Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Findings on Petitions To List 19 Species as Endangered or Threatened Species, 60834-60850 [2015-25058]

Download as PDF 60834 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 195 / Thursday, October 8, 2015 / Proposed Rules $4 million, the determination must now have a higher level of approval for the contracting officer to select more than five offerors. A potential offeror may be more inclined to invest their pre-award efforts on solicitations where they have an increased chance of award. III. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 Executive Orders (E.O.s) 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity). E.O. 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, of reducing costs, of harmonizing rules, and of promoting flexibility. This is not a significant regulatory action and, therefore, was not subject to review under section 6(b) of E.O. 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, dated September 30, 1993. This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804. Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS IV. Regulatory Flexibility Act This change is not expected to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq. Nevertheless, an Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (IRFA) has been prepared, and is summarized as follows: This rule implements section 814 of the Carl Levin and Howard P. ‘Buck’ McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015. Section 814 is entitled Improvement in Defense Design-Build Construction Process. Section 814 requires the head of the contracting activity, delegable to a level no lower than the senior contracting official, to approve any determinations to select more than five offerors to submit phase-two proposals for a two-phase design build construction acquisition that is valued at greater than $4 million. The number of design-build construction awards is not currently tracked by the Federal government’s business systems. In Fiscal Year 2014, the Federal government awarded 3,666 construction awards to 2,239 unique small business vendors. It is unknown what percentage of these contracts involved design-build construction services. This rule does not impose new recordkeeping or reporting requirements. The new approval requirement for advancing more than five contractors to phase two of a two-phase design-build selection procedure only affects the internal procedures of the Government. For acquisitions valued over $4M, the head of the contracting activity (HCA) is required to now make a determination that it is in the best interest of the Government to select more than five VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:48 Oct 07, 2015 Jkt 238001 offerors to proceed to phase two. Any burden caused by this rule is expected to be minimal and will not be any greater on small businesses than it is on large businesses. The rule does not duplicate, overlap, or conflict with any other Federal rules. No alternative approaches were considered. It is not anticipated that the proposed rule will have a significant economic impact on small entities. The Regulatory Secretariat has submitted a copy of the IRFA to the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration. A copy of the IRFA may be obtained from the Regulatory Secretariat. DoD, GSA, and NASA invite comments from small business concerns and other interested parties on the expected impact of this rule on small entities. DoD, GSA, and NASA will also consider comments from small entities concerning the existing regulations in subparts affected by the rule in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 610. Interested parties must submit such comments separately and should cite 5 U.S.C. 610 (FAR Case 2015–018), in correspondence. V. Paperwork Reduction Act The rule does not contain any information collection requirements that require the approval of the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. chapter 35). List of Subject in 48 CFR Part 36 Government procurement. William Clark, Director, Office of Government-wide Acquisition Policy, Office of Acquisition Policy, Office of Government-wide Policy. Therefore, DoD, GSA, and NASA propose amending 48 CFR part 36 as set forth below: PART 36—CONSTRUCTION AND ARCHITECT-ENGINEER CONTRACTS 1. The authority citation for 48 CFR part 36 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 40 U.S.C. 121(c); 10 U.S.C. chapter 137; and 51 U.S.C. 20113. 2. Amend section 36.303–1 by revising paragraph (a)(4) to read as follows: ■ 36.303–1 Phase One. (a) * * * (4) A statement of the maximum number of offerors that will be selected to submit phase-two proposals. The maximum number specified in the solicitation shall not exceed five unless the contracting officer determines, for that particular solicitation, that a number greater than five is in the PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Government’s interest and is consistent with the purposes and objectives of the two-phase design-build selection procedures. The contracting officer shall document this determination in the contract file. For acquisitions greater than $4 million, the determination shall be approved by the head of the contracting activity, delegable to a level no lower than the senior contracting official within the contracting activity. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2015–25613 Filed 10–7–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820–EP–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17 [Docket No. FWS–HQ–ES–2015–0143; 4500030113] Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Findings on Petitions To List 19 Species as Endangered or Threatened Species Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of 12-month petition findings. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service, FWS, or USFWS), announce 12-month findings on petitions to list 19 species as endangered species or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). After review of the best available scientific and commercial information, we find that listing the American eel, Cumberland arrow darter, the Great Basin distinct population segment (DPS) of the Columbia spotted frog, Goose Creek milkvetch, Nevares spring bug, Page springsnail, Ramshaw meadows sand-verbena, Sequatchie caddisfly, Shawnee darter, Siskiyou mariposa lily, Sleeping ute milkvetch, Southern Idaho ground squirrel, Tahoe yellow cress, and six Tennessee cave beetles (Baker Station, Coleman, Fowler’s, Indian Grave Point, inquirer, and Noblett’s cave beetles) is not warranted at this time. However, we ask the public to submit to us any new information that becomes available concerning the threats to any of the 19 species listed above or their habitat at any time. DATES: The findings announced in this document were made on October 8, 2015. SUMMARY: These findings are available on the Internet at http:// www.regulations.gov at Docket Number ADDRESSES: E:\FR\FM\08OCP1.SGM 08OCP1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 195 / Thursday, October 8, 2015 / Proposed Rules FWS–HQ–ES–2015–0143. Supporting information used in preparing these findings is available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours by contacting the 60835 appropriate person as specified under appropriate person, as specified under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Please submit any new information, materials, comments, or questions concerning these findings to the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Species Contact information American eel ............................................................................................. Northeast Regional Office, Endangered Species Program, 413–253– 8615. Kentucky Ecological Services Field Office, 502–695–0468. Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office, 775–861–6300. Utah Ecological Services Field Office, 801–975–3330. Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, 760–431–9440. Arizona Ecological Services Field Office, 602–242–0210. Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office, 916–414–6700. Tennessee Ecological Services Field Office, 931–528–6481. Kentucky Ecological Services Field Office, 502–695–0468. Yreka Fish and Wildlife Office, 530–842–5763. Western Colorado Ecological Services Field Office, 970–628–7184. Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office, 208–378–5265. Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office, 775–861–6300. Tennessee Ecological Services Field Office, 931–528–6481. Cumberland arrow darter ......................................................................... Great Basin DPS of the Columbia spotted frog ....................................... Goose Creek milkvetch ............................................................................ Nevares spring naucorid bug ................................................................... Page springsnail ....................................................................................... Ramshaw meadows sand-verbena .......................................................... Sequatchie caddisfly ................................................................................. Shawnee darter ........................................................................................ Siskiyou mariposa lily ............................................................................... Sleeping ute milkvetch ............................................................................. Southern Idaho ground squirrel ................................................................ Tahoe yellow cress ................................................................................... Tennessee cave beetles (Baker Station, Coleman, Fowler’s, Indian Grave Point, inquirer, and Noblett’s cave beetles). Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), please call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background Section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) requires that, for any petition to revise the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants that contains substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that listing an animal or plant species may be warranted, we make a finding within 12 months of the date of receipt of the petition. In this finding, we determine whether the petitioned actions regarding the American eel, Cumberland arrow darter, the Great Basin distinct population segment (DPS) of the Columbia spotted frog, Goose Creek milkvetch, Nevares spring bug, Page springsnail, Ramshaw meadows sand-verbena, Sequatchie caddisfly, Shawnee darter, Siskiyou mariposa lily, Sleeping ute milkvetch, Southern Idaho ground squirrel, Tahoe yellow cress, and six Tennessee cave beetles (Baker Station, Coleman, Fowler’s, Indian Grave Point, inquirer, and Noblett’s cave beetles) are: (1) Not warranted, (2) warranted, or (3) warranted, but the immediate proposal of a regulation implementing the petitioned action is precluded by other pending proposals to determine whether species are endangered or threatened species, and expeditious progress is being made to add or remove qualified species from the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants (warranted but precluded). Section 4(b)(3)(C) of the Act requires that we VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:48 Oct 07, 2015 Jkt 238001 treat a petition for which the requested action is found to be warranted but precluded as though resubmitted on the date of such finding, that is, requiring a subsequent finding to be made within 12 months. We must publish these 12month findings in the Federal Register. Summary of Information Pertaining to the Five Factors Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and the implementing regulations in part 424 of title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations (50 CFR part 424) set forth procedures for adding species to, removing species from, or reclassifying species on the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Under section 4(a)(1) of the Act, a species may be determined to be an endangered species or a threatened species based on any of the following five factors: (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (B) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; (C) Disease or predation; (D) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or (E) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence. We summarize below the information on which we based our evaluation of the five factors provided in section 4(a)(1) of the Act in determining whether the American eel, Cumberland arrow darter, the Great Basin DPS of the Columbia spotted frog, Goose Creek milkvetch, Nevares spring bug, Page springsnail, Ramshaw meadows sand-verbena, Sequatchie caddisfly, Shawnee darter, PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Siskiyou mariposa lily, Sleeping ute milkvetch, Southern Idaho ground squirrel, Tahoe yellow cress, and six Tennessee cave beetles (Baker Station, Coleman, Fowler’s, Indian Grave Point, inquirer, and Noblett’s cave beetles) are threatened species or endangered species. More detailed information about these species is presented in the species-specific assessment forms found on www.regulations.gov. In considering what factors might constitute threats, we must look beyond the mere exposure of the species to the factor to determine whether the species responds to the factor in a way that causes actual impacts to the species. If there is exposure to a factor, but no response, or only a positive response, that factor is not a threat. If there is exposure and the species responds negatively, the factor may be a threat. In that case, we determine if that factor rises to the level of a threat, meaning that it may drive or contribute to the risk of extinction of the species such that the species warrants listing as an endangered or threatened species as those terms are defined by the Act. This does not necessarily require empirical proof of a threat. The combination of exposure and some corroborating evidence of how the species is likely affected could suffice. The mere identification of factors that could affect a species negatively is not sufficient to compel a finding that listing is appropriate; we require evidence that these factors are operative threats that act on the species to the point that the species meets the definition of an endangered species or a threatened species under the Act. In making our 12-month findings, we considered and evaluated the best E:\FR\FM\08OCP1.SGM 08OCP1 60836 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 195 / Thursday, October 8, 2015 / Proposed Rules available scientific and commercial information. American Eel (Anguilla rostrata) Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Previous Federal Actions For a complete petition history for the American eel prior to September 2011, see the Previous Federal Action section of our September 29, 2011, 90-day substantial petition finding. Publication of the 90-day finding in the Federal Register (September 29, 2011; 76 FR 60431) opened a period to solicit new information that was not previously available or was not considered at the time of our previous 2007 status review and not-warranted 12-month finding (February 2, 2007; 72 FR 4967), and initiated a new status review. On December 23, 2011, the petitioner (Center for Environmental Science Accuracy and Reliability (CESAR), formerly known as the Council for Endangered Species Act Reliability) filed a Notice of Intent to sue the Service for failure to publish a finding within 12 months of receiving the April 30, 2010, petition. On August 7, 2012, CESAR filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia for the Service’s failure to meet the petition’s statutory timeline. On April 24, 2013, the Service entered into a court-approved settlement agreement with CESAR stipulating that the Service would complete a status review of American eel and deliver a 12month finding to the Federal Register on or before September 30, 2015 (Stipulated Settlement Agreement, Center for Envt’l Science Accuracy and Reliability v. Salazar, et al. (D.D.C., Case No. 1:12–cv–01311–EGS), Doc. 18, filed April 24, 2013.). To ensure the status review was based on the best scientific and commercial information available, the Service, in November 2013 through January 2014, requested any new or updated American eel information since the 2007 status review. The requests were sent to State and Federal agencies, Native American tribes, nongovernmental agencies, and other interested parties. In addition to any new or updated information, the requests specifically sought information related to panmixia, glass eel recruitment, climate change, oceanographic conditions, and eel abundance at fishways. See the lists of references reviewed and cited for a list of agencies, organizations, and parties from which we received information; these reference lists are available at http://www.regulations.gov and at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/ newsroom/eels.html. VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:48 Oct 07, 2015 Jkt 238001 Summary of Status Review In making our 12-month finding on the petition, we consider and evaluate the best available scientific and commercial information. This evaluation includes information from all sources, including State, Federal, tribal, academic, and private entities and the public. However, because we have a robust history with the American eel and completed a thorough status review for the species in 2007, we are incorporating by reference the February 7, 2007, 12-month finding (72 FR 4967) and using its information as a baseline for our 2015 status review and 12-month petition finding. A supporting document entitled, American Eel Biological Species Report (Report) provides a summary of the current (post 2007) literature and information regarding the American eel’s distribution, habitat requirements, life-history, and stressors. The Report is available as a Supplemental Document at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/ newsroom/eels.html. We describe in the Report or in our 12-month finding document any substantive changes that we identified in the data used in the February 7, 2007, 12-month finding or in conclusions drawn from that data, based upon our review of the best available scientific and commercial information since 2007. American eel are a facultative catadromous fish species, meaning they commonly use brackish estuaries or near-shore marine habitats, in addition to the freshwater habitats. After mature eels spawn in the Sargasso Sea, the eggs hatch into ‘‘leptocephali,’’ a larval stage that lasts for about 1 year. Leptocephali are transported by ocean currents from the Sargasso Sea to the Atlantic coast of North America, the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Central America and northern portions of South America. Leptocephali metamorphose into ‘‘glass eels’’ while at sea and then actively swim across the continental shelf to coastal waters. Glass eels transform into small pigmented juvenile eels, commonly called ‘‘elvers,’’ after taking up residence in marine, estuarine, or freshwater rearing habitats in coastal waters. As they grow, the larger juvenile eels are known as ‘‘yellow eels.’’ American eels begin sexual differentiation at a length of about 20 to 25 centimeters (7.9 to 9.8 inches), well in advance of maturation as a ‘‘silver eel.’’ Upon nearing sexual maturity, silver eels begin migration toward the Sargasso Sea, completing sexual maturation en route. In the United States, the American eel is found in fresh, estuarine, and marine waters in PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 36 States. The upstream extent of eel distribution in freshwater is limited by impassable dams and natural barriers. American eel are ubiquitous in many continental aquatic habitats including marine habitats, estuaries, lakes, ponds, small streams, and large rivers to the headwaters. They may be locally abundant to the extent that they sometimes constitute a large proportion of the total fish biomass in many watersheds. The 2007 Status Review and the 2015 Report reviewed a number of stressors (natural or human induced negative pressures affecting individuals or subpopulations of a species) on the American eel, including the effects of climate change; parasites; habitat loss in estuaries, lakes, and rivers; migratory effects from hydroelectric projects; recreational and commercial harvests; and contaminants. In terms of climate change, North Atlantic Ocean temperatures may continue to rise as a result of climate change, but a great deal of uncertainty remains regarding changes in physical oceanographic processes and how, or to what extent, those processes will affect eel migration, aggregation for reproduction, and ultimately abundance. The species report discusses in detail the complex subject of climate change and its foreseeable effects on the species. Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial information, we conclude that climate change, based on its reasonably foreseeable effects, is not a threat to the American eel that puts it in danger of extinction or likely to become so in the foreseeable future, nor is it reasonably foreseeable that it would become such a threat in the future. As for parasites, despite the spread of Anguillicoloides crassus and increasing mean infection rates over time, there is no direct evidence to support a conclusion that the parasite causes significant American eel mortality. Nor is there direct evidence to support or refute the hypotheses that A. crassus impairs the silvering process, prevents American eels from completing their spawning migration to the Sargasso Sea, or impairs spawning. With regard to habitat loss, American eel have been extirpated from some portions of their historical range, mostly as a result of large hydroelectric and water storage dams built since the early twentieth century. Although dams have extirpated eels from some large rivers and certain headwaters, the species remains widely distributed over the majority of its historical range. We consider habitat loss from barriers to be a historical effect, and any population- E:\FR\FM\08OCP1.SGM 08OCP1 Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 195 / Thursday, October 8, 2015 / Proposed Rules level effects likely have already been realized. The extensive range of American eel provides multiple freshwater and estuarine areas that support the species’ life stages and thus buffer the species as a whole from stressors affecting individuals or smaller populations in any one area. Currently, ocean habitats and the full range of continental habitats (estuaries, lakes, and rivers) remain available and occupied by the American eel. Some American eels complete their life cycle without ever entering freshwater. Highly fecund females continue to be present in extensive areas of freshwater (lacustrine and riverine), estuarine, and marine habitats; males also continue to be present in these habitats. Recruitment of glass eels continues to occur in these habitats with no evidence of continuing reduction in glass eel recruitment. For these reasons, we conclude that the available freshwater, estuarine, and marine habitats are sufficient to sustain the American eel population. With regard to migratory effects from hydroelectric projects, hydroelectric dams are obstacles that may delay the downstream migration of silver eels that mature in riverine habitats, and hydroelectric turbines can cause mortality or injury (eels that mature and migrate from estuary or marine habitats downstream are not affected by hydroelectric dams). The effects of turbine injury, including delayed mortality and possible impaired reproduction and increased predation risk, are poorly understood in the American eel. The best scientific and commercial information available indicates that mortality from hydroelectric turbines can cause significant mortality to downstreammigrating silver eels. The installation of effective downstream passage measures (i.e., bypasses or night spillage) through the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission relicensing process has reduced, and continues to reduce this mortality. In terms of recreational and commercial harvest, we continue to acknowledge that sometimes large numbers of individual American eel are recreationally or commercially harvested for food, bait, or aquaculture, but we conclude that harvest and trade are not threats to the American eel. The species is highly resilient, and remains a widely distributed fish species with a relatively stable population despite the levels of historical habitat loss and historical and current commercial and recreational harvest. That harvest is being managed and monitored via existing harvest quotas, licenses, and VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:48 Oct 07, 2015 Jkt 238001 reporting requirements to ensure the species’ conservation. In addition, contaminants may affect early life stages of the American eel, but without specific information, we remain cautious in extrapolation of laboratory studies to rangewide population-level effects (e.g., there are no studies showing reduced recruitment of glass eels in the wild, which would be an indicator of decreased outmigration, or decreased egg or leptocephali survival). A correlation between the contamination of the upper Saint Lawrence River/Lake Ontario watershed and the timing of the 1980s decline of American eel in the upper Saint Lawrence River/Lake Ontario watershed is not evident. Lastly, there are no individual stressors that rise to the level of a threat to the American eel. Some stressors can have cumulative effects and result in increased mortality. For example, the Report discusses known cumulative and synergistic interactions of various contaminants and known cumulative effects of increased predation and mortality at or below dams that block eel migration. While some individual American eels may be exposed to increased levels of mortality as a result of these contaminant or predation cumulative effects, we have no indication that the species is, or will be, significantly affected at a population level. Therefore, we conclude that there are no cumulative stressors that are a threat to the American eel now, or that will become a threat in the foreseeable future. The best available information indicates that, American eel are a single panmictic population that lacks distinct population structure, breeds in the Sargasso Sea, and shares a single common gene pool. Panmixia is central to evaluating stressors to the American eel since, in order for any stressor to rise to the level of a threat (natural or human-induced pressure affecting a species as a whole), it must act upon a large portion of the population at some life-history focal point, or the stressor must be present throughout a large part of the species’ range. And the stressor must elicit a response that results in significant mortality, impaired reproduction, or juvenile recruitment failure. Several lines of evidence indicate that the American eel population is not subject to threats that would imperil its continued existence. Despite historical habitat losses and a population reduction over the past century, American eels remain widely distributed throughout a large part of their historical range. Glass eels are PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 60837 recruited to North American rivers in large numbers. Elvers are also present in large numbers well inland on some east coast river systems—for example, more than 820,000 eels passed through a new fishway at the Roanoke Rapids Dam, located 137 miles inland on the Roanoke River in 2013, the fourth year of operation. American eels are plastic in their behavior and adaptability, inhabiting a wide range of freshwater, estuarine, and marine habitats over an exceptionally broad geographic range. Because of the species’ panmixia, areas that have experienced depletion or extirpation may experience a ‘‘rescue effect’’ allowing for continued or renewed occupation of available areas. Trends in abundance over recent decades vary among locations and life stages, showing decreases in some areas, and increases or no trends in other areas. Limited records of glass eel recruitment do not show trends that would signal recent declines in annual reproductive success or the effect of new or increased stressors. Taken as a whole, a clear trend cannot be detected in species-wide abundance during recent decades, and, while acknowledging that there have been large declines in abundance from historical times, the species currently appears to be depleted but stable. While some eel habitat has been permanently lost and access to freshwater habitats is impaired by dams that lack upstream fish passage, access to freshwater habitat has improved, and continues to improve, in other areas through new or improved eel ladders and removal of barriers. Despite the loss of some freshwater habitat, the American eel population appears to be stable based on young-of-the-year indices and estimates of spawner abundance. In addition, since 2007, newer information indicates that some American eel complete their life cycle in estuarine and marine waters. Finding Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial information pertaining to the five factors, we find that the stressors are not of sufficient imminence, intensity, or magnitude to indicate that the American eel is in danger of extinction (an endangered species), or likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future (a threatened species), throughout all of its range. There are no threats currently affecting the American eel throughout the species’ range. There are several stressors that cause individual mortality, including recreational and commercial harvest (Factor B), E:\FR\FM\08OCP1.SGM 08OCP1 60838 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 195 / Thursday, October 8, 2015 / Proposed Rules predation (Factor C), and hydroelectric turbines (Factor E), but none that affect a portion of the species’ range more than another. In addition, there are no portions of the species’ range that are considered significant given the species’ panmictic life-history. Therefore, we find that no portion of the American eel’s range warrants further consideration of possible endangered or threatened status under the Act, and we find that listing the American eel as a threatened or endangered species throughout all or a significant portion of its range is not warranted at this time. Cumberland Arrow Darter (Etheostoma sagitta) Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Previous Federal Actions The Cumberland arrow darter was first identified as a candidate for protection under the Act through our internal process in the Candidate Notice of Review published in the November 21, 2012, Federal Register (77 FR 69994); the subspecies was identified at the time as E. sagitta sagitta. Threats to the subspecies identified at that time were water pollution from surface coal mining and gas exploration activities; removal of riparian vegetation; stream channelization; increased siltation associated with poor mining, logging, and agricultural practices; and deforestation of watersheds. It was assigned a listing priority number (LPN) of 9. On November 22, 2013 (78 FR 70104), the LPN was changed to 8 due to morphological and genetic analysis resulting in the recognition of Cumberland arrow darter as a species (E. sagitta) as opposed to a subspecies, which it remained until evaluation for listing this year. Summary of Status Review The following summary is based on information in our files. From 2010 to 2012, the Service and its partners (Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR), Kentucky State Nature Preserve Commission (KSNPC), and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA)) completed a range-wide status assessment for the Cumberland arrow