Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for Consolea corallicola (Florida Semaphore Cactus) and Harrisia aboriginum (Aboriginal Prickly-Apple), 3315-3378 [2015-00344]

Download as PDF Vol. 80 Thursday, No. 14 January 22, 2015 Part II Department of the Interior tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for Consolea corallicola (Florida Semaphore Cactus) and Harrisia aboriginum (Aboriginal Prickly-Apple); Proposed Rule VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4717 Sfmt 4717 E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 3316 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17 [Docket No. FWS–R4–ES–2014–0057: 4500030113] RIN 1018–AZ92 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for Consolea corallicola (Florida Semaphore Cactus) and Harrisia aboriginum (Aboriginal Prickly-Apple) Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, propose to designate critical habitat for Consolea corallicola (Florida semaphore cactus) and Harrisia aboriginum (aboriginal prickly-apple) under the Endangered Species Act (Act). In total, approximately 4,411 acres (1,785 hectares) for Consolea corallicola in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, Florida; and 3,444 acres (1,394 hectares) for Harrisia aboriginum in Manatee, Charlotte, Sarasota, and Lee Counties, Florida, fall within the boundaries of the proposed critical habitat designations. We also announce the availability of a draft economic analysis of the proposed designation for these species. SUMMARY: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before March 23, 2015. Comments submitted electronically using the Federal eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES below) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date. We must receive requests for public hearings, in writing, at the address shown in ADDRESSES by March 9, 2015. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods: (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. In the Keyword box, enter FWS–R4–ES–2014–0057, which is the docket number for this rulemaking. Then, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, click on the Proposed Rules link to locate this document. You may submit a comment by clicking on ‘‘Comment Now!’’ (2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R4–ES–2014– 0057; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 DATES: VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 We request that you send comments only by the methods described above. We will post all comments on http:// www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see Information Requested below for more information). The coordinates, plot points, or both from which the maps are generated are included in the administrative record for this critical habitat designation and are available at http://www.fws.gov/ verobeach/, at http:// www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS–R4–ES–2014–0057, and at the South Florida Ecological Services Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Any additional tools or supporting information that we may develop for this critical habitat designation will also be available at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Web site and Field Office set out above, and may also be included in the preamble and/or at http://www.regulations.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Acting Field Supervisor Roxanna Hinzman, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, South Florida Ecological Services Office, 1339 20th Street, Vero Beach, FL 32960; by telephone 772– 562–3909; or by facsimile 772–562– 4288. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Executive Summary Why we need to publish a rule. Under the Endangered Species Act (Act), when we determine that any species is threatened or endangered, we must designate critical habitat, to the maximum extent prudent and determinable. Designations and revisions of critical habitat can only be completed by issuing a rule. We listed Consolea corallicola (Florida semaphore cactus) and Harrisia aboriginum (aboriginal prickly-apple) as endangered species under the Act on October 24, 2013 (78 FR 63795). What this rule contains. This rule consists of a proposed rule for designation of critical habitat for two endangered plant species, Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum. The basis for our action. Section 4(b)(2) of the Act states that the Secretary shall designate critical habitat on the basis of the best available scientific data after taking into consideration the economic impact, national security impact, and any other relevant impact of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. The PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Secretary may exclude an area from critical habitat if she determines that the benefits of such exclusion outweigh the benefits of specifying such area as part of the critical habitat, unless she determines, based on the best scientific data available, that the failure to designate such area as critical habitat will result in the extinction of the species. We have prepared an economic analysis of the proposed designations of critical habitat. We are preparing an analysis of the economic impacts of the proposed critical habitat designation and related factors. We hereby announce the availability of the draft economic analysis and seek additional public review and comment. We will seek peer review. We are seeking comments from independent specialists to ensure that our critical habitat designation proposal is based on scientifically sound data and analyses. We have invited these peer reviewers to comment on our specific assumptions and conclusions in this critical habitat proposal. Because we will consider all comments and information received during the comment period, our final determinations may differ from this proposal. Information Requested We intend that any final action resulting from this proposed rule will be based on the best scientific and commercial data available and be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we request comments or information from other concerned government agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested party concerning this proposed rule. We particularly seek comments concerning: (1) The reasons why we should or should not designate habitat as ‘‘critical habitat’’ under section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) including whether there are threats to these species from human activity, the degree of which can be expected to increase due to the designation, and whether that increase in threat outweighs the benefit of designation such that the designation of critical habitat may not be prudent. (2) Specific information on: (a) The amount and distribution of Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum habitat, (b) What may constitute ‘‘physical or biological features essential to the conservation of the species,’’ within the geographical range currently occupied by the species, (c) What areas, that were occupied at the time of listing (or are currently occupied) and that contain features E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules essential to the conservation of the species, should be included in the designation and why, (d) Special management considerations or protections that may be needed in the critical habitat areas we are proposing, including managing for the potential effects of climate change, and (e) What areas not occupied at the time of listing are essential for the conservation of the species and why. (3) Land use designations and current or planned activities in the subject areas and their possible impacts on proposed critical habitat. (4) Information on the projected and reasonably likely impacts of climate change on Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum and proposed critical habitat. (5) Any probable economic, national security, or other relevant impacts of designating any area that may be included in the final designation; in particular, any impacts on small entities or families, and the benefits of including or excluding areas that exhibit these impacts. (6) Information on the extent to which the description of economic impacts in the draft economic analysis is a reasonable estimate of the likely economic impacts. (7) The likelihood of adverse social reactions to the designation of critical habitat, as discussed in the associated documents of the draft economic analysis, and how the consequences of such reactions, if likely to occur, would relate to the conservation and regulatory benefits of the proposed critical habitat designation. (8) Whether any specific areas we are proposing for critical habitat designation should be considered for exclusion under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, and whether the benefits of potentially excluding any specific area outweigh the benefits of including that area under section 4(b)(2) of the Act. (9) Whether we could improve or modify our approach to designating critical habitat in any way to provide for greater public participation and understanding, or to better accommodate public concerns and comments. You may submit your comments and materials concerning this proposed rule by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. We request that you send comments only by the methods described in ADDRESSES. All comments submitted electronically via http:// www.regulations.gov will be presented on the Web site in their entirety as submitted. For comments submitted via VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 hard copy, we will post your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—on http:// www.regulations.gov. You may request at the top of your document that we withhold personal information such as your street address, phone number, or email address from public review; however, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation we used in preparing this proposed rule, will be available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, or by appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, South Florida Ecological Services Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Previous Federal Actions Previous Federal actions for Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum are outlined in our proposed and final rules to list both species as endangered species published in the Federal Register on October 11, 2012 (77 FR 61836), and October 24, 2013 (78 FR 63796), respectively. Summary of Biological Status for Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum It is our intent to discuss below only those topics directly relevant to the designation of critical habitat for Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum in this section of the proposed rule. For more information on C. corallicola and H. aboriginum taxonomy, life history, habitat, population descriptions, and factors affecting the species, please refer to the proposed listing rule published October 11, 2012 (77 FR 61836), in the Federal Register, and the final listing rule published October 24, 2013 (78 FR 63796), in the Federal Register. Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum (Family: Cactaceae) are large tree- or shrub-like cacti and are endemic to South Florida. C. corallicola occurs in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties in coastal berms, rockland hammocks, and buttonwood forests on sandy or limestone rockland soils with little organic matter. H. aboriginum occurs in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, and Lee Counties on coastal berms, coastal strand, coastal grasslands, and maritime hammocks, with a sand substrate. It also occurs on shell mounds with a calcareous shell substrate. Habitat Consolea corallicola occurs in rockland hammocks (Small 1930, pp. 25–26; Benson 1982, p. 531), coastal PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 3317 berm, and buttonwood forests (Bradley and Gann 1999, p. 77; Gann et al. 2002, p. 480; Higgins 2007, pers. comm.). Consolea corallicola occurs on sandy soils and limestone rockland soils with little organic matter (Small 1930, pp. 25–26) and seems to prefer areas where canopy cover and sun exposure are moderate (Grahl and Bradley 2005, p. 4). Detailed descriptions of these habitats are presented in the proposed listing rule for Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum (October 11, 2012; 77 FR 61836), with a revised description of buttonwood forests provided in the final listing rule for these plants (October 24, 2013; 78 FR 63796). Harrisia aboriginum occurs on coastal berms, coastal strand, coastal grasslands and maritime hammocks, with a sand substrate. It also occurs on shell mounds with a calcareous shell substrate (Bradley et al. 2004, pp. 4, 14). Detailed descriptions of these habitats are presented in the proposed listing rule for Chromolaena frustrata, Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum (October 11, 2012; 77 FR 61836). Distribution and Range The current range of Consolea corallicola includes two naturally occurring populations and five reintroduced populations in MiamiDade and Monroe Counties, Florida. These populations account for fewer than 1,500 plants, and all are located on conservation lands. Wild populations, on Key Largo and Big Pine Key in the Florida Keys, were lost more than a decade ago by development and collecting by cactus enthusiasts. C. corallicola has subsequently been reintroduced to Key Largo and Big Pine Key. The current range of Harrisia aboriginum includes 12 populations in Charlotte, Sarasota, and Lee Counties, Florida. Plants occur in eight public and private conservation areas, as well as two County parcels not managed for conservation and at least three unprotected private parcels. In total, the species was represented by an estimated 300 to 500 individuals in 2007, when population sizes were last estimated. Populations formerly known from Terra Ceia in Manatee County and Cayo Costa Island in Lee County are extirpated (no longer in existence). A large population on Longboat Key has been reduced from 226 individuals in 1981 to 5 in 2007 due to development. Although Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum populations occur largely within public conservation lands, threats remain from a wide array of natural and anthropogenic sources. E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 3318 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules Habitat loss, storm surge, poaching, disease, predation, and climate change are the imminent threats to these cacti (78 FR 63796). Critical Habitat tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Background Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the Act as: (1) The specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the species, at the time it is listed in accordance with the Act, on which are found those physical or biological features: (a) Essential to the conservation of the species, and (b) Which may require special management considerations or protection; and (2) Specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the species at the time it is listed, upon a determination that such areas are essential for the conservation of the species. Conservation, as defined under section 3 of the Act, means to use and the use of all methods and procedures that are necessary to bring an endangered or threatened species to the point at which the measures provided pursuant to the Act are no longer necessary. Such methods and procedures include, but are not limited to, all activities associated with scientific resources management such as research, census, law enforcement, habitat acquisition and maintenance, propagation, live trapping, and transplantation, and, in the extraordinary case where population pressures within a given ecosystem cannot be otherwise relieved, may include regulated taking. Critical habitat receives protection under section 7 of the Act through the requirement that Federal agencies ensure, in consultation with the Service, that any action they authorize, fund, or carry out is not likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. The designation of critical habitat does not affect land ownership or establish a refuge, wilderness, reserve, preserve, or other conservation area. Such designation does not allow the government or public to access private lands. Such designation does not require implementation of restoration, recovery, or enhancement measures by nonFederal landowners. Where a landowner requests Federal agency funding or authorization for an action that may affect a listed species or critical habitat, the consultation requirements of section 7(a)(2) of the Act would apply, but even VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 in the event of a destruction or adverse modification finding, the obligation of the Federal action agency and the landowner is not to restore or recover the species, but to implement reasonable and prudent alternatives to avoid destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. Under the first prong of the Act’s definition of critical habitat, areas within the geographical area occupied by the species at the time it was listed are included in a critical habitat designation if they contain physical or biological features (1) which are essential to the conservation of the species and (2) which may require special management considerations or protection. For these areas, critical habitat designations identify, to the extent known using the best scientific and commercial data available, those physical or biological features that are essential to the conservation of the species (such as space, food, cover, and protected habitat). In identifying those physical or biological features within an area, we focus on the principal biological or physical constituent elements (primary constituent elements such as roost sites, nesting grounds, seasonal wetlands, water quality, tide, soil type) that are essential to the conservation of the species. Primary constituent elements are those specific elements of the physical or biological features that provide for a species’ lifehistory processes and are essential to the conservation of the species. Under the second prong of the Act’s definition of critical habitat, we may designate critical habitat in areas outside the geographical area occupied by the species at the time it is listed, upon a determination that such areas are essential for the conservation of the species. For example, an area currently occupied by the species but that was not occupied at the time of listing may be essential for the conservation of the species and may be included in the critical habitat designation. We designate critical habitat in areas outside the geographical area occupied by a species only when a designation limited to its range would be inadequate to ensure the conservation of the species. Section 4 of the Act requires that we designate critical habitat on the basis of the best scientific data available. Further, our Policy on Information Standards Under the Endangered Species Act (published in the Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34271)), the Information Quality Act (section 515 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Pub. L. 106–554; H.R. PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 5658)), and our associated Information Quality Guidelines, provide criteria, establish procedures, and provide guidance to ensure that our decisions are based on the best scientific data available. They require our biologists, to the extent consistent with the Act and with the use of the best scientific data available, to use primary and original sources of information as the basis for recommendations to designate critical habitat. When we are determining which areas should be designated as critical habitat, our primary source of information is generally the information developed during the listing process for the species. Additional information sources may include, but are not limited to, the recovery plan for the species, articles in peer-reviewed journals, conservation plans developed by States and counties, scientific status surveys and studies, biological assessments, other unpublished materials, or experts’ opinions or personal knowledge. Habitat is dynamic, and species may move from one area to another over time. We recognize that critical habitat designated at a particular point in time may not include all of the habitat areas that we may later determine are necessary for the recovery of the species. For these reasons, a critical habitat designation does not signal that habitat outside the designated area is unimportant or may not be needed for recovery of the species. Areas that are important to the conservation of the species, both inside and outside the critical habitat designation, will continue to be subject to: (1) Conservation actions implemented under section 7(a)(1) of the Act, (2) regulatory protections afforded by the requirement in section 7(a)(2) of the Act for Federal agencies to ensure their actions are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species, and (3) section 9 of the Act’s prohibitions on taking any individual of the species, including taking caused by actions that affect habitat. Federally funded or permitted projects affecting listed species outside their designated critical habitat areas may still result in jeopardy findings in some cases. These protections and conservation tools will continue to contribute to recovery of Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum. Similarly, critical habitat designations made on the basis of the best available information at the time of designation will not control the direction and substance of future recovery plans, habitat conservation plans (HCPs), or other species conservation planning efforts if new information available at E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 the time of these planning efforts calls for a different outcome. Prudency Determination for Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum Section 4(a)(3) of the Act, as amended, and implementing regulations (50 CFR 424.12), require that, to the maximum extent prudent and determinable, the Secretary shall designate critical habitat at the time the species is determined to be an endangered or threatened species. Our regulations (50 CFR 424.12(a)(1)) state that the designation of critical habitat is not prudent when one or both of the following situations exist: (1) The species is threatened by taking or other human activity, and identification of critical habitat can be expected to increase the degree of threat to the species, or (2) Such designation of critical habitat would not be beneficial to the species. In the proposed rule to list Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum (77 FR 61836), we found critical habitat to be not prudent because of the potential for an increase in poaching. Rare cacti are valuable to collectors and there remains an imminent threat of collection (poaching) for C. corallicola and H. aboriginum. There is evidence that the designation of critical habitat could result in an increased threat from taking, specifically collection, for both cacti, through publication of maps and a narrative description of specific critical habitat units in the rule. However, based on public comment in response to the proposed listing rule, we have determined that information on locations of extant C. corallicola and H. aboriginum populations is already widely available in the public domain such as scientific journals, online databases, and documents the Service has previously published in the Federal Register. Therefore, we have determined that identification and mapping of critical habitat is not expected to initiate any threat of collection or significantly increase existing collection pressure. In the absence of finding that the designation of critical habitat would increase threats to a species, if there are any benefits to a critical habitat designation, then a prudent finding is warranted. Here, the potential benefits of designation include: (1) Triggering consultation under section 7 of the Act in new areas for actions in which there may be a Federal nexus where it would not otherwise occur because, for example, the area is or has become unoccupied or the occupancy is in question; (2) Focusing conservation activities on the most essential features and areas; VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 (3) Providing educational benefits to State or county governments or private entities; and (4) Preventing people from causing inadvertent harm to the species. Therefore, we have reevaluated our prudency determination for both cacti and have determined that the designation of critical habitat will not likely increase the degree of threat to either species and may provide some measure of benefit. Accordingly, we determine that designation of critical habitat is prudent for both species. Critical Habitat Determinability Having determined that designation of critical habitat is prudent for both species, under section 4(a)(3) of the Act we must find whether critical habitat for Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum is determinable. Our regulations at 50 CFR 424.12(a)(2) state that critical habitat is not determinable when one or both of the following situations exist: (i) Information sufficient to perform required analyses of the impacts of the designation is lacking; or (ii) The biological needs of the species are not sufficiently well known to permit identification of an area as critical habitat. We reviewed the available information pertaining to the biological needs of the species and habitat characteristics where these species are located. This and other information represent the best scientific data available. Based on our review of this information, we conclude that critical habitat is determinable for Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum. Physical or Biological Features In accordance with sections 3(5)(A)(i) and 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act and regulations at 50 CFR 424.12(b), in determining which areas within the geographical area occupied by the species at the time of listing may be designated as critical habitat, we consider the physical or biological features that are essential to the conservation of the species and which may require special management considerations or protection. These include, but are not limited to: (1) Space for individual and population growth and for normal behavior; (2) Food, water, air, light, minerals, or other nutritional or physiological requirements; (3) Cover or shelter; (4) Sites for breeding, reproduction, or rearing (or development) of offspring; and (5) Habitats that are protected from disturbance or are representative of the PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 3319 historical geographic and ecological distributions of a species. We derive the specific physical or biological features essential to Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum from studies of the species’ habitat, ecology, and life history as described below. Additional information on these cacti can be found in the proposed and final listing rules published on October 11, 2012 (77 FR 61836), and October 24, 2013 (78 FR 63796), respectively, in the Federal Register. We have determined that the following physical or biological features are essential to the conservation of Consolea corallicola. Consolea corallicola Space for Individual and Population Growth and for Normal Behavior Plant Community and Competitive Ability. Consolea corallicola occurs in communities classified as coastal berm, buttonwood forests, and rockland hammocks restricted to the Florida Keys. These communities and their associated native plant species are described in the Status Assessment for Consolea corallicola in the proposed listing rule published on October 11, 2012 (77 FR 61836), and in the final listing rule published on October 24, 2013 (78 FR 63796), in the Federal Register. These habitats and their associated plant communities provide vegetation structure that allows for adequate growing space, sunlight, and a competitive regime that is required for C. corallicola to persist and spread. Therefore, based on the information above, we identify upland habitats consisting of coastal berm, rockland hammock, and buttonwood forest to be a physical or biological feature for C. corallicola. Food, Water, Air, Light, Minerals, or Other Nutritional or Physiological Requirements Climate (temperature and precipitation). Consolea corallicola requires adequate rainfall and does not tolerate prolonged freezing temperatures. The climate of south Florida where C. corallicola occurs is characterized by distinct wet and dry seasons, a monthly mean temperature above 18 °C (64.4 °F) in every month of the year, and annual rainfall averaging 75 to 150 cm (30 to 60 inches (in)) (Gabler et al. 1994, p. 211). Freezes can occur in the winter months, but are very infrequent at this latitude in Florida. Therefore, based on the information above, we determined this type of climate to be a physical or biological feature for C. corallicola. E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 3320 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Soils. Substrates supporting Consolea corallicola include loose sediment formed by a mixture of coarse sand, shell fragments, pieces of coralline algae, and other coastal debris, exposed bare limestone rock or with a thin layer of leaf litter or highly organic soil (Bradley and Gann 1999, p. 37; Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI) 2010a,b, and c, p. 1; FNAI 2010d,e, p. 2). These substrates provide anchoring spots, nutrients, moisture regime, and suitable soil chemistry for C corallicola; and facilitate a community of associated plant species that create a competitive regime that allows C. corallicola to persist and spread. Therefore, based on the information above, we identify substrates derived from calcareous sand or limestone that provide anchoring and nutritional requirements to be a physical or biological feature for C. corallicola. Hydrology. The species requires coastal berms and buttonwood forests that occur at an elevation higher than the daily tidal range, but are subject to flooding by seawater during extreme tides and storm surge (FNAI 2010b, p. 2; FNAI 2010c, p. 2). This flooding helps to limit the variety of plants that may grow in these habitats and compete with Consolea corallicola. Rockland hammocks occur on high ground that does not regularly flood, but this habitat is often dependent upon a high water table to keep humidity levels high, and may be inundated during storm surges (FNAI 2010e, p. 2). Therefore, based on the information above, we identify rockland hammock habitat with groundwater levels needed to maintain humidity and buttonwood and coastal berm habitat inundated by storm surge or tidal events at a frequency and duration needed to limit plant species competition while not creating overly saline conditions to be a physical or biological feature for C. corallicola. Cover or Shelter Consolea corallicola occurs in open canopy and semi-open to closed canopy habitats. The spatial and temporal distribution of open canopy areas varies by habitat type and time since the last disturbance, such as a hurricane, caused canopy openings. In rockland hammocks, suitable sites will often be found near the hammock edge or where there are openings in the forest canopy. More open communities (e.g., coastal berm and buttonwood forests) provide more abundant and temporally consistent suitable habitat than communities capable of establishing a dense canopy (e.g., hardwood hammocks). Therefore, based on the information above, we identify habitats VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 that have a vegetation composition and structure that allows for adequate sunlight and space for individual growth and population expansion to be a physical or biological feature for C. corallicola. Sites for Breeding, Reproduction, or Rearing (or Development) of Offspring The habitats identified above as physical or biological features also provide a plant community with associated plant species that foster a competitive regime suitable to Consolea corallicola and contain adequate open space for the recruitment of new plants. Associated plant species in these habitats attract and provide cover for generalist pollinators (e.g., bees, butterflies, and beetles) that pollinate C. corallicola. Habitats Protected From Disturbance or Representative of the Historical, Geographic, and Ecological Distributions of the Species Consolea corallicola continues to occur in habitats that are protected from human-generated disturbances and are representative of the species’ historical, geographical, and ecological distribution although its range has been reduced. The species is still found in coastal berm, buttonwood forest, and rockland hammocks. As described above, these habitats provide a community of associated plant and animal species that are compatible with C. corallicola, vegetation structure that provides adequate sunlight levels and open space for plant growth and regeneration, and substrates with adequate moisture availability and suitable soil chemistry. Representative communities are located on Federal, State, local, and private conservation lands that implement conservation measures benefitting the species. Therefore, based on the information above, we identify habitat of sufficient size and connectivity that can support species growth, distribution, and population expansion to be physical or biological features for C. corallicola. Disturbance Regime. Coastal berm, buttonwood forest, and rockland hammock habitats that could or currently support Consolea corallicola depend on natural disturbance regimes from hurricanes or tidal inundation to open the canopy in order to provide light levels sufficient to support the species. The historical frequency and magnitude of hurricanes and tidal inundation has allowed for the persistence of C. corallicola by occasionally creating areas of open canopy. In the absence of disturbance, some of these habitats may have closed PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 canopies, resulting in areas lacking enough available sunlight to support C. corallicola. However, too frequent or severe disturbance that transitions the habitat toward more saline conditions could result in the decline of the species in the area. Therefore, based on the information above, we identify habitats that have disturbance regimes, including hurricanes, and infrequent inundation events that maintain habitat suitability to be physical or biological features for C. corallicola. Primary Constituent Elements for Consolea corallicola According to 50 CFR 424.12(b), we are required to identify the physical or biological features essential to the conservation of Consolea corallicola in areas occupied at the time of listing, focusing on the features’ primary constituent elements. We consider primary constituent elements to be those specific elements of the physical or biological features that provide for a species’ life-history processes and are essential to the conservation of the species. Based on our current knowledge of the physical or biological features and habitat characteristics required to sustain the species’ life-history processes, we determine that the primary constituent elements specific to Consolea corallicola are: (i) Areas of upland habitats consisting of coastal berm, rockland hammocks, and buttonwood forest. (A) Coastal berm habitat that contains: (1) Open to semi-open canopy, subcanopy, and understory; and (2) Substrate of coarse, calcareous, and storm-deposited sediment. (B) Rockland hammock habitat that contains: (1) Canopy gaps and edges with an open to semi-open canopy, subcanopy, and understory; and (2) Substrate with a thin layer of highly organic soil covering limestone or organic matter that accumulates on top of the limestone. (C) Buttonwood forest habitat that contains: (1) Open to semi-open canopy and understory; and (2) Substrate with calcareous marl muds, calcareous sands, or limestone rock. (ii) A plant community of predominately native vegetation with no invasive, nonnative animal or plant species or such species in quantities low enough to have minimal effect on survival of Consolea corallicola. (iii) A disturbance regime, due to the effects of strong winds or saltwater inundation from storm surge or E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules infrequent tidal inundation, that creates canopy openings in coastal berm, rockland hammocks, and buttonwood forest. (iv) Habitats that are connected and of sufficient size to sustain viable populations in coastal berm, rockland hammocks, and buttonwood forest. (v) Habitats that provide populations of the generalist pollinators that visit the flowers of Consolea corallicola. management actions within each of the critical habitat areas identified in this proposed rule. All proposed critical habitat will need management to address the ongoing threats listed above and those presented in the Summary of Factors Affecting the Species sections in the proposed listing rule published on October 11, 2012 (77 FR 61836), and in the final listing rule published on October 24, 2013 (78 FR 63796). Special Management Considerations or Protection for Consolea corallicola Ongoing Actions To Ameliorate Threats The Service, National Park Service (NPS), State of Florida, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, and several local governments own and manage conservation lands within the range of Consolea corallicola. The Nature Conservancy purchased Torchwood Hammock Preserve on Little Torch Key in 1988, to protect what was at the time the only known remaining population of C. corallicola. The comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) for the Lower Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges (National Key Deer Refuge, Key West National Wildlife Refuge, and Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge) and Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge promote the enhancement of wildlife populations by maintaining and enhancing a diversity and abundance of habitats for native plants and animals, especially imperiled species that are found only in the Florida Keys. This CCP provides specifically for maintaining and expanding populations of C. corallicola. NPS regulations at 36 CFR 2.1 prohibit visitors from harming or removing plants, listed or otherwise, from Everglades National Park (ENP) or Biscayne National Park (BNP). Consolea corallicola is listed on the Regulated Plant Index as endangered under chapter 5B–40, Florida Administrative Code. Florida Statutes 581.185 sections (3)(a) and (b) prohibit any person from willfully destroying or harvesting any species listed as endangered or threatened on the Regulated Plant Index, or growing such a plant on the private land of another, or on any public land, without first obtaining the written permission of the landowner and a permit from the Florida Department of Plant Industry. The Service, NPS, State of Florida, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, and several local governments conduct nonnative species control efforts on sites that support, or have suitable habitat for C. corallicola. The introduced Cactoblastis moth (Cactoblastis cactorum) infests C. corallicola plants and may cause mortality. We consider the moth to be a major threat to the species. Monitoring When designating critical habitat, we assess whether the specific areas within the geographic area occupied by the species at the time of listing contain features which are essential to the conservation of the species and which may require special management considerations or protection. Special management considerations or protection are necessary throughout the critical habitat areas proposed here to avoid further degradation or destruction of the habitat that provides those features essential to the species’ conservation. The primary threats to the physical or biological features that Consolea corallicola depends on include: (1) Habitat destruction and modification by development and sea level rise; (2) Competition with nonnative, invasive plant and animal species; (3) Wildfire; and (4) Hurricanes and storm surge. Some of these threats can be addressed by special management considerations or protection while others (e.g., sea level rise, hurricanes, storm surge) are beyond the control of landowners and managers. However, even when landowners or land managers may not be able to control all the threats, they may be able to address the results of the threats. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Proposed Actions To Ameliorate Threats The following measures or management activities can ameliorate threats to Consolea corallicola: (1) Protecting habitats from residential, commercial, or recreational facility development; (2) Avoiding ditching or filling that may alter hydrological conditions; (3) Nonnative plant and animal species control programs to reduce competition, predation, and prevent habitat degradation; and (4) Hardwood reduction to maintain the open vegetation structure of the species habitats. The reduction of these threats will require the implementation of special VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 3321 for Cactoblastis moth infestations, and hand removal efforts of the moth larvae and eggs are conducted at BNP and Torchwood Hammock Preserve in an effort to protect C. corallicola. No satisfactory method of large-scale control for the Cactoblastis moth is known at this time. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service’s Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology in Tallahassee, Florida, is developing containment methods to control the spread of the Cactoblastis moth (USDA 2006, p. 9). Reintroductions of Consolea corallicola have been implemented at several locations on State and Federal lands in the Florida Keys over the past 15 years. Attempts at reintroduction implemented in the 1990s were largely unsuccessful due to poor site selection, Cactoblastis moth predation, crown rot, and burial of small plants by leaf litter. It is too early to judge the results of more recent reintroductions that were implemented in 2013 and 2014. Reintroduction of C. corallicola serves multiple objectives towards the plant’s conservation, including increasing the number of populations to address the threat of few, small populations; establishing populations across a wider geographic area to reduce the chance that all populations will be affected by natural disturbances, such as hurricanes and storm surge events; and establishing populations at higher elevation sites that will be less vulnerable to storm surge events and sea level rise. Assisted migration to higher elevations at existing sites may be needed in the future to conserve populations if the area supporting the existing population shows indications of increased soil salinity and population decline due to sea level rise. Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat for Consolea corallicola As required by section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we use the best scientific data available to designate critical habitat. In accordance with the Act and our implementing regulations at 50 CFR 424.12(b), we review available information pertaining to the habitat requirements of the species and identify occupied areas at the time of listing that contain the features essential to the conservation of the species. If, after identifying currently occupied areas, a determination is made that those areas are inadequate to ensure conservation of the species, in accordance with the Act and our implementing regulations at 50 CFR 424.12(e) we then consider whether designating additional areas—outside E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 3322 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules those currently occupied—are essential for the conservation of the species. We have proposed units throughout the historical range of Consolea corallicola. The species currently occupies all of the islands of the Florida Keys where it was recorded historically. We determined that there is no unoccupied habitat that is essential for the conservation of the species. As discussed above we are proposing to designate critical habitat in areas within the geographical area presently occupied by the species, i.e., occupied at the time of listing. The wild populations of Consolea corallicola are much reduced (50 percent) from the species’ historical distribution, and one of the two remaining wild populations is small, consisting of only 12 mature plants. The habitats required by C. corallicola are severely fragmented by development in the Florida Keys. We anticipate that recovery will require continued protection of the remaining extant populations and habitat, augmenting existing small populations, and establishing populations in additional areas to more closely approximate its historical distribution in order to ensure there are adequate numbers of plants in stable populations and that these populations occur over a wide geographic area. This will help to ensure that catastrophic events, such as storms, cannot simultaneously affect all known populations. Small plant populations with limited, fragmented distributions, such as Consolea corallicola, are vulnerable to relatively minor environmental disturbances (Frankham 2005, pp. 135– 136) that could result in the loss of genetic diversity from genetic drift, the random loss of genes, and inbreeding (Ellstrand and Elam 1993, pp. 217–237; Leimu et al. 2006, pp. 942–952). Plant populations with lowered genetic diversity are more prone to local extinction (Barrett and Kohn 1991, pp. 4, 28). Smaller plant populations generally have lower genetic diversity, and lower genetic diversity may in turn lead to even smaller populations by decreasing the species’ ability to adapt, thereby increasing the probability of population extinction (Newman and Pilson 1997, p. 360; Palstra and Ruzzante 2008, pp. 3428–3447). Because of the dangers associated with small populations or limited distributions, the recovery of many rare plant species includes the creation of new sites or reintroductions to ameliorate these effects. Habitat fragmentation can have negative effects on populations, especially rare plants, and can affect VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 survival and recovery (Aguilar et al. 2006, pp. 968–980; Aguilar et al. 2008, pp. 5177–5188; Potts et al. 2010, pp. 345–352). In general, habitat fragmentation causes habitat loss, habitat degradation, habitat isolation, changes in species composition, changes in species interactions, increased edge effects, and reduced habitat connectivity (Fahrig 2003, pp. 487–515; Fischer and Lindenmayer 2007, pp. 265–280). Habitat fragments are often functionally smaller than they appear because edge effects (such as increased nonnative, invasive species or wind speeds) impact the available habitat within the fragment (Lienert and Fischer 2003, p. 597). In selecting areas to propose for critical habitat designation, we utilized the Shaffer and Stein (2000) methodology for conserving imperiled species known as the ‘three Rs’: Representation, resiliency, and redundancy. Representation, or preserving some of everything, means conserving not just a species but its associated plant communities. Resiliency and redundancy ensure there is enough of a species so it can survive into the future. Resiliency means ensuring that the habitat is adequate for a species and its representative components. Redundancy ensures an adequate number of sites and individuals. This methodology has been widely accepted as a reasonable conservation strategy (Tear et al. 2005, p. 841). We have addressed representation through the primary constituent elements (as discussed above) and by identifying areas of habitat for the expansion of Consolea corallicola populations. There are only approximately 800 to 1,000 known individuals and only 6 populations. All but 2 populations consist of fewer than 100 individuals (low redundancy). All populations occur on small islands where the amount of suitable remaining habitat is limited (low resiliency), and much of the remaining habitat may be lost to sea level rise over the next century. Sources of Data To Identify Critical Habitat Boundaries To determine the location and boundaries of critical habitat, the Service used the following sources of information and considerations: (1) Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI) population records and ArcGIS geographic information system software to spatially depict the location and extent of documented populations of Consolea corallicola (FNAI 2011a, pp. 1–4); PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 (2) Reports prepared by botanists with the Institute for Regional Conservation (IRC), NPS, and Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) (Some of these were funded by the Service; others were requested or volunteered by biologists with the NPS or FDEP.); (3) Historical records found in reports and associated voucher specimens housed at herbaria, all of which are referenced in the above-mentioned reports from the IRC and FNAI; (4) Digitally produced habitat maps provided by Monroe County; and (5) Aerial images of Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties. The presence of primary constituent elements was determined through the use of GIS spatial data depicting the current habitat status. These habitat data for the Florida Keys were developed by Monroe County from 2006 aerial images, and ground conditions for many areas were checked in 2009. Habitat data for BNP were provided by the NPS. The areas that contain the primary constituent elements follow predictable landscape patterns and have a recognizable signature in the aerial imagery. We have identified areas to include in this proposed designation by applying the following considerations. The amount and distribution of critical habitat being proposed for designation would allow existing and future established populations of Consolea corallicola to: (1) Maintain their existing distribution; (2) Expand their distribution into previously occupied areas (needed to offset habitat loss and fragmentation); (3) Use habitat depending on habitat availability (response to changing nature of coastal habitat including sea level rise) and support genetic diversity; (4) Increase the size of each population to a level where the threats of genetic, demographic, and normal environmental uncertainties are diminished; and (5) Maintain their ability to withstand local or unit-level environmental fluctuations or catastrophes. Areas Occupied at the Time of Listing The proposed occupied critical habitat designation for Consolea corallicola focuses on areas occupied at the time the species was listed within the historical range that have retained the necessary primary constituent elements that will allow for the maintenance and expansion of existing populations. The proposed occupied critical habitat units were delineated around documented extant populations. These units include the mapped extent of the population that contains one or E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules more of the physical or biological features. We considered the following when identifying occupied areas of critical habitat: (1) The delineation included space to allow for the successional nature of the occupied habitats (i.e., gain and loss of areas with sufficient light availability due to disturbance of the tree canopy driven by natural events such as inundation and hurricanes), and habitat transition or loss due to sea level rise. (2) Some areas will require special management to be able to support a higher density of the plant within the occupied space. These areas generally are habitats where some of the primary constituent elements have been lost through natural or human causes. These areas would help to offset the anticipated loss and degradation of habitat occurring or expected from the effects of climate change (such as sea level rise) or due to development. When determining proposed critical habitat boundaries, we made every effort to avoid including developed areas such as lands covered by buildings, pavement, and other structures because such lands lack physical or biological features for Consolea corallicola. The scale of the maps we prepared under the parameters for publication within the Code of Federal Regulations may not reflect the exclusion of such developed lands. Any such lands inadvertently left inside critical habitat boundaries shown on the maps of this proposed rule have been excluded by text in the proposed rule and are not proposed for designation as critical habitat. Therefore, if the critical habitat is finalized as proposed, a Federal action involving these lands would not trigger section 7 consultation with respect to critical habitat and the requirement of no adverse modification unless the specific action would affect the physical or biological features in the adjacent critical habitat. Units were proposed for designation based on sufficient elements of physical or biological features being present to support Consolea corallicola life-history processes. Some units contained all of the identified elements of physical or biological features and supported multiple life-history processes. Some segments contained only some elements of the physical or biological features necessary to support C. corallicola’s particular use of that habitat. The critical habitat designation is defined by the map or maps, as modified by any accompanying regulatory text, presented at the end of this document in the rule portion. We include more detailed information on the boundaries of the critical habitat designation in the preamble of this 3323 document. We will make the coordinates, plot points, or both on which each map is based available to the public on http:// www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS–R4–ES–2014–0057, on our Internet site at http://www.fws.gov/ verobeach/, and at the field office responsible for the designation (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT above). Proposed Critical Habitat Designation for Consolea corallicola We are proposing four units as critical habitat for Consolea corallicola. The critical habitat areas we describe below constitute our current best assessment of areas that meet the definition of critical habitat for C. corallicola. The four areas we propose as critical habitat are: (1) FSC1 Swan Key in Biscayne National Park, Miami-Dade County, Florida; (2) FSC2 Key Largo, Monroe County, Florida; (3) FSC3 Big Pine Key, Monroe County, Florida; and (4) FSC4 Little Torch Key in Monroe County, Florida. Land ownership within the proposed critical habitat consists of Federal (28 percent), State (58 percent), County (1 percent), and private and other (14 percent). Table 1 shows these units by land ownership, area, and occupancy. TABLE 1—CONSOLEA CORALLICOLA PROPOSED CRITICAL HABITAT UNITS [All areas rounded to the nearest whole acre (ac) and hectare (ha)] Total Ac (Ha) Unit Federal Ac (Ha) State Ac (Ha) County Ac (Ha) Private/ other Ac (Ha) Occupied Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. FSC1—Swan Key–Biscayne National Park ...... FSC2—Key Largo .............................................. FSC3––Big Pine Key ......................................... FSC4—Little Torch Key ..................................... 37 (15) 3,434 (1,389) 772 (313) 168 (68) 37 (15) 702 (284) 508 (205) 0 0 2,331 (943) 172 (70) 47 (19) 0 17 (7) 11 (5) 10 (4) 0 384 (155) 81 (33) 111 (45) Total ............................................................ Percent of Total .......................................... 4,411 (1,785) 100 1,247 (504) 28 2,550 (1,032) 58 38 (16) 1 576 (233) 13 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Note: Area sizes may not sum due to rounding. Two (FSC1 and FSC2) of the four critical habitat units proposed for Consolea corallicola are also currently designated under the Act as critical habitat for the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus), and two (FSC2 and FSC3) are designated as critical habitat units for Chromolaena frustrata (Cape Sable thoroughwort). We present brief descriptions of all units, and reasons why they meet the definition of critical habitat for Consolea corallicola, below. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 Unit FSC1: Swan Key-Biscayne National Park, Miami-Dade County, Florida Unit FSC1 consists of approximately 37 ac (15 ha) in Miami-Dade County. This unit is composed entirely of lands in Federal ownership, 100 percent of which are located on Swan Key within Biscayne National Park. The unit includes all upland rockland hammock habitat on Swan Key, most of which is located on the eastern side of Swan Key, surrounded by the island’s mangrove fringe. A second, smaller area is located on the island’s elongate western half and is also surrounded by mangroves. PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 This unit was occupied at the time the species was listed and contains all the physical or biological features, including suitable climate, hydrology, substrate, associated native plant species, and disturbance regimes, essential to the conservation of the species and the coastal hardwood hammock and buttonwood forest primary constituent elements. The physical or biological features in this unit may require special management considerations or protection to address threats of nonnative plant and animal species and sea level rise. However, in most cases these threats are being E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 3324 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 addressed or coordinated with BNP to implement needed actions. BNP conducts nonnative species control on Swan Key and monitors Consolea corallicola for population trends and Cactoblastis moth damage. The NPS is currently revising the BNP General Management Plan (Plan), which identifies C. corallicola but does not discuss specific conservation measures. However, the Plan states that Swan Key will continue to be a ‘‘sensitive resource area’’ and managed to protect critical ecosystems, habitats, and natural processes. Access will be tightly controlled and limited to permitted research activities. In addition, the Service believes assisted migration to the highest elevations on Swan Key on BNP may be needed in the future to conserve the population if the area supporting the existing population shows indications of increased soil salinity and population decline due to sea level rise. Unit FSC2: Key Largo, Monroe County, Florida Unit FSC2 consists of approximately 3,434 ac (1,389 ha) in Monroe County. This unit is composed of Federal lands within Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) (702 ac (284 ha)); State lands within Dagny Johnson Botanical State Park, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and the Florida Keys Wildlife and Environmental Area (2,331 ac (943 ha)); lands owned by Monroe County (17 ac (7 ha)); and parcels in private or other ownership (384 ac (155 ha)). This unit extends from near the northern tip of Key Largo, along the length of Key Largo, beginning at the south shore of Ocean Reef Harbor near South Marina Drive and the intersection of County Road (CR) 905 and Clubhouse Road on the west side of CR 905, and between CR 905 and Old State Road 905, then extending to the shoreline south of South Harbor Drive. The unit then continues on both sides of CR 905 through the Crocodile Lake NWR, Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park, and John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. The unit then terminates near the junction of U.S. 1 and CR 905 and Garden Cove Drive. The unit resumes on the east side of U.S. 1 from South Andros Road to Key Largo Elementary; then from the intersection of Taylor Drive and Pamela Street to Avenue A; then from Sound Drive to the intersection of Old Road and Valencia Road; then resumes on the east side of U.S. 1 from Hibiscus Lane and Ocean Drive. The unit continues south near the Port Largo Airport from Poisonwood Road to Bo Peep Boulevard. The unit resumes on the west side of U.S. 1 from VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 the intersection of South Drive and Meridian Avenue to Casa Court Drive. The unit then continues on the west side of U.S. 1 from the point on the coast directly west of Peace Avenue south to Caribbean Avenue. The unit also includes a portion of El Radabob Key in Largo Sound located directly east of Avenue A, extending south to a point directly east of Mahogany Drive. This unit was occupied at the time the species was listed and contains all the physical or biological features, including suitable climate, hydrology, substrate, associated native plant species, and disturbance regimes, essential to the conservation of the species and the rockland hammock and buttonwood forest primary constituent elements. The physical or biological features in this unit may require special management considerations or protection to address threats of nonnative plant species and sea level rise. The CCP for Crocodile Lake NWR promotes the enhancement of wildlife populations by maintaining and enhancing a diversity and abundance of habitats for native plants and animals, especially imperiled species that are found only in the Florida Keys, but does not identify Consolea corallicola because it does not presently occur on the Refuge. The Management Plan for Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammocks Botanical State Park calls for the protection and restoration of habitats and to continue conservation efforts already under way for C. corallicola. The Service and FDEP conduct nonnative species control on their respective lands on Key Largo. FDEP monitors the reintroduced C. corallicola at Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammocks Botanical State Park for population trends and Cactoblastis moth damage. In addition, assisted migration of the cacti to the highest elevations on these lands is needed because the population already shows the effects of increased soil salinity and is partially inundated by high tides. Unit FSC3: Big Pine Key, Monroe County, Florida Unit FSC3 consists of approximately 772 ac (313 ha) in Monroe County. This unit is composed of Federal land within the National Key Deer Refuge (NKDR) (508 ac (205 ha)); State land managed as part of the NKDR (172 ac (70 ha)); lands owned by Monroe County (11 ac (5 ha)); and parcels in private or other ownership (81 ac (33 ha)). This unit extends from near the northern tip of Big Pine Key along the eastern shore to the vicinity of Hellenga Drive and Watson Road; from Gulf Boulevard south to West Shore Drive; Big Pine PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Avenue and Elma Avenues on the east, Coral and Yacht Club Road, and U.S. 1 on the north, and Industrial Avenue on the east from the southeastern tip of Big Pine Key to Avenue A. This unit was occupied at the time the species was listed and contains all the physical or biological features, including suitable climate, hydrology, substrate, associated native plant species, and disturbance regimes, essential to the conservation of the species and the coastal berm, rockland hammock, and buttonwood forest primary constituent elements. The physical or biological features in this unit may require special management considerations or protection to address threats of nonnative plant species and sea level rise. The CCP for the Lower Florida Keys NWRs (NKDR, Key West NWR, and Great White Heron NWR) promotes the enhancement of wildlife populations by maintaining and enhancing a diversity and abundance of habitats for native plants and animals, and provides specifically for maintaining and expanding populations of candidate plant species including C. corallicola. The Service conducts nonnative species control in areas that could support C. corallicola. Unit FSC4: Little Torch Key, Monroe County, Florida Unit FSC4 consists of approximately 168 ac (68 ha) in Monroe County. This unit is composed of State lands (47 ac (19 ha)); lands owned by Monroe County (10 ac (4 ha)); and parcels in private and other ownership (111 ac (45 ha)). This unit extends along State Highway 4A, from Coral Shores Road, south to County Road, resuming at Linda Street and extending south to the Overseas Highway. South of the Overseas Highway, the unit includes areas west of Kings Cove Road, and an area comprising the southern tip of Little Torch Key that includes portions of The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) John J. Pescatello Torchwood Hammock Preserve. This unit was occupied at the time the species was listed and contains all the physical or biological features, including suitable climate, hydrology, substrate, associated native plant species, and disturbance regimes, essential to the conservation of the species and the coastal hardwood hammock and buttonwood forest primary constituent elements. The physical or biological features in this unit may require special management considerations or protection to address threats of nonnative plant species and sea level rise. TNC’s 1994 Management Plan calls for monitoring, Cactoblastis E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules control, vegetation management, and basic research on Consolea corallicola and threats to the species. TNC monitors C. corallicola at the Torchwood Hammock Preserve and conducts nonnative plant and animal species control. The Preserve is fenced, and potential visitors must request access to enter the site. Assisted migration to the highest elevations in the Preserve may be needed in the future to conserve the population if the area supporting the existing population shows indications of increased soil salinity and population decline due to sea level rise. Physical or Biological Features for Harrisia aboriginum We have determined that the following physical or biological features are essential to the conservation of Harrisia aboriginum. