Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding on a Petition to List Agave eggersiana, 57720-57734 [2010-23571]

Download as PDF 57720 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 183 / Wednesday, September 22, 2010 / Proposed Rules and since the numbers of contractors found to have submitted defective cost or pricing data are a minute subset of contractors to whom TINA applies, the rule is not expected to apply to a substantial number of small entities. Furthermore, the differential in interest computing methods is not expected to amount to a significant economic impact. An Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis has, therefore, not been performed. We invite comments from small businesses and other interested parties. The Councils will consider comments from small entities concerning the affected FAR Part 52 in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 610. Interested parties must submit such comments separately and should cite 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq. (FAR case 2009–034), in correspondence. C. Paperwork Reduction Act The Paperwork Reduction Act does not apply because the proposed changes to the FAR do not impose information collection requirements that require the approval of the Office of Management and Budget under 44 U.S.C. Chapter 35, et seq. List of Subjects in 48 CFR Part 52 Dated: September 15, 2010. Edward Loeb, Director, Acquisition Policy Division. PART 52—SOLICITATION PROVISIONS AND CONTRACT CLAUSES 1. The authority citation for 48 CFR part 52 continues to read as follows: Authority: 40 U.S.C. 121(c); 10 U.S.C. chapter 137; and 42 U.S.C. 2473(c). 2. Amend section 52.214–27 by— a. Revising the date of the clause; and b. Removing from paragraph (e)(1) ‘‘Simple interest’’ and adding ‘‘Interest compounded daily, as required by 26 U.S.C. 6622,’’ in its place. The revised text reads as follows: 52.214–27 Price Reduction for Defective Cost or Pricing Data—Modifications— Sealed Bidding. erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS-1 * * * Price Reduction for Defective Cost or Pricing Data—Modifications—Sealed Bidding (Date) * * * * * 3. Amend section 52.215–10 by— a. Revising the date of the clause; and b. Removing from paragraph (d)(1) ‘‘Simple interest’’ and adding ‘‘Interest VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:32 Sep 21, 2010 Jkt 220001 52.215–10 Price Reduction for Defective Cost or Pricing Data. DATES: * * * * * Price Reduction for Defective Cost or Pricing Data (Date) * * * * * 4. Amend section 52.215–11 by— a. Revising the date of the clause; and b. Removing from paragraph (e)(1) ‘‘Simple interest’’ and adding ‘‘Interest compounded daily, as required by 26 U.S.C. 6622,’’ in its place. The revised text reads as follows: 52.215—11 Price Reduction for Defective Cost or Pricing Data—Modifications. * * * * * Price Reduction for Defective Cost or Pricing Data-Modifications (Date) * * * * * [FR Doc. 2010–23589 Filed 9–21–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820–EP–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 50 CFR Part 17 Therefore, DoD, GSA, and NASA propose amending 48 CFR part 52 as set forth below: * period the status of the candidate taxon will be addressed through our annual Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR). Fish and Wildlife Service Government procurement. * compounded daily, as required by 26 U.S.C. 6622,’’ in its place. The revised text reads as follows: [Docket number FWS-R4-ES-2010-0051] [MO 92210-0-0008-B2] Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding on a Petition to List Agave eggersiana (no common name) as Endangered Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of 12–month petition finding. AGENCY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 12–month finding on a petition to list the plant Agave eggersiana (no common name) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). After review of all available scientific and commercial information, we find that listing A. eggersiana is warranted. Currently, however, listing A. eggersiana is precluded by higher priority actions to amend the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Upon publication of this 12month petition finding, we will add A. eggersiana to our candidate species list. We will develop a proposed rule to list A. eggersiana as our priorities allow. We will make any determination on critical habitat during development of the proposed listing rule. In any interim SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 The finding announced in this document was made on September 22, 2010. This finding is available on the Internet at https:// www.regulations.gov at Docket Number [FWS-R4-ES-2010-0051]. Supporting documentation we used in preparing this finding is available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Caribbean Ecological Services Field Office, Road 301, Km. 5.1, Boquero´n, Puerto Rico 00622. Please submit any new information, materials, comments, or questions concerning this species or this finding to the above internet address or the mailing address listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. ADDRESSES: Ms. Marelisa Rivera, Assistant Field Supervisor, Caribbean Ecological Services Field Office, P.O. Box 491, Boquero´n, Puerto Rico 00622; by telephone at (787) 851-7297; or by facsimile at (787) 851-7440. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800877-8339. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Background Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires that, for any petition to revise the Federal Lists of Threatened and Endangered Wildlife and Plants that contains substantial scientific or commercial information that listing a species may be warranted, we make a finding within 12 months of the date of receipt of the petition. In this finding, we determine whether the petitioned action is: (a) Not warranted, (b) warranted, or (c) warranted, but immediate proposal of a regulation implementing the petitioned action is precluded by other pending proposals to determine whether species are threatened or endangered, and expeditious progress is being made to add or remove qualified species from the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Section 4(b)(3)(C) of the Act requires that we treat a petition for which the requested action is found to be warranted but precluded as though resubmitted on the date of such finding, that is, requiring a subsequent finding to be made within 12 months. We must publish these 12– month findings in the Federal Register. E:\FR\FM\22SEP1.SGM 22SEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 183 / Wednesday, September 22, 2010 / Proposed Rules erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS-1 Previous Federal Actions Species Information We identified Agave eggersiana as a category 2 candidate species in the Notice of Review published in the Federal Register on September 30, 1993 (58 FR 51144) and subsequent publication. A category 2 species was one for which the Service had information that proposing as endangered or threatened may be appropriate but for which sufficient information was not currently available to support a proposed rule. Designation of category 2 species was discontinued in the February 28, 1996, Notice of Review (61 FR 7596). This notice redefined candidates to include only species for which we have information needed to propose them for listing, and as a result, Agave eggersiana was removed from the Candidate species list. On November 21, 1996, we received a petition from the U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) requesting that we list Agave eggersiana and Solanum conocarpum as endangered. On November 16, 1998, we published in the Federal Register (63 FR 63659) our finding that the petition to list A. eggersiana and S. conocarpum presented substantial information indicating that the requested action may be warranted and initiated a status review on these two plants. On September 1, 2004, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit against the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) alleging that the Service failed to publish a 12–month finding for A. eggersiana and S. conocarpum (Center for Biological Diversity v. Norton, Civil Action No. 1:04-CV-2553 CAP). In a stipulated settlement agreement resolving that case, signed April 27, 2005, we agreed to submit our 12– month finding for A. eggersiana and S. conocarpum to the Federal Register by February 28, 2006. On March 7, 2006, we published our 12–month finding (71 FR 11367) that listing of A. eggersiana and S. conocarpum was not warranted. On September 9, 2008, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a complaint challenging our 12–month finding (Center for Biological Diversity v. Hamilton, Case No. 1:08-cv-02830 -CAP). In a settlement agreement approved by the Court on August 21, 2009, the Service agreed to submit to the Federal Register a new 12–month finding for A. eggersiana by September 17, 2010. This notice constitutes the 12– month finding on the 1996 petition to list A. eggersiana as endangered. Taxonomy and Species Description Agave eggersiana is a flowering plant of the family Agavaceae (century plant family) endemic to the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands. A. eggersiana was originally described in 1913 by Trelease from material collected on St. Croix, and is distinguished from other members of the Agavaceae family by its acaulescent (without an evident leafy stem), non-suckering growth habit (vegetative reproduction that does not form offshoots around its base), and fleshy, nearly straight leaves with small marginal prickles (1.00 millimeter (mm); 0.04 inches (in) long) that are nearly straight (Britton and Wilson 1923, p. 156; Proctor and Acevedo-Rodri´guez 2005, p. 118). Its flowers are deep yellow, 5 to 6 centimeters (cm) (1.95 to 2.34 in) long. After flowering, the panicles (inflorescence) produce numerous small vegetative bulbs (bulbils), from which the species can be propagated (Proctor and AcevedoRodri´guez 2005, p. 118). Avave eggersiana is not known to produce fruit. Furthermore, based on observations of cultivated plants, Agave eggersiana requires at least 10 to 15 years to develop as a mature individual and to produce an inflorescence (David Hamada, St. George Botanical Garden, 2010, pers. comm.). Avave eggersiana like other Agave species are monocarpic, meaning the plant dies after producing the spike or inflorescence. VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:32 Sep 21, 2010 Jkt 220001 Habitat and Distribution Britton and Wilson (1923, p. 156) reported the species from hillsides and plains in the eastern dry districts of St. Croix but did not provide population estimates. In addition, Agave eggersiana is cultivated on St. Croix and St. Thomas for ornament (Trelease 1913, p. 28; Britton and Wilson 1923, p. 156; Proctor and Acevedo-Rodri´guez 2005, p. 118). Information provided in the petition (Kojis and Boulon, DPNR, 1996, pers. comm.) specified that the species was last observed growing in the wild around 1984 to 1986 on St. Croix. In 2003, DPNR stated that the species is believed to be extinct (Plaskett 2003, pers. comm.; Dalmida-Smith 2010, pers. comm.). Proctor and AcevedoRodri´guez (2005, p. 118) provided a general description of the species and they state that the species ‘‘now appears to be extinct in the wild.’’ However, no citations or survey information were provided to support this statement. Subsequently, in 2010, DPNR provided information based on field visits and reported the existence of several PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 57721 populations in St. Croix (Dalmida-Smith 2010, pers. comm.). Current Status Historically, Agave eggersiana was reported from the north coast in Christiansted, St. Croix and along the south coast of the island. The current distribution and rarity of the species do not represent the historical range. Historically, sugar cane was the main crop on the island and dominated the economy for nearly 200 years (Shaw, 1933, p. 414). Apparently, the former land use of the areas used for sugar cane cultivation resulted in degradation of the species’ habitat and nearly extirpated the species from the wild. Sugarcane is no longer cultivated on the island and the majority of the areas formerly used for sugarcane plantations are currently grasslands and early secondary forests dominated by the exotic tree Leucaena leucocephala (tantan). In 2010, the Division of Fish and Wildlife of the DPNR (Dalmida-Smith 2010, pers. comm.) conducted a local status review to determine the extent of the populations of Agave eggersiana in St. Croix. They reported five sites where the species was found; however, it is uncertain if these populations are natural populations (individuals that come from wild populations) or if the populations consist of individuals that escaped from landscaping. The five reported sites are: (1) Manchineel/ Ha’penny Beach (Southern St. Croix) with an estimated 30 individuals, which is approximately half the number of individuals that they encountered 2 years before; (2) West side of Vagthus point (Southern St. Croix ) with a single individual; (3) Gallows Bay (Northern St. Croix) with several plants but no approximate number was mentioned; (4) Protestant Cay (Northern St. Croix) with an estimated 30 individuals, including a number of young plants; and (5) Ruth Island (Southern St. Croix) with a single individual that was introduced to the cay many years ago. However, the exact year of this introduction is unknown. In February 2010, Service biologists conducted surveys of Agave eggersiana on St. Croix. In their 2010 surveys, Service biologists visited seven of the ten currently known populations (Table 1). They did not survey the two areas where a single individual has been reported (Ruth Island and West Vagthus point) or Buck Island Reef National Monument, where individuals have been planted and recent survey information exists. Based on their characteristics (growing mixed with native vegetation, evidence of natural recruitment and the presence of E:\FR\FM\22SEP1.SGM 22SEP1 57722 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 183 / Wednesday, September 22, 2010 / Proposed Rules different size classes), these surveys indicate that the species currently occurs in six areas that appear to be remnants of wild populations. Four localities (Buck Island Reef National Monument, Salt River Bay, Ruth Island, and Lagoon Picnic Area) contain individuals that were planted in recent years. TABLE 1. CURRENTLY KNOWN POPULATIONS OF Agave eggersiana ON ST. CROIX. Category Estimated # of Adult Individuals Source of Information Manchineel / Ha’penny Beach Wild 25–30 Dalmida-Smith 2010, pers. comm.; Monsegur and Vargas 2010, unpublished data West Vagthus point Wild 1 Gallows Bay Wild 2–3 David Hamada. 2010, pers. comm.; Monsegur and Vargas 2010, unpublished data. Protestant Cay Wild 30–51 + 60 bulbils Dalmida-Smith 2010, pers. comm.; Monsegur and Vargas 2010, unpublished data Ruth Island Introduced* 1 Great Pond Wild 76 + 50 bulbils South Shore Wild 100 + 150 bulbils Monsegur and Vargas 2010, unpublished data. Salt River Bay Introduced** 6 Monsegur and Vargas 2010, unpublished data. Buck Island National Monument Introduced* 5 Monsegur and Vargas 2010, unpublished data. Lagoon Picnic Area Landscape 177 Monsegur and Vargas 2010, unpublished data. Locality Total Dalmida-Smith 2010. pers. comm. Dalmida-Smith 2010, pers. comm. Monsegur and Vargas 2010, unpublished data; Plaskett 2003. pers. comm. 450 +260 bulbils erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS-1 * Introduced by DPNR for conservation. ** Introduced by NPS for education and outreach. The eight localities containing multiple Agave eggersiana plants are described as follows: (1) Gallows Bay (private property) has several individuals that are considered by local experts as a remnant of a natural population (David Hamada 2010, pers. comm.). Historical documents and illustrations show that Agave eggersiana was common on the landscape of Gallows Bay (David Hamada 2010, pers. comm.). (2) Protestant Cay (owned by the government but leased to a private party), has an estimated population of 51 adult individuals of different sizes and about 60 bulbils. (3) Ha’penny Beach (private property), has an estimated population of 25 individuals of different size classes; one of the plants was found flowering during the site visit conducted by the Service in 2010. (4) Great Pond (managed by the Department of Housing, Parks and Recreation) has a healthy population of A. eggersiana with different size plants and evidence of recent flowering events. This population is located near Great Pond, an area where it was suspected that descendants from wild plants may have existed (Plaskett 2003, pers. comm.). VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:49 Sep 21, 2010 Jkt 220001 (5) South Shore (private property), has a population of about 100 adult individuals and about 150 bulbils, all growing on small terraces at a rocky cliff. This population is actively flowering and it was noted that some of the bulbils are reaching the sea, suggesting a possible dispersal mechanism for the species. (6) Salt River Bay National Historic Park and Ecological Preserve (SARI) (managed by the National Park Service (NPS)) has six individual plants. In 2007, personnel from the NPS planted these individuals at Salt River as part of the landscape with the idea of establishing a population at the site and for outreach purposes. At the time of the survey, five of these plants were producing spikes and were expected to produce bulbils within the following months (Monsegur and Vargas, USFWS, 2010, unpublished data). Based on information provided by personnel from NPS, additional propagation efforts with the species are planned in the near future (Lundgreen 2010, pers. comm.). (7) Buck Island Reef National Monument (managed by the NPS) has an estimated population of five individuals. In 2007, personnel from NPS planted these five individuals on the island, but at present time there is no information regarding the breeding PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 condition of these plants (Lundgreen 2010, pers. comm.). (8) Lagoon Picnic Area (a public beach area that seems to be under a reforestation effort funded by the Antilitter and Beautification Commission) harbors about 177 plants as part of the landscape. The size of the individuals in this area ranges from small planted bulbils to a few adult individuals ready to flower. Based on the information gathered and observations, about 450 adult individuals and 260 bulbils are currently known in 10 localities, including 6 populations that are considered wild, 3 introduced populations for conservation and public education, and 1 landscape population (Table 1). In addition to these localities, Monsegur and Vargas (2010, personal observation) documented the species presence in private gardens scattered throughout the island. We estimate about 90 adult individuals are present in these private gardens. At the present time, information on ecology, phenology, and genetics for Agave eggersiana is lacking. Samples of A. eggersiana from individuals in the Gallows Bay area have been collected for genetics analysis, but results were not available prior to making this finding (Ray 2010, pers. comm.). E:\FR\FM\22SEP1.SGM 22SEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 183 / Wednesday, September 22, 2010 / Proposed Rules Current evidence suggests that the wild and cultivated populations have minimum genetic variation. Therefore, all A. eggersiana plants (cultivated and wild) are included as part of the listable entity in this finding; however, we have focused our