Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day and 12-Month Findings on a Petition To List the Miami Tiger Beetle as an Endangered or Threatened Species; Proposed Endangered Species Status for the Miami Tiger Beetle, 79533-79554 [2015-31982]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 245 / Tuesday, December 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules agency, it must meet the information quality standards set forth in the OMB and DOT Data Quality Act guidelines. Accordingly, we encourage you to consult the guidelines in preparing your comments. OMB’s guidelines may be accessed at http://www.whitehouse.gov/ omb/fedreg_reproducible. DOT’s guidelines may be accessed at http:// dmses.dot.gov/submit/DataQuality Guidelines.pdf. Privacy Act: Anyone is able to search the electronic form of all comments received into any of our dockets by the name of the individual submitting the comment (or signing the comment, if submitted on behalf of an association, business, labor union, etc.). You may review DOT’s complete Privacy Act Statement in the Federal Register published on April 11, 2000 (65 FR 19477–78) or you may visit http:// www.regulations.gov. How can I be sure that my comments were received? 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Please note that even after the comment closing date, we will continue to file relevant information in the Docket as it becomes available. Further, some people may submit late comments. Accordingly, we recommend that you periodically check the Docket for new material. Authority: 49 U.S.C. 30111, 30168; delegation of authority at 49 CFR 1.95 and 501.8. Terry Shelton, Associate Administrator for the National Center for Statistics and Analysis. [FR Doc. 2015–32005 Filed 12–21–15; 8:45 am] Will the agency consider late comments? BILLING CODE 4910–59–P We will consider all comments that Docket Management receives before the close of business on the comment closing date indicated above under DATES. To the extent possible, we will also consider comments that Docket Management receives after that date. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:12 Dec 21, 2015 Jkt 238001 PO 00000 Frm 00047 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 79533 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17 [Docket No. FWS–R4–ES–2015–0164; 4500030113] RIN 1018–BA16 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day and 12-Month Findings on a Petition To List the Miami Tiger Beetle as an Endangered or Threatened Species; Proposed Endangered Species Status for the Miami Tiger Beetle Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Proposed rule; notice of 90-day and 12-month findings. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to list the Miami tiger beetle (Cicindelidia floridana) as an endangered species throughout its range under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). If we finalize this rule as proposed, it would extend the Act’s protections to this species. This document also serves as the 90day and 12-month findings on a petition to list the species as an endangered or threatened species. DATES: Written Comments: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before February 22, 2016. Comments submitted electronically using the Federal eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES, below) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date. We have scheduled a public hearing for January 13, 2016 (see Public Hearing, below). SUMMARY: You may submit comments by one of the following methods: (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS–R4–ES–2015–0164, which is the docket number for this rulemaking. Then, in the Search panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, click on the Proposed Rules link to locate this document. You may submit a comment by clicking on ‘‘Comment Now!’’ (2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R4–ES–2015– 0164, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803. We request that you send comments only by the methods described above. We will post all comments on http:// ADDRESSES: E:\FR\FM\22DEP1.SGM 22DEP1 79534 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 245 / Tuesday, December 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see Public Comments, below, for more information). (3) Public Hearing: Comments received at the public hearing held on January 13, 2016 at Miami Dade College—Kendall Campus, Building 6000, 11011 SW. 104th Street, Miami, Florida 33176–3396 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Roxanna Hinzman, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, South Florida Ecological Services Office, 1339 20th Street, Vero Beach, FL 32960; by telephone 772–562–3909; or by facsimile 772–562–4288. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Executive Summary Why we need to publish a rule. Under the Act, if we determine that a species is an endangered or threatened species throughout all or a significant portion of its range, we must publish a proposed rule to list the species in the Federal Register and make a determination on our proposal within 1 year. Listing a species as an endangered or threatened species can only be completed by issuing a rule. This rule proposes the listing of the Miami tiger beetle (Cicindelidia floridana) as an endangered species. This rule assesses all available information regarding the status of and threats to the Miami tiger beetle. The basis for our action. Under the Act, we may determine that a species is an endangered or threatened species based on any of 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 have determined that the threats to the Miami tiger beetle consist of habitat loss, degradation, fragmentation, and proposed future development of habitat (Factor A); collection, trade, and sale (Factor B); inadequate protection from existing regulatory mechanisms (Factor D); and a small isolated population with a restricted geographical range, limited genetic exchange, and restricted dispersal potential that is subject to demographic and environmental VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:12 Dec 21, 2015 Jkt 238001 stochasticity, including climate change and sea level rise (Factor E). We will seek peer review. We will invite independent specialists (peer reviewers) to comment on our listing proposal to ensure that it is based on scientifically sound data, assumptions, and analyses. Information Requested Public Comments We intend that any final action resulting from this proposed rule will be based on the best scientific and commercial data available and be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we request comments or information from other concerned governmental agencies, Native American tribes, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested parties concerning this proposed rule. We particularly seek comments concerning: (1) The Miami tiger beetle’s biology, range, population trends, and habitat, including: (a) Biological or ecological requirements of the species, including habitat requirements for feeding, breeding, and sheltering; (b) Taxonomy, including genetic information; (c) Historical and current range, including distribution patterns and dispersal distances; (d) Historical and current range or distribution, including the locations of any additional occurrences of the beetle, population levels, current and projected population trends, and viability; (e) Past and ongoing conservation measures for the species, its habitat, or both; (f) Survey methods appropriate to detect trends in tiger beetle population distribution and abundance; and (g) The use of previously undocumented or altered habitat types (e.g., use of road edges and fire breaks), especially in areas that may not be burned regularly. (2) Factors that may affect the continued existence of the species, which may include habitat modification or destruction, overutilization (e.g., collection, sale, or trade), disease, predation, the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms, or other natural or manmade factors. (3) Biological, commercial trade, or other relevant data concerning any threats (or lack thereof) to the species and existing regulations that may be addressing those threats. (4) Current or planned activities in the areas occupied by the species and possible impacts of these activities on the species. PO 00000 Frm 00048 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 (5) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes, including information regarding over-collection at permitted sites, evidence of collection or collection rates in general, and recreational or commercial trade and sale. (6) The following specific information on: (a) The amount and distribution of habitat for the Miami tiger beetle; (b) Any occupied or unoccupied areas that are essential for the conservation of the species and why; (c) Special management considerations or protections that may be needed for the essential features in potential critical habitat areas, including managing for the potential effects of climate change. Please include sufficient information with your submission (such as scientific journal articles or other publications) to allow us to verify any scientific or commercial information you include. Because we will consider comments and all other information we receive during the public comment period, our final determination may differ from this proposal. Please note that submissions merely stating support for or opposition to the action under consideration without providing supporting information, although noted, will not be considered in making a determination, as section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) directs that determinations as to whether any species is an endangered or threatened species must be made ‘‘solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available.’’ You may submit your comments and materials concerning this proposed rule by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. We request that you send comments only by the methods described in the ADDRESSES section. If you submit information via http:// www.regulations.gov, your entire submission—including any personal identifying information—will be posted on the Web site. If your submission is made via a hardcopy that includes personal identifying information, you may request at the top of your document that we withhold this information from public review. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. We will post all hardcopy submissions on http://www.regulations.gov. Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation we used in preparing this proposed rule, will be available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, or by appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife E:\FR\FM\22DEP1.SGM 22DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 245 / Tuesday, December 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules findings on the petition to list the Miami tiger beetle. Service, South Florida Ecological Services Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Public Hearing Section 4(b)(5) of the Act provides for one or more public hearings on this proposal, if requested. A public hearing will be held on January 13, 2016 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Miami Dade College—Kendall Campus, Building 6000, 11011 SW 104th Street, Miami, Florida 33176–3396. rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Peer Review In accordance with our joint policy with the National Marine Fisheries Service on peer review published in the Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we are seeking expert opinions of appropriate and independent specialists regarding this proposed rule. The purpose of peer review is to ensure that our proposed listing actions are based on scientifically sound data, assumptions, and analyses. The peer reviewers have expertise in insect biology, habitat, physical or biological factors, and so forth, which will inform our determination. We invite comment from these peer reviewers during this public comment period. Previous Federal Actions In 2013, we began assessing the status and threats to the Miami tiger beetle and considering the need to add the beetle to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. On December 11, 2014, we received a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), the Miami Blue Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association, South Florida Wildlands Association, Tropical Audubon Society, Sandy Koi, Al Sunshine, and Chris Wirth requesting that the Miami tiger beetle be emergency listed as endangered, and that critical habitat be designated under the Act (CBD et. al. 2014, entire). The petition clearly identified itself as such and included the requisite identification information for the petitioner, as required by title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at section 424.14(a) (50 CFR 424.14(a)). In a February 13, 2015, letter to the petitioners, we acknowledged receipt of the petition and stated that although we determined that emergency listing was not warranted, we would review the petitioned request for listing. The Service’s review concluded that listing was warranted, and that we should proceed in an expeditious manner with the proposed listing of the species under the Act. Therefore, this document also constitutes, in addition to the proposed listing, both our 90-day and 12-month VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:12 Dec 21, 2015 Jkt 238001 Background Species Description The Miami tiger beetle is an elongate beetle with an oval shape and bulging eyes, and is one of the smallest (6.5–9.0 millimeters (mm) (0.26–0.35 inches (in))) tiger beetles in the United States (Knisley 2015a, p. 3; 2015b, p. 3). The underside of the abdomen is orange to orange-brown in color like many other Cicindelidia species (Pearson 1988, p. 134; Knisley 2015a, p. 3; Knisley 2015b, p. 3). The Miami tiger beetle is uniquely identified by the shiny dark green dorsal surface, sometimes with a bronze cast and, without close examination in the field, may appear black; the pair of green hardened forewings covering the abdomen (elytra) have reduced white markings (maculations) consisting only of a small patch at the posterior tip of each elytron (Brzoska et al. 2011, pp. 2– 6). As is typical of other tiger beetles, adult Miami tiger beetles are active diurnal predators that use their keen vision to detect movement of small arthropods and run quickly to capture prey with their well-developed jaws (mandibles). Observations by various entomologists indicate small arthropods, especially ants, are the most common prey for tiger beetles. Choate (1996, p. 2) indicated ants were the most common prey of tiger beetles in Florida. Willis (1967, pp. 196–197) lists over 30 kinds of insects from many families as prey for tiger beetles, and scavenging is also common in some species (Knisley and Schultz 1997, pp. 39, 103). Tiger beetle larvae have an elongate, white, grub-like body and a dark or metallic head with large mandibles. Larvae are sedentary sit-and-wait predators occurring in permanent burrows flush with the ground surface (Essig 1926, p. 372; Essig 1942, p. 532; Pearson 1988, pp. 131–132). When feeding, larvae position themselves at the burrow mouth and quickly strike at and seize small arthropods that pass within a few centimeters (cm) of the burrow mouth (Essig 1942, pp. 531–532; Pearson 1988, p. 132). An enlarged dorsal portion of the fifth abdominal segment, with two pairs of hooks, anchors the larvae into its permanent burrow while the upper portion of the body extends to capture prey (Pearson 1988, p. 127; Choate 1996, p. 2). Larvae prey on small arthropods, similar to adults. PO 00000 Frm 00049 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 79535 Taxonomy The Miami tiger beetle (Cicindelidia floridana Cartwright) is a described species in the Subfamily Cicindelinae of the Family Carabidae (ground beetles). Previously, tiger beetles were considered a separate family, but are now classified as a subfamily of the family Carabidae on the basis of recent genetic studies and other characters (Bousquet 2012, p. 30). The Miami tiger beetle is in the C. abdominalis group that also includes the eastern pinebarrens tiger beetle (C. abdominalis), scrub tiger beetle (C. scabrosa), and Highlands tiger beetle (C. highlandensis). New treatments of tiger beetles (Bousquet 2012, p. 30; Pearson et al. 2015, p. 138) have also elevated most of the previous subgenera of tiger beetles to genera, resulting in a change of the genus of the tiger beetles in the C. abdominalis group from Cicindela to Cicindelidia. These genera were originally proposed by Rivalier (1954, entire) and are widely used by European scientists (Wiesner 1992, entire), but are considered subgenera by many American scientists. The return to Rivalier’s system has also been supported by a new study using genetic evidence (Duran and Gwiazdowski, in preparation). The four species in the Cicindelidia abdominalis group all share a small body size (7–11 mm (0.28–0.43 in) long) and orange underside, and they occur in inland sandy habitats. The four beetles maintain separate ranges along the U.S. east coast and exhibit a significant gradient in range size: The eastern pinebarrens tiger beetle occurs from New York south along the coastal plain to north Florida; the scrub tiger beetle is present throughout much of peninsular Florida, south to Ft. Lauderdale; the Highlands tiger beetle is restricted to the Lake Wales Ridge of Highlands and Polk Counties, Florida; and the Miami tiger beetle is found only in Miami-Dade County, Florida. The Miami tiger beetle was first documented from collections made in 1934, by Frank Young (see Distribution, below). There were no observations after this initial collection, and the species was thought to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 2007, at the Zoo Miami Pine Rockland Preserve in Miami-Dade County. The rediscovery of a Miami tiger beetle population provided additional specimens to the 1934 collection and prompted a full study of its taxonomic status, which elevated it to a full species, Cicindelidia floridana (Brzoska et al. 2011, entire). The Miami tiger beetle is distinguished from the three other E:\FR\FM\22DEP1.SGM 22DEP1 rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 79536 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 245 / Tuesday, December 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules species of the abdominalis group based on: (1) Morphology (color, maculation (spots or markings), and elytral (modified front wing) microsculpture); (2) distribution; (3) habitat requirements; and (4) seasonality (Brzoska et al. 2011, entire; Bousquet 2012, p. 313; Pearson et al. 2015, p. 138). This array of distinctive characters is comparable to the characters used to separate the other three species of the C. abdominalis group. Although color is often variable and problematic as a sole diagnostic trait in tiger beetles, it is useful when combined with other factors (Brzoska et al. 2011, p. 4). In comparison with the closely related scrub tiger beetle, the Miami tiger beetle has a green or bronze-green elytra, rarely with a post median marginal spot, and without evidence of a middle band, while the scrub tiger beetle has a black elytra, with a post median marginal spot, usually with a vestige of a middle band (Brzoska et al. 2011, p. 6) (see Brzoska et al. 2011 for detailed description, including key). There are also noticeable differences in the width of the apical lunule (crescent shape), with the Miami tiger beetle’s being thin and the scrub tiger beetle’s medium to thick. In addition, the Miami tiger beetle has a narrower, restricted range where its distribution does not overlap with the other three species in the C. abdominalis group (i.e., the Miami tiger beetle has only been documented in Miami-Dade County). The Miami tiger beetle also occupies a unique habitat type (i.e., pine rockland versus scrub or open sand and barren habitat). Lastly, the Miami tiger beetle has a broader period of adult activity than the ‘‘late spring to mid-summer’’ cycle that is observed in the scrub tiger beetle (Brzoska et al. 2011, p. 6) (see also Distribution, Habitat, and Biology sections, below). Adult Miami tiger beetles have been observed from early May through mid-October; this is an unusually long flight period that suggests either continual emergence or two emergence periods (Brzoska et al. 2011, p. 6). In summary, the Miami tiger beetle is recognized as a distinct full species, based upon its differences in morphology, distribution, habitat, and seasonality (Brzoska et al. 2011, entire; Bousquet 2012, p. 313; Pearson et al. 2015, p. 138). Genetic analyses for the Miami tiger beetle to date are limited to one nonpeer-reviewed study, and available techniques (e.g., genomics, which can better study the process of speciation) are evolving. A limited genetic study using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) suggested that the eastern pinebarrens VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:12 Dec 21, 2015 Jkt 238001 tiger beetle, Highlands tiger beetle, scrub tiger beetle, and Miami tiger beetle are closely related and recently evolved (Knisley 2011a, p. 14). As with other similar Cicindela groups, these three sister species were not clearly separable by mtDNA analysis alone (Knisley 2011a, p. 14). The power of DNA sequencing for species resolution is limited when species pairs have very recent origins, because in such cases new sister species will share alleles for some time after the initial split due to persistence of ancestral polymorphisms, incomplete lineage sorting, or ongoing gene flow (Sites and Marshall 2004, pp. 216–221; McDonough et al. 2008, pp. 1312–1313; Bartlett et al. 2013, pp. 874– 875). Changing sea levels and coincidental changes in the size of the land mass of peninsular Florida during the Pleistocene Era (2.6 million years ago to 10,000 years ago) is thought to be the key factor in the very recent evolutionary divergence and speciation of the three Florida species from C. abdominalis (Knisley 2015a, p. 5; Knisley 2015b, p. 4). Despite the apparent lack of genetic distinctiveness from the one non peer-reviewed, limited genetic study, tiger beetle experts and peer-reviewed scientific literature agree that based on the morphological uniqueness, geographic separation, habitat specialization, and extended flight season, the Miami tiger beetle warrants species designation (Brzoska et al. 2011, entire; Bousquet 2012, p. 313; Pearson et al. 2015, p. 138). The most current peer-reviewed scientific information confirms that Cicindelidia floridana is a full species, and this taxonomic change is used by the scientific community (Brzoska et al. 2011, entire; Bousquet 2012, p. 313; Pearson et al. 2015, p. 138; Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), 2015, p. 1). One source researched for the Miami tiger beetle’s taxonomic designation is the ITIS, which was created by a White House Subcommittee on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics to provide scientifically credible taxonomic information and standardized nomenclature on species. The ITIS is partnered with Federal agencies, including the Service, and is used by agencies as a source for validated taxonomic information. The ITIS recognizes the Miami tiger beetle as a valid species (ITIS, 2015, p. 1). Both the ITIS (2015, p. 1) and Bousquet (2012, p. 313) continue to use the former genus, Cicindela (see discussion above). The Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI) (2015, p. 16) and NatureServe (2015, p. 1) also accept the Miami tiger beetle’s taxonomic status as a species PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 and use the new generic designation, Cicindelidia. In summary, although there is some debate about the appropriate generic designation (Cicindelidia versus Cicindela) based upon the best available scientific information, the Miami tiger beetle is a valid species. Distribution Historical Range The historical range of the Miami tiger beetle is not completely known, and available information is limited based on the single historical observation prior to the species’ rediscovery in 2007. It was initially documented from collections made in 1934, by Frank Young within a very restricted range in the northern end of the Miami Rock Ridge, in a region known as the Northern Biscayne Pinelands. The Northern Biscayne Pinelands, which extend from the city of North Miami south to approximately SW 216th Street, are characterized by extensive sandy pockets of quartz sand, a feature that is necessary for the Miami tiger beetle (see Habitat section, below) (Service 1999, p. 3–162). The type locality (the place where the specimen was found) was likely pine rockland habitat, though the species is now extirpated from the area (Knisley and Hill 1991, pp. 7, 13; Brzoska et al. 2011, p. 2; Knisley 2015a, p. 7). The exact location of the type locality in North Miami was determined by Rob Huber, a tiger beetle researcher who contacted Frank Young in 1972. Young recalled collecting the type specimens while searching for land snails at the northeast corner of Miami Avenue and Gratigny Road (119th Street), North Miami. Huber checked that location the same year and found that a school had been built there. A more thorough search for sandy soil habitats throughout that area found no potential habitat (Knisley and Hill 1991, pp. 7, 11–12). Although the contact with Young did not provide habitat information for the type locality, a 1943 map of habitats in the Miami area showed pine rockland with sandy soils reaching their northern limit in the area of the type locality (Knisley 2015a, p. 27), and Young’s paper on land snails made reference to pine rockland habitat (Young 1951, p. 6). Recent maps, however, show that the pine rockland habitat has been mostly developed from this area, and remaining pine rockland habitat is mostly restricted to MiamiDade County owned sites in south Miami (Knisley 2015a, p. 7). In summary, it is likely that the Miami tiger beetle historically occurred E:\FR\FM\22DEP1.SGM 22DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 245 / Tuesday, December 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS throughout pine rockland habitat on the Miami Rock Ridge. Current Range The Miami tiger beetle was thought to be extinct until 2007, when a population was discovered at the Richmond Heights area of south Miami, Florida, known as the Richmond Pine Rocklands (Brzoska et al. 2011, p. 2; Knisley 2011a, p. 26). The Richmond Pine Rocklands is a mixture of publically and privately owned lands that retain the largest area of contiguous pine rockland habitat within the urbanized areas of Miami-Dade County and outside of the boundaries of Everglades National Park (ENP). Surveys and observations conducted at Long Pine Key in ENP have found no Miami tiger beetles, and habitat conditions are considered unsuitable for the species (Knisley 2015a, p. 42; J. Sadle, 2015, pers. comm.). At this time, known extant occurrences are found on four contiguous sites of pine rockland habitat in the Richmond Pine Rocklands: (1) Zoo Miami Pine Rockland Preserve (Zoo Miami) (293 hectares (ha); 723 acres (ac)), (2) Larry and Penny Thompson Park (121 ha; 300 ac), (3) U.S. Coast Guard property (USCG) (96 ha; 237 ac), and (4) University of Miami’s Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing property (CSTARS) (31 ha; 76 ac). Most recently (September 2015), Miami tiger beetles were found outside of and within approximately 5.0 km (3.1 mi) of the four Richmond Pine Rockland parcels listed above. Based on historical records, current occurrences, and habitat needs of the species (see Habitat section, below), the current range of the species is considered to be any pine rockland habitat (natural or disturbed) within the Miami Rock Ridge (Knisley 2015a, p. 7; CBD et al. 2014, pp. 13–16, 31–32). The Miami tiger beetle is extremely rare and only known to occur in two separate locations within pine rockland habitat in Miami-Dade County. The Richmond population occurs on four contiguous parcels within the Richmond Pine Rocklands: Zoo Miami, Larry and Penny Thompson Park, CSTARS, and USCG. The second location, which was recently identified, is within approximately 5.0 km (3.1 mi) of the Richmond population and separated by urban development (D. Cook, 2015, pers. comm.). Miami tiger beetles within the four contiguous occupied parcels in the Richmond population are within close proximity to each other. There are apparent connecting patches of habitat and few or no barriers (contiguous and border each other on at least one side) VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:12 Dec 21, 2015 Jkt 238001 between parcels. Given the contiguous habitat with few barriers to dispersal, frequent adult movement among individuals is likely, and the occupied Richmond parcels probably represent a single population (Knisley 2015a, p. 10). Information regarding Miami tiger beetles at the new location is very limited, but beetles here are within approximately 5.0 km (3.1 mi) of the Richmond population and separated by ample urban development, which likely represents a significant barrier to dispersal, and the Miami tiger beetles at the new location are currently considered a second population. The Richmond population occurs within an approximate 2 square kilometer (km2) (494 ac) block, but currently much of the habitat is overgrown with vegetation, leaving few remaining open patches for the beetle. Survey data documented a decline in the number of open habitat patches, and Knisley (2015a, pp. 9–10) estimated that less than 10 percent of the mostly pine rockland habitat within this area supports the species in its current condition. Habitat Based on surveys to date, the Miami tiger beetle is found exclusively on the Miami Rock Ridge within the urbanized areas of Miami-Dade County and outside the boundaries of ENP (Knisley 2015a, pp. 6–7). This area extends from the ENP boundary, near the Park entrance road, northeast approximately 72 km (45 miles (mi)) to its end near North Miami. The pine rocklands are a unique ecosystem found on limestone substrates in three areas in Florida: The Miami Rock Ridge, the Florida Keys, and the Big Cypress Swamp. The pine rocklands differ to some degree between and within these three areas with regard to substrate (e.g., amount of exposed limestone, type of soil), elevation, hydrology, and species composition (both plant and animal). Pine rockland occurs on relatively flat terrain, approximately 2.0–7.0 m (6.5– 23.0 ft) above sea level with an average elevation of approximately 3.0 m (9.8 ft) (Service 1999, p. 3–167; FNAI 2010, p. 62). On the Miami Rock Ridge, oolitic limestone is at or very near the surface, and solution holes occasionally form where the surface limestone is dissolved by organic acids. There is typically very little soil development, consisting primarily of accumulations of lownutrient sand, marl, clayey loam, and organic debris found in solution holes, depressions, and crevices on the limestone surface (FNAI 2010, p. 62). However, sandy pockets can be found at the northern end of the Miami Rock PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 79537 Ridge, beginning from approximately the city of North Miami Beach and extending south to approximately to SW 216 Street (Service 1999, p. 3–162). These microhabitat parameters (e.g., bare patches of sandy soil) are absent or limited throughout most of the extant pine rockland habitat (URS et al. 2007, p. 5). Pine rockland has an open canopy of South Florida slash pine, generally with multiple age classes. The diverse, open shrub and subcanopy layer is composed of more than 100 species of palms and hardwoods (FNAI 2010, p. 1), most derived from the tropical flora of the West Indies (FNAI 2010, p. 1). These vegetative layers and habitat conditions (e.g., canopy height, percent cover, density) change depending upon fire frequency, fire intensity, and other factors. Plant composition includes species such as Serenoa repens (saw palmetto), Sabal palmetto (cabbage palm), Coccothrinax argentata (silver palm), Thrinax morrisii (brittle thatch palm), Morella cerifera. (wax myrtle), Myrsine floridana (myrsine), Metopium toxiferum (poisonwood), Byrsonima lucida (locustberry), Dodonaea viscosa (varnishleaf), Tetrazygia bicolor (tetrazygia), Guettarda scabra (rough velvetseed), Ardisia escallonioides (marlberry), Mosiera longipes (mangrove berry), Sideroxylon salicifolium (willow bustic), and Rhus copallinum (winged sumac). Short-statured shrubs include Quercus pumila (running oak), Randia aculeata (white indigoberry), Crossopetalum ilicifolium (Christmas berry), Morinda royoc (redgal), and Chiococca alba (snowberry). Grasses, forbs, and ferns make up a diverse herbaceous layer ranging from mostly continuous in areas with more soil development and little exposed rock to sparse where more extensive outcroppings of rock occur. Typical herbaceous species include Andropogon spp., S. rhizomatum, and S. sanguineum (bluestems), Aristida purpurascens (arrowleaf threeawn), Sorghastrum secundum (lopsided indiangrass), Muhlenbergia capillaris (hairawn muhly), Rhynchospora floridensis (Florida white-top sedge), Tragia saxicola (pineland noseburn), Echites umbellatus (devil’s potato), Croton linearis (pineland croton), several species of Chamaesyce spp. (sandmats), Chamaecrista fasciculata (partridge pea), Zamia pumila (coontie), Anemia adiantifolia (maidenhair pineland fern), Pteris bahamensis (Bahama brake), and Pteridium var. caudatum (lacy bracken) (FNAI 2010, p. 1). Pine rockland habitat is maintained by regular fire, and is susceptible to other natural disturbances such as E:\FR\FM\22DEP1.SGM 22DEP1 79538 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 245 / Tuesday, December 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS hurricanes, frost events, and sea-level rise (SLR) (Ross et al. 1994, p. 144). Fires historically burned on an interval of approximately every 3 to 7 years (FNAI 2010, p. 3), and were typically started by lightning strikes during the frequent summer thunderstorms (FNAI 2010, p. 3). Presently, prescribed fire must be periodically introduced into pine rocklands to sustain community structure, prevent invasion by woody species, maintain high herbaceous diversity (Loope and Dunevitz 1981, pp. 5–6; FNAI 2010, p. 3), and prevent succession to rockland hammock. The amount of woody understory growth is directly related to the length of time since the last fire (FNAI 2010, p. 3). Herbaceous diversity declines with time since the last fire. The ecotone between pine rockland and rockland hammock is abrupt when regular fire is present in the system. However, when fire is removed, the ecotone becomes more gradual and subtle as hammock hardwoods encroach into the pineland (FNAI 2010, p. 3). The lifecycle of the Miami tiger beetle occurs entirely within the pine rocklands. Adult Miami tiger beetles require patches of open sandy areas within the pine rocklands for behavioral thermoregulation (avoiding or seeking sources of heat to regulate body temperature) so that they can successfully capture small arthropod prey (Knisley 2015a, p. 8). They are visual hunters that use keen eyesight to locate and rapid movement to capture small arthropods. Females oviposit (lay eggs) in these same bare patches (Knisley 2015a, p. 8). The larvae, which are sit-and-wait predators, can capture prey and complete development in sandy areas, without interference from encroaching vegetation (Knisley 2015a, p. 8). At most of the remaining pine rockland sites on the Miami Rock Ridge, bare patches of sandy soil are absent or limited (URS et al. 2007, p. 5) (see ‘‘Microhabitat,’’ below). Microhabitat Microhabitat conditions are not completely understood, due in part to few known occurrences and limited surveys at some parcels. At the Zoo Miami parcel, which was most thoroughly surveyed, adults and larvae were restricted to a small number of scattered patches of bare ground. The patches were small, typically 2 to 6 square meters (m2) (22 to 65 square feet (ft2)) in size and ovoid to linear in shape with encroaching and overhanging vegetation around the edges and with 15–30 percent ground cover of leaf, grass, and plant litter (Knisley 2015a, p. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:12 Dec 21, 2015 Jkt 238001 8). Patches smaller than 2 to 6 m2 (22– 65 ft2) typically had no adults (Knisley 2015a, p. 8). Some of the more linear patches were apparent current or past trails or paths, possibly maintained by animal activity. Soil in these open patches where adults and larvae were found was classified as sandy to loamy sand with primarily very fine (0.130 mm (0.005 in)) to medium grain (0.50 mm (0.02 in)), white to gray colored sand with less than 5 percent organic matter (Knisley 2011a, p. 32). Soil depth was 15.24 cm or more (6.00 in), and moist below the surface (Knisley 2015a, p. 8). This microhabitat is different from that used by either the Highlands or scrub tiger beetles, which in Florida are typically found in much larger, naturally open patches among the vegetation (usually greater than 25 m2 (269 ft2)) or along open paths, roads, and scrub edges (Knisley 2015a, p. 8). The sand for these other species is also white ‘‘sugar’’ sand, which is very deep, drier, and with less organic matter mixed in (Knisley 2015a, pp. 8–9). Biology In tiger beetles, the adult female determines the habitat and microhabitat of the larva by the selection of an oviposition (egg-laying) site (Knisley and Schultz 1997, p. 28). Generally, the same microhabitats are occupied by both larvae and adults. Females will often touch the soil with the antennae, bite it, and even dig trial holes, possibly to determine suitable soil characteristics (Willis 1967, p. 194) before placing a single egg into a shallow oviposition burrow (1 to 2 cm (0.39 to 0.79 in)) dug into the soil with the ovipositor. The egg hatches, apparently after sufficient soil wetting, and the first instar larvae digs a burrow at the site of oviposition. Development in tiger beetles includes three larval instars followed by a pupal and adult stage. In most species of tiger beetles, development requires 2 years, but can range from 1 to 4 or more years depending on climate and food availability. The life cycle of most tiger beetles in the United States follows either a summer or spring-fall adult activity pattern (Knisley and Schultz 1997, pp. 19–21). These life cycles patterns all indicate the length of the adult flight season is typically 2 to 3 months, but the life span of individual adults is likely to be less. Based on available information, the Miami tiger beetle appears to have only limited dispersal abilities. Among tiger beetles there is a general trend of decreasing flight distance with decreasing body size (Knisley and Hill 1996, p. 13). The Miami tiger beetle is one of the smallest tiger beetles (less PO 00000 Frm 00052 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 than half an inch in length); it is likely to be a weak flier based on its size and the limited flight distance of the closely related Highlands tiger beetle (usually flying only 5–10 m (16.4–32.8 ft)) (Knisley and Hill 2013, p. 39). Additionally, tiger beetle species in woodland, scrub, or dune habitats seem to disperse less than water edge species, and this could further explain the apparent limited dispersal of the species (Knisley and Hill 1996, p. 13). Evidence for longer distance dispersal has been reported for some tiger beetle species, but these are generally larger, coastal species that occupy more widespread habitats and use frequent winds or coastal storms to aid in dispersal. For example, a dispersal distance of 160 km (99 mi) was reported for the s-banded tiger beetle (Cicindelidia trifasciata), a coastal mud flat species, that was found in light traps on offshore oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico (Graves 1981, pp. 45–47). Similarly, extensive mark and recapture studies of the northeastern beach tiger beetle (Cicindela dorsalis), a water edge species approximately twice the size of the Miami tiger beetle, found that the majority of marked adults moved 2 km (1.2 mi) or less, but a few individuals moved over 15–30 km (9–19 mi), some of which required crossing open water (Service 1993, pp. 15–17). Dispersal by storms is unknown to occur in the Miami tiger beetle, and is unlikely to be a successful dispersal strategy as the species is only known to occur in a narrowly distributed habitat type (i.e., remaining pine rocklands) that is interspersed among unsuitable habitat and mixed land uses within a restricted geographical range. As a group, tiger beetles occupy ephemeral habitats where local extinction from habitat loss or degradation is common, so dispersal to establish new populations in distant habitat patches is a likely survival strategy for most species (Knisley 2015b, p. 10). Limited dispersal capabilities and other constraints (e.g., few populations, limited numbers, and barriers created by intervening unsuitable habitat), however, can disrupt otherwise normal metapopulation dynamics and contribute to imperilment. Results of monthly surveys at the Zoo Miami parcel in 2009, and additional late summer and fall surveys through 2014, indicated the adult flight period for the Miami tiger beetle ranges from May 15 through October 17 (Knisley 2015a, p. 5). No adults were found during an April 18 survey, meaning emergence had not yet occurred (Knisley 2015a, p. 6). In 2009, only two adults were found on September 2, E:\FR\FM\22DEP1.SGM 22DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 245 / Tuesday, December 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS either because conditions were not ideal (although they seemed to be suitable) or activity may have ended earlier in the year. In 2014, some adults were active on September 10 and 30, but not on October 14. This 5-month long adult flight period is unusual in tiger beetles and is much longer than the seasonality of the other three species in the C. abdominalis group with ranges in Florida (Knisley 2015a, p. 6). There is no clear explanation for the long adult flight period of the Miami tiger beetle, but it is possible that there are two cohorts of Miami tiger beetle adults emerging during this period (Knisley 2015a, p. 6). Adults emerging in May and June would mate, oviposit, and produce larvae that could develop and emerge as a second cohort of adults in late July and August as the earlier cohort of adults were dying off. Larvae from these later active adults would develop through fall and winter, emerging as adults the following May. The rapid completion of development within 2 months would not be unusual given the small size of this species and the continually warm temperatures in south Florida (Knisley 2015a, p. 6). Rate of development is likely increased during the summer rainy season when prey is more abundant (Knisley 2015a, p. 6). Population Estimates and Status The visual index count is the standard survey method that has been used to determine presence and abundance of the Miami tiger beetle. Using this method, surveyors either walk slowly or stand still in appropriate open habitats, while taking a count of any beetle observations. Although the index count has been the most commonly used method to estimate the population size of adult tiger beetles, various studies have demonstrated it significantly underestimates actual numbers present. As noted earlier, several studies comparing various methods for estimating adult tiger beetle abundance have found numbers present at a site are typically 2 to 3 times higher than that produced by the index count (Knisley and Schultz 1997, p. 15; Knisley 2009, entire; Knisley and Hill 2013, pp. 27, 29; S. Spomer, 2014, pers. comm.). Numbers are underestimated because tiger beetles are elusive, and some may fly off before being detected while others may be obscured by vegetation in some parts of the survey area. Even in defined linear habitats like narrow shorelines where there is no vegetation and high visibility, index counts produce estimates that are 2 to 3 times lower than the numbers present (Knisley and Schultz 1997, p. 152). VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:12 Dec 21, 2015 Jkt 238001 Information on the Richmond population size is limited because survey data are inconsistent, and some sites are difficult to access due to permitting, security, and liability concerns. Of the occupied sites, the most thoroughly surveyed site for adult and larval Miami tiger beetles is the Zoo Miami parcel (over 30 survey dates from 2008 to 2014) (Knisley 2015a, p. 10). Adult beetle surveys at the CSTARS and USCG parcels have been infrequent, and access was not permitted in 2012 through early summer of 2014. In October 2014, access to both the CSTARS and USCG parcels was permitted, and no beetles were observed during October 2014 surveys. As noted earlier, Miami tiger beetles were recently found at Larry and Penny Thompson Park (D. Cook, 2015, pers. comm.); however, thorough surveys at this location have not been conducted. For details on index counts and larval survey results from the three surveyed parcels (Zoo Miami, USCG, and CSTARS), see Table 2 in Supporting Documents on http:// www.regulations.gov. Raw index counts found adults in four areas (Zoo A, Zoo B, Zoo C, and Zoo D) of the Zoo Miami parcel. Two of these patches (Zoo C and Zoo D) had fewer than 10 adults during several surveys at each. Zoo A, the more northern site where adults were first discovered, had peak counts of 17 and 22 adults in 2008 and 2009, but declined to 0 and 2 adults in six surveys from 2011 to 2014, despite thorough searches on several dates throughout the peak of the adult flight season (Knisley 2015, pp. 9–10). Zoo B, located south of Zoo A, had peak counts of 17 and 20 adults from 2008 to 2009, 36 to 42 adults from 2011 to 2012, and 13 and 18 adults in 2014 (Knisley 2015a, pp. 9– 10). These surveys at Zoo A and Zoo B also recorded the number of suitable habitat patches (occupied and unoccupied). Surveys between 2008 and 2014 documented a decline in both occupied and unoccupied open habitat patches. Knisley (2015, pp. 9–10) documented a decrease at Zoo A from 7 occupied of 23 patches in 2008, to 1 occupied of 13 patches in 2014. At Zoo B, there was a decrease from 19 occupied of 26 patches in 2008, to 7 occupied of 13 patches in 2014 (Knisley 2015, pp. 9–10). Knisley (2015a, p. 10) suggested this decline in occupied and unoccupied patches is likely the result of the vegetation that he observed encroaching into the open areas that are required by the beetle. At the CSTARS site, the only survey during peak season was on August 20, 2010, when much of the potential PO 00000 Frm 00053 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 79539 habitat was checked. This survey produced a raw count of 38 adults in 11 scattered habitat patches, with 1 to 9 adults per patch, mostly in the western portion of the site (Knisley 2015a, p. 10). Three surveys at the USCG included only a portion of the potential habitat and produced raw adult counts of two, four, and two adults in three separate patches from 2009, 2010, and 2011, respectively (Knisley 2015a, p. 10). Additional surveys of the CSTARS and the USCG parcels on October 14 to 15, 2014, surveyed areas where adults were found in previous surveys and some new areas; however, no adults were observed. The most likely reasons for the absence of adults were because counts even during the peak of the flight season were low (thus detection would be lower off-peak), and mid-October is recognized as the end of the flight season (Knisley 2014a, p. 2). As was noted for the Zoo Miami sites, habitat patches at the CSTARS and USCG parcels that previously supported adults seemed smaller due to increased vegetation growth, and consequently these patches appeared less suitable for the beetle than in the earlier surveys (Knisley 2015a, p. 10). Surveys of adult numbers over the years, especially the frequent surveys in 2009, did not indicate a bimodal adult activity pattern (Knisley 2015a, p. 10). Knisley (2015a, p. 10) suggests that actual numbers of adult Miami tiger beetles could be 2 to 3 times higher than indicated by the raw index counts. Several studies comparing methods for estimating population size of several tiger beetle species, including the Highlands tiger beetle, found total numbers present were usually more than two times that indicated by the index counts (Knisley and Hill 2013, pp. 27–28). The underestimates from raw index counts are likely to be comparable or greater for the Miami tiger beetle, because of its small size and occurrence in small open patches where individuals can be obscured by vegetation around the edges, making detection especially difficult (Knisley 2015a, p. 10). Surveys for larvae at the Zoo Miami parcel (Zoos A and B) were conducted in several years during January when lower temperatures would result in a higher level of larval activity and open burrows (Knisley and Hill 2013, p. 38) (see Table 2 in Supporting Documents on http://www.regulations.gov). The January 2010 survey produced a count of 63 larval burrows, including 5 first instars, 36 second instars, and 22 third instars (Knisley 2013, p. 4). All burrows were in the same bare sandy patches where adults were found. In March E:\FR\FM\22DEP1.SGM 22DEP1 rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 79540 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 245 / Tuesday, December 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules 2010, a followup survey indicated most second instar larvae had progressed to the third instar (Knisley 2015a, p. 11). Additional surveys to determine larval distribution and relative abundance during January or February in subsequent years detected fewer larvae in section Zoo B: 5 larvae in 2011, 3 larvae in 2012, 3 and 5 larvae in 2013, 3 larvae in 2014, and 15 larvae in 2015 (Knisley 2013, pp. 4–5; Knisley 2015c, p. 1). The reason for this decline in larval numbers (i.e., from 63 in 2010, to 15 or fewer in each survey year from 2011 to 2015) is unknown. Possible explanations are that fewer larvae were present because of reduced recruitment by adults from 2010 to 2014, increased difficulty in detecting larval burrows that were present due to vegetation growth and leaf litter, environmental factors (e.g., temperature, precipitation, predators), or a combination of these factors (Knisley 2015a, pp. 10–11). Larvae, like adults, also require open patches free from vegetation encroachment to complete their development. The January 2015 survey observed vegetation encroachment, as indicated by several of the numbered tags marking larval burrows in open patches in 2010 covered by plant growth and leaf litter (Knisley 2015c, p. 1). No larvae were observed in the January 2015 survey of Zoo A (Knisley 2015c, p. 1). Knisley (2015d, p. 3) reported that the area had been recently burned (midNovember) and low vegetation was absent, resulting in mostly bare ground with extensive pine needle coverage. Surveys for the beetle’s presence outside of its currently known occupied range found no Miami tiger beetles at a total of 42 sites (17 pine rockland sites and 25 scrub sites) throughout MiamiDade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin Counties (Knisley 2015a, pp. 9, 41–45). The absence of the Miami tiger beetle from sites north of Miami-Dade was probably because it never ranged beyond pine rockland habitat of MiamiDade County and into scrub habitats to the north (Knisley 2015a, p. 9). Sites without the Miami tiger beetle in Miami-Dade County mostly had vegetation that was too dense and were lacking the open patches of sandy soil that are needed by adults for oviposition and larval habitat (Knisley 2015a, pp. 9, 41–45). The Miami tiger beetle is considered as one of two tiger beetles in the United States most in danger of extinction (Knisley et al. 2014, p. 93). The viability of the remaining population is unknown, as no population viability analysis is available (B. Knisley, 2015d, pers. comm.). The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:12 Dec 21, 2015 Jkt 238001 (FWC) (2012, p. 89) regarded it as a species of greatest conservation need. The Miami tiger beetle is currently ranked S1 and G1 by the FNAI (2015, p. 16), meaning it is critically imperiled globally because of extreme rarity (5 or fewer occurrences, or fewer than 1,000 individuals) or because of extreme vulnerability to extinction due to some natural or manmade factor. In summary, the overall population size of the Miami tiger beetle is exceptionally small and viability is uncertain. Based upon the index count data to date, it appears that the two populations exist in extremely low numbers (Knisley 2015a, pp. 2, 10–11, 24). Summary of Factors Affecting the Species Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533), and its implementing regulations at 50 CFR part 424, set forth the procedures for adding species to the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Under section 4(a)(1) of the Act, we may list a 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; and (E) other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence. Listing actions may be warranted based on any of the above threat factors, singly or in combination. Each of these factors is discussed below. Factor A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of Its Habitat or Range The Miami tiger beetle is threatened by habitat loss and modification caused by changes in land use and inadequate land management, including the lack of prescribed burns and vegetation (native and nonnative) encroachment (discussed separately below). Habitat loss and modification are expected to continue and increase, affecting any populations on private lands as well as those on protected lands that depend on management actions (i.e., prescribed fire) where these actions could be precluded by surrounding development. Habitat Loss The Miami tiger beetle has experienced substantial destruction, modification, and curtailment of its habitat and range (Brzoska et al. 2011, pp. 5–6; Knisley 2013, pp. 7–8; Knisley 2015a, p. 11). The pine rockland community of south Florida, on which PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 the beetle depends, is critically imperiled globally (FNAI 2013, p. 3). Destruction of the pinelands for economic development has reduced this habitat by 90 percent on mainland south Florida (O’Brien 1998, p. 208). Outside of ENP, only about 1 percent of the Miami Rock Ridge pinelands have escaped clearing, and much of what is left is in small remnant blocks isolated from other natural areas (Herndon 1998, p. 1). The two known populations of the Miami tiger beetle occur within the Richmond Pine Rocklands, on parcels of publicly or privately owned lands that are partially developed, yet retain some undeveloped pine rockland habitat. In the 1940s, the Naval Air Station Richmond was built largely on what is currently the Zoo Miami parcel. Much of the currently occupied Miami tiger beetle habitat on the Zoo Miami parcel was scraped for the creation of runways and blimp hangars (Wirth 2015, entire). The fact that this formerly scraped pine rockland area now provides suitable habitat for the Miami tiger beetle demonstrates the restoration potential of disturbed pine rockland habitat (Possley 2015, entire; Wirth 2015, entire). Any current known or unknown, extant Miami tiger beetle populations or potentially suitable habitat that may occur on private lands or nonconservation public lands, such as elsewhere within the Richmond Pine Rocklands or surrounding pine rocklands, are vulnerable to habitat loss. Miami-Dade County leads the State in gross urban density at 15.45 people per acre (Zwick and Carr 2006, pp. 1, 13), and development and human population growth are expected to continue in the future. By 2025, MiamiDade County is predicted to exceed a population size of over 3 million people (Zwick and Carr 2006, p. 20). This predicted economic and population growth will further increase demands for land, water, and other resources, which will undoubtedly impact the survival and recovery of the Miami tiger beetle. Remaining habitat is at risk of additional losses and degradation. Of high and specific concern are proposed development projects within the Richmond Pine Rocklands (CBD et al. 2014, pp. 19–24). In 2013, plans for potential development on portions of the Zoo Miami and USCG parcels were announced in local newspapers (Munzenrieder 2013, entire) and subsequently advertised through other mechanisms (https://www.miamidade. gov/dpmww/SolicitationDetails.aspx ?Id=Invitation%20To%20 Negotiate%20(ITN) [accessed April 24, E:\FR\FM\22DEP1.SGM 22DEP1 rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 245 / Tuesday, December 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules 2014]). The proposed development is to include the following: Theme park rides; a seasonally opened water park; a 400-room hotel with a Sony Music Theatre performance venue; a 30,000-ft2 (2,787-m2) retail and restaurant village; an entertainment center with movie theaters and bowling; an outdoor area for sports; a landscaped pedestrian and bike path; parking; and a 2.4-km (1.5mi) transportation link that unifies the project’s parts (Dinkova 2014a, p.1). The proposed development will require at least a portion of the USCG parcel, which would occur through purchase or a land swap (Dinkova 2014b, p. 1). The Service notified Miami-Dade County in a December 2, 2014, letter about proposed development concerns with potential impacts to listed, candidate, and imperiled species, including the Miami tiger beetle. Plans for the proposed development on the Zoo Miami and USCG parcels have yet to be finalized, so potential impacts to the Miami tiger beetle and its habitat cannot be fully assessed. However, based upon available information provided to date, it appears that the proposed development will impact suitable or potentially suitable beetle habitat. In July 2014, the Service became aware of another proposed development project on privately owned lands within the Richmond Pine Rocklands. In a July 15, 2014, letter to the proposed developer, the Service named the Miami tiger beetle (along with other federally listed and proposed species and habitats) as occurring within the project footprint, and expressed concern over indirect impacts (e.g., the ability to conduct prescribed fire within the Richmond Pine Rocklands). Based upon applicant plans received in May 2015, the proposed project will contain a variety of commercial, residential, and other development within approximately 138 ac (56 ha) (Ram 2015, p. 4). It is unknown if the Miami tiger beetle occurs on the proposed development site, as only one limited survey has been conducted on a small portion (approximately 1.7 ha (4.3 ac)) of the proposed development area and more surveys are needed. Based upon available information, it appears that the proposed developments will likely impact suitable or potentially suitable beetle habitat, because roughly 33 acres of the proposed development are planned for intact and degraded pine rocklands (Ram 2015, p. 91). The Service has met with the developers to learn more about their plans and address listed, candidate, and imperiled species issues; negotiations are continuing, and a draft habitat VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:12 Dec 21, 2015 Jkt 238001 conservation plan has been developed (Ram 2015, entire). Given the species’ highly restricted range and uncertain viability, any additional losses are significant. Additional development might further limit the ability to conduct prescribed burns or other beneficial management activities that are necessary to maintain the open areas within pine rockland habitat that are required by the beetle. The pattern of public and private ownership presents an urban wildland interface, which is a known constraint for implementing prescribed fire in similar pine rockland habitats (i.e., at National Key Deer Refuge and in southern Miami-Dade County) (Snyder et al. 2005, p. 2; Service 2009, p. 50; 79 FR 47180, August 12, 2014; 79 FR 52567, September 4, 2014). The Florida Department of Forestry has limited staff in Miami-Dade County, and they have been reluctant to set fires for liability reasons (URS 2007, p. 39) (see ‘‘Land Management,’’ below). In summary, given the Miami tiger beetle’s highly restricted range and uncertain viability, any additional losses of habitat within its current range present substantial threats to its survival and recovery. Land Management The threat of habitat destruction or modification is further exacerbated by a lack of adequate fire management (Brzoska et al. 2011, pp. 5–6; Knisley 2013, pp. 7–8; Knisley 2015a, p. 2). Historically, lightning-induced fires were a vital component in maintaining native vegetation within the pine rockland ecosystem, as well as for opening patches in the vegetation required by the beetles (Loope and Dunevitz 1981, p. 5; Slocum et al. 2003, p. 93; Snyder et al. 2005, p. 1; Knisley 2011a, pp. 31–32). Open patches in the landscape, which allow for ample sunlight for thermoregulation, are necessary for Miami tiger beetles to perform their normal activities, such as foraging, mating, and oviposition (Knisley 2011a, p. 32). Larvae also require these open patches to complete their development free from vegetation encroachment. Without fire, successional change from tropical pineland to hardwood hammock is rapid, and displacement of native plants by invasive, nonnative plants often occurs, resulting in vegetation overgrowth and litter accumulation in the open, bare, sandy patches that are necessary for the Miami tiger beetle. In the absence of fire, pine rockland will succeed to tropical hardwood hammock in 20 to 30 years, as thick duff layer accumulates and eventually results in PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 79541 the appearance of humic soils rather than mineral soils (Alexander 1967, p. 863; Wade et al. 1980, p. 92; Loope and Dunevitz 1981, p. 6; Snyder et al. 1990, p. 260). Miami-Dade County has implemented various conservation measures, such as burning in a mosaic pattern and on a small scale, during prescribed burns, to help conserve the Miami tiger beetles and other imperiled species and their habitats (J. Maguire, 2010, pers. comm.). Miami-Dade County Parks and Recreation staff has burned several of its conservation lands on fire return intervals of approximately 3 to 7 years. However, implementation of the county’s prescribed fire program has been hampered by a shortage of resources, logistical difficulties, smoke management, and public concern related to burning next to residential areas (Snyder et al. 2005, p. 2; FNAI 2010, p. 5). Many homes and other developments have been built in a mosaic of pine rockland, so the use of prescribed fire in many places has become complicated because of potential danger to structures and smoke generated from the burns. The risk of liability and limited staff in Miami-Dade County have hindered prescribed fire efforts (URS 2007, p. 39). Nonprofit organizations, such as the Institute for Regional Conservation, have faced similar challenges in conducting prescribed burns, due to difficulties with permitting and obtaining the necessary permissions, as well as hazard insurance limitations (Bradley and Gann 2008, p. 17; G. Gann, 2013, pers. comm.). Few private landowners have the means or desire to implement prescribed fire on their property, and doing so in a fragmented urban environment is logistically difficult and costly (Bradley and Gann 2008, p. 3). Lack of management has resulted in rapid habitat decline on most of the small pine rockland fragments, with the disappearance of federally listed and candidate species where they once occurred (Bradley and Gann 2008, p. 3). Despite efforts to use prescribed fire as a management tool in pine rockland habitat, sites with the Miami tiger beetle are not burned as frequently as needed to maintain suitable beetle habitat. Most of the occupied beetle habitat at MiamiDade County’s Zoo Miami parcel was last burned in January and October of 2007; by 2010, there was noticeable vegetation encroachment into suitable habitat patches (Knisley 2011a, p. 36). The northern portion (Zoo A) of the Zoo Miami site was burned in November 2014 (Knisley 2015c, p. 3). Several occupied locations at the CSTARS E:\FR\FM\22DEP1.SGM 22DEP1 rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 79542 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 245 / Tuesday, December 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules parcel were burned in 2010, but four other locations at CSTARS were last burned in 2004 and 2006 (Knisley 2011a, p. 36). No recent burns are believed to have occurred at the USCG parcel (Knisley 2011a, p. 36). The decline in adult numbers at the two primary Zoo Miami patches (A and B) in 2014 surveys, and the few larvae found there in recent years, may be a result of the observed loss of bare open patches (Knisley 2015a, p. 12; Knisley 2015c, pp. 1–3). Surveys of the CSTARS and USCG parcels in 2014 found similar loss of open patches from encroaching vegetation (Knisley 2015a, p. 13). Alternatives to prescribed fire, such as mechanical removal of woody vegetation are not as ecologically effective as fire. Mechanical treatments do not replicate fire’s ability to recycle nutrients to the soil, a process that is critical to many pine rockland species (URS 2007, p. 39). To prevent organic soils from developing, uprooted woody debris requires removal, which adds to the required labor. The use of mechanical equipment can also damage soils and inadvertently include the removal or trampling of other non-target species or critical habitat (URS 2007, p. 39). Nonnative plants have significantly affected pine rocklands (Bradley and Gann 1999, pp. 15, 72; Bradley and Gann 2005, page numbers not applicable; Bradley and van der Heiden 2013, pp. 12–16). As a result of human activities, at least 277 taxa of nonnative plants have invaded pine rocklands throughout south Florida (Service 1999, p. 3–175). Neyraudia neyraudiana (Burma reed) and Schinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper), which have the ability to rapidly invade open areas, threaten the habitat needs of the Miami tiger beetle (Bradley and Gann 1999, pp. 13, 72). S. terebinthifolius, a nonnative tree, is the most widespread and one of the most invasive species. It forms dense thickets of tangled, woody stems that completely shade out and displace native vegetation (Loflin 1991, p. 19; Langeland and Craddock Burks 1998, p. 54). Acacia auriculiformis (earleaf acacia), Melinis repens (natal grass), Lantana camara (shrub verbena), and Albizia lebbeck (tongue tree) are some of the other nonnative species in pine rocklands. More species of nonnative plants could become problems in the future, such as Lygodium microphyllum (Old World climbing fern), which is a serious threat throughout south Florida. Nonnative, invasive plants compete with native plants for space, light, water, and nutrients, and make habitat conditions unsuitable for the Miami VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:12 Dec 21, 2015 Jkt 238001 tiger beetle, which responds positively to open conditions. Invasive nonnatives also affect the characteristics of a fire when it does occur. Historically, pine rocklands had an open, low understory where natural fires remained patchy with low temperature intensity. Dense infestations of Neyraudia neyraudiana and Schinus terebinthifolius cause higher fire temperatures and longer burning periods. With the presence of invasive, nonnative species, it is uncertain how fire, even under a managed situation, will affect habitat conditions or Miami tiger beetles. Management of nonnative, invasive plants in pine rocklands in Miami-Dade County is further complicated because the vast majority of pine rocklands are small, fragmented areas bordered by urban development. Fragmentation results in an increased proportion of ‘‘edge’’ habitat, which in turn has a variety of effects, including changes in microclimate and community structure at various distances from the edge (Margules and Pressey 2000, p. 248); altered spatial distribution of fire (greater fire frequency in areas nearer the edge) (Cochrane 2001, pp. 1518– 1519); and increased pressure from nonnative, invasive plants and animals that may out-compete or disturb native plant populations. Additionally, areas near managed pine rockland that contains nonnative species can act as a seed source of nonnatives, allowing them to continue to invade the surrounding pine rockland (Bradley and Gann 1999, p. 13). Conservation Efforts To Reduce the Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of Habitat or Range In 2005, the Service funded the Institute for Regional Conservation (IRC) to facilitate restoration and management of privately owned pine rockland habitats in Miami-Dade County. This initiative included prescribed burns, nonnative plant control, light debris removal, hardwood management, reintroduction of pines where needed, and development of management plans. The Pine Rockland Initiative includes 10-year cooperative agreements between participating landowners and the Service/IRC to ensure restored areas will be managed appropriately during that time. Although most of these objectives regarding nonnative plant control, creation of fire breaks, removal of excessive fuel loads, and management plans have been achieved, IRC has not been able to conduct the desired prescribed burns, due to logistical difficulties as discussed above (see ‘‘Land Management’’). IRC has recently PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 resolved some of the challenges regarding contractor availability for prescribed burns and the Service has extended IRC’s funding period through August 2016. Results from anticipated fire management restoration activities will be available in the fall of 2016. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (FTBG), with the support of various Federal, State, local, and nonprofit organizations, has established the ‘‘Connect to Protect Network.’’ The objective of this program is to encourage widespread participation of citizens to create corridors of healthy pine rocklands by planting stepping stone gardens and rights-of-way with native pine rockland species, and restoring isolated pine rockland fragments. Although these projects may serve as valuable components toward the conservation of pine rockland species and habitat, they are dependent on continual funding, as well as participation from private landowners, both of which may vary through time. Summary of Factor A We have identified a number of threats to the habitat of the Miami tiger beetle, which have occurred in the past, are impacting the species now, and will continue to impact the species in the future. Habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation, and associated pressures from increased human population, are major threats; these threats are expected to continue, placing the species at greater risk. The species’ occurrence on pine rocklands that are partially protected from development (see ‘‘Local’’ under Factor D, below) tempers some impacts, yet the threat of further loss and fragmentation of habitat remains. Various conservation programs are in place, and while these help to reduce some threats of habitat loss and modification, these programs are limited in nature. In general, available resources and land management activities (e.g., prescribed fire and invasive plant control) on public and private lands are inadequate to prevent modification and degradation of the species’ habitat. Therefore, based on our analysis of the best available information, the present and future loss and modification of the species’ habitat are major threats to the Miami tiger beetle throughout its range. Factor B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or Educational Purposes Collection Rare beetles, butterflies, and moths are highly prized by collectors. Tiger beetles are the subject of more intense collecting and study than any other E:\FR\FM\22DEP1.SGM 22DEP1 rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 245 / Tuesday, December 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules single beetle group (Pearson 1988, pp. 123–124; Knisley and Hill 1992a, p. 9; Choate 1996, p. 1; Knisley et al. 2014, p. 94). Interest in the genus Cicindela (and Cicindelidia) is reflected in a journal entitled ‘‘Cicindela,’’ which has been published quarterly since 1969 and is exclusively devoted to the genus. Tiger beetle collecting and the sale and trade of specimens have increased in popularity in recent years (Knisley et al. 2014, p. 138). Among the professional researchers and many amateurs that collect tiger beetles are individuals that take only small numbers; however, there are also avid collectors who take as many specimens as possible, often for sale or trade. At present, it is estimated that nationally 50 to 100 individuals collect tiger beetles, and approximately 50 individuals are avid collectors (Knisley 2015b, p. 14). Knowledge of and communication with many of these collectors suggest sale and trading of specimens has become much more common in recent years. The increased interest in collecting, along with photographing specimens, seems to have been stimulated in part due to the publication of the tiger beetle field guide (Pearson et al. 2006, entire). Collectors are especially interested in the less common forms, and may have little regard for their conservation (Knisley 2015b, p. 14). There is ample evidence of collectors impacting imperiled and endangered butterflies (Gochfeld and Burger 1997, pp. 208– 209) and even contributing to extirpations (Duffey 1968, p. 94). For example, the federally endangered Mitchell’s satyr (Neonympha mitchellii mitchellii) is believed to have been extirpated from New Jersey due to overcollecting (57 FR 21567, May 20, 1992; Gochfeld and Burger 1997, p. 209). Collection is serious threat to the Miami tiger beetle due to extreme rarity (a factor that increases demand by collectors) and vulnerability (i.e., uncertain status and viability with just two known populations and few individuals). Collection is especially problematic if adults are taken prior to oviposition or from small, isolated, or poor-quality sites. Because no large, high-quality sites are currently known, any collection can have serious ramifications on the survival of the remaining population(s). The recent description of the species did not disclose the exact locations of occurrence, due to concerns with collection (Brzoska et al. 2011, p. 5); however, it is now believed that occurrences at Zoo Miami, USCG, and CSTARS in the Richmond population are fairly well known, especially in the VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:12 Dec 21, 2015 Jkt 238001 tiger beetle collecting community (B. Knisley, 2014b, pers. comm.). We have no specific information on the collection pressure for the Miami tiger beetle, but it is expected to be high based upon what has transpired in comparable situations with other federally listed and imperiled tiger beetles and butterflies both nationwide and in Florida. For example, the federally endangered Ohlone tiger beetle (Cicindela ohlone) was collected from its type locality in California after its description in the scientific literature (66 FR 50340, October 3, 2001) (Knisley 2015a, p. 14). Similarly, overcollection of the Highlands tiger beetle may have contributed to the extirpation of that species from its type locality in Florida (Knisley and Hill 1992a, p. 9). An estimated 500 to 1,000 adult Highlands tiger beetles had been collected at this site during a several year period after its initial discovery (Knisley and Hill 1992a, p. 10). Markets currently exist for tiger beetles. Specimens of two Florida tiger beetles, the Highlands tiger beetle, a federal candidate species, and the scrub tiger beetle are regularly offered for sale or trade through online insect dealers (The Bugmaniac 2015 and eBay 2015). Considering the recent rediscovery of the Miami tiger beetle and concerns regarding its continued existence, the desirability of this species to private collectors is expected to increase, which may lead to similar markets and increased demand. Another reason it is not possible to assess actual impacts from collection is that known occurrences of the Miami tiger beetle are not regularly monitored. Two known occurrences on the USCG and CSTARS parcels are gated and accessible only by permit, so collection from these sites is unlikely unless authorized by the property owners. However, other occupied and potential habitats at neighboring and surrounding areas are much more accessible. Risk of collection is concerning at any location and is more likely at less secure sites. Collection potential at Zoo Miami and other accessible sites is high, in part because it is not entirely gated and only periodically patrolled (B. Knisley, 2014b, pers. comm.). Most of the remaining pine rockland habitat outside of ENP in Miami Dade County is owned by the County or in private ownership and not regularly monitored or patrolled. We consider collection to be a significant threat to the Miami tiger beetle in light of the few known remaining populations, low abundance, and highly restricted range. Even limited collection from the remaining PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 79543 populations could have deleterious effects on reproductive and genetic viability of the species and could contribute to its extinction. Removal of adults early in the flight season or prior to oviposition can be particularly damaging, as it further reduces potential for successful reproduction. A population may be reduced to below sustainable numbers (Allee effect) by removal of females, reducing the probability that new occurrences will be founded. Small and isolated occurrences in poor habitat may be at greatest risk (see Factor E discussion, below) as these might not be able to withstand additional losses. Collectors may be unable to recognize when they are depleting occurrences below the thresholds of survival or recovery (Collins and Morris 1985, pp. 162–165). With regard to scientific research, we do not believe that general techniques used to date have had negative impacts on the species or its habitat. Visual index surveys and netting for identification purposes have been performed during scientific research and conservation efforts with the potential to disturb or injure individuals or damage habitat. Limited collection as part of laboratory rearing studies or taxonomic verification has occurred at some sites, with work authorized by permits. Based on the extreme rarity of the species, various collecting techniques (e.g., pitfall traps, Malaise traps, light traps) for other more general insect research projects should be considered a potential threat. Summary of Factor B Collection interest in tiger beetles, especially rare species, is high, and markets currently exist. While it is not possible to quantify the impacts of collection on the Miami tiger beetle, collection of the Highlands tiger beetle has been documented in large numbers, and collection is currently occurring. The risk of collection of the Miami tiger beetle from both occupied and other potential habitat is high, as some sites are generally accessible and not monitored or patrolled. Due to the few remaining populations, low abundance, and restricted range, we have determined that collection is a significant threat to the species and could potentially occur at any time. Even limited collection from the remaining populations could have negative effects on reproductive and genetic viability of the species and could contribute to its extinction. Factor C. Disease or Predation There is no evidence of disease or pathogens affecting the Miami tiger E:\FR\FM\22DEP1.SGM 22DEP1 rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 79544 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 245 / Tuesday, December 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules beetle, although this threat has not been investigated. Parasites and predators, however, have been found to have significant impacts on adult and larval tiger beetles. In general, parasites are considered to have greater effects on tiger beetles than predators (Nagano 1982, p. 34; Pearson 1988, pp. 136–138). While parasites and predators play important roles in the natural dynamics of tiger beetle populations, the current small size of the Miami tiger beetle populations may render the species more vulnerable to parasitism and predation than historically, when the species was more widely distributed and therefore more resilient. Known predators of adult tiger beetles include birds, lizards, spiders, and especially robber flies (family Asilidae) (Pearson et al. 2006, p. 183). Researchers and collectors have often observed robber flies in the field capturing tiger beetles out of the air. Pearson (1985, pp. 68–69; 1988, p. 134) found tiger beetles with orange abdomens (warning coloration) were preyed upon less frequently than similar-sized tiger beetles without the orange abdomens. His field trials also determined that size alone provided some protection from robber flies, which are usually only successful in killing prey that is smaller than they are. This was the case with the hairy-necked tiger beetle (Cicindela hirticollis) being attacked at a significantly higher rate than the larger northeastern beach tiger beetle in Maryland (Knisley and Hill 2010, pp. 54–55). On the basis of these field studies, it was estimated that robber flies may cause over 50 percent mortality to the hairy-necked tiger beetle and 6 percent to the northeastern beach tiger beetle population throughout the flight season (Knisley and Hill 2010, pp. 54–55). The small body size of the Miami tiger beetle, even with its orange abdomen, suggests it would be susceptible to robber fly attack. No robber flies have been observed during the limited field studies on the Miami tiger beetle; however, they are a common predator of the closely related Highlands tiger beetle (Knisley and Hill 2013, p. 40). In 24 hours of field study, Knisley and Hill (2013, p. 40) observed 22 attacks by robber flies on Highlands tiger beetles, 5 of which resulted in the robber fly killing and consuming the adult beetles. Most predators of adult tiger beetles are opportunistic, feeding on a variety of available prey, and therefore probably have only a limited impact on tiger beetle populations. However, predators, and especially parasites, of larvae are more common and some attack only tiger beetles. Ants are regarded as VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:12 Dec 21, 2015 Jkt 238001 important predators on tiger beetles, and although not well studied, they have been reported having significant impact on first instar larvae of some Arizona tiger beetles (Cicindela spp.) (Knisley and Juliano 1988, p. 1990). A study with the Highlands tiger beetle found ants accounted for 11 to 17 percent of larval mortality at several sites, primarily involving first instars (Knisley and Hill 2013, p. 37). During surveys for the Miami tiger beetle, various species of ants were commonly seen co-occurring in the sandy patches with adults and larvae, but their impact, if any, is unknown at this time. Available literature indicates that the most important tiger beetle natural enemies are tiphiid wasps and bombyliid flies, which parasitize larvae (Knisley and Schultz 1997, pp. 53–57). The wasps enter the larvae burrows, and paralyze and lay an egg on the larvae. The resulting parasite larva consumes the host tiger beetle larva. Bombyliid flies (genus Anthrax) drop eggs into larval burrows with the resulting fly larvae consuming the tiger beetle larva. These parasitoids accounted for 20 to 80 percent mortality in larvae of several northeastern tiger beetles (Pearson and Vogler 2001, p. 172). Parasitism from bombyliid flies accounted for 13 to 25 percent mortality to larvae of the Highlands tiger beetle at several sites (Knisley and Hill 2013, p. 37). Generally, these rates of parasitism are similar to those reported for other species of tiger beetles (Bram and Knisley 1982, p. 99; Palmer 1982, p. 64; Knisley 1987, p. 1198). No tiphiid wasps or bombyliid flies were observed during field studies with the Miami tiger beetle (Knisley 2015a, p. 15); however, tiphiid wasps are small, secretive, and evidence of their attacks is difficult to find (Knisley 2015b, p. 16). Summary of Factor C Potential impacts from predators or parasites to the Miami tiger beetle are unknown. Given the small size of the Miami tiger beetle’s two populations, the species is likely vulnerable to predation and parasitism. Factor D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms Section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act requires the Service to take into account ‘‘those efforts, if any, being made by any State or foreign nation, or any political subdivision of a State or foreign nation, to protect such species. . . .’’ In relation to Factor D, we interpret this language to require the Service to consider relevant Federal, State, and Tribal laws, plans, regulations, and PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 other such mechanisms that may minimize any of the threats we describe in threat analyses under the other four factors, or otherwise enhance conservation of the species. We give strongest weight to statutes and their implementing regulations and to management direction that stems from those laws and regulations. An example would be State governmental actions enforced under a State statute or constitution, or Federal action under statute. Federal The Miami tiger beetle currently has no Federal protective status and has limited regulatory protection in its known occupied and suitable habitat. The species is not known to occur on National Wildlife Refuge or National Park land. The Miami tiger beetle is known to occur on USCG lands within the Richmond Pinelands Complex, and there are limited protection for the species on this property; any USCG actions or decisions that may have an effect on the environment would require consideration and review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). No Federal permit or other authorization is currently needed for potential impacts to known occurrences on county-owned and private land. The Miami tiger beetle could be afforded limited protections from sections 7 and 10 of the Act based on its co-occurrence with listed species or their critical habitat, if applicable, within the Richmond Pine Rocklands, including species such as the Bartram’s scrub-hairstreak butterfly (Strymon acis bartrami), Florida leafwing butterfly (Anaea troglodyta floridalis), Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus), Florida brickell-bush (Brickellia mosieri), Carter’s small-flowered flax (Linum carteri var. carteri), deltoid spurge (Chamaesyce deltoidea ssp. deltoidea), and tiny polygala (Polygala smallii). However, effect determinations and minimization and avoidance criteria for any of these listed species are unlikely to be fully protective to the Miami tiger beetle considering its extreme rarity. The listed species have broader distributions that allow for more flexibility with appropriate conservation measures. In contrast, with only two known populations and few remaining adults, the Miami tiger beetle has a much lower threat tolerance. Although the beetle is not currently federally protected, the Service has met with Miami-Dade County, the USCG, the University of Miami, and potential developers to express our concern regarding listed, proposed, candidate, and imperiled species in the Richmond E:\FR\FM\22DEP1.SGM 22DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 245 / Tuesday, December 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules Pine Rocklands, including the Miami tiger beetle. We have recommended that management and habitat conservation plans include and fully consider this species and its habitat. rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS State The Miami tiger beetle is not currently listed as endangered or threatened by the State of Florida, so there are no existing regulations designated to protect it. The Miami tiger beetle is recognized as a species of greatest conservation need by the FWC (FWC 2012, p. 89). Species of greatest conservation need designation is part of the State’s strategy to recognize and seek funding opportunities for research and conservation of these species, particularly through the State Wildlife Grants program. The list is extensive and, to date, we are unaware of any dedicated funding from this program for the beetle. The Miami tiger beetle is not known to occur on lands owned by the State of Florida; however, not all Stateowned pine rockland parcels have been adequately surveyed. It is possible that some State-owned parcels do provide potentially suitable habitat, and support occurrences of, the Miami tiger beetle. Local In 1984, section 24–49 of the Code of Miami-Dade County established regulation of County-designated Natural Forested Communities (NFCs), which include both pine rocklands and tropical hardwood hammocks. These regulations were placed on specific properties throughout the county by an act of the Board of County Commissioners in an effort to protect environmentally sensitive forest lands. The Miami-Dade County Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources (RER) has regulatory authority over NFCs, and is charged with enforcing regulations that provide partial protection on the Miami Rock Ridge. Miami-Dade Code typically allows up to 20 percent of a pine rockland designated as NFC to be developed, and requires that the remaining 80 percent be placed under a perpetual covenant. In certain circumstances, where the landowner can demonstrate that limiting development to 20 percent does not allow for ‘‘reasonable use’’ of the property, additional development may be approved. NFC landowners are also required to obtain an NFC permit for any work within the boundaries of the NFC on their property. The NFC program is responsible for ensuring that NFC permits are issued in accordance with the limitations and requirements of the code and that appropriate NFC preserves are established and VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:12 Dec 21, 2015 Jkt 238001 maintained in conjunction with the issuance of an NFC permit. The NFC program currently regulates approximately 600 pine rockland or pine rockland/hammock properties, comprising approximately 1,200 ha (3,000 ac) of habitat (J. Joyner, 2013, pers. comm.). When RER discovers unpermitted activities, it takes appropriate enforcement action, and seeks restoration when possible. Because these regulations allows for development of pine rockland habitat, and because unpermitted development and destruction of pine rockland continues to occur, the regulations are not fully effective at protecting against loss of Miami tiger beetles or their potential habitat. Under Miami-Dade County ordinance (section 26–1), a permit is required to conduct scientific research (rule 9) on county environmental lands. In addition, rule 8 of this ordinance provides for the preservation of habitat within County parks or areas operated by the Parks and Recreation Department. The scientific research permitting effectively allows the County to monitor and manage the level of scientific research and collection of the Miami tiger beetle, and the preservation of pine rockland habitat benefits the beetle. Fee Title Properties: In 1990, MiamiDade County voters approved a 2-year property tax to fund the acquisition, protection, and maintenance of environmentally endangered lands (EEL). The EEL Program identifies and secures these lands for preservation. Under this program to date, Miami-Dade County has acquired a total of approximately 255 ha (630 ac) of pine rocklands. In addition, approximately 445 ha (1,100 ac) of pine rocklands are owned by the Miami-Dade County Parks and Recreation Department and managed by the EEL Program, including some of the largest remaining areas of pine rockland habitat on the Miami Rock Ridge outside of ENP (e.g., Larry and Penny Thompson Park, Zoo Miami pinelands, and Navy Wells Pineland Preserve). Summary of Factor D There are some regulatory mechanisms currently in place to protect the Miami tiger beetle and its habitat on non-Federal lands. However, there are no Federal regulatory protections for the Miami tiger beetle, other than the limited protections afforded for listed species and critical habitat that co-occur with the Miami tiger beetle. While local regulations provide some protection, they are generally not fully effective (e.g., NFC PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 79545 regulations allow development of 20 percent or more of pine rockland habitat) or implemented sufficiently (e.g., unpermitted clearing of pine rockland habitat) to alleviate threats to the Miami tiger beetle and its habitat. The degradation of habitat for the Miami tiger beetle is ongoing despite existing regulatory mechanisms. Based on our analysis of the best available information, we find that existing regulatory measures, due to a variety of constraints, are inadequate to fully address threats to the species throughout its range. Factor E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting Its Continued Existence Few, Small, Isolated Populations The Miami tiger beetle is vulnerable to extinction due to its severely reduced range, the fact that only two small populations remain, and the species’ relative isolation. Demographic stochasticity refers to random variability in survival or reproduction among individuals within a population (Shaffer 1981, p. 131). Demographic stochasticity can have a significant impact on population viability for populations that are small, have low fecundity, and are short-lived. In small populations, reduced reproduction or die-offs of a certain ageclass will have a significant effect on the whole population. Although of only minor consequence to large populations, this randomly occurring variation in individuals becomes an important issue for small populations. Environmental stochasticity is the variation in birth and death rates from one season to the next in response to weather, disease, competition, predation, or other factors external to the population (Shaffer 1981, p. 131). For example, drought or predation, in combination with a low population year, could result in extirpation. The origin of the environmental stochastic event can be natural or human-caused. In general, tiger beetles that have been regularly monitored consistently exhibit extreme fluctuations in population size, often apparently due to climatic or other habitat factors that affect recruitment, population growth, and other population parameters. In 20 or more years of monitoring, most populations of the northeastern beach and puritan tiger beetles (Cicindela puritan) have exhibited 2 to 5 or more fold differences in abundance (Knisley 2012, entire). Annual population estimates of the Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle (Cicindela albissima) (have ranged from fewer than 600 to nearly 3,000 adults E:\FR\FM\22DEP1.SGM 22DEP1 rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 79546 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 245 / Tuesday, December 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules over a 22-year period (Gowan and Knisley 2014, p. 124). The Miami tiger beetle has not been monitored as extensively as these species, but in areas where Miami tiger beetles were repeatedly surveyed, researchers found fluctuations that were several fold in numbers (Knisley 2015a, p. 24). While these fluctuations appear to be the norm for populations of tiger beetles (and most insects), the causes and effects are not well known. Among the suggested causes of these population trends are annual rainfall patterns for the Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle (Knisley and Hill 2001, p. 391; Gowan and Knisley 2014, p. 119), and shoreline erosion from storms for the northeastern beach and puritan tiger beetles (Knisley 2011b, p. 54). As a result of these fluctuations, many tiger beetle populations will experience episodic low numbers (bottlenecks) or even local extinction from genetic decline, the Allee effect, or other factors. Given that the Miami tiger beetle is only known from two remaining populations with few adult individuals, any significant decrease in the population size could easily result in extinction of the species. Dispersal and movement of the Miami tiger beetle is unknown, but is considered to be very limited. A limited mark-recapture study with the closely related Highlands tiger beetle found that adult beetles moved no more than 150 m (490 ft), usually flying only 5–10 m (16–33 ft) at a time (Knisley and Hill 2013). Generally, tiger beetles are known to easily move around, so exchange of individuals among separated sites will commonly occur if there are habitat connections or if the sites are within dispersal range—which is not the case with the population structure of the Miami tiger beetle. Species in woodland, scrub, or dune habitats also seem to disperse less than water-edge species (Knisley and Hill 1996, p. 13). Among tiger beetles, there is a general trend of decreasing flight distance with decreasing body size (Knisley and Hill 1996, p. 13). The Miami tiger beetle has a small body size. Given these factors, dispersal may be limited for the Miami tiger beetle. Small, isolated population size was listed as one of several of the threats in the petition received to list the Miami tiger beetle (CBD et. al. 2014, pp. 17, 30). The effects of low population size on population viability are not known for tiger beetles, but population viability analyses for the northeastern beach, puritan, and Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetles determined that stochasticity, specifically the fluctuations in population size, was the main factor accounting for the high risk VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:12 Dec 21, 2015 Jkt 238001 of extinction (Gowan and Knisley 2001, entire; 2005, p. 13; Knisley and Gowan 2009, pp. 13–23). The long-term monitoring of northeastern beach and puritan tiger beetles found that, despite the fluctuations, some small populations with fewer than 50 to 100 adults experienced several fold declines, but persisted (Knisley 2015b, p. 20). Several Highlands tiger beetle sites with fewer than 20 to 50 adults were lost over the past 15–20 years, while several others have persisted during that period (Knisley 2015b, p. 20). Losses may have been due to habitat disturbance or low population size effects. Knisley predicts that the Highlands tiger beetle populations (extinct and extant) are isolated from each other with little chance for dispersal between populations and immigration rescues (B. Knisley, 2015d, pers. comm.). With only two known populations of the Miami tiger beetle, separated by substantial urban development, the potential for immigration rescue is low. Pesticides Pesticides used in and around pine rockland habitat are a potential threat to the Miami tiger beetle through direct exposure to adults and larvae, secondary exposure from insect prey, overall reduction in availability of adult and larval prey, or any combination of these factors. The use of pesticides for agriculture and mosquito control presents potential risks to nontarget insects, especially imperiled insects (EPA 2002, p. 32; 2006a, p. 58; 2006b, p. 44). The negative effect of insecticides on several tiger beetle species was suggested by Nagano (1980, p. 34) and Stamatov (1972, p. 78), although impacts from pesticides do not appear to be well studied in tiger beetles. Efforts to control mosquitoes and other insect pests in Florida have increased as human activity and population size have increased. To control mosquito populations, organophosphate (naled) and pyrethroid (permethrin) adulticides are applied by mosquito control districts throughout south Florida, including Miami-Dade County. These compounds have been characterized as being highly toxic to nontarget insects by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2002, p. 32; 2006a, p. 58; 2006b, p. 44). The use of such pesticides (applied using both aerial and ground-based methods) for mosquito control presents a potential risk to the Miami tiger beetle. In order for mosquito control pesticides to be effective, they must make direct contact with mosquitoes. PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 For this to happen, pesticides are applied using methods to promote drift through the air, so as to increase the potential for contact with their intended target organism. Truck-based permethrin application methods are expected to produce a swath of suspended pesticides approximately 91 m (300 ft) wide (Prentiss 2007, p. 4). The extent of pesticide drift from this swath is dependent on several factors, including wind speed, wind direction, and vegetation density. Hennessey and Habeck (1989, pp. 1–22; 1991, pp. 1–68) and Hennessey et al. (1992, pp. 715– 721) illustrated the presence of mosquito spray residues long after application in habitat of the federally endangered Schaus swallowtail butterfly (Papilio aristodemus ponceanus), as well as the Florida leafwing butterfly (Anaea troglodyta floridalis), Bartram’s scrub-hairstreak butterfly, and other imperiled species. Residues of aerially applied naled were found 6 hours after application in a pineland area that was 750 m (2,460 ft) from the target area; residues of fenthion (an adulticide previously used in the Florida Keys) applied via truck were found up to 50 m (160 ft) downwind in a hammock area 15 minutes after application in adjacent target areas (Hennessey et al. 1992, pp. 715–721). More recently, Pierce (2009, pp. 1–17) monitored naled and permethrin deposition following mosquito control application. Permethrin, applied by truck, was found to drift considerable distances from target areas, with residues that persisted for weeks. Permethrin was detected at concentrations lethal to three butterfly species at a distance of approximately 227 m (745 ft) away from targeted truck routes. Naled, applied by plane, was also found to drift into nontarget areas, but was much less persistent, exhibiting a half-life (time for half of the naled applied to chemically break down) of approximately 6 hours. To expand this work, Pierce (2011, pp. 6–11) conducted an additional deposition study in 2010, focusing on permethrin drift from truck spraying, and again documented low but measurable amounts of permethrin in nontarget areas. In 2009, Bargar (2012, p. 3) conducted two field trials that detected significant naled residues at locations within nontarget areas up to 366 m (1,200 ft) from the edge of zones targeted for aerial applications. After this discovery, the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District recalibrated the on-board model (Wingman, which provides flight guidance and flow rates). Naled deposition was reduced in some E:\FR\FM\22DEP1.SGM 22DEP1 rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 245 / Tuesday, December 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules of the nontarget zones following recalibration (Bargar 2012, p. 3). In addition to mosquito control chemicals entering nontarget areas, the toxic effects of such chemicals to nontarget organisms have also been documented. Lethal effects on nontarget moths and butterflies have been attributed to fenthion and naled in both south Florida and the Florida Keys (Emmel 1991, pp. 12–13; Eliazar and Emmel 1991, pp. 18–19; Eliazar 1992, pp. 29–30). Zhong et al. (2010, pp. 1961–1972) investigated the impact of single aerial applications of naled on the endangered Miami blue butterfly (Cyclargus thomasi bethunebakeri) larvae in the field. Survival of butterfly larvae in the target zone was 73.9 percent, which was significantly lower than in both the drift zone (90.6 percent) and the reference (control) zone (100 percent), indicating that direct exposure to naled poses significant risk to Miami blue butterfly larvae. Fifty percent of the samples in the drift zone also exhibited detectable concentrations, once again exhibiting the potential for mosquito control chemicals to drift into nontarget areas. Bargar (2012, p. 4) observed cholinesterase activity depression, to a level shown to cause mortality in the laboratory, in great southern white (Ascia monuste) and Gulf fritillary butterflies (Agraulis vanillae) exposed to naled in both target and nontarget zones. Based on these studies, it can be concluded that mosquito control activities that involve the use of both aerial and ground-based spraying methods have the potential to deliver pesticides in quantities sufficient to cause adverse effects to nontarget species in both target and nontarget areas. Pesticide drift at a level of concern to nontarget invertebrates (butterflies) has been measured up to approximately 227 m (745 ft) from truck routes (Pierce 2011, pp. 3–5, 7; Rand and Hoang 2010, pp. 14, 23) and 400 m (1,312 ft) from aerial spray zones (Bargar 2012, p. 3). It should be noted that many of the studies referenced above dealt with single application scenarios and examined effects on only one or two butterfly life stages. Under a realistic scenario, the potential exists for exposure to all life stages to occur over multiple applications in a season. In the case of a persistent compound like permethrin, whose residues remain on vegetation for weeks, the potential exists for nontarget species to be exposed to multiple pesticides within a season (e.g., permethrin on vegetation coupled with aerial exposure to naled). Prior to 2015, aerial applications of mosquito control pesticides occurred on VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:12 Dec 21, 2015 Jkt 238001 a limited basis (approximately two to four aerial applications per year since 2010) within some of Miami-Dade County’s pine rockland areas. The Miami tiger beetle is not known to occupy any of these aerial spray zone sites, but any unknown occupied sites could have been exposed, either directly or through drift. The Richmond Pine Rocklands region is not directly treated either aerially or by truck (C. Vasquez, 2013, pers. comm.), so any potential pesticide exposure in this area would be through drift from spray zones adjacent to the Richmond area. Pesticide drift from aerial spray zones to the two known populations of Miami tiger beetles is unlikely, based on the considerable distance from spray zone boundaries to known occurrences of the beetle (estimated minimum distances range from 2.0–3.0 km (1.2–1.9 mi) from the Richmond population and 434 m (0.3 mi) for the second population). In the past, truck-based applications occurred within 227 m (745 ft) of known occupied Miami tiger beetle habitat, a distance under which pesticide drift at a concentration of concern for nontarget invertebrates had been measured (Pierce 2011, pp. 3–5, 7; Rand and Hoang 2010, pp. 14, 23). For the 2015 mosquito season (May through October), MiamiDade Mosquito Control coordinated with the Service to institute 250-m truck-based and 400-m aerial spray buffers around critical habitat for the Bartram’s scrub-hairstreak butterfly, with the exclusion of pine rocklands in the Navy Wells area, which is not known to be occupied by the Miami tiger beetle. These newly implemented buffers will also reduce exposure to any other imperiled species occurring on pine rockland habitat within Bartram’s scrub-hairstreak butterfly critical habitat, such as the Miami tiger beetle. Assuming that the Miami tiger beetle is no more sensitive to pesticide exposure than the tested butterfly species, these spray buffers should avoid adverse impacts to the Miami tiger beetle population. Based on Miami-Dade Mosquito Control’s implementation of spray buffers, mosquito control pesticides are not considered a major threat for the Miami tiger beetle at this time. If these buffers were to change or Miami tiger beetles were found to occur on habitat that is not protected by Bartram’s scrubhairstreak butterfly critical habitat, then the threat of pesticide exposure would have to be reevaluated. Human Disturbance Human disturbance, depending upon type and frequency, may or may not be a threat to tiger beetles or their habitats. PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 79547 Knisley (2011b, entire) reviewed both the negative and positive effects of human disturbances on tiger beetles. Vehicles, bicycles, and human foot traffic have been implicated in the decline and extirpation of tiger beetle populations, especially for species in more open habitats like beaches and sand dunes. The northeastern beach tiger beetle was extirpated throughout the northeast coincidental with the development of recreational use from pedestrian foot traffic and vehicles (Knisley et al. 1987, p. 301). Habroscelimorpha dorsalis media (southeastern beach tiger beetle) was extirpated from a large section of Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland, after the initiation of offhighway vehicle (OHV) use (Knisley and Hill, 1992b, p. 134). Direct mortality and indirect effects on habitat from OHVs have been found to threaten the survival of Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle (Gowan and Knisley 2014, pp. 127–128). However, there are other documented cases of the beneficial effects of these types of disturbances, by creating open areas of habitat for tiger beetles, particularly at sites where vegetation growth has eliminated these open habitat patches (Knisley 2011, pp. 44–45). The Ohlone tiger beetle has been eliminated from nearly all natural grassland areas in Santa Cruz, California, except where pedestrian foot traffic, mountain bike use, or cattle grazing has created or maintained trails and open patches of habitat (Knisley and Arnold 2013, p. 578). Similarly, over 20 species of tiger beetles, including Cicindela decemnotata (Badlands tiger beetle) at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah, are almost exclusively restricted to roads, trails, and similar areas kept open by vehicle use or similar human disturbances (Knisley 2011b, pp. 44–45). Vehicle activity on seldom-used roads may have some negative effect on the Miami tiger beetle (i.e., lethal impacts to adults or larvae or impacts to the habitat), but limited field observations to date indicate that effects are minimal (Knisley 2015a, p. 16). Observations in 2014 at Zoo Miami found a few adults along a little-used road and the main gravel road adjacent to interior patches where adults were more common (Knisley 2015, p. 16). These adults may have dispersed from their primary interior habitat, possibly due to vegetation encroachment (Knisley 2015a, p. 16). Several of the adults at both CSTARS and the USCG parcels were also found along dirt roads that were not heavily used and apparently provided suitable habitat. E:\FR\FM\22DEP1.SGM 22DEP1 79548 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 245 / Tuesday, December 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS The parcels that comprise the two known populations of the Miami tiger beetle are not open to the public for recreational use, so human disturbance is unlikely. For any unknown occurrences of the species, human disturbance from recreational use is a possibility, as some of the remaining pine rockland sites in Miami-Dade County are open to the public for recreational use. Miami-Dade County leads the State in gross urban density at 15.45 people per acre (Zwick and Carr 2006, pp. 1, 13), and development and human population growth are expected to continue in the future. By 2025, Miami-Dade County is predicted to exceed a population size of over 3 million people (Zwick and Carr 2006, p. 20). With the expected future increase in human population and development, there will likely be an increase in the use of recreational areas, including sites with potentially suitable habitat and unknown occurrences of Miami tiger beetles. Projected future increases in recreational use, may increase levels of human disturbance and negatively impact any unknown occurrences of the Miami tiger beetle and their habitat. In summary, vehicular activity and recreational use within the known population of the Miami tiger beetle presents minimal impacts to the species. However, future negative impacts to unknown beetle occurrences on lands open to the public are possible and are expected to increase with the projected future population growth. Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Climatic changes, including sea level rise (SLR), are major threats to Florida, and could impact the Miami tiger beetle and the few remaining parcels of pine rockland habitat left in Miami-Dade County. Our analyses include consideration of ongoing and projected changes in climate. The terms ‘‘climate’’ and ‘‘climate change’’ are defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). ‘‘Climate’’ refers to the mean and variability of different types of weather conditions over time, with 30 years being a typical period for such measurements, although shorter or longer periods also may be used (IPCC 2007a, p. 78). The term ‘‘climate change’’ thus refers to a change in the mean or variability of one or more measures of climate (e.g., temperature or precipitation) that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer, whether the change is due to natural variability, human activity, or both (IPCC 2007a, p. 78). Scientific measurements spanning several decades demonstrate that changes in climate are occurring, and VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:12 Dec 21, 2015 Jkt 238001 that the rate of change has been faster since the 1950s. Based on extensive analyses of global average surface air temperature, the most widely used measure of change, the IPCC concluded that warming of the global climate system over the past several decades is ‘‘unequivocal’’ (IPCC 2007a, p. 2). In other words, the IPCC concluded that there is no question that the world’s climate system is warming. Examples of other changes include substantial increases in precipitation in some regions of the world and decreases in other regions (for these and additional examples, see IPCC 2007a, p. 30; Solomon et al. 2007, pp. 35–54, 82–85). Various environmental changes (e.g., shifts in the ranges of plant and animal species, increasing ground instability in permafrost regions, conditions more favorable to the spread of invasive species and of some diseases, changes in amount and timing of water availability) are occurring in association with changes in climate (see IPCC 2007a, pp. 2–4, 30–33; Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States 2009, pp. 27, 79–88). Results of scientific analyses presented by the IPCC show that most of the observed increase in global average temperature since the mid-20th century cannot be explained by natural variability in climate, and is ‘‘very likely’’ (defined by the IPCC as 90 percent or higher probability) due to the observed increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere as a result of human activities, particularly carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use (IPCC 2007a, pp. 5– 6 and figures SPM.3 and SPM.4; Solomon et al. 2007, pp. 21–35). Further confirmation of the role of GHGs comes from analyses by Huber and Knutti (2011, p. 4), who concluded it is extremely likely that approximately 75 percent of global warming since 1950 has been caused by human activities. Scientists use a variety of climate models, which include consideration of natural processes and variability, as well as various scenarios of potential levels and timing of GHG emissions, to evaluate the causes of changes already observed and to project future changes in temperature and other climate conditions (e.g., Meehl et al. 2007, entire; Ganguly et al. 2009, pp. 11555, 15558; Prinn et al. 2011, pp. 527, 529). All combinations of models and emissions scenarios yield very similar projections of average global warming until about 2030. Although projections of the magnitude and rate of warming differ after about 2030, the overall trajectory of all the projections is one of increased global warming through the PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 end of this century, even for projections based on scenarios that assume that GHG emissions will stabilize or decline. Thus, there is strong scientific support for projections that warming will continue through the 21st century, and that the magnitude and rate of change will be influenced substantially by the extent of GHG emissions (IPCC 2007a, pp. 44–45; Meehl et al. 2007, pp. 760– 764; Ganguly et al. 2009, pp. 15555– 15558; Prinn et al. 2011, pp. 527, 529). In addition to basing their projections on scientific analyses, the IPCC reports projections using a framework for treatment of uncertainties (e.g., they define ‘‘very likely’’ to mean greater than 90 percent probability, and ‘‘likely’’ to mean greater than 66 percent probability; see Solomon et al. 2007, pp. 22–23). Some of the IPCC’s key projections of global climate and its related effects include: (1) It is virtually certain there will be warmer and more frequent hot days and nights over most of the earth’s land areas; (2) it is very likely there will be increased frequency of warm spells and heat waves over most land areas; (3) it is very likely that the frequency of heavy precipitation events, or the proportion of total rainfall from heavy falls, will increase over most areas; and (4) it is likely the area affected by droughts will increase, that intense tropical cyclone activity will increase, and that there will be increased incidence of extreme high sea level (IPCC 2007b, p. 8, table SPM.2). More recently, the IPCC published additional information that provides further insight into observed changes since 1950, as well as projections of extreme climate events at global and broad regional scales for the middle and end of this century (IPCC 2011, entire). Various changes in climate may have direct or indirect effects on species. These may be positive, neutral, or negative, and they may change over time, depending on the species and other relevant considerations, such as interactions of climate with other variables such as habitat fragmentation (for examples, see Franco et al. 2006; IPCC 2007a, pp. 8–14, 18–19; Forister et al. 2010; Galbraith et al. 2010; Chen et al. 2011). In addition to considering individual species, scientists are evaluating possible climate changerelated impacts to, and responses of, ecological systems, habitat conditions, and groups of species; these studies include acknowledgement of uncertainty (e.g., Deutsch et al. 2008; Berg et al. 2009; Euskirchen et al. 2009; McKechnie and Wolf 2009; Sinervo et al. 2010; Beaumont et al. 2011; McKelvey et al. 2011; Rogers and Schindler 2011). E:\FR\FM\22DEP1.SGM 22DEP1 rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 245 / Tuesday, December 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules Many analyses involve elements that are common to climate change vulnerability assessments. In relation to climate change, vulnerability refers to the degree to which a species (or system) is susceptible to, and unable to cope with, adverse effects of climate change, including climate variability and extremes. Vulnerability is a function of the type, magnitude, and rate of climate change and variation to which a species is exposed, its sensitivity, and its adaptive capacity (IPCC 2007a, p. 89; see also Glick et al. 2011, pp. 19–22). There is no single method for conducting such analyses that applies to all situations (Glick et al. 2011, p. 3). We use our expert judgment and appropriate analytical approaches to weigh relevant information, including uncertainty, in our consideration of various aspects of climate change. As is the case with all stressors that we assess, even if we conclude