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Space for Individual and Population Growth and for Normal Behavior Plant Community and Competitive Ability. Harrisia aboriginum occurs in communities classified as coastal strand, coastal grasslands, coastal berms, maritime hammocks, and shell mounds (Bradley et al. 2004, pp. 4, 14). Detailed descriptions of these communities and their associated native plant species are provided in the Status Assessment for Harrisia aboriginum section of the proposed listing rule published on October 11, 2012 (77 FR 61836), and the final listing rule published on October 24, 2013 (78 FR 63796), in the Federal Register. These habitats and their associated plant communities provide vegetation structure that provides adequate growing space, sunlight, and a competitive regime that is required for H. aboriginum to persist and spread. Therefore, based on the information above, we identify upland habitats consisting of coastal strand, coastal grasslands, coastal berms, maritime hammocks, and shell mounds to be a physical or biological feature for H. aboriginum. Food, Water, Air, Light, Minerals, or Other Nutritional or Physiological Requirements Climate (temperature and precipitation). Harrisia aboriginum requires adequate rainfall and does not tolerate freezing temperatures. The climate of south Florida where H. aboriginum occurs is characterized by distinct wet and dry seasons, a monthly mean temperature above 18 °C (64.4 °F) in every month of the year, and annual rainfall averaging 75 to 150 cm (30 to 60 in) (Gabler et al. 1994, p. 211). Freezes can occur in the winter months, but are VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 very infrequent at this latitude in Florida. Therefore, based on the information above, we determined this type of climate to be a physical or biological feature for H. aboriginum. Soils. Substrates supporting Harrisia aboriginum include sand and calcareous shell material (Bradley et al. 2004, pp. 4, 14). These substrates provide anchoring spots, nutrients, moisture regime, and suitable soil chemistry for H. aboriginum, and facilitate a community of associated plant species that create a competitive regime that allows H. aboriginum to persist and spread. Therefore, based on the information above, we identify substrates derived from calcareous sand or shell material to be a physical or biological feature for H. aboriginum. Hydrology. Harrisia aboriginum requires upland habitats that occur above the daily tidal range, but are potentially subject to flooding by seawater during extreme tides and storm surge. H. aboriginum will not tolerate hydric or saline soils, and these soil conditions may also cause these habitats to transition to a community of species that will outcompete H. aboriginum for space. Maritime hammocks occur on high ground that does not regularly flood, but can be inundated during storm surges (FNAI 2010h, p. 3). Some sites that support H. aboriginum show indications that soil salinization are driving changes in the plant community toward salt-tolerant species, and will eventually lead to conditions unsuitable for H. aboriginum. Therefore, based on the information above, we identify upland habitats at elevations not affected by soil salinization due to sea level rise to be physical or biological features for H. aboriginum. Cover or Shelter Harrisia aboriginum occurs in open canopy and semi-open to closed canopy habitats. The amount and frequency of open canopy areas varies by habitat type and time since the last disturbance, such as a hurricane, caused canopy openings. In maritime hammocks, suitable areas will often be found near the hammock edge or where there are openings in the forest canopy. More open communities (e.g., coastal berm, coastal strand, and coastal grasslands) provide more abundant and temporally consistent suitable habitat than communities capable of establishing a dense canopy (e.g., maritime hammocks, shell mounds). Therefore, based on the information above, we identify habitats that have a vegetation composition and structure that allows for adequate sunlight and space for individual growth and population expansion to be PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 3325 a physical or biological feature for H. aboriginum. Sites for Breeding, Reproduction, or Rearing (or Development) of Offspring The habitats identified above as physical or biological features also provide a plant community with associated plant species that foster a competitive regime that is suitable for Harrisia aboriginum and contain adequate open space for the recruitment of new plants. Associated plant species in these habitats attract and provide cover for generalist pollinators (e.g., bees, butterflies, and beetles) that pollinate H. aboriginum. Habitats Protected From Disturbance or Representative of the Historical, Geographic, and Ecological Distributions of the Species Harrisia aboriginum continues to occur in habitats that are protected from human-generated disturbances and are representative of the species’ historical, geographical, and ecological distribution although its range has been reduced. The species is still found in its representative plant communities of coastal strand, coastal grassland, coastal berm, maritime hammock, and shell mound habitat. As described above, these habitats provide a community of associated plant and animal species that are compatible with H. aboriginum, vegetation structure that provides adequate sunlight levels and open space for plant growth and regeneration, and substrates with adequate moisture availability and suitable soil chemistry. In addition, representative communities are located on Federal, State, local, and private conservation lands that implement conservation measures benefitting the species. Therefore, based on the information above, we identify habitat of sufficient size and connectivity that can support species growth, distribution, and population expansion to be a physical or biological feature for H. aboriginum. Disturbance Regime. Coastal strand, coastal berm, coastal grassland, maritime hammock, and shell mound habitats that support Harrisia aboriginum depend on natural disturbance regimes from hurricanes or tidal inundation to reduce the canopy in order to provide light levels sufficient to support the species. The historical frequency and magnitude of hurricanes and tidal inundation has allowed for the persistence of H. aboriginum by occasionally creating areas of open canopy. In the absence of disturbance, some of these habitats may have closed canopies, resulting in areas lacking enough available sunlight to support H. E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 3326 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 aboriginum. However, too frequent or severe disturbance that transitions the habitat toward more saline conditions could result in the decline of the species in the area. In addition, fires are rare to nonexistent in coastal strand, coastal grassland, coastal berm, maritime hammocks, and shell mound communities (FNAI 2010a, p. 2; FNAI 2010f, p. 2; FNAI 2010g, p. 2; FNAI 2010h, p. 3; FNAI 2010i, p. 2). Therefore, based on the information above, we identify habitats that have disturbance regimes, including hurricanes, and infrequent inundation events that maintain the habitat suitability to be physical or biological features for H. aboriginum. Primary Constituent Elements for Harrisia aboriginum Based on our current knowledge of the physical or biological features and habitat characteristics required to sustain the species’ life-history processes, we determine that the primary constituent elements specific to Harrisia aboriginum are: (i) Areas of upland habitats consisting of coastal strand, coastal grassland, coastal berm, maritime hammocks, and shell mounds. (A) Coastal strand habitat that contains: (1) Open to semi-open canopy and understory; and (2) Substrate of sand and shell fragments of stabilized coastal dunes. (B) Coastal grassland habitat that contains: (1) No canopy and an open understory; and (2) Substrate of sand and shell fragments. (C) Coastal berm habitat that contains: (1) Open to semi-open canopy, subcanopy, and understory; and (2) Substrate of coarse, calcareous, storm-deposited sediment. (D) Maritime hammock habitat that contains: (1) Canopy gaps and edges with an open to semi-open canopy, subcanopy, and understory; and (2) Substrate of calcareous sand and shell fragments. (E) Shell mound habitat that contains: (1) Open to semi-open canopy and understory; and (2) Substrate of soil derived from calcareous shells deposited by Native Americans during prehistoric times. (ii) A plant community of predominately native vegetation with no invasive, nonnative animal or plant species or such species in quantities low enough to have minimal effect on survival of Harrisia aboriginum. (iii) Canopy openings in coastal strand, coastal grassland, coastal berm, VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 maritime hammock, and shell mound habitats that are created by the effects of strong winds or saltwater inundation from storm surge or infrequent tidal inundation. (iv) Habitats that are connected and of sufficient size to sustain viable populations in coastal strand, coastal grassland, coastal berm, maritime hammock, and shell mound habitats. (v) Habitats that provide populations of the generalist pollinators that visit the flowers of Harrisia aboriginum. Special Management Considerations or Protection for Harrisia aboriginum Management considerations or protection are necessary throughout the critical habitat areas proposed here to avoid further degradation or destruction of the habitat that provides those features essential to the species’ conservation. The primary threats to the physical or biological features that Harrisia aboriginum depends on include: (1) Habitat destruction and modification by development and sea level rise; (2) Competition with nonnative, invasive plant species; (3) Herbivorous nonnative animal species; (4) Wildfire; and (5) Hurricanes and storm surge. Some of these threats can be addressed by special management considerations or protection while others (e.g., sea level rise, hurricanes, storm surge) are beyond the control of landowners and managers. However, even when landowners or land managers may not be able to control all the threats, they may be able to address the results of the threats. Management activities that could ameliorate these threats include the monitoring and minimization of impacts from recreational activities, nonnative species control, and protection from development. Precautions are needed to avoid the inadvertent trampling of Harrisia aboriginum in the course of management activities and public use. Development of recreational facilities or programs should avoid impacting these habitats directly or indirectly. Ditching should be avoided because it alters the hydrology and species composition of these habitats. Sites that have shown increasing encroachment of woody species over time may require efforts to maintain the open nature of the habitat, which favors these species. Nonnative species control programs are needed to reduce competition, predation, and prevent habitat degradation. The reduction of these threats will require the implementation of special PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 management actions within each of the critical habitat areas identified in this proposed rule. All proposed critical habitat requires active management to address the ongoing threats above and those presented in the Summary of Factors Affecting the Species sections in the proposed listing rule published on October 11, 2012 (77 FR 61836), and in the final listing rule published on October 24, 2013 (78 FR 63796). The Service, State of Florida, and Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, and Lee Counties own and manage conservation lands within the historical range of Harrisia aboriginum. The CCP for J.N. ‘Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge (JDDNWR) promotes the enhancement of wildlife populations by maintaining and enhancing a diversity and abundance of habitats for native plants and animals, especially imperiled species. This CCP provides specifically for maintaining populations of H. aboriginum. The State Management Plans for Charlotte Harbor Preserve, Cayo Costa, Stump Pass Beach, DelnorWiggins Pass, and Gasparilla Island State Parks and Bocilla Preserve promote the protection of habitats and native species. The Service, State of Florida, and Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, and Lee Counties conduct nonnative species control efforts on sites that support, or have suitable habitat for, H. aboriginum. The Service monitors the population of H. aboriginum at JDDNWR. FDEP monitors the H. aboriginum population at Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park. Nonnative species control is currently lacking at Manasota Beach Park and Kitchen Key in areas that support H. aboriginum. Poaching, vandalism, and wildfire have been observed at Manasota Beach Park. Most populations are at elevations close to sea level and may require assisted migration as sea level rise continues to drive the transition toward salt-tolerant plant species in these areas. Reintroduction is needed to restore the species’ historical distribution on Cayo Costa and Madira Bickell Mound State Historical Park. Augmentation of small populations at Longboat Key, Terra Ceia, Lemon Bay Preserve, Kitchen Key, Gasparilla Island, and Cayo Pelau would reduce the risk of population loss to hurricanes, storm surge, or wildfire. Harrisia aboriginum is listed on the Regulated Plant Index as endangered under chapter 5B–40, Florida Administrative Code. Florida Statutes 581.185 sections (3)(a) and (b) prohibit any person from willfully destroying or harvesting any species listed as endangered or threatened on the Regulated Plant Index, or growing such E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 a plant on the private land of another, or on any public land, without first obtaining the written permission of the landowner and a permit from the Florida Department of Plant Industry. Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat for Harrisia aboriginum We are proposing to designate critical habitat in areas within the geographical area occupied by Harrisia aboriginum at the time of listing in 2013. We also are proposing to designate specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the species at the time of listing that were historically occupied, but are presently unoccupied, because such areas are essential for the conservation of the species as described for Consolea corallicola above. We have determined that all habitat known to be occupied at the time of listing should be proposed for critical habitat designation. However, realizing that occupied habitat is not adequate for the conservation of Harrisia aboriginum, we also used habitat and historical occurrence data to identify unoccupied habitat essential for the conservation of the species. To determine the location and boundaries of both occupied and unoccupied critical habitat, the Service used the following sources of data and information for H. aboriginum that include the following: (1) FNAI population records and ArcGIS software to spatially depict the location and extent of documented populations of Harrisia aboriginum (FNAI 2011b, pp. 1–28); (2) Reports prepared by botanists with the IRC and the Service (Some of these were funded by the Service; others were requested or volunteered by biologists with the Service.); (3) Historical records found in reports and associated voucher specimens housed at herbaria, all of which are also referenced in the above-mentioned reports from the IRC and FNAI; (4) Digitally produced habitat maps provided by FNAI; and (5) Aerial images of Manatee, Charlotte, Sarasota, and Lee Counties. The presence of primary constituent elements was determined through the interpretation of aerial imagery. The areas that contain primary constituent elements follow predictable landscape patterns and have a recognizable signature in the aerial imagery. Only approximately 300 to 500 individuals and 12 populations of Harrisia aboriginum are known to exist. All but 2 of these populations consist of fewer than 100 individuals, with 7 populations having 10 or fewer individuals (low redundancy). Most populations occur on coastal barrier VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 islands where the amount of suitable remaining habitat is limited (low resiliency), and much of the remaining habitat will be lost to sea level rise over the next century. We have addressed representation through our primary constituent elements (as discussed above) and by providing habitat for H. aboriginum. For adequate redundancy and resiliency, it is essential for the conservation of H. aboriginum for additional populations to be established and existing populations to be augmented. Therefore, we have proposed two unoccupied areas for designation as critical habitat units where H. aboriginum was historically recorded, but has since been extirpated. The current distribution of Harrisia aboriginum is reduced from its historical distribution, with no populations remaining in Manatee County, at the northern extent of the species’ range. We anticipate that recovery will require continued protection of the remaining extant population and habitat, as well as establishing populations in additional areas that more closely approximate its historical distribution in order to ensure there are adequate numbers of plants in stable populations and that these populations occur over a wide geographic area. This will help to ensure that catastrophic events, such as storms, cannot simultaneously affect all known populations. Areas Occupied at the Time of Listing The occupied critical habitat units were delineated around documented extant populations. These units include the mapped extent of the population that contain one or more of the physical or biological features. We considered the following when identifying occupied areas of critical habitat: (1) The delineation included space to allow for the successional nature of the occupied habitats (i.e., gain and loss of areas with sufficient light availability due to disturbance of the tree canopy driven by natural events such as inundation and hurricanes), and habitat transition or loss due to sea level rise. (2) Some areas will require special management to be able to support a higher density of the plant within the occupied space. These areas generally are habitats where some of the primary constituent elements have been lost through natural or human causes. These areas would help to offset the anticipated loss and degradation of habitat occurring or expected from the effects of climate change (such as sea level rise) or due to development. PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 3327 Areas Outside the Geographic Area Occupied at the Time of Listing After completing the above analysis, we determined that occupied areas were not sufficient for the conservation of the species for the following reasons: (1) Restoring the species to its historical range and reducing its vulnerability to stochastic events such as hurricanes and storm surge requires reintroduction to areas where it occurred in the past but has since been extirpated; (2) providing increased connectivity for populations and areas for small populations to expand requires currently unoccupied habitat; and (3) reintroduction or assisted migration to reduce the species vulnerability to sea level rise and storm surge requires higher elevation sites that are currently unoccupied by Harrisia aboriginum. Therefore, we looked for unoccupied areas that may be essential for the conservation of the species. The unoccupied areas are essential for the conservation of the species because they: (1) Represent the historical range of Harrisia aboriginum. H. aboriginum has been extirpated from two locations where it was previously recorded. Of those areas found in reports, we are proposing critical habitat only for those that are well-documented and essential for the conservation of the species (i.e., Terra Ceia, Cayo Costa) (Bradley and Gann 1999, p. 77; Bradley et al. 2004, p. 4). These areas also still retain some or all of the elements of the physical or biological features. (2) Provide areas of sufficient size to support ecosystem processes for populations of Harrisia aboriginum. These areas are essential for the conservation of the species because they will provide areas for population expansion and growth. Large contiguous parcels of habitat are more likely to be resilient to ecological processes of disturbance and succession, and support viable populations of H. aboriginum. The unoccupied areas selected were at least 30 ac (12 ha) or greater in size. The amount and distribution of designated critical habitat will allow Harrisia aboriginum to: (1) Maintain its existing distribution; (2) Expand its distribution into historically occupied areas (needed to offset habitat loss and fragmentation); (3) Use habitat depending on habitat availability (response to changing nature of coastal habitat including sea level rise) and support genetic diversity; (4) Increase the size of each population to a level where the threats of genetic, demographic, and normal environmental uncertainties are diminished; and E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 3328 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules (5) Maintain its ability to withstand local or unit-level environmental fluctuations or catastrophes. When determining critical habitat boundaries within this final rule, we made every effort to avoid including developed areas such as lands covered by buildings, pavement, and other structures because such lands lack physical or biological features for Harrisia aboriginum. The scale of the maps we prepared under the parameters for publication within the Code of Federal Regulations may not reflect the exclusion of such developed lands. Any such lands inadvertently left inside critical habitat boundaries shown on the maps of this proposed rule have been excluded by text in the proposed rule and are not proposed for designation as critical habitat. Therefore, if the critical habitat is finalized as proposed, a Federal action involving these lands will not trigger section 7 consultation with respect to critical habitat and the requirement of no adverse modification unless the specific action would affect the physical or biological features in the adjacent critical habitat. The critical habitat designation is defined by the map or maps, as modified by any accompanying regulatory text, presented at the end of this document in the rule portion. We include more detailed information on the boundaries of the critical habitat designation in the preamble of this document. We will make the coordinates, plot points, or both on which each map is based available to the public on http:// www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS–R4–ES–2014–0057, on our Internet site, http://www.fws.gov/ verobeach/, and at the field office responsible for the designation (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT above). Proposed Critical Habitat Designation for Harrisia aboriginum We are proposing 11 units as critical habitat for Harrisia aboriginum. The critical habitat areas we describe below constitute our current best assessment of areas that meet the definition of critical habitat for Harrisia aboriginum. The 11 areas we propose as critical habitat are: (1) Unit APA1 Terra Ceia, Manatee County, Florida; (2) Unit APA2 Longboat Key, Sarasota County, Florida; (3) Unit APA3 Osprey, Sarasota County, Florida; (4) Unit APA4 Manasota Key, Sarasota and Charlotte Counties, Florida; (5) Unit APA5 Charlotte Harbor, Charlotte County, Florida; (6) Unit APA6 Gasparilla Island North, Charlotte and Lee Counties, Florida; (7) Unit APA7 Gasparilla Island South, Lee County, Florida; (8) Unit APA8 Cayo Pelau, Charlotte and Lee Counties, Florida; (9) Unit APA9 Cayo Costa, Lee County, Florida; (10) Unit APA10 Bocilla Island, Lee County, Florida; and (11) Unit APA11 Sanibel Island and Buck Key, Lee County, Florida. Land ownership within the proposed critical habitat consists of Federal (11 percent), State (48 percent), County (15 percent), and private and other (26 percent). Table 2 summarizes these units. TABLE 2—HARRISIA ABORIGINUM PROPOSED CRITICAL HABITAT UNITS [All areas rounded to the nearest whole number, except where less than 1 acre (ac) or hectare (ha)] Total Ac (Ha) Unit Federal Ac (Ha) State Ac (Ha) County Ac (Ha) APA1—Terra Ceia ....................... APA2—Longboat Key .................. APA3—Osprey ............................. APA4—Manasota Key ................. APA5—Charlotte Harbor ............. APA6—Gasparilla North .............. APA7—Gasparilla South ............. APA8—Cayo Pelau ..................... APA9—Cayo Costa ..................... APA10—Bocilla ............................ APA11—Sanibel Island and Buck Key. 222 (90) 54 (22) 116 (47) 415 (168) 51 (21) 98 (40) 92 (37) 25 (10) 1,702 (689) 33 (13) 635 (257) 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 (1) 0 0 0 373 (151) 66 (27) 0 0 58 (23) 51 (21) 0.06 (0.02) 69 (28) 0 1,379 (558) 0 47 (19) 70 (28) 0 50 (20) 111 (45) 0 22 (9) 12 (5) 25 (10) 94 (38) 32 (13) 90 (36) Total ...................................... Percent of Total ........................... 3,444 (1,394) 100 376 (152) 11 1,669 (676) 48 505 (204) 15 Private/other Ac (Ha) 87 54 66 245 (35) (22) (27) (99) 0 77 (31) 8 (3) 0 230 (93) 0.7 (0.3) 126 (51) Occupied No. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. No. Yes. Yes. 893 (361) 26 Note: Area sizes may not sum due to rounding. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 We present brief descriptions of all units, and reasons why they meet the definition of critical habitat for Harrisia aboriginum, below. Unit APA1: Terra Ceia, Manatee County, Florida Unit APA1 consists of approximately 222 ac (90 ha) in Manatee County, Florida. This unit is composed of State lands within Madira Bickel Mound State Historical Park, Terra Ceia Preserve State Park, Cockroach Bay State Buffer Preserve, and the Tampa Bay Estuarine System (66 ac (27 ha)); Manatee County lands at Emerson Point VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 Preserve and parcels owned by the Manatee County Port Authority (70 ac (28 ha)); and parcels in private or other ownership (87 ac (35 ha)). This unit includes lands west of Highway 41 extending from just south of South Dock Street south to Snead Island. The unit also includes areas of Harbor Key, Mariposa Key, Horseshoe Key, Joe Island, Skeet Key, Paradise Island, Ed’s Key, and Rattlesnake Key. This unit was not occupied at the time the species was listed but is essential for the conservation of the species because it serves to protect habitat needed to recover the species, PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 reestablish wild populations within the historical range of the species, and maintain populations throughout the historic distribution of the species in Manatee County, and will provide population redundancy in the case of stochastic events that otherwise hold the potential to eliminate the species from the one or more locations where it is presently found. The Management Plan for Madira Bickel Mound State Historical Park, Terra Ceia Preserve State Park, Cockroach Bay State Buffer Preserve, and the Tampa Bay Estuarine System calls for the protection and restoration E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules of habitats, but does not identify actions specific to Harrisia aboriginum. The FDEP conducts nonnative species control on their lands within the unit. Reintroduction of H. aboriginum within Madira Bickel Mound State Historical Park, Terra Ceia Preserve State Park, and the Tampa Bay Estuarine System is needed to restore the species to its historical distribution in Manatee County and reduce the risks associated with hurricanes, storm surge, and sea level rise. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Unit APA2: Longboat Key, Sarasota County, Florida Unit APA2 consists of approximately 54 ac (22 ha) in Sarasota County, Florida. This unit is composed entirely of parcels in private or other ownership. This unit includes lands west of Gulf of Mexico Drive, extending from 0.40 miles (mi) (0.6 kilometers (km)) south of the intersection of Bay Isles Parkway and Gulf of Mexico Drive, to the southern tip of Longboat Key. It also includes lands on the north side of Gulf of Mexico Drive, east of Longboat Club Key Drive, on the northwest tip of Longboat Key. This unit was occupied at the time the species was listed and contains all the physical or biological features, including suitable climate, hydrology, substrate, associated native plant species, and disturbance regimes, essential to the conservation of the species, and the primary constituent elements of coastal strand, coastal berm, and maritime hammock. The physical or biological features in this unit may require special management considerations or protection to address threats of nonnative plant species and sea level rise. Augmentation of the Harrisia aboriginum population within the unit is needed to restore the species to its historical abundance and reduce the risks associated with small population size, hurricanes, storm surge, and sea level rise. Unit APA3: Osprey, Sarasota County, Florida Unit APA3 consists of approximately 116 ac (47 ha) in Sarasota County, Florida. This unit is composed of Sarasota County lands within Palmer Point County Park (50 ac (20 ha)) and parcels in private or other ownership (66 ac (27 ha)). This unit extends along the barrier island (Casey Key) from the south terminus of Blind Pass Road, south for approximately 1.2 mi (1.9 km) along North Casey Key Road. On the mainland, the unit includes lands bordered on the north by Vamo Way, to the east by Highway 41, and to the south by Palmetto Avenue. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 This unit was occupied at the time the species was listed and contains the biological or physical features including suitable climate, hydrology, substrate, associated native plant species, and disturbance regimes essential to the conservation of the species and contains coastal strand, coastal berm, maritime hammock, and shell mound primary constituent elements. The physical or biological features in this unit may require special management considerations or protection to address threats of nonnative plant species, and sea level rise. Augmentation of the Harrisia aboriginum population within the unit is needed to restore the species to its historical abundance and reduce the risks associated with small population size, hurricanes, storm surge, and sea level rise. Unit APA4: Manasota Key, Sarasota and Charlotte Counties, Florida Unit APA4 consists of approximately 415 ac (168 ha) in Sarasota and Charlotte Counties, Florida. This unit is composed of State lands within Stump Pass Beach State Park (58 ac (23 ha)); County lands within Blind Pass Park, Brohard Beach and Paw Park, Manasota Beach Park, Casperson Beach Park, and Service Club Park (111 ac (45 ha)); and parcels in private or other ownership (245 ac (99 ha)). This unit extends from Beach Road in the City of Venice, south along Manasota Key to the barrier islands southern tip, including a portion of Peterson Island. This unit was occupied at the time the species was listed and contains the physical or biological features, including suitable climate, hydrology, substrate, associated native plant species, and disturbance regimes essential to the conservation of the species and contains coastal strand, coastal berm, and maritime hammock primary constituent elements. The physical or biological features in this unit may require special management considerations or protection to address threats of nonnative plant species and sea level rise. The Management Plan for Stump Pass Beach State Park calls for the protection and restoration of habitats, but does not identify actions specific to Harrisia aboriginum. The FDEP conducts nonnative species control on their lands within the unit. Augmentation of the H. aboriginum population within the unit is needed to restore the species to its historical abundance and reduce the risks associated with small population size, hurricanes, storm surge, and sea level rise. PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 3329 Unit APA5: Charlotte Harbor, Charlotte County, Florida Unit APA5 consists of approximately 51 ac (21 ha) in Charlotte County, Florida. This unit is composed entirely of State lands within the Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park. This unit includes the Big Mound, Boggess Ridge, and a shell mound located on the east side of Charlotte Harbor, south of the City of Charlotte Park. This unit was occupied at the time the species was listed and contains all the physical or biological features essential to the conservation of the species and contains coastal berm and shell mound primary constituent elements. The physical or biological features in this unit may require special management considerations or protection to address threats of nonnative plant species and sea level rise. The Management Plan for Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park calls for the protection and restoration of habitats, and identifies actions specific to Harrisia aboriginum. The FDEP conducts nonnative species control and monitors the H. aboriginum population in Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park. Augmentation of the H. aboriginum population within the unit is needed to restore the species to its historical abundance and reduce the risks associated with small population size, hurricanes, storm surge, and sea level rise. Unit APA6: Gasparilla North, Charlotte and Lee Counties, Florida Unit APA6 consists of approximately 98 ac (40 ha) in Charlotte and Lee Counties, Florida. This unit is composed of State land (0.006 ac (0.02 ha)), county land (22 ac (9 ha)), and parcels in private or other ownership (77 ac (31 ha)). This unit includes most of Kitchen Key (Live Oak Key) and the area east of Gasparilla Road, from the intersection of Grouper Hole Road and Grouper Hole Court, south to 0.15 mi (0.24 km) north of Snail Island Court, from approximately 0.10 mi (0.21 km) south of 35th Street to 23rd Street, including the small island separated from Gasparilla Island by a canal; and from 22nd Street to 20th Street. This unit was occupied at the time the species was listed and contains the physical or biological features including suitable climate, hydrology, substrate, associated native plant species, and disturbance regimes essential to the conservation of the species and contains coastal berm and maritime hammock primary constituent elements. The physical or biological features in this unit may require special management E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 3330 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules considerations or protection to address threats of nonnative plant species and sea level rise. Augmentation of the Harrisia aboriginum population within the unit is needed to restore the species to its historical abundance and reduce the risks associated with small population size, hurricanes, storm surge, and sea level rise. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Unit APA7: Gasparilla South, Lee County, Florida Unit APA7 consists of approximately 92 ac (37 ha) in Lee County, Florida. This unit is composed of Federal land owned by the Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) (3 ac (1 ha)), State lands within Gasparilla Island State Park (69 ac (28 ha)), Lee County lands (12 ac (5 ha)), and parcels in private or other ownership (8 ac (3 ha)). This unit includes lands located from south of 1st Street to the southern tip of Gasparilla Island. This unit was occupied at the time the species was listed and contains the physical or biological features, including suitable climate, hydrology, substrate, associated native plant species, and disturbance regimes essential to the conservation of the species and contains coastal strand, coastal berm, and maritime hammock primary constituent elements. The physical or biological features in this unit may require special management considerations or protection to address threats of nonnative plant species and sea level rise. The Management Plan for Gasparilla Island State Park calls for the protection and restoration of habitats, but does not identify actions specific to Harrisia aboriginum. The FDEP conducts nonnative species control on its lands within the unit. Augmentation of the H. aboriginum population within the unit is needed to restore the species to its historical abundance and reduce the risks associated with small population size, hurricanes, storm surge, and sea level rise. Unit APA8: Cayo Pelau, Charlotte and Lee Counties, Florida Unit APA8 consists of approximately 25 ac (10 ha) in Charlotte and Lee Counties, Florida. This unit is composed of Lee County lands within Cayo Pelau Preserve, and parcels in private or other ownership (0.6 ac (0.2 ha)). This unit includes lands located from 0.13 mi (0.21 km) south of the northern tip of Cayo Pelau, extending south to the southeastern tip of Cayo Pelau. This unit was occupied at the time the species was listed and contains the physical or biological features including suitable climate, hydrology, substrate, VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 associated native plant species, and disturbance regimes essential to the conservation of the species and contains coastal berm and shell mound primary constituent elements. The physical or biological features in this unit may require special management considerations or protection to address threats of nonnative plant species and sea level rise. Augmentation of the Harrisia aboriginum population within the unit is needed to restore the species to its historical abundance and reduce the risks associated with small population size, hurricanes, storm surge, and sea level rise. Unit APA9: Cayo Costa, Lee County, Florida Unit APA9 consists of approximately 1,702 ac (689 ha) in Lee County, Florida. This unit is composed of State lands within Cayo Costa State Park (1,379 ac (558 ha)), lands owned by Lee County (94 ac (38 ha)), and parcels in private or other ownership (230 ac (93 ha)). This unit includes lands located from the northern tip to the southern tip of Cayo Costa. This unit was not occupied at the time the species was listed but is essential for the conservation of the species because it serves to protect habitat needed to recover the species, reestablish wild populations within the historical range of the species, maintain populations throughout the historic distribution of the species in Manatee County, and provide population redundancy in the case of stochastic events that otherwise hold the potential to eliminate the species from the one or more locations where it is presently found. The Management Plan for Cayo Costa State Park calls for the protection and restoration of habitats and identifies actions specific to Harrisia aboriginum. The FDEP conducts nonnative species control and monitored the population at Cayo Costa State Park until the last plant died in 2007. Reintroduction of H. aboriginum within Cayo Costa State Park is needed to restore the species to its historical distribution and reduce the risks associated with hurricanes, storm surge, and sea level rise. Unit APA10: Bocilla, Lee County, Florida Unit APA10 consists of approximately 33 ac (13 ha) in Lee County, Florida. This unit is composed of Lee County lands within the Bocilla Preserve (32 ac (13 ha)) and parcels in private or other ownership (0.7 ac (0.3 ha)). This unit includes lands located on the undeveloped portion of Bokeelia Island from 0.02 mi (0.03 km) west of the terminus of Ebbtide Way, extending PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 south and west to the northwest and southeast corners of Bokeelia Island. This unit was occupied at the time the species was listed and contains the physical or biological features, including suitable climate, hydrology, substrate, associated native plant species, and disturbance regimes essential to the conservation of the species and contains the coastal berm primary constituent element. The physical or biological features in this unit may require special management considerations or protection to address threats of nonnative plant species and sea level rise. The Management Plan for Bocilla Preserve calls for the protection and restoration of habitats and identifies actions specific to Harrisia aboriginum. Unit APA11: Sanibel Island and Buck Key, Lee County, Florida Unit APA11 consists of approximately 635 ac (257 ha) in Lee County, Florida. This unit is composed of Federal lands owned by the Bureau of Land Management, and Service lands within the JDDNWR (373 ac (151 ha)), State lands (47 ac (13 ha)), lands owned by Lee County (90 ac (36 ha)), and parcels in private or other ownership (126 ac (51 ha)). This unit includes lands on Buck Key, Runyan Key, and Sanibel Island. On Sanibel Island, the unit includes a portion of Bowman’s Beach, from just south of Silver Key to the western terminus of Water’s Edge Lane; uplands within JDDNWR; and a shell mound located near the northern terminus of Tarpon Bay Road. This unit was occupied at the time the species was listed and contains the physical or biological features, including suitable climate, hydrology, substrate, associated native plant species, and disturbance regimes essential to the conservation of the species and contains the maritime hammock primary constituent elements. The physical or biological features in this unit may require special management considerations or protection to address threats of nonnative plant species and sea level rise. The CCP for JDDNWR promotes the protection and restoration of habitats, and identifies actions specific to Harrisia aboriginum. The Service conducts nonnative species control and monitors the population at JDDNWR. Effects of Critical Habitat Designation Section 7 Consultation Section 7(a)(2) of the Act requires Federal agencies, including the Service, to ensure that any action they fund, authorize, or carry out is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules any endangered species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat of such species. In addition, section 7(a)(4) of the Act requires Federal agencies to confer with the Service on any agency action that is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any species proposed to be listed under the Act or result in the destruction or adverse modification of proposed critical habitat. Decisions by the 5th and 9th Circuit Courts of Appeals have invalidated our regulatory definition of ‘‘destruction or adverse modification’’ (50 CFR 402.02) (see Gifford Pinchot Task Force v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 378 F. 3d 1059 (9th Cir. 2004) and Sierra Club v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 245 F.3d 434 (5th Cir. 2001)), and we do not rely on this regulatory definition when analyzing whether an action is likely to destroy or adversely modify critical habitat. Under the statutory provisions of the Act, we determine destruction or adverse modification on the basis of whether, with implementation of the proposed Federal action, the affected critical habitat would continue to serve its intended conservation role for the species. If a Federal action may affect a listed species or its critical habitat, the responsible Federal agency (action agency) must enter into consultation with us. Examples of actions that are subject to the section 7 consultation process are actions on State, tribal, local, or private lands that require a Federal permit (such as a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under section 404 of the Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) or a permit from the Service under section 10 of the Act) or that involve some other Federal action (such as funding from the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency). Federal actions not affecting listed species or critical habitat, and actions on State, tribal, local, or private lands that are not federally funded or authorized, do not require section 7 consultation. As a result of section 7 consultation, we document compliance with the requirements of section 7(a)(2) through our issuance of: (1) A concurrence letter for Federal actions that may affect, but are not likely to adversely affect, listed species or critical habitat; or (2) A biological opinion for Federal actions that may affect and are likely to adversely affect, listed species or critical habitat. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 When we issue a biological opinion concluding that a project is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species and/or destroy or adversely modify critical habitat, we provide reasonable and prudent alternatives to the project, if any are identifiable, that would avoid the likelihood of jeopardy and/or destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. We define ‘‘reasonable and prudent alternatives’’ (at 50 CFR 402.02) as alternative actions identified during consultation that: (1) Can be implemented in a manner consistent with the intended purpose of the action, (2) Can be implemented consistent with the scope of the Federal agency’s legal authority and jurisdiction, (3) Are economically and technologically feasible, and (4) Would, in the Director’s opinion, avoid the likelihood of jeopardizing the continued existence of the listed species and/or avoid the likelihood of destroying or adversely modifying critical habitat. Reasonable and prudent alternatives can vary from slight project modifications to extensive redesign or relocation of the project. Costs associated with implementing a reasonable and prudent alternative are similarly variable. Regulations at 50 CFR 402.16 require Federal agencies to reinitiate consultation on previously reviewed actions in instances where we have listed a new species or subsequently designated critical habitat that may be affected and the Federal agency has retained discretionary involvement or control over the action (or the agency’s discretionary involvement or control is authorized by law). Consequently, Federal agencies sometimes may need to request reinitiation of consultation with us on actions for which formal consultation has been completed, if those actions with discretionary involvement or control may affect subsequently listed species or designated critical habitat. Application of the ‘‘Adverse Modification’’ Standard The key factor related to the adverse modification determination is whether, with implementation of the proposed Federal action, the affected critical habitat would continue to serve its intended conservation role for the species. Activities that may destroy or adversely modify critical habitat are those that alter the physical or biological features to an extent that appreciably reduces the conservation value of critical habitat for Consolea PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 3331 corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum. As discussed above, the role of critical habitat is to support life-history needs of the species and provide for the conservation of the species. Section 4(b)(8) of the Act requires us to briefly evaluate and describe, in any proposed or final regulation that designates critical habitat, activities involving a Federal action that may destroy or adversely modify such habitat, or that may be affected by such designation. Activities that may affect critical habitat, when carried out, funded, or authorized by a Federal agency, should result in consultation for the Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum. These activities include, but are not limited to: (1) Actions that would significantly alter the hydrology or substrate, such as ditching or filling. Such activities may include, but are not limited to, road construction or maintenance, and residential, commercial, or recreational development. (2) Actions that would significantly alter vegetation structure or composition, such as clearing vegetation for construction of roads, residential and commercial development, and recreational facilities, and trails. (3) Actions that would introduce nonnative species that would significantly alter vegetation structure or composition. Such activities may include, but are not limited to, residential and commercial development and road construction. Exemptions Application of Section 4(a)(3) of the Act Section 4(a)(3)(B)(i) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(3)(B)(i)) provides that: ‘‘The Secretary shall not designate as critical habitat any lands or other geographic areas owned or controlled by the Department of Defense, or designated for its use, that are subject to an integrated natural resources management plan (INRMP) prepared under section 101 of the Sikes Act (16 U.S.C. 670a), if the Secretary determines in writing that such plan provides a benefit to the species for which critical habitat is proposed for designation.’’ There are no Department of Defense lands with a completed INRMP within the proposed critical habitat for Consolea corallicola or Harrisia aboriginum. Consideration of Impacts Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act Section 4(b)(2) of the Act states that the Secretary shall designate and make revisions to critical habitat on the basis E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 3332 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 of the best available scientific data after taking into consideration the economic impact, national security impact, and any other relevant impact of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. The Secretary may exclude an area from critical habitat if she determines that the benefits of such exclusion outweigh the benefits of specifying such area as part of the critical habitat, unless she determines, based on the best scientific data available, that the failure to designate such area as critical habitat will result in the extinction of the species. In making that determination, the statute on its face, as well as the legislative history, are clear that the Secretary has broad discretion regarding which factor(s) to use and how much weight to give to any factor. When considering the benefits of exclusion, we consider, among other things, whether exclusion of a specific area is likely to result in conservation; the continuation, strengthening, or encouragement of partnerships; or implementation of a management plan. In the case of Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum, the benefits of designating critical habitat include public awareness of the presence of Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum and the importance of habitat protection, and, where a Federal nexus exists, increased habitat protection for Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum due to protection from adverse modification or destruction of critical habitat. In practice, situations with a Federal nexus exist primarily on Federal lands or for projects undertaken by Federal agencies. We have not proposed to exclude any areas from critical habitat. However, the final decision on whether to exclude any areas will be based on the best scientific data available at the time of the final designation, including information obtained during the comment period and information about the economic impact of designation. Accordingly, we have prepared a draft economic analysis (DEA) concerning the proposed critical habitat designation, which is available for review and comment (see ADDRESSES). Exclusions Based on Economic Impacts Section 4(b)(2) of the Act and its implementing regulations require that we consider the economic impact that may result from a designation of critical habitat. To assess the probable economic impacts of a designation, we must first evaluate specific land uses or activities and projects that may occur in the area of the critical habitat. We then must evaluate the impacts that a specific critical habitat designation may have on VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 restricting or modifying specific land uses or activities for the benefit of the species and its habitat within the areas proposed. We then identify which conservation efforts may be the result of the species being listed under the Act versus those attributed solely to the designation of critical habitat for this particular species. The probable economic impact of a proposed critical habitat designation is analyzed by comparing scenarios both ‘‘with critical habitat’’ and ‘‘without critical habitat.’’ The ‘‘without critical habitat’’ scenario represents the baseline for the analysis, which includes the existing regulatory and socio-economic burden imposed on landowners, managers, or other resource users potentially affected by the designation of critical habitat (e.g., under the Federal listing as well as other Federal, State, and local regulations). The baseline, therefore, represents the costs of all efforts attributable to the listing of the species under the Act (i.e., conservation of the species and its habitat incurred regardless of whether critical habitat is designated). The ‘‘with critical habitat’’ scenario describes the incremental impacts associated specifically with the designation of critical habitat for the species. The incremental conservation efforts and associated impacts would not be expected without the designation of critical habitat for the species. In other words, the incremental costs are those attributable solely to the designation of critical habitat, above and beyond the baseline costs. These are the costs we use when evaluating the benefits of inclusion and exclusion of particular areas from the final designation of critical habitat should we choose to conduct an optional section 4(b)(2) exclusion analysis. For this designation, we developed an Incremental Effects Memorandum (IEM) considering the probable incremental economic impacts that may result from this proposed designation of critical habitat. The information contained in our IEM was then used to develop a screening analysis of the probable effects of the designation of critical habitat for Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum (IEc 2014, entire). In particular, the screening analysis considers baseline costs (i.e., absent critical habitat designation) and includes probable economic impacts where land and water use may be subject to conservation plans, land management plans, best management practices, or regulations that protect the habitat area as a result of the Federal listing status of the species. PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 The screening analysis filters out particular areas of critical habitat that are already subject to such protections and are, therefore, unlikely to incur incremental economic impacts. Ultimately, the screening analysis allows us to focus our analysis on evaluating the specific areas or sectors that may incur probable incremental economic impacts as a result of the designation. The screening analysis also assesses whether units are unoccupied by the species and may require additional management or conservation efforts as a result of the critical habitat designation for the species which may incur incremental economic impacts. This screening analysis, combined with the information contained in our IEM, is what we consider our draft economic analysis (DEA) of the proposed critical habitat designation for Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum and is summarized in the narrative below. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct Federal agencies to assess the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives in quantitative (to the extent feasible) and qualitative terms. Consistent with the E.O. regulatory analysis requirements, our effects analysis under the Act may take into consideration impacts to both directly and indirectly impacted entities, where practicable and reasonable. We assess to the extent practicable, the probable impacts, if sufficient data are available, to both directly and indirectly impacted entities. As part of our screening analysis, we considered the types of economic activities that are likely to occur within the areas likely affected by the critical habitat designation. In our evaluation of the probable incremental economic impacts that may result from the proposed designation of critical habitat for Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum, first we identified, in the IEM dated July 30, 2014, probable incremental economic impacts associated with the following categories of activities: (1) Federal lands management (National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management); (2) Roadway and bridge construction; (3) Dredging; (4) Commercial or residential development; (5) Recreation (including construction of recreation infrasturcture). We considered each industry or category individually. Additionally, we considered whether their activities have any Federal involvement. Critical habitat designation will not affect activities that do not have any Federal involvement; designation of critical E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 habitat only affects activities conducted, funded, permitted, or authorized by Federal agencies. In areas where Consolea corallicola or Harrisia aboriginum is present, Federal agencies already are required to consult with the Service under section 7 of the Act on activities they authorize, fund, or carry out that may affect the species. If we finalize this proposed critical habitat designation, consultations to avoid the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat would be incorporated into the existing consultation process. Therefore, disproportionate impacts to any geographic area or sector are not likely as a result of this critical habitat designation. In our IEM, we attempted to clarify the distinction between the effects that will result from the species being listed and those attributable to the critical habitat designation (i.e., difference between the jeopardy and adverse modification standards) for Consolea corallicola’s and Harrisia aboriginum’s critical habitat. Because the designation of critical habitat for Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum is being proposed so soon after the listing, it has been our experience that it is more difficult to discern which conservation efforts are attributable to the species being listed and those which will result solely from the designation of critical habitat. However, the following specific circumstances in this case help to inform our evaluation: (1) The essential physical or biological features identified for critical habitat are the same features essential for the life requisites of the species and (2) any actions that would result in sufficient harm or harassment to constitute jeopardy to Consolea corallicola or Harrisia aboriginum would also likely adversely affect the essential physical or biological features of critical habitat. The IEM outlines our rationale concerning this limited distinction between baseline conservation efforts and incremental impacts of the designation of critical habitat for these species. This evaluation of the incremental effects has been used as the basis to evaluate the probable incremental economic impacts of this proposed designation of critical habitat. Consolea corallicola The proposed critical habitat designation for Consolea corallicola totals approximately 4,411 ac (1,785 ha) across four units in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, Florida, all of which was occupied by the species at the time of listing. The proposed critical habitat includes lands under Federal (28 percent), State (58 percent), county (1 VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 percent), and private or other (13 percent) ownership. In these areas any actions that may affect the species or its habitat would also affect designated critical habitat, and it is unlikely that any additional conservation efforts would be recommended to address the adverse modification standard over and above those recommended as necessary to avoid jeopardizing the continued existence of C. corallicola. Therefore, only administrative costs are expected in the proposed critical habitat designation. While this additional analysis will require time and resources by both the Federal action agency and the Service, in most circumstances, these costs would predominantly be administrative in nature and would not be significant. Based on the available information, we anticipate no more than three consultations per year within the proposed critical habitat units. Communications with affected entities indicate that critical habitat designation is likely only to result in no more than just a few consultations, with minor conservation efforts that would likely result in relatively low probable economic impacts. Unit costs of such administrative efforts range from approximately $410 to $5,000 per consultation (2014 dollars, total cost for all parties participating in a single consultation) (IEc 2014, p. 10). Applying these unit cost estimates, this analysis conservatively estimates that the administrative cost of considering adverse modification in section 7 consultation will result in incremental costs of up to $7,100 (2014 dollars) in a given year for Consolea corallicola (IEc 2014, pp. 10–11). The entities most likely to incur incremental costs are parties to section 7 consultations, including Federal action agencies and, in some cases, third parties, most frequently State agencies or municipalities. Activities we expect will be subject to consultations that may involve private entities as third parties are residential and commercial development that may occur on private lands. However, based on coordination efforts with State and local agencies, the cost to private entities within these sectors is expected to be relatively minor (administrative costs of $5,000 or less per consultation effort) and, therefore, would not be significant. The probable incremental economic impacts of Consolea corallicola critical habitat designation are expected to be limited to additional administrative effort as well as minor costs of conservation efforts resulting from a small number of future section 7 consultations. This is due to two factors: PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 3333 (1) The units proposed as critical habitat are all considered to be occupied by the species and incremental economic impacts of critical habitat designation, other than administrative costs, are unlikely; and (2) few actions are anticipated that will result in section 7 consultation or associated project modifications. Harrisia aboriginum The proposed critical habitat designation for Harrisia aboriginum totals approximately 3,444 ac (1,394 ha) across 11 units in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, and Lee County. Nine of these units (approximately 44 percent of the area) were occupied by the species at the time of listing; the remaining two units (approximately 56 percent of the area) were unoccupied. The proposed critical habitat includes lands under Federal (11 percent), State (48 percent), county (15 percent), and private or other (26 percent) ownership. Based on the available information, we anticipate no more than four consultations per year within the occupied proposed critical habitat units. In the occupied areas, any actions that may affect the species or its habitat would also affect designated critical habitat and it is unlikely that any additional conservation efforts would be recommended to address the adverse modification standard over and above those recommended as necessary to avoid jeopardizing the continued existence of Harrisia aboriginum. Therefore, only administrative costs are expected in approximately 44 percent of the proposed critical habitat designation. While this additional analysis will require time and resources by both the Federal action agency and the Service, in most circumstances, these costs would predominantly be administrative in nature and would not be significant. Unit costs of such administrative efforts range from approximately $410 to $5,000 per consultation (2014 dollars, total cost for all parties participating in a single consultation) (IEc 2014, p. 10). Applying these unit cost estimates to the occupied units, this analysis conservatively estimates that the administrative cost of considering adverse modification in section 7 consultation will result in incremental costs of up to $7,000 (2014 dollars) in a given year for H. aboriginum (IEc 2014, p. 11). In the unoccupied areas, any conservation efforts or associated probable impacts would be considered incremental effects attributed to the critical habitat designation. Within the unoccupied critical habitat, few actions are expected to occur that will result in E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 3334 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules section 7 consultation or associated project modifications because no Federal lands are included in these units. Based on the results from past consultation history for these areas and communications with potentially affected entities, we anticipate that an additional six projects will result in section 7 consultation (two formal and four informal) within the proposed unoccupied units per year, with minor conservation efforts that would likely result in relatively low probable economic impacts. Unit costs of such administrative efforts range from approximately $1,200 to $15,000 per consultation (2014 dollars, total cost for all parties participating in a single consultation) (IEc 2014, p. 10). Applying these unit cost estimates to the unoccupied units, this analysis conservatively estimates that the administrative cost of considering adverse modification in section 7 consultation will result in incremental costs of up to $60,000 (2014 dollars) in a given year for H. aboriginum (IEc 2014, pp. 10–11). Therefore, the estimate of incremental costs for all units (occupied and unoccupied) is $67,000 (2014 dollars) in a given year for H. aboriginum (IEc 2014, pp. 10–11). The entities most likely to incur incremental costs are parties to section 7 consultations, including Federal action agencies and, in some cases, third parties, most frequently State agencies or municipalities. Activities we expect will be subject to consultations that may involve private entities as third parties are residential and commercial development that may occur on private lands. However, based on coordination efforts with State and local agencies, the cost to private entities within these sectors is expected to be relatively minor (administrative costs of less than $5,000 (occupied) or $15,000 (unoccupied) per consultation effort), and any costs from required conservation measures, therefore, would not be significant. The probable incremental economic impacts of Harrisia aboriginum critical habitat designation are expected to be limited to additional administrative effort as well as minor costs of conservation efforts resulting from a small number of future section 7 consultations. This is due to two factors: (1) Incremental economic impacts of critical habitat designation, other than administrative costs, are unlikely; and (2) in proposed areas that are not occupied by H. aboriginum (56 percent), few actions are anticipated that will result in section 7 consultation or associated project modifications. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 The DEA also discusses the potential for incremental costs to occur outside of the section 7 consultation process, including costs associated with the potential triggering of additional requirements or project modifications under State laws or regulations, and perceptional effects on markets. For both species, it is unlikely that the designation of critical habitat will trigger additional State or local restrictions (IEc 2014, pp. 11–12). Public perception of critical habitat may result in landowners or buyers believing that the rule will restrict land or water use activities in some way and, therefore, valuing the resource less than they would have absent critical habitat. This is a perceptional, or stigma, effect of critical habitat on markets. Costs resulting from public perception of the impact of critical habitat, if they occur, are more likely to occur on private lands. However, based on the DEA, ‘‘possible costs resulting from public perception of the effect of critical habitat designation, when combined with section 7 costs, are unlikely to exceed the threshold for an economically significant rulemaking under [Executive Order] 12866’’ (IEc 2014, p. 13). Under Executive Order 12866, agencies must assess the potential costs and benefits of regulatory actions and quantify those costs and benefits if that action may have an effect on the economy of $100 million or more annually. As we stated earlier, we are soliciting data and comments from the public on the DEA, as well as all aspects of the proposed rule. We may revise the proposed rule or supporting documents to incorporate or address information we receive during the public comment period. In particular, we may exclude an area from critical habitat if we determine that the benefits of excluding the area outweigh the benefits of including the area, provided the exclusion will not result in the extinction of these species. Exclusions Based on National Security Impacts Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we consider whether there are lands where a national security impact might exist. In preparing this proposal, we have determined that the lands within the proposed designation of critical habitat for Consolea corallicola or Harrisia aboriginum are not owned or managed by the Department of Defense or Department of Homeland Security, and, therefore, we anticipate no impact on national security. Consequently, the Secretary is not intending to exercise her discretion to exclude any areas from PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 the final designation based on impacts on national security. Exclusions Based on Other Relevant Impacts Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we consider any other relevant impacts, in addition to economic impacts and impacts on national security. We consider a number of factors, including whether the landowners have developed any HCPs or other management plans for the area, or whether there are conservation partnerships that would be encouraged by designation of, or exclusion from, critical habitat. In addition, we look at any tribal issues, and consider the government-togovernment relationship of the United States with tribal entities. We also consider any social impacts that might occur because of the designation. We have determined that the Monroe County HCP for Big Pine and No Name Keys is the only HCP or other management plan that will be affected by either proposed designations. The Monroe County HCP for Big Pine and No Name Keys, which covers a portion of unit FSC3, does not include Consolea corallicola as a ‘Covered Species’ and C. corallicola is not mentioned specifically anywhere in the HCP document. Further, the proposed designation does not include any tribal lands or trust resources. Therefore, we anticipate no impact on tribal lands, partnerships, or other HCPs from this proposed critical habitat designation. Accordingly, the Secretary does not intend to exercise her discretion to exclude any areas from the final designation based on other relevant impacts. Peer Review In accordance with our joint policy on peer review published in the Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we will seek the expert opinions of at least three appropriate and independent specialists regarding this proposed rule. The purpose of peer review is to ensure that our critical habitat designation is based on scientifically sound data, and analyses. We have invited these peer reviewers to comment during this public comment period. We will consider all comments and information received during the comment period on this proposed rule during our preparation of a final determination. Accordingly, the final decision may differ from this proposal. Public Hearings Section 4(b)(5) of the Act provides for one or more public hearings on this proposal, if requested. Requests must be received within 45 days after the date of E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules publication of this proposed rule in the Federal Register. Such requests must be sent to the address shown in ADDRESSES. We will schedule public hearings on this proposal, if any are requested, and announce the dates, times, and places of those hearings, as well as how to obtain reasonable accommodations, in the Federal Register and local newspapers at least 15 days before the hearing. Required Determinations Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563) Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) will review all significant rules. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has determined that this rule is not significant. Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 12866 while calling for improvements in the nation’s regulatory system to promote predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. The executive order directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and consistent with regulatory objectives. E.O. 13563 emphasizes further that regulations must be based on the best available science and that the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open exchange of ideas. We have developed this rule in a manner consistent with these requirements. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA; 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA; 5 U.S.C 801 et seq.), whenever an agency is required to publish a notice of rulemaking for any proposed or final rule, it must prepare and make available for public comment a regulatory flexibility analysis that describes the effects of the rule on small entities (small businesses, small organizations, and small government jurisdictions). However, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required if the head of the agency certifies the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The SBREFA amended the RFA to require Federal agencies to provide a certification statement of the factual basis for certifying that the rule will not VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. According to the Small Business Administration, small entities include small organizations such as independent nonprofit organizations; small governmental jurisdictions, including school boards and city and town governments that serve fewer than 50,000 residents; and small businesses (13 CFR 121.201). Small businesses include such businesses as manufacturing and mining concerns with fewer than 500 employees, wholesale trade entities with fewer than 100 employees, retail and service businesses with less than $5 million in annual sales, general and heavy construction businesses with less than $27.5 million in annual business, special trade contractors doing less than $11.5 million in annual business, and agricultural businesses with annual sales less than $750,000. To determine if potential economic impacts to these small entities are significant, we considered the types of activities that might trigger regulatory impacts under this designation as well as the types of project modifications that may result. In general, the term ‘‘significant economic impact’’ is meant to apply to a typical small business firm’s business operations. The Service’s current understanding of the requirements under the RFA, as amended, and following recent court decisions, is that Federal agencies are required to evaluate the potential incremental impacts of rulemaking only on those entities directly regulated by the rulemaking itself and, therefore, not required to evaluate the potential impacts to indirectly regulated entities. The regulatory mechanism through which critical habitat protections are realized is section 7 of the Act, which requires Federal agencies, in consultation with the Service, to ensure that any action authorized, funded, or carried by the Agency is not likely to adversely modify critical habitat. Therefore, under these circumstances only Federal action agencies are directly subject to the specific regulatory requirement (avoiding destruction and adverse modification) imposed by critical habitat designation. Under these circumstances, it is our position that only Federal action agencies will be directly regulated by this designation. Federal agencies are not small entities and to this end, there is no requirement under the RFA to evaluate the potential impacts to entities not directly regulated. Therefore, because no small entities are directly regulated by this rulemaking, the Service certifies that, if promulgated, the proposed critical PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 3335 habitat designation will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. In summary, we have considered whether the proposed designation would result in a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. For the above reasons and based on currently available information, we certify that, if promulgated, the proposed critical habitat designation would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small business entities. Therefore, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required. Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use— Executive Order 13211 Executive Order 13211 (Actions Concerning Regulations That Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use) requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. We do not foresee any energy development projects that may affect the proposed critical habitat units for Consolea corallicola or Harrisia aboriginum. Therefore, this action is not a significant energy action, and no Statement of Energy Effects is required. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.) In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.), we make the following findings: (1) This rule will not produce a Federal mandate. In general, a Federal mandate is a provision in legislation, statute, or regulation that would impose an enforceable duty upon State, local, or tribal governments, or the private sector, and includes both ‘‘Federal intergovernmental mandates’’ and ‘‘Federal private sector mandates.’’ These terms are defined in 2 U.S.C. 658(5)–(7). ‘‘Federal intergovernmental mandate’’ includes a regulation that ‘‘would impose an enforceable duty upon State, local, or tribal governments’’ with two exceptions. It excludes ‘‘a condition of Federal assistance.’’ It also excludes ‘‘a duty arising from participation in a voluntary Federal program,’’ unless the regulation ‘‘relates to a then-existing Federal program under which $500,000,000 or more is provided annually to State, local, and tribal governments under entitlement authority,’’ if the provision would ‘‘increase the stringency of conditions of assistance’’ or ‘‘place caps upon, or otherwise decrease, the Federal Government’s responsibility to provide funding,’’ and the State, local, or tribal governments ‘‘lack authority’’ to adjust accordingly. At the time of enactment, E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 3336 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 these entitlement programs were: Medicaid; Aid to Families with Dependent Children work programs; Child Nutrition; Food Stamps; Social Services Block Grants; Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants; Foster Care, Adoption Assistance, and Independent Living; Family Support Welfare Services; and Child Support Enforcement. ‘‘Federal private sector mandate’’ includes a regulation that ‘‘would impose an enforceable duty upon the private sector, except (i) a condition of Federal assistance or (ii) a duty arising from participation in a voluntary Federal program.’’ The designation of critical habitat does not impose a legally binding duty on non-Federal Government entities or private parties. Under the Act, the only regulatory effect is that Federal agencies must ensure that their actions do not destroy or adversely modify critical habitat under section 7. While nonFederal entities that receive Federal funding, assistance, or permits, or that otherwise require approval or authorization from a Federal agency for an action, may be indirectly impacted by the designation of critical habitat, the legally binding duty to avoid destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat rests squarely on the Federal agency. Furthermore, to the extent that non-Federal entities are indirectly impacted because they receive Federal assistance or participate in a voluntary Federal aid program, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act would not apply, nor would critical habitat shift the costs of the large entitlement programs listed above onto State governments. (2) We do not believe that this rule would significantly or uniquely affect small governments. The government lands being proposed for critical habitat designation are owned by the Town of Longboat Key, the State of Florida, and the BLM, NPS, and the Service. None of these government entities fit the definition of ‘‘small governmental jurisdiction.’’ Therefore, a Small Government Agency Plan is not required. Takings—Executive Order 12630 In accordance with Executive Order 12630 (‘‘Government Actions and Interference with Constitutionally Protected Private Property Rights’’), this rule is not anticipated to have significant takings implications. As discussed above, the designation of critical habitat affects only Federal actions. Critical habitat designation does not affect landowner actions that do not require Federal funding or permits, nor does it preclude development of habitat VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 conservation programs or issuance of incidental take permits to permit actions that do require Federal funding or permits to go forward. Due to current public knowledge of the species protections and the prohibition against take of the species both within and outside of the proposed areas, we do not anticipate that property values will be affected by the critical habitat designation. However, we have not yet finalized the economic analysis for this proposed rule. Once the economic analysis is final, we will review and revise this preliminary assessment as warranted, and prepare a Takings Implication Assessment. Federalism—Executive Order 13132 In accordance with Executive Order 13132 (Federalism), this proposed rule does not have significant Federalism effects. A Federalism assessment is not required. In keeping with Department of the Interior and Department of Commerce policy, we request information from, and coordinated development of, this proposed critical habitat designation with appropriate State resource agencies in Florida. From a Federalism perspective, the designation of critical habitat directly affects only the responsibilities of Federal agencies. The Act imposes no other duties with respect to critical habitat, either for States and local governments, or for anyone else. As a result, the rule does not have substantial direct effects either on the States, or on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of powers and responsibilities among the various levels of government. The designation may have some benefit to these governments because the areas that contain the features essential to the conservation of the species are more clearly defined, and the physical or biological features of the habitat necessary to the conservation of the species are specifically identified. This information does not alter where and what federally sponsored activities may occur. However, it may assist these local governments in long-range planning (because these local governments no longer have to wait for case-by-case section 7 consultations to occur). Where State and local governments require approval or authorization from a Federal agency for actions that may affect critical habitat, consultation under section 7(a)(2) would be required. While non-Federal entities that receive Federal funding, assistance, or permits, or that otherwise require approval or authorization from a Federal agency for an action, may be indirectly impacted PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 by the designation of critical habitat, the legally binding duty to avoid destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat rests squarely on the Federal agency. Civil Justice Reform—Executive Order 12988 In accordance with Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform), the Office of the Solicitor has determined that the rule does not unduly burden the judicial system and that it meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of the Order. We have proposed designating critical habitat in accordance with the provisions of the Act. To assist the public in understanding the habitat needs of the species, the rule identifies the elements of physical or biological features essential to the conservation of the species. The designated areas of critical habitat are presented on maps, and the rule provides several options for the interested public to obtain more detailed location information, if desired. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) This rule does not contain any new collections of information that require approval by OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). This rule will not impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements on State or local governments, individuals, businesses, or organizations. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) It is our position that, outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, we do not need to prepare environmental analyses pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act in connection with designating critical habitat under the Act. We published a notice outlining our reasons for this determination in the Federal Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244). This position was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Douglas County v. Babbitt, 48 F.3d 1495 (9th Cir. 1995), cert. denied 516 U.S. 1042 (1996)). Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes In accordance with the President’s memorandum of April 29, 1994 (Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal Governments; 59 FR 22951), Executive E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 3337 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules Order 13175 (Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments), and the Department of the Interior’s manual at 512 DM 2, we readily acknowledge our responsibility to communicate meaningfully with recognized Federal Tribes on a government-to-government basis. In accordance with Secretarial Order 3206 of June 5, 1997 (American Indian Tribal Rights, Federal-Tribal Trust Responsibilities, and the Endangered Species Act), we readily acknowledge our responsibilities to work directly with tribes in developing programs for healthy ecosystems, to acknowledge that tribal lands are not subject to the same controls as Federal public lands, to remain sensitive to Indian culture, and to make information available to tribes. As discussed above (see Exclusions Based on Other Relevant Impacts), we have determined that there are no tribal lands that were occupied by Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum at the time of listing that contain the features essential for conservation of the species, and no tribal lands unoccupied by C. corallicola and H. aboriginum that are essential for the conservation of the species. Clarity of the Rule We are required by Executive Orders 12866 and 12988 and by the Presidential Memorandum of June 1, 1998, to write all rules in plain language. This means that each rule we publish must: (1) Be logically organized; (2) Use the active voice to address readers directly; (3) Use clear language rather than jargon; (4) Be divided into short sections and sentences; and (5) Use lists and tables wherever possible. If you feel that we have not met these requirements, send us comments by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. To better help us revise the rule, your comments should be as specific as possible. For example, you should tell us the numbers of the sections or paragraphs that are unclearly written, which sections or sentences are too long, the sections where you feel lists or tables would be useful, etc. Authors The primary authors of this package are the staff members of the South Florida Ecological Services Office. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17 Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Transportation. Proposed Regulation Promulgation Accordingly, we propose to amend part 17, subchapter B of chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as set forth below: PART 17—ENDANGERED AND THREATENED WILDLIFE AND PLANTS 1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361–1407; 1531– 1544; 4201–4245, unless otherwise noted. References Cited A complete list of references cited in this rulemaking is available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov and upon request from the South Florida Ecological Services Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). 2. In § 17.12(h), revise the entries for ‘‘Consolea corallicola Cactus, Florida semaphore’’ and ‘‘Harrisia aboriginum Prickly-apple, aboriginal’’ under ‘‘Flowering Plants’’ in the List of Endangered and Threatened Plants to read as follows: § 17.12 ■ * Endangered and threatened plants. * * (h) * * * * Species Historic range Common name Family Status * When listed Critical habitat Scientific name Special rules FLOWERING PLANTS * Consolea corallicola * Cactus, Florida semaphore. * U.S.A. (FL) ............. * Cactaceae .............. * E * 826 17.96(a) * Harrisia aboriginum * Prickly-apple, aboriginal. * U.S.A. (FL) ............. * Cactaceae .............. * E * 826 17.96(a) * * * * * 3. Amend § 17.96(a) by adding entries for ‘‘Consolea corallicola (Florida semaphore cactus)’’ and ‘‘Harrisia aboriginum (aboriginal prickly-apple)’’ in alphabetical order under the family Cactaceae, to read as follows: ■ tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 § 17.96 * Critical habitat—plants. (a) Flowering plants. * * * * Family Cactaceae: Consolea corallicola (Florida semaphore cactus) (1) Critical habitat units are depicted for Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, Florida, on the maps below. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 * (2) Within these areas, the primary constituent elements of the physical or biological features essential to the conservation of Consolea corallicola are: (i) Areas of upland habitats consisting of coastal berm, rockland hammocks, and buttonwood forest. (A) Coastal berm habitat that contains: (1) Open to semi-open canopy, subcanopy, and understory; and (2) Substrate of coarse, calcareous, and storm-deposited sediment. (B) Rockland hammock habitat that contains: (1) Canopy gaps and edges with an open to semi-open canopy, subcanopy, and understory; and PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 * NA * NA * (2) Substrate with a thin layer of highly organic soil covering limestone or organic matter that accumulates on top of the limestone. (C) Buttonwood forest habitat that contains: (1) Open to semi-open canopy and understory; and (2) Substrate with calcareous marl muds, calcareous sands, or limestone rock. (ii) A plant community of predominately native vegetation with no invasive, nonnative animal or plant species or such species in quantities low enough to have minimal effect on survival of Consolea corallicola. E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 3338 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 (iii) A disturbance regime, due to the effects of strong winds or saltwater inundation from storm surge or infrequent tidal inundation, that creates canopy openings in coastal berm, rockland hammocks, and buttonwood forest. (iv) Habitats that are connected and of sufficient size to sustain viable populations in coastal berm, rockland hammocks, and buttonwood forest. (v) Habitats that provide populations of the generalist pollinators that visit the flowers of Consolea corallicola. (3) Critical habitat does not include manmade structures (such as buildings, VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 aqueducts, runways, roads, and other paved areas) and the land on which they are located that exists within the legal boundaries on the effective date of this rule. (4) Critical habitat map units. Data layers defining map units were developed using ESRI ArcGIS mapping software along with various spatial data layers. ArcGIS was also used to calculate area. The projection used in mapping and calculating distances and locations within the units was North American Albers Equal Area Conic, NAD 83. The maps in this entry, as PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 modified by any accompanying regulatory text, establish the boundaries of the critical habitat designation. The coordinates, plot points, or both on which each map is based are available to the public at the Service’s Internet site at http://www.fws.gov/verobeach/, at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS–R4–ES–2014–0057, and at the field office responsible for this designation. You may obtain field office location information by contacting one of the Service regional offices, the addresses of which are listed at 50 CFR 2.2. E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules 3339 Note: Index map of all critical habitat units for Consolea corallicola follows: BILLING CODE 4310–55–P Index Map All Critical Habitat Units for Miami-Dadil lvlonroe Florida Bay Straits Atlantic Ocean Florida 20 25 40 Miles ' 6 50 . . . J'. (6) Unit FSC1: Swan Key, Biscayne National Park, Miami-Dade County, Florida. (i) General Description: Unit FSC1 consists of 37 ac (15 ha) in Miami-Dade County. This unit is composed entirely VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 of lands in Federal ownership, 100 percent of which are located on Swan Key within Biscayne National Park. The unit includes all upland rockland hammock habitat on Swan Key, most of which is located on the eastern side of PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 N Swan Key, surrounded by the island’s mangrove fringe. A second, smaller area is located on the island’s elongated western half and is also surrounded by mangroves. E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.000</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Coastline 3340 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules (ii) Map of Unit FSC1 follows: Straits of Florida Coastline (7) Unit FSC2: Key Largo, Monroe County, Florida. (i) General Description: Unit FSC2 consists of 3,434 ac (1,389 ha) in Monroe County. This unit is composed of Federal lands within Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) (702 ac (284 ha)); State lands within Dagny Johnson Botanical State Park, John VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, and the Florida Keys Wildlife and Environmental Area (2331 ac (943 ha)); lands owned by Monroe County (17 ac (7 ha)); and parcels in private or other ownership (384 ac (155 ha)). This unit extends from near the northern tip of Key Largo, along the length of Key Largo, beginning at the south shore of PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Ocean Reef Harbor near South Marina Drive and the intersection of County Road (CR) 905 and Clubhouse Road on the west side of CR 905, and between CR 905 and Old State Road 905, then extending to the shoreline south of South Harbor Drive. The unit then continues on both sides of CR 905 through the Crocodile Lake NWR, Dagny E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.001</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Critical Habitat Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park, and John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. The unit then terminates near the junction of U.S. 1 and CR 905 and Garden Cove Drive. The unit resumes on the east side of U.S. 1 from South Andros Road to Key Largo Elementary; then from the intersection of Taylor Drive and Pamela Street to Avenue A, then from Sound Drive to the VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 intersection of Old Road and Valencia Road, then resumes on the east side of U.S. 1 from Hibiscus Lane and Ocean Drive. The unit continues south near the Port Largo Airport from Poisonwood Road to Bo Peep Boulevard. The unit resumes on the west side of U.S. 1 from the intersection of South Drive and Meridian Avenue to Casa Court Drive. The unit then continues on the west PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 3341 side of U.S. 1 from the point on the coast directly west of Peace Avenue south to Caribbean Avenue. The unit also includes a portion of the barrier island (El Radabob Key) in Largo Sound located directly east of Avenue A, extending south to a point directly east of Mahogany Drive. E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 3342 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules (ii) Index map of Unit FSC2 follows: BILLING CODE 4310–55–P Index l'vfap of Unit FSC2 of Critical Habitat MapA MapS MapC l'vlap D VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 10 Miles 5 E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.002</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 0 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules 3343 (iii) Map A of Unit FSC2 follows: of Unit FSC2 ofCrilkal Habitat Road NORTIII\£Y LARGO Atlantic Ocean 1.5 Miles 0.75 0 0.75 L5 Kil<lmeters L\ I tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Coastline VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM . . N 22JAP2 EP22JA15.003</GPH> * 3344 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules (iv) Map B of Unit FSC2 follows: Sound Crocodile Lake NWR Johnson :::.....:----- Botanical State Park Atlantic Ocean LS Miles " 6 ' ' I ' l VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.004</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 N Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules 3345 (v) Map C of Unit FSC2 follows: Atlantic Ocean 0 0. 75 I 0 1.5 Miles I 0.75 1.5 Kilometers 6 ' ' Road ' ' J' VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.005</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 N 3346 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules (vi) Map D of Unit FSC2 follows: VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.006</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Atlantic Ocean Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules 3347 (vii) Map E of Unit FSC2 follows: Map E ofl)nit f'SC2 of Critical Habitat Atlantic Ocean 0 0.2 0.4 Miles . 6 . . i VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.007</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 N 3348 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules (viii) Map F of Unit FSC2 follows: Map F of Unit FSC2 nfCriticalllubitat ft)r Florida Atlantic ' 6 . . . (8) Unit FSC3: Big Pine Key, Monroe County, Florida. (i) General Description: Unit FSC3 consists of 772 ac (313 ha) in Monroe County. This unit is composed of Federal land within the National Key Deer Refuge (NKDR) (508 ac (205 ha)), State land managed as part of the NKDR VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 (172 ac (70 ha)), lands owned by Monroe County (11 ac (5 ha)), and parcels in private or other ownership (81 ac (33 ha)). This unit extends from near the northern tip of Big Pine Key along the eastern shore to the vicinity of Hellenga Drive and Watson Road; from Gulf Boulevard south to West Shore PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Drive; Big Pine Avenue and Elma Avenues on the east, Coral and Yacht Club Road, and U.S. 1 on the north, and Industrial Avenue on the east from the southeastern tip of Big Pine Key to Avenue A. E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.008</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 N Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules 3349 (ii) Index map of Unit FSC3 follows: Index ~bp oflJnit FSC3 of Critical Habitat Map MapD :NiapE 3 Miles 1' i i ,/ / Road ... I Coastline . 6 ' N VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.009</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Critical Habitat 3350 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules (iii) Map A of Unit FSC3 follows: A oft' nit FSC3 of Critical Habitat () 0.5 I Kilometers 6 ' ' I Coastline N VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.010</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Critical Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules 3351 (iv) Map B of Unit FSC3 follows: B of Unil fSC3 of Critical Habil;tt .fbr Florida Bay ..6 t / / I / VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.011</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 N 3352 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules (v) Map C of Unit FSC3 follows: Florida Bay Florida Bay 0.5 Miles . [\ ' ' I VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.012</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 N Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules 3353 (vi) Map D of Unit FSC3 follows: Map D of Unit FSC3 of Critical Habitat fbr Coupon Bight VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.013</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Coastline 3354 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules (vii) Map E of Unit FSC3 follows: Map E of Unit FSC3 of Critical Habitat (9) Unit FSC4: Little Torch Key, Monroe County, Florida. (i) General Description: Unit FSC4 consists of 168 ac (68 ha) in Monroe County. This unit is composed of State lands (47 ac (19 ha)), lands owned by Monroe County (10 ac (4 ha)), and VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 parcels in private and other ownership (111 ac (45 ha)). This unit extends along State Highway 4A, from Coral Shores Road, south to County Road, resuming at Linda Street and extending south to the Overseas Highway. South of the Overseas Highway, the unit includes PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 areas west of Kings Cove Road, and an area comprising the southern tip of Little Torch Key that includes portions of the John J. Pescatello Torchwood Hammock Preserve. E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.014</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Straits of Florida Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules 3355 (ii) Index map of Unit FSC4 follows: MapA MapB Coastline VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.015</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Critical Habitat 3356 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules (iii) Map A of Unit FSC4 follows: Com! Slmn:s Rd . 6 . l tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Habitat VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 N EP22JA15.016</GPH> Coastline , . Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules 3357 (iv) Map B of Unit FSC4 follows: 6 ' ' Coastline * * * Family Cactaceae: Harrisia aboriginum (Aboriginal Prickly-Apple) (1) Critical habitat units for Harrisia aboriginum are depicted for Manatee, Charlotte, Sarasota, and Lee Counties, Florida, on the maps below. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 (2) Within these areas, the primary constituent elements of the physical or biological features essential to the conservation of Harrisia aboriginum are: (i) Areas of upland habitats consisting of coastal strand, coastal grassland, coastal berm, maritime hammocks, and shell mounds. PO 00000 Frm 00043 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 N (A) Coastal strand habitat that contains: (1) Open to semi-open canopy and understory, and (2) Substrate of sand and shell fragments of stabilized coastal dunes. (B) Coastal grassland habitat that contains: E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.017</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 * ' ' Ciitical I labitat * ' 3358 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 (1) No canopy and an open understory, and (2) Substrate of sand and shell fragments. (C) Coastal berm habitat that contains: (1) Open to semi-open canopy, subcanopy, and understory, and (2) Substrate of coarse, calcareous, storm-deposited sediment. (D) Maritime hammock habitat that contains: (1) Canopy gaps and edges with an open to semi-open canopy, subcanopy, and understory; and (2) Substrate of calcareous sand and shell fragments. (E) Shell mound habitat that contains: (1) Open to semi-open canopy and understory, and (2) Substrate of soil derived from calcareous shells deposited by Native Americans during prehistoric times. (ii) A plant community of predominately native vegetation with no invasive, nonnative animal or plant species or such species in quantities low VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 enough to have minimal effect on survival of Harrisia aboriginum. (iii) Canopy openings in coastal strand, coastal grassland, coastal berm, maritime hammock, and shell mound habitats that are created by the effects of strong winds or saltwater inundation from storm surge or infrequent tidal inundation. (iv) Habitats that are connected and of sufficient size to sustain viable populations in coastal strand, coastal grassland, coastal berm, maritime hammock, and shell mound habitats. (v) Habitats that provide populations of the generalist pollinators that visit the flowers of Harrisia aboriginum. (3) Critical habitat does not include manmade structures (such as buildings, aqueducts, runways, roads, and other paved areas) and the land on which they are located that exists within the legal boundaries on the effective date of this rule. PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 (4) Critical habitat map units. Unit maps were developed using ESRI ArcGIS mapping software along with various spatial data layers. ArcGIS was also used to calculate area. The projection used in mapping and calculating distances and locations within the units was North American Albers Equal Area Conic, NAD 83. The maps in this entry, as modified by any accompanying regulatory text, establish the boundaries of the critical habitat designation. The coordinates or plot points or both on which each map is based are available to the public at the Service’s Internet site at http:// www.fws.gov/verobeach/, at http:// www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS–R4–ES–2014–0057, and at the field office responsible for this designation. You may obtain field office location information by contacting one of the Service regional offices, the addresses of which are listed at 50 CFR 2.2. E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules 3359 (5) Index map of all critical habitat units for Harrisia aboriginum follows: Index ~1ap of All Critical Habitat Units for Harrisia aboriginum UnitAPA2 0 0 20 20 40 Miles 40 Kilometers (6) Unit APA1: Terra Ceia, Manatee County, Florida. (i) General Description: Unit APA1 consists of approximately 222 ac (90 ha) in Manatee County, Florida. This unit is composed of State lands within Madira Bickel Mound State Historical Park, VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 Terra Ceia Preserve State Park, Cockroach Bay State Buffer Preserve, and the Tampa Bay Estuarine System, (66 ac (27 ha)); Manatee County lands at Emerson Point Preserve and parcels owned by the Manatee County Port Authority (70 ac (28 ha)); and parcels in PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 private or other ownership (87 ac (35 ha)). This unit includes lands west of Highway 41 extending from just south of South Dock Street south to Snead Island. The unit also includes areas of Harbor Key, Mariposa Key, Horseshoe E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.018</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Coastline 3360 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules Key, Joe Island, Skeet Key, Paradise Island, Ed’s Key, and Rattlesnake Key. (ii) Index map of Unit APA1 follows: ( MapB 0 0 2 Miles 2 4 Kilometers L\ ' ' ' 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM ' 22JAP2 N EP22JA15.019</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Coastline VerDate Sep<11>2014 ' Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules 3361 (iii) Map A of Unit APA1 follows: Map Harbor ( 0 0 0.5 05 l Miles l Kilometers ' 6 ' ' Coastline ' i VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.020</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 N 3362 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules (iv) Map B of Unit APA1 follows: Rattlesnake Snead Island 0 (7) Unit APA2: Longboat Key, Sarasota County, Florida. (i) General description: Unit APA2 consists of approximately 54 ac (22 ha) in Sarasota County, Florida. This unit is composed entirely of parcels in private VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 or other ownership. This unit includes lands west of Gulf of Mexico Drive, extending from 0.40 mi (0.6 km) south of the intersection of Bay Isles Parkway and Gulf of Mexico Drive, to the southern tip of Longboat Key. It also PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 includes lands on the north side of Gulf of Mexico Drive, east of Longboat Club Key Drive, on the northwest tip of Longboat Key. E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.021</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Coastline Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules 3363 (ii) Map of Unit APA2 follows: Critical Habitat 0 0.5 ' 6 1 Kilometers . . . --Road ' ' (8) Unit APA3: Osprey, Sarasota County, Florida. (i) General Description: Unit APA3 consists of approximately 116 ac (47 ha) in Sarasota County, Florida. This unit is composed of Sarasota County lands VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 within Palmer Point County Park (50 ac (20 ha)) and parcels in private or other ownership (66 ac (27 ha)). This unit extends along the barrier island (Casey Key) from the south terminus of Blind Pass Road, south for approximately 1.2 PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 N mi (1.9 km) along North Casey Key Road. On the mainland, the unit includes lands bordered on the north by Vamo Way, to the east by Highway 41, and to the south by Palmetto Avenue. E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.022</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Coastline 3364 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules (ii) Map of Unit APA3 follows: ' 6 . . . / Coastline N (9) Unit APA4: Manasota Key, Sarasota and Charlotte Counties, Florida. (i) General Description: Unit APA4 consists of approximately 415 ac (168 ha) in Sarasota and Charlotte Counties, Florida. This unit is composed of State VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 lands within Stump Pass Beach State Park (58 ac (23 ha)); County lands within Blind Pass Park, Brohard Beach and Paw Park, Manasota Beach Park, Casperson Beach Park, and Service Club Park (111 ac (45 ha)); and parcels in private or other ownership (245 ac (99 PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 ha)). This unit extends from Beach Road in the City of Venice, south along Manasota Key to the barrier islands southern tip, including a portion of Peterson Island. E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.023</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Critical Habitat Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules 3365 (ii) Index map of Unit APA4 follows: Index Map MapB Sarasota !vlap C 0 6 Miles 3 ' 6 . . . { Coas!.line N VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.024</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Critical Habitat 3366 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules (iii) Map A of Unit APA4 follows: Map 2 Miles VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00052 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.025</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Coastline Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules 3367 (iv) Map B of Unit APA4 follows: Map B ofUnit APA4 of Critical l'vfrmasota Beach Road / . .6 l ,/ ,l VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM N 22JAP2 EP22JA15.026</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Coastline 3368 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules (v) Map C of Unit APA4 follows: APA4 of Critical Habitat MapC North Bca(~h Road Gulf Of (10) Unit APA5: Charlotte Harbor, Charlotte County, Florida. (i) General Description: Unit APA5 consists of 51 ac (21 ha) in Charlotte County, Florida. This unit is composed VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 entirely of State lands within the Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park. This unit includes the Big Mound, Boggess Ridge, and a shell mound located on the east side of Charlotte PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Harbor, south of the City of Charlotte Park. E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.027</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Coastline Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules 3369 (ii) Map of Unit APA5 follows: Critical Habitat Map ' 6 . ' . J (11) Unit APA6: Gasparilla North, Charlotte and Lee Counties, Florida. (i) General Description: Unit APA6 consists of approximately 98 ac (40 ha) in Charlotte and Lee Counties, Florida. This unit is composed of State land (0.006 ac (0.02 ha)), county land (22 ac (9 ha)), and parcels in private or other VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 ownership (77 ac (31 ha)). This unit includes most of Kitchen Key (Live Oak Key) and the area east of Gasparilla Road, from the intersection of Grouper Hole Road and Grouper Hole Court, south to 0.15 mi (0.24 km) north of Snail Island Court, from approximately 0.10 mi (0.21 km) south of 35th Street to 23rd PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 N Street, including the small island separated from Gasparilla Island by a canal; and from 22nd Street to 20th Street. E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.028</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Coastline 3370 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules (ii) Map of Unit APA6 follows: Critical Habitat Sarasota Lee 0 I Miles 0.5 6 :· N (12) Unit APA7: Gasparilla South, Lee County, Florida. (i) General Description: Unit APA7 consists of approximately 92 ac (37 ha) in Lee County, Florida. This unit is composed of Federal land owned by the VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 Service and Bureau of Land Management (3 ac (1 ha)), State lands within Gasparilla Island State Park (69 ac (28 ha)), Lee County lands (12 ac (5 ha), and parcels in private or other ownership (8 ac (3 ha)). This unit PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 includes lands located from south of 1st Street to the southern tip of Gasparilla Island. E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.029</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Critical Habitat Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules 3371 (ii) Map of Unit APA7 follows: Map Gasp arm a Island Barbarossa Street () OA 0.8 Kilometers Coastline (13) Unit APA8: Cayo Pelau, Lee County, Florida. (i) General Description: Unit APA8 consists of approximately 25 ac (10 ha) in Charlotte and Lee Counties, Florida. VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 This unit is composed of Lee County lands within Cayo Pelau Preserve, and parcels in private or other ownership (0.6 ac (0.2 ha)). This unit includes lands located from 0.13 mi (0.21 km) PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 south of the northern tip of Cayo Pelau, extending south to the southeastern tip of Cayo Pelau. E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.030</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Critical Habitat 3372 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules (ii) Map of Unit APA8 follows: Map Coastline (14) Unit APA9: Cayo Costa, Lee County, Florida. (i) General Description: Unit APA9 consists of approximately 1,702 ac (689 ha) in Lee County, Florida. This unit is VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 composed of State lands within Cayo Costa State Park (1,379 ac (558 ha)), lands owned by Lee County (94 ac (38 ha)), and parcels in private or other ownership (230 ac (93 ha)). This unit PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 includes lands located from the northern tip to the southern tip of Cayo Costa. E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.031</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Critical Habitat Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules 3373 (ii) Map of Unit APA9 follows: Map of Critical Habitat for 0 LS 1.5 3 Miles ' 6 3 ' I' tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Critical Habitat (15) Unit APA10: Bocilla, Lee County, Florida. (i) General Description: Unit APA10 consists of approximately 33 ac (13 ha) in Lee County, Florida. This unit is composed of Lee County lands within VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 the Bocilla Preserve (32 ac (13 ha)) and parcels in private or other ownership (0.7 ac (0.3 ha)). This unit includes lands located on the undeveloped portion of Bokeelia Island from 0.02 mi (0.03 km) west of the terminus of PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 ' N Ebbtide Way, extending south and west to the northwestern and southeastern corners of Bokeelia Island. E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.032</GPH> 0 3374 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules (ii) Map of Unit APA10 follows: APA I 0 of Critical Habitat for Map of Bokeelia Island \ '~' (16) Unit APA11: Sanibel Island and Buck Key, Lee County, Florida. (i) General Description: Unit APA11 consists of approximately 635 ac (257 ha) in Lee County, Florida. This unit is composed of Federal lands owned by the Bureau of Land Management, and Service lands within the J.N. ‘Ding’ VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 Darling National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) (373 ac (151 ha)), State lands (47 ac (19 ha)), lands owned by Lee County (90 ac (36 ha)), and parcels in private or other ownership (126 ac (51 ha)). This unit includes lands on Buck Key, Runyan Key, and Sanibel Island. On Sanibel Island, the unit includes a portion of PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Bowman’s Beach, from just south of Silver Key to the western terminus of Water’s Edge Lane; uplands within J.N. ‘Ding’ Darling NWR; and a shell mound located near the northern terminus of Tarpon Bay Road. E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.033</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 Coastline Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules 3375 (ii) Index map of Unit APA11 follows: Index Map APA 11 of Critical MapB VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 2 Kilometers E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.034</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 0 3376 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules (iii) Map A of Unit APA11 follows: Runyan Key / .6 } } l f VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.035</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 N Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules 3377 (iv) Map B of Unit APA11 follows: VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4725 0.5 l Kilometers E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.036</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 0 3378 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules (v) Map C of Unit APA11 follows: ' 6 ' ' ' ' I * * * * Dated: December 18, 2014. Michael Bean, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. * [FR Doc. 2015–00344 Filed 1–21–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–C VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:25 Jan 21, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00064 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 9990 E:\FR\FM\22JAP2.SGM 22JAP2 EP22JA15.037</GPH> tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS2 N