assessment of threats to the wild populations. Although data suggest that cultivated individuals could be used as genetic stock to aid in the longterm survival of this species, most cultivated populations are groomed to prevent recruitment and thus offer minimal conservation contribution. We do not feel that cultivated individuals propagated for private or commercial uses aid in the conservation or the recovery of the species in the wild. erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS-1 Summary of Information Pertaining to the Five Factors Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533), and implementing regulations (50 CFR 424), set forth procedures for adding species to the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Under section 4(a)(1) of the Act, a species may be determined to be endangered or threatened based on any of the following five factors: (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (B) overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; (C) disease or predation; (D) the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or (E) other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence. In making this finding, information pertaining to Agave eggersiana, in relation to the five factors provided in section 4(a)(1) of the Act is discussed below. In considering what factors might constitute threats to a species, we must look beyond the exposure of the species to a factor to evaluate whether the species may respond to the factor in a way that causes actual impacts to the species. If there is exposure to a factor and the species responds negatively, the factor may be a threat and we attempt to determine how significant a threat it is. The threat is significant if it drives, or contributes to, the risk of extinction of the species such that the species warrants listing as endangered or threatened as those terms are defined in the Act. Factor A: The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of the Species’ Habitat or Range Of the currently known populations, only three areas are managed for conservation (Ruth Island, Salt River Bay, and Buck Island National VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:32 Sep 21, 2010 Jkt 220001 Monument), the remaining populations occur within privately owned lands currently threatened by development or areas already developed and managed as tourism and residential projects. Based on information reported by the University of the Virgin Islands’ Conservation Data Center (https:// cdc.uvi.edu), at least three of the populations (Protestant Cay, Gallows Bay, and Ha’penny Beach) lie within areas identified by the DPNR as highdensity land use areas, which have a higher susceptibility to development in the near future. Furthermore, Weiss (2010, pers. comm.) identified two proposed development projects within suitable habitat for the species (C&R Robin, LLC and Seven Hills Beach Resort and Casino). Based on the field assessment conducted by Service biologists, the coastal areas that harbor suitable habitat for the species are currently subject to urban and tourist development (Monsegur and Vargas 2010, personal observation). The population at Protestant Cay seems to be affected by the use of the area as a deposit for garden debris from a hotel that occupies the majority of this small island (Monsegur and Vargas 2010, personal observation). Since Agave eggersiana relies on asexual reproduction, the species depends on the bulbils becoming established. Covering the bulbils with debris may result in subsequent mortality of the bulbils and lack of natural recruitment, thus affecting the long-term survival of this population. Moreover, individuals located on the edges of the population are pruned as part of the gardens’ maintenance. This practice may result in mortality or mutilation of individuals since the species is monopodial (single growth axis). The population at Protestant Cay is also threatened by competition with exotic plant species. Individuals seem to be stressed due to competition with exotics as what little undeveloped habitat is left is rapidly being colonized by nonnative species (see Factor E). The individuals located at Gallows Bay are within an area currently developed as a residential complex with the potential for future expansion, which may affect these individuals (Monsegur and Vargas 2010, personal observation). In addition, this area does not contain additional habitat to allow the current population to expand. Remaining forested areas surrounding this location are characterized by the abundance of exotic species. Areas that could be used by bulbils to become established are occupied by the exotic plant Sansevieria cilindrica, a species PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 57723 that tends to form a complete cover of the understory (see Factor E). The areas adjacent to Ha’penny Bay on the south coast of St. Croix harbor two of the known natural populations of Agave eggersiana (Ha’penny Beach and South Shore). According to personnel from the DPNR (Valiulis 2010, pers. comm.) these areas are advertised by realtors as areas for tourism and residential development and, as previously mentioned, are planned for high-density development. Furthermore, the areas along the south coast that have not been developed are used for cattle or hay production, minimizing the recovery of native vegetation and, therefore, the habitat for A. eggersiana (Monsegur and Vargas 2010, personal observation). The development of tourist and residential projects in these coastal areas may result in the extirpation of some populations, or at the least, will reduce the chances of the populations to expand or to colonize other areas. This is exacerbated by the low potential for natural recruitment due to the small number of populations and individuals. The population of Great Pond is located between the entrance road of the East End Marine Park office and a private property currently for sale. The population seems to be healthy based on the presence of different size plants and evidence of recent flowering events. It seems that there is suitable habitat for the species in the area; however, the area near the population is mowed and the access road limits the expansion of the population’s range. Furthermore, the area adjacent to this population is a private property for sale. The possible use of the area for residential or tourist development may affect the population; owners will likely manage their properties as landscapes, which could lead to land clearing, additional mowing, and other maintenance of gardens. This could also lead to the introduction of exotics. Moreover, the abundance of grassland areas and the dominance of the exotic Megathyrsus maximus (guinea grass) in the area make the population Agave eggersiana susceptible to human-induced fires (addressed in Factor E). These exotic grasses are typically adapted to fire conditions. Based on the above information, we consider the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of the species habitat or range as a moderate but imminent threat to wild populations of Agave eggersiana. The threats of possible construction developments and current management of habitat of the populations may further limit species E:\FR\FM\22SEP1.SGM 22SEP1 57724 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 183 / Wednesday, September 22, 2010 / Proposed Rules propagation and expansion in the foreseeable future. Factor B: Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or Educational Purposes Agave eggersiana has been reported as a cultivar since it was described as a species in 1913 (Trelease, 1913, p. 28); historically, the majority of A. eggersiana found in St. Croix and St. Thomas were from landscaped areas (Britton and Wilson 1923, p. 156; Plaskett 2003, pers. comm.; Kojis and Boulon 1996, pers. comm.; Proctor and Acevedo-Rodri´guez 2005, p. 118; Acevedo-Rodri´guez 2005, pers. comm.). The species is currently distributed by the St. George Botanical Garden for conservation and private landscaping purposes. A. eggersiana is a commonly used ornamental species on the island, and recent declines in the number of individuals at one population along the coast of Ha’penny Bay are thought to be due to collection for ornamental purposes (Dalmida-Smith 2010, pers. comm.; Valiulis 2010, pers. comm.). Based on the above, we consider the overutilization for commercial and recreational purposes a moderate to low but imminent threat to wild populations of the species. Although captively propagated Agave eggersiana are available to residents for use in private gardens, collection of wild individuals is a threat to the species, and we expect it to continue to be a threat in the foreseeable future. erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS-1 Factor C: Disease or Predation The genus Agave is widely affected by the agave snout weevil (Scyphophorus acupunctatus). This weevil has a wide distribution that includes the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Jamaica and Hispaniola) (Vaurie 1971, p. 4). The larvae of this weevil feed on the starchy base of the plant, increasing the risk of infestation by pathogens, such as a virus or fungus, later resulting in the death of the plant (Vaurie 1971, p. 4). At this time, there is no information about the occurrence of the agave snout weevil within the Puerto Rican Platform or the Lesser Antilles where St. Croix is located. A small number of individuals of A. eggersiana were observed with scarring along the borders of some leaves (Monsegur and Vargas 2010, personal observation). It appears that an insect or an arthropod larva may feed on the leaves; however, the exact cause and the consequences of the scarring are unknown. Nevertheless, this is important and it should be monitored as it might be an indicator of a recently arrived pest to St Croix. VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:32 Sep 21, 2010 Jkt 220001 On Mona Island (Puerto Rico), feral pigs are known to uproot juveniles and destroy the root system of Agave sisalana, to feed on the root system or to use them as a water source (Saliva 1983, 1996, personal observation). Since introduced pigs, donkeys, and goats have been reported in St. Croix we cannot discard the possible predation of A. eggersiana by these feral animals, particularly to young plants within the populations. The absence of evidence of predation by these species might be the result of the low number of populations of A. eggersiana, their isolation, and the proximity of some of these populations to human inhabited areas. However, at this time, there is no evidence that donkeys, pigs, or goats constitute a specific threat to any A. eggersiana populations. Since the agave snout weevil has not been reported in St. Croix, we do not consider disease as a threat to the species. Although there is some evidence that insect or arthropod larvae may feed on the leaves of Agave eggersiana, there is no evidence that this is negatively impacting the species’ ability to grow or reproduce. In addition, we have no evidence of grazing on A. eggersiana by introduced donkeys, pigs, or goats. Therefore, we do not find disease or predation to be a current threat to the species. Factor D: The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms The Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands currently considers Agave eggersiana to be endangered under the Virgin Islands Indigenous and Endangered Species Act (V.I. Code, Title 12, Chapter 2), and has amended an existing regulation (Bill No. 18-0403) to provide for protection of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants by prohibiting the take, injury, or possession of indigenous plants. Based on the number of individuals currently used for private gardens and current landscape practices in private areas, such as pruning and mowing of populations, we believe that protection provisions under the local regulation are not being appropriately enforced. Rothenberger et al. (2008, p. 68) mentioned that the lack of management and enforcement capacity continues to be a significant challenge for the USVI since enforcement agencies are chronically understaffed and territorial resource management offices experience significant staff turnover, particularly during administration changes. Based on the information above, we consider the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms as a current threat to the species due to a lack of PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 enforcement. Because at least three populations exist in areas managed for conservation and public outreach, we consider this threat to be moderate to low in magnitude but imminent. We do not anticipate any regulatory or enforcement changes that would reduce this threat in the foreseeable future. Factor E: Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting the Continued Existence of the Species The islands of the Caribbean are frequently affected by hurricanes. It has been suggested that hurricanes are responsible for shaping and modifying the structure and composition of the vegetation in the Caribbean (Van Bloem et al. 2003, p. 137; Van Bloem et al. 2005, p. 572; Van Bloem et al. 2006, p. 517). As an endemic species to the island of St. Croix, Agave eggersiana would be expected to be well adapted to tropical storms. However, the low number of individuals found on the island and the reproductive biology of the species (dependence on asexual reproduction and the plant dying after flowering) increases the likelihood of stochastic events such as hurricanes extirpating a population. We believe that landslides and coastal erosion associated with hurricanes may affect the populations located along the coastal areas of St. Croix (Ha’penny Beach, South Shore, and Protestant Cay) due to their proximity to cliffs and the shoreline. Agave eggersiana may be further threatened by climate change, which is predicted to increase the frequency and strength of tropical storms and can cause severe droughts (Hopkinson et al. 2008, p. 260). The cumulative effect of coastal erosion due to severe hurricanes plus the habitat modification for urban and tourist development can further diminish the availability of suitable habitat and, therefore, limit population expansion and colonization of new areas. In addition, the possibility of severe droughts may contribute to an increase in the quantity and frequency of fires on the island. These cumulative factors may reduce the number of individuals and further reduce populations. Based on satellite images, there is evidence of human-induced fires along the south coast of the island. The vegetation of the Caribbean is not adapted to fires since this disturbance does not naturally occur on these islands (Brandeis and Woodall 2008, p. ´ 557; Santiago-Garcia et al. 2008, p. 608); juvenile plants are especially vulnerable to fire damage. This regime of humaninduced fires could modify the landscape by promoting exotic trees and E:\FR\FM\22SEP1.SGM 22SEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 183 / Wednesday, September 22, 2010 / Proposed Rules erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS-1 grasses, and by diminishing the seed bank of native species. For example the exotic Megathyrsus maximus is well adapted to fires and typically colonizes areas that were previously covered by native vegetation. Furthermore, the presence of this species increases the amount of fuel and, therefore, the intensity of the fire events. Due to the abundance of grasses at Great Pond, this Agave eggersiana population is particularly threatened by humaninduced fires. Moreover, the individuals of the populations of Protestant Cay, Gallows Bay and Great Pond are surrounded by dense stands of different species of Sansevieria, an herb native to Africa. This invasive species seems to be occupying the ecological niche adjacent to the known populations of Agave eggersiana. Plant invasion can affect the environment at three levels; at the genetic level the number of individuals of native species can be reduced below the minimum necessary for persistence, at the species diversity level the number of species present and their distribution can be reduced, and at the ecosystem level the functioning of the ecosystem can be changed (Rippey et al. 2002, p. 170). In this case, invasive species may constrain the number of A. eggersiana reducing variability in the population. Consequently, the loss of diversity of the species may eliminate A. eggersiana in the area affecting other organisms (e.g., insects and birds feeding on the flowers). Based on the above information and due to the reduced number of populations and individuals, we believe that the species is currently threatened by natural or manmade factors such as hurricanes, fires, and competition from exotic species. Climate change may exacerbate these habitat threats by increasing the frequency of fires, droughts, and hurricanes. We consider these threats to be moderate and imminent. We do not anticipate any changes that would appreciably reduce this threat in the foreseeable future. Finding As required by the Act, we conducted a review of the status of the species and considered the five factors in assessing whether Agave eggersiana is threatened or endangered throughout all or a significant portion of its range. We examined the best scientific and commercial information available regarding the past, present, and future threats faced by the species. We reviewed the petition, information available in our files, other available published and unpublished information, consulted with species and VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:32 Sep 21, 2010 Jkt 220001 habitat experts and other Federal and State agencies, and conducted field work on the island of St. Croix. This status review identified threats to the species attributable to Factors A, B, D, and E. Of the currently known populations, only three populations are located in areas managed for conservation and public outreach (Ruth Island, Salt River Bay, and Buck Island National Monument). The remaining populations, containing about 97 percent of the currently known adult individuals, are located in areas either threatened by development pressure, or are currently affected by landscape practices and competition with exotic species, resulting in detrimental effects to reproduction and recruitment (see Factors A and E). Furthermore, the use of the Agave eggersiana as an ornamental species is common on the island, and evidence suggests that wild specimens are being collected due to the commercial interest in this species (Factor B). Although the species is currently listed under local regulations, lack of enforcement of local law does not provide adequate protection to ameliorate threats to the species. On the basis of the best scientific and commercial information available and our analysis of the current and foreseeable threats to the species and its habitat, we find that listing Agave eggersiana (including wild and cultivated populations), is warranted. We will make a determination on the status of the species as threatened or endangered when we do a proposed listing determination. However, as explained in more detail below, an immediate proposal of a regulation implementing this action is precluded by higher priority listing actions, and progress is being made to add or remove qualified species from the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. We reviewed the available information to determine if the existing and foreseeable threats render the species at risk of extinction now such that issuing an emergency regulation temporarily listing the species as per section 4(b)(7) of the Act is warranted. We determined that issuing an emergency regulation