that a species is currently affected or is likely to be affected in a negative way by one or more climate-related impacts, it does not necessarily follow that the species meets the definition of an ‘‘endangered species’’ or a ‘‘threatened species’’ under the Act. If a species is listed as endangered or threatened, knowledge regarding its vulnerability to, and known or anticipated impacts from, climate-associated changes in environmental conditions can be used to help devise appropriate strategies for its recovery. Global climate projections are informative, and, in some cases, the only or the best scientific information available for us to use. However, projected changes in climate and related impacts can vary substantially across and within different regions of the world (e.g., IPCC 2007a, pp. 8–12). Therefore, we use ‘‘downscaled’’ projections when they are available and have been developed through appropriate scientific procedures, because such projections provide higher resolution information that is more relevant to spatial scales used for analyses of a given species (see Glick et al. 2011, pp. 58–61, for a discussion of downscaling). For our analysis for the Miami tiger beetle, downscaled projections are available. According to the Florida Climate Center, Florida is by far the most vulnerable State in the United States to hurricanes and tropical storms (http:// climatecenter.fsu.edu/topics/tropicalweather). Based on data gathered from 1856 to 2008, Klotzbach and Gray (2009, p. 28) calculated the climatological probabilities for each State being impacted by a hurricane or major hurricane in all years over the 152-year VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:12 Dec 21, 2015 Jkt 238001 timespan. Of the coastal States analyzed, Florida had the highest climatological probabilities, with a 51 percent probability of a hurricane (Category 1 or 2) and a 21 percent probability of a major hurricane (Category 3 or higher). From 1856 to 2008, Florida actually experienced more major hurricanes than predicted; out of the 109 hurricanes, 36 were major hurricanes. The most recent hurricane to have major impacts to Miami-Dade County was Hurricane Andrew in 1992. While the species persisted after this hurricane, impacts to the population size and distribution from the storm are unknown, because no surveys were conducted until its rediscovery in 2007. Given the few, isolated populations of the Miami tiger beetle within a location prone to storm influences (located approximately 8 km (5 mi) from the coast), the species is at substantial risk from stochastic environmental events such as hurricanes, storm surges, and other extreme weather that can affect recruitment, population growth, and other population parameters. Other processes to be affected by climate change, related to environmental stochasticity, include temperatures, rainfall (amount, seasonal timing, and distribution), and storms (frequency and intensity). Temperatures are projected to rise from 2–5 degrees Celsius (°C) (3.6–9 degrees Fahrenheit (°F)) for North America by the end of this century (IPCC 2007a, pp. 7–9, 13). Based upon predictive modeling, Atlantic hurricane and tropical storm frequencies are expected to decrease (Knutson et al. 2008, pp. 1–21). By 2100, there should be a 10–30 percent decrease in hurricane frequency. Hurricane frequency is expected to drop, due to more wind shear impeding initial hurricane development. However, hurricane winds are expected to increase by 5–10 percent. This is due to more hurricane energy available for intense hurricanes. These stronger winds will result in damage to the pine rockland vegetation and an increased storm surge (discussed below). In addition to climate change, weather variables are extremely influenced by ˜ other natural cycles, such as El Nino Southern Oscillation, with a frequency of every 4–7 years; solar cycle (every 11 years); and the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation. All of these cycles influence changes in Floridian weather. The exact magnitude, direction, and distribution of all of these changes at the regional level are difficult to project. The long-term record at Key West shows that sea level rose on average 0.229 cm (0.090 in) annually between 1913 and 2013 (National Oceanographic PO 00000 Frm 00063 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 79549 and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 2013, p. 1). This equates to approximately 22.9 cm (9.02 in) over the last 100 years. IPCC (2008, p. 28) emphasized it is very likely that the average rate of SLR during the 21st century will exceed the historical rate. The IPCC Special Report on Emission Scenarios (2000, entire) presented a range of scenarios based on the computed amount of change in the climate system due to various potential amounts of anthropogenic greenhouse gases and aerosols in 2100. Each scenario describes a future world with varying levels of atmospheric pollution, leading to corresponding levels of global warming and corresponding levels of SLR. The IPCC Synthesis Report (2007a, entire) provided an integrated view of climate change and presented updated projections of future climate change and related impacts under different scenarios. Subsequent to the 2007 IPCC Report, the scientific community has continued to model SLR. Recent peer-reviewed publications indicate a movement toward increased acceleration of SLR. Observed SLR rates are already trending along the higher end of the 2007 IPCC estimates, and it is now widely held that SLR will exceed the levels projected by the IPCC (Rahmstorf et al. 2012, p. 1; Grinsted et al. 2010, p. 470). Taken together, these studies support the use of higher end estimates now prevalent in the scientific literature. Recent studies have estimated global mean SLR of 1.0–2.0 m (3.3–6.6 ft) by 2100 as follows: 0.75–1.90 m (2.5–6.2 ft; Vermeer and Rahmstorf 2009, p. 21530), 0.8–2.0 m (2.6–6.6 ft; Pfeffer et al. 2008, p. 1342), 0.9–1.3 m (3.0–4.3 ft; Grinsted et al. 2010, pp. 469–470), 0.6–1.6 m (2.0–5.2 ft; Jevrejeva et al. 2010, p. 4), and 0.5–1.40 m (1.6–4.6 ft; National Research Council 2012, p. 2). All of the scenarios, from small climate change shifts to major changes, indicate negative effects on pine rockland habitat throughout MiamiDade County. Prior to inundation, pine rocklands are likely to undergo habitat transitions related to climate change, including changes to hydrology and increasing vulnerability to storm surge. Hydrology has a strong influence on plant distribution in these and other coastal areas (IPCC 2008, p. 57). Such communities typically grade from salt to brackish to freshwater species. From the 1930s to 1950s, increased salinity of coastal waters contributed to the decline of cabbage palm forests in southwest Florida (Williams et al. 1999, pp. 2056– 2059), expansion of mangroves into adjacent marshes in the Everglades (Ross et al. 2000, pp. 101, 111), and loss E:\FR\FM\22DEP1.SGM 22DEP1 rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 79550 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 245 / Tuesday, December 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules of pine rockland in the Keys (Ross et al. 1994, pp. 144, 151–155). In one Florida Keys pine rockland with an average elevation of 0.89 m (2.9 ft), Ross et al. (1994, pp. 149–152) observed an approximately 65 percent reduction in an area occupied by South Florida slash pine over a 70-year period, with pine mortality and subsequent increased proportions of halophytic (salt-loving) plants occurring earlier at the lower elevations. During this same time span, local sea level had risen by 15.0 cm (6.0 in), and Ross et al. (1994, p. 152) found evidence of groundwater and soil water salinization. Extrapolating this situation to pine rocklands on the mainland is not straightforward, but suggests that similar changes to species composition could arise if current projections of SLR occur and freshwater inputs are not sufficient to prevent salinization. Furthermore, Ross et al. (2009, pp. 471– 478) suggested that interactions between SLR and pulse disturbances (e.g., storm surges) can cause vegetation to change sooner than projected based on sea level alone. Effects from vegetation shifts in the pine rockland habitat on the Miami tiger beetle are unknown, but because the beetle occurs in a narrow range and microhabitat parameters are still being studied, vegetation shifts could cause habitat changes or disturbance that would have a negative impact on beetle recruitment and survival. Alexander (1953, pp. 133–138) attributed the demise of pinelands on northern Key Largo to salinization of the groundwater in response to SLR. Patterns of human development will also likely be significant factors influencing whether natural communities can move and persist (IPCC 2008, p. 57; USCCSP 2008, pp. 7–6). The Science and Technology Committee of the Miami-Dade County Climate Change Task Force (Wanless et al. 2008, p. 1) recognized that significant SLR is a very real threat to the near future for Miami-Dade County. In a January 2008 statement, the committee warned that sea level is expected to rise at least 0.9–1.5 m (3– 5 ft) within this century (Wanless et al. 2008, p. 3). With a 0.9–1.2 m (3–4 ft) rise in sea level (above baseline) in Miami-Dade County: ‘‘Spring high tides would be at about 6 to 7 ft; freshwater resources would be gone; the Everglades would be inundated on the west side of Miami-Dade County; the barrier islands would be largely inundated; storm surges would be devastating; landfill sites would be exposed to erosion contaminating marine and coastal environments. Freshwater and coastal mangrove wetlands will not keep up VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:12 Dec 21, 2015 Jkt 238001 with or offset SLR of 2 ft per century or greater. With a 5-ft rise (spring tides at nearly +8 ft), Miami-Dade County will be extremely diminished’’ (Wanless et al. 2008, pp. 3–4). Drier conditions and increased variability in precipitation associated with climate change are expected to hamper successful regeneration of forests and cause shifts in vegetation types through time (Wear and Greis 2012, p. 39). Although it has not been well studied, existing pine rocklands have probably been affected by reductions in the mean water table. Climate changes are also forecasted to extend fire seasons and the frequency of large fire events throughout the Coastal Plain (Wear and Greis 2012, p. 43). While restoring fire to pine rocklands is essential to the long-term viability of the Miami tiger beetle (see Factor A discussion, above), increases in the scale, frequency, or severity of wildfires could have negative effects on the species (e.g., if wildfire occurs over the entire area occupied by the two known populations during the adult flight season when adults are present). To accommodate the large uncertainty in SLR projections, researchers must estimate effects from a range of scenarios. Various model scenarios developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and GeoAdaptive Inc. have projected possible trajectories of future transformation of the south Florida landscape by 2060, based upon four main drivers: climate change, shifts in planning approaches and regulations, human population change, and variations in financial resources for conservation (Vargas-Moreno and Flaxman 2010, pp. 1–6). The scenarios do not account for temperature, precipitation, or species habitat shifts due to climate change, and no storm surge effects are considered. The current MIT scenarios range from an increase of 0.09–1.00 m (0.3–3.3 ft) by 2060. Based on the most recent estimates of SLR and the data available to us at this time, we evaluated potential effects of SLR using the current ‘‘high’’ range MIT scenario, as well as comparing elevations of remaining pine rockland fragments and extant occurrences of the Miami tiger beetle. The ‘‘high’’ range (or ‘‘worst case’’) MIT scenario assumes high SLR (1.0 m (3.3 ft) by 2060), low financial resources, a ‘business as usual’ approach to planning, and a doubling of human population. Based on this scenario, pine rocklands along the coast in central Miami-Dade County would become inundated. The ‘‘new’’ sea level (1.0 m (3.3 ft) higher) would come up to the edge of pine rockland fragments at the southern end of Miami-Dade PO 00000 Frm 00064 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 County, translating to partial inundation or, at a minimum, vegetation shifts for these pine rocklands. While sea level under this scenario would not overtake other pine rocklands in urban MiamiDade County, including the known locations for the Miami tiger beetle, changes in the salinity of the water table and soils would surely cause vegetation shifts that may negatively impact the viability of the beetle. In addition, many existing pine rockland fragments are projected to be developed for housing as the human population grows and adjusts to changing sea levels under this ‘‘high’’ range (or ‘‘worst case’’) MIT scenario. Actual impacts may be greater or less than anticipated based upon high variability of factors involved (e.g., SLR, human population growth) and assumptions made in the model. When simply looking at current elevations of pine rockland fragments and occurrences of the Miami tiger beetle, it appears that an SLR of 1 m (3.3 ft) will inundate the coastal and southern pine rocklands and cause vegetation shifts largely as described above. SLR of 2 m (6.6 ft) appears to inundate much larger portions of urban Miami-Dade County. The western part of urban Miami-Dade County would also be inundated (barring creation of sea walls or other barriers), creating a virtual island of the Miami Rock Ridge. After a 2-m rise in sea level, approximately 75 percent of the remaining pine rockland would still be above sea level but an unknown percentage of these fragments would be negatively impacted by salinization of the water table and soils, which would be exacerbated due to isolation from mainland fresh water flows. Above 2 m (6.6 ft) of SLR, very little pine rockland would remain, with the vast majority either being inundated or experiencing vegetation shifts. The climate of southern Florida is driven by a combination of local, regional, and global events, regimes, and oscillations. There are three main ‘‘seasons’’: (1) The wet season, which is hot, rainy, and humid from June through October; (2) the official hurricane season that extends 1 month beyond the wet season (June 1 through November 30), with peak season being August and September; and (3) the dry season, which is drier and cooler, from November through May. In the dry season, periodic surges of cool and dry continental air masses influence the weather with short-duration rain events followed by long periods of dry weather. Climate change may lead to increased frequency and duration of severe storms (Golladay et al. 2004, p. 504; McLaughlin et al. 2002, p. 6074; Cook E:\FR\FM\22DEP1.SGM 22DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 245 / Tuesday, December 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules et al. 2004, p. 1015). Hurricanes and tropical storms can modify habitat (e.g., through storm surge) and have the potential to destroy the only known population of the Miami tiger beetle and its suitable habitat. With most of the historical habitat having been destroyed or modified, the two known remaining populations of the beetle are at high risk of extirpation due to stochastic events. Alternative Future Landscape Models and Coastal Squeeze The Miami tiger beetle is anticipated to face major risks from coastal squeeze, which occurs when habitat is pressed between rising sea levels and coastal development that prevents landward movement (Scavia et al. 2002, entire; FitzGerald et al. 2008, entire; Defeo et al. 2009, p. 8; LeDee et al. 2010, entire; Menon et al. 2010, entire; Noss 2011, entire). Habitats in coastal areas (i.e., Charlotte, Lee, Collier, Monroe, MiamiDade Counties) are likely the most vulnerable. Although it is difficult to quantify impacts due to the uncertainties involved, coastal squeeze will likely result in losses in habitat for the beetles as people and development are displaced further inland. rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Summary of Factor E Based on our analysis of the best available information, we have identified a wide array of natural and manmade factors affecting the continued existence of the Miami tiger beetle. The beetle is immediately vulnerable to extinction, due to the effects of few remaining small populations, restricted range, and isolation. Aspects of the Miami tiger beetle’s natural history (e.g., limited dispersal) and environmental stochasticity (including hurricanes and storm surge) may also contribute to imperilment. Other natural (e.g., changes to habitat, invasive and exotic vegetation) and anthropogenic (e.g., habitat alteration, impacts from humans) factors are also identifiable threats. Climate change, sea-level rise, and coastal squeeze are major concerns. Collectively, these threats have occurred in the past, are impacting the species now, and will continue to impact the species in the future. Cumulative Effects From Factors A Through E The limited distribution, small population size, few populations, and relative isolation of the Miami tiger beetle makes it extremely susceptible to further habitat loss, modification, degradation, and other anthropogenic threats. The Miami tiger beetle’s viability at present is uncertain, and its VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:12 Dec 21, 2015 Jkt 238001 continued persistence is in danger, unless protective actions are taken. Mechanisms causing the decline of this beetle, as discussed above, range from local (e.g., lack of adequate fire management, vegetation encroachment), to regional (e.g., development, fragmentation, nonnative species), to global influences (e.g., climate change, SLR). The synergistic effects of threats (such as hurricane effects on a species with a limited distribution consisting of just two known populations) make it difficult to predict population viability now and in the future. While these stressors may act in isolation, it is more probable that many stressors are acting simultaneously (or in combination) on the Miami tiger beetle. Determination We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial information available regarding the past, present, and future threats to the Miami tiger beetle. Habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation have destroyed an estimated 98 percent of the historical pine rockland habitat in Miami-Dade County, with only two known populations remaining. The threat of habitat loss is continuing from development, inadequate habitat management resulting in vegetation encroachment, and environmental effects resulting from climatic change (see discussions under Factors A and E). Due to the restricted range, small population size, few populations, and relative isolation (see Factor E), collection is a significant threat to the species and could potentially occur at any time (see discussions under Factor B). Additionally, the species is currently threatened by a wide array of natural and manmade factors (see Factor E). Existing regulatory mechanisms do not provide adequate protection for the species (see Factor D). As a result, impacts from increasing threats, singly or in combination, are likely to result in the extinction of the species because the magnitude of threats is high. The Act defines an endangered species as any species that is ‘‘in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range’’ and a threatened species as any species ‘‘that is likely to become endangered throughout all or a significant portion of its range within the foreseeable future.’’ We find that the Miami tiger beetle is presently in danger of extinction throughout its entire range based on the severity and immediacy of threats currently affecting the species. The overall range has been significantly impacted because of significant habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation of PO 00000 Frm 00065 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 79551 pine rockland habitat. Newly proposed development is currently threating the only known population of this species. The fragmented nature of Miami-Dade County’s remaining pine rockland habitat and the influx of development around them may preclude the ability to conduct prescribed burns or other beneficial management actions that are needed to prevent vegetation encroachment. The remaining two known, small populations of the Miami tiger beetle appears to occupy relatively small habitat patches, which make the population vulnerable to local extinction from normal fluctuations in population size, genetic problems from small population size, or environmental catastrophes. Limited dispersal abilities in combination with limited habitat may result in local extirpations. Therefore, on the basis of the best available scientific and commercial information, we propose to list the Miami tiger beetle as an endangered species in accordance with sections 3(6) and 4(a)(1) of the Act. We find that a threatened species status is not appropriate for the Miami tiger beetle because of significant habitat loss (i.e., 98 percent of pine rockland habitat in Miami-Dade County) and degradation; the fact that only two known small populations of the species remain; and the imminent threat of large development projects in the Richmond pine rocklands. Under the Act and our implementing regulations, a species may warrant listing if it is endangered or threatened throughout all or a significant portion of its range. The threats to the survival of the species occur throughout the species’ range and are not restricted to any particular significant portion of that range. Accordingly, our assessment and proposed determination apply to the species throughout its entire range. Available Conservation Measures Conservation measures provided to species listed as endangered or threatened under the Act include recognition, recovery actions, requirements for Federal protection, and prohibitions against certain practices. Recognition through listing results in public awareness, and conservation by Federal, State, Tribal, and local agencies; private organizations; and individuals. The Act encourages cooperation with the States and other countries and calls for recovery actions to be carried out for listed species. The protection required by Federal agencies and the prohibitions against certain activities are discussed, in part, below. The primary purpose of the Act is the conservation of endangered and E:\FR\FM\22DEP1.SGM 22DEP1 rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 79552 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 245 / Tuesday, December 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules threatened species and the ecosystems upon which they depend. The ultimate goal of such conservation efforts is the recovery of these listed species, so that they no longer need the protective measures of the Act. Subsection 4(f) of the Act calls for the Service to develop and implement recovery plans for the conservation of endangered and threatened species. The recovery planning process involves the identification of actions that are necessary to halt or reverse the species’ decline by addressing the threats to its survival and recovery. The goal of this process is to restore listed species to a point where they are secure, selfsustaining, and functioning components of their ecosystems. Recovery planning includes the development of a recovery outline shortly after a species is listed and preparation of a draft and final recovery plan. The recovery outline guides the immediate implementation of urgent recovery actions and describes the process to be used to develop a recovery plan. Revisions of the plan may be done to address continuing or new threats to the species, as new substantive information becomes available. The recovery plan also identifies recovery criteria for review of when a species may be ready for downlisting or delisting, and methods for monitoring recovery progress. Recovery plans also establish a framework for agencies to coordinate their recovery efforts and provide estimates of the cost of implementing recovery tasks. Recovery teams (composed of species experts, Federal and State agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and stakeholders) are often established to develop recovery plans. When completed, the recovery outline, draft recovery plan, and the final recovery plan will be available on our Web site (http://www.fws.gov/endangered), or from the South Florida Ecological Services Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Implementation of recovery actions generally requires the participation of a broad range of partners, including other Federal agencies, States, Tribes, nongovernmental organizations, businesses, and private landowners. Examples of recovery actions include habitat restoration (e.g., restoration of native vegetation), research, captive propagation and reintroduction, and outreach and education. The recovery of many listed species cannot be accomplished solely on Federal lands because their range may occur primarily or solely on non-Federal lands. To achieve recovery of this species requires cooperative conservation efforts on VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:12 Dec 21, 2015 Jkt 238001 private, State, and Tribal lands. If the Miami tiger beetle is listed, funding for recovery actions will be available from a variety of sources, including Federal budgets, State programs, and cost share grants for non-Federal landowners, the academic community, and nongovernmental organizations. In addition, pursuant to section 6 of the Act, the State of Florida would be eligible for Federal funds to implement management actions that promote the protection or recovery of the Miami tiger beetle. Information on our grant programs that are available to aid species recovery can be found at: http:// www.fws.gov/grants. Although the Miami tiger beetle is only proposed for listing under the Act at this time, please let us know if you are interested in participating in recovery efforts for this species. Additionally, we invite you to submit any new information on this species whenever it becomes available and any information you may have for recovery planning purposes (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Section 7(a) of the Act requires Federal agencies to evaluate their actions with respect to any species that is proposed or listed as an endangered or threatened species and with respect to its critical habitat, if any is designated. Regulations implementing this interagency cooperation provision of the Act are codified at 50 CFR part 402. Section 7(a)(4) of the Act requires Federal agencies to confer with the Service on any action that is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a species proposed for listing or result in destruction or adverse modification of proposed critical habitat. If a species is listed subsequently, section 7(a)(2) of the Act requires Federal agencies to ensure that activities they authorize, fund, or carry out are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the species or destroy or adversely modify its critical habitat. If a Federal action may affect a listed species or its critical habitat, the responsible Federal agency must enter into consultation with the Service. Federal agency actions within the species’ habitat that may require conference or consultation or both, as described in the preceding paragraph, include management and any other landscape-altering activities on Federal lands administered by the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and other Federal agencies; issuance of section 404 Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) permits by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and construction and maintenance of roads or highways by the Federal Highway Administration. PO 00000 Frm 00066 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 The Act and its implementing regulations set forth a series of general prohibitions and exceptions that apply to all endangered and threatened wildlife. The prohibitions of section 9(a)(2) of the Act, codified at 50 CFR 17.21 for endangered wildlife, in part, make it illegal for any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to take (includes harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect; or to attempt any of these), import, export, ship in interstate commerce in the course of commercial activity, or sell or offer for sale in interstate or foreign commerce any listed species. Under the Lacey Act (18 U.S.C. 42–43; 16 U.S.C. 3371–3378), it is also illegal to possess, sell, deliver, carry, transport, or ship any such wildlife that has been taken illegally. Certain exceptions apply to agents of the Service and State conservation agencies. 50 CFR 17.31 generally applies the prohibitions for endangered wildlife to threatened wildlife, unless a rule issued under section 4(d) of the Act is adopted by the Service. We may issue permits to carry out otherwise prohibited activities involving endangered and threatened wildlife species under certain circumstances. Regulations governing permits are codified at 50 CFR 17.22 for endangered species, and at 17.32 for threatened species. With regard to endangered wildlife, a permit must be issued for the following purposes: For scientific purposes, to enhance the propagation or survival of the species, and for incidental take in connection with otherwise lawful activities. There are also certain statutory exemptions from the prohibitions, which are found in sections 9 and 10 of the Act. Activities Under Section 9 It is our policy, as published in the Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34272), to identify, to the maximum extent practicable at the time a species is listed, those activities that would or would not constitute a violation of section 9 of the Act. The intent of this policy is to increase public awareness of the effect of a proposed listing on proposed and ongoing activities within the range of species proposed for listing. Based on the best available information, the following activities involving the Miami tiger beetle (including all of its metamorphic life stages) may potentially result in a violation of section 9 of the Act; this list is not comprehensive: (1) Unauthorized possession, collecting, trapping, capturing, killing, harassing, sale, delivery, or movement, including interstate and foreign E:\FR\FM\22DEP1.SGM 22DEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 245 / Tuesday, December 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS commerce, or harming or attempting any of these actions, at any life stage without a permit (research activities where Miami tiger beetles are surveyed, captured (netted), or collected will require a permit under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Act). (2) Incidental take without a permit pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act. (3) Sale or purchase of specimens, except for properly documented antique specimens of this taxon at least 100 years old, as defined by section 10(h)(1) of the Act. (4) Unauthorized use of pesticides/ herbicides that results in take. (5) Release of biological control agents that attack any life stage. (6) Discharge or dumping of toxic chemicals, silts, or other pollutants into, or other alteration of the quality of, habitat supporting the Miami tiger beetles that result in take. (7) Unauthorized activities (e.g., plowing; mowing; burning; herbicide or pesticide application; land leveling/ clearing; grading; disking; soil compaction; soil removal; dredging; excavation; deposition of dredged or fill material; erosion and deposition of sediment/soil; grazing or trampling by livestock; minerals extraction or processing; residential, commercial, or industrial developments; utilities development; road construction; or water development and impoundment) that take eggs, larvae, or adult Miami tiger beetles or that modify Miami tiger beetle habitat in such a way that take Miami tiger beetles by adversely affecting their essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, foraging, sheltering, or other life functions. Otherwise lawful activities that incidentally take Miami tiger beetles, but have no Federal nexus, will require a permit under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act. Questions regarding whether specific activities would constitute a violation of section 9 of the Act should be directed to the South Florida Ecological Services Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Critical Habitat Section 3(5)(A) of the Act defines critical habitat as ‘‘(i) the specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the species, at the time it is listed . . . on which are found those physical or biological features (I) Essential to the conservation of the species and (II) which may require special management considerations or protection; and (ii) specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the species at the time it is listed . . . upon a determination by VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:12 Dec 21, 2015 Jkt 238001 the Secretary that such areas are essential for the conservation of the species.’’ Section 3(3) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1532(3)) defines the terms ‘‘conserve,’’ ‘‘conserving,’’ and ‘‘conservation’’ to mean ‘‘to use and the use of all methods and procedures which are necessary to bring any endangered species or threatened species to the point at which the measures provided pursuant to this Act are no longer necessary.’’ Section 4(a)(3) of the Act, as amended, and implementing regulations (50 CFR 424.12), require that, to the maximum extent prudent and determinable, the Secretary shall designate critical habitat at the time the species is determined to be an endangered or threatened species. Our regulations (50 CFR 424.12(a)(1)) state that the designation of critical habitat is not prudent when one or both of the following situations exist: (1) The species is threatened by taking or other human activity, and identification of critical habitat can be expected to increase the degree of threat to the species, or (2) Such designation of critical habitat would not be beneficial to the species. There is currently an imminent threat of take attributed to collection or vandalism described under Factor B, above, for the species. However, it is believed that the majority of occurrences of Miami tiger beetles are well known. Although the location of the new population is less well known, awareness of this population is increasing in the natural resource community. We believe that the benefits of designating critical habitat will outweigh the risks associated with increased collection from mapping and identifying critical habitat. Therefore, in the absence of finding that the designation of critical habitat would increase threats to a species, if there are any benefits to a critical habitat designation, a finding that designation is prudent is warranted. Here, the potential benefits of designation include: (1) Triggering consultation under section 7 of the Act, in new areas for actions in which there may be a Federal nexus where it would not otherwise occur because, for example, it is unoccupied; (2) focusing conservation activities on the most essential features and areas; (3) providing educational benefits to State or county governments or private entities; and (4) preventing people from causing inadvertent harm to these species. Because we have determined that the designation of critical habitat will not likely increase the degree of threat to the PO 00000 Frm 00067 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 79553 species and may provide some measure of benefit, we determine that designation of critical habitat may be prudent for the Miami tiger beetle. Our regulations (50 CFR 424.12(a)(2)) further state that critical habitat is not determinable when one or both of the following situations exists: (1) Information sufficient to perform required analysis of the impacts of the designation is lacking; or (2) the biological needs of the species are not sufficiently well known to permit identification of an area as critical habitat. On the basis of a review of available information, we find that critical habitat for the Miami tiger beetle is not determinable because the specific information sufficient to perform the required analysis of the impacts of the designation is currently lacking. Specifically, we are still in the process of obtaining all the information needed to properly evaluate the economic impacts of designation. Required Determinations Clarity of the Rule We are required by Executive Orders 12866 and 12988 and by the Presidential Memorandum of June 1, 1998, to write all rules in plain language. This means that each rule we publish must: (1) Be logically organized; (2) Use the active voice to address readers directly; (3) Use clear language rather than jargon; (4) Be divided into short sections and sentences; and (5) Use lists and tables wherever possible. If you feel that we have not met these requirements, send us comments by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. To better help us revise the rule, your comments should be as specific as possible. For example, you should tell us the numbers of the sections or paragraphs that are unclearly written, which sections or sentences are too long, the sections where you feel lists or tables would be useful, etc. National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) We have determined that environmental assessments and environmental impact statements, as defined under the authority of the National Environmental Policy Act, need not be prepared in connection with listing a species as an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. We published a notice outlining our reasons for this determination in the Federal Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244). E:\FR\FM\22DEP1.SGM 22DEP1 79554 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 245 / Tuesday, December 22, 2015 / Proposed Rules References Cited A complete list of references cited in this rulemaking is available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov and upon request from the South Florida Ecological Services Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Authors The primary authors of this proposed rule are the staff members of the South Florida Ecological Services Office. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361–1407; 1531– 1544; and 4201–4245, unless otherwise noted. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17 Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Transportation. 2. Amend § 17.11(h) by adding an entry for ‘‘Beetle, Miami tiger’’ to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in alphabetical order under INSECTS to read as follows: ■ Proposed Regulation Promulgation Accordingly, we propose to amend part 17, subchapter B of chapter I, title 50 of the CFR, as set forth below: PART 17—ENDANGERED AND THREATENED WILDLIFE AND PLANTS 1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows: ■ Species Historic range Common name Scientific name * INSECTS * * Beetle, Miami tiger * * * * Cicindelidia floridana. * * * * Vertebrate population where endangered or threatened * * U.S.A. (FL) ............ Status * * * (h) * * * * * [FR Doc. 2015–31982 Filed 12–21–15; 8:45 am] rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS BILLING CODE 4333–15–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:12 Dec 21, 2015 Jkt 238001 PO 00000 Frm 00068 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 E:\FR\FM\22DEP1.SGM Special rules * * NA Dated: December 10, 2015. Stephen Guertin, Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. * Critical habitat * E * * * * NA * When listed * * * § 17.11 Endangered and threatened wildlife. 22DEP1 NA *