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 14 (Thursday, January 22, 2015)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 3315-3378]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-00344]



[[Page 3315]]

Vol. 80

Thursday,

No. 14

January 22, 2015

Part II





Department of the Interior





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Fish and Wildlife Service





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50 CFR Part 17





Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical 
Habitat for Consolea corallicola (Florida Semaphore Cactus) and 
Harrisia aboriginum (Aboriginal Prickly-Apple); Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 80 , No. 14 / Thursday, January 22, 2015 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 3316]]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2014-0057: 4500030113]
RIN 1018-AZ92


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of 
Critical Habitat for Consolea corallicola (Florida Semaphore Cactus) 
and Harrisia aboriginum (Aboriginal Prickly-Apple)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, propose to designate 
critical habitat for Consolea corallicola (Florida semaphore cactus) 
and Harrisia aboriginum (aboriginal prickly-apple) under the Endangered 
Species Act (Act). In total, approximately 4,411 acres (1,785 hectares) 
for Consolea corallicola in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, Florida; 
and 3,444 acres (1,394 hectares) for Harrisia aboriginum in Manatee, 
Charlotte, Sarasota, and Lee Counties, Florida, fall within the 
boundaries of the proposed critical habitat designations. We also 
announce the availability of a draft economic analysis of the proposed 
designation for these species.

DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before 
March 23, 2015. Comments submitted electronically using the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES below) must be received by 11:59 p.m. 
Eastern Time on the closing date. We must receive requests for public 
hearings, in writing, at the address shown in ADDRESSES by March 9, 
2015.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
    (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Keyword box, enter FWS-R4-ES-2014-0057, 
which is the docket number for this rulemaking. Then, in the Search 
panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, 
click on the Proposed Rules link to locate this document. You may 
submit a comment by clicking on ``Comment Now!''
    (2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public 
Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R4-ES-2014-0057; U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service Headquarters, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 
22041-3803.
    We request that you send comments only by the methods described 
above. We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This 
generally means that we will post any personal information you provide 
us (see Information Requested below for more information).
    The coordinates, plot points, or both from which the maps are 
generated are included in the administrative record for this critical 
habitat designation and are available at http://www.fws.gov/verobeach/, 
at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2014-0057, and at 
the South Florida Ecological Services Office (see FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT). Any additional tools or supporting information 
that we may develop for this critical habitat designation will also be 
available at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Web site and Field 
Office set out above, and may also be included in the preamble and/or 
at http://www.regulations.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Acting Field Supervisor Roxanna 
Hinzman, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, South Florida Ecological 
Services Office, 1339 20th Street, Vero Beach, FL 32960; by telephone 
772-562-3909; or by facsimile 772-562-4288. If you use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Executive Summary

    Why we need to publish a rule. Under the Endangered Species Act 
(Act), when we determine that any species is threatened or endangered, 
we must designate critical habitat, to the maximum extent prudent and 
determinable. Designations and revisions of critical habitat can only 
be completed by issuing a rule. We listed Consolea corallicola (Florida 
semaphore cactus) and Harrisia aboriginum (aboriginal prickly-apple) as 
endangered species under the Act on October 24, 2013 (78 FR 63795).
    What this rule contains. This rule consists of a proposed rule for 
designation of critical habitat for two endangered plant species, 
Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum.
    The basis for our action. Section 4(b)(2) of the Act states that 
the Secretary shall designate critical habitat on the basis of the best 
available scientific data after taking into consideration the economic 
impact, national security impact, and any other relevant impact of 
specifying any particular area as critical habitat. The Secretary may 
exclude an area from critical habitat if she determines that the 
benefits of such exclusion outweigh the benefits of specifying such 
area as part of the critical habitat, unless she determines, based on 
the best scientific data available, that the failure to designate such 
area as critical habitat will result in the extinction of the species.
    We have prepared an economic analysis of the proposed designations 
of critical habitat. We are preparing an analysis of the economic 
impacts of the proposed critical habitat designation and related 
factors. We hereby announce the availability of the draft economic 
analysis and seek additional public review and comment.
    We will seek peer review. We are seeking comments from independent 
specialists to ensure that our critical habitat designation proposal is 
based on scientifically sound data and analyses. We have invited these 
peer reviewers to comment on our specific assumptions and conclusions 
in this critical habitat proposal. Because we will consider all 
comments and information received during the comment period, our final 
determinations may differ from this proposal.