temporarily listing the species is not warranted for this species at this time since approximately 450 individuals are known to occur in 10 localities (Table 1). However, if at any time we determine that issuing an emergency regulation temporarily listing the species is necessary, we will initiate this action at that time. PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 57725 Listing Priority Number The Service adopted guidelines on September 21, 1983 (48 FR 43098), to establish a rational system for utilizing available resources for the highest priority species when adding species to the Lists of Endangered or Threatened Wildlife and Plants or reclassifying species listed as threatened to endangered status. The system places greatest importance on the immediacy and magnitude of threats, but also factors in the level of taxonomic distinctiveness by assigning priority in descending order to monotypic genera, full species, and subspecies (or equivalently, distinct population segments of vertebrates). We assigned Agave eggersiana an LPN of 8, based on our finding that the species faces moderate to low magnitude threats from the present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat; overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and other natural or manmade Factors. One or more of the threats discussed above are occurring, and we anticipate they will still occur in the near future in each known population in St. Croix. These threats are ongoing and in some cases considered irreversible. Although the species faces threats, as described above, we believe these threats to be of moderate to low magnitude; at least 450 adults and 260 bulbils are known to occur in 10 populations with half showing evidence of recruitment in the wild and 3 located in areas managed for conservation and public outreach. Under the 1983 Guidelines, a ‘‘species’’ facing imminent moderate to low magnitude threats is assigned an LPN of 7, 8, or 9 depending on its taxonomic status. Because A. eggersiana is a species, but not a monotypic genus, we assigned it an LPN of 8. While we conclude that listing the species is warranted, an immediate proposal to list this species is precluded by other higher priority listing actions, which we address below. Preclusion and Expeditious Progress Preclusion is a function of the listing priority of a species in relation to the resources that are available and 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 proposed listing regulation or whether promulgation of such a proposal is warranted but precluded by higherpriority listing actions. E:\FR\FM\22SEP1.SGM 22SEP1 erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS-1 57726 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 183 / Wednesday, September 22, 2010 / Proposed Rules 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; 90–day and 12–month 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 determinations on prior ‘‘warranted but precluded’’ 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 litigation-related, administrative, and program-management 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 peer review 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. For example, during the past several years, the cost (excluding publication costs) for preparing a 12– month finding, without a proposed rule, has ranged from approximately $11,000 for one species with a restricted range and involving a relatively uncomplicated analysis to $305,000 for another species that is wide-ranging and involving a complex analysis. We cannot spend more than is appropriated for the Listing Program without violating the Anti-Deficiency 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 that 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 VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:32 Sep 21, 2010 Jkt 220001 Report 105-163, 105th Congress, 1st Session, July 1, 1997). Recognizing that designation of critical habitat for species already listed would consume most of the overall Listing Program appropriation, Congress also put a critical habitat subcap in place in FY 2002 and has retained it each subsequent year 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’’ (House Report No. 107 - 103, 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 high-priority 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 actions with statutory deadlines. Thus, 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. Therefore, the funds in the listing cap, other than those needed to address court-mandated critical habitat for already-listed species, set the limits on our determinations of preclusion and expeditious progress. Congress also recognized that the availability of resources was the key element in deciding, when making a 12– month petition finding, whether we would prepare and issue a listing proposal or instead make a ‘‘warranted but precluded’’ finding for a given species. The Conference Report accompanying Public Law 97-304, which established the current statutory deadlines and the warranted-butprecluded finding, states (in a discussion on 90–day petition findings that by its own terms also covers 12– month findings) that the deadlines were ‘‘not intended to allow the Secretary to PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 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 lower-ranking species] unwise.’’ In FY 2010, expeditious progress is that amount of work that can be achieved with $10,471,000, which 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). However these funds are not enough to fully fund all our courtordered and statutory listing actions in FY 2010, so we are using $1,114,417 of our critical habitat subcap funds in order to work on all of our required petition findings and listing determinations. This brings the total amount of funds we have for listing action in FY 2010 to $11,585,417. Starting in FY 2010, we are also using our funds to work on listing actions for foreign species since that work was transferred from the Division of Scientific Authority, International Affairs Program to the Endangered Species Program. Our process is to 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. The $11,585,417 is being used to fund work in the following categories: compliance with court orders and court-approved 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 litigation-related, administrative, and listing programmanagement functions; and highpriority listing actions for some of our candidate species. The allocations for each specific listing action are identified in the Service’s FY 2010 Allocation Table (part of our administrative record). In FY 2007, we had more than 120 species with an LPN of 2, based on our September 21, 1983, 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 (high vs. 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 E:\FR\FM\22SEP1.SGM 22SEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 183 / Wednesday, September 22, 2010 / Proposed Rules 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). To be more efficient in our listing process, as we work on proposed rules for these species in the next several years, we are preparing multi-species proposals when appropriate, and these may include species with lower priority if they overlap geographically or have the same threats as a species with an LPN of 2. In addition, available staff resources are also a factor in determining which high-priority species are provided with funding. Finally, proposed rules for reclassification of threatened species to endangered are lower priority, since as listed species, they are already afforded the protection of the Act and implementing regulations. Given the above-mentioned funding constraints, the Service’s priority is to work on: (1) listing determinations for listing actions with absolute statutory, court-ordered, or court-approved deadlines, and final listing determinations for those species that have been proposed for listing; and (2) candidate species and reclassifications of other higher priority threatened species (i.e., species with LPN of 1). This work includes all the actions listed in the tables below under expeditious progress. As explained above, a determination that listing is warranted but precluded must also demonstrate that expeditious progress is being made to add or remove qualified species to and from the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. (Although we do not discuss 57727 it in detail here, we are also making expeditious progress in removing species from the list under the Recovery program, which is funded by a separate line item in the budget of the Endangered Species Program. As explained above in our description of the statutory cap on Listing Program funds, the Recovery Program funds and actions supported by them cannot be considered in determining expeditious progress made in the Listing Program.) As with our ‘‘precluded’’ finding, expeditious progress in adding qualified species to the Lists is a function of the resources available and the competing demands for those funds. Given that limitation, we find that we made progress in FY 2009 in the Listing Program and will continue to make progress in FY 2010. This progress included preparing and publishing the following determinations: FY 2010 COMPLETED LISTING ACTIONS Title Actions FR Pages 10/08/2009 Listing Lepidium papilliferum (Slickspot Peppergrass) as a Threatened Species Throughout Its Range Final Listing Threatened ............ 74 FR 52013-52064 10/27/2009 90-day Finding on a Petition To List the American Dipper in the Black Hills of South Dakota as Threatened or Endangered Notice of 90–day Petition Finding, ..... Not substantial ....... 74 FR 55177-55180 10/28/2009 Status Review of Arctic Grayling (Thymallus arcticus) in the Upper Missouri River System Notice of Intent to Conduct Status ...... Review ................... 74 FR 55524-55525 11/03/2009 Listing the British Columbia Distinct Population Segment of the Queen Charlotte Goshawk Under the Endangered Species Act Proposed Listing Threatened ............ 74 FR 56757-56770 11/03/2009 Listing the Salmon-Crested Cockatoo as Threatened Throughout Its Range with Special Rule Proposed Listing Threatened 74 FR 56770-56791 11/23/2009 Status Review of Gunnison sage-grouse (Centrocercus minimus) Notice of Intent to Conduct Status Review ................... 74 FR 61100-61102 12/03/2009 12-Month Finding on a Petition to List the Black-tailed Prairie Dog as Threatened or Endangered Notice of 12–month petition finding, Not warranted 74 FR 63343-63366 12/03/2009 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List Sprague’s Pipit as Threatened or Endangered Notice of 90–day Petition Finding, ..... Substantial ............. 74 FR 63337-63343 12/15/2009 90-Day Finding on Petitions To List Nine Species of Mussels From Texas as Threatened or Endangered With Critical Habitat Notice of 90–day Petition Finding, ..... Substantial ............. 74 FR 66260-66271 12/16/2009 erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS-1 Publication Date Partial 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List 475 Species in the Southwestern United States as Threatened or Endangered With Critical Habitat Notice of 90–day Petition Finding, ..... Not substantial and Substantial ............. 74 FR 66865-66905 12/17/2009 12–month Finding on a Petition To Change the Final Listing of the Distinct Population Segment of the Canada Lynx To Include New Mexico Notice of 12–month petition finding, Warranted but precluded ............... 74 FR 66937-66950 1/05/2010 Listing Foreign Bird Species in Peru and Bolivia as Endangered Throughout Their Range Proposed Listing Endangered ........... 75 FR 605-649 VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:49 Sep 21, 2010 Jkt 220001 PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\22SEP1.SGM 22SEP1 57728 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 183 / Wednesday, September 22, 2010 / Proposed Rules FY 2010 COMPLETED LISTING ACTIONS—Continued Title Actions FR Pages 1/05/2010 Listing Six Foreign Birds as Endangered Throughout Their Range Proposed Listing Endangered ........... 75 FR 286-310 1/05/2010 Withdrawal of Proposed Rule to List Cook’s Petrel Proposed rule, withdrawal .............. 75 FR 310-316 1/05/2010 Final Rule to List the Galapagos Petrel and Heinroth’s Shearwater as Threatened Throughout Their Ranges Final Listing Threatened ............ 75 FR 235-250 1/20/2010 Initiation of Status Review for Agave eggersiana and Solanum conocarpum Notice of Intent to Conduct Status Review ................... 75 FR 3190-3191 2/09/2010 12–month Finding on a Petition to List the American Pika as Threatened or Endangered Notice of 12–month petition finding, Not warranted 75 FR 6437-6471 2/25/2010 12-Month Finding on a Petition To List the Sonoran Desert Population of the Bald Eagle as a Threatened or Endangered Distinct Population Segment Notice of 12–month petition finding, Not warranted 75 FR 8601-8621 2/25/2010 Withdrawal of Proposed Rule To List the Southwestern Washington/Columbia River Distinct Population Segment of Coastal Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarki clarki) as Threatened Withdrawal of Proposed Rule to .. List ......................... 75 FR 8621-8644 3/18/2010 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List the Berry Cave Salamander as Endangered Notice of 90–day Petition Finding, ..... Substantial ............. 75 FR 13068-13071 3/23/2010 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List the Southern Hickorynut Mussel (Obovaria jacksoniana) as Endangered or Threatened Notice of 90–day Petition Finding, ..... Not substantial ....... 75 FR 13717-13720 3/23/2010 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List the Striped Newt as Threatened Notice of 90–day Petition Finding, ..... Substantial ............. 75 FR 13720-13726 3/23/2010 12-Month Findings for Petitions to List the Greater Sage-Grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus) as Threatened or Endangered Notice of 12–month petition finding, Warranted but ........ precluded ............... 75 FR 13910-14014 3/31/2010 12-Month Finding on a Petition to List the Tucson Shovel-Nosed Snake (Chionactis occipitalis klauberi) as Threatened or Endangered with Critical Habitat Notice of 12–month petition finding, Warranted but ........ precluded ............... 75 FR 16050-16065 4/5/2010 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List Thorne’s Hairstreak Butterfly as Threatened or Endangered Notice of 90–day Petition Finding, ..... Substantial ............. 75 FR 17062-17070 4/6/2010 12–month Finding on a Petition To List the Mountain Whitefish in the Big Lost River, Idaho, as Endangered or Threatened Notice of 12–month petition finding, Not warranted 75 FR 17352-17363 4/6/2010 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List a Stonefly (Isoperla jewetti) and a Mayfly (Fallceon eatoni) as Threatened or Endangered with Critical Habitat Notice of 90–day Petition Finding, ..... Not substantial ....... 75 FR 17363-17367 4/7/2010 erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS-1 Publication Date 12-Month Finding on a Petition to Reclassify the Delta Smelt From Threatened to Endangered Throughout Its Range Notice of 12–month petition finding, Warranted but ........ precluded ............... 75 FR 17667-17680 4/13/2010 Determination of Endangered Status for 48 Species on Kauai and Designation of Critical Habitat Final Listing Endangered ........... 75 FR 18959-19165 4/15/2010 Initiation of Status Review of the North American Wolverine in the Contiguous United States Notice of Initiation of Status Review 75 FR 19591-19592 VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:49 Sep 21, 2010 Jkt 220001 PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\22SEP1.SGM 22SEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 183 / Wednesday, September 22, 2010 / Proposed Rules 57729 FY 2010 COMPLETED LISTING ACTIONS—Continued Publication Date Title Actions FR Pages 12-Month Finding on a Petition to List the Wyoming Pocket Gopher as Endangered or Threatened with Critical Habitat Notice of 12–month petition finding, Not warranted 75 FR 19592-19607 4/16/2010 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List a Distinct Population Segment of the Fisher in Its United States Northern Rocky Mountain Range as Endangered or Threatened with Critical Habitat Notice of 90–day Petition Finding, ..... Substantial ............. 75 FR 19925-19935 4/20/2010 Initiation of Status Review for Sacramento splittail (Pogonichthys macrolepidotus) Notice of Initiation of Status Review 75 FR 20547-20548 4/26/2010 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List the Harlequin Butterfly as Endangered Notice of 90–day Petition Finding, ..... Substantial ............. 75 FR 21568-21571 4/27/2010 12-Month Finding on a Petition to List Susan’s Purse-making Caddisfly (Ochrotrichia susanae) as Threatened or Endangered Notice of 12–month petition finding, Not warranted 75 FR 22012-22025 4/27/2010 90–day Finding on a Petition to List the Mohave Ground Squirrel as Endangered with Critical Habitat Notice of 90–day Petition Finding, ..... Substantial ............. 75 FR 22063-22070 5/4/2010 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List Hermes Copper Butterfly as Threatened or Endangered Notice of 90–day Petition Finding, ..... Substantial ............. 75 FR 23654-23663 6/1/2010 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List Castanea pumila var. ozarkensis Notice of 90–day Petition Finding, ..... Substantial ............. 75 FR 30313-30318 6/1/2010 12–month Finding on a Petition to List the White-tailed Prairie Dog as Endangered or Threatened Notice of 12–month petition finding, Not warranted 75 FR 30338-30363 6/9/2010 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List van Rossem’s Gull-billed Tern as Endangered orThreatened. Notice of 90–day Petition Finding, ..... Substantial ............. 75 FR 32728-32734 6/16/2010 90-Day Finding on Five Petitions to List Seven Species of Hawaiian Yellow-faced Bees as Endangered Notice of 90–day Petition Finding, ..... Substantial ............. 75 FR 34077-34088 6/22/2010 12-Month Finding on a Petition to List the Least Chub as Threatened or Endangered Notice of 12–month petition finding, Warranted but ........ precluded ............... 75 FR 35398-35424 6/23/2010 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List the Honduran Emerald Hummingbird as Endangered Notice of 90–day Petition Finding, ..... Substantial ............. 75 FR 35746-35751 6/23/2010 Listing Ipomopsis polyantha (Pagosa Skyrocket) as Endangered Throughout Its Range, and Listing Penstemon debilis (Parachute Beardtongue) and Phacelia submutica (DeBeque Phacelia) as Threatened Throughout Their Range Proposed Listing Endangered ........... Proposed Listing .... Threatened ............ 75 FR 35721-35746 6/24/2010 Listing the Flying Earwig Hawaiian Damselfly and Pacific Hawaiian Damselfly As Endangered Throughout Their Ranges Final Listing Endangered ........... 75 FR 35990-36012 6/24/2010 erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS-1 4/15/2010 Listing the Cumberland Darter, Rush Darter, Yellowcheek Darter, Chucky Madtom, and Laurel Dace as Endangered Throughout Their Ranges Proposed Listing Endangered ........... 75 FR 36035-36057 6/29/2010 Listing the Mountain Plover as Threatened Reinstatement of Proposed Listing .... Threatened ............ 75 FR 37353-37358 7/20/2010 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List Pinus albicaulis (Whitebark Pine) as Endangered or Threatened with Critical Habitat Notice of 90–day Petition Finding, ..... Substantial ............. 