darter (USFWS 2012, pp. 1–2). We first generated a list of historical (pre-2000) records through review of agency databases (KDFWR, KSNPC, and TWRA), museum records (University of Tennessee), and published literature. From 2010 through 2012, surveys were completed at 187 of 202 historical sites and in 124 of 128 historical streams (sites corresponded to individual sampling reaches and more than one could be present on a given stream). Surveys were also conducted at VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:48 Oct 07, 2015 Jkt 238001 other sites/streams where habitat conditions appeared to be suitable for the species. When first considered for candidate status in early 2012, status surveys were still ongoing, and the species had been observed in 72 of 123 historical sites visited (58 percent) and 60 of 101 historical streams visited (59 percent). More comprehensive surveys in Tennessee in late 2012 and additional surveys in Kentucky in 2013–2014 expanded the species’ known range to 98 streams, including 119 of 187 historical sites visited (64 percent), 85 of 128 historical streams visited (66 percent), and 13 new (non-historical) streams (USFWS 2012, pp. 1–2; USFWS unpublished data). New distributional records were obtained during each year of sampling, primarily from the middle and western portions of the species’ geographical range. Within Kentucky, the species was observed at 87 of 143 sites (61 percent) and in 61 of 100 streams (61 percent). Within Tennessee, the species was observed at 32 of 44 sites (73 percent) and in 24 of 30 streams (80 percent). [Note that 2 of the historical streams surveyed occur in both Kentucky and Tennessee and are, therefore, included in each of the State totals provided in the previous sentences (i.e., 100 and 30, respectively.] The species’ most significant declines were documented within the Poor Fork, Clover Fork, Straight Creek, Clear Creek, and Clear Fork drainages, all of which are located within the eastern half of the species’ geographical range. This portion of the upper Cumberland River drainage has less public ownership than the western half of the drainage and has been impacted more extensively by surface coal mining. Over the last 3 years, new field surveys and monitoring efforts across the Cumberland arrow darter’s range have improved our understanding of the species’ distribution and stressors. Based on these findings, we have reexamined the species’ status and reevaluated the magnitude and imminence of its stressors. We acknowledge that the species has suffered declines in portions of its range (e.g., it has been extirpated from 43 of 128 historical streams) and portions of the range continue to suffer some level of water quality degradation and habitat disturbance. However, we have determined that the species’ overall status is more secure than previously believed, and stressors acting on the species are not of sufficient imminence, intensity, or magnitude to indicate the species is in danger of extinction (an endangered species), or likely to become PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 endangered within the foreseeable future (a threatened species). The Cumberland arrow darter’s status is bolstered by its large number of occupied streams (98) and its frequent occurrence in streams on public lands and in streams with listed species (e.g., blackside dace). In support of this notwarranted finding, we offer the following specifics with regard to its status: • The species’ range (number of extant streams) is larger than first believed. When first identified as a candidate for listing in 2012, the Cumberland arrow darter was known from 72 of 123 historical sites visited (58 percent) and 60 of 101 historical streams visited (59 percent). More comprehensive surveys in Tennessee and additional surveys in Kentucky from 2012 through 2014 expanded the species’ known range to 98 streams, including 85 of 128 historical streams (66 percent) and 13 new streams. The species’ relatively broad distribution and high number of occupied streams increases its resiliency and redundancy. • The species has demonstrated greater persistence in streams with at least 1 listed species (62 streams) or in streams located on public lands (45 streams). When combined, these two groups total 75 streams, or 77 percent of the species’ known habitats. Historically, less habitat disturbance has occurred on public lands, and many of the species’ best remaining habitats are located in these areas. The Cumberland arrow darter also benefits indirectly from listed species’ protections provided by Federal and State statutes and regulations, especially in Kentucky where State water quality regulations (401 Kentucky Administrative Regulations 10:031, Section 8) provide added protections for streams supporting listed species (‘‘Outstanding State Resource Waters’’). The species utilizes larger streams more frequently than previously believed, bolstering the species’ redundancy, resiliency, and representation (capacity of a species to adapt to changing environmental conditions). We have recent records (multiple individuals each) from Capuchin Creek, Elk Fork Creek, Jellico Creek (at Criscillis Branch), Marsh Creek (near mouth), and Roaring Paunch Creek, all of which are fourth-order streams or larger and have watersheds exceeding 65 square kilometers (25 square miles). This information suggests the species utilizes more stream kilometers (miles) than previously believed because most survey efforts have focused on smaller streams (thirdorder and smaller). The species’ E:\FR\FM\08OCP1.SGM 08OCP1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 195 / Thursday, October 8, 2015 / Proposed Rules Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS presence in these habitats protects against stochastic and catastrophic events (e.g., drying, floods, or pollution events) that can occur across the species’ range. Finding We evaluated the stressors to the Cumberland arrow darter and considered factors that, individually and in combination, presently or potentially could pose a risk to the species and its habitat. Based on our analysis of these stressors and our review of the species’ current status, we conclude that listing this species under the Act is not warranted, because this species is not in danger of extinction, and is not likely to become in danger of extinction throughout all of its within the foreseeable future. We evaluated the current range of the Cumberland arrow darter to determine if there is any apparent geographic concentration of potential threats for this species. We examined potential threats, and found that potential impacts (e.g., water quality degradation) associated with surface coal mining and other land uses (e.g., residential development) are greater in the eastern half of the species’ geographical range (e.g., water quality degradation is more common within this part of the range, and more extirpations have occurred there). To determine if this portion of the range was significant, we evaluated its contribution and importance to the species’ overall viability. Even though the species has been extirpated from multiple streams within the eastern half of the geographical range, we do not consider this portion of the range to be so important that, without the members in that portion, the species in the remainder of the range would be in danger of extinction, or likely to become so in the foreseeable future, throughout all of its range (i.e., the loss of this portion clearly would not be expected to increase the vulnerability to extinction of the entire species). The species continues to occupy 98 streams across its entire range. A total of 75 of these streams (77 percent) either support a listed species (62 streams) or occur on publicly owned lands (45 streams) where disturbance is minimal (e.g., Daniel Boone National Forest). The eastern half of the species’ geographical range continues to support multiple viable populations; 17 occupied streams, 15 of which are in public ownership or are occupied by a listed species. Given the hypothetical loss of the geographical eastern portion of the species range, the Cumberland arrow darter would still occupy 81 streams, 60 of which are in public ownership are VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:48 Oct 07, 2015 Jkt 238001 occupied by a listed species. Therefore, we do not consider the eastern half of the species geographical range to constitute a significant portion of the species’ range. Because this portion of the range is not significant, we conclude that the species is not in danger of extinction (an endangered species) nor likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future (a threatened species), throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Therefore, we find that listing the Cumberland arrow darter as an endangered or threatened species under the Act is not warranted at this time. Therefore, we no longer consider it to be a candidate species for listing. Great Basin DPS of the Columbia Spotted Frog (Rana luteiventris) Previous Federal Actions On May 4, 1989, we received a petition dated May 1, 1989, from Peter Hoving, Chairman, Issues Committee, requesting that the spotted frog be listed as a threatened species under the Act. In 1993, we announced a finding on the petition where we found five populations of the spotted frog warranted listing (58 FR 27260; May 7, 1993). On September 19, 1997, we announced our acceptance of speciesspecific genetic and geographic differences in spotted frogs and we added the Great Basin distinct population segment of the Columbia spotted frog to the candidate list with a listing priority number (LPN) of 3 (62 FR 49402). In the December 6, 2007,Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR) (72 FR 69039), we announced a change in LPN from 3 to 9 for this entity. In subsequent annual CNOR publications, we maintained our determination of LPN of 9 for this species. Summary of Status Review The Columbia spotted frog (Great Basin DPS) occurs in Nevada, southwestern Idaho, and southeastern Oregon. The Columbia spotted frog is a slim-waisted, long-legged, smoothskinned frog measuring between 2 to 4 inches. Dorsal colors and pattern include light brown, dark brown, or gray, with small spots. Ventral coloration can differ among geographic population units and may range from yellow to salmon with mottled throat regions. Columbia spotted frogs in the Great Basin have been affected primarily by the remaining effects of past habitat destruction and modification, which caused increased habitat fragmentation and isolation. Livestock grazing, mining activities, beaver management, water PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 60839 development, predation, disease, and the effects of climate change have also been identified as potential threats to the species. Heavy use by livestock has been shown to be detrimental to Columbia spotted frog habitat in localized areas. Livestock grazing and development of springs for livestock and agricultural purposes occur or have occurred throughout the Great Basin and resulted in an unquantifiable loss of riparian and wetland habitats used by the species. However, springs developed into ponds for the purposes of watering livestock have resulted in the creation and maintenance of persistent, high quality breeding and rearing habitat for the species in portions of the species range.. Mining has been shown to have localized impacts to populations but has a relatively low influence on a rangewide basis. Historical trapping nearly extirpated beaver from the Great Basin; however, beaver populations have rebounded and occupy the majority of its historical range but at lower densities. Harvest of beaver continues throughout the Great Basin but does not seem to be negatively impacting the beaver population as a whole within the Great Basin. However, there is little information on the impacts of harvest at the local watershed level to analyze impacts at this finer scale. The ability of beavers to restore degraded stream systems and the resulting habitat modification from their dams which keeps water on the landscape longer is becoming recognized as an important restoration technique (Gibson and Olden 2014, pp. 399–401; Pollack et al. 2014, pp. 284–286). Nonnative fish and amphibian predators occur within the range of Columbia spotted frogs. The level of impact from predation is variable across the species’ range, and depends on the quality of habitat (availability of cover and shelter). These nonnative predators can also introduce and help spread diseases and pathogens. However, current population-level effects of both predation and disease (pathogens and parasites) have not been documented within the Great Basin; therefore, we conclude that predation and disease are not negatively affecting Columbia spotted frogs in the Great Basin at this time nor do we expect them to in the near future. Climate change has affected, and is expected to continue to affect, Great Basin ecosystems; however, the impacts to permanent water sources and to Columbia spotted frog populations are not well documented. The available data does not indicate whether any effects from climate change will have population-level effects within a E:\FR\FM\08OCP1.SGM 08OCP1 Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 60840 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 195 / Thursday, October 8, 2015 / Proposed Rules reasonably foreseeable period of time. Based on this variability and uncertainty of the exact effects of climate change on the Columbia spotted frog Great Basin DPS within its range, we cannot reasonably determine that the effects of climate change are likely to have a population-level impact on the species now or in the foreseeable future. Many of the stressors discussed above do not act alone. Multiple stressors can alter the effects of other stressors or act synergistically to affect individuals and populations. For example, Kiesecker and Blaustein (1995, pp. 11050–11051) describe how UV–B acts with a pathogen to increase embryonic mortality above levels shown with either factor alone. Interactions between current land uses and changing climate or other environmental conditions may cause shifts in populations, communities, and ecosystems or may increase an individual’s susceptibility to infection, disease, or predation (Hansen et al. 2001, p. 767; IPCC 2002, p. 22). However, the best available scientific information does not indicate that multiple stressors acting in combination or synergistically currently rising to the level of being identified as a stressor to the Great Basin DPS of Columbia spotted frogs and we therefore conclude that they do not cumulatively pose a threat to the species at this time nor do we expect them to do so in the future. Conservation efforts are occurring in many areas across the range of the Columbia spotted frog. A 10-year Conservation Agreement and Strategy has been implemented in Nevada since 2003. Due to the success of the Conservation Agreement and Strategy in managing and conserving Columbia spotted frogs in Nevada, a revised 10year agreement (2015–2024) was signed in February 2015. In 2006, a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances was developed for a population in Idaho. An increase in monitoring has improved our knowledge of the distribution of the species, as well as improved knowledge of demography in several populations. Improved grazing management in some locations has contributed to improved stream and riparian habitat in some areas. Creating ponded habitat has also improved numerous occupied sites throughout the Great Basin, as well as in other parts of the species’ range. All three States include Columbia spotted frog on their list of protected species. Finding Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial information pertaining to the five factors, we find that the stressors acting VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:48 Oct 07, 2015 Jkt 238001 on the species and its habitat, either singly or in combination, are not of sufficient imminence, intensity, or magnitude to indicate that the Great Basin DPS of the Columbia spotted frog is in danger of extinction (an endangered species), or likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future (a threatened species), throughout all of its range. This finding is based on additional populations that have been found since the species was first identified as a candidate, the relatively stable population and distribution of the species, and conservation management that is occurring throughout the species’ range for impacts to both the habitat and the species. Because the distribution of the species is relatively stable across its range and stressors are similar throughout the species’ range, we found no concentration of stressors that suggests that the Great Basin DPS of the Columbia spotted frog may be in danger of extinction in any portion of its range. Therefore, we find that listing the Great Basin DPS of the Columbia spotted frog as a threatened or an endangered species or maintaining the species as a candidate is not warranted throughout all or a significant portion of its range at this time, and consequently we are removing it from candidate status. Goose Creek Milkvetch (Astragalus anserinus) Previous Federal Actions On February 3, 2004, we received a petition dated January 30, 2004, from Red Willow Research, Inc., and 25 other concerned parties, including the Prairie Falcon Audubon Society Chapter Board, Western Watersheds Project, Utah Environmental Congress, Sawtooth Group of the Sierra Club, and 21 private citizens. The petitioners requested that we list Goose Creek milkvetch as a threatened or an endangered species, emergency list the species, and designate critical habitat concurrently with the listing (Red Willow Research Inc, in litt. 2004). The petition contained information on the natural history of Goose Creek milkvetch, its population status, and potential threats to the species. Potential threats discussed in the petition include the destruction and modification of habitat, disease and predation, inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms, and other natural and manmade factors such as exotic and noxious weed invasions and road construction and maintenance. The petition clearly identified itself as a petition, and included the requisite identification information as required in 50 CFR 424.14(a). PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 In a February 19, 2004, letter to the petitioners, we responded that our initial review of the petition for Goose Creek milkvetch determined that an emergency listing was not warranted, and that due to court orders and judicially approved settlement agreements for other listing actions, we would not be able to further address the petition to list the species at that time. On August 16, 2007, we published a notice of 90-day finding that the petition presented substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that listing Goose Creek milkvetch may be warranted, and we were initiating a status review of the species (72 FR 46023). A 60-day public comment period followed. Our subsequent 12-month finding identified Goose Creek milkvetch as a species for which listing as an endangered species or threatened species was warranted but was precluded due to higher priority listing decisions, and we assigned Goose Creek milkvetch a listing priority number of 5 (74 FR 46521; September 10, 2009). Following the finding, we completed annual Candidate Notices of Review in 2010 (75 FR 69222; November 10, 2010), 2011 (76 FR 66370; October 6, 2011), 2012 (77 FR 69994; November 21, 2012), 2013 (78 FR 70104; November 22, 2013), and 2014 (79 FR 72449; December 5, 2014), all of which maintained the species as a candidate. We assigned the listing priority number of 2 to the species in 2012, and maintained that listing priority through 2014. The change in the listing priority number was based upon information indicating that livestock use and invasive species (cheatgrass) had increased following the 2007 wildfires and that impacts to the species from these stressors were imminent. As a result of the Service’s 2011 multidistrict litigation settlement with petitioners, a proposed listing rule or a not-warranted 12-month finding is required by September 30, 2016 (In re: Endangered Species Act Section 4 Deadline Litigation, No. 10–377 (EGS), MDL Docket No. 2165 (D.D.C. May 10, 2011)). This 12-month finding satisfies the requirements of that settlement agreement for the Goose Creek milkvetch. Summary of Status Review Goose Creek milkvetch is a narrow endemic plant in the Goose Creek drainage in Idaho, Nevada, and Utah. The current range of Goose Creek milkvetch is essentially the same as the historical range; however, we continue to identify a greater distribution of the species across its range. Overall, Goose E:\FR\FM\08OCP1.SGM 08OCP1 Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 195 / Thursday, October 8, 2015 / Proposed Rules Creek milkvetch occurs in a scattered distribution within five populations. Plants are typically found on sparsely vegetated outcrops of highly weathered volcanic-ash (tuffaceous) soils. The total population size in 2014 is estimated to be approximately 31,648 plants occupying approximately 2,117 acres (857 hectares). In our 2009 12-month finding (74 FR 46521; September 10, 2009), we identified the threats to Goose Creek milkvetch to be wildfire, wildfire management (firefighting and postwildfire emergency stabilization and restoration activities), invasive nonnative plant species (cheatgrass, leafy spurge, crested wheatgrass), livestock use, development, recreation, mining, the inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms, and small population size. In our current candidate assessment, we evaluated available information, and concluded that the species is resilient to these stressors and that current impacts to the species are not as strong as previously believed. In 2015 we identified leafy spurge as a future threat to Goose Creek milkvetch, based upon its anticipated future spread and expansion within the species’ range containing 64 percent of the total population. Leafy spurge has the ability to increase in density rapidly and displace Goose Creek milkvetch, which may lead to local extirpation of the species in infested areas that are not detected and controlled at early stages of leafy spurge invasion. As a result, our initial finding was that Goose Creek milkvetch warranted listing as a result of the future threat of leafy spurge. However, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized a conservation agreement for the longterm conservation of Goose Creek milkvetch in early 2015 that identifies conservation measures to address the spread and control of leafy spurge in Goose Creek milkvetch habitat. Through our Policy for Evaluation of Conservation Efforts When Making Listing Decisions (PECE) (68 FR 15100; March 28, 2003) analysis, we evaluated the actions in the conservation agreement and concluded that there is sufficient certainty that the actions will be implemented and effective such that leafy spurge will not become a future threat to Goose Creek milkvetch. As a result of new information and analysis, the originally identified threats in our previous 12-month finding are no longer considered current or foreseeable threats for the following reasons: (1) The population is stable, the species is persisting at all monitored sites despite disturbance events, and it is occupying VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:48 Oct 07, 2015 Jkt 238001 its historical range; (2) the species occurs over 216 square miles (559 square kilometers), and currently has adequate representation, resiliency, and redundancy throughout its range; (3) the species appears resilient to the identified stressors based on our evaluation in the 2015 candidate assessment; (4) new monitoring information after recent wildfires indicates that Goose Creek milkvetch was not significantly affected by wildfire and wildfire management (postwildfire emergency stabilization and restoration activities) as previous information indicated; and (5) expanded commitments in the 2015 BLM/FWS conservation agreement to survey for and annually treat leafy spurge within Goose Creek milkvetch habitat on BLM lands will be effective in controlling the future spread of this noxious weed, and will protect approximately 86 percent of the total known population and 93 percent of the total known habitat of Goose Creek milkvetch. 60841 Nevares Spring Naucorid Bug (Ambrysus Funebis) Finding Previous Federal Actions On November 15, 1994, we added the Nevares Spring naucorid bug (Amargosa naucorid bug) to the candidate list as a category 2 species on the Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR) (59 FR 59012). Category 2 species were those species for which listing as endangered or threatened species was possibly appropriate, but for which biological information sufficient to support a proposed rule was lacking. However, the February 28, 1996, CNOR (61 FR 7596) discontinued recognition of category 1 and 2 species, so the Nevares Spring naucorid bug was no longer considered a candidate species after that date. On May 4, 2004 (69 FR 24880), we added the species to the candidate list with a listing priority number (LPN) of 5. In our November 21, 2012, CNOR (77 FR 69998), we changed the LPN from 5 to 2. In subsequent annual CNOR publications, we maintained our determination of LPN of 2 for this species. Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial information pertaining to the five factors, we find that the current stressors acting on the species and its habitat are not of sufficient imminence, intensity, or magnitude to indicate that the Goose Creek milkvetch is warranted for listing at this time. However, we did find the potential future threat from leafy spurge is of such a magnitude that listing Goose Creek milkvetch may be warranted. We evaluated the actions outlined in the 2015 conservation agreement with the BLM under PECE, and we found sufficient certainty of implementation and effectiveness of the actions such that the potential future threat of the habitat impacts due to the spread of leafy spurge will largely be ameliorated. Therefore, based on the best available information, we find that listing Goose Creek milkvetch is not warranted throughout its range. Because the distribution of the species is relatively stable across its range and stressors are similar throughout the species’ range, we found no concentration of stressors that suggests that the Goose Creek milkvetch may be in danger of extinction in any portion of its range. Therefore, we find that listing the Goose Creek milkvetch as a threatened or an endangered species is not warranted throughout all or a significant portion of its range at this time, and consequently we are removing it from candidate status. Summary of Status Review The Nevares Spring naucorid bug is an aquatic invertebrate found only within the Furnace Creek Springs (Nevares, Texas, and Travertine Springs) of Death Valley National Park, California, managed by the National Park Service (NPS). Based on both historical and recent surveys, this narrow endemic species is considered locally abundant where found, but otherwise uncommon in aquatic habitats within the Travertine and Nevares Spring complexes and in areas of the Furnace Creek Wash. The Furnace Creek Springs have been used as a water source (potable and non-potable water) since the 1800s, and the primary threat to the Nevares Spring naucorid bug at the time it was placed on the candidate list (2004) was loss of habitat due to diversion of water. Since then, the NPS has rebuilt the Furnace Creek water collection system and has implemented restoration actions within the range of the species. The combined post-pumping flow for affected springs is approximately 80 percent of the estimated pre-pumping flow. While this activity represents a negative factor within one of four of the Travertine Springs springbrooks, we have determined that this stressor is not of significant magnitude to affect the conservation status of the species. Flows from Nevares Springs (occupied by the bug) and Texas Spring (unknown occupation) have not been affected by the groundwater pumping and are not PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 E:\FR\FM\08OCP1.SGM 08OCP1 60842 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 195 / Thursday, October 8, 2015 / Proposed Rules Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS part of the Furnace Creek water collection system. The NPS has also eliminated water diversions and implemented aquatic habitat restoration at Travertine Spring 2, including restoration of its previously dry downstream springbrook. The results have augmented local groundwater, which has reemerged in aquatic habitat in portions of the spring area and downstream areas, including Furnace Creek Wash (occupied by the bug). Similar beneficial restoration actions are planned for other areas. While we believe that these future habitat restoration efforts could enhance the conservation status of the species by providing suitable habitat, these future actions are not factored into our determination. We also evaluated potential threats related to nonnative or invasive plants, predation, fire, and the effects of climate change. The impact to the species’ habitat from nonnative or invasive plants is minor in scope and is currently being managed by the NPS. Predation is not currently a threat to the species and is not expected to be a threat in the near future. Fire has been a rare event within the Furnace Creek Springs area, and it is not expected to be a threat in the near future due to specific management actions being implemented by the NPS as required by the Death Valley National Park General Management Plan. Based on computer model projections (Fisk 2011, pp. 141–144), potential impacts to the species from the effects of climate change (i.e., changes to groundwater head and spring discharge for the Furnace Creek Springs) also are unlikely to be significant well into the 21st Century. Finding Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial information pertaining to the five factors, we find that the stressors acting on the species and its habitat are not of sufficient imminence, intensity, or magnitude to indicate that the Nevares Spring naucorid bug is in danger of extinction (an endangered species), or likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future (a threatened species), throughout all of its range. This finding is based on the relatively stable population and distribution of the species, and the habitat restoration efforts and conservation management that have occurred throughout the species’ range to minimize impacts to both the habitat and the species since the species was first identified as a candidate. Because the distribution of the species is narrow and stressors are similar throughout the entire species’ VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:48 Oct 07, 2015 Jkt 238001 range, we found no concentration of stressors that suggests that the Nevares Spring naucorid bug may be in danger of extinction in any portion of its range, or likely to become so in the foreseeable future. Therefore, we find that listing the Nevares Spring naucorid bug as a threatened species or an endangered species or maintaining the species as a candidate throughout all or a significant portion of its range is not warranted at this time, and consequently we are removing it from candidate status. Page Springsnail (Pyrgulopsis morrisoni) Previous Federal Actions The Service first identified the Page springsnail as a category 2 candidate species on January 6, 1989 (54 FR 554). Category 2 candidates were defined as species for which we had information that proposed listing was possibly appropriate, but conclusive data on biological vulnerability and threats were not available to support a proposed rule at the time. In the February 28, 1996, Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR) (61 FR 7596), we discontinued the designation of Category 2 species as candidates. Page springsnail became a candidate species (formerly known as Category 1 candidate) on February 28, 1996, with a listing priority number of 2 (61 FR 7596). The Page springsnail remained on the candidate list thereafter with no change in listing priority number. On April 12, 2002, we received a petition dated April 11, 2002, from the Center for Biological Diversity, requesting emergency listing and designation of critical habitat for the Page springsnail. We acknowledged receipt of the petition in a letter dated August 8, 2002. In that letter we stated the Service’s policy to treat petitions on candidate species as second petitions, and that we consider all candidates as having been subject to both a positive 90-day finding and a warranted-butprecluded 12-month finding under section 4(b)(3)(B)(iii) of the Act. As such we did not make a separate 90-day or 12-month finding in response to the petition. In 2011, the Service entered into two settlement agreements regarding species on the candidate list at that time (Endangered Species Act Section 4 Deadline Litigation, No. 10–377 (EGS), MDL Docket No. 2165 (D.D.C. May 10, 2011)). This finding fulfills our obligations regarding the Page springsnail under those settlement agreements. PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Summary of Status Review The Page springsnail is a small aquatic snail endemic to 10 populations in a complex of springs along Oak Creek and Spring Creek in Yavapai County, central Arizona. Like other members of the family Hydrobiidae, Page springsnails are strictly aquatic and often occur in abundance within suitable spring habitats. The Page springsnail occurs in springs, seeps, marshes, cienegas, spring brooks, spring pools, outflows, and diverse lotic (flowing) waters, supported by water discharged from a regional aquifer. Eight of the 10 known populations occur on land managed by Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD) as a fish hatchery. The Page springsnail became a candidate species primarily due to habitat modifications at the springhead and spring run that resulted in changes to the habitat factors listed above, resulting in the extirpation of two populations. Subsequently, AGFD implemented a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances that includes conservation measures that have resulted in the majority of Page springsnail populations being secure from spring modification, aquatic vegetation removal, and water contamination in the future. These management actions include coordinating with the Service and considering the needs of the Page springsnail when conducting aquatic vegetation control, management of nonnative fishes, chemical use, and addition of material into springs. AGFD has also restored much of the spring habitat on their lands; restoration activities include modifying springs, adding substrate preferred by springsnails, and eradicating nonnative species. The Page springsnail needs multiple resilient populations distributed across its range to maintain viability into the future and to avoid extinction. In general, the more Page springsnail populations that occur across its range, the higher the viability of the species and the lower the risk of extinction. A number of factors influence whether Page springsnail populations will maximize habitat occupancy, which increases the resiliency of a population to stochastic events. These factors include (1) adequate spring discharge (water quantity), (2) sufficient water quality, (3) free-flowing spring ecosystems, and (4) appropriate substrate and aquatic vegetation within the springs. In the future, the primary source of potential habitat loss is groundwater E:\FR\FM\08OCP1.SGM 08OCP1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 195 / Thursday, October 8, 2015 / Proposed Rules depletion, which may result in reduced or eliminated spring flow. We are relatively certain that climate change and increased water consumption from increased human population levels in the Verde Valley will result in lowered groundwater levels. Though we are not certain of the specific relationship between base flow and spring discharge, it is likely that declines in groundwater levels in the Verde Valley subbasin and base flow in the Verde River will translate to some decline in spring flow. We therefore anticipate that the effect of groundwater declines on future levels of spring discharge is the primary factor influencing the future condition of the Page springsnail. Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Finding Our review found that there are currently 10 existing Page springsnail populations, occurring in approximately the same geographic range that the species was known to occupy historically. To assess the current status of these populations, we grouped each of them into three categories of resiliency, which were based on spring flow rate, water quality, free-flowing spring runs, and vegetation and substrate quality. We categorized six populations as currently having high resiliency, three as currently having moderate resiliency, and one as currently having low resiliency. The best available data suggests that populations in high or moderate condition will be resilient populations at low risk of extirpation. In total, nine of the populations rank as high or moderate for the combined evaluation of the elements needed to maintain the species (water flow rate, water quality, free flowing, and aquatic vegetation and substrate). This current number of populations in high or moderate condition existing across the species’ range provides resiliency (90 percent of populations considered sufficiently large to withstand stochastic events), redundancy (the populations exist across the historical range, although that range is inherently small, to withstand catastrophic events), and representation (multiple populations continuing to occur across the range of the species to maintain ecological and genetic diversity). Because this estimate of the condition and distribution of populations provides sufficient resiliency, representation, and redundancy for the species, we conclude that the current risk of extinction of the Page springsnail is sufficiently low that it does not meet the definition of an endangered species under the Act. VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:48 Oct 07, 2015 Jkt 238001 Looking into the foreseeable future, and considering that spring flows could decline somewhat by 2065, we forecasted that two populations would continue to have high resiliency, four would have moderate resiliency, and four would have low resiliency (Service 2015, p. 33). The best available data suggests that populations in high or moderate condition will be resilient populations at low risk of extirpation. This forecasted number of populations in good condition existing across the species’ range would provide resiliency (60 percent of populations considered sufficiently large to withstand stochastic events), redundancy (the populations would exist across the historical range, although that range is inherently small, to withstand catastrophic events), and representation (multiple populations would continue to occur across the range of the species to maintain ecological and genetic diversity). Therefore, because this forecast of the number and distribution of populations under the spring flow scenario that we expect to occur provides sufficient resiliency, redundancy, and representation for the species, we conclude the species is likely to remain at a sufficiently low risk of extinction that it will not become in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future. Therefore, we find that the Page springsnail does not meet the definition of a threatened species under the Act. Having found that the Page springsnail is not an endangered species or a threatened species throughout all of its range, we next consider whether there are any significant portions of its range in which the Page springsnail is in danger of extinction or likely to become so. We found no portions of its range where potential threats are significantly concentrated or substantially greater than in other portions of its range. Therefore, we find that factors affecting the species are essentially uniform throughout its range, indicating that no portion of the range of the Page springsnail warrants further consideration of possible endangered species or threatened species status under the Act. In conclusion, because the number and distribution of Page springsnail populations provides sufficient resiliency, redundancy, and representation for the species now and in the foreseeable future, we find that the Page springsnail no longer warrants listing throughout all or a significant portion of its range, and consequently we are removing it from candidate status. PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 60843 Ramshaw Meadows Sand-Verbena (Abronia alpina) Previous Federal Actions The Act directed the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution to prepare a report on endangered and threatened plant species, which was published as House Document No. 94–51. We published a notice in the Federal Register on July 1, 1975 (40 FR 27823), in which we announced that we would review more than 3,000 native plant species named in the Smithsonian’s report and other species added by the 1975 notice for possible addition to the List of Endangered and Threatened Plants. Ramshaw Meadows sandverbena was one of those species. In the February 21, 1990, Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR) (55 FR 6186), we identified the species as a category 1 candidate species. In the February 28, 1996, CNOR, we retained the species as a candidate and assigned it a listing priority number (LPN) of 8 (61 FR 7602). In the September 19, 1997, CNOR (62 FR 49404), we changed the LPN to 11. On May 11, 2004, we received a petition dated May 4, 2004, from the Center for Biological Diversity et al. requesting the listing of the Ramshaw Meadows sandverbena as a threatened species with critical habitat. In subsequent annual CNOR publications, we maintained our determination of LPN of 11 for this species. Summary of Status Review Abronia alpina is a small perennial herb 1 to 6 inches across forming compact mats with lavender pink, trumpet-shaped, and generally fragrant flowers. The species is known from one main population center at Ramshaw Meadow and a smaller population at the adjacent Templeton Meadow on the Kern River Plateau (8,700-feet elevation) in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California. The entire range of the species is approximately 15 acres (6.1 hectares) and is administered by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) (Inyo National Forest, Tulare County, California). The species’ population fluctuates from year to year without any clear trends with estimates ranging from approximately 150,000 to 50,000 plants (based on USFS survey results 1985– 2012). Abronia alpina is currently categorized by the USFS as a ‘‘Sensitive Species’’ under the 1988 Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP), but is proposed to be categorized as an ‘‘AtRisk Species’’ under the revised LRMP currently being developed. Threats to Abronia alpina and its habitat identified at the time it was determined to be a candidate species E:\FR\FM\08OCP1.SGM 08OCP1 60844 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 195 / Thursday, October 8, 2015 / Proposed Rules Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS included cattle trailing, trampling by campers and packstock, deteriorated watershed conditions, and potential bank cutting of habitat. In response, the USFS has implemented a number of conservation measures that have been effective in reducing these adverse effects, including developing a livestock trailing strategy; exclosure fencing; establishing a monitoring program; discontinuing livestock grazing for a 10year period (2001–2011); rerouting hiking and packstock trails; and conducting land exchanges of private land so that all A. alpina habitat is on Federal land. The stressors currently acting upon Abronia alpina and its habitat include lodgepole pine encroachment; potential bank cutting of habitat; the effects of climate change; recreation (camping, packstock); and cattle trailing within meadow habitats. Past conservation actions by the U.S. Forest Service have reduced or eliminated the effects of most of these stressors on A. alpina and its habitat. In addition, the Inyo National Forest and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have developed and signed a conservation agreement to evaluate current stressors for A. alpina and update conservation actions that will be implemented by the Inyo National Forest to continue to protect and manage A. alpina and its habitat (Conservation Agreement and Species Management Guide for Abronia alpina (Ramshaw abronia) Tulare County, California, Dated: April 2015). The conservation agreement addresses ongoing management needs of A. alpina and its habitat, including management or monitoring of past and present stressors that have been identified. The past and current conservation actions and protection provided by the Inyo National Forest have been demonstrated to reduce and ameliorate the effect of stressors acting upon the species, and we anticipate those completed actions to have lasting, positive effects into the near future. While we are not basing our finding on the February 2015 conservation agreement, we anticipate that conservation measures and protections outlined in the Conservation Agreement will continue to build on the success that past actions have had and will continue to benefit Abronia alpina into the future. Finding Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial information pertaining to the five factors, we find that the stressors acting on the species and its habitat are not of sufficient imminence, intensity, or magnitude to indicate that Abronia VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:48 Oct 07, 2015 Jkt 238001 alpina is in danger of extinction (an endangered species), or likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future (a threatened species), throughout all of its range. This finding is based on the past conservation actions and protections provided by the Inyo National Forest that have shown success in reduction and amelioration of the effect of stressors acting upon the species and its habitat. We found no concentration of stressors that suggests that the Abronia alpina may be in danger of extinction in any portion of its range. Therefore, we find that listing A. alpina as a threatened or an endangered species throughout all or a significant portion of its range or maintaining the species as a candidate is not warranted at this time, and we are removing it from candidate status. Sequatchie Caddisfly (Glyphopsyche sequatchie) Previous Federal Actions The Sequatchie caddisfly was first identified as a candidate for protection under the Act through our internal process in the October 25, 1999, Candidate Notice of Review published in the Federal Register (64 FR 57534), and the Service was subsequently petitioned on May 11, 2004, to list the species although no new information was provided with the petition. Threats to the species identified at that time were siltation; agricultural, chemical, and municipal runoff; vandalism; pollution from trash; and small population size. The Sequatchie caddisfly was assigned a listing priority number (LPN) of 5 (64 FR 57534), and that LPN was maintained until evaluation for listing this year. Summary of Status Review The Sequatchie caddisfly (Glyphopsyche sequatchie) was discovered in 1994 and first described by Etnier and Hix (1999, entire). This species is a member of the insect order Trichoptera, family Limnephilidae, subfamily Limnephilinae, and tribe Chilostigmini (Wiggins 1996, pp. 270, 310). Despite extensive efforts to find additional sites (Moulton and Floyd, 2013, entire), the Sequatchie caddisfly has been observed at only three spring runs in the Sequatchie Valley, all in Marion County, Tennessee: Owen Spring Branch (the type locality); Martin Spring run in the Battle Creek system, and Clear Spring Branch (Etnier and Hix 1999, pp. 629–630; Walton 2011, pers. comm.). In July 2014, biologists with the Service, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 the University of Tennessee, and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency completed quantitative surveys within a 20-meter (66-foot) reach at both the Owen Spring Branch and Martin Spring sites. During the Owen Spring Branch survey, a total of 269 Sequatchie caddisflies were observed within 29 0.25-square-meter (2.7-square-foot) quadrats (USFWS, unpublished data). Using these data, we estimated the population size at 5,192–6,273 individuals (95% confidence interval) within the 20-meter (66-foot) sampling reach. Considering the amount of occupied habitat within Owen Spring Branch (approximately 280 meters (919 feet)), we extrapolated that the population size at Owen Spring exceeds 50,000 caddisflies. During the Martin Spring surveys, a total of 260 Sequatchie caddisflies were observed within 30 0.25-square-meter (2.7-square-foot) quadrats (USFWS, unpublished data). Using these data, we estimated the population size at 6,546–10,593 individuals (95% confidence interval) within the 20-meter (66-foot) sampling reach. Considering the amount of occupied habitat within Martin Spring (approximately 660 meters (2,165 feet)), we extrapolated that the population size at Martin Spring exceeds 100,000 caddisflies. Both the Owen Spring Branch and Martin Spring estimates are much larger than previous estimates, which were 1,500 to 3,000 individuals at Owen Spring Branch and characterized as ‘‘very rare,’’ with only 6 individuals found at Martin Spring (Moulton and Floyd (2013, pp. 8–9)). In 2010, a single larva was collected at Clear Spring Branch during routine water quality monitoring by TDEC (Walton 2011, pers. comm.). In subsequent surveys, no individuals were observed at the Clear Spring Branch site (Moulton and Floyd 2013, p. 8; USFWS, unpublished data). It is unclear whether the larva collected in 2010 was the result of a dispersal event or of a population that occurred at very low levels, and the site is now considered unoccupied by the species. Sedimentation, beaver activity, mowing/ clearing, trampling/public access, and possibly watershed disturbance are all stressors to habitat (Factor A). All of these stressors occur at both the Owen Spring Branch and Martin Spring sites, except for beaver activity, which is only found at Owen Spring Branch. However, these stressors are largely abated by management practices that have been in place for over 3 years, such as beaver and erosion control measures currently being undertaken by TDEC and other partners. Nevertheless, our not- E:\FR\FM\08OCP1.SGM 08OCP1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 195 / Thursday, October 8, 2015 / Proposed Rules Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS warranted finding is not based on the implementation of these voluntary efforts. Finding The Sequatchie caddisfly is found at only two sites in Marion County, Tennessee. However, population sizes are now estimated to be substantially larger than previously thought, and the best available information does not indicate any evidence of declines or inbreeding depression in either of the known populations at this time. Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial information pertaining to the five factors, we find that there are no stressors of sufficient imminence, intensity, or magnitude to indicate that the Sequatchie caddisfly is in danger of extinction (an endangered species), or likely to become so within the foreseeable future (a threatened species), throughout all of its range. We consider the range of the Sequatchie caddisfly to include Martin Spring and Owen Spring in the Sequatchie Valley of Tennessee. We evaluated the current range of Sequatchie caddisfly to determine if there is any apparent geographic concentration of potential threats for this species. We examined potential threats from range curtailment, sedimentation, beaver activity, mowing/ clearing, trampling/public access, watershed disturbance, collection, disease, predation by introduced rainbow trout, the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms, and small population size effects and found no concentration that suggests that the Sequatchie caddisfly may be in danger of extinction in a portion of its range. While there is a higher level of trampling and public access at Owen Spring Branch, the best available data do not indicate that this stressor rises to the level of a threat to the species at this site, such that this portion meets the definition of an endangered or a threatened species. Furthermore, we found no other portions of the range where potential threats are significantly concentrated or substantially greater than in other portions of its range. Therefore, we find that the factors affecting Sequatchie caddisfly are essentially uniform throughout its range, indicating no portion of the range warrants further consideration of possible endangered species or threatened species status under the Act. Our review of the best available scientific and commercial information indicates that the Sequatchie caddisfly is not in danger of extinction (an endangered species) and is not likely to become an endangered species within VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:48 Oct 07, 2015 Jkt 238001 the foreseeable future (a threatened species), throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Therefore, we find that listing Sequatchie caddisfly as an endangered or a threatened species under the Act is not warranted at this time, and we are removing it from candidate status. Siskiyou Mariposa Lily (Calochortus persistens) Previous Federal Actions The Act directed the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution to prepare a report on endangered and threatened plant species, which was published as House Document No. 94–51. We published a notice in the Federal Register on July 1, 1975 (40 FR 27823), in which we announced that we would review more than 3,000 native plant species named in the Smithsonian’s report and other species added by the 1975 notice for possible addition to the List of Endangered and Threatened Plants. Siskiyou mariposa lily was one of those species. In the February 21, 1990, Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR) (55 FR 6192), we first identified the species as a category 2 candidate. However, the February 28, 1996, CNOR (61 FR 7596) discontinued recognition of category 1 and 2 species, so Siskiyou mariposa lily was no longer considered candidate species after that date. On September 10, 2001, we received a petition dated August 24, 2001, from Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, Oregon Natural Resources Council, and Barbara Knapp requesting that the Siskiyou mariposa lily be listed as an endangered species under the Act and that critical habitat be designated. In the June 13, 2002, CNOR (67 FR 40662), we once again added the species as a candidate with a listing priority number (LPN) of 2. In the May 11, 2005, CNOR, we changed the LPN to 5 (70 FR 24932). In subsequent annual CNOR publications, we maintained our determination of LPN of 5 for this species. Summary of Status Review Calochortus persistens is a perennial flowering bulb with one to two large showy, pink to lavender, erect, bellshaped flowers with yellow fringes. Calochortus persistens is restricted to three disjunct areas in the KlamathSiskiyou Mountain Range at elevations of 4,300 feet (ft) to 6,000 ft, on the California-Oregon border (GunsightHumbug Ridge and Cottonwood Peak Area, west of Yreka, Siskiyou County, California (two locations), and Bald Mountain site, west of Ashland, Jackson County, Oregon). Land ownership for PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 60845 the three sites is a combination of U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and private lands. Population numbers for the species varies by location and numbers from 5 to 100,000 plants. Past numbers of Calochortus persistens plants in each area may have been underestimated depending on survey timing. Between 1982 and 2013, numerous conservation initiatives and management plans have been developed to conserve Calochortus persistens. The most recent is the ‘‘Conservation Agreement between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management for Calochortus persistens (Siskiyou mariposa lily)’’ (Calochortus persistens Conservation Agreement) that was finalized and approved on November 19, 2013. The conservation agreement identifies completed, ongoing, and future actions to remove or reduce the stressors to C. persistens across all occupied Federal lands. The USFS and BLM have also identified Calochortus persistens as a ‘‘Sensitive Species.’’ Based on the successful track record of managing the species as provided for with the conservation initiatives, including the 2013 conservation agreement, we conclude that management of the species will provide for diverse plant communities by maintaining viable populations of plants and for conservation of the species by ensuring continued existence of viable populations that will prevent a trend towards listing under the Act. The USFS has issued management guidelines for C. persistens and has designated 1,005 acres (407 hectares) as a Special Habitat Management Area for the species. The major stressor to Calochortus persistens habitat has been competition from the nonnative plant Isatis tinctoria (dyer’s woad). Isatis tinctoria was reported to have spread throughout the Gunsight-Humbug Ridge and Cottonwood Peak occurrences to varying degrees. However, surveys have demonstrated that juvenile recruitment is evident and plants of all ages occur in each population. In 2003, the USFS initiated removal of I. tinctoria. In 2006, a second population of C. persistens was found at Cottonwood Peak consisting of more than 15,900 plants. This area does not contain any I. tinctoria. Because the existing occurrences for I. tinctoria are being managed, and some populations or occurrences within populations are not subject to the impacts from I. tinctoria, we have determined that the severity of the impacts from nonnative plants has been greatly decreased and is not resulting in significant impacts to C. E:\FR\FM\08OCP1.SGM 08OCP1 60846 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 195 / Thursday, October 8, 2015 / Proposed Rules persistens at the range wide or local population level at this time nor do we expect it to in the foreseeable future. Other stressors identified include fire and fire suppression activities, habitat disturbance activities, roads, offhighway vehicle use, grazing activities, collection, predation, low recruitment, and the species’ relatively small, disjunct distribution. In our candidate assessment, we evaluated these stressors and determined that they are not resulting in significant population-level impacts to Calochortus persistens now nor are they likely to do so into the foreseeable future. Our finding is based partly on management activities and because evidence review of the best available data does not suggest that there is a decline in the C. persistens populations at any of the three locations. Finding Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial information pertaining to the five factors, we find that the stressors acting on the species and its habitat are not of such imminence, intensity, or magnitude to indicate that Calochortus persistens is in danger of extinction (an endangered species), or likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future (a threatened species), throughout all of its range. We also found no portion of its range where the threats are significantly concentrated or substantially greater than in any other portion of its range. Therefore, we find that listing Calochortus persistens as a threatened or an endangered species or maintaining the species as a candidate is not warranted throughout all or a significant portion of its range at this time, and consequently we are removing it from candidate status. Shawnee Darter (Etheostoma tecumsehi) Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Previous Federal Action On April 20, 2010, we received, via email, a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity, Alabama Rivers Coalition, Clinch Coalition, Dogwood Alliance, Gulf Restoration Network, Tennessee Forests Council, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, Tierra Curry, and Noah Curry, requesting to list 404 aquatic, riparian, and wetland species, including the Shawnee darter, as an endangered or a threatened species and to designate critical habitat concurrent with listing. We subsequently published a notice of a 90day petition finding in the Federal Register (76 FR 59836; September 27, 2011), concluding that the petition to VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:48 Oct 07, 2015 Jkt 238001 list the Shawnee darter, among other species, presented substantial scientific or commercial evidence that listing may be warranted. Summary of Status Review The Shawnee darter occurs within the Pond River system of the Green River in parts of four western Kentucky counties (Christian, Todd, Muhlenberg, and Hopkins). The species is broadly distributed across its range, inhabiting high-gradient headwater streams with abundant sand, gravel, and cobble riffles. Color characteristics of the females and non-breeding males of this species are similar to other members of the orangethroat darter group, and the largest specimens reach over 2 inches for males and up to 1.8 inches for females Destruction and modification of habitat have been identified as potential threats to the Shawnee darter. Streams within the Pond River system have been degraded by a variety of past and current activities such as dredging, channelization, impoundment, riparian zone removal and others. Much of the stream modification in the Pond River system occurred decades ago for agricultural and flood control purposes. While these manipulations occurred in the past, the habitat and water quality impacts persist, and siltation/ sedimentation is considered a primary source of degradation within the Shawnee darter’s range. While there are numerous dams across the range of the Shawnee darter, constructed mostly for flood control in the 1960s and 1970s, only eight occur between known species occurrences. Historical and ongoing land uses (e.g., agriculture, natural resource extraction, etc.) have also affected and continue to affect stream habitats as well as water quality. Residential and agricultural land uses may result in increases in nutrients (e.g., fecal coliforms) that can be detrimental to aquatic fauna, and the Shawnee darter is often absent from streams with high nutrient levels. However, these impacts do not appear to be widespread within the species’ range. Coal mining historically occurred, to a limited extent, in the northernmost edge of the species’ range but has not reduced the species’ distribution or occurrences. While oil and gas extraction is widespread within the range, it does not appear to be causing any broad changes to stream habitat or water quality. Reviews of permitted activities (e.g., coal mining) and digital land use coverages over the years do not indicate any significant changes in land use; despite these historical and ongoing impacts, survey PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 efforts in 2007 and 2013 indicate that the Shawnee darter is maintaining its populations and remains one of the most abundant darter species in the streams where it occurs. Finding Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial information pertaining to