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 245 (Tuesday, December 22, 2015)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 79533-79554]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-31982]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2015-0164; 4500030113]
RIN 1018-BA16


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day and 12-
Month Findings on a Petition To List the Miami Tiger Beetle as an 
Endangered or Threatened Species; Proposed Endangered Species Status 
for the Miami Tiger Beetle

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; notice of 90-day and 12-month findings.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to 
list the Miami tiger beetle (Cicindelidia floridana) as an endangered 
species throughout its range under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 
as amended (Act). If we finalize this rule as proposed, it would extend 
the Act's protections to this species.
    This document also serves as the 90-day and 12-month findings on a 
petition to list the species as an endangered or threatened species.

DATES: Written Comments: We will accept comments received or postmarked 
on or before February 22, 2016. Comments submitted electronically using 
the Federal eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES, below) must be received 
by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date. We have scheduled a 
public hearing for January 13, 2016 (see Public Hearing, below).

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
    (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS-R4-ES-2015-0164, 
which is the docket number for this rulemaking. Then, in the Search 
panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, 
click on the Proposed Rules link to locate this document. You may 
submit a comment by clicking on ``Comment Now!''
    (2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public 
Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R4-ES-2015-0164, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.
    We request that you send comments only by the methods described 
above. We will post all comments on http://

[[Page 79534]]

www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any 
personal information you provide us (see Public Comments, below, for 
more information).
    (3) Public Hearing: Comments received at the public hearing held on 
January 13, 2016 at Miami Dade College--Kendall Campus, Building 6000, 
11011 SW. 104th Street, Miami, Florida 33176-3396 from 6:00 p.m. to 
9:00 p.m.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Executive Summary

    Why we need to publish a rule. Under the Act, if we determine that 
a species is an endangered or threatened species throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range, we must publish a proposed rule to 
list the species in the Federal Register and make a determination on 
our proposal within 1 year. Listing a species as an endangered or 
threatened species can only be completed by issuing a rule.
    This rule proposes the listing of the Miami tiger beetle 
(Cicindelidia floridana) as an endangered species. This rule assesses 
all available information regarding the status of and threats to the 
Miami tiger beetle.
    The basis for our action. Under the Act, we may determine that a 
species is an endangered or threatened species based on any of 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 have determined that the threats to the Miami 
tiger beetle consist of habitat loss, degradation, fragmentation, and 
proposed future development of habitat (Factor A); collection, trade, 
and sale (Factor B); inadequate protection from existing regulatory 
mechanisms (Factor D); and a small isolated population with a 
restricted geographical range, limited genetic exchange, and restricted 
dispersal potential that is subject to demographic and environmental 
stochasticity, including climate change and sea level rise (Factor E).
    We will seek peer review. We will invite independent specialists 
(peer reviewers) to comment on our listing proposal to ensure that it 
is based on scientifically sound data, assumptions, and analyses.

Information Requested

Public Comments

    We intend that any final action resulting from this proposed rule 
will be based on the best scientific and commercial data available and 
be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we request 
comments or information from other concerned governmental agencies, 
Native American tribes, the scientific community, industry, or any 
other interested parties concerning this proposed rule. We particularly 
seek comments concerning:
    (1) The Miami tiger beetle's biology, range, population trends, and 
habitat, including:
    (a) Biological or ecological requirements of the species, including 
habitat requirements for feeding, breeding, and sheltering;
    (b) Taxonomy, including genetic information;
    (c) Historical and current range, including distribution patterns 
and dispersal distances;
    (d) Historical and current range or distribution, including the 
locations of any additional occurrences of the beetle, population 
levels, current and projected population trends, and viability;
    (e) Past and ongoing conservation measures for the species, its 
habitat, or both;
    (f) Survey methods appropriate to detect trends in tiger beetle 
population distribution and abundance; and
    (g) The use of previously undocumented or altered habitat types 
(e.g., use of road edges and fire breaks), especially in areas that may 
not be burned regularly.
    (2) Factors that may affect the continued existence of the species, 
which may include habitat modification or destruction, overutilization 
(e.g., collection, sale, or trade), disease, predation, the inadequacy 
of existing regulatory mechanisms, or other natural or manmade factors.
    (3) Biological, commercial trade, or other relevant data concerning 
any threats (or lack thereof) to the species and existing regulations 
that may be addressing those threats.
    (4) Current or planned activities in the areas occupied by the 
species and possible impacts of these activities on the species.
    (5) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes, including information regarding over-collection 
at permitted sites, evidence of collection or collection rates in 
general, and recreational or commercial trade and sale.
    (6) The following specific information on:
    (a) The amount and distribution of habitat for the Miami tiger 
beetle;
    (b) Any occupied or unoccupied areas that are essential for the 
conservation of the species and why;
    (c) Special management considerations or protections that may be 
needed for the essential features in potential critical habitat areas, 
including managing for the potential effects of climate change.
    Please include sufficient information with your submission (such as 
scientific journal articles or other publications) to allow us to 
verify any scientific or commercial information you include.
    Because we will consider comments and all other information we 
receive during the public comment period, our final determination may 
differ from this proposal.
    Please note that submissions merely stating support for or 
opposition to the action under consideration without providing 
supporting information, although noted, will not be considered in 
making a determination, as section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 
1531 et seq.) directs that determinations as to whether any species is 
an endangered or threatened species must be made ``solely on the basis 
of the best scientific and commercial data available.''
    You may submit your comments and materials concerning this proposed 
rule by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. We request 
that you send comments only by the methods described in the ADDRESSES 
section.
    If you submit information via http://www.regulations.gov, your 
entire submission--including any personal identifying information--will 
be posted on the Web site. If your submission is made via a hardcopy 
that includes personal identifying information, you may request at the 
top of your document that we withhold this information from public 
review. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. We 
will post all hardcopy submissions on http://www.regulations.gov.
    Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting 
documentation we used in preparing this proposed rule, will be 
available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, or by 
appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife

[[Page 79535]]

Service, South Florida Ecological Services Office (see FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT).

Public Hearing

    Section 4(b)(5) of the Act provides for one or more public hearings 
on this proposal, if requested. A public hearing will be held on 
January 13, 2016 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Miami Dade College--
Kendall Campus, Building 6000, 11011 SW 104th Street, Miami, Florida 
33176-3396.

Peer Review

    In accordance with our joint policy with the National Marine 
Fisheries Service on peer review published in the Federal Register on 
July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we are seeking expert opinions of 
appropriate and independent specialists regarding this proposed rule. 
The purpose of peer review is to ensure that our proposed listing 
actions are based on scientifically sound data, assumptions, and 
analyses. The peer reviewers have expertise in insect biology, habitat, 
physical or biological factors, and so forth, which will inform our 
determination. We invite comment from these peer reviewers during this 
public comment period.

Previous Federal Actions

    In 2013, we began assessing the status and threats to the Miami 
tiger beetle and considering the need to add the beetle to the List of 
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. On December 11, 2014, we received a 
petition from the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), the Miami Blue 
Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association, South Florida 
Wildlands Association, Tropical Audubon Society, Sandy Koi, Al 
Sunshine, and Chris Wirth requesting that the Miami tiger beetle be 
emergency listed as endangered, and that critical habitat be designated 
under the Act (CBD et. al. 2014, entire). The petition clearly 
identified itself as such and included the requisite identification 
information for the petitioner, as required by title 50 of the Code of 
Federal Regulations (CFR) at section 424.14(a) (50 CFR 424.14(a)). In a 
February 13, 2015, letter to the petitioners, we acknowledged receipt 
of the petition and stated that although we determined that emergency 
listing was not warranted, we would review the petitioned request for 
listing. The Service's review concluded that listing was warranted, and 
that we should proceed in an expeditious manner with the proposed 
listing of the species under the Act. Therefore, this document also 
constitutes, in addition to the proposed listing, both our 90-day and 
12-month findings on the petition to list the Miami tiger beetle.

Background

Species Description

    The Miami tiger beetle is an elongate beetle with an oval shape and 
bulging eyes, and is one of the smallest (6.5-9.0 millimeters (mm) 
(0.26-0.35 inches (in))) tiger beetles in the United States (Knisley 
2015a, p. 3; 2015b, p. 3). The underside of the abdomen is orange to 
orange-brown in color like many other Cicindelidia species (Pearson 
1988, p. 134; Knisley 2015a, p. 3; Knisley 2015b, p. 3). The Miami 
tiger beetle is uniquely identified by the shiny dark green dorsal 
surface, sometimes with a bronze cast and, without close examination in 
the field, may appear black; the pair of green hardened forewings 
covering the abdomen (elytra) have reduced white markings (maculations) 
consisting only of a small patch at the posterior tip of each elytron 
(Brzoska et al. 2011, pp. 2-6).
    As is typical of other tiger beetles, adult Miami tiger beetles are 
active diurnal predators that use their keen vision to detect movement 
of small arthropods and run quickly to capture prey with their well-
developed jaws (mandibles). Observations by various entomologists 
indicate small arthropods, especially ants, are the most common prey 
for tiger beetles. Choate (1996, p. 2) indicated ants were the most 
common prey of tiger beetles in Florida. Willis (1967, pp. 196-197) 
lists over 30 kinds of insects from many families as prey for tiger 
beetles, and scavenging is also common in some species (Knisley and 
Schultz 1997, pp. 39, 103).
    Tiger beetle larvae have an elongate, white, grub-like body and a 
dark or metallic head with large mandibles. Larvae are sedentary sit-
and-wait predators occurring in permanent burrows flush with the ground 
surface (Essig 1926, p. 372; Essig 1942, p. 532; Pearson 1988, pp. 131-
132). When feeding, larvae position themselves at the burrow mouth and 
quickly strike at and seize small arthropods that pass within a few 
centimeters (cm) of the burrow mouth (Essig 1942, pp. 531-532; Pearson 
1988, p. 132). An enlarged dorsal portion of the fifth abdominal 
segment, with two pairs of hooks, anchors the larvae into its permanent 
burrow while the upper portion of the body extends to capture prey 
(Pearson 1988, p. 127; Choate 1996, p. 2). Larvae prey on small 
arthropods, similar to adults.

Taxonomy

    The Miami tiger beetle (Cicindelidia floridana Cartwright) is a 
described species in the Subfamily Cicindelinae of the Family Carabidae 
(ground beetles). Previously, tiger beetles were considered a separate 
family, but are now classified as a subfamily of the family Carabidae 
on the basis of recent genetic studies and other characters (Bousquet 
2012, p. 30). The Miami tiger beetle is in the C. abdominalis group 
that also includes the eastern pinebarrens tiger beetle (C. 
abdominalis), scrub tiger beetle (C. scabrosa), and Highlands tiger 
beetle (C. highlandensis). New treatments of tiger beetles (Bousquet 
2012, p. 30; Pearson et al. 2015, p. 138) have also elevated most of 
the previous subgenera of tiger beetles to genera, resulting in a 
change of the genus of the tiger beetles in the C. abdominalis group 
from Cicindela to Cicindelidia. These genera were originally proposed 
by Rivalier (1954, entire) and are widely used by European scientists 
(Wiesner 1992, entire), but are considered subgenera by many American 
scientists. The return to Rivalier's system has also been supported by 
a new study using genetic evidence (Duran and Gwiazdowski, in 
preparation).
    The four species in the Cicindelidia abdominalis group all share a 
small body size (7-11 mm (0.28-0.43 in) long) and orange underside, and 
they occur in inland sandy habitats. The four beetles maintain separate 
ranges along the U.S. east coast and exhibit a significant gradient in 
range size: The eastern pinebarrens tiger beetle occurs from New York 
south along the coastal plain to north Florida; the scrub tiger beetle 
is present throughout much of peninsular Florida, south to Ft. 
Lauderdale; the Highlands tiger beetle is restricted to the Lake Wales 
Ridge of Highlands and Polk Counties, Florida; and the Miami tiger 
beetle is found only in Miami-Dade County, Florida.
    The Miami tiger beetle was first documented from collections made 
in 1934, by Frank Young (see Distribution, below). There were no 
observations after this initial collection, and the species was thought 
to be extinct until it was rediscovered in 2007, at the Zoo Miami Pine 
Rockland Preserve in Miami-Dade County. The rediscovery of a Miami 
tiger beetle population provided additional specimens to the 1934 
collection and prompted a full study of its taxonomic status, which 
elevated it to a full species, Cicindelidia floridana (Brzoska et al. 
2011, entire).
    The Miami tiger beetle is distinguished from the three other

[[Page 79536]]

species of the abdominalis group based on: (1) Morphology (color, 
maculation (spots or markings), and elytral (modified front wing) 
microsculpture); (2) distribution; (3) habitat requirements; and (4) 
seasonality (Brzoska et al. 2011, entire; Bousquet 2012, p. 313; 
Pearson et al. 2015, p. 138). This array of distinctive characters is 
comparable to the characters used to separate the other three species 
of the C. abdominalis group.
    Although color is often variable and problematic as a sole 
diagnostic trait in tiger beetles, it is useful when combined with 
other factors (Brzoska et al. 2011, p. 4). In comparison with the 
closely related scrub tiger beetle, the Miami tiger beetle has a green 
or bronze-green elytra, rarely with a post median marginal spot, and 
without evidence of a middle band, while the scrub tiger beetle has a 
black elytra, with a post median marginal spot, usually with a vestige 
of a middle band (Brzoska et al. 2011, p. 6) (see Brzoska et al. 2011 
for detailed description, including key). There are also noticeable 
differences in the width of the apical lunule (crescent shape), with 
the Miami tiger beetle's being thin and the scrub tiger beetle's medium 
to thick.
    In addition, the Miami tiger beetle has a narrower, restricted 
range where its distribution does not overlap with the other three 
species in the C. abdominalis group (i.e., the Miami tiger beetle has 
only been documented in Miami-Dade County). The Miami tiger beetle also 
occupies a unique habitat type (i.e., pine rockland versus scrub or 
open sand and barren habitat).
    Lastly, the Miami tiger beetle has a broader period of adult 
activity than the ``late spring to mid-summer'' cycle that is observed 
in the scrub tiger beetle (Brzoska et al. 2011, p. 6) (see also 
Distribution, Habitat, and Biology sections, below). Adult Miami tiger 
beetles have been observed from early May through mid-October; this is 
an unusually long flight period that suggests either continual 
emergence or two emergence periods (Brzoska et al. 2011, p. 6). In 
summary, the Miami tiger beetle is recognized as a distinct full 
species, based upon its differences in morphology, distribution, 
habitat, and seasonality (Brzoska et al. 2011, entire; Bousquet 2012, 
p. 313; Pearson et al. 2015, p. 138).
    Genetic analyses for the Miami tiger beetle to date are limited to 
one nonpeer-reviewed study, and available techniques (e.g., genomics, 
which can better study the process of speciation) are evolving. A 
limited genetic study using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) suggested that 
the eastern pinebarrens tiger beetle, Highlands tiger beetle, scrub 
tiger beetle, and Miami tiger beetle are closely related and recently 
evolved (Knisley 2011a, p. 14). As with other similar Cicindela groups, 
these three sister species were not clearly separable by mtDNA analysis 
alone (Knisley 2011a, p. 14). The power of DNA sequencing for species 
resolution is limited when species pairs have very recent origins, 
because in such cases new sister species will share alleles for some 
time after the initial split due to persistence of ancestral 
polymorphisms, incomplete lineage sorting, or ongoing gene flow (Sites 
and Marshall 2004, pp. 216-221; McDonough et al. 2008, pp. 1312-1313; 
Bartlett et al. 2013, pp. 874-875). Changing sea levels and 
coincidental changes in the size of the land mass of peninsular Florida 
during the Pleistocene Era (2.6 million years ago to 10,000 years ago) 
is thought to be the key factor in the very recent evolutionary 
divergence and speciation of the three Florida species from C. 
abdominalis (Knisley 2015a, p. 5; Knisley 2015b, p. 4). Despite the 
apparent lack of genetic distinctiveness from the one non peer-
reviewed, limited genetic study, tiger beetle experts and peer-reviewed 
scientific literature agree that based on the morphological uniqueness, 
geographic separation, habitat specialization, and extended flight 
season, the Miami tiger beetle warrants species designation (Brzoska et 
al. 2011, entire; Bousquet 2012, p. 313; Pearson et al. 2015, p. 138).
    The most current peer-reviewed scientific information confirms that 
Cicindelidia floridana is a full species, and this taxonomic change is 
used by the scientific community (Brzoska et al. 2011, entire; Bousquet 
2012, p. 313; Pearson et al. 2015, p. 138; Integrated Taxonomic 
Information System (ITIS), 2015, p. 1). One source researched for the 
Miami tiger beetle's taxonomic designation is the ITIS, which was 
created by a White House Subcommittee on Biodiversity and Ecosystem 
Dynamics to provide scientifically credible taxonomic information and 
standardized nomenclature on species. The ITIS is partnered with 
Federal agencies, including the Service, and is used by agencies as a 
source for validated taxonomic information. The ITIS recognizes the 
Miami tiger beetle as a valid species (ITIS, 2015, p. 1). Both the ITIS 
(2015, p. 1) and Bousquet (2012, p. 313) continue to use the former 
genus, Cicindela (see discussion above). The Florida Natural Areas 
Inventory (FNAI) (2015, p. 16) and NatureServe (2015, p. 1) also accept 
the Miami tiger beetle's taxonomic status as a species and use the new 
generic designation, Cicindelidia. In summary, although there is some 
debate about the appropriate generic designation (Cicindelidia versus 
Cicindela) based upon the best available scientific information, the 
Miami tiger beetle is a valid species.

Distribution

Historical Range
    The historical range of the Miami tiger beetle is not completely 
known, and available information is limited based on the single 
historical observation prior to the species' rediscovery in 2007. It 
was initially documented from collections made in 1934, by Frank Young 
within a very restricted range in the northern end of the Miami Rock 
Ridge, in a region known as the Northern Biscayne Pinelands. The 
Northern Biscayne Pinelands, which extend from the city of North Miami 
south to approximately SW 216th Street, are characterized by extensive 
sandy pockets of quartz sand, a feature that is necessary for the Miami 
tiger beetle (see Habitat section, below) (Service 1999, p. 3-162). The 
type locality (the place where the specimen was found) was likely pine 
rockland habitat, though the species is now extirpated from the area 
(Knisley and Hill 1991, pp. 7, 13; Brzoska et al. 2011, p. 2; Knisley 
2015a, p. 7). The exact location of the type locality in North Miami 
was determined by Rob Huber, a tiger beetle researcher who contacted 
Frank Young in 1972. Young recalled collecting the type specimens while 
searching for land snails at the northeast corner of Miami Avenue and 
Gratigny Road (119th Street), North Miami. Huber checked that location 
the same year and found that a school had been built there. A more 
thorough search for sandy soil habitats throughout that area found no 
potential habitat (Knisley and Hill 1991, pp. 7, 11-12). Although the 
contact with Young did not provide habitat information for the type 
locality, a 1943 map of habitats in the Miami area showed pine rockland 
with sandy soils reaching their northern limit in the area of the type 
locality (Knisley 2015a, p. 27), and Young's paper on land snails made 
reference to pine rockland habitat (Young 1951, p. 6). Recent maps, 
however, show that the pine rockland habitat has been mostly developed 
from this area, and remaining pine rockland habitat is mostly 
restricted to Miami-Dade County owned sites in south Miami (Knisley 
2015a, p. 7). In summary, it is likely that the Miami tiger beetle 
historically occurred

[[Page 79537]]

throughout pine rockland habitat on the Miami Rock Ridge.
Current Range
    The Miami tiger beetle was thought to be extinct until 2007, when a 
population was discovered at the Richmond Heights area of south Miami, 
Florida, known as the Richmond Pine Rocklands (Brzoska et al. 2011, p. 
2; Knisley 2011a, p. 26). The Richmond Pine Rocklands is a mixture of 
publically and privately owned lands that retain the largest area of 
contiguous pine rockland habitat within the urbanized areas of Miami-
Dade County and outside of the boundaries of Everglades National Park 
(ENP). Surveys and observations conducted at Long Pine Key in ENP have 
found no Miami tiger beetles, and habitat conditions are considered 
unsuitable for the species (Knisley 2015a, p. 42; J. Sadle, 2015, pers. 
comm.). At this time, known extant occurrences are found on four 
contiguous sites of pine rockland habitat in the Richmond Pine 
Rocklands: (1) Zoo Miami Pine Rockland Preserve (Zoo Miami) (293 
hectares (ha); 723 acres (ac)), (2) Larry and Penny Thompson Park (121 
ha; 300 ac), (3) U.S. Coast Guard property (USCG) (96 ha; 237 ac), and 
(4) University of Miami's Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced 
Remote Sensing property (CSTARS) (31 ha; 76 ac). Most recently 
(September 2015), Miami tiger beetles were found outside of and within 
approximately 5.0 km (3.1 mi) of the four Richmond Pine Rockland 
parcels listed above. Based on historical records, current occurrences, 
and habitat needs of the species (see Habitat section, below), the 
current range of the species is considered to be any pine rockland 
habitat (natural or disturbed) within the Miami Rock Ridge (Knisley 
2015a, p. 7; CBD et al. 2014, pp. 13-16, 31-32).
    The Miami tiger beetle is extremely rare and only known to occur in 
two separate locations within pine rockland habitat in Miami-Dade 
County. The Richmond population occurs on four contiguous parcels 
within the Richmond Pine Rocklands: Zoo Miami, Larry and Penny Thompson 
Park, CSTARS, and USCG. The second location, which was recently 
identified, is within approximately 5.0 km (3.1 mi) of the Richmond 
population and separated by urban development (D. Cook, 2015, pers. 
comm.).
    Miami tiger beetles within the four contiguous occupied parcels in 
the Richmond population are within close proximity to each other. There 
are apparent connecting patches of habitat and few or no barriers 
(contiguous and border each other on at least one side) between 
parcels. Given the contiguous habitat with few barriers to dispersal, 
frequent adult movement among individuals is likely, and the occupied 
Richmond parcels probably represent a single population (Knisley 2015a, 
p. 10). Information regarding Miami tiger beetles at the new location 
is very limited, but beetles here are within approximately 5.0 km (3.1 
mi) of the Richmond population and separated by ample urban 
development, which likely represents a significant barrier to 
dispersal, and the Miami tiger beetles at the new location are 
currently considered a second population.
    The Richmond population occurs within an approximate 2 square 
kilometer (km\2\) (494 ac) block, but currently much of the habitat is 
overgrown with vegetation, leaving few remaining open patches for the 
beetle. Survey data documented a decline in the number of open habitat 
patches, and Knisley (2015a, pp. 9-10) estimated that less than 10 
percent of the mostly pine rockland habitat within this area supports 
the species in its current condition.