75 FR 42033-42040 VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:49 Sep 21, 2010 Jkt 220001 PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\22SEP1.SGM 22SEP1 57730 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 183 / Wednesday, September 22, 2010 / Proposed Rules FY 2010 COMPLETED LISTING ACTIONS—Continued Title Actions FR Pages 7/20/2010 12-Month Finding on a Petition to List the Amargosa Toad as Threatened or Endangered Notice of 12–month petition finding, Not warranted 75 FR 42040-42054 7/20/2010 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List the Giant Palouse Earthworm (Driloleirus americanus) as Threatened or Endangered Notice of 90–day Petition Finding, ..... Substantial ............. 75 FR 42059-42066 7/27/2010 Determination on Listing the Black-Breasted Puffleg as Endangered Throughout its Range; Final Rule Final Listing Endangered ........... 75 FR 43844-43853 7/27/2010 Final Rule to List the Medium Tree-Finch (Camarhynchus pauper) as Endangered Throughout Its Range Final Listing Endangered ........... 75 FR 43853-43864 8/3/2010 Determination of Threatened Status for Five Penguin Species Final Listing Threatened ............ 75 FR 45497- 45527 8/4/2010 90-Day Finding on a Petition To List the Mexican Gray Wolf as an Endangered Subspecies With Critical Habitat Notice of 90–day Petition Finding, ..... Substantial ............. 75 FR 46894- 46898 8/10/2010 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List Arctostaphylos franciscana as Endangered with Critical Habitat Notice of 90–day Petition Finding, ..... Substantial ............. 75 FR 48294-48298 8/17/2010 Listing Three Foreign Bird Species from Latin America and the Caribbean as Endangered Throughout Their Range Final Listing Endangered ........... 75 FR 50813-50842 8/17/2010 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List Brian Head Mountainsnail as Endangered or Threatened with Critical Habitat Notice of 90–day Petition Finding, ..... Not substantial ....... 75 FR 50739-50742 8/24/2010 90-Day Finding on a Petition to List the Oklahoma Grass Pink Orchid as Endangered or Threatened ................................. Notice of 90–day Petition Finding, ..... Substantial ............. 75 FR 51969-51974 9/01/2010 12-Month Finding on a Petition to List the White-Sided Jackrabbit as Threatened or Endangered Notice of 90–day Notice of 12-month petition finding,. Not warranted ........ 75 FR 53615-53629 9/08/2010 Proposed Rule To List the Ozark Hellbender Salamander as Endangered .................................................................................. Proposed ListingEndangered 75 FR 54561-54579 9/08/2010 Revised 12-Month Finding to List the Upper Missouri River Distinct Population Segment of Arctic Grayling as Endangered or Threatened ............................................................................... Notice of 12-month petition finding, Warranted but precluded ............... 75 FR 54707-54753 9/09/2010 erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS-1 Publication Date 12-Month Finding on a Petition to List the Jemez Mountains Salamander (Plethodon neomexicanus) as Endangered or ........ Threatened with Critical Habitat ................................................... Notice of 12-month petition finding, Warranted but ........ precluded ............... 75 FR 54822-54845 Our expeditious progress also includes work on listing actions that we funded in FY 2010 but have not yet been completed to date. These actions are listed below. Actions in the top section of the table are being conducted under a deadline set by a court. Actions in the middle section of the table are being conducted to meet statutory VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:49 Sep 21, 2010 Jkt 220001 timelines, that is, timelines required under the Act. Actions in the bottom section of the table are high-priority listing actions. These actions include work primarily on species with an LPN of 2, and selection of these species is partially based on available staff resources, and when appropriate, include species with a lower priority if PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 they overlap geographically or have the same threats as the species with the high priority. Including these species together in the same proposed rule results in considerable savings in time and funding, as compared to preparing separate proposed rules for each of them in the future. E:\FR\FM\22SEP1.SGM 22SEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 183 / Wednesday, September 22, 2010 / Proposed Rules Actions funded in FY 2010 but not yet completed Species Action Actions Subject to Court Order/Settlement Agreement 6 Birds from Eurasia Final listing determination African penguin Final listing determination Flat-tailed horned lizard Final listing determination Mountain plover Final listing determination 6 Birds from Peru Proposed listing determination Sacramento splittail Proposed listing determination Pacific walrus 12–month petition finding Gunnison sage-grouse 12–month petition finding Wolverine 12–month petition finding Solanum conocarpum 12–month petition finding Sprague’s pipit 12–month petition finding Desert tortoise – Sonoran population 12–month petition finding Pygmy rabbit (rangewide)1 12–month petition finding Thorne’s Hairstreak Butterfly 12–month petition finding Hermes copper butterfly 12–month petition finding Actions with Statutory Deadlines Casey’s june beetle Final listing determination Georgia pigtoe, interrupted rocksnail, and rough hornsnail Final listing determination 7 Bird species from Brazil Final listing determination Southern rockhopper penguin – Campbell Plateau population Final listing determination 5 Bird species from Colombia and Ecuador Final listing determination Queen Charlotte goshawk Final listing determination 5 species southeast fish (Cumberland darter, rush darter, yellowcheek darter, chucky madtom, and laurel dace) Final listing determination Salmon crested cockatoo Proposed listing determination CA golden trout 12–month petition finding Black-footed albatross 12–month petition finding Mount Charleston blue butterfly 12–month petition finding Mojave fringe-toed lizard1 12–month petition finding Kokanee – Lake Sammamish population1 12–month petition finding 12–month petition finding Northern leopard frog erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS-1 Cactus ferruginous pygmy-owl1 12–month petition finding Tehachapi slender salamander 12–month petition finding Coqui Llanero 12–month petition finding Dusky tree vole 12–month petition finding 3 MT invertebrates (mist forestfly(Lednia tumana), Oreohelix sp.3, Oreohelix sp. 31) from 206 species petition 12–month petition finding VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:32 Sep 21, 2010 Jkt 220001 PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\22SEP1.SGM 22SEP1 57731 57732 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 183 / Wednesday, September 22, 2010 / Proposed Rules Actions funded in FY 2010 but not yet completed Species Action 5 UT plants (Astragalus hamiltonii, Eriogonum soredium, Lepidium ostleri, Penstemon flowersii, Trifolium friscanum) from 206 species petition 12–month petition finding 2 CO plants (Astragalus microcymbus, Astragalus schmolliae) from 206 species petition 12–month petition finding 5 WY plants (Abronia ammophila, Agrostis rossiae, Astragalus proimanthus, Boechere (Arabis) pusilla, Penstemon gibbensii) from 206 species petition 12–month petition finding Leatherside chub (from 206 species petition) 12–month petition finding Frigid ambersnail (from 206 species petition) 12–month petition finding Gopher tortoise – eastern population 12–month petition finding Wrights marsh thistle 12–month petition finding 67 of 475 southwest species 12–month petition finding Grand Canyon scorpion (from 475 species petition) 12–month petition finding Anacroneuria wipukupa (a stonefly from 475 species petition) 12–month petition finding Rattlesnake-master borer moth (from 475 species petition) 12–month petition finding 3 Texas moths (Ursia furtiva, Sphingicampa blanchardi, Agapema galbina) (from 475 species petition) 12–month petition finding 2 Texas shiners (Cyprinella sp., Cyprinella lepida) (from 475 species petition) 12–month petition finding 3 South Arizona plants (Erigeron piscaticus, Astragalus hypoxylus, Amoreuxia gonzalezii) (from 475 species petition) 12–month petition finding 5 Central Texas mussel species (3 from 475 species petition) 12–month petition finding 14 parrots (foreign species) 12–month petition finding Berry Cave salamander1 12–month petition finding Striped Newt1 12–month petition finding Fisher – Northern Rocky Mountain Range1 12–month petition finding Mohave Ground Squirrel1 12–month petition finding Puerto Rico Harlequin Butterfly 12–month petition finding Western gull-billed tern 12–month petition finding Ozark chinquapin (Castanea pumila var. ozarkensis) 12–month petition finding HI yellow-faced bees 12–month petition finding Giant Palouse earthworm 12–month petition finding Whitebark pine 12–month petition finding OK grass pink (Calopogon oklahomensis)1 12–month petition finding Southeastern pop snowy plover & wintering pop. of piping plover1 90–day petition finding 90–day petition finding Smooth-billed ani1 erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS-1 Eagle Lake trout1 90–day petition finding Bay Springs salamander1 90–day petition finding 32 species of snails and slugs1 90–day petition finding 42 snail species (Nevada & Utah) 90–day petition finding Red knot roselaari subspecies 90–day petition finding Peary caribou 90–day petition finding VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:32 Sep 21, 2010 Jkt 220001 PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\22SEP1.SGM 22SEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 183 / Wednesday, September 22, 2010 / Proposed Rules 57733 Actions funded in FY 2010 but not yet completed Species Action Plains bison 90–day petition finding Spring Mountains checkerspot butterfly 90–day petition finding Spring pygmy sunfish 90–day petition finding Bay skipper 90–day petition finding Unsilvered fritillary 90–day petition finding Texas kangaroo rat 90–day petition finding Spot-tailed earless lizard 90–day petition finding Eastern small-footed bat 90–day petition finding Northern long-eared bat 90–day petition finding Prairie chub 90–day petition finding 10 species of Great Basin butterfly 90–day petition finding 6 sand dune (scarab) beetles 90–day petition finding Golden-winged warbler 90–day petition finding Sand-verbena moth 90–day petition finding Aztec (beautiful) gilia 90–day petition finding Arapahoe snowfly 90–day petition finding 404 Southeast species 90–day petition finding High Priority Listing Actions3 19 Oahu candidate species3 (16 plants, 3 damselflies) (15 with LPN = 2, 3 with LPN = 3, 1 with LPN =9) Proposed listing 19 Maui-Nui candidate species3 (16 plants, 3 tree snails) (14 with LPN = 2, 2 with LPN = 3, 3 with LPN = 8) Proposed listing Sand dune lizard3 (LPN = 2) Proposed listing 2 Arizona springsnails3 (Pyrgulopsis bernadina (LPN = 2), Pyrgulopsis trivialis (LPN = 2)) Proposed listing 2 New Mexico springsnails3 (Pyrgulopsis chupaderae (LPN = 2), Pyrgulopsis thermalis (LPN = 11)) Proposed listing 2 mussels3 (rayed bean (LPN = 2), snuffbox No LPN) Proposed listing 2 mussels3 (sheepnose (LPN = 2), spectaclecase (LPN = 4),) Proposed listing Altamaha spinymussel3 (LPN = 2) Proposed listing 8 southeast mussels (southern kidneyshell (LPN = 2), round ebonyshell (LPN = 2), Alabama pearlshell (LPN = 2), southern sandshell (LPN = 5), fuzzy pigtoe (LPN = 5), Choctaw bean (LPN = 5), narrow pigtoe (LPN = 5), and tapered pigtoe (LPN = 11)) Proposed listing 1 Funds for listing actions for these species were provided in previous FYs. We funded a proposed rule for this subspecies with an LPN of 3 ahead of other species with LPN of 2, because the threats to the species were so imminent and of a high magnitude that we considered emergency listing if we were unable to fund work on a proposed listing rule in FY 2008. 3 Funds for these high-priority listing actions were provided in FY 2008 or 2009 erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS-1 2 We endeavored to make our listing actions as efficient and timely as possible, given the requirements of the relevant law and regulations, and constraints relating to workload and personnel. We are continually considering ways to streamline VerDate Mar<15>2010 15:32 Sep 21, 2010 Jkt 220001 processes or achieve economies of scale, such as by batching related actions together. Given our limited budget for implementing section 4 of the Act, these actions described above collectively constitute expeditious progress. PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 We intend that any proposed reclassification of Agave eggersiana will be as accurate as possible. Therefore, we will continue to accept additional information and comments from all concerned governmental agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any E:\FR\FM\22SEP1.SGM 22SEP1 57734 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 183 / Wednesday, September 22, 2010 / Proposed Rules other interested party concerning this finding. Agave eggersiana will be added to the list of candidate species upon publication of this 12–month finding. We will continue to evaluate this species as new information becomes available. This review will determine if a change in status is warranted, including the need to make prompt use of emergency listing procedures. References Cited A complete list of references cited is available on the Internet at https:// www.regulations.gov and upon request from the Caribbean Ecological Services Field Office (see ADDRESSES section). Author(s) The primary authors of this notice are the staff members of the Caribbean Ecological Services Field Office. Authority The authority for this section is section 4 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Dated: September 2, 2010. Paul R. Schmidt, Acting Director, Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. 2010–23571 Filed 9–21–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Part 622 RIN 0648–AY11 Fisheries of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and South Atlantic; SnapperGrouper Fishery off the Southern Atlantic States; Amendment 17B National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of Availability of Amendment 17B to South Atlantic Snapper-Grouper Fishery Management Plan; request for comments. AGENCY: The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council) has submitted Amendment 17B to the Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper-Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region (FMP) for review, approval, and implementation by NMFS. The amendment proposes actions to specify annual catch limits (ACLs), and accountability measures erowe on DSK5CLS3C1PROD with PROPOSALS-1 SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:41 Sep 21, 2010 Jkt 220001 (AMs) for nine snapper-grouper species, eight of which are undergoing overfishing; specify recreational and commercial allocations for golden tilefish; modify management measures to limit total mortality of each species to their respective ACLs; and add ACLs, ACTs, and AMs to the management measures that may be amended via the framework procedure. The actions contained in Amendment 17B are intended to address overfishing of eight snapper-grouper species while maintaining catch levels consistent with achieving optimum yield for all nine species included in the amendment. DATES: Comments must be received no later than 5 p.m., eastern time, on November 22, 2010. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by ‘‘0648–AY11’’, by any one of the following methods: • Electronic Submissions: Submit all electronic public comments via the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal https:// www.regulations.gov • Fax: 727–824–5308, Attn: Kate Michie • Mail: Kate Michie, Southeast Regional Office, NMFS, 263 13th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 Instructions: No comments will be posted for public viewing until after the comment period is over. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted to https:// www.regulations.gov without change. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. To submit comments through the Federal e–Rulemaking Portal: https:// www.regulations.gov, enter ‘‘NOAA– NMFS–2010–0091’’ in the keyword search, then check the box labeled (Select to find documents accepting comments or submissions(, then select (Send a Comment or Submission.( NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter N/A in the required fields, if you wish to remain anonymous). Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word, Excel, WordPerfect, or Adobe PDF file formats only. Copies of Amendment 17B may be obtained from the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 4055 Faber Place, Suite 201, North Charleston, SC 29405; phone: 843–571– 4366 or 866–SAFMC–10 (toll free); fax: 843–769–4520; e-mail: safmc@safmc.net. Amendment 17B includes an Environmental Assessment, PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, a Regulatory Impact Review, and a Social Impact Assessment/Fishery Impact Statement. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kate Michie, telephone: 727–824–5305; fax: 727–824–5308; e-mail: Kate.Michie@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The South Atlantic snapper-grouper fishery is managed under the FMP. The FMP was prepared by the Council and implemented by NMFS under the authority of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act) by regulations at 50 CFR part 622. Background Revisions to the Magnuson–Stevens Act in 2006 require that if a stock or stock complex in an FMP is undergoing overfishing, the FMP must establish by 2010 a mechanism for specifying ACLs at a level that prevents overfishing and does not exceed the fishing level recommendations of the respective Council(s Scientific and Statistical Committee or other established peer review processes. The MagnusonStevens Act also requires that NMFS implement measures to ensure accountability to prevent an ACL from being exceeded or correcting for an ACL overage if one should occur. The National Standard 1 Guidelines, published on January 16, 2009 (74 FR 3178), provide guidance for establishing ACLs and AMs in our nation’s fisheries. In the South Atlantic snapper-grouper fishery there are nine species currently undergoing overfishing including: speckled hind, warsaw grouper, snowy grouper, golden tilefish, black sea bass, red grouper, gag, vermilion snapper, and red snapper. Amendment 17B includes actions to establish ACLs and AMs for eight of these species as well as black grouper. Actions to address red snapper overfishing are contained in a separate amendment (Amendment 17A). An ACL is the level of annual catch of a stock or stock complex that if met or exceeded serves as the basis for triggering an AM. The Magnuson– Stevens Act requires ACLs be set at levels that prevent overfishing from occurring. ACLs may incorporate management and scientific uncertainty, and take into account the amount of data available and level of vulnerability to overfishing for each species. Separate ACLs may be established for each sector of a fishery, i.e., commercial and recreational. However, the combined total of all sector ACLs may not exceed the total ACL for a species or species complex. E:\FR\FM\22SEP1.SGM 22SEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 183 (Wednesday, September 22, 2010)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 57720-57734]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-23571]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket number FWS-R4-ES-2010-0051]
[MO 92210-0-0008-B2]