the five factors, we find that the stressors acting on the species and its habitat are not of such imminence, intensity, or magnitude to indicate that the Shawnee darter is in danger of extinction (an endangered species), or likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future (a threatened species), throughout all of its range. We also found no portion of its range where the stressors are significantly concentrated or substantially greater than in any other portion of its range. Therefore, we find that listing the Shawnee darter as a threatened species or an endangered species throughout all or a significant portion of its range is not warranted at this time. Sleeping Ute Milkvetch (Astragalus tortipes) Previous Federal Actions Sleeping Ute milkvetch became a candidate species in the Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR) of 1996, with a listing priority number (LPN) of 11, after approximately 3 percent of the species’ range was disturbed during construction of an irrigation canal (61 FR 7596; February 28, 1996). Between 1997 and 2006, the LPN was changed various times, and ultimately returned to LPN 11, because the threats were considered non-imminent (62 FR 49398, September 19, 1997; 66 FR 54808, October 30, 2001; 71 FR 53756, September 12, 2006). We received a petition in 2004 from the Center for Biological Diversity and others to list 225 species, including Sleeping Ute milkvetch. We reported in the 2005 CNOR that the petition contained no new information regarding Sleeping Ute milkvetch, and maintained it as a candidate (60 FR 24870, May 11, 2005). The species was maintained as a candidate with LPN 11 through the 2014 CNOR (79 FR 72450, December 5, 2014). Summary of Status Review Sleeping Ute milkvetch is a perennial plant that grows only on the Smokey Hills layer of the Mancos Shale Formation on Ute Mountain Ute Tribal land in Montezuma County, Colorado. Very few formal surveys have been done for Sleeping Ute milkvetch, so we have no information on long-term population E:\FR\FM\08OCP1.SGM 08OCP1 Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 195 / Thursday, October 8, 2015 / Proposed Rules trends. However, surveys in 2000 indicated the presence of 3,744 plants at 24 locations covering 500 acres (202 hectares) within an overall range of 6,400 acres (2,590). The Tribe received a grant in 2015 that enabled them to document the current status of the species. The 2015 plant surveys and impact assessment report show that the population has increased to 14,929 individual plants that were counted, plus an additional 5,000 that were estimated to occur within the same range. We evaluated all known potential impacts to the plant, including impacts from the Towaoc Highline Canal construction, rifle range use, offhighway vehicles (OHVs), cattle grazing, and a prairie dog colony. While these impacts were previously believed to pose a threat to the species, and some may have caused losses of individual plants or habitat in the past, we received updated information from the Tribe that has improved our understanding of how these factors currently affect the species. For example, there are currently no plans for oil and gas development within the plant’s habitat. The design and operation of the canal has not opened the area to increased vehicle use and associated ground disturbance as previously anticipated; the entire length of the canal and its maintenance roads are fenced; and access points from roads are gated and locked. The presence of a rifle range has introduced OHV use and outdoor recreation that has negatively affected individual plants and habitat, but these effects have been limited to one location, while the majority of populations remain unaffected. The Tribe has taken significant steps to reduce the impact of feral livestock, removing more than 400 head of feral livestock in 2013 and 2014, leaving only around 50 head remaining. Herbivory was reported, but the effects on reproduction were not determined. Overall, current information indicates an increase in abundance from past surveys; that most stressors are speculative and any actual impacts have been at the individual, not population or species level; and that no impacts individually or cumulatively rise to the level of a threat so significant that it contributes to putting the species in danger of extinction or likely to become so in the foreseeable future. In addition, the Tribe believes that the health and existence of the species is in part due to its location on Tribal land, where all activities are controlled by the Tribe and no public access is allowed without permission. VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:48 Oct 07, 2015 Jkt 238001 Finding Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial information pertaining to the five factors, we find that the stressors acting on the species and its habitat are not of such imminence, intensity, or magnitude to indicate that Sleeping Ute milkvetch is in danger of extinction (an endangered species), or likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future (a threatened species), throughout all of its range. We also found no portion of its range where the stressors are significantly concentrated or substantially greater than in any other portion of its range. Therefore, we find that listing Sleeping Ute milkvetch as a threatened species or an endangered species is not warranted throughout all or a significant portion of its range at this time, and we have removed it from candidate status. Southern Idaho Ground Squirrel (Urocitellus Endemicus) Previous Federal Actions The southern Idaho ground squirrel was recognized as a Category 2 candidate species in the 1985 Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR) (50 FR 37958; September 18, 1985). Category 2 species were those species for which listing as an endangered species or as a threatened species was possibly appropriate, but for which biological information sufficient to support a proposed rule was lacking. However, the February 28, 1996, CNOR (61 FR 7596) discontinued recognition of category 1 and 2 species, so the southern Idaho ground squirrel was no longer considered a candidate species after that date. On January 29, 2001, we received a petition dated January 26, 2001, from Biodiversity Legal Foundation, requesting that the southern Idaho ground squirrel, at the time classified taxonomically as a subspecies, be listed as an endangered or a threatened species under the Act and that critical habitat be designated. Included in the petition was supporting information regarding the species’ taxonomy, historical and current distribution, habitat, life history, present status, and threats to the species. We acknowledged the receipt of the petition in a letter to the Biodiversity Legal Foundation, dated February 26, 2001. In that letter we also stated that due to court orders and judicially approved settlement agreements for other listing and critical habitat determinations under the Act that required nearly all of our listing and critical habitat funding for fiscal year (FY) 2001, we would not be able to PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 60847 address the petition further at that time but would complete the action in FY 2002. We also stated that an initial review of the petition did not indicate that an emergency listing was warranted. In the October 30, 2001, CNOR (66 FR 54808), we again identified the southern Idaho ground squirrel as a candidate for listing and assigned it a listing priority number (LPN) of 3, which reflects a subspecies facing threats of a high magnitude that are considered imminent. On May 4, 2004, we continued to identify the southern Idaho ground squirrel as a candidate for listing in the CNOR (69 FR 24876), but we changed the LPN to 6, which reflects a subspecies facing threats of a high magnitude that are not considered imminent. This change was the result of conservation actions that had been implemented and that had reduced the imminence of threats, along with commitments from various agencies and parties to initiate and implement conservation actions for the squirrel. We acknowledged in this CNOR that although the magnitude of threats was still high, it was trending toward a moderate-to-low range. On June 21, 2004, the U.S. District court for the District of Oregon (Center for Biological Diversity v. Norton, Civ. No. 03–1111–AA) found that our resubmitted petition findings for three species, including the southern Idaho ground squirrel, that we published as part of the CNOR on May 4, 2004 (69 FR 24876), were not sufficient because we did not provide adequate information to support our warranted but precluded determinations. The court ordered that we publish updated findings. On December 27, 2004, in response to the court’s order, we published a 12-month finding (69 FR 77167) on resubmitted petitions to list the three species. In response to ongoing conservation actions, we also changed the LPN to 9, which reflects a subspecies facing threats of a moderate to low magnitude that are considered imminent. On November 22, 2013, we continued to identify the southern Idaho ground squirrel as a candidate for listing in the CNOR (78 FR 70104), but changed the LPN to 8 to reflect a change in taxonomy from subspecies to species. The most recent CNOR dated December 5, 2014 (79 FR 72450), continued to reflect the species’ status as a candidate species with an LPN of 8. Summary of Status Review The southern Idaho ground squirrel is endemic to four counties in southwest Idaho; its total known range is E:\FR\FM\08OCP1.SGM 08OCP1 Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 60848 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 195 / Thursday, October 8, 2015 / Proposed Rules approximately 718,318 acres (290,693 hectares). Threats to southern Idaho ground squirrels identified in the January 26, 2001, listing petition include: Habitat degradation from invasive exotic annual vegetation and future loss of habitat from urban development; direct killing from shooting, trapping, or poisoning; competition with Columbian ground squirrels; inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and low population numbers. Habitat across the range of the southern Idaho ground squirrel is degraded from nonnative vegetation, primarily by nonnative annuals such as Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass) and Taeniatherum caput-medusae (medusahead). Nonnative annuals provide inconsistent forage quality for southern Idaho ground squirrels compared to native vegetation. Although their habitat is degraded, squirrels have been at a peak in their population cycle for the past several years and are well distributed throughout most of their historical range, which has led to an increase in gene flow among populations. Additionally, based on a Geographic Information Systems analysis, we found that the fire-return interval of 80 years has not changed and falls within the range of historical levels. The 2001 listing petition cited rapid urban development as a threat to southern Idaho ground squirrels; however, very little urban development has occurred in the range of the squirrel in the past 14 years. Although urban development will likely occur in the future, we are not aware of any largescale development plans at this time. Recreational shooting and other direct killing of southern Idaho ground squirrels is being regulated and monitored. Authorized control actions and trapping/translocation efforts in areas where local abundance is high results in a temporary decrease of the local population, but not the extermination of the population. Competition with Columbian ground squirrels does not result in a substantial impact to the species due to limited overlap in their distributions. Climate change models predict increased temperatures that could have both positive and possibly negative effects on squirrels, and we do not have enough information at this time to determine what the actual impact, if any, will be on this species, although we note there is evidence that southern Idaho ground squirrels may be phenotypically plastic, similar to other species, which should enable them to adapt more readily to a VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:48 Oct 07, 2015 Jkt 238001 changing climate through changes such as earlier emergence from their burrows. A programmatic Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) was completed for this species in 2005 and contains conservation measures that minimize ground-disturbing activities, allow for the investigation of methods to restore currently degraded habitat, provide for additional protection to southern Idaho ground squirrels from recreational shooting and other direct killing on enrolled lands, and allow for the translocation of squirrels to or from enrolled lands, if necessary. The acreage enrolled through the programmatic CCAA encompasses approximately 9 percent of the known range of the species. A more recent CCAA is expected to be completed by the fall of 2015. Therefore, despite changes in habitat conditions and localized stressors (agricultural control, competition), squirrels continue to persist throughout the majority of their historical range and populations appear stable. Although we recognize that current conditions do not provide ideal habitat for the species, we anticipate that southern Idaho ground squirrels will continue to demonstrate resilience and persist in these degraded habitat conditions in the future. Finding Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial information pertaining to the five factors, we find that the stressors acting on the species and its habitat are not of such imminence, intensity, or magnitude to indicate that the southern Idaho ground squirrel is in danger of extinction (an endangered species), or likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future (a threatened species), throughout all of its range. We also found no portion of its range where the stressors are significantly concentrated or substantially greater than in any other portion of its range. Therefore, we find that listing the southern Idaho ground squirrel as a threatened species or an endangered species is not warranted throughout all or a significant portion of its range at this time, and we have removed it from candidate status. Tahoe Yellow Cress (Rorippa Subumbellata) Previous Federal Actions The Act directed the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution to prepare a report on endangered and threatened plant species, which was published as House Document No. 94–51. We published a notice in the Federal PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Register on July 1, 1975 (40 FR 27823), in which we announced that we would review more than 3,000 native plant species named in the Smithsonian’s report and other species added by the 1975 notice for possible addition to the List of Endangered and Threatened Plants. Tahoe yellow cress was one of those species. In the September 27, 1985, Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR) (50 FR 39526; supplementary information page 18), Tahoe yellow cress was added to the candidate list as a category 3C species. Category 3C species were those species that were proven to be more abundant or widespread than previously believed or those that are not subject to identifiable threats. In the September 30, 1993, CNOR (58 FR 51184), we changed the candidate status to category 1: Category 2 species were those species for which listing as endangered or threatened species was possibly appropriate, but for which biological information sufficient to support a proposed rule was lacking In the February 28, 1996, CNOR (61 FR 7612), we no longer recognized category 1 and 2 species as candidates and, therefore, most of those species, including Tahoe yellow cress, were removed from candidate status. On December 27, 2000, we received a petition from the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity requesting the Tahoe yellow cress be listed as an endangered species with critical habitat. On December 27, 2004 (69 FR 77167), we published a notice of resubmitted petition findings including the Tahoe yellow cress. In that document, we announced the change of LPN from 2 to 8. In subsequent annual CNOR publications, we maintained our determination of LPN of 8 for this species. Summary of Status Review Tahoe yellow cress is a member of the mustard family (Brassicaceae) known only from the shores of Lake Tahoe in California and Nevada. The species is a low-growing, herbaceous perennial with yellow flowers. Flowering and fruiting occurs between late May and late October. Tahoe yellow cress is well adapted to its dynamic shorezone environment and is capable of recolonizing sites after periods of inundation. This ability is evident by the demonstrated natural fluctuations in the number of Tahoe yellow cress that coincide with lake elevation and available habitat. Since 2001, the population numbers (number of stems) have ranged from a low of approximately 4,500 stems in 2006 (high lake level year (1,898-meter (m) elevation)) to more than 30,000 stems in E:\FR\FM\08OCP1.SGM 08OCP1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 195 / Thursday, October 8, 2015 / Proposed Rules Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 2014 (low lake level (1,897 m)). At this time, the most significant stressor to Tahoe yellow cress and its habitat is recreational activities on public beaches and adjacent habitat around the shore of Lake Tahoe; however, impacts from this stressor are being addressed by ongoing management actions that include fencing, signage, and adherence to beach-raking guidelines on public lands. Beach raking on private lands remains a concern, because guidelines are voluntary and cannot be enforced. However, this stressor is not of such magnitude as to present a populationlevel risk to the species. Impacts from shorezone development are being effectively managed by ongoing and effective implementation of applicable shorezone ordinances. Since 1999, the Adaptive Management Working Group has developed and implemented conservation actions for Tahoe yellow cress. A conservation strategy coupled with a memorandum of understanding/ conservation agreement (MOU/CA) between numerous Federal, State, and local agencies and environmental organizations has been implemented to address the stressor to Tahoe yellow cress. The MOU/CA was again signed in 2013 for a period of 10 years, and an updated conservation strategy is expected in 2015. An annual monitoring plan is in place, and propagation, transplanting, and translocation strategies have been examined and successfully initiated. Based on the successful track record of numerous parties implementing these conservation actions together, we conclude that ongoing implementation of those actions is managing and avoiding or mitigating identified impacts. Finding Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial information pertaining to the five factors, we find that the stressors acting on the species and its habitat are not of sufficient imminence, intensity, or magnitude to indicate that Tahoe yellow cress is in danger of extinction (an endangered species), or likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future (a threatened species), throughout all of its range. Because the distribution of the species is limited to the shoreline areas of Lake Tahoe and stressors are similar throughout the species’ range, we found no concentration of stressors that suggests that Tahoe yellow cress may be in danger of extinction in any portion of its range. Therefore, we find that listing Tahoe yellow cress as a threatened species or as an endangered species throughout all of or a significant VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:48 Oct 07, 2015 Jkt 238001 portion of its range is not warranted at this time, and consequently we are removing it from candidate status. 6 Tennessee Cave Beetles: Baker Station (=Insular) Cave Beetle (Pseudanophthalmus Insularis); Coleman Cave Beetle (Pseudanophthalmus Colemanensis); Fowler’s Cave Beetle (Pseudanophthalmus Fowlerae); Indian Grave Point (=Soothsayer) Cave Beetle (Pseudanophthalmus Tiresias); Inquirer Cave Beetle (Pseudanophthalmus Inquisitor); and Noblett’s Cave Beetle (Pseudanophthalmus Paulus) Previous Federal Actions The Service provided notification letters of status review for the Noblett’s Cave beetle on June 22, 1990, and for the Fowler’s Cave beetle, inquirer cave beetle, Baker Station Cave beetle, Noblett’s Cave beetle, and Indian Grave Point Cave beetle on November 8, 1993. These letters were provided to species experts, representatives of resource agencies, and other interested parties to request information and comments regarding potential listing of the species as endangered species or threatened species. Fowler’s Cave beetle, inquirer cave beetle, Baker Station Cave beetle, Noblett’s Cave beetle, and Indian Grave Point Cave beetle were added to the Federal list of candidate species in the 1991 Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR) (56 FR 58804) as category 2 species. Category 2 species were those species for which listing as an endangered species or a threatened species was possibly appropriate, but for which biological information sufficient to support a proposed rule was lacking. The category 2 status of these five species was confirmed in 1994 (59 FR 58982). However, the February 28, 1996, CNOR (61 FR 7596) discontinued recognition of category 1 and 2 species, so the Fowler’s Cave beetle, inquirer cave beetle, Baker Station Cave beetle, Noblett’s Cave beetle, and Indian Grave Point Cave beetle were no longer considered candidate species after that date. The Service received a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity and others, dated May 4, 2004, to list as endangered species, 225 species, including the inquirer cave beetle, and to designate critical habitat for the species. The Service received another petition on May 11, 2004, to list eight cave beetles, including the inquirer cave beetle. The Service had already determined, in the October 30, 2001, CNOR that the inquirer cave beetle was a candidate for listing (66 FR 54808), PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 60849 and therefore, we did not need to issue a new 90-day or 12-month finding in response to the petition. The Coleman Cave beetle, Fowler’s Cave beetle, Baker Station Cave beetle, Indian Grave Point Cave beetle, and Noblett’s Cave beetle became candidates for listing in the May 4, 2004, CNOR (69 FR 24876). On April 20, 2010, the Center for Biological Diversity and others petitioned the Service to list as threatened or endangered 404 species, including the Coleman Cave beetle, and to designate critical habitat for those species. Because this species was already a candidate for listing, we were not required to issue a new 90-day or 12-month finding in response to the petition. Each of the six species addressed in this finding has been included by the Service in every CNOR since the petitions were received in 2004, as species for which listing is warranted but precluded by higher priority listing actions. The 2011 Multi-District Litigation (MDL) settlement agreement specified that the Service will systematically, over a period of 6 years, review and address the needs of 251 candidate species to determine if they should be added to the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. The six beetle species included in this finding were on that list of candidate species. This finding completes the Service’s requirements under the MDL agreement with respect to these six beetle species. Summary of Status Review The six species are small (3 to 8 millimeters in length) predatory cave beetles that occupy moist habitats containing organic matter transported from sources outside the inhabited caves. Members of the Pseudanophthalmus genus vary in rarity from fairly widespread species that are found in many caves, to species that are extremely rare and commonly restricted to only one cave or, at most, two or three caves. The six beetles addressed by this finding are found entirely within Tennessee, and two of the species (i.e., inquirer cave beetle and Noblett’s Cave beetle) are currently known from only one cave. Fowler’s Cave beetle and Indian Grave Point Cave beetle are known to occur in two caves; Baker Station Cave beetle has been documented from three caves; and the Coleman Cave beetle is known from four caves and a possible fifth. Surveys conducted during a status update for the six cave beetles during the period 2013– 2015 resulted in findings of three of the beetles that had not been seen in decades (i.e., Fowler’s Cave beetle, E:\FR\FM\08OCP1.SGM 08OCP1 60850 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 195 / Thursday, October 8, 2015 / Proposed Rules Lhorne on DSK5TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Baker Station Cave beetle, and Noblett’s Cave beetle). Although usually zero to three individuals of any of the six species are found during most surveys, 97 Coleman Cave beetles were also found during a 2013 site visit. Various populations of the six cave beetles were historically believed to have been subjected to stressors such as water quality impacts associated with a landfill, erosion due to construction, livestock operations, various aspects of human visitation of caves, and possible impacts to cave food webs resulting from interruption of organic energy inputs. The greatest potential stressors to the beetles appear recently to have been human trampling of beetles and their habitats, curtailing the input of organic materials to caves, excavation of cave habitats, and predation. However, actual impacts from these potential sources appear to be minimal. We have no information indicating that these stressors are adversely affecting the species at this time, either individually or cumulatively, at a level that warrants their listing under the Act. Abatement of stressors has been initiated for the Coleman Cave beetle, Fowler’s Cave beetle, and inquirer cave beetle through development of cooperative management agreements (CMAs) with private landowners and coordination between State property managers, nongovernmental organizations, and the Service. Implementation of CMAs is likely resulting in reduction of the impacts of potential stressors to these three beetles. However, our not-warranted finding is not based on the implementation of these voluntary efforts. For the Baker Station Cave beetle, Indian Grave Point Cave beetle, and Noblett’s Cave beetle, the stressors appear minimal. There has been a perception since the 1960s that population trends of the six beetles could possibly be decreasing, but that perception is likely due in part to the low level of survey effort expended for these species and difficulty in collecting them. The recent evidence of continued persistence of these species, in conjunction with the lack of evidence that stressors are negatively affecting these cave beetles, lead us to conclude that these species are more stable than previously thought. Finding Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial information pertaining to the five factors, we find that the stressors acting on the species and its habitat are not of sufficient imminence, intensity, or magnitude to conclude that the Coleman Cave beetle, Fowler’s Cave beetle, VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:48 Oct 07, 2015 Jkt 238001 inquirer cave beetle, Baker Station Cave beetle, Indian Grave Point Cave beetle, or Noblett’s Cave beetle are in danger of extinction (endangered species), or likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future (threatened species), throughout all of their respective ranges. We evaluated the current range of the six beetles to determine if there is any apparent geographic concentration of stressors for any of the species. The six beetles have relatively small ranges that are limited to the local cave systems where they are currently found. We examined potential stressors including human visitation, livestock grazing, commercial and residential development, disease, predation, and sources of water quality impairment. We found no concentration of stressors that suggests that any of these six species of cave beetles may be in danger of extinction in a portion of their respective ranges. Therefore, we find that listing the Coleman Cave beetle, Fowler’s Cave beetle, inquirer cave beetle, Baker Station Cave beetle, Indian Grave Point Cave beetle, or Noblett’s Cave beetle as threatened species or endangered species throughout all or a significant portion of their respective ranges is not warranted at this time, and consequently we are removing Coleman Cave beetle, Fowler’s Cave beetle, inquirer cave beetle, Baker Station Cave beetle, Indian Grave Point Cave beetle, and Noblett’s Cave beetle from candidate status. New Information We request that you submit any new information concerning the status of, or stressors to, the American eel, Cumberland arrow darter, the Great Basin distinct population segment of the Columbia spotted frog, Goose Creek milkvetch, Nevares spring bug, Page springsnail, Ramshaw meadows sandverbena, Sequatchie caddisfly, Shawnee darter, Siskiyou mariposa lily, Sleeping ute milkvetch, Southern Idaho ground squirrel, Tahoe yellow cress, and six Tennessee cave beetles (Baker Station, Coleman, Fowler’s, Indian Grave Point, inquirer, and Noblett’s cave beetles) to the appropriate person, as specified under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, whenever it becomes available. New information will help us monitor these species and encourage their conservation. If an emergency situation develops for any of these species, we will act to provide immediate protection. References Cited Lists of the references cited in the petition findings are available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 and upon request from the appropriate person, as specified under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Author(s) The primary author(s) of this notice are the staff members of the Branch of Listing, Ecological Services Program. Authority The authority for this section is section 4 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Dated: September 23, 2015. Gary Frazer, Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. 2015–25058 Filed 10–7–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17 [Docket No. FWS–R1–ES–2014–0045; FXES11130900000C6–156–FF09E42000] RIN 1018–BA30 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Reclassifying the Columbian White-Tailed Deer From Endangered to Threatened With a Rule Under Section 4(d) of the Act Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: Under the authority of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to reclassify the Columbia River distinct population segment (DPS) of Columbian white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus leucurus) from endangered to threatened, and we propose a rule under section 4(d) of the Act to enhance conservation of the species through range expansion and management flexibility. This proposal is based on a thorough review of the best available scientific data, which indicate that the species’ status has improved such that it is not currently in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. We seek information, data, and comments from the public regarding the Columbian white-tailed deer and this proposal. DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before December 7, 2015. Please note that if you are using the Federal eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES), the deadline for SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\08OCP1.SGM 08OCP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 195 (Thursday, October 8, 2015)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 60834-60850]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-25058]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-HQ-ES-2015-0143; 4500030113]