Information Requested

    We intend that any final action resulting from this proposed rule 
will be based on the best scientific and commercial data available and 
be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we request 
comments or information from other concerned government agencies, the 
scientific community, industry, or any other interested party 
concerning this proposed rule. We particularly seek comments 
concerning:
    (1) The reasons why we should or should not designate habitat as 
``critical habitat'' under section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.) including whether there are threats to these species from human 
activity, the degree of which can be expected to increase due to the 
designation, and whether that increase in threat outweighs the benefit 
of designation such that the designation of critical habitat may not be 
prudent.
    (2) Specific information on:
    (a) The amount and distribution of Consolea corallicola and 
Harrisia aboriginum habitat,
    (b) What may constitute ``physical or biological features essential 
to the conservation of the species,'' within the geographical range 
currently occupied by the species,
    (c) What areas, that were occupied at the time of listing (or are 
currently occupied) and that contain features

[[Page 3317]]

essential to the conservation of the species, should be included in the 
designation and why,
    (d) Special management considerations or protections that may be 
needed in the critical habitat areas we are proposing, including 
managing for the potential effects of climate change, and
    (e) What areas not occupied at the time of listing are essential 
for the conservation of the species and why.
    (3) Land use designations and current or planned activities in the 
subject areas and their possible impacts on proposed critical habitat.
    (4) Information on the projected and reasonably likely impacts of 
climate change on Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum and 
proposed critical habitat.
    (5) Any probable economic, national security, or other relevant 
impacts of designating any area that may be included in the final 
designation; in particular, any impacts on small entities or families, 
and the benefits of including or excluding areas that exhibit these 
impacts.
    (6) Information on the extent to which the description of economic 
impacts in the draft economic analysis is a reasonable estimate of the 
likely economic impacts.
    (7) The likelihood of adverse social reactions to the designation 
of critical habitat, as discussed in the associated documents of the 
draft economic analysis, and how the consequences of such reactions, if 
likely to occur, would relate to the conservation and regulatory 
benefits of the proposed critical habitat designation.
    (8) Whether any specific areas we are proposing for critical 
habitat designation should be considered for exclusion under section 
4(b)(2) of the Act, and whether the benefits of potentially excluding 
any specific area outweigh the benefits of including that area under 
section 4(b)(2) of the Act.
    (9) Whether we could improve or modify our approach to designating 
critical habitat in any way to provide for greater public participation 
and understanding, or to better accommodate public concerns and 
comments.
    You may submit your comments and materials concerning this proposed 
rule by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. We request that you 
send comments only by the methods described in ADDRESSES.
    All comments submitted electronically via http://www.regulations.gov will be presented on the Web site in their entirety 
as submitted. For comments submitted via hard copy, we will post your 
entire comment--including your personal identifying information--on 
http://www.regulations.gov. You may request at the top of your document 
that we withhold personal information such as your street address, 
phone number, or email address from public review; however, we cannot 
guarantee that we will be able to do so.
    Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting 
documentation we used in preparing this proposed rule, will be 
available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, or by 
appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, South Florida Ecological Services Office (see FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

Previous Federal Actions

    Previous Federal actions for Consolea corallicola and Harrisia 
aboriginum are outlined in our proposed and final rules to list both 
species as endangered species published in the Federal Register on 
October 11, 2012 (77 FR 61836), and October 24, 2013 (78 FR 63796), 
respectively.

Summary of Biological Status for Consolea corallicola and Harrisia 
aboriginum

    It is our intent to discuss below only those topics directly 
relevant to the designation of critical habitat for Consolea 
corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum in this section of the proposed 
rule. For more information on C. corallicola and H. aboriginum 
taxonomy, life history, habitat, population descriptions, and factors 
affecting the species, please refer to the proposed listing rule 
published October 11, 2012 (77 FR 61836), in the Federal Register, and 
the final listing rule published October 24, 2013 (78 FR 63796), in the 
Federal Register.
    Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum (Family: Cactaceae) 
are large tree- or shrub-like cacti and are endemic to South Florida. 
C. corallicola occurs in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties in coastal 
berms, rockland hammocks, and buttonwood forests on sandy or limestone 
rockland soils with little organic matter. H. aboriginum occurs in 
Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, and Lee Counties on coastal berms, 
coastal strand, coastal grasslands, and maritime hammocks, with a sand 
substrate. It also occurs on shell mounds with a calcareous shell 
substrate.
Habitat
    Consolea corallicola occurs in rockland hammocks (Small 1930, pp. 
25-26; Benson 1982, p. 531), coastal berm, and buttonwood forests 
(Bradley and Gann 1999, p. 77; Gann et al. 2002, p. 480; Higgins 2007, 
pers. comm.). Consolea corallicola occurs on sandy soils and limestone 
rockland soils with little organic matter (Small 1930, pp. 25-26) and 
seems to prefer areas where canopy cover and sun exposure are moderate 
(Grahl and Bradley 2005, p. 4). Detailed descriptions of these habitats 
are presented in the proposed listing rule for Chromolaena frustrata, 
Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum (October 11, 2012; 77 FR 
61836), with a revised description of buttonwood forests provided in 
the final listing rule for these plants (October 24, 2013; 78 FR 
63796).
    Harrisia aboriginum occurs on coastal berms, coastal strand, 
coastal grasslands and maritime hammocks, with a sand substrate. It 
also occurs on shell mounds with a calcareous shell substrate (Bradley 
et al. 2004, pp. 4, 14). Detailed descriptions of these habitats are 
presented in the proposed listing rule for Chromolaena frustrata, 
Consolea corallicola, and Harrisia aboriginum (October 11, 2012; 77 FR 
61836).
Distribution and Range
    The current range of Consolea corallicola includes two naturally 
occurring populations and five reintroduced populations in Miami-Dade 
and Monroe Counties, Florida. These populations account for fewer than 
1,500 plants, and all are located on conservation lands. Wild 
populations, on Key Largo and Big Pine Key in the Florida Keys, were 
lost more than a decade ago by development and collecting by cactus 
enthusiasts. C. corallicola has subsequently been reintroduced to Key 
Largo and Big Pine Key.
    The current range of Harrisia aboriginum includes 12 populations in 
Charlotte, Sarasota, and Lee Counties, Florida. Plants occur in eight 
public and private conservation areas, as well as two County parcels 
not managed for conservation and at least three unprotected private 
parcels. In total, the species was represented by an estimated 300 to 
500 individuals in 2007, when population sizes were last estimated. 
Populations formerly known from Terra Ceia in Manatee County and Cayo 
Costa Island in Lee County are extirpated (no longer in existence). A 
large population on Longboat Key has been reduced from 226 individuals 
in 1981 to 5 in 2007 due to development.
    Although Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum populations 
occur largely within public conservation lands, threats remain from a 
wide array of natural and anthropogenic sources.

[[Page 3318]]

Habitat loss, storm surge, poaching, disease, predation, and climate 
change are the imminent threats to these cacti (78 FR 63796).

Critical Habitat

Background
    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the Act as:
    (1) The specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the 
species, at the time it is listed in accordance with the Act, on which 
are found those physical or biological features:
    (a) Essential to the conservation of the species, and
    (b) Which may require special management considerations or 
protection; and
    (2) Specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the 
species at the time it is listed, upon a determination that such areas 
are essential for the conservation of the species.
    Conservation, as defined under section 3 of the Act, means to use 
and the use of all methods and procedures that are necessary to bring 
an endangered or threatened species to the point at which the measures 
provided pursuant to the Act are no longer necessary. Such methods and 
procedures include, but are not limited to, all activities associated 
with scientific resources management such as research, census, law 
enforcement, habitat acquisition and maintenance, propagation, live 
trapping, and transplantation, and, in the extraordinary case where 
population pressures within a given ecosystem cannot be otherwise 
relieved, may include regulated taking.
    Critical habitat receives protection under section 7 of the Act 
through the requirement that Federal agencies ensure, in consultation 
with the Service, that any action they authorize, fund, or carry out is 
not likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification of 
critical habitat. The designation of critical habitat does not affect 
land ownership or establish a refuge, wilderness, reserve, preserve, or 
other conservation area. Such designation does not allow the government 
or public to access private lands. Such designation does not require 
implementation of restoration, recovery, or enhancement measures by 
non-Federal landowners. Where a landowner requests Federal agency 
funding or authorization for an action that may affect a listed species 
or critical habitat, the consultation requirements of section 7(a)(2) 
of the Act would apply, but even in the event of a destruction or 
adverse modification finding, the obligation of the Federal action 
agency and the landowner is not to restore or recover the species, but 
to implement reasonable and prudent alternatives to avoid destruction 
or adverse modification of critical habitat.
    Under the first prong of the Act's definition of critical habitat, 
areas within the geographical area occupied by the species at the time 
it was listed are included in a critical habitat designation if they 
contain physical or biological features (1) which are essential to the 
conservation of the species and (2) which may require special 
management considerations or protection. For these areas, critical 
habitat designations identify, to the extent known using the best 
scientific and commercial data available, those physical or biological 
features that are essential to the conservation of the species (such as 
space, food, cover, and protected habitat). In identifying those 
physical or biological features within an area, we focus on the 
principal biological or physical constituent elements (primary 
constituent elements such as roost sites, nesting grounds, seasonal 
wetlands, water quality, tide, soil type) that are essential to the 
conservation of the species. Primary constituent elements are those 
specific elements of the physical or biological features that provide 
for a species' life-history processes and are essential to the 
conservation of the species.
    Under the second prong of the Act's definition of critical habitat, 
we may designate critical habitat in areas outside the geographical 
area occupied by the species at the time it is listed, upon a 
determination that such areas are essential for the conservation of the 
species. For example, an area currently occupied by the species but 
that was not occupied at the time of listing may be essential for the 
conservation of the species and may be included in the critical habitat 
designation. We designate critical habitat in areas outside the 
geographical area occupied by a species only when a designation limited 
to its range would be inadequate to ensure the conservation of the 
species.
    Section 4 of the Act requires that we designate critical habitat on 
the basis of the best scientific data available. Further, our Policy on 
Information Standards Under the Endangered Species Act (published in 
the Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34271)), the Information 
Quality Act (section 515 of the Treasury and General Government 
Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Pub. L. 106-554; H.R. 5658)), 
and our associated Information Quality Guidelines, provide criteria, 
establish procedures, and provide guidance to ensure that our decisions 
are based on the best scientific data available. They require our 
biologists, to the extent consistent with the Act and with the use of 
the best scientific data available, to use primary and original sources 
of information as the basis for recommendations to designate critical 
habitat.
    When we are determining which areas should be designated as 
critical habitat, our primary source of information is generally the 
information developed during the listing process for the species. 
Additional information sources may include, but are not limited to, the 
recovery plan for the species, articles in peer-reviewed journals, 
conservation plans developed by States and counties, scientific status 
surveys and studies, biological assessments, other unpublished 
materials, or experts' opinions or personal knowledge.
    Habitat is dynamic, and species may move from one area to another 
over time. We recognize that critical habitat designated at a 
particular point in time may not include all of the habitat areas that 
we may later determine are necessary for the recovery of the species. 
For these reasons, a critical habitat designation does not signal that 
habitat outside the designated area is unimportant or may not be needed 
for recovery of the species. Areas that are important to the 
conservation of the species, both inside and outside the critical 
habitat designation, will continue to be subject to: (1) Conservation 
actions implemented under section 7(a)(1) of the Act, (2) regulatory 
protections afforded by the requirement in section 7(a)(2) of the Act 
for Federal agencies to ensure their actions are not likely to 
jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened 
species, and (3) section 9 of the Act's prohibitions on taking any 
individual of the species, including taking caused by actions that 
affect habitat. Federally funded or permitted projects affecting listed 
species outside their designated critical habitat areas may still 
result in jeopardy findings in some cases. These protections and 
conservation tools will continue to contribute to recovery of Consolea 
corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum. Similarly, critical habitat 
designations made on the basis of the best available information at the 
time of designation will not control the direction and substance of 
future recovery plans, habitat conservation plans (HCPs), or other 
species conservation planning efforts if new information available at

[[Page 3319]]

the time of these planning efforts calls for a different outcome.
Prudency Determination for Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum
    Section 4(a)(3) of the Act, as amended, and implementing 
regulations (50 CFR 424.12), require that, to the maximum extent 
prudent and determinable, the Secretary shall designate critical 
habitat at the time the species is determined to be an endangered or 
threatened species. Our regulations (50 CFR 424.12(a)(1)) state that 
the designation of critical habitat is not prudent when one or both of 
the following situations exist:
    (1) The species is threatened by taking or other human activity, 
and identification of critical habitat can be expected to increase the 
degree of threat to the species, or
    (2) Such designation of critical habitat would not be beneficial to 
the species.
    In the proposed rule to list Consolea corallicola and Harrisia 
aboriginum (77 FR 61836), we found critical habitat to be not prudent 
because of the potential for an increase in poaching. Rare cacti are 
valuable to collectors and there remains an imminent threat of 
collection (poaching) for C. corallicola and H. aboriginum. There is 
evidence that the designation of critical habitat could result in an 
increased threat from taking, specifically collection, for both cacti, 
through publication of maps and a narrative description of specific 
critical habitat units in the rule. However, based on public comment in 
response to the proposed listing rule, we have determined that 
information on locations of extant C. corallicola and H. aboriginum 
populations is already widely available in the public domain such as 
scientific journals, online databases, and documents the Service has 
previously published in the Federal Register. Therefore, we have 
determined that identification and mapping of critical habitat is not 
expected to initiate any threat of collection or significantly increase 
existing collection pressure.
    In the absence of finding that the designation of critical habitat 
would increase threats to a species, if there are any benefits to a 
critical habitat designation, then a prudent finding is warranted. 
Here, the potential benefits of designation include:
    (1) Triggering consultation under section 7 of the Act in new areas 
for actions in which there may be a Federal nexus where it would not 
otherwise occur because, for example, the area is or has become 
unoccupied or the occupancy is in question;
    (2) Focusing conservation activities on the most essential features 
and areas;
    (3) Providing educational benefits to State or county governments 
or private entities; and
    (4) Preventing people from causing inadvertent harm to the species.
    Therefore, we have reevaluated our prudency determination for both 
cacti and have determined that the designation of critical habitat will 
not likely increase the degree of threat to either species and may 
provide some measure of benefit. Accordingly, we determine that 
designation of critical habitat is prudent for both species.
Critical Habitat Determinability
    Having determined that designation of critical habitat is prudent 
for both species, under section 4(a)(3) of the Act we must find whether 
critical habitat for Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum is 
determinable. Our regulations at 50 CFR 424.12(a)(2) state that 
critical habitat is not determinable when one or both of the following 
situations exist:
    (i) Information sufficient to perform required analyses of the 
impacts of the designation is lacking; or
    (ii) The biological needs of the species are not sufficiently well 
known to permit identification of an area as critical habitat.
    We reviewed the available information pertaining to the biological 
needs of the species and habitat characteristics where these species 
are located. This and other information represent the best scientific 
data available. Based on our review of this information, we conclude 
that critical habitat is determinable for Consolea corallicola and 
Harrisia aboriginum.
Physical or Biological Features
    In accordance with sections 3(5)(A)(i) and 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act 
and regulations at 50 CFR 424.12(b), in determining which areas within 
the geographical area occupied by the species at the time of listing 
may be designated as critical habitat, we consider the physical or 
biological features that are essential to the conservation of the 
species and which may require special management considerations or 
protection. These include, but are not limited to:
    (1) Space for individual and population growth and for normal 
behavior;
    (2) Food, water, air, light, minerals, or other nutritional or 
physiological requirements;
    (3) Cover or shelter;
    (4) Sites for breeding, reproduction, or rearing (or development) 
of offspring; and
    (5) Habitats that are protected from disturbance or are 
representative of the historical geographic and ecological 
distributions of a species.
    We derive the specific physical or biological features essential to 
Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum from studies of the 
species' habitat, ecology, and life history as described below. 
Additional information on these cacti can be found in the proposed and 
final listing rules published on October 11, 2012 (77 FR 61836), and 
October 24, 2013 (78 FR 63796), respectively, in the Federal Register. 
We have determined that the following physical or biological features 
are essential to the conservation of Consolea corallicola.

Consolea corallicola

Space for Individual and Population Growth and for Normal Behavior
    Plant Community and Competitive Ability. Consolea corallicola 
occurs in communities classified as coastal berm, buttonwood forests, 
and rockland hammocks restricted to the Florida Keys. These communities 
and their associated native plant species are described in the Status 
Assessment for Consolea corallicola in the proposed listing rule 
published on October 11, 2012 (77 FR 61836), and in the final listing 
rule published on October 24, 2013 (78 FR 63796), in the Federal 
Register. These habitats and their associated plant communities provide 
vegetation structure that allows for adequate growing space, sunlight, 
and a competitive regime that is required for C. corallicola to persist 
and spread. Therefore, based on the information above, we identify 
upland habitats consisting of coastal berm, rockland hammock, and 
buttonwood forest to be a physical or biological feature for C. 
corallicola.
Food, Water, Air, Light, Minerals, or Other Nutritional or 
Physiological Requirements
    Climate (temperature and precipitation). Consolea corallicola 
requires adequate rainfall and does not tolerate prolonged freezing 
temperatures. The climate of south Florida where C. corallicola occurs 
is characterized by distinct wet and dry seasons, a monthly mean 
temperature above 18 [deg]C (64.4[emsp14][deg]F) in every month of the 
year, and annual rainfall averaging 75 to 150 cm (30 to 60 inches (in)) 
(Gabler et al. 1994, p. 211). Freezes can occur in the winter months, 
but are very infrequent at this latitude in Florida. Therefore, based 
on the information above, we determined this type of climate to be a 
physical or biological feature for C. corallicola.

[[Page 3320]]

    Soils. Substrates supporting Consolea corallicola include loose 
sediment formed by a mixture of coarse sand, shell fragments, pieces of 
coralline algae, and other coastal debris, exposed bare limestone rock 
or with a thin layer of leaf litter or highly organic soil (Bradley and 
Gann 1999, p. 37; Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI) 2010a,b, and 
c, p. 1; FNAI 2010d,e, p. 2). These substrates provide anchoring spots, 
nutrients, moisture regime, and suitable soil chemistry for C 
corallicola; and facilitate a community of associated plant species 
that create a competitive regime that allows C. corallicola to persist 
and spread. Therefore, based on the information above, we identify 
substrates derived from calcareous sand or limestone that provide 
anchoring and nutritional requirements to be a physical or biological 
feature for C. corallicola.
    Hydrology. The species requires coastal berms and buttonwood 
forests that occur at an elevation higher than the daily tidal range, 
but are subject to flooding by seawater during extreme tides and storm 
surge (FNAI 2010b, p. 2; FNAI 2010c, p. 2). This flooding helps to 
limit the variety of plants that may grow in these habitats and compete 
with Consolea corallicola. Rockland hammocks occur on high ground that 
does not regularly flood, but this habitat is often dependent upon a 
high water table to keep humidity levels high, and may be inundated 
during storm surges (FNAI 2010e, p. 2). Therefore, based on the 
information above, we identify rockland hammock habitat with 
groundwater levels needed to maintain humidity and buttonwood and 
coastal berm habitat inundated by storm surge or tidal events at a 
frequency and duration needed to limit plant species competition while 
not creating overly saline conditions to be a physical or biological 
feature for C. corallicola.
Cover or Shelter
    Consolea corallicola occurs in open canopy and semi-open to closed 
canopy habitats. The spatial and temporal distribution of open canopy 
areas varies by habitat type and time since the last disturbance, such 
as a hurricane, caused canopy openings. In rockland hammocks, suitable 
sites will often be found near the hammock edge or where there are 
openings in the forest canopy. More open communities (e.g., coastal 
berm and buttonwood forests) provide more abundant and temporally 
consistent suitable habitat than communities capable of establishing a 
dense canopy (e.g., hardwood hammocks). Therefore, based on the 
information above, we identify habitats that have a vegetation 
composition and structure that allows for adequate sunlight and space 
for individual growth and population expansion to be a physical or 
biological feature for C. corallicola.
Sites for Breeding, Reproduction, or Rearing (or Development) of 
Offspring
    The habitats identified above as physical or biological features 
also provide a plant community with associated plant species that 
foster a competitive regime suitable to Consolea corallicola and 
contain adequate open space for the recruitment of new plants. 
Associated plant species in these habitats attract and provide cover 
for generalist pollinators (e.g., bees, butterflies, and beetles) that 
pollinate C. corallicola.
Habitats Protected From Disturbance or Representative of the 
Historical, Geographic, and Ecological Distributions of the Species
    Consolea corallicola continues to occur in habitats that are 
protected from human-generated disturbances and are representative of 
the species' historical, geographical, and ecological distribution 
although its range has been reduced. The species is still found in 
coastal berm, buttonwood forest, and rockland hammocks. As described 
above, these habitats provide a community of associated plant and 
animal species that are compatible with C. corallicola, vegetation 
structure that provides adequate sunlight levels and open space for 
plant growth and regeneration, and substrates with adequate moisture 
availability and suitable soil chemistry. Representative communities 
are located on Federal, State, local, and private conservation lands 
that implement conservation measures benefitting the species. 
Therefore, based on the information above, we identify habitat of 
sufficient size and connectivity that can support species growth, 
distribution, and population expansion to be physical or biological 
features for C. corallicola.
    Disturbance Regime. Coastal berm, buttonwood forest, and rockland 
hammock habitats that could or currently support Consolea corallicola 
depend on natural disturbance regimes from hurricanes or tidal 
inundation to open the canopy in order to provide light levels 
sufficient to support the species. The historical frequency and 
magnitude of hurricanes and tidal inundation has allowed for the 
persistence of C. corallicola by occasionally creating areas of open 
canopy. In the absence of disturbance, some of these habitats may have 
closed canopies, resulting in areas lacking enough available sunlight 
to support C. corallicola. However, too frequent or severe disturbance 
that transitions the habitat toward more saline conditions could result 
in the decline of the species in the area. Therefore, based on the 
information above, we identify habitats that have disturbance regimes, 
including hurricanes, and infrequent inundation events that maintain 
habitat suitability to be physical or biological features for C. 
corallicola.
Primary Constituent Elements for Consolea corallicola
    According to 50 CFR 424.12(b), we are required to identify the 
physical or biological features essential to the conservation of 
Consolea corallicola in areas occupied at the time of listing, focusing 
on the features' primary constituent elements. We consider primary 
constituent elements to be those specific elements of the physical or 
biological features that provide for a species' life-history processes 
and are essential to the conservation of the species.
    Based on our current knowledge of the physical or biological 
features and habitat characteristics required to sustain the species' 
life-history processes, we determine that the primary constituent 
elements specific to Consolea corallicola are:
    (i) Areas of upland habitats consisting of coastal berm, rockland 
hammocks, and buttonwood forest.
    (A) Coastal berm habitat that contains:
    (1) Open to semi-open canopy, subcanopy, and understory; and
    (2) Substrate of coarse, calcareous, and storm-deposited sediment.
    (B) Rockland hammock habitat that contains:
    (1) Canopy gaps and edges with an open to semi-open canopy, 
subcanopy, and understory; and
    (2) Substrate with a thin layer of highly organic soil covering 
limestone or organic matter that accumulates on top of the limestone.
    (C) Buttonwood forest habitat that contains:
    (1) Open to semi-open canopy and understory; and
    (2) Substrate with calcareous marl muds, calcareous sands, or 
limestone rock.
    (ii) A plant community of predominately native vegetation with no 
invasive, nonnative animal or plant species or such species in 
quantities low enough to have minimal effect on survival of Consolea 
corallicola.
    (iii) A disturbance regime, due to the effects of strong winds or 
saltwater inundation from storm surge or

[[Page 3321]]

infrequent tidal inundation, that creates canopy openings in coastal 
berm, rockland hammocks, and buttonwood forest.
    (iv) Habitats that are connected and of sufficient size to sustain 
viable populations in coastal berm, rockland hammocks, and buttonwood 
forest.
    (v) Habitats that provide populations of the generalist pollinators 
that visit the flowers of Consolea corallicola.
Special Management Considerations or Protection for Consolea 
corallicola
    When designating critical habitat, we assess whether the specific 
areas within the geographic area occupied by the species at the time of 
listing contain features which are essential to the conservation of the 
species and which may require special management considerations or 
protection.
    Special management considerations or protection are necessary 
throughout the critical habitat areas proposed here to avoid further 
degradation or destruction of the habitat that provides those features 
essential to the species' conservation. The primary threats to the 
physical or biological features that Consolea corallicola depends on 
include:
    (1) Habitat destruction and modification by development and sea 
level rise;
    (2) Competition with nonnative, invasive plant and animal species;
    (3) Wildfire; and
    (4) Hurricanes and storm surge.
    Some of these threats can be addressed by special management 
considerations or protection while others (e.g., sea level rise, 
hurricanes, storm surge) are beyond the control of landowners and 
managers. However, even when landowners or land managers may not be 
able to control all the threats, they may be able to address the 
results of the threats.
Proposed Actions To Ameliorate Threats
    The following measures or management activities can ameliorate 
threats to Consolea corallicola:
    (1) Protecting habitats from residential, commercial, or 
recreational facility development;
    (2) Avoiding ditching or filling that may alter hydrological 
conditions;
    (3) Nonnative plant and animal species control programs to reduce 
competition, predation, and prevent habitat degradation; and
    (4) Hardwood reduction to maintain the open vegetation structure of 
the species habitats.
    The reduction of these threats will require the implementation of 
special management actions within each of the critical habitat areas 
identified in this proposed rule. All proposed critical habitat will 
need management to address the ongoing threats listed above and those 
presented in the Summary of Factors Affecting the Species sections in 
the proposed listing rule published on October 11, 2012 (77 FR 61836), 
and in the final listing rule published on October 24, 2013 (78 FR 
63796).
Ongoing Actions To Ameliorate Threats
    The Service, National Park Service (NPS), State of Florida, Miami-
Dade and Monroe Counties, and several local governments own and manage 
conservation lands within the range of Consolea corallicola. The Nature 
Conservancy purchased Torchwood Hammock Preserve on Little Torch Key in 
1988, to protect what was at the time the only known remaining 
population of C. corallicola. The comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) 
for the Lower Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges (National Key Deer 
Refuge, Key West National Wildlife Refuge, and Great White Heron 
National Wildlife Refuge) and Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge 
promote the enhancement of wildlife populations by maintaining and 
enhancing a diversity and abundance of habitats for native plants and 
animals, especially imperiled species that are found only in the 
Florida Keys. This CCP provides specifically for maintaining and 
expanding populations of C. corallicola.
    NPS regulations at 36 CFR 2.1 prohibit visitors from harming or 
removing plants, listed or otherwise, from Everglades National Park 
(ENP) or Biscayne National Park (BNP). Consolea corallicola is listed 
on the Regulated Plant Index as endangered under chapter 5B-40, Florida 
Administrative Code. Florida Statutes 581.185 sections (3)(a) and (b) 
prohibit any person from willfully destroying or harvesting any species 
listed as endangered or threatened on the Regulated Plant Index, or 
growing such a plant on the private land of another, or on any public 
land, without first obtaining the written permission of the landowner 
and a permit from the Florida Department of Plant Industry.
    The Service, NPS, State of Florida, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties, 
and several local governments conduct nonnative species control efforts 
on sites that support, or have suitable habitat for C. corallicola. The 
introduced Cactoblastis moth (Cactoblastis cactorum) infests C. 
corallicola plants and may cause mortality. We consider the moth to be 
a major threat to the species. Monitoring for Cactoblastis moth 
infestations, and hand removal efforts of the moth larvae and eggs are 
conducted at BNP and Torchwood Hammock Preserve in an effort to protect 
C. corallicola. No satisfactory method of large-scale control for the 
Cactoblastis moth is known at this time. The U.S. Department of 
Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service's Center for Medical, 
Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology in Tallahassee, Florida, is 
developing containment methods to control the spread of the 
Cactoblastis moth (USDA 2006, p. 9).
    Reintroductions of Consolea corallicola have been implemented at 
several locations on State and Federal lands in the Florida Keys over 
the past 15 years. Attempts at reintroduction implemented in the 1990s 
were largely unsuccessful due to poor site selection, Cactoblastis moth 
predation, crown rot, and burial of small plants by leaf litter. It is 
too early to judge the results of more recent reintroductions that were 
implemented in 2013 and 2014. Reintroduction of C. corallicola serves 
multiple objectives towards the plant's conservation, including 
increasing the number of populations to address the threat of few, 
small populations; establishing populations across a wider geographic 
area to reduce the chance that all populations will be affected by 
natural disturbances, such as hurricanes and storm surge events; and 
establishing populations at higher elevation sites that will be less 
vulnerable to storm surge events and sea level rise. Assisted migration 
to higher elevations at existing sites may be needed in the future to 
conserve populations if the area supporting the existing population 
shows indications of increased soil salinity and population decline due 
to sea level rise.
Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat for Consolea corallicola
    As required by section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we use the best 
scientific data available to designate critical habitat. In accordance 
with the Act and our implementing regulations at 50 CFR 424.12(b), we 
review available information pertaining to the habitat requirements of 
the species and identify occupied areas at the time of listing that 
contain the features essential to the conservation of the species. If, 
after identifying currently occupied areas, a determination is made 
that those areas are inadequate to ensure conservation of the species, 
in accordance with the Act and our implementing regulations at 50 CFR 
424.12(e) we then consider whether designating additional areas--
outside

[[Page 3322]]

those currently occupied--are essential for the conservation of the 
species.
    We have proposed units throughout the historical range of Consolea 
corallicola. The species currently occupies all of the islands of the 
Florida Keys where it was recorded historically. We determined that 
there is no unoccupied habitat that is essential for the conservation 
of the species.
    As discussed above we are proposing to designate critical habitat 
in areas within the geographical area presently occupied by the 
species, i.e., occupied at the time of listing.
    The wild populations of Consolea corallicola are much reduced (50 
percent) from the species' historical distribution, and one of the two 
remaining wild populations is small, consisting of only 12 mature 
plants. The habitats required by C. corallicola are severely fragmented 
by development in the Florida Keys. We anticipate that recovery will 
require continued protection of the remaining extant populations and 
habitat, augmenting existing small populations, and establishing 
populations in additional areas to more closely approximate its 
historical distribution in order to ensure there are adequate numbers 
of plants in stable populations and that these populations occur over a 
wide geographic area. This will help to ensure that catastrophic 
events, such as storms, cannot simultaneously affect all known 
populations.
    Small plant populations with limited, fragmented distributions, 
such as Consolea corallicola, are vulnerable to relatively minor 
environmental disturbances (Frankham 2005, pp. 135-136) that could 
result in the loss of genetic diversity from genetic drift, the random 
loss of genes, and inbreeding (Ellstrand and Elam 1993, pp. 217-237; 
Leimu et al. 2006, pp. 942-952). Plant populations with lowered genetic 
diversity are more prone to local extinction (Barrett and Kohn 1991, 
pp. 4, 28). Smaller plant populations generally have lower genetic 
diversity, and lower genetic diversity may in turn lead to even smaller 
populations by decreasing the species' ability to adapt, thereby 
increasing the probability of population extinction (Newman and Pilson 
1997, p. 360; Palstra and Ruzzante 2008, pp. 3428-3447). Because of the 
dangers associated with small populations or limited distributions, the 
recovery of many rare plant species includes the creation of new sites 
or reintroductions to ameliorate these effects.
    Habitat fragmentation can have negative effects on populations, 
especially rare plants, and can affect survival and recovery (Aguilar 
et al. 2006, pp. 968-980; Aguilar et al. 2008, pp. 5177-5188; Potts et 
al. 2010, pp. 345-352). In general, habitat fragmentation causes 
habitat loss, habitat degradation, habitat isolation, changes in 
species composition, changes in species interactions, increased edge 
effects, and reduced habitat connectivity (Fahrig 2003, pp. 487-515; 
Fischer and Lindenmayer 2007, pp. 265-280). Habitat fragments are often 
functionally smaller than they appear because edge effects (such as 
increased nonnative, invasive species or wind speeds) impact the 
available habitat within the fragment (Lienert and Fischer 2003, p. 
597).
    In selecting areas to propose for critical habitat designation, we 
utilized the Shaffer and Stein (2000) methodology for conserving 
imperiled species known as the `three Rs': Representation, resiliency, 
and redundancy. Representation, or preserving some of everything, means 
conserving not just a species but its associated plant communities. 
Resiliency and redundancy ensure there is enough of a species so it can 
survive into the future. Resiliency means ensuring that the habitat is 
adequate for a species and its representative components. Redundancy 
ensures an adequate number of sites and individuals. This methodology 
has been widely accepted as a reasonable conservation strategy (Tear et 
al. 2005, p. 841).
    We have addressed representation through the primary constituent 
elements (as discussed above) and by identifying areas of habitat for 
the expansion of Consolea corallicola populations. There are only 
approximately 800 to 1,000 known individuals and only 6 populations. 
All but 2 populations consist of fewer than 100 individuals (low 
redundancy). All populations occur on small islands where the amount of 
suitable remaining habitat is limited (low resiliency), and much of the 
remaining habitat may be lost to sea level rise over the next century.
Sources of Data To Identify Critical Habitat Boundaries
    To determine the location and boundaries of critical habitat, the 
Service used the following sources of information and considerations:
    (1) Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI) population records and 
ArcGIS geographic information system software to spatially depict the 
location and extent of documented populations of Consolea corallicola 
(FNAI 2011a, pp. 1-4);
    (2) Reports prepared by botanists with the Institute for Regional 
Conservation (IRC), NPS, and Florida Department of Environmental 
Protection (FDEP) (Some of these were funded by the Service; others 
were requested or volunteered by biologists with the NPS or FDEP.);
    (3) Historical records found in reports and associated voucher 
specimens housed at herbaria, all of which are referenced in the above-
mentioned reports from the IRC and FNAI;
    (4) Digitally produced habitat maps provided by Monroe County; and
    (5) Aerial images of Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties. The presence 
of primary constituent elements was determined through the use of GIS 
spatial data depicting the current habitat status. These habitat data 
for the Florida Keys were developed by Monroe County from 2006 aerial 
images, and ground conditions for many areas were checked in 2009. 
Habitat data for BNP were provided by the NPS. The areas that contain 
the primary constituent elements follow predictable landscape patterns 
and have a recognizable signature in the aerial imagery.
    We have identified areas to include in this proposed designation by 
applying the following considerations. The amount and distribution of 
critical habitat being proposed for designation would allow existing 
and future established populations of Consolea corallicola to:
    (1) Maintain their existing distribution;
    (2) Expand their distribution into previously occupied areas 
(needed to offset habitat loss and fragmentation);
    (3) Use habitat depending on habitat availability (response to 
changing nature of coastal habitat including sea level rise) and 
support genetic diversity;
    (4) Increase the size of each population to a level where the 
threats of genetic, demographic, and normal environmental uncertainties 
are diminished; and
    (5) Maintain their ability to withstand local or unit-level 
environmental fluctuations or catastrophes.
Areas Occupied at the Time of Listing
    The proposed occupied critical habitat designation for Consolea 
corallicola focuses on areas occupied at the time the species was 
listed within the historical range that have retained the necessary 
primary constituent elements that will allow for the maintenance and 
expansion of existing populations. The proposed occupied critical 
habitat units were delineated around documented extant populations. 
These units include the mapped extent of the population that contains 
one or

[[Page 3323]]

more of the physical or biological features. We considered the 
following when identifying occupied areas of critical habitat:
    (1) The delineation included space to allow for the successional 
nature of the occupied habitats (i.e., gain and loss of areas with 
sufficient light availability due to disturbance of the tree canopy 
driven by natural events such as inundation and hurricanes), and 
habitat transition or loss due to sea level rise.
    (2) Some areas will require special management to be able to 
support a higher density of the plant within the occupied space. These 
areas generally are habitats where some of the primary constituent 
elements have been lost through natural or human causes. These areas 
would help to offset the anticipated loss and degradation of habitat 
occurring or expected from the effects of climate change (such as sea 
level rise) or due to development.
    When determining proposed critical habitat boundaries, we made 
every effort to avoid including developed areas such as lands covered 
by buildings, pavement, and other structures because such lands lack 
physical or biological features for Consolea corallicola. The scale of 
the maps we prepared under the parameters for publication within the 
Code of Federal Regulations may not reflect the exclusion of such 
developed lands. Any such lands inadvertently left inside critical 
habitat boundaries shown on the maps of this proposed rule have been 
excluded by text in the proposed rule and are not proposed for 
designation as critical habitat. Therefore, if the critical habitat is 
finalized as proposed, a Federal action involving these lands would not 
trigger section 7 consultation with respect to critical habitat and the 
requirement of no adverse modification unless the specific action would 
affect the physical or biological features in the adjacent critical 
habitat.
    Units were proposed for designation based on sufficient elements of 
physical or biological features being present to support Consolea 
corallicola life-history processes. Some units contained all of the 
identified elements of physical or biological features and supported 
multiple life-history processes. Some segments contained only some 
elements of the physical or biological features necessary to support C. 
corallicola's particular use of that habitat.
    The critical habitat designation is defined by the map or maps, as 
modified by any accompanying regulatory text, presented at the end of 
this document in the rule portion. We include more detailed information 
on the boundaries of the critical habitat designation in the preamble 
of this document. We will make the coordinates, plot points, or both on 
which each map is based available to the public on http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2014-0057, on our Internet 
site at http://www.fws.gov/verobeach/, and at the field office 
responsible for the designation (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT 
above).