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding 
on a Petition to List Agave eggersiana (no common name) as Endangered

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of 12-month petition finding.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 12-
month finding on a petition to list the plant Agave eggersiana (no 
common name) as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended (Act). After review of all available scientific and commercial 
information, we find that listing A. eggersiana is warranted. 
Currently, however, listing A. eggersiana is precluded by higher 
priority actions to amend the Lists of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife and Plants. Upon publication of this 12-month petition 
finding, we will add A. eggersiana to our candidate species list. We 
will develop a proposed rule to list A. eggersiana as our priorities 
allow. We will make any determination on critical habitat during 
development of the proposed listing rule. In any interim period the 
status of the candidate taxon will be addressed through our annual 
Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR).

DATES: The finding announced in this document was made on September 22, 
2010.

ADDRESSES: This finding is available on the Internet at https://www.regulations.gov at Docket Number [FWS-R4-ES-2010-0051]. Supporting 
documentation we used in preparing this finding is available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Caribbean Ecological Services Field Office, 
Road 301, Km. 5.1, Boquero[acute]n, Puerto Rico 00622. Please submit 
any new information, materials, comments, or questions concerning this 
species or this finding to the above internet address or the mailing 
address listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Marelisa Rivera, Assistant Field 
Supervisor, Caribbean Ecological Services Field Office, P.O. Box 491, 
Boquero[acute]n, Puerto Rico 00622; by telephone at (787) 851-7297; or 
by facsimile at (787) 851-7440. Persons who use a telecommunications 
device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay 
Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

Background

    Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires 
that, for any petition to revise the Federal Lists of Threatened and 
Endangered Wildlife and Plants that contains substantial scientific or 
commercial information that listing a species may be warranted, we make 
a finding within 12 months of the date of receipt of the petition. In 
this finding, we determine whether the petitioned action is: (a) Not 
warranted, (b) warranted, or (c) warranted, but immediate proposal of a 
regulation implementing the petitioned action is precluded by other 
pending proposals to determine whether species are threatened or 
endangered, and expeditious progress is being made to add or remove 
qualified species from the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife and Plants. Section 4(b)(3)(C) of the Act requires that we 
treat a petition for which the requested action is found to be 
warranted but precluded as though resubmitted on the date of such 
finding, that is, requiring a subsequent finding to be made within 12 
months. We must publish these 12-month findings in the Federal 
Register.