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Findings 
on Petitions To List 19 Species as Endangered or Threatened Species

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of 12-month petition findings.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service, FWS, or 
USFWS), announce 12-month findings on petitions to list 19 species as 
endangered species or threatened species under the Endangered Species 
Act of 1973, as amended (Act). After review of the best available 
scientific and commercial information, we find that listing the 
American eel, Cumberland arrow darter, the Great Basin distinct 
population segment (DPS) of the Columbia spotted frog, Goose Creek 
milkvetch, Nevares spring bug, Page springsnail, Ramshaw meadows sand-
verbena, Sequatchie caddisfly, Shawnee darter, Siskiyou mariposa lily, 
Sleeping ute milkvetch, Southern Idaho ground squirrel, Tahoe yellow 
cress, and six Tennessee cave beetles (Baker Station, Coleman, 
Fowler's, Indian Grave Point, inquirer, and Noblett's cave beetles) is 
not warranted at this time. However, we ask the public to submit to us 
any new information that becomes available concerning the threats to 
any of the 19 species listed above or their habitat at any time.

DATES: The findings announced in this document were made on October 8, 
2015.

ADDRESSES: These findings are available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket Number

[[Page 60835]]

FWS-HQ-ES-2015-0143. Supporting information used in preparing these 
findings is available for public inspection, by appointment, during 
normal business hours by contacting the appropriate person as specified 
under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Please submit any new 
information, materials, comments, or questions concerning these 
findings to the appropriate person, as specified under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Species                        Contact information
------------------------------------------------------------------------
American eel...........................  Northeast Regional Office,
                                          Endangered Species Program,
                                          413-253-8615.
Cumberland arrow darter................  Kentucky Ecological Services
                                          Field Office, 502-695-0468.
Great Basin DPS of the Columbia spotted  Nevada Fish and Wildlife
 frog.                                    Office, 775-861-6300.
Goose Creek milkvetch..................  Utah Ecological Services Field
                                          Office, 801-975-3330.
Nevares spring naucorid bug............  Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife
                                          Office, 760-431-9440.
Page springsnail.......................  Arizona Ecological Services
                                          Field Office, 602-242-0210.
Ramshaw meadows sand-verbena...........  Sacramento Fish and Wildlife
                                          Office, 916-414-6700.
Sequatchie caddisfly...................  Tennessee Ecological Services
                                          Field Office, 931-528-6481.
Shawnee darter.........................  Kentucky Ecological Services
                                          Field Office, 502-695-0468.
Siskiyou mariposa lily.................  Yreka Fish and Wildlife Office,
                                          530-842-5763.
Sleeping ute milkvetch.................  Western Colorado Ecological
                                          Services Field Office, 970-628-
                                          7184.
Southern Idaho ground squirrel.........  Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office,
                                          208-378-5265.
Tahoe yellow cress.....................  Nevada Fish and Wildlife
                                          Office, 775-861-6300.
Tennessee cave beetles (Baker Station,   Tennessee Ecological Services
 Coleman, Fowler's, Indian Grave Point,   Field Office, 931-528-6481.
 inquirer, and Noblett's cave beetles).
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), please 
call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) requires that, for 
any petition to revise the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife and Plants that contains substantial scientific or commercial 
information indicating that listing an animal or plant species may be 
warranted, we make a finding within 12 months of the date of receipt of 
the petition. In this finding, we determine whether the petitioned 
actions regarding the American eel, Cumberland arrow darter, the Great 
Basin distinct population segment (DPS) of the Columbia spotted frog, 
Goose Creek milkvetch, Nevares spring bug, Page springsnail, Ramshaw 
meadows sand-verbena, Sequatchie caddisfly, Shawnee darter, Siskiyou 
mariposa lily, Sleeping ute milkvetch, Southern Idaho ground squirrel, 
Tahoe yellow cress, and six Tennessee cave beetles (Baker Station, 
Coleman, Fowler's, Indian Grave Point, inquirer, and Noblett's cave 
beetles) are: (1) Not warranted, (2) warranted, or (3) warranted, but 
the immediate proposal of a regulation implementing the petitioned 
action is precluded by other pending proposals to determine whether 
species are endangered or threatened species, and expeditious progress 
is being made to add or remove qualified species from the Federal Lists 
of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants (warranted but 
precluded). Section 4(b)(3)(C) of the Act requires that we treat a 
petition for which the requested action is found to be warranted but 
precluded as though resubmitted on the date of such finding, that is, 
requiring a subsequent finding to be made within 12 months. We must 
publish these 12-month findings in the Federal Register.

Summary of Information Pertaining to the Five Factors

    Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and the implementing 
regulations in part 424 of title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations 
(50 CFR part 424) set forth procedures for adding species to, removing 
species from, or reclassifying species on the Federal Lists of 
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Under section 4(a)(1) of 
the Act, a species may be determined to be an endangered species or a 
threatened species based on any of the following five factors:
    (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of its habitat or range;
    (B) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes;
    (C) Disease or predation;
    (D) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or
    (E) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued 
existence.
    We summarize below the information on which we based our evaluation 
of the five factors provided in section 4(a)(1) of the Act in 
determining whether the American eel, Cumberland arrow darter, the 
Great Basin DPS of the Columbia spotted frog, Goose Creek milkvetch, 
Nevares spring bug, Page springsnail, Ramshaw meadows sand-verbena, 
Sequatchie caddisfly, Shawnee darter, Siskiyou mariposa lily, Sleeping 
ute milkvetch, Southern Idaho ground squirrel, Tahoe yellow cress, and 
six Tennessee cave beetles (Baker Station, Coleman, Fowler's, Indian 
Grave Point, inquirer, and Noblett's cave beetles) are threatened 
species or endangered species. More detailed information about these 
species is presented in the species-specific assessment forms found on 
www.regulations.gov. In considering what factors might constitute 
threats, we must look beyond the mere exposure of the species to the 
factor to determine whether the species responds to the factor in a way 
that causes actual impacts to the species. If there is exposure to a 
factor, but no response, or only a positive response, that factor is 
not a threat. If there is exposure and the species responds negatively, 
the factor may be a threat. In that case, we determine if that factor 
rises to the level of a threat, meaning that it may drive or contribute 
to the risk of extinction of the species such that the species warrants 
listing as an endangered or threatened species as those terms are 
defined by the Act. This does not necessarily require empirical proof 
of a threat. The combination of exposure and some corroborating 
evidence of how the species is likely affected could suffice. The mere 
identification of factors that could affect a species negatively is not 
sufficient to compel a finding that listing is appropriate; we require 
evidence that these factors are operative threats that act on the 
species to the point that the species meets the definition of an 
endangered species or a threatened species under the Act.
    In making our 12-month findings, we considered and evaluated the 
best

[[Page 60836]]

available scientific and commercial information.

American Eel (Anguilla rostrata)

Previous Federal Actions

    For a complete petition history for the American eel prior to 
September 2011, see the Previous Federal Action section of our 
September 29, 2011, 90-day substantial petition finding. Publication of 
the 90-day finding in the Federal Register (September 29, 2011; 76 FR 
60431) opened a period to solicit new information that was not 
previously available or was not considered at the time of our previous 
2007 status review and not-warranted 12-month finding (February 2, 
2007; 72 FR 4967), and initiated a new status review.
    On December 23, 2011, the petitioner (Center for Environmental 
Science Accuracy and Reliability (CESAR), formerly known as the Council 
for Endangered Species Act Reliability) filed a Notice of Intent to sue 
the Service for failure to publish a finding within 12 months of 
receiving the April 30, 2010, petition. On August 7, 2012, CESAR filed 
a complaint with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia 
for the Service's failure to meet the petition's statutory timeline. On 
April 24, 2013, the Service entered into a court-approved settlement 
agreement with CESAR stipulating that the Service would complete a 
status review of American eel and deliver a 12-month finding to the 
Federal Register on or before September 30, 2015 (Stipulated Settlement 
Agreement, Center for Envt'l Science Accuracy and Reliability v. 
Salazar, et al. (D.D.C., Case No. 1:12-cv-01311-EGS), Doc. 18, filed 
April 24, 2013.).
    To ensure the status review was based on the best scientific and 
commercial information available, the Service, in November 2013 through 
January 2014, requested any new or updated American eel information 
since the 2007 status review. The requests were sent to State and 
Federal agencies, Native American tribes, nongovernmental agencies, and 
other interested parties. In addition to any new or updated 
information, the requests specifically sought information related to 
panmixia, glass eel recruitment, climate change, oceanographic 
conditions, and eel abundance at fishways. See the lists of references 
reviewed and cited for a list of agencies, organizations, and parties 
from which we received information; these reference lists are available 
at http://www.regulations.gov and at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/newsroom/eels.html.

Summary of Status Review

    In making our 12-month finding on the petition, we consider and 
evaluate the best available scientific and commercial information. This 
evaluation includes information from all sources, including State, 
Federal, tribal, academic, and private entities and the public. 
However, because we have a robust history with the American eel and 
completed a thorough status review for the species in 2007, we are 
incorporating by reference the February 7, 2007, 12-month finding (72 
FR 4967) and using its information as a baseline for our 2015 status 
review and 12-month petition finding.
    A supporting document entitled, American Eel Biological Species 
Report (Report) provides a summary of the current (post 2007) 
literature and information regarding the American eel's distribution, 
habitat requirements, life-history, and stressors. The Report is 
available as a Supplemental Document at http://www.fws.gov/northeast/newsroom/eels.html. We describe in the Report or in our 12-month 
finding document any substantive changes that we identified in the data 
used in the February 7, 2007, 12-month finding or in conclusions drawn 
from that data, based upon our review of the best available scientific 
and commercial information since 2007.
    American eel are a facultative catadromous fish species, meaning 
they commonly use brackish estuaries or near-shore marine habitats, in 
addition to the freshwater habitats. After mature eels spawn in the 
Sargasso Sea, the eggs hatch into ``leptocephali,'' a larval stage that 
lasts for about 1 year. Leptocephali are transported by ocean currents 
from the Sargasso Sea to the Atlantic coast of North America, the 
Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, Central America and northern portions of 
South America. Leptocephali metamorphose into ``glass eels'' while at 
sea and then actively swim across the continental shelf to coastal 
waters. Glass eels transform into small pigmented juvenile eels, 
commonly called ``elvers,'' after taking up residence in marine, 
estuarine, or freshwater rearing habitats in coastal waters. As they 
grow, the larger juvenile eels are known as ``yellow eels.'' American 
eels begin sexual differentiation at a length of about 20 to 25 
centimeters (7.9 to 9.8 inches), well in advance of maturation as a 
``silver eel.'' Upon nearing sexual maturity, silver eels begin 
migration toward the Sargasso Sea, completing sexual maturation en 
route. In the United States, the American eel is found in fresh, 
estuarine, and marine waters in 36 States. The upstream extent of eel 
distribution in freshwater is limited by impassable dams and natural 
barriers. American eel are ubiquitous in many continental aquatic 
habitats including marine habitats, estuaries, lakes, ponds, small 
streams, and large rivers to the headwaters. They may be locally 
abundant to the extent that they sometimes constitute a large 
proportion of the total fish biomass in many watersheds.
    The 2007 Status Review and the 2015 Report reviewed a number of 
stressors (natural or human induced negative pressures affecting 
individuals or subpopulations of a species) on the American eel, 
including the effects of climate change; parasites; habitat loss in 
estuaries, lakes, and rivers; migratory effects from hydroelectric 
projects; recreational and commercial harvests; and contaminants.
    In terms of climate change, North Atlantic Ocean temperatures may 
continue to rise as a result of climate change, but a great deal of 
uncertainty remains regarding changes in physical oceanographic 
processes and how, or to what extent, those processes will affect eel 
migration, aggregation for reproduction, and ultimately abundance. The 
species report discusses in detail the complex subject of climate 
change and its foreseeable effects on the species. Based on our review 
of the best available scientific and commercial information, we 
conclude that climate change, based on its reasonably foreseeable 
effects, is not a threat to the American eel that puts it in danger of 
extinction or likely to become so in the foreseeable future, nor is it 
reasonably foreseeable that it would become such a threat in the 
future.
    As for parasites, despite the spread of Anguillicoloides crassus 
and increasing mean infection rates over time, there is no direct 
evidence to support a conclusion that the parasite causes significant 
American eel mortality. Nor is there direct evidence to support or 
refute the hypotheses that A. crassus impairs the silvering process, 
prevents American eels from completing their spawning migration to the 
Sargasso Sea, or impairs spawning.
    With regard to habitat loss, American eel have been extirpated from 
some portions of their historical range, mostly as a result of large 
hydroelectric and water storage dams built since the early twentieth 
century. Although dams have extirpated eels from some large rivers and 
certain headwaters, the species remains widely distributed over the 
majority of its historical range. We consider habitat loss from 
barriers to be a historical effect, and any population-

[[Page 60837]]

level effects likely have already been realized. The extensive range of 
American eel provides multiple freshwater and estuarine areas that 
support the species' life stages and thus buffer the species as a whole 
from stressors affecting individuals or smaller populations in any one 
area. Currently, ocean habitats and the full range of continental 
habitats (estuaries, lakes, and rivers) remain available and occupied 
by the American eel. Some American eels complete their life cycle 
without ever entering freshwater. Highly fecund females continue to be 
present in extensive areas of freshwater (lacustrine and riverine), 
estuarine, and marine habitats; males also continue to be present in 
these habitats. Recruitment of glass eels continues to occur in these 
habitats with no evidence of continuing reduction in glass eel 
recruitment. For these reasons, we conclude that the available 
freshwater, estuarine, and marine habitats are sufficient to sustain 
the American eel population.
    With regard to migratory effects from hydroelectric projects, 
hydroelectric dams are obstacles that may delay the downstream 
migration of silver eels that mature in riverine habitats, and 
hydroelectric turbines can cause mortality or injury (eels that mature 
and migrate from estuary or marine habitats downstream are not affected 
by hydroelectric dams). The effects of turbine injury, including 
delayed mortality and possible impaired reproduction and increased 
predation risk, are poorly understood in the American eel. The best 
scientific and commercial information available indicates that 
mortality from hydroelectric turbines can cause significant mortality 
to downstream-migrating silver eels. The installation of effective 
downstream passage measures (i.e., bypasses or night spillage) through 
the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission relicensing process has 
reduced, and continues to reduce this mortality.
    In terms of recreational and commercial harvest, we continue to 
acknowledge that sometimes large numbers of individual American eel are 
recreationally or commercially harvested for food, bait, or 
aquaculture, but we conclude that harvest and trade are not threats to 
the American eel. The species is highly resilient, and remains a widely 
distributed fish species with a relatively stable population despite 
the levels of historical habitat loss and historical and current 
commercial and recreational harvest. That harvest is being managed and 
monitored via existing harvest quotas, licenses, and reporting 
requirements to ensure the species' conservation.
    In addition, contaminants may affect early life stages of the 
American eel, but without specific information, we remain cautious in 
extrapolation of laboratory studies to rangewide population-level 
effects (e.g., there are no studies showing reduced recruitment of 
glass eels in the wild, which would be an indicator of decreased 
outmigration, or decreased egg or leptocephali survival). A correlation 
between the contamination of the upper Saint Lawrence River/Lake 
Ontario watershed and the timing of the 1980s decline of American eel 
in the upper Saint Lawrence River/Lake Ontario watershed is not 
evident.
    Lastly, there are no individual stressors that rise to the level of 
a threat to the American eel. Some stressors can have cumulative 
effects and result in increased mortality. For example, the Report 
discusses known cumulative and synergistic interactions of various 
contaminants and known cumulative effects of increased predation and 
mortality at or below dams that block eel migration. While some 
individual American eels may be exposed to increased levels of 
mortality as a result of these contaminant or predation cumulative 
effects, we have no indication that the species is, or will be, 
significantly affected at a population level. Therefore, we conclude 
that there are no cumulative stressors that are a threat to the 
American eel now, or that will become a threat in the foreseeable 
future.
    The best available information indicates that, American eel are a 
single panmictic population that lacks distinct population structure, 
breeds in the Sargasso Sea, and shares a single common gene pool. 
Panmixia is central to evaluating stressors to the American eel since, 
in order for any stressor to rise to the level of a threat (natural or 
human-induced pressure affecting a species as a whole), it must act 
upon a large portion of the population at some life-history focal 
point, or the stressor must be present throughout a large part of the 
species' range. And the stressor must elicit a response that results in 
significant mortality, impaired reproduction, or juvenile recruitment 
failure.
    Several lines of evidence indicate that the American eel population 
is not subject to threats that would imperil its continued existence. 
Despite historical habitat losses and a population reduction over the 
past century, American eels remain widely distributed throughout a 
large part of their historical range. Glass eels are recruited to North 
American rivers in large numbers. Elvers are also present in large 
numbers well inland on some east coast river systems--for example, more 
than 820,000 eels passed through a new fishway at the Roanoke Rapids 
Dam, located 137 miles inland on the Roanoke River in 2013, the fourth 
year of operation. American eels are plastic in their behavior and 
adaptability, inhabiting a wide range of freshwater, estuarine, and 
marine habitats over an exceptionally broad geographic range. Because 
of the species' panmixia, areas that have experienced depletion or 
extirpation may experience a ``rescue effect'' allowing for continued 
or renewed occupation of available areas. Trends in abundance over 
recent decades vary among locations and life stages, showing decreases 
in some areas, and increases or no trends in other areas. Limited 
records of glass eel recruitment do not show trends that would signal 
recent declines in annual reproductive success or the effect of new or 
increased stressors. Taken as a whole, a clear trend cannot be detected 
in species-wide abundance during recent decades, and, while 
acknowledging that there have been large declines in abundance from 
historical times, the species currently appears to be depleted but 
stable. While some eel habitat has been permanently lost and access to 
freshwater habitats is impaired by dams that lack upstream fish 
passage, access to freshwater habitat has improved, and continues to 
improve, in other areas through new or improved eel ladders and removal 
of barriers. Despite the loss of some freshwater habitat, the American 
eel population appears to be stable based on young-of-the-year indices 
and estimates of spawner abundance. In addition, since 2007, newer 
information indicates that some American eel complete their life cycle 
in estuarine and marine waters.

Finding

    Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial 
information pertaining to the five factors, we find that the stressors 
are not of sufficient imminence, intensity, or magnitude to indicate 
that the American eel is in danger of extinction (an endangered 
species), or likely to become an endangered species within the 
foreseeable future (a threatened species), throughout all of its range.
    There are no threats currently affecting the American eel 
throughout the species' range. There are several stressors that cause 
individual mortality, including recreational and commercial harvest 
(Factor B),

[[Page 60838]]

predation (Factor C), and hydroelectric turbines (Factor E), but none 
that affect a portion of the species' range more than another. In 
addition, there are no portions of the species' range that are 
considered significant given the species' panmictic life-history. 
Therefore, we find that no portion of the American eel's range warrants 
further consideration of possible endangered or threatened status under 
the Act, and we find that listing the American eel as a threatened or 
endangered species throughout all or a significant portion of its range 
is not warranted at this time.

Cumberland Arrow Darter (Etheostoma sagitta)

Previous Federal Actions

    The Cumberland arrow darter was first identified as a candidate for 
protection under the Act through our internal process in the Candidate 
Notice of Review published in the November 21, 2012, Federal Register 
(77 FR 69994); the subspecies was identified at the time as E. sagitta 
sagitta. Threats to the subspecies identified at that time were water 
pollution from surface coal mining and gas exploration activities; 
removal of riparian vegetation; stream channelization; increased 
siltation associated with poor mining, logging, and agricultural 
practices; and deforestation of watersheds. It was assigned a listing 
priority number (LPN) of 9. On November 22, 2013 (78 FR 70104), the LPN 
was changed to 8 due to morphological and genetic analysis resulting in 
the recognition of Cumberland arrow darter as a species (E. sagitta) as 
opposed to a subspecies, which it remained until evaluation for listing 
this year.

Summary of Status Review

    The following summary is based on information in our files. From 
2010 to 2012, the Service and its partners (Kentucky Department of Fish 
and Wildlife Resources (KDFWR), Kentucky State Nature Preserve 
Commission (KSNPC), and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA)) 
completed a range-wide status assessment for the Cumberland arrow 
darter (USFWS 2012, pp. 1-2). We first generated a list of historical 
(pre-2000) records through review of agency databases (KDFWR, KSNPC, 
and TWRA), museum records (University of Tennessee), and published 
literature. From 2010 through 2012, surveys were completed at 187 of 
202 historical sites and in 124 of 128 historical streams (sites 
corresponded to individual sampling reaches and more than one could be 
present on a given stream). Surveys were also conducted at other sites/
streams where habitat conditions appeared to be suitable for the 
species. When first considered for candidate status in early 2012, 
status surveys were still ongoing, and the species had been observed in 
72 of 123 historical sites visited (58 percent) and 60 of 101 
historical streams visited (59 percent). More comprehensive surveys in 
Tennessee in late 2012 and additional surveys in Kentucky in 2013-2014 
expanded the species' known range to 98 streams, including 119 of 187 
historical sites visited (64 percent), 85 of 128 historical streams 
visited (66 percent), and 13 new (non-historical) streams (USFWS 2012, 
pp. 1-2; USFWS unpublished data). New distributional records were 
obtained during each year of sampling, primarily from the middle and 
western portions of the species' geographical range. Within Kentucky, 
the species was observed at 87 of 143 sites (61 percent) and in 61 of 
100 streams (61 percent). Within Tennessee, the species was observed at 
32 of 44 sites (73 percent) and in 24 of 30 streams (80 percent). [Note 
that 2 of the historical streams surveyed occur in both Kentucky and 
Tennessee and are, therefore, included in each of the State totals 
provided in the previous sentences (i.e., 100 and 30, respectively.] 
The species' most significant declines were documented within the Poor 
Fork, Clover Fork, Straight Creek, Clear Creek, and Clear Fork 
drainages, all of which are located within the eastern half of the 
species' geographical range. This portion of the upper Cumberland River 
drainage has less public ownership than the western half of the 
drainage and has been impacted more extensively by surface coal mining.
    Over the last 3 years, new field surveys and monitoring efforts 
across the Cumberland arrow darter's range have improved our 
understanding of the species' distribution and stressors. Based on 
these findings, we have reexamined the species' status and reevaluated 
the magnitude and imminence of its stressors. We acknowledge that the 
species has suffered declines in portions of its range (e.g., it has 
been extirpated from 43 of 128 historical streams) and portions of the 
range continue to suffer some level of water quality degradation and 
habitat disturbance. However, we have determined that the species' 
overall status is more secure than previously believed, and stressors 
acting on the species are not of sufficient imminence, intensity, or 
magnitude to indicate the species is in danger of extinction (an 
endangered species), or likely to become endangered within the 
foreseeable future (a threatened species). The Cumberland arrow 
darter's status is bolstered by its large number of occupied streams 
(98) and its frequent occurrence in streams on public lands and in 
streams with listed species (e.g., blackside dace). In support of this 
not-warranted finding, we offer the following specifics with regard to 
its status:
     The species' range (number of extant streams) is larger 
than first believed. When first identified as a candidate for listing 
in 2012, the Cumberland arrow darter was known from 72 of 123 
historical sites visited (58 percent) and 60 of 101 historical streams 
visited (59 percent). More comprehensive surveys in Tennessee and 
additional surveys in Kentucky from 2012 through 2014 expanded the 
species' known range to 98 streams, including 85 of 128 historical 
streams (66 percent) and 13 new streams. The species' relatively broad 
distribution and high number of occupied streams increases its 
resiliency and redundancy.
     The species has demonstrated greater persistence in 
streams with at least 1 listed species (62 streams) or in streams 
located on public lands (45 streams). When combined, these two groups 
total 75 streams, or 77 percent of the species' known habitats. 
Historically, less habitat disturbance has occurred on public lands, 
and many of the species' best remaining habitats are located in these 
areas. The Cumberland arrow darter also benefits indirectly from listed 
species' protections provided by Federal and State statutes and 
regulations, especially in Kentucky where State water quality 
regulations (401 Kentucky Administrative Regulations 10:031, Section 8) 
provide added protections for streams supporting listed species 
(``Outstanding State Resource Waters'').
    The species utilizes larger streams more frequently than previously 
believed, bolstering the species' redundancy, resiliency, and 
representation (capacity of a species to adapt to changing 
environmental conditions). We have recent records (multiple individuals 
each) from Capuchin Creek, Elk Fork Creek, Jellico Creek (at Criscillis 
Branch), Marsh Creek (near mouth), and Roaring Paunch Creek, all of 
which are fourth-order streams or larger and have watersheds exceeding 
65 square kilometers (25 square miles). This information suggests the 
species utilizes more stream kilometers (miles) than previously 
believed because most survey efforts have focused on smaller streams 
(third-order and smaller). The species'

[[Page 60839]]

presence in these habitats protects against stochastic and catastrophic 
events (e.g., drying, floods, or pollution events) that can occur 
across the species' range.