Proposed Critical Habitat Designation for Consolea corallicola

    We are proposing four units as critical habitat for Consolea 
corallicola. The critical habitat areas we describe below constitute 
our current best assessment of areas that meet the definition of 
critical habitat for C. corallicola. The four areas we propose as 
critical habitat are:
    (1) FSC1 Swan Key in Biscayne National Park, Miami-Dade County, 
Florida;
    (2) FSC2 Key Largo, Monroe County, Florida;
    (3) FSC3 Big Pine Key, Monroe County, Florida; and
    (4) FSC4 Little Torch Key in Monroe County, Florida.
    Land ownership within the proposed critical habitat consists of 
Federal (28 percent), State (58 percent), County (1 percent), and 
private and other (14 percent). Table 1 shows these units by land 
ownership, area, and occupancy.

                                              Table 1--Consolea corallicola Proposed Critical Habitat Units
                                           [All areas rounded to the nearest whole acre (ac) and hectare (ha)]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                 Private/
                     Unit                       Total  Ac (Ha)    Federal  Ac     State  Ac (Ha)   County  Ac   other  Ac             Occupied
                                                                      (Ha)                            (Ha)         (Ha)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FSC1--Swan Key-Biscayne National Park........          37 (15)          37 (15)                0            0            0  Yes.
FSC2--Key Largo..............................    3,434 (1,389)        702 (284)      2,331 (943)       17 (7)    384 (155)  Yes.
FSC3--Big Pine Key...........................        772 (313)        508 (205)         172 (70)       11 (5)      81 (33)  Yes.
FSC4--Little Torch Key.......................         168 (68)                0          47 (19)       10 (4)     111 (45)  Yes.
                                              ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total....................................    4,411 (1,785)      1,247 (504)    2,550 (1,032)      38 (16)    576 (233)
    Percent of Total.........................              100               28               58            1           13
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Area sizes may not sum due to rounding.

    Two (FSC1 and FSC2) of the four critical habitat units proposed for 
Consolea corallicola are also currently designated under the Act as 
critical habitat for the American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus), and 
two (FSC2 and FSC3) are designated as critical habitat units for 
Chromolaena frustrata (Cape Sable thoroughwort).
    We present brief descriptions of all units, and reasons why they 
meet the definition of critical habitat for Consolea corallicola, 
below.

Unit FSC1: Swan Key-Biscayne National Park, Miami-Dade County, Florida

    Unit FSC1 consists of approximately 37 ac (15 ha) in Miami-Dade 
County. This unit is composed entirely of lands in Federal ownership, 
100 percent of which are located on Swan Key within Biscayne National 
Park. The unit includes all upland rockland hammock habitat on Swan 
Key, most of which is located on the eastern side of Swan Key, 
surrounded by the island's mangrove fringe. A second, smaller area is 
located on the island's elongate western half and is also surrounded by 
mangroves.
    This unit was occupied at the time the species was listed and 
contains all the physical or biological features, including suitable 
climate, hydrology, substrate, associated native plant species, and 
disturbance regimes, essential to the conservation of the species and 
the coastal hardwood hammock and buttonwood forest primary constituent 
elements. The physical or biological features in this unit may require 
special management considerations or protection to address threats of 
nonnative plant and animal species and sea level rise. However, in most 
cases these threats are being

[[Page 3324]]

addressed or coordinated with BNP to implement needed actions. BNP 
conducts nonnative species control on Swan Key and monitors Consolea 
corallicola for population trends and Cactoblastis moth damage. The NPS 
is currently revising the BNP General Management Plan (Plan), which 
identifies C. corallicola but does not discuss specific conservation 
measures. However, the Plan states that Swan Key will continue to be a 
``sensitive resource area'' and managed to protect critical ecosystems, 
habitats, and natural processes. Access will be tightly controlled and 
limited to permitted research activities. In addition, the Service 
believes assisted migration to the highest elevations on Swan Key on 
BNP may be needed in the future to conserve the population if the area 
supporting the existing population shows indications of increased soil 
salinity and population decline due to sea level rise.

Unit FSC2: Key Largo, Monroe County, Florida

    Unit FSC2 consists of approximately 3,434 ac (1,389 ha) in Monroe 
County. This unit is composed of Federal lands within Crocodile Lake 
National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) (702 ac (284 ha)); State lands within 
Dagny Johnson Botanical State Park, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State 
Park, and the Florida Keys Wildlife and Environmental Area (2,331 ac 
(943 ha)); lands owned by Monroe County (17 ac (7 ha)); and parcels in 
private or other ownership (384 ac (155 ha)). This unit extends from 
near the northern tip of Key Largo, along the length of Key Largo, 
beginning at the south shore of Ocean Reef Harbor near South Marina 
Drive and the intersection of County Road (CR) 905 and Clubhouse Road 
on the west side of CR 905, and between CR 905 and Old State Road 905, 
then extending to the shoreline south of South Harbor Drive. The unit 
then continues on both sides of CR 905 through the Crocodile Lake NWR, 
Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park, and John 
Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. The unit then terminates near the 
junction of U.S. 1 and CR 905 and Garden Cove Drive. The unit resumes 
on the east side of U.S. 1 from South Andros Road to Key Largo 
Elementary; then from the intersection of Taylor Drive and Pamela 
Street to Avenue A; then from Sound Drive to the intersection of Old 
Road and Valencia Road; then resumes on the east side of U.S. 1 from 
Hibiscus Lane and Ocean Drive. The unit continues south near the Port 
Largo Airport from Poisonwood Road to Bo Peep Boulevard. The unit 
resumes on the west side of U.S. 1 from the intersection of South Drive 
and Meridian Avenue to Casa Court Drive. The unit then continues on the 
west side of U.S. 1 from the point on the coast directly west of Peace 
Avenue south to Caribbean Avenue. The unit also includes a portion of 
El Radabob Key in Largo Sound located directly east of Avenue A, 
extending south to a point directly east of Mahogany Drive.
    This unit was occupied at the time the species was listed and 
contains all the physical or biological features, including suitable 
climate, hydrology, substrate, associated native plant species, and 
disturbance regimes, essential to the conservation of the species and 
the rockland hammock and buttonwood forest primary constituent 
elements. The physical or biological features in this unit may require 
special management considerations or protection to address threats of 
nonnative plant species and sea level rise. The CCP for Crocodile Lake 
NWR promotes the enhancement of wildlife populations by maintaining and 
enhancing a diversity and abundance of habitats for native plants and 
animals, especially imperiled species that are found only in the 
Florida Keys, but does not identify Consolea corallicola because it 
does not presently occur on the Refuge. The Management Plan for Dagny 
Johnson Key Largo Hammocks Botanical State Park calls for the 
protection and restoration of habitats and to continue conservation 
efforts already under way for C. corallicola. The Service and FDEP 
conduct nonnative species control on their respective lands on Key 
Largo. FDEP monitors the reintroduced C. corallicola at Dagny Johnson 
Key Largo Hammocks Botanical State Park for population trends and 
Cactoblastis moth damage. In addition, assisted migration of the cacti 
to the highest elevations on these lands is needed because the 
population already shows the effects of increased soil salinity and is 
partially inundated by high tides.

Unit FSC3: Big Pine Key, Monroe County, Florida

    Unit FSC3 consists of approximately 772 ac (313 ha) in Monroe 
County. This unit is composed of Federal land within the National Key 
Deer Refuge (NKDR) (508 ac (205 ha)); State land managed as part of the 
NKDR (172 ac (70 ha)); lands owned by Monroe County (11 ac (5 ha)); and 
parcels in private or other ownership (81 ac (33 ha)). This unit 
extends from near the northern tip of Big Pine Key along the eastern 
shore to the vicinity of Hellenga Drive and Watson Road; from Gulf 
Boulevard south to West Shore Drive; Big Pine Avenue and Elma Avenues 
on the east, Coral and Yacht Club Road, and U.S. 1 on the north, and 
Industrial Avenue on the east from the southeastern tip of Big Pine Key 
to Avenue A.
    This unit was occupied at the time the species was listed and 
contains all the physical or biological features, including suitable 
climate, hydrology, substrate, associated native plant species, and 
disturbance regimes, essential to the conservation of the species and 
the coastal berm, rockland hammock, and buttonwood forest primary 
constituent elements. The physical or biological features in this unit 
may require special management considerations or protection to address 
threats of nonnative plant species and sea level rise. The CCP for the 
Lower Florida Keys NWRs (NKDR, Key West NWR, and Great White Heron NWR) 
promotes the enhancement of wildlife populations by maintaining and 
enhancing a diversity and abundance of habitats for native plants and 
animals, and provides specifically for maintaining and expanding 
populations of candidate plant species including C. corallicola. The 
Service conducts nonnative species control in areas that could support 
C. corallicola.

Unit FSC4: Little Torch Key, Monroe County, Florida

    Unit FSC4 consists of approximately 168 ac (68 ha) in Monroe 
County. This unit is composed of State lands (47 ac (19 ha)); lands 
owned by Monroe County (10 ac (4 ha)); and parcels in private and other 
ownership (111 ac (45 ha)). This unit extends along State Highway 4A, 
from Coral Shores Road, south to County Road, resuming at Linda Street 
and extending south to the Overseas Highway. South of the Overseas 
Highway, the unit includes areas west of Kings Cove Road, and an area 
comprising the southern tip of Little Torch Key that includes portions 
of The Nature Conservancy's (TNC) John J. Pescatello Torchwood Hammock 
Preserve.
    This unit was occupied at the time the species was listed and 
contains all the physical or biological features, including suitable 
climate, hydrology, substrate, associated native plant species, and 
disturbance regimes, essential to the conservation of the species and 
the coastal hardwood hammock and buttonwood forest primary constituent 
elements. The physical or biological features in this unit may require 
special management considerations or protection to address threats of 
nonnative plant species and sea level rise. TNC's 1994 Management Plan 
calls for monitoring, Cactoblastis

[[Page 3325]]

control, vegetation management, and basic research on Consolea 
corallicola and threats to the species. TNC monitors C. corallicola at 
the Torchwood Hammock Preserve and conducts nonnative plant and animal 
species control. The Preserve is fenced, and potential visitors must 
request access to enter the site. Assisted migration to the highest 
elevations in the Preserve may be needed in the future to conserve the 
population if the area supporting the existing population shows 
indications of increased soil salinity and population decline due to 
sea level rise.

Physical or Biological Features for Harrisia aboriginum

    We have determined that the following physical or biological 
features are essential to the conservation of Harrisia aboriginum.
Space for Individual and Population Growth and for Normal Behavior
    Plant Community and Competitive Ability. Harrisia aboriginum occurs 
in communities classified as coastal strand, coastal grasslands, 
coastal berms, maritime hammocks, and shell mounds (Bradley et al. 
2004, pp. 4, 14). Detailed descriptions of these communities and their 
associated native plant species are provided in the Status Assessment 
for Harrisia aboriginum section of the proposed listing rule published 
on October 11, 2012 (77 FR 61836), and the final listing rule published 
on October 24, 2013 (78 FR 63796), in the Federal Register. These 
habitats and their associated plant communities provide vegetation 
structure that provides adequate growing space, sunlight, and a 
competitive regime that is required for H. aboriginum to persist and 
spread. Therefore, based on the information above, we identify upland 
habitats consisting of coastal strand, coastal grasslands, coastal 
berms, maritime hammocks, and shell mounds to be a physical or 
biological feature for H. aboriginum.
Food, Water, Air, Light, Minerals, or Other Nutritional or 
Physiological Requirements
    Climate (temperature and precipitation). Harrisia aboriginum 
requires adequate rainfall and does not tolerate freezing temperatures. 
The climate of south Florida where H. aboriginum occurs is 
characterized by distinct wet and dry seasons, a monthly mean 
temperature above 18 [deg]C (64.4[emsp14][deg]F) in every month of the 
year, and annual rainfall averaging 75 to 150 cm (30 to 60 in) (Gabler 
et al. 1994, p. 211). Freezes can occur in the winter months, but are 
very infrequent at this latitude in Florida. Therefore, based on the 
information above, we determined this type of climate to be a physical 
or biological feature for H. aboriginum.
    Soils. Substrates supporting Harrisia aboriginum include sand and 
calcareous shell material (Bradley et al. 2004, pp. 4, 14). These 
substrates provide anchoring spots, nutrients, moisture regime, and 
suitable soil chemistry for H. aboriginum, and facilitate a community 
of associated plant species that create a competitive regime that 
allows H. aboriginum to persist and spread. Therefore, based on the 
information above, we identify substrates derived from calcareous sand 
or shell material to be a physical or biological feature for H. 
aboriginum.
    Hydrology. Harrisia aboriginum requires upland habitats that occur 
above the daily tidal range, but are potentially subject to flooding by 
seawater during extreme tides and storm surge. H. aboriginum will not 
tolerate hydric or saline soils, and these soil conditions may also 
cause these habitats to transition to a community of species that will 
outcompete H. aboriginum for space. Maritime hammocks occur on high 
ground that does not regularly flood, but can be inundated during storm 
surges (FNAI 2010h, p. 3). Some sites that support H. aboriginum show 
indications that soil salinization are driving changes in the plant 
community toward salt-tolerant species, and will eventually lead to 
conditions unsuitable for H. aboriginum. Therefore, based on the 
information above, we identify upland habitats at elevations not 
affected by soil salinization due to sea level rise to be physical or 
biological features for H. aboriginum.
Cover or Shelter
    Harrisia aboriginum occurs in open canopy and semi-open to closed 
canopy habitats. The amount and frequency of open canopy areas varies 
by habitat type and time since the last disturbance, such as a 
hurricane, caused canopy openings. In maritime hammocks, suitable areas 
will often be found near the hammock edge or where there are openings 
in the forest canopy. More open communities (e.g., coastal berm, 
coastal strand, and coastal grasslands) provide more abundant and 
temporally consistent suitable habitat than communities capable of 
establishing a dense canopy (e.g., maritime hammocks, shell mounds). 
Therefore, based on the information above, we identify habitats that 
have a vegetation composition and structure that allows for adequate 
sunlight and space for individual growth and population expansion to be 
a physical or biological feature for H. aboriginum.
Sites for Breeding, Reproduction, or Rearing (or Development) of 
Offspring
    The habitats identified above as physical or biological features 
also provide a plant community with associated plant species that 
foster a competitive regime that is suitable for Harrisia aboriginum 
and contain adequate open space for the recruitment of new plants. 
Associated plant species in these habitats attract and provide cover 
for generalist pollinators (e.g., bees, butterflies, and beetles) that 
pollinate H. aboriginum.
Habitats Protected From Disturbance or Representative of the 
Historical, Geographic, and Ecological Distributions of the Species
    Harrisia aboriginum continues to occur in habitats that are 
protected from human-generated disturbances and are representative of 
the species' historical, geographical, and ecological distribution 
although its range has been reduced. The species is still found in its 
representative plant communities of coastal strand, coastal grassland, 
coastal berm, maritime hammock, and shell mound habitat. As described 
above, these habitats provide a community of associated plant and 
animal species that are compatible with H. aboriginum, vegetation 
structure that provides adequate sunlight levels and open space for 
plant growth and regeneration, and substrates with adequate moisture 
availability and suitable soil chemistry. In addition, representative 
communities are located on Federal, State, local, and private 
conservation lands that implement conservation measures benefitting the 
species. Therefore, based on the information above, we identify habitat 
of sufficient size and connectivity that can support species growth, 
distribution, and population expansion to be a physical or biological 
feature for H. aboriginum.
    Disturbance Regime. Coastal strand, coastal berm, coastal 
grassland, maritime hammock, and shell mound habitats that support 
Harrisia aboriginum depend on natural disturbance regimes from 
hurricanes or tidal inundation to reduce the canopy in order to provide 
light levels sufficient to support the species. The historical 
frequency and magnitude of hurricanes and tidal inundation has allowed 
for the persistence of H. aboriginum by occasionally creating areas of 
open canopy. In the absence of disturbance, some of these habitats may 
have closed canopies, resulting in areas lacking enough available 
sunlight to support H.

[[Page 3326]]

aboriginum. However, too frequent or severe disturbance that 
transitions the habitat toward more saline conditions could result in 
the decline of the species in the area. In addition, fires are rare to 
nonexistent in coastal strand, coastal grassland, coastal berm, 
maritime hammocks, and shell mound communities (FNAI 2010a, p. 2; FNAI 
2010f, p. 2; FNAI 2010g, p. 2; FNAI 2010h, p. 3; FNAI 2010i, p. 2). 
Therefore, based on the information above, we identify habitats that 
have disturbance regimes, including hurricanes, and infrequent 
inundation events that maintain the habitat suitability to be physical 
or biological features for H. aboriginum.

Primary Constituent Elements for Harrisia aboriginum

    Based on our current knowledge of the physical or biological 
features and habitat characteristics required to sustain the species' 
life-history processes, we determine that the primary constituent 
elements specific to Harrisia aboriginum are:
    (i) Areas of upland habitats consisting of coastal strand, coastal 
grassland, coastal berm, maritime hammocks, and shell mounds.
    (A) Coastal strand habitat that contains:
    (1) Open to semi-open canopy and understory; and
    (2) Substrate of sand and shell fragments of stabilized coastal 
dunes.
    (B) Coastal grassland habitat that contains:
    (1) No canopy and an open understory; and
    (2) Substrate of sand and shell fragments.
    (C) Coastal berm habitat that contains:
    (1) Open to semi-open canopy, subcanopy, and understory; and
    (2) Substrate of coarse, calcareous, storm-deposited sediment.
    (D) Maritime hammock habitat that contains:
    (1) Canopy gaps and edges with an open to semi-open canopy, 
subcanopy, and understory; and
    (2) Substrate of calcareous sand and shell fragments.
    (E) Shell mound habitat that contains:
    (1) Open to semi-open canopy and understory; and
    (2) Substrate of soil derived from calcareous shells deposited by 
Native Americans during prehistoric times.
    (ii) A plant community of predominately native vegetation with no 
invasive, nonnative animal or plant species or such species in 
quantities low enough to have minimal effect on survival of Harrisia 
aboriginum.
    (iii) Canopy openings in coastal strand, coastal grassland, coastal 
berm, maritime hammock, and shell mound habitats that are created by 
the effects of strong winds or saltwater inundation from storm surge or 
infrequent tidal inundation.
    (iv) Habitats that are connected and of sufficient size to sustain 
viable populations in coastal strand, coastal grassland, coastal berm, 
maritime hammock, and shell mound habitats.
    (v) Habitats that provide populations of the generalist pollinators 
that visit the flowers of Harrisia aboriginum.

Special Management Considerations or Protection for Harrisia aboriginum

    Management considerations or protection are necessary throughout 
the critical habitat areas proposed here to avoid further degradation 
or destruction of the habitat that provides those features essential to 
the species' conservation. The primary threats to the physical or 
biological features that Harrisia aboriginum depends on include:
    (1) Habitat destruction and modification by development and sea 
level rise;
    (2) Competition with nonnative, invasive plant species;
    (3) Herbivorous nonnative animal species;
    (4) Wildfire; and
    (5) Hurricanes and storm surge.
    Some of these threats can be addressed by special management 
considerations or protection while others (e.g., sea level rise, 
hurricanes, storm surge) are beyond the control of landowners and 
managers. However, even when landowners or land managers may not be 
able to control all the threats, they may be able to address the 
results of the threats.
    Management activities that could ameliorate these threats include 
the monitoring and minimization of impacts from recreational 
activities, nonnative species control, and protection from development. 
Precautions are needed to avoid the inadvertent trampling of Harrisia 
aboriginum in the course of management activities and public use. 
Development of recreational facilities or programs should avoid 
impacting these habitats directly or indirectly. Ditching should be 
avoided because it alters the hydrology and species composition of 
these habitats. Sites that have shown increasing encroachment of woody 
species over time may require efforts to maintain the open nature of 
the habitat, which favors these species. Nonnative species control 
programs are needed to reduce competition, predation, and prevent 
habitat degradation. The reduction of these threats will require the 
implementation of special management actions within each of the 
critical habitat areas identified in this proposed rule. All proposed 
critical habitat requires active management to address the ongoing 
threats above and those presented in the Summary of Factors Affecting 
the Species sections in the proposed listing rule published on October 
11, 2012 (77 FR 61836), and in the final listing rule published on 
October 24, 2013 (78 FR 63796).
    The Service, State of Florida, and Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, 
and Lee Counties own and manage conservation lands within the 
historical range of Harrisia aboriginum. The CCP for J.N. `Ding' 
Darling National Wildlife Refuge (JDDNWR) promotes the enhancement of 
wildlife populations by maintaining and enhancing a diversity and 
abundance of habitats for native plants and animals, especially 
imperiled species. This CCP provides specifically for maintaining 
populations of H. aboriginum. The State Management Plans for Charlotte 
Harbor Preserve, Cayo Costa, Stump Pass Beach, Delnor-Wiggins Pass, and 
Gasparilla Island State Parks and Bocilla Preserve promote the 
protection of habitats and native species. The Service, State of 
Florida, and Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, and Lee Counties conduct 
nonnative species control efforts on sites that support, or have 
suitable habitat for, H. aboriginum. The Service monitors the 
population of H. aboriginum at JDDNWR. FDEP monitors the H. aboriginum 
population at Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park.
    Nonnative species control is currently lacking at Manasota Beach 
Park and Kitchen Key in areas that support H. aboriginum. Poaching, 
vandalism, and wildfire have been observed at Manasota Beach Park. Most 
populations are at elevations close to sea level and may require 
assisted migration as sea level rise continues to drive the transition 
toward salt-tolerant plant species in these areas. Reintroduction is 
needed to restore the species' historical distribution on Cayo Costa 
and Madira Bickell Mound State Historical Park. Augmentation of small 
populations at Longboat Key, Terra Ceia, Lemon Bay Preserve, Kitchen 
Key, Gasparilla Island, and Cayo Pelau would reduce the risk of 
population loss to hurricanes, storm surge, or wildfire.
    Harrisia aboriginum is listed on the Regulated Plant Index as 
endangered under chapter 5B-40, Florida Administrative Code. Florida 
Statutes 581.185 sections (3)(a) and (b) prohibit any person from 
willfully destroying or harvesting any species listed as endangered or 
threatened on the Regulated Plant Index, or growing such

[[Page 3327]]

a plant on the private land of another, or on any public land, without 
first obtaining the written permission of the landowner and a permit 
from the Florida Department of Plant Industry.

Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat for Harrisia aboriginum

    We are proposing to designate critical habitat in areas within the 
geographical area occupied by Harrisia aboriginum at the time of 
listing in 2013. We also are proposing to designate specific areas 
outside the geographical area occupied by the species at the time of 
listing that were historically occupied, but are presently unoccupied, 
because such areas are essential for the conservation of the species as 
described for Consolea corallicola above.
    We have determined that all habitat known to be occupied at the 
time of listing should be proposed for critical habitat designation. 
However, realizing that occupied habitat is not adequate for the 
conservation of Harrisia aboriginum, we also used habitat and 
historical occurrence data to identify unoccupied habitat essential for 
the conservation of the species. To determine the location and 
boundaries of both occupied and unoccupied critical habitat, the 
Service used the following sources of data and information for H. 
aboriginum that include the following:
    (1) FNAI population records and ArcGIS software to spatially depict 
the location and extent of documented populations of Harrisia 
aboriginum (FNAI 2011b, pp. 1-28);
    (2) Reports prepared by botanists with the IRC and the Service 
(Some of these were funded by the Service; others were requested or 
volunteered by biologists with the Service.);
    (3) Historical records found in reports and associated voucher 
specimens housed at herbaria, all of which are also referenced in the 
above-mentioned reports from the IRC and FNAI;
    (4) Digitally produced habitat maps provided by FNAI; and
    (5) Aerial images of Manatee, Charlotte, Sarasota, and Lee 
Counties. The presence of primary constituent elements was determined 
through the interpretation of aerial imagery. The areas that contain 
primary constituent elements follow predictable landscape patterns and 
have a recognizable signature in the aerial imagery.
    Only approximately 300 to 500 individuals and 12 populations of 
Harrisia aboriginum are known to exist. All but 2 of these populations 
consist of fewer than 100 individuals, with 7 populations having 10 or 
fewer individuals (low redundancy). Most populations occur on coastal 
barrier islands where the amount of suitable remaining habitat is 
limited (low resiliency), and much of the remaining habitat will be 
lost to sea level rise over the next century. We have addressed 
representation through our primary constituent elements (as discussed 
above) and by providing habitat for H. aboriginum. For adequate 
redundancy and resiliency, it is essential for the conservation of H. 
aboriginum for additional populations to be established and existing 
populations to be augmented. Therefore, we have proposed two unoccupied 
areas for designation as critical habitat units where H. aboriginum was 
historically recorded, but has since been extirpated.
    The current distribution of Harrisia aboriginum is reduced from its 
historical distribution, with no populations remaining in Manatee 
County, at the northern extent of the species' range. We anticipate 
that recovery will require continued protection of the remaining extant 
population and habitat, as well as establishing populations in 
additional areas that more closely approximate its historical 
distribution in order to ensure there are adequate numbers of plants in 
stable populations and that these populations occur over a wide 
geographic area. This will help to ensure that catastrophic events, 
such as storms, cannot simultaneously affect all known populations.

Areas Occupied at the Time of Listing

    The occupied critical habitat units were delineated around 
documented extant populations. These units include the mapped extent of 
the population that contain one or more of the physical or biological 
features. We considered the following when identifying occupied areas 
of critical habitat:
    (1) The delineation included space to allow for the successional 
nature of the occupied habitats (i.e., gain and loss of areas with 
sufficient light availability due to disturbance of the tree canopy 
driven by natural events such as inundation and hurricanes), and 
habitat transition or loss due to sea level rise.
    (2) Some areas will require special management to be able to 
support a higher density of the plant within the occupied space. These 
areas generally are habitats where some of the primary constituent 
elements have been lost through natural or human causes. These areas 
would help to offset the anticipated loss and degradation of habitat 
occurring or expected from the effects of climate change (such as sea 
level rise) or due to development.

Areas Outside the Geographic Area Occupied at the Time of Listing

    After completing the above analysis, we determined that occupied 
areas were not sufficient for the conservation of the species for the 
following reasons: (1) Restoring the species to its historical range 
and reducing its vulnerability to stochastic events such as hurricanes 
and storm surge requires reintroduction to areas where it occurred in 
the past but has since been extirpated; (2) providing increased 
connectivity for populations and areas for small populations to expand 
requires currently unoccupied habitat; and (3) reintroduction or 
assisted migration to reduce the species vulnerability to sea level 
rise and storm surge requires higher elevation sites that are currently 
unoccupied by Harrisia aboriginum. Therefore, we looked for unoccupied 
areas that may be essential for the conservation of the species.
    The unoccupied areas are essential for the conservation of the 
species because they:
    (1) Represent the historical range of Harrisia aboriginum. H. 
aboriginum has been extirpated from two locations where it was 
previously recorded. Of those areas found in reports, we are proposing 
critical habitat only for those that are well-documented and essential 
for the conservation of the species (i.e., Terra Ceia, Cayo Costa) 
(Bradley and Gann 1999, p. 77; Bradley et al. 2004, p. 4). These areas 
also still retain some or all of the elements of the physical or 
biological features.
    (2) Provide areas of sufficient size to support ecosystem processes 
for populations of Harrisia aboriginum. These areas are essential for 
the conservation of the species because they will provide areas for 
population expansion and growth. Large contiguous parcels of habitat 
are more likely to be resilient to ecological processes of disturbance 
and succession, and support viable populations of H. aboriginum. The 
unoccupied areas selected were at least 30 ac (12 ha) or greater in 
size.
    The amount and distribution of designated critical habitat will 
allow Harrisia aboriginum to:
    (1) Maintain its existing distribution;
    (2) Expand its distribution into historically occupied areas 
(needed to offset habitat loss and fragmentation);
    (3) Use habitat depending on habitat availability (response to 
changing nature of coastal habitat including sea level rise) and 
support genetic diversity;
    (4) Increase the size of each population to a level where the 
threats of genetic, demographic, and normal environmental uncertainties 
are diminished; and

[[Page 3328]]

    (5) Maintain its ability to withstand local or unit-level 
environmental fluctuations or catastrophes.
    When determining critical habitat boundaries within this final 
rule, we made every effort to avoid including developed areas such as 
lands covered by buildings, pavement, and other structures because such 
lands lack physical or biological features for Harrisia aboriginum. The 
scale of the maps we prepared under the parameters for publication 
within the Code of Federal Regulations may not reflect the exclusion of 
such developed lands. Any such lands inadvertently left inside critical 
habitat boundaries shown on the maps of this proposed rule have been 
excluded by text in the proposed rule and are not proposed for 
designation as critical habitat. Therefore, if the critical habitat is 
finalized as proposed, a Federal action involving these lands will not 
trigger section 7 consultation with respect to critical habitat and the 
requirement of no adverse modification unless the specific action would 
affect the physical or biological features in the adjacent critical 
habitat.
    The critical habitat designation is defined by the map or maps, as 
modified by any accompanying regulatory text, presented at the end of 
this document in the rule portion. We include more detailed information 
on the boundaries of the critical habitat designation in the preamble 
of this document. We will make the coordinates, plot points, or both on 
which each map is based available to the public on http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2014-0057, on our Internet 
site, http://www.fws.gov/verobeach/, and at the field office 
responsible for the designation (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT 
above).

Proposed Critical Habitat Designation for Harrisia aboriginum

    We are proposing 11 units as critical habitat for Harrisia 
aboriginum. The critical habitat areas we describe below constitute our 
current best assessment of areas that meet the definition of critical 
habitat for Harrisia aboriginum. The 11 areas we propose as critical 
habitat are:
    (1) Unit APA1 Terra Ceia, Manatee County, Florida;
    (2) Unit APA2 Longboat Key, Sarasota County, Florida;
    (3) Unit APA3 Osprey, Sarasota County, Florida;
    (4) Unit APA4 Manasota Key, Sarasota and Charlotte Counties, 
Florida;
    (5) Unit APA5 Charlotte Harbor, Charlotte County, Florida;
    (6) Unit APA6 Gasparilla Island North, Charlotte and Lee Counties, 
Florida;
    (7) Unit APA7 Gasparilla Island South, Lee County, Florida;
    (8) Unit APA8 Cayo Pelau, Charlotte and Lee Counties, Florida;
    (9) Unit APA9 Cayo Costa, Lee County, Florida;
    (10) Unit APA10 Bocilla Island, Lee County, Florida; and
    (11) Unit APA11 Sanibel Island and Buck Key, Lee County, Florida.

Land ownership within the proposed critical habitat consists of Federal 
(11 percent), State (48 percent), County (15 percent), and private and 
other (26 percent). Table 2 summarizes these units.

                                              Table 2--Harrisia aboriginum Proposed Critical Habitat Units
                           [All areas rounded to the nearest whole number, except where less than 1 acre (ac) or hectare (ha)]
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                  Private/other
                 Unit                     Total Ac (Ha)    Federal Ac (Ha)    State Ac (Ha)    County Ac (Ha)        Ac (Ha)             Occupied
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
APA1--Terra Ceia......................          222 (90)                 0           66 (27)           70 (28)           87 (35)  No.
APA2--Longboat Key....................           54 (22)                 0                 0                 0           54 (22)  Yes.
APA3--Osprey..........................          116 (47)                 0                 0           50 (20)           66 (27)  Yes.
APA4--Manasota Key....................         415 (168)                 0           58 (23)          111 (45)          245 (99)  Yes.
APA5--Charlotte Harbor................           51 (21)                 0           51 (21)                 0                 0  Yes.
APA6--Gasparilla North................           98 (40)                 0       0.06 (0.02)            22 (9)           77 (31)  Yes.
APA7--Gasparilla South................           92 (37)             3 (1)           69 (28)            12 (5)             8 (3)  Yes.
APA8--Cayo Pelau......................           25 (10)                 0                 0           25 (10)                 0  Yes.
APA9--Cayo Costa......................       1,702 (689)                 0       1,379 (558)           94 (38)          230 (93)  No.
APA10--Bocilla........................           33 (13)                 0                 0           32 (13)         0.7 (0.3)  Yes.
APA11--Sanibel Island and Buck Key....         635 (257)         373 (151)           47 (19)           90 (36)          126 (51)  Yes.
                                       -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total.............................     3,444 (1,394)         376 (152)       1,669 (676)         505 (204)         893 (361)  ......................
Percent of Total......................               100                11                48                15                26  ......................
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Note: Area sizes may not sum due to rounding.

    We present brief descriptions of all units, and reasons why they 
meet the definition of critical habitat for Harrisia aboriginum, below.