Habitat

    Based on surveys to date, the Miami tiger beetle is found 
exclusively on the Miami Rock Ridge within the urbanized areas of 
Miami-Dade County and outside the boundaries of ENP (Knisley 2015a, pp. 
6-7). This area extends from the ENP boundary, near the Park entrance 
road, northeast approximately 72 km (45 miles (mi)) to its end near 
North Miami. The pine rocklands are a unique ecosystem found on 
limestone substrates in three areas in Florida: The Miami Rock Ridge, 
the Florida Keys, and the Big Cypress Swamp. The pine rocklands differ 
to some degree between and within these three areas with regard to 
substrate (e.g., amount of exposed limestone, type of soil), elevation, 
hydrology, and species composition (both plant and animal).
    Pine rockland occurs on relatively flat terrain, approximately 2.0-
7.0 m (6.5-23.0 ft) above sea level with an average elevation of 
approximately 3.0 m (9.8 ft) (Service 1999, p. 3-167; FNAI 2010, p. 
62). On the Miami Rock Ridge, oolitic limestone is at or very near the 
surface, and solution holes occasionally form where the surface 
limestone is dissolved by organic acids. There is typically very little 
soil development, consisting primarily of accumulations of low-nutrient 
sand, marl, clayey loam, and organic debris found in solution holes, 
depressions, and crevices on the limestone surface (FNAI 2010, p. 62). 
However, sandy pockets can be found at the northern end of the Miami 
Rock Ridge, beginning from approximately the city of North Miami Beach 
and extending south to approximately to SW 216 Street (Service 1999, p. 
3-162). These microhabitat parameters (e.g., bare patches of sandy 
soil) are absent or limited throughout most of the extant pine rockland 
habitat (URS et al. 2007, p. 5).
    Pine rockland has an open canopy of South Florida slash pine, 
generally with multiple age classes. The diverse, open shrub and 
subcanopy layer is composed of more than 100 species of palms and 
hardwoods (FNAI 2010, p. 1), most derived from the tropical flora of 
the West Indies (FNAI 2010, p. 1). These vegetative layers and habitat 
conditions (e.g., canopy height, percent cover, density) change 
depending upon fire frequency, fire intensity, and other factors. Plant 
composition includes species such as Serenoa repens (saw palmetto), 
Sabal palmetto (cabbage palm), Coccothrinax argentata (silver palm), 
Thrinax morrisii (brittle thatch palm), Morella cerifera. (wax myrtle), 
Myrsine floridana (myrsine), Metopium toxiferum (poisonwood), Byrsonima 
lucida (locustberry), Dodonaea viscosa (varnishleaf), Tetrazygia 
bicolor (tetrazygia), Guettarda scabra (rough velvetseed), Ardisia 
escallonioides (marlberry), Mosiera longipes (mangrove berry), 
Sideroxylon salicifolium (willow bustic), and Rhus copallinum (winged 
sumac). Short-statured shrubs include Quercus pumila (running oak), 
Randia aculeata (white indigoberry), Crossopetalum ilicifolium 
(Christmas berry), Morinda royoc (redgal), and Chiococca alba 
(snowberry).
    Grasses, forbs, and ferns make up a diverse herbaceous layer 
ranging from mostly continuous in areas with more soil development and 
little exposed rock to sparse where more extensive outcroppings of rock 
occur. Typical herbaceous species include Andropogon spp., S. 
rhizomatum, and S. sanguineum (bluestems), Aristida purpurascens 
(arrowleaf threeawn), Sorghastrum secundum (lopsided indiangrass), 
Muhlenbergia capillaris (hairawn muhly), Rhynchospora floridensis 
(Florida white-top sedge), Tragia saxicola (pineland noseburn), Echites 
umbellatus (devil's potato), Croton linearis (pineland croton), several 
species of Chamaesyce spp. (sandmats), Chamaecrista fasciculata 
(partridge pea), Zamia pumila (coontie), Anemia adiantifolia 
(maidenhair pineland fern), Pteris bahamensis (Bahama brake), and 
Pteridium var. caudatum (lacy bracken) (FNAI 2010, p. 1).
    Pine rockland habitat is maintained by regular fire, and is 
susceptible to other natural disturbances such as

[[Page 79538]]

hurricanes, frost events, and sea-level rise (SLR) (Ross et al. 1994, 
p. 144). Fires historically burned on an interval of approximately 
every 3 to 7 years (FNAI 2010, p. 3), and were typically started by 
lightning strikes during the frequent summer thunderstorms (FNAI 2010, 
p. 3).
    Presently, prescribed fire must be periodically introduced into 
pine rocklands to sustain community structure, prevent invasion by 
woody species, maintain high herbaceous diversity (Loope and Dunevitz 
1981, pp. 5-6; FNAI 2010, p. 3), and prevent succession to rockland 
hammock. The amount of woody understory growth is directly related to 
the length of time since the last fire (FNAI 2010, p. 3). Herbaceous 
diversity declines with time since the last fire. The ecotone between 
pine rockland and rockland hammock is abrupt when regular fire is 
present in the system. However, when fire is removed, the ecotone 
becomes more gradual and subtle as hammock hardwoods encroach into the 
pineland (FNAI 2010, p. 3).
    The lifecycle of the Miami tiger beetle occurs entirely within the 
pine rocklands. Adult Miami tiger beetles require patches of open sandy 
areas within the pine rocklands for behavioral thermoregulation 
(avoiding or seeking sources of heat to regulate body temperature) so 
that they can successfully capture small arthropod prey (Knisley 2015a, 
p. 8). They are visual hunters that use keen eyesight to locate and 
rapid movement to capture small arthropods. Females oviposit (lay eggs) 
in these same bare patches (Knisley 2015a, p. 8). The larvae, which are 
sit-and-wait predators, can capture prey and complete development in 
sandy areas, without interference from encroaching vegetation (Knisley 
2015a, p. 8). At most of the remaining pine rockland sites on the Miami 
Rock Ridge, bare patches of sandy soil are absent or limited (URS et 
al. 2007, p. 5) (see ``Microhabitat,'' below).
Microhabitat
    Microhabitat conditions are not completely understood, due in part 
to few known occurrences and limited surveys at some parcels. At the 
Zoo Miami parcel, which was most thoroughly surveyed, adults and larvae 
were restricted to a small number of scattered patches of bare ground. 
The patches were small, typically 2 to 6 square meters (m\2\) (22 to 65 
square feet (ft\2\)) in size and ovoid to linear in shape with 
encroaching and overhanging vegetation around the edges and with 15-30 
percent ground cover of leaf, grass, and plant litter (Knisley 2015a, 
p. 8). Patches smaller than 2 to 6 m\2\ (22-65 ft\2\) typically had no 
adults (Knisley 2015a, p. 8). Some of the more linear patches were 
apparent current or past trails or paths, possibly maintained by animal 
activity. Soil in these open patches where adults and larvae were found 
was classified as sandy to loamy sand with primarily very fine (0.130 
mm (0.005 in)) to medium grain (0.50 mm (0.02 in)), white to gray 
colored sand with less than 5 percent organic matter (Knisley 2011a, p. 
32). Soil depth was 15.24 cm or more (6.00 in), and moist below the 
surface (Knisley 2015a, p. 8). This microhabitat is different from that 
used by either the Highlands or scrub tiger beetles, which in Florida 
are typically found in much larger, naturally open patches among the 
vegetation (usually greater than 25 m\2\ (269 ft\2\)) or along open 
paths, roads, and scrub edges (Knisley 2015a, p. 8). The sand for these 
other species is also white ``sugar'' sand, which is very deep, drier, 
and with less organic matter mixed in (Knisley 2015a, pp. 8-9).

Biology

    In tiger beetles, the adult female determines the habitat and 
microhabitat of the larva by the selection of an oviposition (egg-
laying) site (Knisley and Schultz 1997, p. 28). Generally, the same 
microhabitats are occupied by both larvae and adults. Females will 
often touch the soil with the antennae, bite it, and even dig trial 
holes, possibly to determine suitable soil characteristics (Willis 
1967, p. 194) before placing a single egg into a shallow oviposition 
burrow (1 to 2 cm (0.39 to 0.79 in)) dug into the soil with the 
ovipositor. The egg hatches, apparently after sufficient soil wetting, 
and the first instar larvae digs a burrow at the site of oviposition. 
Development in tiger beetles includes three larval instars followed by 
a pupal and adult stage. In most species of tiger beetles, development 
requires 2 years, but can range from 1 to 4 or more years depending on 
climate and food availability. The life cycle of most tiger beetles in 
the United States follows either a summer or spring-fall adult activity 
pattern (Knisley and Schultz 1997, pp. 19-21). These life cycles 
patterns all indicate the length of the adult flight season is 
typically 2 to 3 months, but the life span of individual adults is 
likely to be less.
    Based on available information, the Miami tiger beetle appears to 
have only limited dispersal abilities. Among tiger beetles there is a 
general trend of decreasing flight distance with decreasing body size 
(Knisley and Hill 1996, p. 13). The Miami tiger beetle is one of the 
smallest tiger beetles (less than half an inch in length); it is likely 
to be a weak flier based on its size and the limited flight distance of 
the closely related Highlands tiger beetle (usually flying only 5-10 m 
(16.4-32.8 ft)) (Knisley and Hill 2013, p. 39). Additionally, tiger 
beetle species in woodland, scrub, or dune habitats seem to disperse 
less than water edge species, and this could further explain the 
apparent limited dispersal of the species (Knisley and Hill 1996, p. 
13). Evidence for longer distance dispersal has been reported for some 
tiger beetle species, but these are generally larger, coastal species 
that occupy more widespread habitats and use frequent winds or coastal 
storms to aid in dispersal. For example, a dispersal distance of 160 km 
(99 mi) was reported for the s-banded tiger beetle (Cicindelidia 
trifasciata), a coastal mud flat species, that was found in light traps 
on offshore oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico (Graves 1981, pp. 45-
47). Similarly, extensive mark and recapture studies of the 
northeastern beach tiger beetle (Cicindela dorsalis), a water edge 
species approximately twice the size of the Miami tiger beetle, found 
that the majority of marked adults moved 2 km (1.2 mi) or less, but a 
few individuals moved over 15-30 km (9-19 mi), some of which required 
crossing open water (Service 1993, pp. 15-17). Dispersal by storms is 
unknown to occur in the Miami tiger beetle, and is unlikely to be a 
successful dispersal strategy as the species is only known to occur in 
a narrowly distributed habitat type (i.e., remaining pine rocklands) 
that is interspersed among unsuitable habitat and mixed land uses 
within a restricted geographical range.
    As a group, tiger beetles occupy ephemeral habitats where local 
extinction from habitat loss or degradation is common, so dispersal to 
establish new populations in distant habitat patches is a likely 
survival strategy for most species (Knisley 2015b, p. 10). Limited 
dispersal capabilities and other constraints (e.g., few populations, 
limited numbers, and barriers created by intervening unsuitable 
habitat), however, can disrupt otherwise normal metapopulation dynamics 
and contribute to imperilment.
    Results of monthly surveys at the Zoo Miami parcel in 2009, and 
additional late summer and fall surveys through 2014, indicated the 
adult flight period for the Miami tiger beetle ranges from May 15 
through October 17 (Knisley 2015a, p. 5). No adults were found during 
an April 18 survey, meaning emergence had not yet occurred (Knisley 
2015a, p. 6). In 2009, only two adults were found on September 2,

[[Page 79539]]

either because conditions were not ideal (although they seemed to be 
suitable) or activity may have ended earlier in the year. In 2014, some 
adults were active on September 10 and 30, but not on October 14. This 
5-month long adult flight period is unusual in tiger beetles and is 
much longer than the seasonality of the other three species in the C. 
abdominalis group with ranges in Florida (Knisley 2015a, p. 6).
    There is no clear explanation for the long adult flight period of 
the Miami tiger beetle, but it is possible that there are two cohorts 
of Miami tiger beetle adults emerging during this period (Knisley 
2015a, p. 6). Adults emerging in May and June would mate, oviposit, and 
produce larvae that could develop and emerge as a second cohort of 
adults in late July and August as the earlier cohort of adults were 
dying off. Larvae from these later active adults would develop through 
fall and winter, emerging as adults the following May. The rapid 
completion of development within 2 months would not be unusual given 
the small size of this species and the continually warm temperatures in 
south Florida (Knisley 2015a, p. 6). Rate of development is likely 
increased during the summer rainy season when prey is more abundant 
(Knisley 2015a, p. 6).

Population Estimates and Status

    The visual index count is the standard survey method that has been 
used to determine presence and abundance of the Miami tiger beetle. 
Using this method, surveyors either walk slowly or stand still in 
appropriate open habitats, while taking a count of any beetle 
observations. Although the index count has been the most commonly used 
method to estimate the population size of adult tiger beetles, various 
studies have demonstrated it significantly underestimates actual 
numbers present. As noted earlier, several studies comparing various 
methods for estimating adult tiger beetle abundance have found numbers 
present at a site are typically 2 to 3 times higher than that produced 
by the index count (Knisley and Schultz 1997, p. 15; Knisley 2009, 
entire; Knisley and Hill 2013, pp. 27, 29; S. Spomer, 2014, pers. 
comm.). Numbers are underestimated because tiger beetles are elusive, 
and some may fly off before being detected while others may be obscured 
by vegetation in some parts of the survey area. Even in defined linear 
habitats like narrow shorelines where there is no vegetation and high 
visibility, index counts produce estimates that are 2 to 3 times lower 
than the numbers present (Knisley and Schultz 1997, p. 152).
    Information on the Richmond population size is limited because 
survey data are inconsistent, and some sites are difficult to access 
due to permitting, security, and liability concerns. Of the occupied 
sites, the most thoroughly surveyed site for adult and larval Miami 
tiger beetles is the Zoo Miami parcel (over 30 survey dates from 2008 
to 2014) (Knisley 2015a, p. 10). Adult beetle surveys at the CSTARS and 
USCG parcels have been infrequent, and access was not permitted in 2012 
through early summer of 2014. In October 2014, access to both the 
CSTARS and USCG parcels was permitted, and no beetles were observed 
during October 2014 surveys. As noted earlier, Miami tiger beetles were 
recently found at Larry and Penny Thompson Park (D. Cook, 2015, pers. 
comm.); however, thorough surveys at this location have not been 
conducted. For details on index counts and larval survey results from 
the three surveyed parcels (Zoo Miami, USCG, and CSTARS), see Table 2 
in Supporting Documents on http://www.regulations.gov.
    Raw index counts found adults in four areas (Zoo A, Zoo B, Zoo C, 
and Zoo D) of the Zoo Miami parcel. Two of these patches (Zoo C and Zoo 
D) had fewer than 10 adults during several surveys at each. Zoo A, the 
more northern site where adults were first discovered, had peak counts 
of 17 and 22 adults in 2008 and 2009, but declined to 0 and 2 adults in 
six surveys from 2011 to 2014, despite thorough searches on several 
dates throughout the peak of the adult flight season (Knisley 2015, pp. 
9-10). Zoo B, located south of Zoo A, had peak counts of 17 and 20 
adults from 2008 to 2009, 36 to 42 adults from 2011 to 2012, and 13 and 
18 adults in 2014 (Knisley 2015a, pp. 9-10). These surveys at Zoo A and 
Zoo B also recorded the number of suitable habitat patches (occupied 
and unoccupied). Surveys between 2008 and 2014 documented a decline in 
both occupied and unoccupied open habitat patches. Knisley (2015, pp. 
9-10) documented a decrease at Zoo A from 7 occupied of 23 patches in 
2008, to 1 occupied of 13 patches in 2014. At Zoo B, there was a 
decrease from 19 occupied of 26 patches in 2008, to 7 occupied of 13 
patches in 2014 (Knisley 2015, pp. 9-10). Knisley (2015a, p. 10) 
suggested this decline in occupied and unoccupied patches is likely the 
result of the vegetation that he observed encroaching into the open 
areas that are required by the beetle.
    At the CSTARS site, the only survey during peak season was on 
August 20, 2010, when much of the potential habitat was checked. This 
survey produced a raw count of 38 adults in 11 scattered habitat 
patches, with 1 to 9 adults per patch, mostly in the western portion of 
the site (Knisley 2015a, p. 10). Three surveys at the USCG included 
only a portion of the potential habitat and produced raw adult counts 
of two, four, and two adults in three separate patches from 2009, 2010, 
and 2011, respectively (Knisley 2015a, p. 10). Additional surveys of 
the CSTARS and the USCG parcels on October 14 to 15, 2014, surveyed 
areas where adults were found in previous surveys and some new areas; 
however, no adults were observed. The most likely reasons for the 
absence of adults were because counts even during the peak of the 
flight season were low (thus detection would be lower off-peak), and 
mid-October is recognized as the end of the flight season (Knisley 
2014a, p. 2). As was noted for the Zoo Miami sites, habitat patches at 
the CSTARS and USCG parcels that previously supported adults seemed 
smaller due to increased vegetation growth, and consequently these 
patches appeared less suitable for the beetle than in the earlier 
surveys (Knisley 2015a, p. 10).
    Surveys of adult numbers over the years, especially the frequent 
surveys in 2009, did not indicate a bimodal adult activity pattern 
(Knisley 2015a, p. 10). Knisley (2015a, p. 10) suggests that actual 
numbers of adult Miami tiger beetles could be 2 to 3 times higher than 
indicated by the raw index counts. Several studies comparing methods 
for estimating population size of several tiger beetle species, 
including the Highlands tiger beetle, found total numbers present were 
usually more than two times that indicated by the index counts (Knisley 
and Hill 2013, pp. 27-28). The underestimates from raw index counts are 
likely to be comparable or greater for the Miami tiger beetle, because 
of its small size and occurrence in small open patches where 
individuals can be obscured by vegetation around the edges, making 
detection especially difficult (Knisley 2015a, p. 10).
    Surveys for larvae at the Zoo Miami parcel (Zoos A and B) were 
conducted in several years during January when lower temperatures would 
result in a higher level of larval activity and open burrows (Knisley 
and Hill 2013, p. 38) (see Table 2 in Supporting Documents on http://www.regulations.gov). The January 2010 survey produced a count of 63 
larval burrows, including 5 first instars, 36 second instars, and 22 
third instars (Knisley 2013, p. 4). All burrows were in the same bare 
sandy patches where adults were found. In March

[[Page 79540]]

2010, a followup survey indicated most second instar larvae had 
progressed to the third instar (Knisley 2015a, p. 11). Additional 
surveys to determine larval distribution and relative abundance during 
January or February in subsequent years detected fewer larvae in 
section Zoo B: 5 larvae in 2011, 3 larvae in 2012, 3 and 5 larvae in 
2013, 3 larvae in 2014, and 15 larvae in 2015 (Knisley 2013, pp. 4-5; 
Knisley 2015c, p. 1). The reason for this decline in larval numbers 
(i.e., from 63 in 2010, to 15 or fewer in each survey year from 2011 to 
2015) is unknown. Possible explanations are that fewer larvae were 
present because of reduced recruitment by adults from 2010 to 2014, 
increased difficulty in detecting larval burrows that were present due 
to vegetation growth and leaf litter, environmental factors (e.g., 
temperature, precipitation, predators), or a combination of these 
factors (Knisley 2015a, pp. 10-11). Larvae, like adults, also require 
open patches free from vegetation encroachment to complete their 
development. The January 2015 survey observed vegetation encroachment, 
as indicated by several of the numbered tags marking larval burrows in 
open patches in 2010 covered by plant growth and leaf litter (Knisley 
2015c, p. 1). No larvae were observed in the January 2015 survey of Zoo 
A (Knisley 2015c, p. 1). Knisley (2015d, p. 3) reported that the area 
had been recently burned (mid-November) and low vegetation was absent, 
resulting in mostly bare ground with extensive pine needle coverage.
    Surveys for the beetle's presence outside of its currently known 
occupied range found no Miami tiger beetles at a total of 42 sites (17 
pine rockland sites and 25 scrub sites) throughout Miami-Dade, Broward, 
Palm Beach, and Martin Counties (Knisley 2015a, pp. 9, 41-45). The 
absence of the Miami tiger beetle from sites north of Miami-Dade was 
probably because it never ranged beyond pine rockland habitat of Miami-
Dade County and into scrub habitats to the north (Knisley 2015a, p. 9). 
Sites without the Miami tiger beetle in Miami-Dade County mostly had 
vegetation that was too dense and were lacking the open patches of 
sandy soil that are needed by adults for oviposition and larval habitat 
(Knisley 2015a, pp. 9, 41-45).
    The Miami tiger beetle is considered as one of two tiger beetles in 
the United States most in danger of extinction (Knisley et al. 2014, p. 
93). The viability of the remaining population is unknown, as no 
population viability analysis is available (B. Knisley, 2015d, pers. 
comm.). The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) 
(2012, p. 89) regarded it as a species of greatest conservation need. 
The Miami tiger beetle is currently ranked S1 and G1 by the FNAI (2015, 
p. 16), meaning it is critically imperiled globally because of extreme 
rarity (5 or fewer occurrences, or fewer than 1,000 individuals) or 
because of extreme vulnerability to extinction due to some natural or 
manmade factor.
    In summary, the overall population size of the Miami tiger beetle 
is exceptionally small and viability is uncertain. Based upon the index 
count data to date, it appears that the two populations exist in 
extremely low numbers (Knisley 2015a, pp. 2, 10-11, 24).

Summary of Factors Affecting the Species

    Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533), and its implementing 
regulations at 50 CFR part 424, set forth the procedures for adding 
species to the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and 
Plants. Under section 4(a)(1) of the Act, we may list a 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; and (E) other natural or manmade 
factors affecting its continued existence. Listing actions may be 
warranted based on any of the above threat factors, singly or in 
combination. Each of these factors is discussed below.

Factor A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or 
Curtailment of Its Habitat or Range

    The Miami tiger beetle is threatened by habitat loss and 
modification caused by changes in land use and inadequate land 
management, including the lack of prescribed burns and vegetation 
(native and nonnative) encroachment (discussed separately below). 
Habitat loss and modification are expected to continue and increase, 
affecting any populations on private lands as well as those on 
protected lands that depend on management actions (i.e., prescribed 
fire) where these actions could be precluded by surrounding 
development.
Habitat Loss
    The Miami tiger beetle has experienced substantial destruction, 
modification, and curtailment of its habitat and range (Brzoska et al. 
2011, pp. 5-6; Knisley 2013, pp. 7-8; Knisley 2015a, p. 11). The pine 
rockland community of south Florida, on which the beetle depends, is 
critically imperiled globally (FNAI 2013, p. 3). Destruction of the 
pinelands for economic development has reduced this habitat by 90 
percent on mainland south Florida (O'Brien 1998, p. 208). Outside of 
ENP, only about 1 percent of the Miami Rock Ridge pinelands have 
escaped clearing, and much of what is left is in small remnant blocks 
isolated from other natural areas (Herndon 1998, p. 1).
    The two known populations of the Miami tiger beetle occur within 
the Richmond Pine Rocklands, on parcels of publicly or privately owned 
lands that are partially developed, yet retain some undeveloped pine 
rockland habitat. In the 1940s, the Naval Air Station Richmond was 
built largely on what is currently the Zoo Miami parcel. Much of the 
currently occupied Miami tiger beetle habitat on the Zoo Miami parcel 
was scraped for the creation of runways and blimp hangars (Wirth 2015, 
entire). The fact that this formerly scraped pine rockland area now 
provides suitable habitat for the Miami tiger beetle demonstrates the 
restoration potential of disturbed pine rockland habitat (Possley 2015, 
entire; Wirth 2015, entire).
    Any current known or unknown, extant Miami tiger beetle populations 
or potentially suitable habitat that may occur on private lands or non-
conservation public lands, such as elsewhere within the Richmond Pine 
Rocklands or surrounding pine rocklands, are vulnerable to habitat 
loss. Miami-Dade County leads the State in gross urban density at 15.45 
people per acre (Zwick and Carr 2006, pp. 1, 13), and development and 
human population growth are expected to continue in the future. By 
2025, Miami-Dade County is predicted to exceed a population size of 
over 3 million people (Zwick and Carr 2006, p. 20). This predicted 
economic and population growth will further increase demands for land, 
water, and other resources, which will undoubtedly impact the survival 
and recovery of the Miami tiger beetle.
    Remaining habitat is at risk of additional losses and degradation. 
Of high and specific concern are proposed development projects within 
the Richmond Pine Rocklands (CBD et al. 2014, pp. 19-24). In 2013, 
plans for potential development on portions of the Zoo Miami and USCG 
parcels were announced in local newspapers (Munzenrieder 2013, entire) 
and subsequently advertised through other mechanisms (https://www.miamidade.gov/dpmww/SolicitationDetails.aspx?Id=Invitation%20To%20Negotiate%20(ITN) 
[accessed April 24,

[[Page 79541]]