Finding

    We evaluated the stressors to the Cumberland arrow darter and 
considered factors that, individually and in combination, presently or 
potentially could pose a risk to the species and its habitat. Based on 
our analysis of these stressors and our review of the species' current 
status, we conclude that listing this species under the Act is not 
warranted, because this species is not in danger of extinction, and is 
not likely to become in danger of extinction throughout all of its 
within the foreseeable future. We evaluated the current range of the 
Cumberland arrow darter to determine if there is any apparent 
geographic concentration of potential threats for this species. We 
examined potential threats, and found that potential impacts (e.g., 
water quality degradation) associated with surface coal mining and 
other land uses (e.g., residential development) are greater in the 
eastern half of the species' geographical range (e.g., water quality 
degradation is more common within this part of the range, and more 
extirpations have occurred there).
    To determine if this portion of the range was significant, we 
evaluated its contribution and importance to the species' overall 
viability. Even though the species has been extirpated from multiple 
streams within the eastern half of the geographical range, we do not 
consider this portion of the range to be so important that, without the 
members in that portion, the species in the remainder of the range 
would be in danger of extinction, or likely to become so in the 
foreseeable future, throughout all of its range (i.e., the loss of this 
portion clearly would not be expected to increase the vulnerability to 
extinction of the entire species). The species continues to occupy 98 
streams across its entire range. A total of 75 of these streams (77 
percent) either support a listed species (62 streams) or occur on 
publicly owned lands (45 streams) where disturbance is minimal (e.g., 
Daniel Boone National Forest). The eastern half of the species' 
geographical range continues to support multiple viable populations; 17 
occupied streams, 15 of which are in public ownership or are occupied 
by a listed species. Given the hypothetical loss of the geographical 
eastern portion of the species range, the Cumberland arrow darter would 
still occupy 81 streams, 60 of which are in public ownership are 
occupied by a listed species. Therefore, we do not consider the eastern 
half of the species geographical range to constitute a significant 
portion of the species' range. Because this portion of the range is not 
significant, we conclude that the species is not in danger of 
extinction (an endangered species) nor likely to become endangered 
within the foreseeable future (a threatened species), throughout all or 
a significant portion of its range. Therefore, we find that listing the 
Cumberland arrow darter as an endangered or threatened species under 
the Act is not warranted at this time. Therefore, we no longer consider 
it to be a candidate species for listing.

Great Basin DPS of the Columbia Spotted Frog (Rana luteiventris)

Previous Federal Actions

    On May 4, 1989, we received a petition dated May 1, 1989, from 
Peter Hoving, Chairman, Issues Committee, requesting that the spotted 
frog be listed as a threatened species under the Act. In 1993, we 
announced a finding on the petition where we found five populations of 
the spotted frog warranted listing (58 FR 27260; May 7, 1993). On 
September 19, 1997, we announced our acceptance of species-specific 
genetic and geographic differences in spotted frogs and we added the 
Great Basin distinct population segment of the Columbia spotted frog to 
the candidate list with a listing priority number (LPN) of 3 (62 FR 
49402). In the December 6, 2007,Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR) (72 
FR 69039), we announced a change in LPN from 3 to 9 for this entity. In 
subsequent annual CNOR publications, we maintained our determination of 
LPN of 9 for this species.

Summary of Status Review

    The Columbia spotted frog (Great Basin DPS) occurs in Nevada, 
southwestern Idaho, and southeastern Oregon. The Columbia spotted frog 
is a slim-waisted, long-legged, smooth-skinned frog measuring between 2 
to 4 inches. Dorsal colors and pattern include light brown, dark brown, 
or gray, with small spots. Ventral coloration can differ among 
geographic population units and may range from yellow to salmon with 
mottled throat regions.
    Columbia spotted frogs in the Great Basin have been affected 
primarily by the remaining effects of past habitat destruction and 
modification, which caused increased habitat fragmentation and 
isolation. Livestock grazing, mining activities, beaver management, 
water development, predation, disease, and the effects of climate 
change have also been identified as potential threats to the species. 
Heavy use by livestock has been shown to be detrimental to Columbia 
spotted frog habitat in localized areas. Livestock grazing and 
development of springs for livestock and agricultural purposes occur or 
have occurred throughout the Great Basin and resulted in an 
unquantifiable loss of riparian and wetland habitats used by the 
species. However, springs developed into ponds for the purposes of 
watering livestock have resulted in the creation and maintenance of 
persistent, high quality breeding and rearing habitat for the species 
in portions of the species range.. Mining has been shown to have 
localized impacts to populations but has a relatively low influence on 
a rangewide basis. Historical trapping nearly extirpated beaver from 
the Great Basin; however, beaver populations have rebounded and occupy 
the majority of its historical range but at lower densities. Harvest of 
beaver continues throughout the Great Basin but does not seem to be 
negatively impacting the beaver population as a whole within the Great 
Basin. However, there is little information on the impacts of harvest 
at the local watershed level to analyze impacts at this finer scale. 
The ability of beavers to restore degraded stream systems and the 
resulting habitat modification from their dams which keeps water on the 
landscape longer is becoming recognized as an important restoration 
technique (Gibson and Olden 2014, pp. 399-401; Pollack et al. 2014, pp. 
284-286).
    Nonnative fish and amphibian predators occur within the range of 
Columbia spotted frogs. The level of impact from predation is variable 
across the species' range, and depends on the quality of habitat 
(availability of cover and shelter). These nonnative predators can also 
introduce and help spread diseases and pathogens. However, current 
population-level effects of both predation and disease (pathogens and 
parasites) have not been documented within the Great Basin; therefore, 
we conclude that predation and disease are not negatively affecting 
Columbia spotted frogs in the Great Basin at this time nor do we expect 
them to in the near future.
    Climate change has affected, and is expected to continue to affect, 
Great Basin ecosystems; however, the impacts to permanent water sources 
and to Columbia spotted frog populations are not well documented. The 
available data does not indicate whether any effects from climate 
change will have population-level effects within a

[[Page 60840]]

reasonably foreseeable period of time. Based on this variability and 
uncertainty of the exact effects of climate change on the Columbia 
spotted frog Great Basin DPS within its range, we cannot reasonably 
determine that the effects of climate change are likely to have a 
population-level impact on the species now or in the foreseeable 
future.
    Many of the stressors discussed above do not act alone. Multiple 
stressors can alter the effects of other stressors or act 
synergistically to affect individuals and populations. For example, 
Kiesecker and Blaustein (1995, pp. 11050-11051) describe how UV-B acts 
with a pathogen to increase embryonic mortality above levels shown with 
either factor alone. Interactions between current land uses and 
changing climate or other environmental conditions may cause shifts in 
populations, communities, and ecosystems or may increase an 
individual's susceptibility to infection, disease, or predation (Hansen 
et al. 2001, p. 767; IPCC 2002, p. 22). However, the best available 
scientific information does not indicate that multiple stressors acting 
in combination or synergistically currently rising to the level of 
being identified as a stressor to the Great Basin DPS of Columbia 
spotted frogs and we therefore conclude that they do not cumulatively 
pose a threat to the species at this time nor do we expect them to do 
so in the future.
    Conservation efforts are occurring in many areas across the range 
of the Columbia spotted frog. A 10-year Conservation Agreement and 
Strategy has been implemented in Nevada since 2003. Due to the success 
of the Conservation Agreement and Strategy in managing and conserving 
Columbia spotted frogs in Nevada, a revised 10-year agreement (2015-
2024) was signed in February 2015. In 2006, a Candidate Conservation 
Agreement with Assurances was developed for a population in Idaho. An 
increase in monitoring has improved our knowledge of the distribution 
of the species, as well as improved knowledge of demography in several 
populations. Improved grazing management in some locations has 
contributed to improved stream and riparian habitat in some areas. 
Creating ponded habitat has also improved numerous occupied sites 
throughout the Great Basin, as well as in other parts of the species' 
range. All three States include Columbia spotted frog on their list of 
protected species.

Finding

    Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial 
information pertaining to the five factors, we find that the stressors 
acting on the species and its habitat, either singly or in combination, 
are not of sufficient imminence, intensity, or magnitude to indicate 
that the Great Basin DPS of the Columbia spotted frog is in danger of 
extinction (an endangered species), or likely to become endangered 
within the foreseeable future (a threatened species), throughout all of 
its range. This finding is based on additional populations that have 
been found since the species was first identified as a candidate, the 
relatively stable population and distribution of the species, and 
conservation management that is occurring throughout the species' range 
for impacts to both the habitat and the species. Because the 
distribution of the species is relatively stable across its range and 
stressors are similar throughout the species' range, we found no 
concentration of stressors that suggests that the Great Basin DPS of 
the Columbia spotted frog may be in danger of extinction in any portion 
of its range. Therefore, we find that listing the Great Basin DPS of 
the Columbia spotted frog as a threatened or an endangered species or 
maintaining the species as a candidate is not warranted throughout all 
or a significant portion of its range at this time, and consequently we 
are removing it from candidate status.

Goose Creek Milkvetch (Astragalus anserinus)

Previous Federal Actions

    On February 3, 2004, we received a petition dated January 30, 2004, 
from Red Willow Research, Inc., and 25 other concerned parties, 
including the Prairie Falcon Audubon Society Chapter Board, Western 
Watersheds Project, Utah Environmental Congress, Sawtooth Group of the 
Sierra Club, and 21 private citizens. The petitioners requested that we 
list Goose Creek milkvetch as a threatened or an endangered species, 
emergency list the species, and designate critical habitat concurrently 
with the listing (Red Willow Research Inc, in litt. 2004). The petition 
contained information on the natural history of Goose Creek milkvetch, 
its population status, and potential threats to the species. Potential 
threats discussed in the petition include the destruction and 
modification of habitat, disease and predation, inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms, and other natural and manmade factors such as 
exotic and noxious weed invasions and road construction and 
maintenance. The petition clearly identified itself as a petition, and 
included the requisite identification information as required in 50 CFR 
424.14(a).
    In a February 19, 2004, letter to the petitioners, we responded 
that our initial review of the petition for Goose Creek milkvetch 
determined that an emergency listing was not warranted, and that due to 
court orders and judicially approved settlement agreements for other 
listing actions, we would not be able to further address the petition 
to list the species at that time. On August 16, 2007, we published a 
notice of 90-day finding that the petition presented substantial 
scientific or commercial information indicating that listing Goose 
Creek milkvetch may be warranted, and we were initiating a status 
review of the species (72 FR 46023). A 60-day public comment period 
followed.
    Our subsequent 12-month finding identified Goose Creek milkvetch as 
a species for which listing as an endangered species or threatened 
species was warranted but was precluded due to higher priority listing 
decisions, and we assigned Goose Creek milkvetch a listing priority 
number of 5 (74 FR 46521; September 10, 2009). Following the finding, 
we completed annual Candidate Notices of Review in 2010 (75 FR 69222; 
November 10, 2010), 2011 (76 FR 66370; October 6, 2011), 2012 (77 FR 
69994; November 21, 2012), 2013 (78 FR 70104; November 22, 2013), and 
2014 (79 FR 72449; December 5, 2014), all of which maintained the 
species as a candidate. We assigned the listing priority number of 2 to 
the species in 2012, and maintained that listing priority through 2014. 
The change in the listing priority number was based upon information 
indicating that livestock use and invasive species (cheatgrass) had 
increased following the 2007 wildfires and that impacts to the species 
from these stressors were imminent.
    As a result of the Service's 2011 multidistrict litigation 
settlement with petitioners, a proposed listing rule or a not-warranted 
12-month finding is required by September 30, 2016 (In re: Endangered 
Species Act Section 4 Deadline Litigation, No. 10-377 (EGS), MDL Docket 
No. 2165 (D.D.C. May 10, 2011)). This 12-month finding satisfies the 
requirements of that settlement agreement for the Goose Creek 
milkvetch.

Summary of Status Review

    Goose Creek milkvetch is a narrow endemic plant in the Goose Creek 
drainage in Idaho, Nevada, and Utah. The current range of Goose Creek 
milkvetch is essentially the same as the historical range; however, we 
continue to identify a greater distribution of the species across its 
range. Overall, Goose

[[Page 60841]]

Creek milkvetch occurs in a scattered distribution within five 
populations. Plants are typically found on sparsely vegetated outcrops 
of highly weathered volcanic-ash (tuffaceous) soils. The total 
population size in 2014 is estimated to be approximately 31,648 plants 
occupying approximately 2,117 acres (857 hectares).
    In our 2009 12-month finding (74 FR 46521; September 10, 2009), we 
identified the threats to Goose Creek milkvetch to be wildfire, 
wildfire management (firefighting and post-wildfire emergency 
stabilization and restoration activities), invasive nonnative plant 
species (cheatgrass, leafy spurge, crested wheatgrass), livestock use, 
development, recreation, mining, the inadequacy of regulatory 
mechanisms, and small population size. In our current candidate 
assessment, we evaluated available information, and concluded that the 
species is resilient to these stressors and that current impacts to the 
species are not as strong as previously believed.
    In 2015 we identified leafy spurge as a future threat to Goose 
Creek milkvetch, based upon its anticipated future spread and expansion 
within the species' range containing 64 percent of the total 
population. Leafy spurge has the ability to increase in density rapidly 
and displace Goose Creek milkvetch, which may lead to local extirpation 
of the species in infested areas that are not detected and controlled 
at early stages of leafy spurge invasion. As a result, our initial 
finding was that Goose Creek milkvetch warranted listing as a result of 
the future threat of leafy spurge. However, the Bureau of Land 
Management (BLM) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized a 
conservation agreement for the long-term conservation of Goose Creek 
milkvetch in early 2015 that identifies conservation measures to 
address the spread and control of leafy spurge in Goose Creek milkvetch 
habitat. Through our Policy for Evaluation of Conservation Efforts When 
Making Listing Decisions (PECE) (68 FR 15100; March 28, 2003) analysis, 
we evaluated the actions in the conservation agreement and concluded 
that there is sufficient certainty that the actions will be implemented 
and effective such that leafy spurge will not become a future threat to 
Goose Creek milkvetch.
    As a result of new information and analysis, the originally 
identified threats in our previous 12-month finding are no longer 
considered current or foreseeable threats for the following reasons: 
(1) The population is stable, the species is persisting at all 
monitored sites despite disturbance events, and it is occupying its 
historical range; (2) the species occurs over 216 square miles (559 
square kilometers), and currently has adequate representation, 
resiliency, and redundancy throughout its range; (3) the species 
appears resilient to the identified stressors based on our evaluation 
in the 2015 candidate assessment; (4) new monitoring information after 
recent wildfires indicates that Goose Creek milkvetch was not 
significantly affected by wildfire and wildfire management (post-
wildfire emergency stabilization and restoration activities) as 
previous information indicated; and (5) expanded commitments in the 
2015 BLM/FWS conservation agreement to survey for and annually treat 
leafy spurge within Goose Creek milkvetch habitat on BLM lands will be 
effective in controlling the future spread of this noxious weed, and 
will protect approximately 86 percent of the total known population and 
93 percent of the total known habitat of Goose Creek milkvetch.

Finding

    Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial 
information pertaining to the five factors, we find that the current 
stressors acting on the species and its habitat are not of sufficient 
imminence, intensity, or magnitude to indicate that the Goose Creek 
milkvetch is warranted for listing at this time. However, we did find 
the potential future threat from leafy spurge is of such a magnitude 
that listing Goose Creek milkvetch may be warranted. We evaluated the 
actions outlined in the 2015 conservation agreement with the BLM under 
PECE, and we found sufficient certainty of implementation and 
effectiveness of the actions such that the potential future threat of 
the habitat impacts due to the spread of leafy spurge will largely be 
ameliorated. Therefore, based on the best available information, we 
find that listing Goose Creek milkvetch is not warranted throughout its 
range. Because the distribution of the species is relatively stable 
across its range and stressors are similar throughout the species' 
range, we found no concentration of stressors that suggests that the 
Goose Creek milkvetch may be in danger of extinction in any portion of 
its range. Therefore, we find that listing the Goose Creek milkvetch as 
a threatened or an endangered species is not warranted throughout all 
or a significant portion of its range at this time, and consequently we 
are removing it from candidate status.

Nevares Spring Naucorid Bug (Ambrysus Funebis)

Previous Federal Actions

    On November 15, 1994, we added the Nevares Spring naucorid bug 
(Amargosa naucorid bug) to the candidate list as a category 2 species 
on the Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR) (59 FR 59012). Category 2 
species were those species for which listing as endangered or 
threatened species was possibly appropriate, but for which biological 
information sufficient to support a proposed rule was lacking. However, 
the February 28, 1996, CNOR (61 FR 7596) discontinued recognition of 
category 1 and 2 species, so the Nevares Spring naucorid bug was no 
longer considered a candidate species after that date. On May 4, 2004 
(69 FR 24880), we added the species to the candidate list with a 
listing priority number (LPN) of 5. In our November 21, 2012, CNOR (77 
FR 69998), we changed the LPN from 5 to 2. In subsequent annual CNOR 
publications, we maintained our determination of LPN of 2 for this 
species.

Summary of Status Review

    The Nevares Spring naucorid bug is an aquatic invertebrate found 
only within the Furnace Creek Springs (Nevares, Texas, and Travertine 
Springs) of Death Valley National Park, California, managed by the 
National Park Service (NPS). Based on both historical and recent 
surveys, this narrow endemic species is considered locally abundant 
where found, but otherwise uncommon in aquatic habitats within the 
Travertine and Nevares Spring complexes and in areas of the Furnace 
Creek Wash. The Furnace Creek Springs have been used as a water source 
(potable and non-potable water) since the 1800s, and the primary threat 
to the Nevares Spring naucorid bug at the time it was placed on the 
candidate list (2004) was loss of habitat due to diversion of water.
    Since then, the NPS has rebuilt the Furnace Creek water collection 
system and has implemented restoration actions within the range of the 
species. The combined post-pumping flow for affected springs is 
approximately 80 percent of the estimated pre-pumping flow. While this 
activity represents a negative factor within one of four of the 
Travertine Springs springbrooks, we have determined that this stressor 
is not of significant magnitude to affect the conservation status of 
the species. Flows from Nevares Springs (occupied by the bug) and Texas 
Spring (unknown occupation) have not been affected by the groundwater 
pumping and are not

[[Page 60842]]

part of the Furnace Creek water collection system. The NPS has also 
eliminated water diversions and implemented aquatic habitat restoration 
at Travertine Spring 2, including restoration of its previously dry 
downstream springbrook. The results have augmented local groundwater, 
which has reemerged in aquatic habitat in portions of the spring area 
and downstream areas, including Furnace Creek Wash (occupied by the 
bug). Similar beneficial restoration actions are planned for other 
areas. While we believe that these future habitat restoration efforts 
could enhance the conservation status of the species by providing 
suitable habitat, these future actions are not factored into our 
determination.
    We also evaluated potential threats related to nonnative or 
invasive plants, predation, fire, and the effects of climate change. 
The impact to the species' habitat from nonnative or invasive plants is 
minor in scope and is currently being managed by the NPS. Predation is 
not currently a threat to the species and is not expected to be a 
threat in the near future. Fire has been a rare event within the 
Furnace Creek Springs area, and it is not expected to be a threat in 
the near future due to specific management actions being implemented by 
the NPS as required by the Death Valley National Park General 
Management Plan. Based on computer model projections (Fisk 2011, pp. 
141-144), potential impacts to the species from the effects of climate 
change (i.e., changes to groundwater head and spring discharge for the 
Furnace Creek Springs) also are unlikely to be significant well into 
the 21st Century.

Finding

    Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial 
information pertaining to the five factors, we find that the stressors 
acting on the species and its habitat are not of sufficient imminence, 
intensity, or magnitude to indicate that the Nevares Spring naucorid 
bug is in danger of extinction (an endangered species), or likely to 
become endangered within the foreseeable future (a threatened species), 
throughout all of its range. This finding is based on the relatively 
stable population and distribution of the species, and the habitat 
restoration efforts and conservation management that have occurred 
throughout the species' range to minimize impacts to both the habitat 
and the species since the species was first identified as a candidate. 
Because the distribution of the species is narrow and stressors are 
similar throughout the entire species' range, we found no concentration 
of stressors that suggests that the Nevares Spring naucorid bug may be 
in danger of extinction in any portion of its range, or likely to 
become so in the foreseeable future. Therefore, we find that listing 
the Nevares Spring naucorid bug as a threatened species or an 
endangered species or maintaining the species as a candidate throughout 
all or a significant portion of its range is not warranted at this 
time, and consequently we are removing it from candidate status.

Page Springsnail (Pyrgulopsis morrisoni)

Previous Federal Actions

    The Service first identified the Page springsnail as a category 2 
candidate species on January 6, 1989 (54 FR 554). Category 2 candidates 
were defined as species for which we had information that proposed 
listing was possibly appropriate, but conclusive data on biological 
vulnerability and threats were not available to support a proposed rule 
at the time. In the February 28, 1996, Candidate Notice of Review 
(CNOR) (61 FR 7596), we discontinued the designation of Category 2 
species as candidates. Page springsnail became a candidate species 
(formerly known as Category 1 candidate) on February 28, 1996, with a 
listing priority number of 2 (61 FR 7596). The Page springsnail 
remained on the candidate list thereafter with no change in listing 
priority number. On April 12, 2002, we received a petition dated April 
11, 2002, from the Center for Biological Diversity, requesting 
emergency listing and designation of critical habitat for the Page 
springsnail. We acknowledged receipt of the petition in a letter dated 
August 8, 2002. In that letter we stated the Service's policy to treat 
petitions on candidate species as second petitions, and that we 
consider all candidates as having been subject to both a positive 90-
day finding and a warranted-but-precluded 12-month finding under 
section 4(b)(3)(B)(iii) of the Act. As such we did not make a separate 
90-day or 12-month finding in response to the petition.
    In 2011, the Service entered into two settlement agreements 
regarding species on the candidate list at that time (Endangered 
Species Act Section 4 Deadline Litigation, No. 10-377 (EGS), MDL Docket 
No. 2165 (D.D.C. May 10, 2011)). This finding fulfills our obligations 
regarding the Page springsnail under those settlement agreements.

Summary of Status Review

    The Page springsnail is a small aquatic snail endemic to 10 
populations in a complex of springs along Oak Creek and Spring Creek in 
Yavapai County, central Arizona. Like other members of the family 
Hydrobiidae, Page springsnails are strictly aquatic and often occur in 
abundance within suitable spring habitats. The Page springsnail occurs 
in springs, seeps, marshes, cienegas, spring brooks, spring pools, 
outflows, and diverse lotic (flowing) waters, supported by water 
discharged from a regional aquifer. Eight of the 10 known populations 
occur on land managed by Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD) as a 
fish hatchery.
    The Page springsnail became a candidate species primarily due to 
habitat modifications at the springhead and spring run that resulted in 
changes to the habitat factors listed above, resulting in the 
extirpation of two populations. Subsequently, AGFD implemented a 
Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances that includes 
conservation measures that have resulted in the majority of Page 
springsnail populations being secure from spring modification, aquatic 
vegetation removal, and water contamination in the future. These 
management actions include coordinating with the Service and 
considering the needs of the Page springsnail when conducting aquatic 
vegetation control, management of nonnative fishes, chemical use, and 
addition of material into springs. AGFD has also restored much of the 
spring habitat on their lands; restoration activities include modifying 
springs, adding substrate preferred by springsnails, and eradicating 
nonnative species.
    The Page springsnail needs multiple resilient populations 
distributed across its range to maintain viability into the future and 
to avoid extinction. In general, the more Page springsnail populations 
that occur across its range, the higher the viability of the species 
and the lower the risk of extinction. A number of factors influence 
whether Page springsnail populations will maximize habitat occupancy, 
which increases the resiliency of a population to stochastic events. 
These factors include (1) adequate spring discharge (water quantity), 
(2) sufficient water quality, (3) free-flowing spring ecosystems, and 
(4) appropriate substrate and aquatic vegetation within the springs.
    In the future, the primary source of potential habitat loss is 
groundwater

[[Page 60843]]

depletion, which may result in reduced or eliminated spring flow. We 
are relatively certain that climate change and increased water 
consumption from increased human population levels in the Verde Valley 
will result in lowered groundwater levels. Though we are not certain of 
the specific relationship between base flow and spring discharge, it is 
likely that declines in groundwater levels in the Verde Valley subbasin 
and base flow in the Verde River will translate to some decline in 
spring flow. We therefore anticipate that the effect of groundwater 
declines on future levels of spring discharge is the primary factor 
influencing the future condition of the Page springsnail.