Unit APA1: Terra Ceia, Manatee County, Florida

    Unit APA1 consists of approximately 222 ac (90 ha) in Manatee 
County, Florida. This unit is composed of State lands within Madira 
Bickel Mound State Historical Park, Terra Ceia Preserve State Park, 
Cockroach Bay State Buffer Preserve, and the Tampa Bay Estuarine System 
(66 ac (27 ha)); Manatee County lands at Emerson Point Preserve and 
parcels owned by the Manatee County Port Authority (70 ac (28 ha)); and 
parcels in private or other ownership (87 ac (35 ha)). This unit 
includes lands west of Highway 41 extending from just south of South 
Dock Street south to Snead Island. The unit also includes areas of 
Harbor Key, Mariposa Key, Horseshoe Key, Joe Island, Skeet Key, 
Paradise Island, Ed's Key, and Rattlesnake Key.
    This unit was not occupied at the time the species was listed but 
is essential for the conservation of the species because it serves to 
protect habitat needed to recover the species, reestablish wild 
populations within the historical range of the species, and maintain 
populations throughout the historic distribution of the species in 
Manatee County, and will provide population redundancy in the case of 
stochastic events that otherwise hold the potential to eliminate the 
species from the one or more locations where it is presently found.
    The Management Plan for Madira Bickel Mound State Historical Park, 
Terra Ceia Preserve State Park, Cockroach Bay State Buffer Preserve, 
and the Tampa Bay Estuarine System calls for the protection and 
restoration

[[Page 3329]]

of habitats, but does not identify actions specific to Harrisia 
aboriginum. The FDEP conducts nonnative species control on their lands 
within the unit. Reintroduction of H. aboriginum within Madira Bickel 
Mound State Historical Park, Terra Ceia Preserve State Park, and the 
Tampa Bay Estuarine System is needed to restore the species to its 
historical distribution in Manatee County and reduce the risks 
associated with hurricanes, storm surge, and sea level rise.

Unit APA2: Longboat Key, Sarasota County, Florida

    Unit APA2 consists of approximately 54 ac (22 ha) in Sarasota 
County, Florida. This unit is composed entirely of parcels in private 
or other ownership. This unit includes lands west of Gulf of Mexico 
Drive, extending from 0.40 miles (mi) (0.6 kilometers (km)) south of 
the intersection of Bay Isles Parkway and Gulf of Mexico Drive, to the 
southern tip of Longboat Key. It also includes lands on the north side 
of Gulf of Mexico Drive, east of Longboat Club Key Drive, on the 
northwest tip of Longboat Key.
    This unit was occupied at the time the species was listed and 
contains all the physical or biological features, including suitable 
climate, hydrology, substrate, associated native plant species, and 
disturbance regimes, essential to the conservation of the species, and 
the primary constituent elements of coastal strand, coastal berm, and 
maritime hammock. The physical or biological features in this unit may 
require special management considerations or protection to address 
threats of nonnative plant species and sea level rise. Augmentation of 
the Harrisia aboriginum population within the unit is needed to restore 
the species to its historical abundance and reduce the risks associated 
with small population size, hurricanes, storm surge, and sea level 
rise.

Unit APA3: Osprey, Sarasota County, Florida

    Unit APA3 consists of approximately 116 ac (47 ha) in Sarasota 
County, Florida. This unit is composed of Sarasota County lands within 
Palmer Point County Park (50 ac (20 ha)) and parcels in private or 
other ownership (66 ac (27 ha)). This unit extends along the barrier 
island (Casey Key) from the south terminus of Blind Pass Road, south 
for approximately 1.2 mi (1.9 km) along North Casey Key Road. On the 
mainland, the unit includes lands bordered on the north by Vamo Way, to 
the east by Highway 41, and to the south by Palmetto Avenue.
    This unit was occupied at the time the species was listed and 
contains the biological or physical features including suitable 
climate, hydrology, substrate, associated native plant species, and 
disturbance regimes essential to the conservation of the species and 
contains coastal strand, coastal berm, maritime hammock, and shell 
mound primary constituent elements. The physical or biological features 
in this unit may require special management considerations or 
protection to address threats of nonnative plant species, and sea level 
rise. Augmentation of the Harrisia aboriginum population within the 
unit is needed to restore the species to its historical abundance and 
reduce the risks associated with small population size, hurricanes, 
storm surge, and sea level rise.

Unit APA4: Manasota Key, Sarasota and Charlotte Counties, Florida

    Unit APA4 consists of approximately 415 ac (168 ha) in Sarasota and 
Charlotte Counties, Florida. This unit is composed of State lands 
within Stump Pass Beach State Park (58 ac (23 ha)); County lands within 
Blind Pass Park, Brohard Beach and Paw Park, Manasota Beach Park, 
Casperson Beach Park, and Service Club Park (111 ac (45 ha)); and 
parcels in private or other ownership (245 ac (99 ha)). This unit 
extends from Beach Road in the City of Venice, south along Manasota Key 
to the barrier islands southern tip, including a portion of Peterson 
Island.
    This unit was occupied at the time the species was listed and 
contains the physical or biological features, including suitable 
climate, hydrology, substrate, associated native plant species, and 
disturbance regimes essential to the conservation of the species and 
contains coastal strand, coastal berm, and maritime hammock primary 
constituent elements. The physical or biological features in this unit 
may require special management considerations or protection to address 
threats of nonnative plant species and sea level rise. The Management 
Plan for Stump Pass Beach State Park calls for the protection and 
restoration of habitats, but does not identify actions specific to 
Harrisia aboriginum. The FDEP conducts nonnative species control on 
their lands within the unit. Augmentation of the H. aboriginum 
population within the unit is needed to restore the species to its 
historical abundance and reduce the risks associated with small 
population size, hurricanes, storm surge, and sea level rise.

Unit APA5: Charlotte Harbor, Charlotte County, Florida

    Unit APA5 consists of approximately 51 ac (21 ha) in Charlotte 
County, Florida. This unit is composed entirely of State lands within 
the Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park. This unit includes the Big 
Mound, Boggess Ridge, and a shell mound located on the east side of 
Charlotte Harbor, south of the City of Charlotte Park. This unit was 
occupied at the time the species was listed and contains all the 
physical or biological features essential to the conservation of the 
species and contains coastal berm and shell mound primary constituent 
elements.
    The physical or biological features in this unit may require 
special management considerations or protection to address threats of 
nonnative plant species and sea level rise. The Management Plan for 
Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park calls for the protection and 
restoration of habitats, and identifies actions specific to Harrisia 
aboriginum. The FDEP conducts nonnative species control and monitors 
the H. aboriginum population in Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park. 
Augmentation of the H. aboriginum population within the unit is needed 
to restore the species to its historical abundance and reduce the risks 
associated with small population size, hurricanes, storm surge, and sea 
level rise.

Unit APA6: Gasparilla North, Charlotte and Lee Counties, Florida

    Unit APA6 consists of approximately 98 ac (40 ha) in Charlotte and 
Lee Counties, Florida. This unit is composed of State land (0.006 ac 
(0.02 ha)), county land (22 ac (9 ha)), and parcels in private or other 
ownership (77 ac (31 ha)). This unit includes most of Kitchen Key (Live 
Oak Key) and the area east of Gasparilla Road, from the intersection of 
Grouper Hole Road and Grouper Hole Court, south to 0.15 mi (0.24 km) 
north of Snail Island Court, from approximately 0.10 mi (0.21 km) south 
of 35th Street to 23rd Street, including the small island separated 
from Gasparilla Island by a canal; and from 22nd Street to 20th Street.
    This unit was occupied at the time the species was listed and 
contains the physical or biological features including suitable 
climate, hydrology, substrate, associated native plant species, and 
disturbance regimes essential to the conservation of the species and 
contains coastal berm and maritime hammock primary constituent 
elements. The physical or biological features in this unit may require 
special management

[[Page 3330]]

considerations or protection to address threats of nonnative plant 
species and sea level rise. Augmentation of the Harrisia aboriginum 
population within the unit is needed to restore the species to its 
historical abundance and reduce the risks associated with small 
population size, hurricanes, storm surge, and sea level rise.

Unit APA7: Gasparilla South, Lee County, Florida

    Unit APA7 consists of approximately 92 ac (37 ha) in Lee County, 
Florida. This unit is composed of Federal land owned by the Service and 
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) (3 ac (1 ha)), State lands within 
Gasparilla Island State Park (69 ac (28 ha)), Lee County lands (12 ac 
(5 ha)), and parcels in private or other ownership (8 ac (3 ha)). This 
unit includes lands located from south of 1st Street to the southern 
tip of Gasparilla Island.
    This unit was occupied at the time the species was listed and 
contains the physical or biological features, including suitable 
climate, hydrology, substrate, associated native plant species, and 
disturbance regimes essential to the conservation of the species and 
contains coastal strand, coastal berm, and maritime hammock primary 
constituent elements. The physical or biological features in this unit 
may require special management considerations or protection to address 
threats of nonnative plant species and sea level rise. The Management 
Plan for Gasparilla Island State Park calls for the protection and 
restoration of habitats, but does not identify actions specific to 
Harrisia aboriginum. The FDEP conducts nonnative species control on its 
lands within the unit. Augmentation of the H. aboriginum population 
within the unit is needed to restore the species to its historical 
abundance and reduce the risks associated with small population size, 
hurricanes, storm surge, and sea level rise.

Unit APA8: Cayo Pelau, Charlotte and Lee Counties, Florida

    Unit APA8 consists of approximately 25 ac (10 ha) in Charlotte and 
Lee Counties, Florida. This unit is composed of Lee County lands within 
Cayo Pelau Preserve, and parcels in private or other ownership (0.6 ac 
(0.2 ha)). This unit includes lands located from 0.13 mi (0.21 km) 
south of the northern tip of Cayo Pelau, extending south to the 
southeastern tip of Cayo Pelau.
    This unit was occupied at the time the species was listed and 
contains the physical or biological features including suitable 
climate, hydrology, substrate, associated native plant species, and 
disturbance regimes essential to the conservation of the species and 
contains coastal berm and shell mound primary constituent elements. The 
physical or biological features in this unit may require special 
management considerations or protection to address threats of nonnative 
plant species and sea level rise. Augmentation of the Harrisia 
aboriginum population within the unit is needed to restore the species 
to its historical abundance and reduce the risks associated with small 
population size, hurricanes, storm surge, and sea level rise.

Unit APA9: Cayo Costa, Lee County, Florida

    Unit APA9 consists of approximately 1,702 ac (689 ha) in Lee 
County, Florida. This unit is composed of State lands within Cayo Costa 
State Park (1,379 ac (558 ha)), lands owned by Lee County (94 ac (38 
ha)), and parcels in private or other ownership (230 ac (93 ha)). This 
unit includes lands located from the northern tip to the southern tip 
of Cayo Costa.
    This unit was not occupied at the time the species was listed but 
is essential for the conservation of the species because it serves to 
protect habitat needed to recover the species, reestablish wild 
populations within the historical range of the species, maintain 
populations throughout the historic distribution of the species in 
Manatee County, and provide population redundancy in the case of 
stochastic events that otherwise hold the potential to eliminate the 
species from the one or more locations where it is presently found. The 
Management Plan for Cayo Costa State Park calls for the protection and 
restoration of habitats and identifies actions specific to Harrisia 
aboriginum. The FDEP conducts nonnative species control and monitored 
the population at Cayo Costa State Park until the last plant died in 
2007. Reintroduction of H. aboriginum within Cayo Costa State Park is 
needed to restore the species to its historical distribution and reduce 
the risks associated with hurricanes, storm surge, and sea level rise.

Unit APA10: Bocilla, Lee County, Florida

    Unit APA10 consists of approximately 33 ac (13 ha) in Lee County, 
Florida. This unit is composed of Lee County lands within the Bocilla 
Preserve (32 ac (13 ha)) and parcels in private or other ownership (0.7 
ac (0.3 ha)). This unit includes lands located on the undeveloped 
portion of Bokeelia Island from 0.02 mi (0.03 km) west of the terminus 
of Ebbtide Way, extending south and west to the northwest and southeast 
corners of Bokeelia Island.
    This unit was occupied at the time the species was listed and 
contains the physical or biological features, including suitable 
climate, hydrology, substrate, associated native plant species, and 
disturbance regimes essential to the conservation of the species and 
contains the coastal berm primary constituent element. The physical or 
biological features in this unit may require special management 
considerations or protection to address threats of nonnative plant 
species and sea level rise. The Management Plan for Bocilla Preserve 
calls for the protection and restoration of habitats and identifies 
actions specific to Harrisia aboriginum.

Unit APA11: Sanibel Island and Buck Key, Lee County, Florida

    Unit APA11 consists of approximately 635 ac (257 ha) in Lee County, 
Florida. This unit is composed of Federal lands owned by the Bureau of 
Land Management, and Service lands within the JDDNWR (373 ac (151 ha)), 
State lands (47 ac (13 ha)), lands owned by Lee County (90 ac (36 ha)), 
and parcels in private or other ownership (126 ac (51 ha)). This unit 
includes lands on Buck Key, Runyan Key, and Sanibel Island. On Sanibel 
Island, the unit includes a portion of Bowman's Beach, from just south 
of Silver Key to the western terminus of Water's Edge Lane; uplands 
within JDDNWR; and a shell mound located near the northern terminus of 
Tarpon Bay Road.
    This unit was occupied at the time the species was listed and 
contains the physical or biological features, including suitable 
climate, hydrology, substrate, associated native plant species, and 
disturbance regimes essential to the conservation of the species and 
contains the maritime hammock primary constituent elements. The 
physical or biological features in this unit may require special 
management considerations or protection to address threats of nonnative 
plant species and sea level rise. The CCP for JDDNWR promotes the 
protection and restoration of habitats, and identifies actions specific 
to Harrisia aboriginum. The Service conducts nonnative species control 
and monitors the population at JDDNWR.

Effects of Critical Habitat Designation

Section 7 Consultation

    Section 7(a)(2) of the Act requires Federal agencies, including the 
Service, to ensure that any action they fund, authorize, or carry out 
is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of

[[Page 3331]]

any endangered species or threatened species or result in the 
destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat of 
such species. In addition, section 7(a)(4) of the Act requires Federal 
agencies to confer with the Service on any agency action that is likely 
to jeopardize the continued existence of any species proposed to be 
listed under the Act or result in the destruction or adverse 
modification of proposed critical habitat.
    Decisions by the 5th and 9th Circuit Courts of Appeals have 
invalidated our regulatory definition of ``destruction or adverse 
modification'' (50 CFR 402.02) (see Gifford Pinchot Task Force v. U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, 378 F. 3d 1059 (9th Cir. 2004) and Sierra 
Club v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 245 F.3d 434 (5th Cir. 2001)), 
and we do not rely on this regulatory definition when analyzing whether 
an action is likely to destroy or adversely modify critical habitat. 
Under the statutory provisions of the Act, we determine destruction or 
adverse modification on the basis of whether, with implementation of 
the proposed Federal action, the affected critical habitat would 
continue to serve its intended conservation role for the species.
    If a Federal action may affect a listed species or its critical 
habitat, the responsible Federal agency (action agency) must enter into 
consultation with us. Examples of actions that are subject to the 
section 7 consultation process are actions on State, tribal, local, or 
private lands that require a Federal permit (such as a permit from the 
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under section 404 of the Clean Water Act 
(33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) or a permit from the Service under section 10 
of the Act) or that involve some other Federal action (such as funding 
from the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Aviation 
Administration, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency). Federal 
actions not affecting listed species or critical habitat, and actions 
on State, tribal, local, or private lands that are not federally funded 
or authorized, do not require section 7 consultation.
    As a result of section 7 consultation, we document compliance with 
the requirements of section 7(a)(2) through our issuance of:
    (1) A concurrence letter for Federal actions that may affect, but 
are not likely to adversely affect, listed species or critical habitat; 
or
    (2) A biological opinion for Federal actions that may affect and 
are likely to adversely affect, listed species or critical habitat.
    When we issue a biological opinion concluding that a project is 
likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species and/or 
destroy or adversely modify critical habitat, we provide reasonable and 
prudent alternatives to the project, if any are identifiable, that 
would avoid the likelihood of jeopardy and/or destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat. We define ``reasonable and prudent 
alternatives'' (at 50 CFR 402.02) as alternative actions identified 
during consultation that:
    (1) Can be implemented in a manner consistent with the intended 
purpose of the action,
    (2) Can be implemented consistent with the scope of the Federal 
agency's legal authority and jurisdiction,
    (3) Are economically and technologically feasible, and
    (4) Would, in the Director's opinion, avoid the likelihood of 
jeopardizing the continued existence of the listed species and/or avoid 
the likelihood of destroying or adversely modifying critical habitat.
    Reasonable and prudent alternatives can vary from slight project 
modifications to extensive redesign or relocation of the project. Costs 
associated with implementing a reasonable and prudent alternative are 
similarly variable.
    Regulations at 50 CFR 402.16 require Federal agencies to reinitiate 
consultation on previously reviewed actions in instances where we have 
listed a new species or subsequently designated critical habitat that 
may be affected and the Federal agency has retained discretionary 
involvement or control over the action (or the agency's discretionary 
involvement or control is authorized by law). Consequently, Federal 
agencies sometimes may need to request reinitiation of consultation 
with us on actions for which formal consultation has been completed, if 
those actions with discretionary involvement or control may affect 
subsequently listed species or designated critical habitat.

Application of the ``Adverse Modification'' Standard

    The key factor related to the adverse modification determination is 
whether, with implementation of the proposed Federal action, the 
affected critical habitat would continue to serve its intended 
conservation role for the species. Activities that may destroy or 
adversely modify critical habitat are those that alter the physical or 
biological features to an extent that appreciably reduces the 
conservation value of critical habitat for Consolea corallicola and 
Harrisia aboriginum. As discussed above, the role of critical habitat 
is to support life-history needs of the species and provide for the 
conservation of the species.
    Section 4(b)(8) of the Act requires us to briefly evaluate and 
describe, in any proposed or final regulation that designates critical 
habitat, activities involving a Federal action that may destroy or 
adversely modify such habitat, or that may be affected by such 
designation.
    Activities that may affect critical habitat, when carried out, 
funded, or authorized by a Federal agency, should result in 
consultation for the Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum. 
These activities include, but are not limited to:
    (1) Actions that would significantly alter the hydrology or 
substrate, such as ditching or filling. Such activities may include, 
but are not limited to, road construction or maintenance, and 
residential, commercial, or recreational development.
    (2) Actions that would significantly alter vegetation structure or 
composition, such as clearing vegetation for construction of roads, 
residential and commercial development, and recreational facilities, 
and trails.
    (3) Actions that would introduce nonnative species that would 
significantly alter vegetation structure or composition. Such 
activities may include, but are not limited to, residential and 
commercial development and road construction.

Exemptions

Application of Section 4(a)(3) of the Act

    Section 4(a)(3)(B)(i) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533(a)(3)(B)(i)) 
provides that: ``The Secretary shall not designate as critical habitat 
any lands or other geographic areas owned or controlled by the 
Department of Defense, or designated for its use, that are subject to 
an integrated natural resources management plan (INRMP) prepared under 
section 101 of the Sikes Act (16 U.S.C. 670a), if the Secretary 
determines in writing that such plan provides a benefit to the species 
for which critical habitat is proposed for designation.'' There are no 
Department of Defense lands with a completed INRMP within the proposed 
critical habitat for Consolea corallicola or Harrisia aboriginum.

Consideration of Impacts Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act

    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act states that the Secretary shall 
designate and make revisions to critical habitat on the basis

[[Page 3332]]

of the best available scientific data after taking into consideration 
the economic impact, national security impact, and any other relevant 
impact of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. The 
Secretary may exclude an area from critical habitat if she determines 
that the benefits of such exclusion outweigh the benefits of specifying 
such area as part of the critical habitat, unless she determines, based 
on the best scientific data available, that the failure to designate 
such area as critical habitat will result in the extinction of the 
species. In making that determination, the statute on its face, as well 
as the legislative history, are clear that the Secretary has broad 
discretion regarding which factor(s) to use and how much weight to give 
to any factor.
    When considering the benefits of exclusion, we consider, among 
other things, whether exclusion of a specific area is likely to result 
in conservation; the continuation, strengthening, or encouragement of 
partnerships; or implementation of a management plan. In the case of 
Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum, the benefits of 
designating critical habitat include public awareness of the presence 
of Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum and the importance of 
habitat protection, and, where a Federal nexus exists, increased 
habitat protection for Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum due 
to protection from adverse modification or destruction of critical 
habitat. In practice, situations with a Federal nexus exist primarily 
on Federal lands or for projects undertaken by Federal agencies.
    We have not proposed to exclude any areas from critical habitat. 
However, the final decision on whether to exclude any areas will be 
based on the best scientific data available at the time of the final 
designation, including information obtained during the comment period 
and information about the economic impact of designation. Accordingly, 
we have prepared a draft economic analysis (DEA) concerning the 
proposed critical habitat designation, which is available for review 
and comment (see ADDRESSES).

Exclusions Based on Economic Impacts

    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act and its implementing regulations require 
that we consider the economic impact that may result from a designation 
of critical habitat. To assess the probable economic impacts of a 
designation, we must first evaluate specific land uses or activities 
and projects that may occur in the area of the critical habitat. We 
then must evaluate the impacts that a specific critical habitat 
designation may have on restricting or modifying specific land uses or 
activities for the benefit of the species and its habitat within the 
areas proposed. We then identify which conservation efforts may be the 
result of the species being listed under the Act versus those 
attributed solely to the designation of critical habitat for this 
particular species.
    The probable economic impact of a proposed critical habitat 
designation is analyzed by comparing scenarios both ``with critical 
habitat'' and ``without critical habitat.'' The ``without critical 
habitat'' scenario represents the baseline for the analysis, which 
includes the existing regulatory and socio-economic burden imposed on 
landowners, managers, or other resource users potentially affected by 
the designation of critical habitat (e.g., under the Federal listing as 
well as other Federal, State, and local regulations). The baseline, 
therefore, represents the costs of all efforts attributable to the 
listing of the species under the Act (i.e., conservation of the species 
and its habitat incurred regardless of whether critical habitat is 
designated). The ``with critical habitat'' scenario describes the 
incremental impacts associated specifically with the designation of 
critical habitat for the species. The incremental conservation efforts 
and associated impacts would not be expected without the designation of 
critical habitat for the species. In other words, the incremental costs 
are those attributable solely to the designation of critical habitat, 
above and beyond the baseline costs. These are the costs we use when 
evaluating the benefits of inclusion and exclusion of particular areas 
from the final designation of critical habitat should we choose to 
conduct an optional section 4(b)(2) exclusion analysis.
    For this designation, we developed an Incremental Effects 
Memorandum (IEM) considering the probable incremental economic impacts 
that may result from this proposed designation of critical habitat. The 
information contained in our IEM was then used to develop a screening 
analysis of the probable effects of the designation of critical habitat 
for Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum (IEc 2014, entire). In 
particular, the screening analysis considers baseline costs (i.e., 
absent critical habitat designation) and includes probable economic 
impacts where land and water use may be subject to conservation plans, 
land management plans, best management practices, or regulations that 
protect the habitat area as a result of the Federal listing status of 
the species.
    The screening analysis filters out particular areas of critical 
habitat that are already subject to such protections and are, 
therefore, unlikely to incur incremental economic impacts. Ultimately, 
the screening analysis allows us to focus our analysis on evaluating 
the specific areas or sectors that may incur probable incremental 
economic impacts as a result of the designation. The screening analysis 
also assesses whether units are unoccupied by the species and may 
require additional management or conservation efforts as a result of 
the critical habitat designation for the species which may incur 
incremental economic impacts. This screening analysis, combined with 
the information contained in our IEM, is what we consider our draft 
economic analysis (DEA) of the proposed critical habitat designation 
for Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum and is summarized in 
the narrative below.
    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct Federal agencies to assess 
the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives in 
quantitative (to the extent feasible) and qualitative terms. Consistent 
with the E.O. regulatory analysis requirements, our effects analysis 
under the Act may take into consideration impacts to both directly and 
indirectly impacted entities, where practicable and reasonable. We 
assess to the extent practicable, the probable impacts, if sufficient 
data are available, to both directly and indirectly impacted entities. 
As part of our screening analysis, we considered the types of economic 
activities that are likely to occur within the areas likely affected by 
the critical habitat designation. In our evaluation of the probable 
incremental economic impacts that may result from the proposed 
designation of critical habitat for Consolea corallicola and Harrisia 
aboriginum, first we identified, in the IEM dated July 30, 2014, 
probable incremental economic impacts associated with the following 
categories of activities:
    (1) Federal lands management (National Park Service, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management);
    (2) Roadway and bridge construction;
    (3) Dredging;
    (4) Commercial or residential development;
    (5) Recreation (including construction of recreation 
infrasturcture).
    We considered each industry or category individually. Additionally, 
we considered whether their activities have any Federal involvement. 
Critical habitat designation will not affect activities that do not 
have any Federal involvement; designation of critical

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habitat only affects activities conducted, funded, permitted, or 
authorized by Federal agencies. In areas where Consolea corallicola or 
Harrisia aboriginum is present, Federal agencies already are required 
to consult with the Service under section 7 of the Act on activities 
they authorize, fund, or carry out that may affect the species. If we 
finalize this proposed critical habitat designation, consultations to 
avoid the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat would 
be incorporated into the existing consultation process. Therefore, 
disproportionate impacts to any geographic area or sector are not 
likely as a result of this critical habitat designation.
    In our IEM, we attempted to clarify the distinction between the 
effects that will result from the species being listed and those 
attributable to the critical habitat designation (i.e., difference 
between the jeopardy and adverse modification standards) for Consolea 
corallicola's and Harrisia aboriginum's critical habitat. Because the 
designation of critical habitat for Consolea corallicola and Harrisia 
aboriginum is being proposed so soon after the listing, it has been our 
experience that it is more difficult to discern which conservation 
efforts are attributable to the species being listed and those which 
will result solely from the designation of critical habitat. However, 
the following specific circumstances in this case help to inform our 
evaluation: (1) The essential physical or biological features 
identified for critical habitat are the same features essential for the 
life requisites of the species and (2) any actions that would result in 
sufficient harm or harassment to constitute jeopardy to Consolea 
corallicola or Harrisia aboriginum would also likely adversely affect 
the essential physical or biological features of critical habitat. The 
IEM outlines our rationale concerning this limited distinction between 
baseline conservation efforts and incremental impacts of the 
designation of critical habitat for these species. This evaluation of 
the incremental effects has been used as the basis to evaluate the 
probable incremental economic impacts of this proposed designation of 
critical habitat.

Consolea corallicola

    The proposed critical habitat designation for Consolea corallicola 
totals approximately 4,411 ac (1,785 ha) across four units in Miami-
Dade and Monroe Counties, Florida, all of which was occupied by the 
species at the time of listing. The proposed critical habitat includes 
lands under Federal (28 percent), State (58 percent), county (1 
percent), and private or other (13 percent) ownership. In these areas 
any actions that may affect the species or its habitat would also 
affect designated critical habitat, and it is unlikely that any 
additional conservation efforts would be recommended to address the 
adverse modification standard over and above those recommended as 
necessary to avoid jeopardizing the continued existence of C. 
corallicola. Therefore, only administrative costs are expected in the 
proposed critical habitat designation. While this additional analysis 
will require time and resources by both the Federal action agency and 
the Service, in most circumstances, these costs would predominantly be 
administrative in nature and would not be significant.
    Based on the available information, we anticipate no more than 
three consultations per year within the proposed critical habitat 
units. Communications with affected entities indicate that critical 
habitat designation is likely only to result in no more than just a few 
consultations, with minor conservation efforts that would likely result 
in relatively low probable economic impacts. Unit costs of such 
administrative efforts range from approximately $410 to $5,000 per 
consultation (2014 dollars, total cost for all parties participating in 
a single consultation) (IEc 2014, p. 10). Applying these unit cost 
estimates, this analysis conservatively estimates that the 
administrative cost of considering adverse modification in section 7 
consultation will result in incremental costs of up to $7,100 (2014 
dollars) in a given year for Consolea corallicola (IEc 2014, pp. 10-
11).
    The entities most likely to incur incremental costs are parties to 
section 7 consultations, including Federal action agencies and, in some 
cases, third parties, most frequently State agencies or municipalities. 
Activities we expect will be subject to consultations that may involve 
private entities as third parties are residential and commercial 
development that may occur on private lands. However, based on 
coordination efforts with State and local agencies, the cost to private 
entities within these sectors is expected to be relatively minor 
(administrative costs of $5,000 or less per consultation effort) and, 
therefore, would not be significant.
    The probable incremental economic impacts of Consolea corallicola 
critical habitat designation are expected to be limited to additional 
administrative effort as well as minor costs of conservation efforts 
resulting from a small number of future section 7 consultations. This 
is due to two factors: (1) The units proposed as critical habitat are 
all considered to be occupied by the species and incremental economic 
impacts of critical habitat designation, other than administrative 
costs, are unlikely; and (2) few actions are anticipated that will 
result in section 7 consultation or associated project modifications.

Harrisia aboriginum

    The proposed critical habitat designation for Harrisia aboriginum 
totals approximately 3,444 ac (1,394 ha) across 11 units in Manatee, 
Sarasota, Charlotte, and Lee County. Nine of these units (approximately 
44 percent of the area) were occupied by the species at the time of 
listing; the remaining two units (approximately 56 percent of the area) 
were unoccupied. The proposed critical habitat includes lands under 
Federal (11 percent), State (48 percent), county (15 percent), and 
private or other (26 percent) ownership.
    Based on the available information, we anticipate no more than four 
consultations per year within the occupied proposed critical habitat 
units. In the occupied areas, any actions that may affect the species 
or its habitat would also affect designated critical habitat and it is 
unlikely that any additional conservation efforts would be recommended 
to address the adverse modification standard over and above those 
recommended as necessary to avoid jeopardizing the continued existence 
of Harrisia aboriginum. Therefore, only administrative costs are 
expected in approximately 44 percent of the proposed critical habitat 
designation. While this additional analysis will require time and 
resources by both the Federal action agency and the Service, in most 
circumstances, these costs would predominantly be administrative in 
nature and would not be significant. Unit costs of such administrative 
efforts range from approximately $410 to $5,000 per consultation (2014 
dollars, total cost for all parties participating in a single 
consultation) (IEc 2014, p. 10). Applying these unit cost estimates to 
the occupied units, this analysis conservatively estimates that the 
administrative cost of considering adverse modification in section 7 
consultation will result in incremental costs of up to $7,000 (2014 
dollars) in a given year for H. aboriginum (IEc 2014, p. 11).
    In the unoccupied areas, any conservation efforts or associated 
probable impacts would be considered incremental effects attributed to 
the critical habitat designation. Within the unoccupied critical 
habitat, few actions are expected to occur that will result in

[[Page 3334]]

section 7 consultation or associated project modifications because no 
Federal lands are included in these units. Based on the results from 
past consultation history for these areas and communications with 
potentially affected entities, we anticipate that an additional six 
projects will result in section 7 consultation (two formal and four 
informal) within the proposed unoccupied units per year, with minor 
conservation efforts that would likely result in relatively low 
probable economic impacts. Unit costs of such administrative efforts 
range from approximately $1,200 to $15,000 per consultation (2014 
dollars, total cost for all parties participating in a single 
consultation) (IEc 2014, p. 10). Applying these unit cost estimates to 
the unoccupied units, this analysis conservatively estimates that the 
administrative cost of considering adverse modification in section 7 
consultation will result in incremental costs of up to $60,000 (2014 
dollars) in a given year for H. aboriginum (IEc 2014, pp. 10-11). 
Therefore, the estimate of incremental costs for all units (occupied 
and unoccupied) is $67,000 (2014 dollars) in a given year for H. 
aboriginum (IEc 2014, pp. 10-11).
    The entities most likely to incur incremental costs are parties to 
section 7 consultations, including Federal action agencies and, in some 
cases, third parties, most frequently State agencies or municipalities. 
Activities we expect will be subject to consultations that may involve 
private entities as third parties are residential and commercial 
development that may occur on private lands. However, based on 
coordination efforts with State and local agencies, the cost to private 
entities within these sectors is expected to be relatively minor 
(administrative costs of less than $5,000 (occupied) or $15,000 
(unoccupied) per consultation effort), and any costs from required 
conservation measures, therefore, would not be significant.
    The probable incremental economic impacts of Harrisia aboriginum 
critical habitat designation are expected to be limited to additional 
administrative effort as well as minor costs of conservation efforts 
resulting from a small number of future section 7 consultations. This 
is due to two factors: (1) Incremental economic impacts of critical 
habitat designation, other than administrative costs, are unlikely; and 
(2) in proposed areas that are not occupied by H. aboriginum (56 
percent), few actions are anticipated that will result in section 7 
consultation or associated project modifications.
    The DEA also discusses the potential for incremental costs to occur 
outside of the section 7 consultation process, including costs 
associated with the potential triggering of additional requirements or 
project modifications under State laws or regulations, and perceptional 
effects on markets. For both species, it is unlikely that the 
designation of critical habitat will trigger additional State or local 
restrictions (IEc 2014, pp. 11-12). Public perception of critical 
habitat may result in landowners or buyers believing that the rule will 
restrict land or water use activities in some way and, therefore, 
valuing the resource less than they would have absent critical habitat. 
This is a perceptional, or stigma, effect of critical habitat on 
markets. Costs resulting from public perception of the impact of 
critical habitat, if they occur, are more likely to occur on private 
lands. However, based on the DEA, ``possible costs resulting from 
public perception of the effect of critical habitat designation, when 
combined with section 7 costs, are unlikely to exceed the threshold for 
an economically significant rulemaking under [Executive Order] 12866'' 
(IEc 2014, p. 13). Under Executive Order 12866, agencies must assess 
the potential costs and benefits of regulatory actions and quantify 
those costs and benefits if that action may have an effect on the 
economy of $100 million or more annually.
    As we stated earlier, we are soliciting data and comments from the 
public on the DEA, as well as all aspects of the proposed rule. We may 
revise the proposed rule or supporting documents to incorporate or 
address information we receive during the public comment period. In 
particular, we may exclude an area from critical habitat if we 
determine that the benefits of excluding the area outweigh the benefits 
of including the area, provided the exclusion will not result in the 
extinction of these species.

Exclusions Based on National Security Impacts

    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we consider whether there are 
lands where a national security impact might exist. In preparing this 
proposal, we have determined that the lands within the proposed 
designation of critical habitat for Consolea corallicola or Harrisia 
aboriginum are not owned or managed by the Department of Defense or 
Department of Homeland Security, and, therefore, we anticipate no 
impact on national security. Consequently, the Secretary is not 
intending to exercise her discretion to exclude any areas from the 
final designation based on impacts on national security.