2014]). The proposed development is to include the following: Theme 
park rides; a seasonally opened water park; a 400-room hotel with a 
Sony Music Theatre performance venue; a 30,000-ft\2\ (2,787-m\2\) 
retail and restaurant village; an entertainment center with movie 
theaters and bowling; an outdoor area for sports; a landscaped 
pedestrian and bike path; parking; and a 2.4-km (1.5-mi) transportation 
link that unifies the project's parts (Dinkova 2014a, p.1). The 
proposed development will require at least a portion of the USCG 
parcel, which would occur through purchase or a land swap (Dinkova 
2014b, p. 1).
    The Service notified Miami-Dade County in a December 2, 2014, 
letter about proposed development concerns with potential impacts to 
listed, candidate, and imperiled species, including the Miami tiger 
beetle. Plans for the proposed development on the Zoo Miami and USCG 
parcels have yet to be finalized, so potential impacts to the Miami 
tiger beetle and its habitat cannot be fully assessed. However, based 
upon available information provided to date, it appears that the 
proposed development will impact suitable or potentially suitable 
beetle habitat.
    In July 2014, the Service became aware of another proposed 
development project on privately owned lands within the Richmond Pine 
Rocklands. In a July 15, 2014, letter to the proposed developer, the 
Service named the Miami tiger beetle (along with other federally listed 
and proposed species and habitats) as occurring within the project 
footprint, and expressed concern over indirect impacts (e.g., the 
ability to conduct prescribed fire within the Richmond Pine Rocklands). 
Based upon applicant plans received in May 2015, the proposed project 
will contain a variety of commercial, residential, and other 
development within approximately 138 ac (56 ha) (Ram 2015, p. 4). It is 
unknown if the Miami tiger beetle occurs on the proposed development 
site, as only one limited survey has been conducted on a small portion 
(approximately 1.7 ha (4.3 ac)) of the proposed development area and 
more surveys are needed. Based upon available information, it appears 
that the proposed developments will likely impact suitable or 
potentially suitable beetle habitat, because roughly 33 acres of the 
proposed development are planned for intact and degraded pine rocklands 
(Ram 2015, p. 91). The Service has met with the developers to learn 
more about their plans and address listed, candidate, and imperiled 
species issues; negotiations are continuing, and a draft habitat 
conservation plan has been developed (Ram 2015, entire).
    Given the species' highly restricted range and uncertain viability, 
any additional losses are significant. Additional development might 
further limit the ability to conduct prescribed burns or other 
beneficial management activities that are necessary to maintain the 
open areas within pine rockland habitat that are required by the 
beetle. The pattern of public and private ownership presents an urban 
wildland interface, which is a known constraint for implementing 
prescribed fire in similar pine rockland habitats (i.e., at National 
Key Deer Refuge and in southern Miami-Dade County) (Snyder et al. 2005, 
p. 2; Service 2009, p. 50; 79 FR 47180, August 12, 2014; 79 FR 52567, 
September 4, 2014). The Florida Department of Forestry has limited 
staff in Miami-Dade County, and they have been reluctant to set fires 
for liability reasons (URS 2007, p. 39) (see ``Land Management,'' 
below).
    In summary, given the Miami tiger beetle's highly restricted range 
and uncertain viability, any additional losses of habitat within its 
current range present substantial threats to its survival and recovery.
Land Management
    The threat of habitat destruction or modification is further 
exacerbated by a lack of adequate fire management (Brzoska et al. 2011, 
pp. 5-6; Knisley 2013, pp. 7-8; Knisley 2015a, p. 2). Historically, 
lightning-induced fires were a vital component in maintaining native 
vegetation within the pine rockland ecosystem, as well as for opening 
patches in the vegetation required by the beetles (Loope and Dunevitz 
1981, p. 5; Slocum et al. 2003, p. 93; Snyder et al. 2005, p. 1; 
Knisley 2011a, pp. 31-32). Open patches in the landscape, which allow 
for ample sunlight for thermoregulation, are necessary for Miami tiger 
beetles to perform their normal activities, such as foraging, mating, 
and oviposition (Knisley 2011a, p. 32). Larvae also require these open 
patches to complete their development free from vegetation 
encroachment. Without fire, successional change from tropical pineland 
to hardwood hammock is rapid, and displacement of native plants by 
invasive, nonnative plants often occurs, resulting in vegetation 
overgrowth and litter accumulation in the open, bare, sandy patches 
that are necessary for the Miami tiger beetle. In the absence of fire, 
pine rockland will succeed to tropical hardwood hammock in 20 to 30 
years, as thick duff layer accumulates and eventually results in the 
appearance of humic soils rather than mineral soils (Alexander 1967, p. 
863; Wade et al. 1980, p. 92; Loope and Dunevitz 1981, p. 6; Snyder et 
al. 1990, p. 260).
    Miami-Dade County has implemented various conservation measures, 
such as burning in a mosaic pattern and on a small scale, during 
prescribed burns, to help conserve the Miami tiger beetles and other 
imperiled species and their habitats (J. Maguire, 2010, pers. comm.). 
Miami-Dade County Parks and Recreation staff has burned several of its 
conservation lands on fire return intervals of approximately 3 to 7 
years. However, implementation of the county's prescribed fire program 
has been hampered by a shortage of resources, logistical difficulties, 
smoke management, and public concern related to burning next to 
residential areas (Snyder et al. 2005, p. 2; FNAI 2010, p. 5). Many 
homes and other developments have been built in a mosaic of pine 
rockland, so the use of prescribed fire in many places has become 
complicated because of potential danger to structures and smoke 
generated from the burns. The risk of liability and limited staff in 
Miami-Dade County have hindered prescribed fire efforts (URS 2007, p. 
39). Nonprofit organizations, such as the Institute for Regional 
Conservation, have faced similar challenges in conducting prescribed 
burns, due to difficulties with permitting and obtaining the necessary 
permissions, as well as hazard insurance limitations (Bradley and Gann 
2008, p. 17; G. Gann, 2013, pers. comm.). Few private landowners have 
the means or desire to implement prescribed fire on their property, and 
doing so in a fragmented urban environment is logistically difficult 
and costly (Bradley and Gann 2008, p. 3). Lack of management has 
resulted in rapid habitat decline on most of the small pine rockland 
fragments, with the disappearance of federally listed and candidate 
species where they once occurred (Bradley and Gann 2008, p. 3).
    Despite efforts to use prescribed fire as a management tool in pine 
rockland habitat, sites with the Miami tiger beetle are not burned as 
frequently as needed to maintain suitable beetle habitat. Most of the 
occupied beetle habitat at Miami-Dade County's Zoo Miami parcel was 
last burned in January and October of 2007; by 2010, there was 
noticeable vegetation encroachment into suitable habitat patches 
(Knisley 2011a, p. 36). The northern portion (Zoo A) of the Zoo Miami 
site was burned in November 2014 (Knisley 2015c, p. 3). Several 
occupied locations at the CSTARS

[[Page 79542]]

parcel were burned in 2010, but four other locations at CSTARS were 
last burned in 2004 and 2006 (Knisley 2011a, p. 36). No recent burns 
are believed to have occurred at the USCG parcel (Knisley 2011a, p. 
36). The decline in adult numbers at the two primary Zoo Miami patches 
(A and B) in 2014 surveys, and the few larvae found there in recent 
years, may be a result of the observed loss of bare open patches 
(Knisley 2015a, p. 12; Knisley 2015c, pp. 1-3). Surveys of the CSTARS 
and USCG parcels in 2014 found similar loss of open patches from 
encroaching vegetation (Knisley 2015a, p. 13).
    Alternatives to prescribed fire, such as mechanical removal of 
woody vegetation are not as ecologically effective as fire. Mechanical 
treatments do not replicate fire's ability to recycle nutrients to the 
soil, a process that is critical to many pine rockland species (URS 
2007, p. 39). To prevent organic soils from developing, uprooted woody 
debris requires removal, which adds to the required labor. The use of 
mechanical equipment can also damage soils and inadvertently include 
the removal or trampling of other non-target species or critical 
habitat (URS 2007, p. 39).
    Nonnative plants have significantly affected pine rocklands 
(Bradley and Gann 1999, pp. 15, 72; Bradley and Gann 2005, page numbers 
not applicable; Bradley and van der Heiden 2013, pp. 12-16). As a 
result of human activities, at least 277 taxa of nonnative plants have 
invaded pine rocklands throughout south Florida (Service 1999, p. 3-
175). Neyraudia neyraudiana (Burma reed) and Schinus terebinthifolius 
(Brazilian pepper), which have the ability to rapidly invade open 
areas, threaten the habitat needs of the Miami tiger beetle (Bradley 
and Gann 1999, pp. 13, 72). S. terebinthifolius, a nonnative tree, is 
the most widespread and one of the most invasive species. It forms 
dense thickets of tangled, woody stems that completely shade out and 
displace native vegetation (Loflin 1991, p. 19; Langeland and Craddock 
Burks 1998, p. 54). Acacia auriculiformis (earleaf acacia), Melinis 
repens (natal grass), Lantana camara (shrub verbena), and Albizia 
lebbeck (tongue tree) are some of the other nonnative species in pine 
rocklands. More species of nonnative plants could become problems in 
the future, such as Lygodium microphyllum (Old World climbing fern), 
which is a serious threat throughout south Florida.
    Nonnative, invasive plants compete with native plants for space, 
light, water, and nutrients, and make habitat conditions unsuitable for 
the Miami tiger beetle, which responds positively to open conditions. 
Invasive nonnatives also affect the characteristics of a fire when it 
does occur. Historically, pine rocklands had an open, low understory 
where natural fires remained patchy with low temperature intensity. 
Dense infestations of Neyraudia neyraudiana and Schinus 
terebinthifolius cause higher fire temperatures and longer burning 
periods. With the presence of invasive, nonnative species, it is 
uncertain how fire, even under a managed situation, will affect habitat 
conditions or Miami tiger beetles.
    Management of nonnative, invasive plants in pine rocklands in 
Miami-Dade County is further complicated because the vast majority of 
pine rocklands are small, fragmented areas bordered by urban 
development. Fragmentation results in an increased proportion of 
``edge'' habitat, which in turn has a variety of effects, including 
changes in microclimate and community structure at various distances 
from the edge (Margules and Pressey 2000, p. 248); altered spatial 
distribution of fire (greater fire frequency in areas nearer the edge) 
(Cochrane 2001, pp. 1518-1519); and increased pressure from nonnative, 
invasive plants and animals that may out-compete or disturb native 
plant populations. Additionally, areas near managed pine rockland that 
contains nonnative species can act as a seed source of nonnatives, 
allowing them to continue to invade the surrounding pine rockland 
(Bradley and Gann 1999, p. 13).
Conservation Efforts To Reduce the Present or Threatened Destruction, 
Modification, or Curtailment of Habitat or Range
    In 2005, the Service funded the Institute for Regional Conservation 
(IRC) to facilitate restoration and management of privately owned pine 
rockland habitats in Miami-Dade County. This initiative included 
prescribed burns, nonnative plant control, light debris removal, 
hardwood management, reintroduction of pines where needed, and 
development of management plans. The Pine Rockland Initiative includes 
10-year cooperative agreements between participating landowners and the 
Service/IRC to ensure restored areas will be managed appropriately 
during that time. Although most of these objectives regarding nonnative 
plant control, creation of fire breaks, removal of excessive fuel 
loads, and management plans have been achieved, IRC has not been able 
to conduct the desired prescribed burns, due to logistical difficulties 
as discussed above (see ``Land Management''). IRC has recently resolved 
some of the challenges regarding contractor availability for prescribed 
burns and the Service has extended IRC's funding period through August 
2016. Results from anticipated fire management restoration activities 
will be available in the fall of 2016.
    Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (FTBG), with the support of 
various Federal, State, local, and nonprofit organizations, has 
established the ``Connect to Protect Network.'' The objective of this 
program is to encourage widespread participation of citizens to create 
corridors of healthy pine rocklands by planting stepping stone gardens 
and rights-of-way with native pine rockland species, and restoring 
isolated pine rockland fragments. Although these projects may serve as 
valuable components toward the conservation of pine rockland species 
and habitat, they are dependent on continual funding, as well as 
participation from private landowners, both of which may vary through 
time.
Summary of Factor A
    We have identified a number of threats to the habitat of the Miami 
tiger beetle, which have occurred in the past, are impacting the 
species now, and will continue to impact the species in the future. 
Habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation, and associated pressures 
from increased human population, are major threats; these threats are 
expected to continue, placing the species at greater risk. The species' 
occurrence on pine rocklands that are partially protected from 
development (see ``Local'' under Factor D, below) tempers some impacts, 
yet the threat of further loss and fragmentation of habitat remains. 
Various conservation programs are in place, and while these help to 
reduce some threats of habitat loss and modification, these programs 
are limited in nature. In general, available resources and land 
management activities (e.g., prescribed fire and invasive plant 
control) on public and private lands are inadequate to prevent 
modification and degradation of the species' habitat. Therefore, based 
on our analysis of the best available information, the present and 
future loss and modification of the species' habitat are major threats 
to the Miami tiger beetle throughout its range.

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

Collection
    Rare beetles, butterflies, and moths are highly prized by 
collectors. Tiger beetles are the subject of more intense collecting 
and study than any other

[[Page 79543]]

single beetle group (Pearson 1988, pp. 123-124; Knisley and Hill 1992a, 
p. 9; Choate 1996, p. 1; Knisley et al. 2014, p. 94). Interest in the 
genus Cicindela (and Cicindelidia) is reflected in a journal entitled 
``Cicindela,'' which has been published quarterly since 1969 and is 
exclusively devoted to the genus. Tiger beetle collecting and the sale 
and trade of specimens have increased in popularity in recent years 
(Knisley et al. 2014, p. 138). Among the professional researchers and 
many amateurs that collect tiger beetles are individuals that take only 
small numbers; however, there are also avid collectors who take as many 
specimens as possible, often for sale or trade. At present, it is 
estimated that nationally 50 to 100 individuals collect tiger beetles, 
and approximately 50 individuals are avid collectors (Knisley 2015b, p. 
14). Knowledge of and communication with many of these collectors 
suggest sale and trading of specimens has become much more common in 
recent years. The increased interest in collecting, along with 
photographing specimens, seems to have been stimulated in part due to 
the publication of the tiger beetle field guide (Pearson et al. 2006, 
entire). Collectors are especially interested in the less common forms, 
and may have little regard for their conservation (Knisley 2015b, p. 
14). There is ample evidence of collectors impacting imperiled and 
endangered butterflies (Gochfeld and Burger 1997, pp. 208- 209) and 
even contributing to extirpations (Duffey 1968, p. 94). For example, 
the federally endangered Mitchell's satyr (Neonympha mitchellii 
mitchellii) is believed to have been extirpated from New Jersey due to 
overcollecting (57 FR 21567, May 20, 1992; Gochfeld and Burger 1997, p. 
209).
    Collection is serious threat to the Miami tiger beetle due to 
extreme rarity (a factor that increases demand by collectors) and 
vulnerability (i.e., uncertain status and viability with just two known 
populations and few individuals). Collection is especially problematic 
if adults are taken prior to oviposition or from small, isolated, or 
poor-quality sites. Because no large, high-quality sites are currently 
known, any collection can have serious ramifications on the survival of 
the remaining population(s).
    The recent description of the species did not disclose the exact 
locations of occurrence, due to concerns with collection (Brzoska et 
al. 2011, p. 5); however, it is now believed that occurrences at Zoo 
Miami, USCG, and CSTARS in the Richmond population are fairly well 
known, especially in the tiger beetle collecting community (B. Knisley, 
2014b, pers. comm.). We have no specific information on the collection 
pressure for the Miami tiger beetle, but it is expected to be high 
based upon what has transpired in comparable situations with other 
federally listed and imperiled tiger beetles and butterflies both 
nationwide and in Florida. For example, the federally endangered Ohlone 
tiger beetle (Cicindela ohlone) was collected from its type locality in 
California after its description in the scientific literature (66 FR 
50340, October 3, 2001) (Knisley 2015a, p. 14). Similarly, 
overcollection of the Highlands tiger beetle may have contributed to 
the extirpation of that species from its type locality in Florida 
(Knisley and Hill 1992a, p. 9). An estimated 500 to 1,000 adult 
Highlands tiger beetles had been collected at this site during a 
several year period after its initial discovery (Knisley and Hill 
1992a, p. 10).
    Markets currently exist for tiger beetles. Specimens of two Florida 
tiger beetles, the Highlands tiger beetle, a federal candidate species, 
and the scrub tiger beetle are regularly offered for sale or trade 
through online insect dealers (The Bugmaniac 2015 and eBay 2015). 
Considering the recent rediscovery of the Miami tiger beetle and 
concerns regarding its continued existence, the desirability of this 
species to private collectors is expected to increase, which may lead 
to similar markets and increased demand.
    Another reason it is not possible to assess actual impacts from 
collection is that known occurrences of the Miami tiger beetle are not 
regularly monitored. Two known occurrences on the USCG and CSTARS 
parcels are gated and accessible only by permit, so collection from 
these sites is unlikely unless authorized by the property owners. 
However, other occupied and potential habitats at neighboring and 
surrounding areas are much more accessible. Risk of collection is 
concerning at any location and is more likely at less secure sites. 
Collection potential at Zoo Miami and other accessible sites is high, 
in part because it is not entirely gated and only periodically 
patrolled (B. Knisley, 2014b, pers. comm.). Most of the remaining pine 
rockland habitat outside of ENP in Miami Dade County is owned by the 
County or in private ownership and not regularly monitored or 
patrolled.
    We consider collection to be a significant threat to the Miami 
tiger beetle in light of the few known remaining populations, low 
abundance, and highly restricted range. Even limited collection from 
the remaining populations could have deleterious effects on 
reproductive and genetic viability of the species and could contribute 
to its extinction. Removal of adults early in the flight season or 
prior to oviposition can be particularly damaging, as it further 
reduces potential for successful reproduction. A population may be 
reduced to below sustainable numbers (Allee effect) by removal of 
females, reducing the probability that new occurrences will be founded. 
Small and isolated occurrences in poor habitat may be at greatest risk 
(see Factor E discussion, below) as these might not be able to 
withstand additional losses. Collectors may be unable to recognize when 
they are depleting occurrences below the thresholds of survival or 
recovery (Collins and Morris 1985, pp. 162-165).
    With regard to scientific research, we do not believe that general 
techniques used to date have had negative impacts on the species or its 
habitat. Visual index surveys and netting for identification purposes 
have been performed during scientific research and conservation efforts 
with the potential to disturb or injure individuals or damage habitat. 
Limited collection as part of laboratory rearing studies or taxonomic 
verification has occurred at some sites, with work authorized by 
permits. Based on the extreme rarity of the species, various collecting 
techniques (e.g., pitfall traps, Malaise traps, light traps) for other 
more general insect research projects should be considered a potential 
threat.
Summary of Factor B
    Collection interest in tiger beetles, especially rare species, is 
high, and markets currently exist. While it is not possible to quantify 
the impacts of collection on the Miami tiger beetle, collection of the 
Highlands tiger beetle has been documented in large numbers, and 
collection is currently occurring. The risk of collection of the Miami 
tiger beetle from both occupied and other potential habitat is high, as 
some sites are generally accessible and not monitored or patrolled. Due 
to the few remaining populations, low abundance, and restricted range, 
we have determined that collection is a significant threat to the 
species and could potentially occur at any time. Even limited 
collection from the remaining populations could have negative effects 
on reproductive and genetic viability of the species and could 
contribute to its extinction.

Factor C. Disease or Predation

    There is no evidence of disease or pathogens affecting the Miami 
tiger

[[Page 79544]]

beetle, although this threat has not been investigated. Parasites and 
predators, however, have been found to have significant impacts on 
adult and larval tiger beetles. In general, parasites are considered to 
have greater effects on tiger beetles than predators (Nagano 1982, p. 
34; Pearson 1988, pp. 136-138). While parasites and predators play 
important roles in the natural dynamics of tiger beetle populations, 
the current small size of the Miami tiger beetle populations may render 
the species more vulnerable to parasitism and predation than 
historically, when the species was more widely distributed and 
therefore more resilient.
    Known predators of adult tiger beetles include birds, lizards, 
spiders, and especially robber flies (family Asilidae) (Pearson et al. 
2006, p. 183). Researchers and collectors have often observed robber 
flies in the field capturing tiger beetles out of the air. Pearson 
(1985, pp. 68-69; 1988, p. 134) found tiger beetles with orange 
abdomens (warning coloration) were preyed upon less frequently than 
similar-sized tiger beetles without the orange abdomens. His field 
trials also determined that size alone provided some protection from 
robber flies, which are usually only successful in killing prey that is 
smaller than they are. This was the case with the hairy-necked tiger 
beetle (Cicindela hirticollis) being attacked at a significantly higher 
rate than the larger northeastern beach tiger beetle in Maryland 
(Knisley and Hill 2010, pp. 54-55). On the basis of these field 
studies, it was estimated that robber flies may cause over 50 percent 
mortality to the hairy-necked tiger beetle and 6 percent to the 
northeastern beach tiger beetle population throughout the flight season 
(Knisley and Hill 2010, pp. 54-55). The small body size of the Miami 
tiger beetle, even with its orange abdomen, suggests it would be 
susceptible to robber fly attack. No robber flies have been observed 
during the limited field studies on the Miami tiger beetle; however, 
they are a common predator of the closely related Highlands tiger 
beetle (Knisley and Hill 2013, p. 40). In 24 hours of field study, 
Knisley and Hill (2013, p. 40) observed 22 attacks by robber flies on 
Highlands tiger beetles, 5 of which resulted in the robber fly killing 
and consuming the adult beetles.
    Most predators of adult tiger beetles are opportunistic, feeding on 
a variety of available prey, and therefore probably have only a limited 
impact on tiger beetle populations. However, predators, and especially 
parasites, of larvae are more common and some attack only tiger 
beetles. Ants are regarded as important predators on tiger beetles, and 
although not well studied, they have been reported having significant 
impact on first instar larvae of some Arizona tiger beetles (Cicindela 
spp.) (Knisley and Juliano 1988, p. 1990). A study with the Highlands 
tiger beetle found ants accounted for 11 to 17 percent of larval 
mortality at several sites, primarily involving first instars (Knisley 
and Hill 2013, p. 37). During surveys for the Miami tiger beetle, 
various species of ants were commonly seen co-occurring in the sandy 
patches with adults and larvae, but their impact, if any, is unknown at 
this time.
    Available literature indicates that the most important tiger beetle 
natural enemies are tiphiid wasps and bombyliid flies, which parasitize 
larvae (Knisley and Schultz 1997, pp. 53-57). The wasps enter the 
larvae burrows, and paralyze and lay an egg on the larvae. The 
resulting parasite larva consumes the host tiger beetle larva. 
Bombyliid flies (genus Anthrax) drop eggs into larval burrows with the 
resulting fly larvae consuming the tiger beetle larva. These 
parasitoids accounted for 20 to 80 percent mortality in larvae of 
several northeastern tiger beetles (Pearson and Vogler 2001, p. 172). 
Parasitism from bombyliid flies accounted for 13 to 25 percent 
mortality to larvae of the Highlands tiger beetle at several sites 
(Knisley and Hill 2013, p. 37). Generally, these rates of parasitism 
are similar to those reported for other species of tiger beetles (Bram 
and Knisley 1982, p. 99; Palmer 1982, p. 64; Knisley 1987, p. 1198). No 
tiphiid wasps or bombyliid flies were observed during field studies 
with the Miami tiger beetle (Knisley 2015a, p. 15); however, tiphiid 
wasps are small, secretive, and evidence of their attacks is difficult 
to find (Knisley 2015b, p. 16).
Summary of Factor C
    Potential impacts from predators or parasites to the Miami tiger 
beetle are unknown. Given the small size of the Miami tiger beetle's 
two populations, the species is likely vulnerable to predation and 
parasitism.

Factor D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    Section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act requires the Service to take into 
account ``those efforts, if any, being made by any State or foreign 
nation, or any political subdivision of a State or foreign nation, to 
protect such species. . . .'' In relation to Factor D, we interpret 
this language to require the Service to consider relevant Federal, 
State, and Tribal laws, plans, regulations, and other such mechanisms 
that may minimize any of the threats we describe in threat analyses 
under the other four factors, or otherwise enhance conservation of the 
species. We give strongest weight to statutes and their implementing 
regulations and to management direction that stems from those laws and 
regulations. An example would be State governmental actions enforced 
under a State statute or constitution, or Federal action under statute.
Federal
    The Miami tiger beetle currently has no Federal protective status 
and has limited regulatory protection in its known occupied and 
suitable habitat. The species is not known to occur on National 
Wildlife Refuge or National Park land. The Miami tiger beetle is known 
to occur on USCG lands within the Richmond Pinelands Complex, and there 
are limited protection for the species on this property; any USCG 
actions or decisions that may have an effect on the environment would 
require consideration and review under the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). No Federal permit or other 
authorization is currently needed for potential impacts to known 
occurrences on county-owned and private land. The Miami tiger beetle 
could be afforded limited protections from sections 7 and 10 of the Act 
based on its co-occurrence with listed species or their critical 
habitat, if applicable, within the Richmond Pine Rocklands, including 
species such as the Bartram's scrub-hairstreak butterfly (Strymon acis 
bartrami), Florida leafwing butterfly (Anaea troglodyta floridalis), 
Florida bonneted bat (Eumops floridanus), Florida brickell-bush 
(Brickellia mosieri), Carter's small-flowered flax (Linum carteri var. 
carteri), deltoid spurge (Chamaesyce deltoidea ssp. deltoidea), and 
tiny polygala (Polygala smallii). However, effect determinations and 
minimization and avoidance criteria for any of these listed species are 
unlikely to be fully protective to the Miami tiger beetle considering 
its extreme rarity. The listed species have broader distributions that 
allow for more flexibility with appropriate conservation measures. In 
contrast, with only two known populations and few remaining adults, the 
Miami tiger beetle has a much lower threat tolerance. Although the 
beetle is not currently federally protected, the Service has met with 
Miami-Dade County, the USCG, the University of Miami, and potential 
developers to express our concern regarding listed, proposed, 
candidate, and imperiled species in the Richmond

[[Page 79545]]

Pine Rocklands, including the Miami tiger beetle. We have recommended 
that management and habitat conservation plans include and fully 
consider this species and its habitat.
State
    The Miami tiger beetle is not currently listed as endangered or 
threatened by the State of Florida, so there are no existing 
regulations designated to protect it. The Miami tiger beetle is 
recognized as a species of greatest conservation need by the FWC (FWC 
2012, p. 89). Species of greatest conservation need designation is part 
of the State's strategy to recognize and seek funding opportunities for 
research and conservation of these species, particularly through the 
State Wildlife Grants program. The list is extensive and, to date, we 
are unaware of any dedicated funding from this program for the beetle. 
The Miami tiger beetle is not known to occur on lands owned by the 
State of Florida; however, not all State-owned pine rockland parcels 
have been adequately surveyed. It is possible that some State-owned 
parcels do provide potentially suitable habitat, and support 
occurrences of, the Miami tiger beetle.
Local
    In 1984, section 24-49 of the Code of Miami-Dade County established 
regulation of County-designated Natural Forested Communities (NFCs), 
which include both pine rocklands and tropical hardwood hammocks. These 
regulations were placed on specific properties throughout the county by 
an act of the Board of County Commissioners in an effort to protect 
environmentally sensitive forest lands. The Miami-Dade County 
Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources (RER) has regulatory 
authority over NFCs, and is charged with enforcing regulations that 
provide partial protection on the Miami Rock Ridge. Miami-Dade Code 
typically allows up to 20 percent of a pine rockland designated as NFC 
to be developed, and requires that the remaining 80 percent be placed 
under a perpetual covenant. In certain circumstances, where the 
landowner can demonstrate that limiting development to 20 percent does 
not allow for ``reasonable use'' of the property, additional 
development may be approved. NFC landowners are also required to obtain 
an NFC permit for any work within the boundaries of the NFC on their 
property. The NFC program is responsible for ensuring that NFC permits 
are issued in accordance with the limitations and requirements of the 
code and that appropriate NFC preserves are established and maintained 
in conjunction with the issuance of an NFC permit. The NFC program 
currently regulates approximately 600 pine rockland or pine rockland/
hammock properties, comprising approximately 1,200 ha (3,000 ac) of 
habitat (J. Joyner, 2013, pers. comm.). When RER discovers unpermitted 
activities, it takes appropriate enforcement action, and seeks 
restoration when possible. Because these regulations allows for 
development of pine rockland habitat, and because unpermitted 
development and destruction of pine rockland continues to occur, the 
regulations are not fully effective at protecting against loss of Miami 
tiger beetles or their potential habitat.
    Under Miami-Dade County ordinance (section 26-1), a permit is 
required to conduct scientific research (rule 9) on county 
environmental lands. In addition, rule 8 of this ordinance provides for 
the preservation of habitat within County parks or areas operated by 
the Parks and Recreation Department. The scientific research permitting 
effectively allows the County to monitor and manage the level of 
scientific research and collection of the Miami tiger beetle, and the 
preservation of pine rockland habitat benefits the beetle.
    Fee Title Properties: In 1990, Miami-Dade County voters approved a 
2-year property tax to fund the acquisition, protection, and 
maintenance of environmentally endangered lands (EEL). The EEL Program 
identifies and secures these lands for preservation. Under this program 
to date, Miami-Dade County has acquired a total of approximately 255 ha 
(630 ac) of pine rocklands. In addition, approximately 445 ha (1,100 
ac) of pine rocklands are owned by the Miami-Dade County Parks and 
Recreation Department and managed by the EEL Program, including some of 
the largest remaining areas of pine rockland habitat on the Miami Rock 
Ridge outside of ENP (e.g., Larry and Penny Thompson Park, Zoo Miami 
pinelands, and Navy Wells Pineland Preserve).
Summary of Factor D
    There are some regulatory mechanisms currently in place to protect 
the Miami tiger beetle and its habitat on non-Federal lands. However, 
there are no Federal regulatory protections for the Miami tiger beetle, 
other than the limited protections afforded for listed species and 
critical habitat that co-occur with the Miami tiger beetle. While local 
regulations provide some protection, they are generally not fully 
effective (e.g., NFC regulations allow development of 20 percent or 
more of pine rockland habitat) or implemented sufficiently (e.g., 
unpermitted clearing of pine rockland habitat) to alleviate threats to 
the Miami tiger beetle and its habitat. The degradation of habitat for 
the Miami tiger beetle is ongoing despite existing regulatory 
mechanisms. Based on our analysis of the best available information, we 
find that existing regulatory measures, due to a variety of 
constraints, are inadequate to fully address threats to the species 
throughout its range.