Finding

    Our review found that there are currently 10 existing Page 
springsnail populations, occurring in approximately the same geographic 
range that the species was known to occupy historically. To assess the 
current status of these populations, we grouped each of them into three 
categories of resiliency, which were based on spring flow rate, water 
quality, free-flowing spring runs, and vegetation and substrate 
quality. We categorized six populations as currently having high 
resiliency, three as currently having moderate resiliency, and one as 
currently having low resiliency. The best available data suggests that 
populations in high or moderate condition will be resilient populations 
at low risk of extirpation. In total, nine of the populations rank as 
high or moderate for the combined evaluation of the elements needed to 
maintain the species (water flow rate, water quality, free flowing, and 
aquatic vegetation and substrate). This current number of populations 
in high or moderate condition existing across the species' range 
provides resiliency (90 percent of populations considered sufficiently 
large to withstand stochastic events), redundancy (the populations 
exist across the historical range, although that range is inherently 
small, to withstand catastrophic events), and representation (multiple 
populations continuing to occur across the range of the species to 
maintain ecological and genetic diversity). Because this estimate of 
the condition and distribution of populations provides sufficient 
resiliency, representation, and redundancy for the species, we conclude 
that the current risk of extinction of the Page springsnail is 
sufficiently low that it does not meet the definition of an endangered 
species under the Act.
    Looking into the foreseeable future, and considering that spring 
flows could decline somewhat by 2065, we forecasted that two 
populations would continue to have high resiliency, four would have 
moderate resiliency, and four would have low resiliency (Service 2015, 
p. 33). The best available data suggests that populations in high or 
moderate condition will be resilient populations at low risk of 
extirpation. This forecasted number of populations in good condition 
existing across the species' range would provide resiliency (60 percent 
of populations considered sufficiently large to withstand stochastic 
events), redundancy (the populations would exist across the historical 
range, although that range is inherently small, to withstand 
catastrophic events), and representation (multiple populations would 
continue to occur across the range of the species to maintain 
ecological and genetic diversity). Therefore, because this forecast of 
the number and distribution of populations under the spring flow 
scenario that we expect to occur provides sufficient resiliency, 
redundancy, and representation for the species, we conclude the species 
is likely to remain at a sufficiently low risk of extinction that it 
will not become in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future. 
Therefore, we find that the Page springsnail does not meet the 
definition of a threatened species under the Act.
    Having found that the Page springsnail is not an endangered species 
or a threatened species throughout all of its range, we next consider 
whether there are any significant portions of its range in which the 
Page springsnail is in danger of extinction or likely to become so. We 
found no portions of its range where potential threats are 
significantly concentrated or substantially greater than in other 
portions of its range. Therefore, we find that factors affecting the 
species are essentially uniform throughout its range, indicating that 
no portion of the range of the Page springsnail warrants further 
consideration of possible endangered species or threatened species 
status under the Act.
    In conclusion, because the number and distribution of Page 
springsnail populations provides sufficient resiliency, redundancy, and 
representation for the species now and in the foreseeable future, we 
find that the Page springsnail no longer warrants listing throughout 
all or a significant portion of its range, and consequently we are 
removing it from candidate status.

Ramshaw Meadows Sand-Verbena (Abronia alpina)

Previous Federal Actions

    The Act directed the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution to 
prepare a report on endangered and threatened plant species, which was 
published as House Document No. 94-51. We published a notice in the 
Federal Register on July 1, 1975 (40 FR 27823), in which we announced 
that we would review more than 3,000 native plant species named in the 
Smithsonian's report and other species added by the 1975 notice for 
possible addition to the List of Endangered and Threatened Plants. 
Ramshaw Meadows sand-verbena was one of those species. In the February 
21, 1990, Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR) (55 FR 6186), we identified 
the species as a category 1 candidate species. In the February 28, 
1996, CNOR, we retained the species as a candidate and assigned it a 
listing priority number (LPN) of 8 (61 FR 7602). In the September 19, 
1997, CNOR (62 FR 49404), we changed the LPN to 11. On May 11, 2004, we 
received a petition dated May 4, 2004, from the Center for Biological 
Diversity et al. requesting the listing of the Ramshaw Meadows sand-
verbena as a threatened species with critical habitat. In subsequent 
annual CNOR publications, we maintained our determination of LPN of 11 
for this species.

Summary of Status Review

    Abronia alpina is a small perennial herb 1 to 6 inches across 
forming compact mats with lavender pink, trumpet-shaped, and generally 
fragrant flowers. The species is known from one main population center 
at Ramshaw Meadow and a smaller population at the adjacent Templeton 
Meadow on the Kern River Plateau (8,700-feet elevation) in the Sierra 
Nevada Mountains, California. The entire range of the species is 
approximately 15 acres (6.1 hectares) and is administered by the U.S. 
Forest Service (USFS) (Inyo National Forest, Tulare County, 
California). The species' population fluctuates from year to year 
without any clear trends with estimates ranging from approximately 
150,000 to 50,000 plants (based on USFS survey results 1985-2012). 
Abronia alpina is currently categorized by the USFS as a ``Sensitive 
Species'' under the 1988 Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP), but 
is proposed to be categorized as an ``At-Risk Species'' under the 
revised LRMP currently being developed.
    Threats to Abronia alpina and its habitat identified at the time it 
was determined to be a candidate species

[[Page 60844]]

included cattle trailing, trampling by campers and packstock, 
deteriorated watershed conditions, and potential bank cutting of 
habitat. In response, the USFS has implemented a number of conservation 
measures that have been effective in reducing these adverse effects, 
including developing a livestock trailing strategy; exclosure fencing; 
establishing a monitoring program; discontinuing livestock grazing for 
a 10-year period (2001-2011); rerouting hiking and packstock trails; 
and conducting land exchanges of private land so that all A. alpina 
habitat is on Federal land.
    The stressors currently acting upon Abronia alpina and its habitat 
include lodgepole pine encroachment; potential bank cutting of habitat; 
the effects of climate change; recreation (camping, packstock); and 
cattle trailing within meadow habitats. Past conservation actions by 
the U.S. Forest Service have reduced or eliminated the effects of most 
of these stressors on A. alpina and its habitat. In addition, the Inyo 
National Forest and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have developed and 
signed a conservation agreement to evaluate current stressors for A. 
alpina and update conservation actions that will be implemented by the 
Inyo National Forest to continue to protect and manage A. alpina and 
its habitat (Conservation Agreement and Species Management Guide for 
Abronia alpina (Ramshaw abronia) Tulare County, California, Dated: 
April 2015). The conservation agreement addresses ongoing management 
needs of A. alpina and its habitat, including management or monitoring 
of past and present stressors that have been identified. The past and 
current conservation actions and protection provided by the Inyo 
National Forest have been demonstrated to reduce and ameliorate the 
effect of stressors acting upon the species, and we anticipate those 
completed actions to have lasting, positive effects into the near 
future. While we are not basing our finding on the February 2015 
conservation agreement, we anticipate that conservation measures and 
protections outlined in the Conservation Agreement will continue to 
build on the success that past actions have had and will continue to 
benefit Abronia alpina into the future.

Finding

    Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial 
information pertaining to the five factors, we find that the stressors 
acting on the species and its habitat are not of sufficient imminence, 
intensity, or magnitude to indicate that Abronia alpina is in danger of 
extinction (an endangered species), or likely to become endangered 
within the foreseeable future (a threatened species), throughout all of 
its range. This finding is based on the past conservation actions and 
protections provided by the Inyo National Forest that have shown 
success in reduction and amelioration of the effect of stressors acting 
upon the species and its habitat. We found no concentration of 
stressors that suggests that the Abronia alpina may be in danger of 
extinction in any portion of its range. Therefore, we find that listing 
A. alpina as a threatened or an endangered species throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range or maintaining the species as a 
candidate is not warranted at this time, and we are removing it from 
candidate status.

Sequatchie Caddisfly (Glyphopsyche sequatchie)

Previous Federal Actions

    The Sequatchie caddisfly was first identified as a candidate for 
protection under the Act through our internal process in the October 
25, 1999, Candidate Notice of Review published in the Federal Register 
(64 FR 57534), and the Service was subsequently petitioned on May 11, 
2004, to list the species although no new information was provided with 
the petition. Threats to the species identified at that time were 
siltation; agricultural, chemical, and municipal runoff; vandalism; 
pollution from trash; and small population size. The Sequatchie 
caddisfly was assigned a listing priority number (LPN) of 5 (64 FR 
57534), and that LPN was maintained until evaluation for listing this 
year.

Summary of Status Review

    The Sequatchie caddisfly (Glyphopsyche sequatchie) was discovered 
in 1994 and first described by Etnier and Hix (1999, entire). This 
species is a member of the insect order Trichoptera, family 
Limnephilidae, subfamily Limnephilinae, and tribe Chilostigmini 
(Wiggins 1996, pp. 270, 310).
    Despite extensive efforts to find additional sites (Moulton and 
Floyd, 2013, entire), the Sequatchie caddisfly has been observed at 
only three spring runs in the Sequatchie Valley, all in Marion County, 
Tennessee: Owen Spring Branch (the type locality); Martin Spring run in 
the Battle Creek system, and Clear Spring Branch (Etnier and Hix 1999, 
pp. 629-630; Walton 2011, pers. comm.). In July 2014, biologists with 
the Service, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation 
(TDEC), the University of Tennessee, and the Tennessee Wildlife 
Resources Agency completed quantitative surveys within a 20-meter (66-
foot) reach at both the Owen Spring Branch and Martin Spring sites. 
During the Owen Spring Branch survey, a total of 269 Sequatchie 
caddisflies were observed within 29 0.25-square-meter (2.7-square-foot) 
quadrats (USFWS, unpublished data).
    Using these data, we estimated the population size at 5,192-6,273 
individuals (95% confidence interval) within the 20-meter (66-foot) 
sampling reach. Considering the amount of occupied habitat within Owen 
Spring Branch (approximately 280 meters (919 feet)), we extrapolated 
that the population size at Owen Spring exceeds 50,000 caddisflies. 
During the Martin Spring surveys, a total of 260 Sequatchie caddisflies 
were observed within 30 0.25-square-meter (2.7-square-foot) quadrats 
(USFWS, unpublished data). Using these data, we estimated the 
population size at 6,546-10,593 individuals (95% confidence interval) 
within the 20-meter (66-foot) sampling reach. Considering the amount of 
occupied habitat within Martin Spring (approximately 660 meters (2,165 
feet)), we extrapolated that the population size at Martin Spring 
exceeds 100,000 caddisflies. Both the Owen Spring Branch and Martin 
Spring estimates are much larger than previous estimates, which were 
1,500 to 3,000 individuals at Owen Spring Branch and characterized as 
``very rare,'' with only 6 individuals found at Martin Spring (Moulton 
and Floyd (2013, pp. 8-9)). In 2010, a single larva was collected at 
Clear Spring Branch during routine water quality monitoring by TDEC 
(Walton 2011, pers. comm.). In subsequent surveys, no individuals were 
observed at the Clear Spring Branch site (Moulton and Floyd 2013, p. 8; 
USFWS, unpublished data). It is unclear whether the larva collected in 
2010 was the result of a dispersal event or of a population that 
occurred at very low levels, and the site is now considered unoccupied 
by the species. Sedimentation, beaver activity, mowing/clearing, 
trampling/public access, and possibly watershed disturbance are all 
stressors to habitat (Factor A). All of these stressors occur at both 
the Owen Spring Branch and Martin Spring sites, except for beaver 
activity, which is only found at Owen Spring Branch. However, these 
stressors are largely abated by management practices that have been in 
place for over 3 years, such as beaver and erosion control measures 
currently being undertaken by TDEC and other partners. Nevertheless, 
our not-

[[Page 60845]]

warranted finding is not based on the implementation of these voluntary 
efforts.

Finding

    The Sequatchie caddisfly is found at only two sites in Marion 
County, Tennessee. However, population sizes are now estimated to be 
substantially larger than previously thought, and the best available 
information does not indicate any evidence of declines or inbreeding 
depression in either of the known populations at this time. Based on 
our review of the best available scientific and commercial information 
pertaining to the five factors, we find that there are no stressors of 
sufficient imminence, intensity, or magnitude to indicate that the 
Sequatchie caddisfly is in danger of extinction (an endangered 
species), or likely to become so within the foreseeable future (a 
threatened species), throughout all of its range.
    We consider the range of the Sequatchie caddisfly to include Martin 
Spring and Owen Spring in the Sequatchie Valley of Tennessee. We 
evaluated the current range of Sequatchie caddisfly to determine if 
there is any apparent geographic concentration of potential threats for 
this species. We examined potential threats from range curtailment, 
sedimentation, beaver activity, mowing/clearing, trampling/public 
access, watershed disturbance, collection, disease, predation by 
introduced rainbow trout, the inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms, and small population size effects and found no 
concentration that suggests that the Sequatchie caddisfly may be in 
danger of extinction in a portion of its range. While there is a higher 
level of trampling and public access at Owen Spring Branch, the best 
available data do not indicate that this stressor rises to the level of 
a threat to the species at this site, such that this portion meets the 
definition of an endangered or a threatened species. Furthermore, we 
found no other portions of the range where potential threats are 
significantly concentrated or substantially greater than in other 
portions of its range. Therefore, we find that the factors affecting 
Sequatchie caddisfly are essentially uniform throughout its range, 
indicating no portion of the range warrants further consideration of 
possible endangered species or threatened species status under the Act.
    Our review of the best available scientific and commercial 
information indicates that the Sequatchie caddisfly is not in danger of 
extinction (an endangered species) and is not likely to become an 
endangered species within the foreseeable future (a threatened 
species), throughout all or a significant portion of its range. 
Therefore, we find that listing Sequatchie caddisfly as an endangered 
or a threatened species under the Act is not warranted at this time, 
and we are removing it from candidate status.

Siskiyou Mariposa Lily (Calochortus persistens)

Previous Federal Actions

    The Act directed the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution to 
prepare a report on endangered and threatened plant species, which was 
published as House Document No. 94-51. We published a notice in the 
Federal Register on July 1, 1975 (40 FR 27823), in which we announced 
that we would review more than 3,000 native plant species named in the 
Smithsonian's report and other species added by the 1975 notice for 
possible addition to the List of Endangered and Threatened Plants. 
Siskiyou mariposa lily was one of those species. In the February 21, 
1990, Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR) (55 FR 6192), we first 
identified the species as a category 2 candidate. However, the February 
28, 1996, CNOR (61 FR 7596) discontinued recognition of category 1 and 
2 species, so Siskiyou mariposa lily was no longer considered candidate 
species after that date. On September 10, 2001, we received a petition 
dated August 24, 2001, from Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, Oregon 
Natural Resources Council, and Barbara Knapp requesting that the 
Siskiyou mariposa lily be listed as an endangered species under the Act 
and that critical habitat be designated. In the June 13, 2002, CNOR (67 
FR 40662), we once again added the species as a candidate with a 
listing priority number (LPN) of 2. In the May 11, 2005, CNOR, we 
changed the LPN to 5 (70 FR 24932). In subsequent annual CNOR 
publications, we maintained our determination of LPN of 5 for this 
species.

Summary of Status Review

    Calochortus persistens is a perennial flowering bulb with one to 
two large showy, pink to lavender, erect, bell-shaped flowers with 
yellow fringes. Calochortus persistens is restricted to three disjunct 
areas in the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountain Range at elevations of 4,300 
feet (ft) to 6,000 ft, on the California-Oregon border (Gunsight-Humbug 
Ridge and Cottonwood Peak Area, west of Yreka, Siskiyou County, 
California (two locations), and Bald Mountain site, west of Ashland, 
Jackson County, Oregon). Land ownership for the three sites is a 
combination of U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Land Management 
(BLM), and private lands. Population numbers for the species varies by 
location and numbers from 5 to 100,000 plants. Past numbers of 
Calochortus persistens plants in each area may have been underestimated 
depending on survey timing.
    Between 1982 and 2013, numerous conservation initiatives and 
management plans have been developed to conserve Calochortus 
persistens. The most recent is the ``Conservation Agreement between the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. 
Bureau of Land Management for Calochortus persistens (Siskiyou mariposa 
lily)'' (Calochortus persistens Conservation Agreement) that was 
finalized and approved on November 19, 2013. The conservation agreement 
identifies completed, ongoing, and future actions to remove or reduce 
the stressors to C. persistens across all occupied Federal lands. The 
USFS and BLM have also identified Calochortus persistens as a 
``Sensitive Species.'' Based on the successful track record of managing 
the species as provided for with the conservation initiatives, 
including the 2013 conservation agreement, we conclude that management 
of the species will provide for diverse plant communities by 
maintaining viable populations of plants and for conservation of the 
species by ensuring continued existence of viable populations that will 
prevent a trend towards listing under the Act. The USFS has issued 
management guidelines for C. persistens and has designated 1,005 acres 
(407 hectares) as a Special Habitat Management Area for the species.
    The major stressor to Calochortus persistens habitat has been 
competition from the nonnative plant Isatis tinctoria (dyer's woad). 
Isatis tinctoria was reported to have spread throughout the Gunsight-
Humbug Ridge and Cottonwood Peak occurrences to varying degrees. 
However, surveys have demonstrated that juvenile recruitment is evident 
and plants of all ages occur in each population. In 2003, the USFS 
initiated removal of I. tinctoria. In 2006, a second population of C. 
persistens was found at Cottonwood Peak consisting of more than 15,900 
plants. This area does not contain any I. tinctoria. Because the 
existing occurrences for I. tinctoria are being managed, and some 
populations or occurrences within populations are not subject to the 
impacts from I. tinctoria, we have determined that the severity of the 
impacts from nonnative plants has been greatly decreased and is not 
resulting in significant impacts to C.

[[Page 60846]]

persistens at the range wide or local population level at this time nor 
do we expect it to in the foreseeable future.
    Other stressors identified include fire and fire suppression 
activities, habitat disturbance activities, roads, off-highway vehicle 
use, grazing activities, collection, predation, low recruitment, and 
the species' relatively small, disjunct distribution. In our candidate 
assessment, we evaluated these stressors and determined that they are 
not resulting in significant population-level impacts to Calochortus 
persistens now nor are they likely to do so into the foreseeable 
future. Our finding is based partly on management activities and 
because evidence review of the best available data does not suggest 
that there is a decline in the C. persistens populations at any of the 
three locations.

Finding

    Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial 
information pertaining to the five factors, we find that the stressors 
acting on the species and its habitat are not of such imminence, 
intensity, or magnitude to indicate that Calochortus persistens is in 
danger of extinction (an endangered species), or likely to become 
endangered within the foreseeable future (a threatened species), 
throughout all of its range. We also found no portion of its range 
where the threats are significantly concentrated or substantially 
greater than in any other portion of its range. Therefore, we find that 
listing Calochortus persistens as a threatened or an endangered species 
or maintaining the species as a candidate is not warranted throughout 
all or a significant portion of its range at this time, and 
consequently we are removing it from candidate status.

Shawnee Darter (Etheostoma tecumsehi)

Previous Federal Action

    On April 20, 2010, we received, via email, a petition from the 
Center for Biological Diversity, Alabama Rivers Coalition, Clinch 
Coalition, Dogwood Alliance, Gulf Restoration Network, Tennessee 
Forests Council, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, Tierra Curry, and 
Noah Curry, requesting to list 404 aquatic, riparian, and wetland 
species, including the Shawnee darter, as an endangered or a threatened 
species and to designate critical habitat concurrent with listing. We 
subsequently published a notice of a 90-day petition finding in the 
Federal Register (76 FR 59836; September 27, 2011), concluding that the 
petition to list the Shawnee darter, among other species, presented 
substantial scientific or commercial evidence that listing may be 
warranted.

Summary of Status Review

    The Shawnee darter occurs within the Pond River system of the Green 
River in parts of four western Kentucky counties (Christian, Todd, 
Muhlenberg, and Hopkins). The species is broadly distributed across its 
range, inhabiting high-gradient headwater streams with abundant sand, 
gravel, and cobble riffles. Color characteristics of the females and 
non-breeding males of this species are similar to other members of the 
orangethroat darter group, and the largest specimens reach over 2 
inches for males and up to 1.8 inches for females
    Destruction and modification of habitat have been identified as 
potential threats to the Shawnee darter. Streams within the Pond River 
system have been degraded by a variety of past and current activities 
such as dredging, channelization, impoundment, riparian zone removal 
and others. Much of the stream modification in the Pond River system 
occurred decades ago for agricultural and flood control purposes. While 
these manipulations occurred in the past, the habitat and water quality 
impacts persist, and siltation/sedimentation is considered a primary 
source of degradation within the Shawnee darter's range. While there 
are numerous dams across the range of the Shawnee darter, constructed 
mostly for flood control in the 1960s and 1970s, only eight occur 
between known species occurrences.
    Historical and ongoing land uses (e.g., agriculture, natural 
resource extraction, etc.) have also affected and continue to affect 
stream habitats as well as water quality. Residential and agricultural 
land uses may result in increases in nutrients (e.g., fecal coliforms) 
that can be detrimental to aquatic fauna, and the Shawnee darter is 
often absent from streams with high nutrient levels. However, these 
impacts do not appear to be widespread within the species' range. Coal 
mining historically occurred, to a limited extent, in the northernmost 
edge of the species' range but has not reduced the species' 
distribution or occurrences. While oil and gas extraction is widespread 
within the range, it does not appear to be causing any broad changes to 
stream habitat or water quality. Reviews of permitted activities (e.g., 
coal mining) and digital land use coverages over the years do not 
indicate any significant changes in land use; despite these historical 
and ongoing impacts, survey efforts in 2007 and 2013 indicate that the 
Shawnee darter is maintaining its populations and remains one of the 
most abundant darter species in the streams where it occurs.

Finding

    Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial 
information pertaining to the five factors, we find that the stressors 
acting on the species and its habitat are not of such imminence, 
intensity, or magnitude to indicate that the Shawnee darter is in 
danger of extinction (an endangered species), or likely to become 
endangered within the foreseeable future (a threatened species), 
throughout all of its range. We also found no portion of its range 
where the stressors are significantly concentrated or substantially 
greater than in any other portion of its range. Therefore, we find that 
listing the Shawnee darter as a threatened species or an endangered 
species throughout all or a significant portion of its range is not 
warranted at this time.