[[Page 57721]]

Previous Federal Actions

    We identified Agave eggersiana as a category 2 candidate species in 
the Notice of Review published in the Federal Register on September 30, 
1993 (58 FR 51144) and subsequent publication. A category 2 species was 
one for which the Service had information that proposing as endangered 
or threatened may be appropriate but for which sufficient information 
was not currently available to support a proposed rule. Designation of 
category 2 species was discontinued in the February 28, 1996, Notice of 
Review (61 FR 7596). This notice redefined candidates to include only 
species for which we have information needed to propose them for 
listing, and as a result, Agave eggersiana was removed from the 
Candidate species list.
    On November 21, 1996, we received a petition from the U.S. Virgin 
Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) requesting 
that we list Agave eggersiana and Solanum conocarpum as endangered. On 
November 16, 1998, we published in the Federal Register (63 FR 63659) 
our finding that the petition to list A. eggersiana and S. conocarpum 
presented substantial information indicating that the requested action 
may be warranted and initiated a status review on these two plants. On 
September 1, 2004, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit 
against the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (Service) alleging that the Service failed to publish a 12-
month finding for A. eggersiana and S. conocarpum (Center for 
Biological Diversity v. Norton, Civil Action No. 1:04-CV-2553 CAP). In 
a stipulated settlement agreement resolving that case, signed April 27, 
2005, we agreed to submit our 12-month finding for A. eggersiana and S. 
conocarpum to the Federal Register by February 28, 2006. On March 7, 
2006, we published our 12-month finding (71 FR 11367) that listing of 
A. eggersiana and S. conocarpum was not warranted. On September 9, 
2008, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a complaint challenging 
our 12-month finding (Center for Biological Diversity v. Hamilton, Case 
No. 1:08-cv-02830 -CAP). In a settlement agreement approved by the 
Court on August 21, 2009, the Service agreed to submit to the Federal 
Register a new 12-month finding for A. eggersiana by September 17, 
2010. This notice constitutes the 12-month finding on the 1996 petition 
to list A. eggersiana as endangered.

Species Information

Taxonomy and Species Description

    Agave eggersiana is a flowering plant of the family Agavaceae 
(century plant family) endemic to the island of St. Croix in the U.S. 
Virgin Islands. A. eggersiana was originally described in 1913 by 
Trelease from material collected on St. Croix, and is distinguished 
from other members of the Agavaceae family by its acaulescent (without 
an evident leafy stem), non-suckering growth habit (vegetative 
reproduction that does not form offshoots around its base), and fleshy, 
nearly straight leaves with small marginal prickles (1.00 millimeter 
(mm); 0.04 inches (in) long) that are nearly straight (Britton and 
Wilson 1923, p. 156; Proctor and Acevedo-Rodri[acute]guez 2005, p. 
118). Its flowers are deep yellow, 5 to 6 centimeters (cm) (1.95 to 
2.34 in) long. After flowering, the panicles (inflorescence) produce 
numerous small vegetative bulbs (bulbils), from which the species can 
be propagated (Proctor and Acevedo-Rodri[acute]guez 2005, p. 118). 
Avave eggersiana is not known to produce fruit. Furthermore, based on 
observations of cultivated plants, Agave eggersiana requires at least 
10 to 15 years to develop as a mature individual and to produce an 
inflorescence (David Hamada, St. George Botanical Garden, 2010, pers. 
comm.). Avave eggersiana like other Agave species are monocarpic, 
meaning the plant dies after producing the spike or inflorescence.

Habitat and Distribution

    Britton and Wilson (1923, p. 156) reported the species from 
hillsides and plains in the eastern dry districts of St. Croix but did 
not provide population estimates. In addition, Agave eggersiana is 
cultivated on St. Croix and St. Thomas for ornament (Trelease 1913, p. 
28; Britton and Wilson 1923, p. 156; Proctor and Acevedo-
Rodri[acute]guez 2005, p. 118). Information provided in the petition 
(Kojis and Boulon, DPNR, 1996, pers. comm.) specified that the species 
was last observed growing in the wild around 1984 to 1986 on St. Croix. 
In 2003, DPNR stated that the species is believed to be extinct 
(Plaskett 2003, pers. comm.; Dalmida-Smith 2010, pers. comm.). Proctor 
and Acevedo-Rodri[acute]guez (2005, p. 118) provided a general 
description of the species and they state that the species ``now 
appears to be extinct in the wild.'' However, no citations or survey 
information were provided to support this statement. Subsequently, in 
2010, DPNR provided information based on field visits and reported the 
existence of several populations in St. Croix (Dalmida-Smith 2010, 
pers. comm.).

Current Status

    Historically, Agave eggersiana was reported from the north coast in 
Christiansted, St. Croix and along the south coast of the island. The 
current distribution and rarity of the species do not represent the 
historical range. Historically, sugar cane was the main crop on the 
island and dominated the economy for nearly 200 years (Shaw, 1933, p. 
414). Apparently, the former land use of the areas used for sugar cane 
cultivation resulted in degradation of the species' habitat and nearly 
extirpated the species from the wild. Sugarcane is no longer cultivated 
on the island and the majority of the areas formerly used for sugarcane 
plantations are currently grasslands and early secondary forests 
dominated by the exotic tree Leucaena leucocephala (tantan).
    In 2010, the Division of Fish and Wildlife of the DPNR (Dalmida-
Smith 2010, pers. comm.) conducted a local status review to determine 
the extent of the populations of Agave eggersiana in St. Croix. They 
reported five sites where the species was found; however, it is 
uncertain if these populations are natural populations (individuals 
that come from wild populations) or if the populations consist of 
individuals that escaped from landscaping. The five reported sites are: 
(1) Manchineel/ Ha'penny Beach (Southern St. Croix) with an estimated 
30 individuals, which is approximately half the number of individuals 
that they encountered 2 years before; (2) West side of Vagthus point 
(Southern St. Croix ) with a single individual; (3) Gallows Bay 
(Northern St. Croix) with several plants but no approximate number was 
mentioned; (4) Protestant Cay (Northern St. Croix) with an estimated 30 
individuals, including a number of young plants; and (5) Ruth Island 
(Southern St. Croix) with a single individual that was introduced to 
the cay many years ago. However, the exact year of this introduction is 
unknown.
    In February 2010, Service biologists conducted surveys of Agave 
eggersiana on St. Croix. In their 2010 surveys, Service biologists 
visited seven of the ten currently known populations (Table 1). They 
did not survey the two areas where a single individual has been 
reported (Ruth Island and West Vagthus point) or Buck Island Reef 
National Monument, where individuals have been planted and recent 
survey information exists. Based on their characteristics (growing 
mixed with native vegetation, evidence of natural recruitment and the 
presence of

[[Page 57722]]

different size classes), these surveys indicate that the species 
currently occurs in six areas that appear to be remnants of wild 
populations. Four localities (Buck Island Reef National Monument, Salt 
River Bay, Ruth Island, and Lagoon Picnic Area) contain individuals 
that were planted in recent years.

                     Table 1. Currently known populations of Agave eggersiana on St. Croix.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                Estimated  of
              Locality                        Category            Adult  Individuals      Source of Information
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Manchineel / Ha'penny Beach           Wild                                       25-30   Dalmida-Smith 2010,
                                                                                          pers. comm.; Monsegur
                                                                                          and Vargas 2010,
                                                                                          unpublished data
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
West Vagthus point                    Wild                                           1   Dalmida-Smith 2010.
                                                                                          pers. comm.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gallows Bay                           Wild                                         2-3   David Hamada. 2010,
                                                                                          pers. comm.; Monsegur
                                                                                          and Vargas 2010,
                                                                                          unpublished data.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Protestant Cay                        Wild                          30-51 + 60 bulbils   Dalmida-Smith 2010,
                                                                                          pers. comm.; Monsegur
                                                                                          and Vargas 2010,
                                                                                          unpublished data
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ruth Island                           Introduced*                                    1   Dalmida-Smith 2010,
                                                                                          pers. comm.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Great Pond                            Wild                             76 + 50 bulbils   Monsegur and Vargas
                                                                                          2010, unpublished
                                                                                          data; Plaskett 2003.
                                                                                          pers. comm.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
South Shore                           Wild                           100 + 150 bulbils   Monsegur and Vargas
                                                                                          2010, unpublished
                                                                                          data.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Salt River Bay                        Introduced**                                   6   Monsegur and Vargas
                                                                                          2010, unpublished
                                                                                          data.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Buck Island National Monument         Introduced*                                    5   Monsegur and Vargas
                                                                                          2010, unpublished
                                                                                          data.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lagoon Picnic Area                    Landscape                                    177   Monsegur and Vargas
                                                                                          2010, unpublished
                                                                                          data.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Total                                                         450 +260 bulbils   .......................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Introduced by DPNR for conservation.
** Introduced by NPS for education and outreach.

    The eight localities containing multiple Agave eggersiana plants 
are described as follows:
    (1) Gallows Bay (private property) has several individuals that are 
considered by local experts as a remnant of a natural population (David 
Hamada 2010, pers. comm.). Historical documents and illustrations show 
that Agave eggersiana was common on the landscape of Gallows Bay (David 
Hamada 2010, pers. comm.).
    (2) Protestant Cay (owned by the government but leased to a private 
party), has an estimated population of 51 adult individuals of 
different sizes and about 60 bulbils.
    (3) Ha'penny Beach (private property), has an estimated population 
of 25 individuals of different size classes; one of the plants was 
found flowering during the site visit conducted by the Service in 2010.
    (4) Great Pond (managed by the Department of Housing, Parks and 
Recreation) has a healthy population of A. eggersiana with different 
size plants and evidence of recent flowering events. This population is 
located near Great Pond, an area where it was suspected that 
descendants from wild plants may have existed (Plaskett 2003, pers. 
comm.).
    (5) South Shore (private property), has a population of about 100 
adult individuals and about 150 bulbils, all growing on small terraces 
at a rocky cliff. This population is actively flowering and it was 
noted that some of the bulbils are reaching the sea, suggesting a 
possible dispersal mechanism for the species.
    (6) Salt River Bay National Historic Park and Ecological Preserve 
(SARI) (managed by the National Park Service (NPS)) has six individual 
plants. In 2007, personnel from the NPS planted these individuals at 
Salt River as part of the landscape with the idea of establishing a 
population at the site and for outreach purposes. At the time of the 
survey, five of these plants were producing spikes and were expected to 
produce bulbils within the following months (Monsegur and Vargas, 
USFWS, 2010, unpublished data). Based on information provided by 
personnel from NPS, additional propagation efforts with the species are 
planned in the near future (Lundgreen 2010, pers. comm.).
    (7) Buck Island Reef National Monument (managed by the NPS) has an 
estimated population of five individuals. In 2007, personnel from NPS 
planted these five individuals on the island, but at present time there 
is no information regarding the breeding condition of these plants 
(Lundgreen 2010, pers. comm.).
    (8) Lagoon Picnic Area (a public beach area that seems to be under 
a reforestation effort funded by the Antilitter and Beautification 
Commission) harbors about 177 plants as part of the landscape. The size 
of the individuals in this area ranges from small planted bulbils to a 
few adult individuals ready to flower. Based on the information 
gathered and observations, about 450 adult individuals and 260 bulbils 
are currently known in 10 localities, including 6 populations that are 
considered wild, 3 introduced populations for conservation and public 
education, and 1 landscape population (Table 1). In addition to these 
localities, Monsegur and Vargas (2010, personal observation) documented 
the species presence in private gardens scattered throughout the 
island. We estimate about 90 adult individuals are present in these 
private gardens.
    At the present time, information on ecology, phenology, and 
genetics for Agave eggersiana is lacking. Samples of A. eggersiana from 
individuals in the Gallows Bay area have been collected for genetics 
analysis, but results were not available prior to making this finding 
(Ray 2010, pers. comm.).

[[Page 57723]]

 Current evidence suggests that the wild and cultivated populations 
have minimum genetic variation. Therefore, all A. eggersiana plants 
(cultivated and wild) are included as part of the listable entity in 
this finding; however, we have focused our assessment of threats to the 
wild populations. Although data suggest that cultivated individuals 
could be used as genetic stock to aid in the long-term survival of this 
species, most cultivated populations are groomed to prevent recruitment 
and thus offer minimal conservation contribution. We do not feel that 
cultivated individuals propagated for private or commercial uses aid in 
the conservation or the recovery of the species in the wild.

Summary of Information Pertaining to the Five Factors

    Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533), and implementing regulations 
(50 CFR 424), set forth procedures for adding species to the Federal 
Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Under section 
4(a)(1) of the Act, a species may be determined to be endangered or 
threatened based on any of the following five factors: (A) The present 
or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat 
or range; (B) overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, 
or educational purposes; (C) disease or predation; (D) the inadequacy 
of existing regulatory mechanisms; or (E) other natural or manmade 
factors affecting its continued existence. In making this finding, 
information pertaining to Agave eggersiana, in relation to the five 
factors provided in section 4(a)(1) of the Act is discussed below.
    In considering what factors might constitute threats to a species, 
we must look beyond the exposure of the species to a factor to evaluate 
whether the species may respond to the factor in a way that causes 
actual impacts to the species. If there is exposure to a factor and the 
species responds negatively, the factor may be a threat and we attempt 
to determine how significant a threat it is. The threat is significant 
if it drives, or contributes to, the risk of extinction of the species 
such that the species warrants listing as endangered or threatened as 
those terms are defined in the Act.