Exclusions Based on Other Relevant Impacts

    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we consider any other relevant 
impacts, in addition to economic impacts and impacts on national 
security. We consider a number of factors, including whether the 
landowners have developed any HCPs or other management plans for the 
area, or whether there are conservation partnerships that would be 
encouraged by designation of, or exclusion from, critical habitat. In 
addition, we look at any tribal issues, and consider the government-to-
government relationship of the United States with tribal entities. We 
also consider any social impacts that might occur because of the 
designation.
    We have determined that the Monroe County HCP for Big Pine and No 
Name Keys is the only HCP or other management plan that will be 
affected by either proposed designations. The Monroe County HCP for Big 
Pine and No Name Keys, which covers a portion of unit FSC3, does not 
include Consolea corallicola as a `Covered Species' and C. corallicola 
is not mentioned specifically anywhere in the HCP document. Further, 
the proposed designation does not include any tribal lands or trust 
resources. Therefore, we anticipate no impact on tribal lands, 
partnerships, or other HCPs from this proposed critical habitat 
designation. Accordingly, the Secretary does not intend to exercise her 
discretion to exclude any areas from the final designation based on 
other relevant impacts.

Peer Review

    In accordance with our joint policy on peer review published in the 
Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we will seek the expert 
opinions of at least three appropriate and independent specialists 
regarding this proposed rule. The purpose of peer review is to ensure 
that our critical habitat designation is based on scientifically sound 
data, and analyses. We have invited these peer reviewers to comment 
during this public comment period.
    We will consider all comments and information received during the 
comment period on this proposed rule during our preparation of a final 
determination. Accordingly, the final decision may differ from this 
proposal.

Public Hearings

    Section 4(b)(5) of the Act provides for one or more public hearings 
on this proposal, if requested. Requests must be received within 45 
days after the date of

[[Page 3335]]

publication of this proposed rule in the Federal Register. Such 
requests must be sent to the address shown in ADDRESSES. We will 
schedule public hearings on this proposal, if any are requested, and 
announce the dates, times, and places of those hearings, as well as how 
to obtain reasonable accommodations, in the Federal Register and local 
newspapers at least 15 days before the hearing.

Required Determinations

Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

    Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) will review all significant rules. The Office 
of Information and Regulatory Affairs has determined that this rule is 
not significant.
    Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 12866 while 
calling for improvements in the nation's regulatory system to promote 
predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most 
innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. 
The executive order directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches 
that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for 
the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and 
consistent with regulatory objectives. E.O. 13563 emphasizes further 
that regulations must be based on the best available science and that 
the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open 
exchange of ideas. We have developed this rule in a manner consistent 
with these requirements.

Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.)

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA; 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) as 
amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 
1996 (SBREFA; 5 U.S.C 801 et seq.), whenever an agency is required to 
publish a notice of rulemaking for any proposed or final rule, it must 
prepare and make available for public comment a regulatory flexibility 
analysis that describes the effects of the rule on small entities 
(small businesses, small organizations, and small government 
jurisdictions). However, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required 
if the head of the agency certifies the rule will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
The SBREFA amended the RFA to require Federal agencies to provide a 
certification statement of the factual basis for certifying that the 
rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial 
number of small entities.
    According to the Small Business Administration, small entities 
include small organizations such as independent nonprofit 
organizations; small governmental jurisdictions, including school 
boards and city and town governments that serve fewer than 50,000 
residents; and small businesses (13 CFR 121.201). Small businesses 
include such businesses as manufacturing and mining concerns with fewer 
than 500 employees, wholesale trade entities with fewer than 100 
employees, retail and service businesses with less than $5 million in 
annual sales, general and heavy construction businesses with less than 
$27.5 million in annual business, special trade contractors doing less 
than $11.5 million in annual business, and agricultural businesses with 
annual sales less than $750,000. To determine if potential economic 
impacts to these small entities are significant, we considered the 
types of activities that might trigger regulatory impacts under this 
designation as well as the types of project modifications that may 
result. In general, the term ``significant economic impact'' is meant 
to apply to a typical small business firm's business operations.
    The Service's current understanding of the requirements under the 
RFA, as amended, and following recent court decisions, is that Federal 
agencies are required to evaluate the potential incremental impacts of 
rulemaking only on those entities directly regulated by the rulemaking 
itself and, therefore, not required to evaluate the potential impacts 
to indirectly regulated entities. The regulatory mechanism through 
which critical habitat protections are realized is section 7 of the 
Act, which requires Federal agencies, in consultation with the Service, 
to ensure that any action authorized, funded, or carried by the Agency 
is not likely to adversely modify critical habitat. Therefore, under 
these circumstances only Federal action agencies are directly subject 
to the specific regulatory requirement (avoiding destruction and 
adverse modification) imposed by critical habitat designation. Under 
these circumstances, it is our position that only Federal action 
agencies will be directly regulated by this designation. Federal 
agencies are not small entities and to this end, there is no 
requirement under the RFA to evaluate the potential impacts to entities 
not directly regulated. Therefore, because no small entities are 
directly regulated by this rulemaking, the Service certifies that, if 
promulgated, the proposed critical habitat designation will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.
    In summary, we have considered whether the proposed designation 
would result in a significant economic impact on a substantial number 
of small entities. For the above reasons and based on currently 
available information, we certify that, if promulgated, the proposed 
critical habitat designation would not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small business entities. Therefore, 
an initial regulatory flexibility analysis is not required.

Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use--Executive Order 13211

    Executive Order 13211 (Actions Concerning Regulations That 
Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use) requires 
agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking 
certain actions. We do not foresee any energy development projects that 
may affect the proposed critical habitat units for Consolea corallicola 
or Harrisia aboriginum. Therefore, this action is not a significant 
energy action, and no Statement of Energy Effects is required.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.)

    In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 
et seq.), we make the following findings:
    (1) This rule will not produce a Federal mandate. In general, a 
Federal mandate is a provision in legislation, statute, or regulation 
that would impose an enforceable duty upon State, local, or tribal 
governments, or the private sector, and includes both ``Federal 
intergovernmental mandates'' and ``Federal private sector mandates.'' 
These terms are defined in 2 U.S.C. 658(5)-(7). ``Federal 
intergovernmental mandate'' includes a regulation that ``would impose 
an enforceable duty upon State, local, or tribal governments'' with two 
exceptions. It excludes ``a condition of Federal assistance.'' It also 
excludes ``a duty arising from participation in a voluntary Federal 
program,'' unless the regulation ``relates to a then-existing Federal 
program under which $500,000,000 or more is provided annually to State, 
local, and tribal governments under entitlement authority,'' if the 
provision would ``increase the stringency of conditions of assistance'' 
or ``place caps upon, or otherwise decrease, the Federal Government's 
responsibility to provide funding,'' and the State, local, or tribal 
governments ``lack authority'' to adjust accordingly. At the time of 
enactment,

[[Page 3336]]

these entitlement programs were: Medicaid; Aid to Families with 
Dependent Children work programs; Child Nutrition; Food Stamps; Social 
Services Block Grants; Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants; Foster 
Care, Adoption Assistance, and Independent Living; Family Support 
Welfare Services; and Child Support Enforcement. ``Federal private 
sector mandate'' includes a regulation that ``would impose an 
enforceable duty upon the private sector, except (i) a condition of 
Federal assistance or (ii) a duty arising from participation in a 
voluntary Federal program.''
    The designation of critical habitat does not impose a legally 
binding duty on non-Federal Government entities or private parties. 
Under the Act, the only regulatory effect is that Federal agencies must 
ensure that their actions do not destroy or adversely modify critical 
habitat under section 7. While non-Federal entities that receive 
Federal funding, assistance, or permits, or that otherwise require 
approval or authorization from a Federal agency for an action, may be 
indirectly impacted by the designation of critical habitat, the legally 
binding duty to avoid destruction or adverse modification of critical 
habitat rests squarely on the Federal agency. Furthermore, to the 
extent that non-Federal entities are indirectly impacted because they 
receive Federal assistance or participate in a voluntary Federal aid 
program, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act would not apply, nor would 
critical habitat shift the costs of the large entitlement programs 
listed above onto State governments.
    (2) We do not believe that this rule would significantly or 
uniquely affect small governments. The government lands being proposed 
for critical habitat designation are owned by the Town of Longboat Key, 
the State of Florida, and the BLM, NPS, and the Service. None of these 
government entities fit the definition of ``small governmental 
jurisdiction.'' Therefore, a Small Government Agency Plan is not 
required.

Takings--Executive Order 12630

    In accordance with Executive Order 12630 (``Government Actions and 
Interference with Constitutionally Protected Private Property 
Rights''), this rule is not anticipated to have significant takings 
implications. As discussed above, the designation of critical habitat 
affects only Federal actions. Critical habitat designation does not 
affect landowner actions that do not require Federal funding or 
permits, nor does it preclude development of habitat conservation 
programs or issuance of incidental take permits to permit actions that 
do require Federal funding or permits to go forward. Due to current 
public knowledge of the species protections and the prohibition against 
take of the species both within and outside of the proposed areas, we 
do not anticipate that property values will be affected by the critical 
habitat designation. However, we have not yet finalized the economic 
analysis for this proposed rule. Once the economic analysis is final, 
we will review and revise this preliminary assessment as warranted, and 
prepare a Takings Implication Assessment.

Federalism--Executive Order 13132

    In accordance with Executive Order 13132 (Federalism), this 
proposed rule does not have significant Federalism effects. A 
Federalism assessment is not required. In keeping with Department of 
the Interior and Department of Commerce policy, we request information 
from, and coordinated development of, this proposed critical habitat 
designation with appropriate State resource agencies in Florida. From a 
Federalism perspective, the designation of critical habitat directly 
affects only the responsibilities of Federal agencies. The Act imposes 
no other duties with respect to critical habitat, either for States and 
local governments, or for anyone else. As a result, the rule does not 
have substantial direct effects either on the States, or on the 
relationship between the national government and the States, or on the 
distribution of powers and responsibilities among the various levels of 
government. The designation may have some benefit to these governments 
because the areas that contain the features essential to the 
conservation of the species are more clearly defined, and the physical 
or biological features of the habitat necessary to the conservation of 
the species are specifically identified. This information does not 
alter where and what federally sponsored activities may occur. However, 
it may assist these local governments in long-range planning (because 
these local governments no longer have to wait for case-by-case section 
7 consultations to occur).
    Where State and local governments require approval or authorization 
from a Federal agency for actions that may affect critical habitat, 
consultation under section 7(a)(2) would be required. While non-Federal 
entities that receive Federal funding, assistance, or permits, or that 
otherwise require approval or authorization from a Federal agency for 
an action, may be indirectly impacted by the designation of critical 
habitat, the legally binding duty to avoid destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat rests squarely on the Federal agency.

Civil Justice Reform--Executive Order 12988

    In accordance with Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform), 
the Office of the Solicitor has determined that the rule does not 
unduly burden the judicial system and that it meets the requirements of 
sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of the Order. We have proposed designating 
critical habitat in accordance with the provisions of the Act. To 
assist the public in understanding the habitat needs of the species, 
the rule identifies the elements of physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the species. The designated areas of 
critical habitat are presented on maps, and the rule provides several 
options for the interested public to obtain more detailed location 
information, if desired.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.)

    This rule does not contain any new collections of information that 
require approval by OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 
U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). This rule will not impose recordkeeping or 
reporting requirements on State or local governments, individuals, 
businesses, or organizations. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and 
a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information 
unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.)

    It is our position that, outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. Court 
of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, we do not need to prepare 
environmental analyses pursuant to the National Environmental Policy 
Act in connection with designating critical habitat under the Act. We 
published a notice outlining our reasons for this determination in the 
Federal Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244). This position was 
upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Douglas 
County v. Babbitt, 48 F.3d 1495 (9th Cir. 1995), cert. denied 516 U.S. 
1042 (1996)).

Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994 
(Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal 
Governments; 59 FR 22951), Executive

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Order 13175 (Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal 
Governments), and the Department of the Interior's manual at 512 DM 2, 
we readily acknowledge our responsibility to communicate meaningfully 
with recognized Federal Tribes on a government-to-government basis. In 
accordance with Secretarial Order 3206 of June 5, 1997 (American Indian 
Tribal Rights, Federal-Tribal Trust Responsibilities, and the 
Endangered Species Act), we readily acknowledge our responsibilities to 
work directly with tribes in developing programs for healthy 
ecosystems, to acknowledge that tribal lands are not subject to the 
same controls as Federal public lands, to remain sensitive to Indian 
culture, and to make information available to tribes.
    As discussed above (see Exclusions Based on Other Relevant 
Impacts), we have determined that there are no tribal lands that were 
occupied by Consolea corallicola and Harrisia aboriginum at the time of 
listing that contain the features essential for conservation of the 
species, and no tribal lands unoccupied by C. corallicola and H. 
aboriginum that are essential for the conservation of the species.

Clarity of the Rule

    We are required by Executive Orders 12866 and 12988 and by the 
Presidential Memorandum of June 1, 1998, to write all rules in plain 
language. This means that each rule we publish must:
    (1) Be logically organized;
    (2) Use the active voice to address readers directly;
    (3) Use clear language rather than jargon;
    (4) Be divided into short sections and sentences; and
    (5) Use lists and tables wherever possible.
    If you feel that we have not met these requirements, send us 
comments by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. To better help us 
revise the rule, your comments should be as specific as possible. For 
example, you should tell us the numbers of the sections or paragraphs 
that are unclearly written, which sections or sentences are too long, 
the sections where you feel lists or tables would be useful, etc.

References Cited

    A complete list of references cited in this rulemaking is available 
on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov and upon request from the 
South Florida Ecological Services Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT).

Authors

    The primary authors of this package are the staff members of the 
South Florida Ecological Services Office.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

Proposed Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, we propose to amend part 17, subchapter B of chapter 
I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as set forth below:

PART 17--ENDANGERED AND THREATENED WILDLIFE AND PLANTS

0
1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 1531-1544; 4201-4245, unless 
otherwise noted.

0
2. In Sec.  17.12(h), revise the entries for ``Consolea corallicola 
Cactus, Florida semaphore'' and ``Harrisia aboriginum Prickly-apple, 
aboriginal'' under ``Flowering Plants'' in the List of Endangered and 
Threatened Plants to read as follows:


Sec.  17.12  Endangered and threatened plants.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Species
--------------------------------------------------------    Historic range           Family            Status      When listed    Critical     Special
           Common name                Scientific name                                                                             habitat       rules
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
         Flowering Plants
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Consolea corallicola.............  Cactus, Florida       U.S.A. (FL)........  Cactaceae..........  E                       826     17.96(a)           NA
                                    semaphore.
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Harrisia aboriginum..............  Prickly-apple,        U.S.A. (FL)........  Cactaceae..........  E                       826     17.96(a)           NA
                                    aboriginal.
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

0
3. Amend Sec.  17.96(a) by adding entries for ``Consolea corallicola 
(Florida semaphore cactus)'' and ``Harrisia aboriginum (aboriginal 
prickly-apple)'' in alphabetical order under the family Cactaceae, to 
read as follows:


Sec.  17.96  Critical habitat--plants.

    (a) Flowering plants.
* * * * *
Family Cactaceae: Consolea corallicola (Florida semaphore cactus)
    (1) Critical habitat units are depicted for Miami-Dade and Monroe 
Counties, Florida, on the maps below.
    (2) Within these areas, the primary constituent elements of the 
physical or biological features essential to the conservation of 
Consolea corallicola are:
    (i) Areas of upland habitats consisting of coastal berm, rockland 
hammocks, and buttonwood forest.
    (A) Coastal berm habitat that contains:
    (1) Open to semi-open canopy, subcanopy, and understory; and
    (2) Substrate of coarse, calcareous, and storm-deposited sediment.
    (B) Rockland hammock habitat that contains:
    (1) Canopy gaps and edges with an open to semi-open canopy, 
subcanopy, and understory; and
    (2) Substrate with a thin layer of highly organic soil covering 
limestone or organic matter that accumulates on top of the limestone.
    (C) Buttonwood forest habitat that contains:
    (1) Open to semi-open canopy and understory; and
    (2) Substrate with calcareous marl muds, calcareous sands, or 
limestone rock.
    (ii) A plant community of predominately native vegetation with no 
invasive, nonnative animal or plant species or such species in 
quantities low enough to have minimal effect on survival of Consolea 
corallicola.

[[Page 3338]]

    (iii) A disturbance regime, due to the effects of strong winds or 
saltwater inundation from storm surge or infrequent tidal inundation, 
that creates canopy openings in coastal berm, rockland hammocks, and 
buttonwood forest.
    (iv) Habitats that are connected and of sufficient size to sustain 
viable populations in coastal berm, rockland hammocks, and buttonwood 
forest.
    (v) Habitats that provide populations of the generalist pollinators 
that visit the flowers of Consolea corallicola.
    (3) Critical habitat does not include manmade structures (such as 
buildings, aqueducts, runways, roads, and other paved areas) and the 
land on which they are located that exists within the legal boundaries 
on the effective date of this rule.
    (4) Critical habitat map units. Data layers defining map units were 
developed using ESRI ArcGIS mapping software along with various spatial 
data layers. ArcGIS was also used to calculate area. The projection 
used in mapping and calculating distances and locations within the 
units was North American Albers Equal Area Conic, NAD 83. The maps in 
this entry, as modified by any accompanying regulatory text, establish 
the boundaries of the critical habitat designation. The coordinates, 
plot points, or both on which each map is based are available to the 
public at the Service's Internet site at http://www.fws.gov/verobeach/, 
at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2014-0057, and at 
the field office responsible for this designation. You may obtain field 
office location information by contacting one of the Service regional 
offices, the addresses of which are listed at 50 CFR 2.2.(5)

[[Page 3339]]

    Note: Index map of all critical habitat units for Consolea 
corallicola follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.000

    (6) Unit FSC1: Swan Key, Biscayne National Park, Miami-Dade County, 
Florida.
    (i) General Description: Unit FSC1 consists of 37 ac (15 ha) in 
Miami-Dade County. This unit is composed entirely of lands in Federal 
ownership, 100 percent of which are located on Swan Key within Biscayne 
National Park. The unit includes all upland rockland hammock habitat on 
Swan Key, most of which is located on the eastern side of Swan Key, 
surrounded by the island's mangrove fringe. A second, smaller area is 
located on the island's elongated western half and is also surrounded 
by mangroves.

[[Page 3340]]

    (ii) Map of Unit FSC1 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.001
    
    (7) Unit FSC2: Key Largo, Monroe County, Florida.
    (i) General Description: Unit FSC2 consists of 3,434 ac (1,389 ha) 
in Monroe County. This unit is composed of Federal lands within 
Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) (702 ac (284 ha)); State 
lands within Dagny Johnson Botanical State Park, John Pennekamp Coral 
Reef State Park, and the Florida Keys Wildlife and Environmental Area 
(2331 ac (943 ha)); lands owned by Monroe County (17 ac (7 ha)); and 
parcels in private or other ownership (384 ac (155 ha)). This unit 
extends from near the northern tip of Key Largo, along the length of 
Key Largo, beginning at the south shore of Ocean Reef Harbor near South 
Marina Drive and the intersection of County Road (CR) 905 and Clubhouse 
Road on the west side of CR 905, and between CR 905 and Old State Road 
905, then extending to the shoreline south of South Harbor Drive. The 
unit then continues on both sides of CR 905 through the Crocodile Lake 
NWR, Dagny

[[Page 3341]]

Johnson Key Largo Hammock Botanical State Park, and John Pennekamp 
Coral Reef State Park. The unit then terminates near the junction of 
U.S. 1 and CR 905 and Garden Cove Drive. The unit resumes on the east 
side of U.S. 1 from South Andros Road to Key Largo Elementary; then 
from the intersection of Taylor Drive and Pamela Street to Avenue A, 
then from Sound Drive to the intersection of Old Road and Valencia 
Road, then resumes on the east side of U.S. 1 from Hibiscus Lane and 
Ocean Drive. The unit continues south near the Port Largo Airport from 
Poisonwood Road to Bo Peep Boulevard. The unit resumes on the west side 
of U.S. 1 from the intersection of South Drive and Meridian Avenue to 
Casa Court Drive. The unit then continues on the west side of U.S. 1 
from the point on the coast directly west of Peace Avenue south to 
Caribbean Avenue. The unit also includes a portion of the barrier 
island (El Radabob Key) in Largo Sound located directly east of Avenue 
A, extending south to a point directly east of Mahogany Drive.

[[Page 3342]]

    (ii) Index map of Unit FSC2 follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.002


[[Page 3343]]


    (iii) Map A of Unit FSC2 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.003
    

[[Page 3344]]


    (iv) Map B of Unit FSC2 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.004
    

[[Page 3345]]


    (v) Map C of Unit FSC2 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.005
    

[[Page 3346]]


    (vi) Map D of Unit FSC2 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.006
    

[[Page 3347]]


    (vii) Map E of Unit FSC2 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.007
    

[[Page 3348]]


    (viii) Map F of Unit FSC2 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.008
    
    (8) Unit FSC3: Big Pine Key, Monroe County, Florida.
    (i) General Description: Unit FSC3 consists of 772 ac (313 ha) in 
Monroe County. This unit is composed of Federal land within the 
National Key Deer Refuge (NKDR) (508 ac (205 ha)), State land managed 
as part of the NKDR (172 ac (70 ha)), lands owned by Monroe County (11 
ac (5 ha)), and parcels in private or other ownership (81 ac (33 ha)). 
This unit extends from near the northern tip of Big Pine Key along the 
eastern shore to the vicinity of Hellenga Drive and Watson Road; from 
Gulf Boulevard south to West Shore Drive; Big Pine Avenue and Elma 
Avenues on the east, Coral and Yacht Club Road, and U.S. 1 on the 
north, and Industrial Avenue on the east from the southeastern tip of 
Big Pine Key to Avenue A.

[[Page 3349]]

    (ii) Index map of Unit FSC3 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.009
    

[[Page 3350]]


    (iii) Map A of Unit FSC3 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.010
    

[[Page 3351]]


    (iv) Map B of Unit FSC3 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.011
    

[[Page 3352]]


    (v) Map C of Unit FSC3 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.012
    

[[Page 3353]]


    (vi) Map D of Unit FSC3 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.013
    

[[Page 3354]]


    (vii) Map E of Unit FSC3 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.014
    
    (9) Unit FSC4: Little Torch Key, Monroe County, Florida.
    (i) General Description: Unit FSC4 consists of 168 ac (68 ha) in 
Monroe County. This unit is composed of State lands (47 ac (19 ha)), 
lands owned by Monroe County (10 ac (4 ha)), and parcels in private and 
other ownership (111 ac (45 ha)). This unit extends along State Highway 
4A, from Coral Shores Road, south to County Road, resuming at Linda 
Street and extending south to the Overseas Highway. South of the 
Overseas Highway, the unit includes areas west of Kings Cove Road, and 
an area comprising the southern tip of Little Torch Key that includes 
portions of the John J. Pescatello Torchwood Hammock Preserve.

[[Page 3355]]

    (ii) Index map of Unit FSC4 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.015
    

[[Page 3356]]


    (iii) Map A of Unit FSC4 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.016
    

[[Page 3357]]


    (iv) Map B of Unit FSC4 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.017
    
* * * * *
Family Cactaceae: Harrisia aboriginum (Aboriginal Prickly-Apple)
    (1) Critical habitat units for Harrisia aboriginum are depicted for 
Manatee, Charlotte, Sarasota, and Lee Counties, Florida, on the maps 
below.
    (2) Within these areas, the primary constituent elements of the 
physical or biological features essential to the conservation of 
Harrisia aboriginum are:
    (i) Areas of upland habitats consisting of coastal strand, coastal 
grassland, coastal berm, maritime hammocks, and shell mounds.
    (A) Coastal strand habitat that contains:
    (1) Open to semi-open canopy and understory, and
    (2) Substrate of sand and shell fragments of stabilized coastal 
dunes.
    (B) Coastal grassland habitat that contains:

[[Page 3358]]

    (1) No canopy and an open understory, and
    (2) Substrate of sand and shell fragments.
    (C) Coastal berm habitat that contains:
    (1) Open to semi-open canopy, subcanopy, and understory, and
    (2) Substrate of coarse, calcareous, storm-deposited sediment.
    (D) Maritime hammock habitat that contains:
    (1) Canopy gaps and edges with an open to semi-open canopy, 
subcanopy, and understory; and
    (2) Substrate of calcareous sand and shell fragments.
    (E) Shell mound habitat that contains:
    (1) Open to semi-open canopy and understory, and
    (2) Substrate of soil derived from calcareous shells deposited by 
Native Americans during prehistoric times.
    (ii) A plant community of predominately native vegetation with no 
invasive, nonnative animal or plant species or such species in 
quantities low enough to have minimal effect on survival of Harrisia 
aboriginum.
    (iii) Canopy openings in coastal strand, coastal grassland, coastal 
berm, maritime hammock, and shell mound habitats that are created by 
the effects of strong winds or saltwater inundation from storm surge or 
infrequent tidal inundation.
    (iv) Habitats that are connected and of sufficient size to sustain 
viable populations in coastal strand, coastal grassland, coastal berm, 
maritime hammock, and shell mound habitats.
    (v) Habitats that provide populations of the generalist pollinators 
that visit the flowers of Harrisia aboriginum.
    (3) Critical habitat does not include manmade structures (such as 
buildings, aqueducts, runways, roads, and other paved areas) and the 
land on which they are located that exists within the legal boundaries 
on the effective date of this rule.
    (4) Critical habitat map units. Unit maps were developed using ESRI 
ArcGIS mapping software along with various spatial data layers. ArcGIS 
was also used to calculate area. The projection used in mapping and 
calculating distances and locations within the units was North American 
Albers Equal Area Conic, NAD 83. The maps in this entry, as modified by 
any accompanying regulatory text, establish the boundaries of the 
critical habitat designation. The coordinates or plot points or both on 
which each map is based are available to the public at the Service's 
Internet site at http://www.fws.gov/verobeach/, at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2014-0057, and at the field 
office responsible for this designation. You may obtain field office 
location information by contacting one of the Service regional offices, 
the addresses of which are listed at 50 CFR 2.2.

[[Page 3359]]

    (5) Index map of all critical habitat units for Harrisia aboriginum 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.018

    (6) Unit APA1: Terra Ceia, Manatee County, Florida.
    (i) General Description: Unit APA1 consists of approximately 222 ac 
(90 ha) in Manatee County, Florida. This unit is composed of State 
lands within Madira Bickel Mound State Historical Park, Terra Ceia 
Preserve State Park, Cockroach Bay State Buffer Preserve, and the Tampa 
Bay Estuarine System, (66 ac (27 ha)); Manatee County lands at Emerson 
Point Preserve and parcels owned by the Manatee County Port Authority 
(70 ac (28 ha)); and parcels in private or other ownership (87 ac (35 
ha)). This unit includes lands west of Highway 41 extending from just 
south of South Dock Street south to Snead Island. The unit also 
includes areas of Harbor Key, Mariposa Key, Horseshoe

[[Page 3360]]

Key, Joe Island, Skeet Key, Paradise Island, Ed's Key, and Rattlesnake 
Key.
    (ii) Index map of Unit APA1 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.019
    

[[Page 3361]]


    (iii) Map A of Unit APA1 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.020
    

[[Page 3362]]


    (iv) Map B of Unit APA1 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.021
    
    (7) Unit APA2: Longboat Key, Sarasota County, Florida.
    (i) General description: Unit APA2 consists of approximately 54 ac 
(22 ha) in Sarasota County, Florida. This unit is composed entirely of 
parcels in private or other ownership. This unit includes lands west of 
Gulf of Mexico Drive, extending from 0.40 mi (0.6 km) south of the 
intersection of Bay Isles Parkway and Gulf of Mexico Drive, to the 
southern tip of Longboat Key. It also includes lands on the north side 
of Gulf of Mexico Drive, east of Longboat Club Key Drive, on the 
northwest tip of Longboat Key.

[[Page 3363]]

    (ii) Map of Unit APA2 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.022
    
    (8) Unit APA3: Osprey, Sarasota County, Florida.
    (i) General Description: Unit APA3 consists of approximately 116 ac 
(47 ha) in Sarasota County, Florida. This unit is composed of Sarasota 
County lands within Palmer Point County Park (50 ac (20 ha)) and 
parcels in private or other ownership (66 ac (27 ha)). This unit 
extends along the barrier island (Casey Key) from the south terminus of 
Blind Pass Road, south for approximately 1.2 mi (1.9 km) along North 
Casey Key Road. On the mainland, the unit includes lands bordered on 
the north by Vamo Way, to the east by Highway 41, and to the south by 
Palmetto Avenue.

[[Page 3364]]

    (ii) Map of Unit APA3 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.023
    
    (9) Unit APA4: Manasota Key, Sarasota and Charlotte Counties, 
Florida.
    (i) General Description: Unit APA4 consists of approximately 415 ac 
(168 ha) in Sarasota and Charlotte Counties, Florida. This unit is 
composed of State lands within Stump Pass Beach State Park (58 ac (23 
ha)); County lands within Blind Pass Park, Brohard Beach and Paw Park, 
Manasota Beach Park, Casperson Beach Park, and Service Club Park (111 
ac (45 ha)); and parcels in private or other ownership (245 ac (99 
ha)). This unit extends from Beach Road in the City of Venice, south 
along Manasota Key to the barrier islands southern tip, including a 
portion of Peterson Island.

[[Page 3365]]

    (ii) Index map of Unit APA4 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.024
    

[[Page 3366]]


    (iii) Map A of Unit APA4 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.025
    

[[Page 3367]]


    (iv) Map B of Unit APA4 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.026
    

[[Page 3368]]


    (v) Map C of Unit APA4 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.027
    
    (10) Unit APA5: Charlotte Harbor, Charlotte County, Florida.
    (i) General Description: Unit APA5 consists of 51 ac (21 ha) in 
Charlotte County, Florida. This unit is composed entirely of State 
lands within the Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park. This unit 
includes the Big Mound, Boggess Ridge, and a shell mound located on the 
east side of Charlotte Harbor, south of the City of Charlotte Park.

[[Page 3369]]

    (ii) Map of Unit APA5 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.028
    
    (11) Unit APA6: Gasparilla North, Charlotte and Lee Counties, 
Florida.
    (i) General Description: Unit APA6 consists of approximately 98 ac 
(40 ha) in Charlotte and Lee Counties, Florida. This unit is composed 
of State land (0.006 ac (0.02 ha)), county land (22 ac (9 ha)), and 
parcels in private or other ownership (77 ac (31 ha)). This unit 
includes most of Kitchen Key (Live Oak Key) and the area east of 
Gasparilla Road, from the intersection of Grouper Hole Road and Grouper 
Hole Court, south to 0.15 mi (0.24 km) north of Snail Island Court, 
from approximately 0.10 mi (0.21 km) south of 35th Street to 23rd 
Street, including the small island separated from Gasparilla Island by 
a canal; and from 22nd Street to 20th Street.

[[Page 3370]]

    (ii) Map of Unit APA6 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.029
    
    (12) Unit APA7: Gasparilla South, Lee County, Florida.
    (i) General Description: Unit APA7 consists of approximately 92 ac 
(37 ha) in Lee County, Florida. This unit is composed of Federal land 
owned by the Service and Bureau of Land Management (3 ac (1 ha)), State 
lands within Gasparilla Island State Park (69 ac (28 ha)), Lee County 
lands (12 ac (5 ha), and parcels in private or other ownership (8 ac (3 
ha)). This unit includes lands located from south of 1st Street to the 
southern tip of Gasparilla Island.

[[Page 3371]]

    (ii) Map of Unit APA7 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.030
    
    (13) Unit APA8: Cayo Pelau, Lee County, Florida.
    (i) General Description: Unit APA8 consists of approximately 25 ac 
(10 ha) in Charlotte and Lee Counties, Florida. This unit is composed 
of Lee County lands within Cayo Pelau Preserve, and parcels in private 
or other ownership (0.6 ac (0.2 ha)). This unit includes lands located 
from 0.13 mi (0.21 km) south of the northern tip of Cayo Pelau, 
extending south to the southeastern tip of Cayo Pelau.

[[Page 3372]]

    (ii) Map of Unit APA8 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.031
    
    (14) Unit APA9: Cayo Costa, Lee County, Florida.
    (i) General Description: Unit APA9 consists of approximately 1,702 
ac (689 ha) in Lee County, Florida. This unit is composed of State 
lands within Cayo Costa State Park (1,379 ac (558 ha)), lands owned by 
Lee County (94 ac (38 ha)), and parcels in private or other ownership 
(230 ac (93 ha)). This unit includes lands located from the northern 
tip to the southern tip of Cayo Costa.

[[Page 3373]]

    (ii) Map of Unit APA9 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.032
    
    (15) Unit APA10: Bocilla, Lee County, Florida.
    (i) General Description: Unit APA10 consists of approximately 33 ac 
(13 ha) in Lee County, Florida. This unit is composed of Lee County 
lands within the Bocilla Preserve (32 ac (13 ha)) and parcels in 
private or other ownership (0.7 ac (0.3 ha)). This unit includes lands 
located on the undeveloped portion of Bokeelia Island from 0.02 mi 
(0.03 km) west of the terminus of Ebbtide Way, extending south and west 
to the northwestern and southeastern corners of Bokeelia Island.

[[Page 3374]]

    (ii) Map of Unit APA10 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.033
    
    (16) Unit APA11: Sanibel Island and Buck Key, Lee County, Florida.
    (i) General Description: Unit APA11 consists of approximately 635 
ac (257 ha) in Lee County, Florida. This unit is composed of Federal 
lands owned by the Bureau of Land Management, and Service lands within 
the J.N. `Ding' Darling National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) (373 ac (151 
ha)), State lands (47 ac (19 ha)), lands owned by Lee County (90 ac (36 
ha)), and parcels in private or other ownership (126 ac (51 ha)). This 
unit includes lands on Buck Key, Runyan Key, and Sanibel Island. On 
Sanibel Island, the unit includes a portion of Bowman's Beach, from 
just south of Silver Key to the western terminus of Water's Edge Lane; 
uplands within J.N. `Ding' Darling NWR; and a shell mound located near 
the northern terminus of Tarpon Bay Road.

[[Page 3375]]

    (ii) Index map of Unit APA11 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.034
    

[[Page 3376]]


    (iii) Map A of Unit APA11 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.035
    

[[Page 3377]]


    (iv) Map B of Unit APA11 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.036
    

[[Page 3378]]


    (v) Map C of Unit APA11 follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP22JA15.037
    
* * * * *

    Dated: December 18, 2014.
Michael Bean,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2015-00344 Filed 1-21-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-C