In addition, in FY 1998 and for each fiscal year since then, Congress has placed a statutory cap on funds which may be expended for the Listing Program, equal to the amount expressly appropriated for that purpose in that fiscal year. This cap was designed to prevent funds appropriated for other functions under the Act (for example, recovery funds for removing species from the Lists), or for other Service programs, from being used for Listing Program actions (see House Report 105163, 105th Congress, 1st Session, July 1, 1997).
Since FY 2002, the Service's budget has included a critical habitat subcap to ensure that some funds are available for other work in the Listing Program (``The critical habitat designation subcap will ensure that some funding is available to address other listing activities'' (H.R. No. 107103, 107th Congress, 1st Session, June 19, 2001)). In FY 2002 and each year until FY 2006, the Service has had to use virtually the entire critical habitat subcap to address courtmandated designations of critical habitat, and consequently none of the critical habitat subcap funds have been available for other listing activities. In FY 2007, we were able to use some of the critical habitat subcap funds to fund proposed listing determinations for highpriority candidate species. In FY 2009, while we were unable to use any of the critical habitat subcap funds to fund proposed listing determinations, we did use some of this money to fund the critical habitat portion of some proposed listing determinations so that the proposed listing determination and proposed critical habitat designation could be combined into one rule, thereby being more efficient in our work. In FY 2010, we are using some of the critical habitat subcap funds to fund listing actions with statutory deadlines.
We make our determinations of preclusion on a nationwide basis to ensure that the species most in need of listing will be addressed first and also because we allocate our listing budget on a nationwide basis. Through the listing cap, the critical habitat subcap, and the amount of funds needed to address courtmandated critical habitat designations, Congress and the courts have in effect determined the amount of money available for other listing activities nationwide. Therefore, the funds in the listing cap, other than those needed to address courtmandated critical habitat for already listed species, represent the resources we must take into consideration when we make our determinations of preclusion and expeditious progress.
Congress identified the availability of resources as the only basis for deferring the initiation of a rulemaking that is warranted. The Conference Report accompanying Public Law 97304, which established the current statutory deadlines and the warrantedbutprecluded finding, states that the amendments were ``not intended to allow the Secretary to delay commencing the rulemaking process for any reason other than that the existence of pending or imminent proposals to list species subject to a greater degree of threat would make allocation of resources to such a petition [that is, for a lowerranking species] unwise.'' Although that statement appeared to refer specifically to the ``to the maximum extent practicable'' limitation on the 90day deadline for making a ``substantial information'' finding, that finding is made at the point when the Service is deciding whether or not to commence a status review that will determine the degree of threats facing the species, and therefore the analysis underlying the statement is more relevant to the use of the warrantedbutprecluded finding, which is made when the Service has already determined the degree of threats facing the species and is deciding whether or not to commence a rulemaking.
In FY 2010, $10,471,000 is the amount of money that Congress appropriated for the Listing Program (that is, the portion of the Listing Program funding not related to critical habitat designations for species that are already listed). Therefore, a proposed listing is precluded if pending proposals with higher priority will require expenditure of at least $10,471,000, and expeditious progress is the amount of work that can be achieved with $10,471,000. Since court orders requiring critical habitat work will not require use of all of the funds within the critical habitat subcap, we are using $1,114,417 of our critical habitat subcap funds in order to work on as many of our required petition findings and listing determinations as possible. This brings the total amount of funds we have for listing action in FY 2010 to $11,585,417.
The $11,585,417 is being used to fund work in the following categories: Compliance with court orders and courtapproved settlement agreements requiring that petition findings or listing determinations be completed by a specific date; section 4 (of the Act) listing actions with absolute statutory deadlines; essential litigationrelated, administrative, and listing programmanagement functions; and high priority listing actions for some of our candidate species. In 2009, the responsibility for listing foreign species under the Act was transferred from the Division of Scientific Authority, International Affairs Program, to the Endangered Species Program. Therefore, starting in FY 2010, a portion of our funding is being used to work on the actions described above as they apply to listing actions for foreign species. This has the potential to further reduce funding available for domestic listing actions. Although there are currently no foreign species issues included in our highpriority listing actions at this time, many actions have statutory or courtapproved settlement deadlines, thus increasing their priority. The budget allocations for each specific listing action are identified in the Service's FY [[Page 69231]]
2010 Allocation Table (part of our administrative record).
Based on our September 21, 1983, guidance for assigning an LPN for each candidate species (48 FR 43098), we have a significant number of species with an LPN of 2. Under this guidance, we assign each candidate an LPN of 1 to 12, depending on the magnitude of threats (high or moderate to low), immediacy of threats (imminent or nonimminent), and taxonomic status of the species (in order of priority: Monotypic genus (a species that is the sole member of a genus), species, or part of a species (subspecies, distinct population segment, or significant portion of the range)). The lower the listing priority number, the higher the listing priority (that is, a species with an LPN of 1 would have the highest listing priority).
Because of the large number of highpriority species, we have further ranked the candidate species with an LPN of 2 by using the following extinctionrisk type crit
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
The Endangered Species Coordinator(s) in the appropriate Regional Office(s), or Chief, Branch of Candidate Conservation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Room 420, Arlington, VA 22203 (telephone 7033582171; facsimile 703 3581735). Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800877 8339.