Factor A: The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or 
Curtailment of the Species' Habitat or Range

    Of the currently known populations, only three areas are managed 
for conservation (Ruth Island, Salt River Bay, and Buck Island National 
Monument), the remaining populations occur within privately owned lands 
currently threatened by development or areas already developed and 
managed as tourism and residential projects. Based on information 
reported by the University of the Virgin Islands' Conservation Data 
Center (https://cdc.uvi.edu), at least three of the populations 
(Protestant Cay, Gallows Bay, and Ha'penny Beach) lie within areas 
identified by the DPNR as high-density land use areas, which have a 
higher susceptibility to development in the near future. Furthermore, 
Weiss (2010, pers. comm.) identified two proposed development projects 
within suitable habitat for the species (C&R Robin, LLC and Seven Hills 
Beach Resort and Casino). Based on the field assessment conducted by 
Service biologists, the coastal areas that harbor suitable habitat for 
the species are currently subject to urban and tourist development 
(Monsegur and Vargas 2010, personal observation).
    The population at Protestant Cay seems to be affected by the use of 
the area as a deposit for garden debris from a hotel that occupies the 
majority of this small island (Monsegur and Vargas 2010, personal 
observation). Since Agave eggersiana relies on asexual reproduction, 
the species depends on the bulbils becoming established. Covering the 
bulbils with debris may result in subsequent mortality of the bulbils 
and lack of natural recruitment, thus affecting the long-term survival 
of this population. Moreover, individuals located on the edges of the 
population are pruned as part of the gardens' maintenance. This 
practice may result in mortality or mutilation of individuals since the 
species is monopodial (single growth axis). The population at 
Protestant Cay is also threatened by competition with exotic plant 
species. Individuals seem to be stressed due to competition with 
exotics as what little undeveloped habitat is left is rapidly being 
colonized by nonnative species (see Factor E).
    The individuals located at Gallows Bay are within an area currently 
developed as a residential complex with the potential for future 
expansion, which may affect these individuals (Monsegur and Vargas 
2010, personal observation). In addition, this area does not contain 
additional habitat to allow the current population to expand. Remaining 
forested areas surrounding this location are characterized by the 
abundance of exotic species. Areas that could be used by bulbils to 
become established are occupied by the exotic plant Sansevieria 
cilindrica, a species that tends to form a complete cover of the 
understory (see Factor E).
    The areas adjacent to Ha'penny Bay on the south coast of St. Croix 
harbor two of the known natural populations of Agave eggersiana 
(Ha'penny Beach and South Shore). According to personnel from the DPNR 
(Valiulis 2010, pers. comm.) these areas are advertised by realtors as 
areas for tourism and residential development and, as previously 
mentioned, are planned for high-density development. Furthermore, the 
areas along the south coast that have not been developed are used for 
cattle or hay production, minimizing the recovery of native vegetation 
and, therefore, the habitat for A. eggersiana (Monsegur and Vargas 
2010, personal observation). The development of tourist and residential 
projects in these coastal areas may result in the extirpation of some 
populations, or at the least, will reduce the chances of the 
populations to expand or to colonize other areas. This is exacerbated 
by the low potential for natural recruitment due to the small number of 
populations and individuals.
    The population of Great Pond is located between the entrance road 
of the East End Marine Park office and a private property currently for 
sale. The population seems to be healthy based on the presence of 
different size plants and evidence of recent flowering events. It seems 
that there is suitable habitat for the species in the area; however, 
the area near the population is mowed and the access road limits the 
expansion of the population's range. Furthermore, the area adjacent to 
this population is a private property for sale. The possible use of the 
area for residential or tourist development may affect the population; 
owners will likely manage their properties as landscapes, which could 
lead to land clearing, additional mowing, and other maintenance of 
gardens. This could also lead to the introduction of exotics. Moreover, 
the abundance of grassland areas and the dominance of the exotic 
Megathyrsus maximus (guinea grass) in the area make the population 
Agave eggersiana susceptible to human-induced fires (addressed in 
Factor E). These exotic grasses are typically adapted to fire 
conditions.
    Based on the above information, we consider the present or 
threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of the species 
habitat or range as a moderate but imminent threat to wild populations 
of Agave eggersiana. The threats of possible construction developments 
and current management of habitat of the populations may further limit 
species

[[Page 57724]]

propagation and expansion in the foreseeable future.

Factor B: Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes

    Agave eggersiana has been reported as a cultivar since it was 
described as a species in 1913 (Trelease, 1913, p. 28); historically, 
the majority of A. eggersiana found in St. Croix and St. Thomas were 
from landscaped areas (Britton and Wilson 1923, p. 156; Plaskett 2003, 
pers. comm.; Kojis and Boulon 1996, pers. comm.; Proctor and Acevedo-
Rodri[acute]guez 2005, p. 118; Acevedo-Rodri[acute]guez 2005, pers. 
comm.). The species is currently distributed by the St. George 
Botanical Garden for conservation and private landscaping purposes. A. 
eggersiana is a commonly used ornamental species on the island, and 
recent declines in the number of individuals at one population along 
the coast of Ha'penny Bay are thought to be due to collection for 
ornamental purposes (Dalmida-Smith 2010, pers. comm.; Valiulis 2010, 
pers. comm.).
    Based on the above, we consider the overutilization for commercial 
and recreational purposes a moderate to low but imminent threat to wild 
populations of the species. Although captively propagated Agave 
eggersiana are available to residents for use in private gardens, 
collection of wild individuals is a threat to the species, and we 
expect it to continue to be a threat in the foreseeable future.

Factor C: Disease or Predation

    The genus Agave is widely affected by the agave snout weevil 
(Scyphophorus acupunctatus). This weevil has a wide distribution that 
includes the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Jamaica and Hispaniola) (Vaurie 
1971, p. 4). The larvae of this weevil feed on the starchy base of the 
plant, increasing the risk of infestation by pathogens, such as a virus 
or fungus, later resulting in the death of the plant (Vaurie 1971, p. 
4). At this time, there is no information about the occurrence of the 
agave snout weevil within the Puerto Rican Platform or the Lesser 
Antilles where St. Croix is located. A small number of individuals of 
A. eggersiana were observed with scarring along the borders of some 
leaves (Monsegur and Vargas 2010, personal observation). It appears 
that an insect or an arthropod larva may feed on the leaves; however, 
the exact cause and the consequences of the scarring are unknown. 
Nevertheless, this is important and it should be monitored as it might 
be an indicator of a recently arrived pest to St Croix.
    On Mona Island (Puerto Rico), feral pigs are known to uproot 
juveniles and destroy the root system of Agave sisalana, to feed on the 
root system or to use them as a water source (Saliva 1983, 1996, 
personal observation). Since introduced pigs, donkeys, and goats have 
been reported in St. Croix we cannot discard the possible predation of 
A. eggersiana by these feral animals, particularly to young plants 
within the populations. The absence of evidence of predation by these 
species might be the result of the low number of populations of A. 
eggersiana, their isolation, and the proximity of some of these 
populations to human inhabited areas. However, at this time, there is 
no evidence that donkeys, pigs, or goats constitute a specific threat 
to any A. eggersiana populations.
    Since the agave snout weevil has not been reported in St. Croix, we 
do not consider disease as a threat to the species. Although there is 
some evidence that insect or arthropod larvae may feed on the leaves of 
Agave eggersiana, there is no evidence that this is negatively 
impacting the species' ability to grow or reproduce. In addition, we 
have no evidence of grazing on A. eggersiana by introduced donkeys, 
pigs, or goats. Therefore, we do not find disease or predation to be a 
current threat to the species.

Factor D: The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    The Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands currently considers Agave 
eggersiana to be endangered under the Virgin Islands Indigenous and 
Endangered Species Act (V.I. Code, Title 12, Chapter 2), and has 
amended an existing regulation (Bill No. 18-0403) to provide for 
protection of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants by 
prohibiting the take, injury, or possession of indigenous plants. Based 
on the number of individuals currently used for private gardens and 
current landscape practices in private areas, such as pruning and 
mowing of populations, we believe that protection provisions under the 
local regulation are not being appropriately enforced. Rothenberger et 
al. (2008, p. 68) mentioned that the lack of management and enforcement 
capacity continues to be a significant challenge for the USVI since 
enforcement agencies are chronically understaffed and territorial 
resource management offices experience significant staff turnover, 
particularly during administration changes.
    Based on the information above, we consider the inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms as a current threat to the species due 
to a lack of enforcement. Because at least three populations exist in 
areas managed for conservation and public outreach, we consider this 
threat to be moderate to low in magnitude but imminent. We do not 
anticipate any regulatory or enforcement changes that would reduce this 
threat in the foreseeable future.

Factor E: Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting the Continued 
Existence of the Species

    The islands of the Caribbean are frequently affected by hurricanes. 
It has been suggested that hurricanes are responsible for shaping and 
modifying the structure and composition of the vegetation in the 
Caribbean (Van Bloem et al. 2003, p. 137; Van Bloem et al. 2005, p. 
572; Van Bloem et al. 2006, p. 517). As an endemic species to the 
island of St. Croix, Agave eggersiana would be expected to be well 
adapted to tropical storms. However, the low number of individuals 
found on the island and the reproductive biology of the species 
(dependence on asexual reproduction and the plant dying after 
flowering) increases the likelihood of stochastic events such as 
hurricanes extirpating a population. We believe that landslides and 
coastal erosion associated with hurricanes may affect the populations 
located along the coastal areas of St. Croix (Ha'penny Beach, South 
Shore, and Protestant Cay) due to their proximity to cliffs and the 
shoreline.
    Agave eggersiana may be further threatened by climate change, which 
is predicted to increase the frequency and strength of tropical storms 
and can cause severe droughts (Hopkinson et al. 2008, p. 260). The 
cumulative effect of coastal erosion due to severe hurricanes plus the 
habitat modification for urban and tourist development can further 
diminish the availability of suitable habitat and, therefore, limit 
population expansion and colonization of new areas. In addition, the 
possibility of severe droughts may contribute to an increase in the 
quantity and frequency of fires on the island. These cumulative factors 
may reduce the number of individuals and further reduce populations.
    Based on satellite images, there is evidence of human-induced fires 
along the south coast of the island. The vegetation of the Caribbean is 
not adapted to fires since this disturbance does not naturally occur on 
these islands (Brandeis and Woodall 2008, p. 557; Santiago-
Garci[aacute] et al. 2008, p. 608); juvenile plants are especially 
vulnerable to fire damage. This regime of human-induced fires could 
modify the landscape by promoting exotic trees and

[[Page 57725]]

grasses, and by diminishing the seed bank of native species. For 
example the exotic Megathyrsus maximus is well adapted to fires and 
typically colonizes areas that were previously covered by native 
vegetation. Furthermore, the presence of this species increases the 
amount of fuel and, therefore, the intensity of the fire events. Due to 
the abundance of grasses at Great Pond, this Agave eggersiana 
population is particularly threatened by human-induced fires.
    Moreover, the individuals of the populations of Protestant Cay, 
Gallows Bay and Great Pond are surrounded by dense stands of different 
species of Sansevieria, an herb native to Africa. This invasive species 
seems to be occupying the ecological niche adjacent to the known 
populations of Agave eggersiana. Plant invasion can affect the 
environment at three levels; at the genetic level the number of 
individuals of native species can be reduced below the minimum 
necessary for persistence, at the species diversity level the number of 
species present and their distribution can be reduced, and at the 
ecosystem level the functioning of the ecosystem can be changed (Rippey 
et al. 2002, p. 170). In this case, invasive species may constrain the 
number of A. eggersiana reducing variability in the population. 
Consequently, the loss of diversity of the species may eliminate A. 
eggersiana in the area affecting other organisms (e.g., insects and 
birds feeding on the flowers).
    Based on the above information and due to the reduced number of 
populations and individuals, we believe that the species is currently 
threatened by natural or manmade factors such as hurricanes, fires, and 
competition from exotic species. Climate change may exacerbate these 
habitat threats by increasing the frequency of fires, droughts, and 
hurricanes. We consider these threats to be moderate and imminent. We 
do not anticipate any changes that would appreciably reduce this threat 
in the foreseeable future.

Finding

    As required by the Act, we conducted a review of the status of the 
species and considered the five factors in assessing whether Agave 
eggersiana is threatened or endangered throughout all or a significant 
portion of its range. We examined the best scientific and commercial 
information available regarding the past, present, and future threats 
faced by the species. We reviewed the petition, information available 
in our files, other available published and unpublished information, 
consulted with species and habitat experts and other Federal and State 
agencies, and conducted field work on the island of St. Croix.
    This status review identified threats to the species attributable 
to Factors A, B, D, and E. Of the currently known populations, only 
three populations are located in areas managed for conservation and 
public outreach (Ruth Island, Salt River Bay, and Buck Island National 
Monument). The remaining populations, containing about 97 percent of 
the currently known adult individuals, are located in areas either 
threatened by development pressure, or are currently affected by 
landscape practices and competition with exotic species, resulting in 
detrimental effects to reproduction and recruitment (see Factors A and 
E). Furthermore, the use of the Agave eggersiana as an ornamental 
species is common on the island, and evidence suggests that wild 
specimens are being collected due to the commercial interest in this 
species (Factor B). Although the species is currently listed under 
local regulations, lack of enforcement of local law does not provide 
adequate protection to ameliorate threats to the species.
    On the basis of the best scientific and commercial information 
available and our analysis of the current and foreseeable threats to 
the species and its habitat, we find that listing Agave eggersiana 
(including wild and cultivated populations), is warranted. We will make 
a determination on the status of the species as threatened or 
endangered when we do a proposed listing determination. However, as 
explained in more detail below, an immediate proposal of a regulation 
implementing this action is precluded by higher priority listing 
actions, and progress is being made to add or remove qualified species 
from the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants.
    We reviewed the available information to determine if the existing 
and foreseeable threats render the species at risk of extinction now 
such that issuing an emergency regulation temporarily listing the 
species as per section 4(b)(7) of the Act is warranted. We determined 
that issuing an emergency regulation temporarily listing the species is 
not warranted for this species at this time since approximately 450 
individuals are known to occur in 10 localities (Table 1). However, if 
at any time we determine that issuing an emergency regulation 
temporarily listing the species is necessary, we will initiate this 
action at that time.