Sleeping Ute Milkvetch (Astragalus tortipes)

Previous Federal Actions

    Sleeping Ute milkvetch became a candidate species in the Candidate 
Notice of Review (CNOR) of 1996, with a listing priority number (LPN) 
of 11, after approximately 3 percent of the species' range was 
disturbed during construction of an irrigation canal (61 FR 7596; 
February 28, 1996). Between 1997 and 2006, the LPN was changed various 
times, and ultimately returned to LPN 11, because the threats were 
considered non-imminent (62 FR 49398, September 19, 1997; 66 FR 54808, 
October 30, 2001; 71 FR 53756, September 12, 2006). We received a 
petition in 2004 from the Center for Biological Diversity and others to 
list 225 species, including Sleeping Ute milkvetch. We reported in the 
2005 CNOR that the petition contained no new information regarding 
Sleeping Ute milkvetch, and maintained it as a candidate (60 FR 24870, 
May 11, 2005). The species was maintained as a candidate with LPN 11 
through the 2014 CNOR (79 FR 72450, December 5, 2014).

Summary of Status Review

    Sleeping Ute milkvetch is a perennial plant that grows only on the 
Smokey Hills layer of the Mancos Shale Formation on Ute Mountain Ute 
Tribal land in Montezuma County, Colorado. Very few formal surveys have 
been done for Sleeping Ute milkvetch, so we have no information on 
long-term population

[[Page 60847]]

trends. However, surveys in 2000 indicated the presence of 3,744 plants 
at 24 locations covering 500 acres (202 hectares) within an overall 
range of 6,400 acres (2,590). The Tribe received a grant in 2015 that 
enabled them to document the current status of the species. The 2015 
plant surveys and impact assessment report show that the population has 
increased to 14,929 individual plants that were counted, plus an 
additional 5,000 that were estimated to occur within the same range.
    We evaluated all known potential impacts to the plant, including 
impacts from the Towaoc Highline Canal construction, rifle range use, 
off-highway vehicles (OHVs), cattle grazing, and a prairie dog colony. 
While these impacts were previously believed to pose a threat to the 
species, and some may have caused losses of individual plants or 
habitat in the past, we received updated information from the Tribe 
that has improved our understanding of how these factors currently 
affect the species. For example, there are currently no plans for oil 
and gas development within the plant's habitat. The design and 
operation of the canal has not opened the area to increased vehicle use 
and associated ground disturbance as previously anticipated; the entire 
length of the canal and its maintenance roads are fenced; and access 
points from roads are gated and locked. The presence of a rifle range 
has introduced OHV use and outdoor recreation that has negatively 
affected individual plants and habitat, but these effects have been 
limited to one location, while the majority of populations remain 
unaffected. The Tribe has taken significant steps to reduce the impact 
of feral livestock, removing more than 400 head of feral livestock in 
2013 and 2014, leaving only around 50 head remaining. Herbivory was 
reported, but the effects on reproduction were not determined.
    Overall, current information indicates an increase in abundance 
from past surveys; that most stressors are speculative and any actual 
impacts have been at the individual, not population or species level; 
and that no impacts individually or cumulatively rise to the level of a 
threat so significant that it contributes to putting the species in 
danger of extinction or likely to become so in the foreseeable future. 
In addition, the Tribe believes that the health and existence of the 
species is in part due to its location on Tribal land, where all 
activities are controlled by the Tribe and no public access is allowed 
without permission.

Finding

    Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial 
information pertaining to the five factors, we find that the stressors 
acting on the species and its habitat are not of such imminence, 
intensity, or magnitude to indicate that Sleeping Ute milkvetch is in 
danger of extinction (an endangered species), or likely to become 
endangered within the foreseeable future (a threatened species), 
throughout all of its range. We also found no portion of its range 
where the stressors are significantly concentrated or substantially 
greater than in any other portion of its range. Therefore, we find that 
listing Sleeping Ute milkvetch as a threatened species or an endangered 
species is not warranted throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range at this time, and we have removed it from candidate status.

Southern Idaho Ground Squirrel (Urocitellus Endemicus)

Previous Federal Actions

    The southern Idaho ground squirrel was recognized as a Category 2 
candidate species in the 1985 Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR) (50 FR 
37958; September 18, 1985). Category 2 species were those species for 
which listing as an endangered species or as a threatened species was 
possibly appropriate, but for which biological information sufficient 
to support a proposed rule was lacking. However, the February 28, 1996, 
CNOR (61 FR 7596) discontinued recognition of category 1 and 2 species, 
so the southern Idaho ground squirrel was no longer considered a 
candidate species after that date.
    On January 29, 2001, we received a petition dated January 26, 2001, 
from Biodiversity Legal Foundation, requesting that the southern Idaho 
ground squirrel, at the time classified taxonomically as a subspecies, 
be listed as an endangered or a threatened species under the Act and 
that critical habitat be designated. Included in the petition was 
supporting information regarding the species' taxonomy, historical and 
current distribution, habitat, life history, present status, and 
threats to the species. We acknowledged the receipt of the petition in 
a letter to the Biodiversity Legal Foundation, dated February 26, 2001. 
In that letter we also stated that due to court orders and judicially 
approved settlement agreements for other listing and critical habitat 
determinations under the Act that required nearly all of our listing 
and critical habitat funding for fiscal year (FY) 2001, we would not be 
able to address the petition further at that time but would complete 
the action in FY 2002. We also stated that an initial review of the 
petition did not indicate that an emergency listing was warranted.
    In the October 30, 2001, CNOR (66 FR 54808), we again identified 
the southern Idaho ground squirrel as a candidate for listing and 
assigned it a listing priority number (LPN) of 3, which reflects a 
subspecies facing threats of a high magnitude that are considered 
imminent.
    On May 4, 2004, we continued to identify the southern Idaho ground 
squirrel as a candidate for listing in the CNOR (69 FR 24876), but we 
changed the LPN to 6, which reflects a subspecies facing threats of a 
high magnitude that are not considered imminent. This change was the 
result of conservation actions that had been implemented and that had 
reduced the imminence of threats, along with commitments from various 
agencies and parties to initiate and implement conservation actions for 
the squirrel. We acknowledged in this CNOR that although the magnitude 
of threats was still high, it was trending toward a moderate-to-low 
range.
    On June 21, 2004, the U.S. District court for the District of 
Oregon (Center for Biological Diversity v. Norton, Civ. No. 03-1111-AA) 
found that our resubmitted petition findings for three species, 
including the southern Idaho ground squirrel, that we published as part 
of the CNOR on May 4, 2004 (69 FR 24876), were not sufficient because 
we did not provide adequate information to support our warranted but 
precluded determinations. The court ordered that we publish updated 
findings. On December 27, 2004, in response to the court's order, we 
published a 12-month finding (69 FR 77167) on resubmitted petitions to 
list the three species. In response to ongoing conservation actions, we 
also changed the LPN to 9, which reflects a subspecies facing threats 
of a moderate to low magnitude that are considered imminent.
    On November 22, 2013, we continued to identify the southern Idaho 
ground squirrel as a candidate for listing in the CNOR (78 FR 70104), 
but changed the LPN to 8 to reflect a change in taxonomy from 
subspecies to species. The most recent CNOR dated December 5, 2014 (79 
FR 72450), continued to reflect the species' status as a candidate 
species with an LPN of 8.

Summary of Status Review

    The southern Idaho ground squirrel is endemic to four counties in 
southwest Idaho; its total known range is

[[Page 60848]]

approximately 718,318 acres (290,693 hectares). Threats to southern 
Idaho ground squirrels identified in the January 26, 2001, listing 
petition include: Habitat degradation from invasive exotic annual 
vegetation and future loss of habitat from urban development; direct 
killing from shooting, trapping, or poisoning; competition with 
Columbian ground squirrels; inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms; and low population numbers.
    Habitat across the range of the southern Idaho ground squirrel is 
degraded from nonnative vegetation, primarily by nonnative annuals such 
as Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass) and Taeniatherum caput-medusae 
(medusahead). Nonnative annuals provide inconsistent forage quality for 
southern Idaho ground squirrels compared to native vegetation. Although 
their habitat is degraded, squirrels have been at a peak in their 
population cycle for the past several years and are well distributed 
throughout most of their historical range, which has led to an increase 
in gene flow among populations. Additionally, based on a Geographic 
Information Systems analysis, we found that the fire-return interval of 
80 years has not changed and falls within the range of historical 
levels.
    The 2001 listing petition cited rapid urban development as a threat 
to southern Idaho ground squirrels; however, very little urban 
development has occurred in the range of the squirrel in the past 14 
years. Although urban development will likely occur in the future, we 
are not aware of any large-scale development plans at this time.
    Recreational shooting and other direct killing of southern Idaho 
ground squirrels is being regulated and monitored. Authorized control 
actions and trapping/translocation efforts in areas where local 
abundance is high results in a temporary decrease of the local 
population, but not the extermination of the population. Competition 
with Columbian ground squirrels does not result in a substantial impact 
to the species due to limited overlap in their distributions. Climate 
change models predict increased temperatures that could have both 
positive and possibly negative effects on squirrels, and we do not have 
enough information at this time to determine what the actual impact, if 
any, will be on this species, although we note there is evidence that 
southern Idaho ground squirrels may be phenotypically plastic, similar 
to other species, which should enable them to adapt more readily to a 
changing climate through changes such as earlier emergence from their 
burrows.
    A programmatic Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances 
(CCAA) was completed for this species in 2005 and contains conservation 
measures that minimize ground-disturbing activities, allow for the 
investigation of methods to restore currently degraded habitat, provide 
for additional protection to southern Idaho ground squirrels from 
recreational shooting and other direct killing on enrolled lands, and 
allow for the translocation of squirrels to or from enrolled lands, if 
necessary. The acreage enrolled through the programmatic CCAA 
encompasses approximately 9 percent of the known range of the species. 
A more recent CCAA is expected to be completed by the fall of 2015.
    Therefore, despite changes in habitat conditions and localized 
stressors (agricultural control, competition), squirrels continue to 
persist throughout the majority of their historical range and 
populations appear stable. Although we recognize that current 
conditions do not provide ideal habitat for the species, we anticipate 
that southern Idaho ground squirrels will continue to demonstrate 
resilience and persist in these degraded habitat conditions in the 
future.

Finding

    Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial 
information pertaining to the five factors, we find that the stressors 
acting on the species and its habitat are not of such imminence, 
intensity, or magnitude to indicate that the southern Idaho ground 
squirrel is in danger of extinction (an endangered species), or likely 
to become endangered within the foreseeable future (a threatened 
species), throughout all of its range. We also found no portion of its 
range where the stressors are significantly concentrated or 
substantially greater than in any other portion of its range. 
Therefore, we find that listing the southern Idaho ground squirrel as a 
threatened species or an endangered species is not warranted throughout 
all or a significant portion of its range at this time, and we have 
removed it from candidate status.

Tahoe Yellow Cress (Rorippa Subumbellata)

Previous Federal Actions

    The Act directed the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution to 
prepare a report on endangered and threatened plant species, which was 
published as House Document No. 94-51. We published a notice in the 
Federal Register on July 1, 1975 (40 FR 27823), in which we announced 
that we would review more than 3,000 native plant species named in the 
Smithsonian's report and other species added by the 1975 notice for 
possible addition to the List of Endangered and Threatened Plants. 
Tahoe yellow cress was one of those species. In the September 27, 1985, 
Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR) (50 FR 39526; supplementary 
information page 18), Tahoe yellow cress was added to the candidate 
list as a category 3C species. Category 3C species were those species 
that were proven to be more abundant or widespread than previously 
believed or those that are not subject to identifiable threats. In the 
September 30, 1993, CNOR (58 FR 51184), we changed the candidate status 
to category 1: Category 2 species were those species for which listing 
as endangered or threatened species was possibly appropriate, but for 
which biological information sufficient to support a proposed rule was 
lacking In the February 28, 1996, CNOR (61 FR 7612), we no longer 
recognized category 1 and 2 species as candidates and, therefore, most 
of those species, including Tahoe yellow cress, were removed from 
candidate status.
    On December 27, 2000, we received a petition from the Southwest 
Center for Biological Diversity requesting the Tahoe yellow cress be 
listed as an endangered species with critical habitat. On December 27, 
2004 (69 FR 77167), we published a notice of resubmitted petition 
findings including the Tahoe yellow cress. In that document, we 
announced the change of LPN from 2 to 8. In subsequent annual CNOR 
publications, we maintained our determination of LPN of 8 for this 
species.

Summary of Status Review

    Tahoe yellow cress is a member of the mustard family (Brassicaceae) 
known only from the shores of Lake Tahoe in California and Nevada. The 
species is a low-growing, herbaceous perennial with yellow flowers. 
Flowering and fruiting occurs between late May and late October.
    Tahoe yellow cress is well adapted to its dynamic shorezone 
environment and is capable of recolonizing sites after periods of 
inundation. This ability is evident by the demonstrated natural 
fluctuations in the number of Tahoe yellow cress that coincide with 
lake elevation and available habitat. Since 2001, the population 
numbers (number of stems) have ranged from a low of approximately 4,500 
stems in 2006 (high lake level year (1,898-meter (m) elevation)) to 
more than 30,000 stems in

[[Page 60849]]

2014 (low lake level (1,897 m)). At this time, the most significant 
stressor to Tahoe yellow cress and its habitat is recreational 
activities on public beaches and adjacent habitat around the shore of 
Lake Tahoe; however, impacts from this stressor are being addressed by 
ongoing management actions that include fencing, signage, and adherence 
to beach-raking guidelines on public lands. Beach raking on private 
lands remains a concern, because guidelines are voluntary and cannot be 
enforced. However, this stressor is not of such magnitude as to present 
a population-level risk to the species. Impacts from shorezone 
development are being effectively managed by ongoing and effective 
implementation of applicable shorezone ordinances.
    Since 1999, the Adaptive Management Working Group has developed and 
implemented conservation actions for Tahoe yellow cress. A conservation 
strategy coupled with a memorandum of understanding/conservation 
agreement (MOU/CA) between numerous Federal, State, and local agencies 
and environmental organizations has been implemented to address the 
stressor to Tahoe yellow cress. The MOU/CA was again signed in 2013 for 
a period of 10 years, and an updated conservation strategy is expected 
in 2015. An annual monitoring plan is in place, and propagation, 
transplanting, and translocation strategies have been examined and 
successfully initiated. Based on the successful track record of 
numerous parties implementing these conservation actions together, we 
conclude that ongoing implementation of those actions is managing and 
avoiding or mitigating identified impacts.

Finding

    Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial 
information pertaining to the five factors, we find that the stressors 
acting on the species and its habitat are not of sufficient imminence, 
intensity, or magnitude to indicate that Tahoe yellow cress is in 
danger of extinction (an endangered species), or likely to become 
endangered within the foreseeable future (a threatened species), 
throughout all of its range. Because the distribution of the species is 
limited to the shoreline areas of Lake Tahoe and stressors are similar 
throughout the species' range, we found no concentration of stressors 
that suggests that Tahoe yellow cress may be in danger of extinction in 
any portion of its range. Therefore, we find that listing Tahoe yellow 
cress as a threatened species or as an endangered species throughout 
all of or a significant portion of its range is not warranted at this 
time, and consequently we are removing it from candidate status.

6 Tennessee Cave Beetles: Baker Station (=Insular) Cave Beetle 
(Pseudanophthalmus Insularis); Coleman Cave Beetle (Pseudanophthalmus 
Colemanensis); Fowler's Cave Beetle (Pseudanophthalmus Fowlerae); 
Indian Grave Point (=Soothsayer) Cave Beetle (Pseudanophthalmus 
Tiresias); Inquirer Cave Beetle (Pseudanophthalmus Inquisitor); and 
Noblett's Cave Beetle (Pseudanophthalmus Paulus)

Previous Federal Actions

    The Service provided notification letters of status review for the 
Noblett's Cave beetle on June 22, 1990, and for the Fowler's Cave 
beetle, inquirer cave beetle, Baker Station Cave beetle, Noblett's Cave 
beetle, and Indian Grave Point Cave beetle on November 8, 1993. These 
letters were provided to species experts, representatives of resource 
agencies, and other interested parties to request information and 
comments regarding potential listing of the species as endangered 
species or threatened species.
    Fowler's Cave beetle, inquirer cave beetle, Baker Station Cave 
beetle, Noblett's Cave beetle, and Indian Grave Point Cave beetle were 
added to the Federal list of candidate species in the 1991 Candidate 
Notice of Review (CNOR) (56 FR 58804) as category 2 species. Category 2 
species were those species for which listing as an endangered species 
or a threatened species was possibly appropriate, but for which 
biological information sufficient to support a proposed rule was 
lacking. The category 2 status of these five species was confirmed in 
1994 (59 FR 58982). However, the February 28, 1996, CNOR (61 FR 7596) 
discontinued recognition of category 1 and 2 species, so the Fowler's 
Cave beetle, inquirer cave beetle, Baker Station Cave beetle, Noblett's 
Cave beetle, and Indian Grave Point Cave beetle were no longer 
considered candidate species after that date.
    The Service received a petition from the Center for Biological 
Diversity and others, dated May 4, 2004, to list as endangered species, 
225 species, including the inquirer cave beetle, and to designate 
critical habitat for the species. The Service received another petition 
on May 11, 2004, to list eight cave beetles, including the inquirer 
cave beetle. The Service had already determined, in the October 30, 
2001, CNOR that the inquirer cave beetle was a candidate for listing 
(66 FR 54808), and therefore, we did not need to issue a new 90-day or 
12-month finding in response to the petition. The Coleman Cave beetle, 
Fowler's Cave beetle, Baker Station Cave beetle, Indian Grave Point 
Cave beetle, and Noblett's Cave beetle became candidates for listing in 
the May 4, 2004, CNOR (69 FR 24876).
    On April 20, 2010, the Center for Biological Diversity and others 
petitioned the Service to list as threatened or endangered 404 species, 
including the Coleman Cave beetle, and to designate critical habitat 
for those species. Because this species was already a candidate for 
listing, we were not required to issue a new 90-day or 12-month finding 
in response to the petition.
    Each of the six species addressed in this finding has been included 
by the Service in every CNOR since the petitions were received in 2004, 
as species for which listing is warranted but precluded by higher 
priority listing actions.
    The 2011 Multi-District Litigation (MDL) settlement agreement 
specified that the Service will systematically, over a period of 6 
years, review and address the needs of 251 candidate species to 
determine if they should be added to the Federal Lists of Endangered 
and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. The six beetle species included in 
this finding were on that list of candidate species. This finding 
completes the Service's requirements under the MDL agreement with 
respect to these six beetle species.

Summary of Status Review

    The six species are small (3 to 8 millimeters in length) predatory 
cave beetles that occupy moist habitats containing organic matter 
transported from sources outside the inhabited caves. Members of the 
Pseudanophthalmus genus vary in rarity from fairly widespread species 
that are found in many caves, to species that are extremely rare and 
commonly restricted to only one cave or, at most, two or three caves. 
The six beetles addressed by this finding are found entirely within 
Tennessee, and two of the species (i.e., inquirer cave beetle and 
Noblett's Cave beetle) are currently known from only one cave. Fowler's 
Cave beetle and Indian Grave Point Cave beetle are known to occur in 
two caves; Baker Station Cave beetle has been documented from three 
caves; and the Coleman Cave beetle is known from four caves and a 
possible fifth. Surveys conducted during a status update for the six 
cave beetles during the period 2013-2015 resulted in findings of three 
of the beetles that had not been seen in decades (i.e., Fowler's Cave 
beetle,

[[Page 60850]]

Baker Station Cave beetle, and Noblett's Cave beetle). Although usually 
zero to three individuals of any of the six species are found during 
most surveys, 97 Coleman Cave beetles were also found during a 2013 
site visit.
    Various populations of the six cave beetles were historically 
believed to have been subjected to stressors such as water quality 
impacts associated with a landfill, erosion due to construction, 
livestock operations, various aspects of human visitation of caves, and 
possible impacts to cave food webs resulting from interruption of 
organic energy inputs. The greatest potential stressors to the beetles 
appear recently to have been human trampling of beetles and their 
habitats, curtailing the input of organic materials to caves, 
excavation of cave habitats, and predation. However, actual impacts 
from these potential sources appear to be minimal. We have no 
information indicating that these stressors are adversely affecting the 
species at this time, either individually or cumulatively, at a level 
that warrants their listing under the Act.
    Abatement of stressors has been initiated for the Coleman Cave 
beetle, Fowler's Cave beetle, and inquirer cave beetle through 
development of cooperative management agreements (CMAs) with private 
landowners and coordination between State property managers, 
nongovernmental organizations, and the Service. Implementation of CMAs 
is likely resulting in reduction of the impacts of potential stressors 
to these three beetles. However, our not-warranted finding is not based 
on the implementation of these voluntary efforts. For the Baker Station 
Cave beetle, Indian Grave Point Cave beetle, and Noblett's Cave beetle, 
the stressors appear minimal.
    There has been a perception since the 1960s that population trends 
of the six beetles could possibly be decreasing, but that perception is 
likely due in part to the low level of survey effort expended for these 
species and difficulty in collecting them. The recent evidence of 
continued persistence of these species, in conjunction with the lack of 
evidence that stressors are negatively affecting these cave beetles, 
lead us to conclude that these species are more stable than previously 
thought.

Finding

    Based on our review of the best available scientific and commercial 
information pertaining to the five factors, we find that the stressors 
acting on the species and its habitat are not of sufficient imminence, 
intensity, or magnitude to conclude that the Coleman Cave beetle, 
Fowler's Cave beetle, inquirer cave beetle, Baker Station Cave beetle, 
Indian Grave Point Cave beetle, or Noblett's Cave beetle are in danger 
of extinction (endangered species), or likely to become endangered 
within the foreseeable future (threatened species), throughout all of 
their respective ranges. We evaluated the current range of the six 
beetles to determine if there is any apparent geographic concentration 
of stressors for any of the species. The six beetles have relatively 
small ranges that are limited to the local cave systems where they are 
currently found. We examined potential stressors including human 
visitation, livestock grazing, commercial and residential development, 
disease, predation, and sources of water quality impairment. We found 
no concentration of stressors that suggests that any of these six 
species of cave beetles may be in danger of extinction in a portion of 
their respective ranges. Therefore, we find that listing the Coleman 
Cave beetle, Fowler's Cave beetle, inquirer cave beetle, Baker Station 
Cave beetle, Indian Grave Point Cave beetle, or Noblett's Cave beetle 
as threatened species or endangered species throughout all or a 
significant portion of their respective ranges is not warranted at this 
time, and consequently we are removing Coleman Cave beetle, Fowler's 
Cave beetle, inquirer cave beetle, Baker Station Cave beetle, Indian 
Grave Point Cave beetle, and Noblett's Cave beetle from candidate 
status.

New Information

    We request that you submit any new information concerning the 
status of, or stressors to, the American eel, Cumberland arrow darter, 
the Great Basin distinct population segment of the Columbia spotted 
frog, Goose Creek milkvetch, Nevares spring bug, Page springsnail, 
Ramshaw meadows sand-verbena, Sequatchie caddisfly, Shawnee darter, 
Siskiyou mariposa lily, Sleeping ute milkvetch, Southern Idaho ground 
squirrel, Tahoe yellow cress, and six Tennessee cave beetles (Baker 
Station, Coleman, Fowler's, Indian Grave Point, inquirer, and Noblett's 
cave beetles) to the appropriate person, as specified under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT, whenever it becomes available. New information 
will help us monitor these species and encourage their conservation. If 
an emergency situation develops for any of these species, we will act 
to provide immediate protection.

References Cited

    Lists of the references cited in the petition findings are 
available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov and upon 
request from the appropriate person, as specified under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT.

Author(s)

    The primary author(s) of this notice are the staff members of the 
Branch of Listing, Ecological Services Program.

Authority

    The authority for this section is section 4 of the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: September 23, 2015.
 Gary Frazer,
Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-25058 Filed 10-7-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4333-15-P