Listing Priority Number

    The Service adopted guidelines on September 21, 1983 (48 FR 43098), 
to establish a rational system for utilizing available resources for 
the highest priority species when adding species to the Lists of 
Endangered or Threatened Wildlife and Plants or reclassifying species 
listed as threatened to endangered status. The system places greatest 
importance on the immediacy and magnitude of threats, but also factors 
in the level of taxonomic distinctiveness by assigning priority in 
descending order to monotypic genera, full species, and subspecies (or 
equivalently, distinct population segments of vertebrates).
    We assigned Agave eggersiana an LPN of 8, based on our finding that 
the species faces moderate to low magnitude threats from the present or 
threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat; 
overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes; the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; 
and other natural or manmade Factors. One or more of the threats 
discussed above are occurring, and we anticipate they will still occur 
in the near future in each known population in St. Croix. These threats 
are ongoing and in some cases considered irreversible.
    Although the species faces threats, as described above, we believe 
these threats to be of moderate to low magnitude; at least 450 adults 
and 260 bulbils are known to occur in 10 populations with half showing 
evidence of recruitment in the wild and 3 located in areas managed for 
conservation and public outreach. Under the 1983 Guidelines, a 
``species'' facing imminent moderate to low magnitude threats is 
assigned an LPN of 7, 8, or 9 depending on its taxonomic status. 
Because A. eggersiana is a species, but not a monotypic genus, we 
assigned it an LPN of 8. While we conclude that listing the species is 
warranted, an immediate proposal to list this species is precluded by 
other higher priority listing actions, which we address below.

Preclusion and Expeditious Progress

    Preclusion is a function of the listing priority of a species in 
relation to the resources that are available and 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 proposed 
listing regulation or whether promulgation of such a proposal is 
warranted but precluded by higher-priority listing actions.

[[Page 57726]]

    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; 90-day and 
12-month 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 
determinations on prior ``warranted but precluded'' 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 litigation-related, administrative, and program-management 
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 peer review 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. For example, during the past 
several years, the cost (excluding publication costs) for preparing a 
12-month finding, without a proposed rule, has ranged from 
approximately $11,000 for one species with a restricted range and 
involving a relatively uncomplicated analysis to $305,000 for another 
species that is wide-ranging and involving a complex analysis.
    We cannot spend more than is appropriated for the Listing Program 
without violating the Anti-Deficiency Act (see 31 U.S.C. Sec.  
1341(a)(1)(A)). In addition, in FY 1998 and for each fiscal year since 
then, Congress has placed a statutory cap on funds that 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 105-163, 105\th\ Congress, 1st Session, July 1, 1997).
    Recognizing that designation of critical habitat for species 
already listed would consume most of the overall Listing Program 
appropriation, Congress also put a critical habitat subcap in place in 
FY 2002 and has retained it each subsequent year 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'' (House Report No. 107 - 
103, 107\th\ 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 court-mandated 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 high-priority 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 actions with statutory deadlines.
    Thus, through the listing cap, the critical habitat subcap, and the 
amount of funds needed to address court-mandated critical habitat 
designations, Congress and the courts have in effect determined the 
amount of money available for other listing activities. Therefore, the 
funds in the listing cap, other than those needed to address court-
mandated critical habitat for already-listed species, set the limits on 
our determinations of preclusion and expeditious progress.
    Congress also recognized that the availability of resources was the 
key element in deciding, when making a 12-month petition finding, 
whether we would prepare and issue a listing proposal or instead make a 
``warranted but precluded'' finding for a given species. The Conference 
Report accompanying Public Law 97-304, which established the current 
statutory deadlines and the warranted-but-precluded finding, states (in 
a discussion on 90-day petition findings that by its own terms also 
covers 12-month findings) that the deadlines 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 lower-
ranking species] unwise.''
    In FY 2010, expeditious progress is that amount of work that can be 
achieved with $10,471,000, which 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). However these funds are not 
enough to fully fund all our court-ordered and statutory listing 
actions in FY 2010, so we are using $1,114,417 of our critical habitat 
subcap funds in order to work on all of our required petition findings 
and listing determinations. This brings the total amount of funds we 
have for listing action in FY 2010 to $11,585,417. Starting in FY 2010, 
we are also using our funds to work on listing actions for foreign 
species since that work was transferred from the Division of Scientific 
Authority, International Affairs Program to the Endangered Species 
Program. Our process is to 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. The $11,585,417 is being used to fund work in 
the following categories: compliance with court orders and court-
approved 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 
litigation-related, administrative, and listing program-management 
functions; and high-priority listing actions for some of our candidate 
species. The allocations for each specific listing action are 
identified in the Service's FY 2010 Allocation Table (part of our 
administrative record).
    In FY 2007, we had more than 120 species with an LPN of 2, based on 
our September 21, 1983, 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 
(high vs. 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

[[Page 57727]]

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).
    To be more efficient in our listing process, as we work on proposed 
rules for these species in the next several years, we are preparing 
multi-species proposals when appropriate, and these may include species 
with lower priority if they overlap geographically or have the same 
threats as a species with an LPN of 2. In addition, available staff 
resources are also a factor in determining which high-priority species 
are provided with funding. Finally, proposed rules for reclassification 
of threatened species to endangered are lower priority, since as listed 
species, they are already afforded the protection of the Act and 
implementing regulations.
    Given the above-mentioned funding constraints, the Service's 
priority is to work on: (1) listing determinations for listing actions 
with absolute statutory, court-ordered, or court-approved deadlines, 
and final listing determinations for those species that have been 
proposed for listing; and (2) candidate species and reclassifications 
of other higher priority threatened species (i.e., species with LPN of 
1). This work includes all the actions listed in the tables below under 
expeditious progress.
    As explained above, a determination that listing is warranted but 
precluded must also demonstrate that expeditious progress is being made 
to add or remove qualified species to and from the Lists of Endangered 
and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. (Although we do not discuss it in 
detail here, we are also making expeditious progress in removing 
species from the list under the Recovery program, which is funded by a 
separate line item in the budget of the Endangered Species Program. As 
explained above in our description of the statutory cap on Listing 
Program funds, the Recovery Program funds and actions supported by them 
cannot be considered in determining expeditious progress made in the 
Listing Program.) As with our ``precluded'' finding, expeditious 
progress in adding qualified species to the Lists is a function of the 
resources available and the competing demands for those funds. Given 
that limitation, we find that we made progress in FY 2009 in the 
Listing Program and will continue to make progress in FY 2010. This 
progress included preparing and publishing the following 
determinations:

                                        FY 2010 Completed Listing Actions
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
         Publication Date                      Title                     Actions                FR Pages
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
10/08/2009                         Listing Lepidium papilliferum  Final Listing               74 FR 52013-52064
                                    (Slickspot Peppergrass) as a  Threatened..........
                                    Threatened Species
                                    Throughout Its Range
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
10/27/2009                         90-day Finding on a Petition   Notice of 90-day            74 FR 55177-55180
                                    To List the American Dipper   Petition Finding,...
                                    in the Black Hills of South   Not substantial.....
                                    Dakota as Threatened or
                                    Endangered
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
10/28/2009                         Status Review of Arctic        Notice of Intent to         74 FR 55524-55525
                                    Grayling (Thymallus           Conduct Status......
                                    arcticus) in the Upper        Review..............
                                    Missouri River System
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
11/03/2009                         Listing the British Columbia   Proposed Listing            74 FR 56757-56770
                                    Distinct Population Segment   Threatened..........
                                    of the Queen Charlotte
                                    Goshawk Under the Endangered
                                    Species Act
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
11/03/2009                         Listing the Salmon-Crested     Proposed Listing            74 FR 56770-56791
                                    Cockatoo as Threatened         Threatened
                                    Throughout Its Range with
                                    Special Rule
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
11/23/2009                         Status Review of Gunnison      Notice of Intent to         74 FR 61100-61102
                                    sage-grouse (Centrocercus      Conduct Status
                                    minimus)                      Review..............
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
12/03/2009                         12-Month Finding on a          Notice of 12-month          74 FR 63343-63366
                                    Petition to List the Black-    petition finding,
                                    tailed Prairie Dog as          Not warranted
                                    Threatened or Endangered
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
12/03/2009                         90-Day Finding on a Petition   Notice of 90-day            74 FR 63337-63343
                                    to List Sprague's Pipit as    Petition Finding,...
                                   Threatened or Endangered.....  Substantial.........
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
12/15/2009                         90-Day Finding on Petitions    Notice of 90-day            74 FR 66260-66271
                                    To List Nine Species of       Petition Finding,...
                                    Mussels From Texas as         Substantial.........
                                    Threatened or Endangered
                                    With Critical Habitat
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
12/16/2009                         Partial 90-Day Finding on a    Notice of 90-day            74 FR 66865-66905
                                    Petition to List 475 Species  Petition Finding,...
                                    in the Southwestern United    Not substantial and.
                                    States as Threatened or       Substantial.........
                                    Endangered With Critical
                                    Habitat
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
12/17/2009                         12-month Finding on a          Notice of 12-month          74 FR 66937-66950
                                    Petition To Change the Final   petition finding,
                                    Listing of the Distinct        Warranted but
                                    Population Segment of the     precluded...........
                                    Canada Lynx To Include New
                                    Mexico
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1/05/2010                          Listing Foreign Bird Species   Proposed Listing                75 FR 605-649
                                    in Peru and Bolivia as        Endangered..........
                                    Endangered Throughout Their
                                    Range
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1/05/2010                          Listing Six Foreign Birds as   Proposed Listing                75 FR 286-310
                                    Endangered Throughout Their   Endangered..........
                                    Range
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1/05/2010                          Withdrawal of Proposed Rule    Proposed rule,                  75 FR 310-316
                                    to List Cook's Petrel         withdrawal..........
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1/05/2010                          Final Rule to List the         Final Listing                   75 FR 235-250
                                    Galapagos Petrel and          Threatened..........
                                    Heinroth's Shearwater as
                                    Threatened Throughout Their
                                    Ranges
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1/20/2010                          Initiation of Status Review    Notice of Intent to           75 FR 3190-3191
                                    for Agave eggersiana and       Conduct Status
                                    Solanum conocarpum            Review..............
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2/09/2010                          12-month Finding on a          Notice of 12-month            75 FR 6437-6471
                                   Petition to List the American   petition finding,
                                    Pika as Threatened or          Not warranted
                                    Endangered.
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2/25/2010                          12-Month Finding on a          Notice of 12-month            75 FR 8601-8621
                                    Petition To List the Sonoran   petition finding,
                                    Desert                         Not warranted
                                   Population of the Bald Eagle
                                    as a Threatened or
                                    Endangered.
                                   Distinct Population Segment..
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2/25/2010                          Withdrawal of Proposed Rule    Withdrawal of                 75 FR 8621-8644
                                    To List the Southwestern      Proposed Rule to....
                                   Washington/Columbia River      List................
                                    Distinct Population Segment
                                    of Coastal Cutthroat Trout
                                    (Oncorhynchus clarki clarki)
                                    as.
                                   Threatened...................
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3/18/2010                          90-Day Finding on a Petition   Notice of 90-day            75 FR 13068-13071
                                    to List the Berry Cave        Petition Finding,...
                                    Salamander as Endangered      Substantial.........
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3/23/2010                          90-Day Finding on a Petition   Notice of 90-day            75 FR 13717-13720
                                    to List the Southern          Petition Finding,...
                                    Hickorynut                    Not substantial.....
                                   Mussel (Obovaria jacksoniana)
                                    as Endangered or Threatened.
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3/23/2010                          90-Day Finding on a Petition   Notice of 90-day            75 FR 13720-13726
                                    to List the Striped Newt as   Petition Finding,...
                                   Threatened...................  Substantial.........
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3/23/2010                          12-Month Findings for          Notice of 12-month          75 FR 13910-14014
                                    Petitions to List the          petition finding,
                                    Greater Sage-Grouse           Warranted but.......
                                    (Centrocercus urophasianus)   precluded...........
                                   as Threatened or Endangered..
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3/31/2010                          12-Month Finding on a          Notice of 12-month          75 FR 16050-16065
                                    Petition to List the Tucson    petition finding,
                                    Shovel-Nosed Snake            Warranted but.......
                                    (Chionactis occipitalis       precluded...........