Factor E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting Its Continued 
Existence

Few, Small, Isolated Populations
    The Miami tiger beetle is vulnerable to extinction due to its 
severely reduced range, the fact that only two small populations 
remain, and the species' relative isolation.
    Demographic stochasticity refers to random variability in survival 
or reproduction among individuals within a population (Shaffer 1981, p. 
131). Demographic stochasticity can have a significant impact on 
population viability for populations that are small, have low 
fecundity, and are short-lived. In small populations, reduced 
reproduction or die-offs of a certain age-class will have a significant 
effect on the whole population. Although of only minor consequence to 
large populations, this randomly occurring variation in individuals 
becomes an important issue for small populations.
    Environmental stochasticity is the variation in birth and death 
rates from one season to the next in response to weather, disease, 
competition, predation, or other factors external to the population 
(Shaffer 1981, p. 131). For example, drought or predation, in 
combination with a low population year, could result in extirpation. 
The origin of the environmental stochastic event can be natural or 
human-caused.
    In general, tiger beetles that have been regularly monitored 
consistently exhibit extreme fluctuations in population size, often 
apparently due to climatic or other habitat factors that affect 
recruitment, population growth, and other population parameters. In 20 
or more years of monitoring, most populations of the northeastern beach 
and puritan tiger beetles (Cicindela puritan) have exhibited 2 to 5 or 
more fold differences in abundance (Knisley 2012, entire). Annual 
population estimates of the Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle 
(Cicindela albissima) (have ranged from fewer than 600 to nearly 3,000 
adults

[[Page 79546]]

over a 22-year period (Gowan and Knisley 2014, p. 124). The Miami tiger 
beetle has not been monitored as extensively as these species, but in 
areas where Miami tiger beetles were repeatedly surveyed, researchers 
found fluctuations that were several fold in numbers (Knisley 2015a, p. 
24). While these fluctuations appear to be the norm for populations of 
tiger beetles (and most insects), the causes and effects are not well 
known. Among the suggested causes of these population trends are annual 
rainfall patterns for the Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle (Knisley 
and Hill 2001, p. 391; Gowan and Knisley 2014, p. 119), and shoreline 
erosion from storms for the northeastern beach and puritan tiger 
beetles (Knisley 2011b, p. 54). As a result of these fluctuations, many 
tiger beetle populations will experience episodic low numbers 
(bottlenecks) or even local extinction from genetic decline, the Allee 
effect, or other factors. Given that the Miami tiger beetle is only 
known from two remaining populations with few adult individuals, any 
significant decrease in the population size could easily result in 
extinction of the species.
    Dispersal and movement of the Miami tiger beetle is unknown, but is 
considered to be very limited. A limited mark-recapture study with the 
closely related Highlands tiger beetle found that adult beetles moved 
no more than 150 m (490 ft), usually flying only 5-10 m (16-33 ft) at a 
time (Knisley and Hill 2013). Generally, tiger beetles are known to 
easily move around, so exchange of individuals among separated sites 
will commonly occur if there are habitat connections or if the sites 
are within dispersal range--which is not the case with the population 
structure of the Miami tiger beetle. Species in woodland, scrub, or 
dune habitats also seem to disperse less than water-edge species 
(Knisley and Hill 1996, p. 13). Among tiger beetles, there is a general 
trend of decreasing flight distance with decreasing body size (Knisley 
and Hill 1996, p. 13). The Miami tiger beetle has a small body size. 
Given these factors, dispersal may be limited for the Miami tiger 
beetle.
    Small, isolated population size was listed as one of several of the 
threats in the petition received to list the Miami tiger beetle (CBD 
et. al. 2014, pp. 17, 30). The effects of low population size on 
population viability are not known for tiger beetles, but population 
viability analyses for the northeastern beach, puritan, and Coral Pink 
Sand Dunes tiger beetles determined that stochasticity, specifically 
the fluctuations in population size, was the main factor accounting for 
the high risk of extinction (Gowan and Knisley 2001, entire; 2005, p. 
13; Knisley and Gowan 2009, pp. 13-23). The long-term monitoring of 
northeastern beach and puritan tiger beetles found that, despite the 
fluctuations, some small populations with fewer than 50 to 100 adults 
experienced several fold declines, but persisted (Knisley 2015b, p. 
20). Several Highlands tiger beetle sites with fewer than 20 to 50 
adults were lost over the past 15-20 years, while several others have 
persisted during that period (Knisley 2015b, p. 20). Losses may have 
been due to habitat disturbance or low population size effects. Knisley 
predicts that the Highlands tiger beetle populations (extinct and 
extant) are isolated from each other with little chance for dispersal 
between populations and immigration rescues (B. Knisley, 2015d, pers. 
comm.). With only two known populations of the Miami tiger beetle, 
separated by substantial urban development, the potential for 
immigration rescue is low.
Pesticides
    Pesticides used in and around pine rockland habitat are a potential 
threat to the Miami tiger beetle through direct exposure to adults and 
larvae, secondary exposure from insect prey, overall reduction in 
availability of adult and larval prey, or any combination of these 
factors. The use of pesticides for agriculture and mosquito control 
presents potential risks to nontarget insects, especially imperiled 
insects (EPA 2002, p. 32; 2006a, p. 58; 2006b, p. 44). The negative 
effect of insecticides on several tiger beetle species was suggested by 
Nagano (1980, p. 34) and Stamatov (1972, p. 78), although impacts from 
pesticides do not appear to be well studied in tiger beetles.
    Efforts to control mosquitoes and other insect pests in Florida 
have increased as human activity and population size have increased. To 
control mosquito populations, organophosphate (naled) and pyrethroid 
(permethrin) adulticides are applied by mosquito control districts 
throughout south Florida, including Miami-Dade County. These compounds 
have been characterized as being highly toxic to nontarget insects by 
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2002, p. 32; 2006a, p. 58; 
2006b, p. 44). The use of such pesticides (applied using both aerial 
and ground-based methods) for mosquito control presents a potential 
risk to the Miami tiger beetle.
    In order for mosquito control pesticides to be effective, they must 
make direct contact with mosquitoes. For this to happen, pesticides are 
applied using methods to promote drift through the air, so as to 
increase the potential for contact with their intended target organism. 
Truck-based permethrin application methods are expected to produce a 
swath of suspended pesticides approximately 91 m (300 ft) wide 
(Prentiss 2007, p. 4). The extent of pesticide drift from this swath is 
dependent on several factors, including wind speed, wind direction, and 
vegetation density. Hennessey and Habeck (1989, pp. 1-22; 1991, pp. 1-
68) and Hennessey et al. (1992, pp. 715-721) illustrated the presence 
of mosquito spray residues long after application in habitat of the 
federally endangered Schaus swallowtail butterfly (Papilio aristodemus 
ponceanus), as well as the Florida leafwing butterfly (Anaea troglodyta 
floridalis), Bartram's scrub-hairstreak butterfly, and other imperiled 
species. Residues of aerially applied naled were found 6 hours after 
application in a pineland area that was 750 m (2,460 ft) from the 
target area; residues of fenthion (an adulticide previously used in the 
Florida Keys) applied via truck were found up to 50 m (160 ft) downwind 
in a hammock area 15 minutes after application in adjacent target areas 
(Hennessey et al. 1992, pp. 715-721).
    More recently, Pierce (2009, pp. 1-17) monitored naled and 
permethrin deposition following mosquito control application. 
Permethrin, applied by truck, was found to drift considerable distances 
from target areas, with residues that persisted for weeks. Permethrin 
was detected at concentrations lethal to three butterfly species at a 
distance of approximately 227 m (745 ft) away from targeted truck 
routes. Naled, applied by plane, was also found to drift into nontarget 
areas, but was much less persistent, exhibiting a half-life (time for 
half of the naled applied to chemically break down) of approximately 6 
hours. To expand this work, Pierce (2011, pp. 6-11) conducted an 
additional deposition study in 2010, focusing on permethrin drift from 
truck spraying, and again documented low but measurable amounts of 
permethrin in nontarget areas. In 2009, Bargar (2012, p. 3) conducted 
two field trials that detected significant naled residues at locations 
within nontarget areas up to 366 m (1,200 ft) from the edge of zones 
targeted for aerial applications. After this discovery, the Florida 
Keys Mosquito Control District recalibrated the on-board model 
(Wingman, which provides flight guidance and flow rates). Naled 
deposition was reduced in some

[[Page 79547]]

of the nontarget zones following recalibration (Bargar 2012, p. 3).
    In addition to mosquito control chemicals entering nontarget areas, 
the toxic effects of such chemicals to nontarget organisms have also 
been documented. Lethal effects on nontarget moths and butterflies have 
been attributed to fenthion and naled in both south Florida and the 
Florida Keys (Emmel 1991, pp. 12-13; Eliazar and Emmel 1991, pp. 18-19; 
Eliazar 1992, pp. 29-30). Zhong et al. (2010, pp. 1961-1972) 
investigated the impact of single aerial applications of naled on the 
endangered Miami blue butterfly (Cyclargus thomasi bethunebakeri) 
larvae in the field. Survival of butterfly larvae in the target zone 
was 73.9 percent, which was significantly lower than in both the drift 
zone (90.6 percent) and the reference (control) zone (100 percent), 
indicating that direct exposure to naled poses significant risk to 
Miami blue butterfly larvae. Fifty percent of the samples in the drift 
zone also exhibited detectable concentrations, once again exhibiting 
the potential for mosquito control chemicals to drift into nontarget 
areas. Bargar (2012, p. 4) observed cholinesterase activity depression, 
to a level shown to cause mortality in the laboratory, in great 
southern white (Ascia monuste) and Gulf fritillary butterflies 
(Agraulis vanillae) exposed to naled in both target and nontarget 
zones.
    Based on these studies, it can be concluded that mosquito control 
activities that involve the use of both aerial and ground-based 
spraying methods have the potential to deliver pesticides in quantities 
sufficient to cause adverse effects to nontarget species in both target 
and nontarget areas. Pesticide drift at a level of concern to nontarget 
invertebrates (butterflies) has been measured up to approximately 227 m 
(745 ft) from truck routes (Pierce 2011, pp. 3-5, 7; Rand and Hoang 
2010, pp. 14, 23) and 400 m (1,312 ft) from aerial spray zones (Bargar 
2012, p. 3). It should be noted that many of the studies referenced 
above dealt with single application scenarios and examined effects on 
only one or two butterfly life stages. Under a realistic scenario, the 
potential exists for exposure to all life stages to occur over multiple 
applications in a season. In the case of a persistent compound like 
permethrin, whose residues remain on vegetation for weeks, the 
potential exists for nontarget species to be exposed to multiple 
pesticides within a season (e.g., permethrin on vegetation coupled with 
aerial exposure to naled).
    Prior to 2015, aerial applications of mosquito control pesticides 
occurred on a limited basis (approximately two to four aerial 
applications per year since 2010) within some of Miami-Dade County's 
pine rockland areas. The Miami tiger beetle is not known to occupy any 
of these aerial spray zone sites, but any unknown occupied sites could 
have been exposed, either directly or through drift. The Richmond Pine 
Rocklands region is not directly treated either aerially or by truck 
(C. Vasquez, 2013, pers. comm.), so any potential pesticide exposure in 
this area would be through drift from spray zones adjacent to the 
Richmond area. Pesticide drift from aerial spray zones to the two known 
populations of Miami tiger beetles is unlikely, based on the 
considerable distance from spray zone boundaries to known occurrences 
of the beetle (estimated minimum distances range from 2.0-3.0 km (1.2-
1.9 mi) from the Richmond population and 434 m (0.3 mi) for the second 
population). In the past, truck-based applications occurred within 227 
m (745 ft) of known occupied Miami tiger beetle habitat, a distance 
under which pesticide drift at a concentration of concern for nontarget 
invertebrates had been measured (Pierce 2011, pp. 3-5, 7; Rand and 
Hoang 2010, pp. 14, 23). For the 2015 mosquito season (May through 
October), Miami-Dade Mosquito Control coordinated with the Service to 
institute 250-m truck-based and 400-m aerial spray buffers around 
critical habitat for the Bartram's scrub-hairstreak butterfly, with the 
exclusion of pine rocklands in the Navy Wells area, which is not known 
to be occupied by the Miami tiger beetle. These newly implemented 
buffers will also reduce exposure to any other imperiled species 
occurring on pine rockland habitat within Bartram's scrub-hairstreak 
butterfly critical habitat, such as the Miami tiger beetle. Assuming 
that the Miami tiger beetle is no more sensitive to pesticide exposure 
than the tested butterfly species, these spray buffers should avoid 
adverse impacts to the Miami tiger beetle population.
    Based on Miami-Dade Mosquito Control's implementation of spray 
buffers, mosquito control pesticides are not considered a major threat 
for the Miami tiger beetle at this time. If these buffers were to 
change or Miami tiger beetles were found to occur on habitat that is 
not protected by Bartram's scrub-hairstreak butterfly critical habitat, 
then the threat of pesticide exposure would have to be reevaluated.
Human Disturbance
    Human disturbance, depending upon type and frequency, may or may 
not be a threat to tiger beetles or their habitats. Knisley (2011b, 
entire) reviewed both the negative and positive effects of human 
disturbances on tiger beetles. Vehicles, bicycles, and human foot 
traffic have been implicated in the decline and extirpation of tiger 
beetle populations, especially for species in more open habitats like 
beaches and sand dunes. The northeastern beach tiger beetle was 
extirpated throughout the northeast coincidental with the development 
of recreational use from pedestrian foot traffic and vehicles (Knisley 
et al. 1987, p. 301). Habroscelimorpha dorsalis media (southeastern 
beach tiger beetle) was extirpated from a large section of Assateague 
Island National Seashore, Maryland, after the initiation of off- 
highway vehicle (OHV) use (Knisley and Hill, 1992b, p. 134). Direct 
mortality and indirect effects on habitat from OHVs have been found to 
threaten the survival of Coral Pink Sand Dunes tiger beetle (Gowan and 
Knisley 2014, pp. 127-128). However, there are other documented cases 
of the beneficial effects of these types of disturbances, by creating 
open areas of habitat for tiger beetles, particularly at sites where 
vegetation growth has eliminated these open habitat patches (Knisley 
2011, pp. 44-45). The Ohlone tiger beetle has been eliminated from 
nearly all natural grassland areas in Santa Cruz, California, except 
where pedestrian foot traffic, mountain bike use, or cattle grazing has 
created or maintained trails and open patches of habitat (Knisley and 
Arnold 2013, p. 578). Similarly, over 20 species of tiger beetles, 
including Cicindela decemnotata (Badlands tiger beetle) at Dugway 
Proving Ground in Utah, are almost exclusively restricted to roads, 
trails, and similar areas kept open by vehicle use or similar human 
disturbances (Knisley 2011b, pp. 44-45).
    Vehicle activity on seldom-used roads may have some negative effect 
on the Miami tiger beetle (i.e., lethal impacts to adults or larvae or 
impacts to the habitat), but limited field observations to date 
indicate that effects are minimal (Knisley 2015a, p. 16). Observations 
in 2014 at Zoo Miami found a few adults along a little-used road and 
the main gravel road adjacent to interior patches where adults were 
more common (Knisley 2015, p. 16). These adults may have dispersed from 
their primary interior habitat, possibly due to vegetation encroachment 
(Knisley 2015a, p. 16). Several of the adults at both CSTARS and the 
USCG parcels were also found along dirt roads that were not heavily 
used and apparently provided suitable habitat.

[[Page 79548]]

    The parcels that comprise the two known populations of the Miami 
tiger beetle are not open to the public for recreational use, so human 
disturbance is unlikely. For any unknown occurrences of the species, 
human disturbance from recreational use is a possibility, as some of 
the remaining pine rockland sites in Miami-Dade County are open to the 
public for recreational use. Miami-Dade County leads the State in gross 
urban density at 15.45 people per acre (Zwick and Carr 2006, pp. 1, 
13), and development and human population growth are expected to 
continue in the future. By 2025, Miami-Dade County is predicted to 
exceed a population size of over 3 million people (Zwick and Carr 2006, 
p. 20). With the expected future increase in human population and 
development, there will likely be an increase in the use of 
recreational areas, including sites with potentially suitable habitat 
and unknown occurrences of Miami tiger beetles. Projected future 
increases in recreational use, may increase levels of human disturbance 
and negatively impact any unknown occurrences of the Miami tiger beetle 
and their habitat.
    In summary, vehicular activity and recreational use within the 
known population of the Miami tiger beetle presents minimal impacts to 
the species. However, future negative impacts to unknown beetle 
occurrences on lands open to the public are possible and are expected 
to increase with the projected future population growth.
Climate Change and Sea Level Rise
    Climatic changes, including sea level rise (SLR), are major threats 
to Florida, and could impact the Miami tiger beetle and the few 
remaining parcels of pine rockland habitat left in Miami-Dade County. 
Our analyses include consideration of ongoing and projected changes in 
climate. The terms ``climate'' and ``climate change'' are defined by 
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). ``Climate'' 
refers to the mean and variability of different types of weather 
conditions over time, with 30 years being a typical period for such 
measurements, although shorter or longer periods also may be used (IPCC 
2007a, p. 78). The term ``climate change'' thus refers to a change in 
the mean or variability of one or more measures of climate (e.g., 
temperature or precipitation) that persists for an extended period, 
typically decades or longer, whether the change is due to natural 
variability, human activity, or both (IPCC 2007a, p. 78).
    Scientific measurements spanning several decades demonstrate that 
changes in climate are occurring, and that the rate of change has been 
faster since the 1950s. Based on extensive analyses of global average 
surface air temperature, the most widely used measure of change, the 
IPCC concluded that warming of the global climate system over the past 
several decades is ``unequivocal'' (IPCC 2007a, p. 2). In other words, 
the IPCC concluded that there is no question that the world's climate 
system is warming. Examples of other changes include substantial 
increases in precipitation in some regions of the world and decreases 
in other regions (for these and additional examples, see IPCC 2007a, p. 
30; Solomon et al. 2007, pp. 35-54, 82-85). Various environmental 
changes (e.g., shifts in the ranges of plant and animal species, 
increasing ground instability in permafrost regions, conditions more 
favorable to the spread of invasive species and of some diseases, 
changes in amount and timing of water availability) are occurring in 
association with changes in climate (see IPCC 2007a, pp. 2-4, 30-33; 
Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States 2009, pp. 27, 79-
88).
    Results of scientific analyses presented by the IPCC show that most 
of the observed increase in global average temperature since the mid-
20th century cannot be explained by natural variability in climate, and 
is ``very likely'' (defined by the IPCC as 90 percent or higher 
probability) due to the observed increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) 
concentrations in the atmosphere as a result of human activities, 
particularly carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel use (IPCC 2007a, 
pp. 5-6 and figures SPM.3 and SPM.4; Solomon et al. 2007, pp. 21-35). 
Further confirmation of the role of GHGs comes from analyses by Huber 
and Knutti (2011, p. 4), who concluded it is extremely likely that 
approximately 75 percent of global warming since 1950 has been caused 
by human activities.
    Scientists use a variety of climate models, which include 
consideration of natural processes and variability, as well as various 
scenarios of potential levels and timing of GHG emissions, to evaluate 
the causes of changes already observed and to project future changes in 
temperature and other climate conditions (e.g., Meehl et al. 2007, 
entire; Ganguly et al. 2009, pp. 11555, 15558; Prinn et al. 2011, pp. 
527, 529). All combinations of models and emissions scenarios yield 
very similar projections of average global warming until about 2030. 
Although projections of the magnitude and rate of warming differ after 
about 2030, the overall trajectory of all the projections is one of 
increased global warming through the end of this century, even for 
projections based on scenarios that assume that GHG emissions will 
stabilize or decline. Thus, there is strong scientific support for 
projections that warming will continue through the 21st century, and 
that the magnitude and rate of change will be influenced substantially 
by the extent of GHG emissions (IPCC 2007a, pp. 44-45; Meehl et al. 
2007, pp. 760-764; Ganguly et al. 2009, pp. 15555-15558; Prinn et al. 
2011, pp. 527, 529).
    In addition to basing their projections on scientific analyses, the 
IPCC reports projections using a framework for treatment of 
uncertainties (e.g., they define ``very likely'' to mean greater than 
90 percent probability, and ``likely'' to mean greater than 66 percent 
probability; see Solomon et al. 2007, pp. 22-23). Some of the IPCC's 
key projections of global climate and its related effects include: (1) 
It is virtually certain there will be warmer and more frequent hot days 
and nights over most of the earth's land areas; (2) it is very likely 
there will be increased frequency of warm spells and heat waves over 
most land areas; (3) it is very likely that the frequency of heavy 
precipitation events, or the proportion of total rainfall from heavy 
falls, will increase over most areas; and (4) it is likely the area 
affected by droughts will increase, that intense tropical cyclone 
activity will increase, and that there will be increased incidence of 
extreme high sea level (IPCC 2007b, p. 8, table SPM.2). More recently, 
the IPCC published additional information that provides further insight 
into observed changes since 1950, as well as projections of extreme 
climate events at global and broad regional scales for the middle and 
end of this century (IPCC 2011, entire).
    Various changes in climate may have direct or indirect effects on 
species. These may be positive, neutral, or negative, and they may 
change over time, depending on the species and other relevant 
considerations, such as interactions of climate with other variables 
such as habitat fragmentation (for examples, see Franco et al. 2006; 
IPCC 2007a, pp. 8-14, 18-19; Forister et al. 2010; Galbraith et al. 
2010; Chen et al. 2011). In addition to considering individual species, 
scientists are evaluating possible climate change-related impacts to, 
and responses of, ecological systems, habitat conditions, and groups of 
species; these studies include acknowledgement of uncertainty (e.g., 
Deutsch et al. 2008; Berg et al. 2009; Euskirchen et al. 2009; 
McKechnie and Wolf 2009; Sinervo et al. 2010; Beaumont et al. 2011; 
McKelvey et al. 2011; Rogers and Schindler 2011).

[[Page 79549]]

    Many analyses involve elements that are common to climate change 
vulnerability assessments. In relation to climate change, vulnerability 
refers to the degree to which a species (or system) is susceptible to, 
and unable to cope with, adverse effects of climate change, including 
climate variability and extremes. Vulnerability is a function of the 
type, magnitude, and rate of climate change and variation to which a 
species is exposed, its sensitivity, and its adaptive capacity (IPCC 
2007a, p. 89; see also Glick et al. 2011, pp. 19-22). There is no 
single method for conducting such analyses that applies to all 
situations (Glick et al. 2011, p. 3). We use our expert judgment and 
appropriate analytical approaches to weigh relevant information, 
including uncertainty, in our consideration of various aspects of 
climate change.
    As is the case with all stressors that we assess, even if we 
conclude that a species is currently affected or is likely to be 
affected in a negative way by one or more climate-related impacts, it 
does not necessarily follow that the species meets the definition of an 
``endangered species'' or a ``threatened species'' under the Act. If a 
species is listed as endangered or threatened, knowledge regarding its 
vulnerability to, and known or anticipated impacts from, climate-
associated changes in environmental conditions can be used to help 
devise appropriate strategies for its recovery.
    Global climate projections are informative, and, in some cases, the 
only or the best scientific information available for us to use. 
However, projected changes in climate and related impacts can vary 
substantially across and within different regions of the world (e.g., 
IPCC 2007a, pp. 8-12). Therefore, we use ``downscaled'' projections 
when they are available and have been developed through appropriate 
scientific procedures, because such projections provide higher 
resolution information that is more relevant to spatial scales used for 
analyses of a given species (see Glick et al. 2011, pp. 58-61, for a 
discussion of downscaling). For our analysis for the Miami tiger 
beetle, downscaled projections are available.
    According to the Florida Climate Center, Florida is by far the most 
vulnerable State in the United States to hurricanes and tropical storms 
(http://climatecenter.fsu.edu/topics/tropical-weather). Based on data 
gathered from 1856 to 2008, Klotzbach and Gray (2009, p. 28) calculated 
the climatological probabilities for each State being impacted by a 
hurricane or major hurricane in all years over the 152-year timespan. 
Of the coastal States analyzed, Florida had the highest climatological 
probabilities, with a 51 percent probability of a hurricane (Category 1 
or 2) and a 21 percent probability of a major hurricane (Category 3 or 
higher). From 1856 to 2008, Florida actually experienced more major 
hurricanes than predicted; out of the 109 hurricanes, 36 were major 
hurricanes. The most recent hurricane to have major impacts to Miami-
Dade County was Hurricane Andrew in 1992. While the species persisted 
after this hurricane, impacts to the population size and distribution 
from the storm are unknown, because no surveys were conducted until its 
rediscovery in 2007. Given the few, isolated populations of the Miami 
tiger beetle within a location prone to storm influences (located 
approximately 8 km (5 mi) from the coast), the species is at 
substantial risk from stochastic environmental events such as 
hurricanes, storm surges, and other extreme weather that can affect 
recruitment, population growth, and other population parameters.
    Other processes to be affected by climate change, related to 
environmental stochasticity, include temperatures, rainfall (amount, 
seasonal timing, and distribution), and storms (frequency and 
intensity). Temperatures are projected to rise from 2-5 degrees Celsius 
([deg]C) (3.6-9 degrees Fahrenheit ([deg]F)) for North America by the 
end of this century (IPCC 2007a, pp. 7-9, 13). Based upon predictive 
modeling, Atlantic hurricane and tropical storm frequencies are 
expected to decrease (Knutson et al. 2008, pp. 1-21). By 2100, there 
should be a 10-30 percent decrease in hurricane frequency. Hurricane 
frequency is expected to drop, due to more wind shear impeding initial 
hurricane development. However, hurricane winds are expected to 
increase by 5-10 percent. This is due to more hurricane energy 
available for intense hurricanes. These stronger winds will result in 
damage to the pine rockland vegetation and an increased storm surge 
(discussed below). In addition to climate change, weather variables are 
extremely influenced by other natural cycles, such as El Ni[ntilde]o 
Southern Oscillation, with a frequency of every 4-7 years; solar cycle 
(every 11 years); and the Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation. All of 
these cycles influence changes in Floridian weather. The exact 
magnitude, direction, and distribution of all of these changes at the 
regional level are difficult to project.
    The long-term record at Key West shows that sea level rose on 
average 0.229 cm (0.090 in) annually between 1913 and 2013 (National 
Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) 2013, p. 1). This 
equates to approximately 22.9 cm (9.02 in) over the last 100 years. 
IPCC (2008, p. 28) emphasized it is very likely that the average rate 
of SLR during the 21st century will exceed the historical rate. The 
IPCC Special Report on Emission Scenarios (2000, entire) presented a 
range of scenarios based on the computed amount of change in the 
climate system due to various potential amounts of anthropogenic 
greenhouse gases and aerosols in 2100. Each scenario describes a future 
world with varying levels of atmospheric pollution, leading to 
corresponding levels of global warming and corresponding levels of SLR. 
The IPCC Synthesis Report (2007a, entire) provided an integrated view 
of climate change and presented updated projections of future climate 
change and related impacts under different scenarios.
    Subsequent to the 2007 IPCC Report, the scientific community has 
continued to model SLR. Recent peer-reviewed publications indicate a 
movement toward increased acceleration of SLR. Observed SLR rates are 
already trending along the higher end of the 2007 IPCC estimates, and 
it is now widely held that SLR will exceed the levels projected by the 
IPCC (Rahmstorf et al. 2012, p. 1; Grinsted et al. 2010, p. 470). Taken 
together, these studies support the use of higher end estimates now 
prevalent in the scientific literature. Recent studies have estimated 
global mean SLR of 1.0-2.0 m (3.3-6.6 ft) by 2100 as follows: 0.75-1.90 
m (2.5-6.2 ft; Vermeer and Rahmstorf 2009, p. 21530), 0.8-2.0 m (2.6-
6.6 ft; Pfeffer et al. 2008, p. 1342), 0.9-1.3 m (3.0-4.3 ft; Grinsted 
et al. 2010, pp. 469-470), 0.6-1.6 m (2.0-5.2 ft; Jevrejeva et al. 
2010, p. 4), and 0.5-1.40 m (1.6-4.6 ft; National Research Council 
2012, p. 2).
    All of the scenarios, from small climate change shifts to major 
changes, indicate negative effects on pine rockland habitat throughout 
Miami-Dade County. Prior to inundation, pine rocklands are likely to 
undergo habitat transitions related to climate change, including 
changes to hydrology and increasing vulnerability to storm surge. 
Hydrology has a strong influence on plant distribution in these and 
other coastal areas (IPCC 2008, p. 57). Such communities typically 
grade from salt to brackish to freshwater species. From the 1930s to 
1950s, increased salinity of coastal waters contributed to the decline 
of cabbage palm forests in southwest Florida (Williams et al. 1999, pp. 
2056-2059), expansion of mangroves into adjacent marshes in the 
Everglades (Ross et al. 2000, pp. 101, 111), and loss

[[Page 79550]]

of pine rockland in the Keys (Ross et al. 1994, pp. 144, 151-155). In 
one Florida Keys pine rockland with an average elevation of 0.89 m (2.9 
ft), Ross et al. (1994, pp. 149-152) observed an approximately 65 
percent reduction in an area occupied by South Florida slash pine over 
a 70-year period, with pine mortality and subsequent increased 
proportions of halophytic (salt-loving) plants occurring earlier at the 
lower elevations. During this same time span, local sea level had risen 
by 15.0 cm (6.0 in), and Ross et al. (1994, p. 152) found evidence of 
groundwater and soil water salinization. Extrapolating this situation 
to pine rocklands on the mainland is not straightforward, but suggests 
that similar changes to species composition could arise if current 
projections of SLR occur and freshwater inputs are not sufficient to 
prevent salinization. Furthermore, Ross et al. (2009, pp. 471-478) 
suggested that interactions between SLR and pulse disturbances (e.g., 
storm surges) can cause vegetation to change sooner than projected 
based on sea level alone. Effects from vegetation shifts in the pine 
rockland habitat on the Miami tiger beetle are unknown, but because the 
beetle occurs in a narrow range and microhabitat parameters are still 
being studied, vegetation shifts could cause habitat changes or 
disturbance that would have a negative impact on beetle recruitment and 
survival. Alexander (1953, pp. 133-138) attributed the demise of 
pinelands on northern Key Largo to salinization of the groundwater in 
response to SLR. Patterns of human development will also likely be 
significant factors influencing whether natural communities can move 
and persist (IPCC 2008, p. 57; USCCSP 2008, pp. 7-6).
    The Science and Technology Committee of the Miami-Dade County 
Climate Change Task Force (Wanless et al. 2008, p. 1) recognized that 
significant SLR is a very real threat to the near future for Miami-Dade 
County. In a January 2008 statement, the committee warned that sea 
level is expected to rise at least 0.9-1.5 m (3-5 ft) within this 
century (Wanless et al. 2008, p. 3). With a 0.9-1.2 m (3-4 ft) rise in 
sea level (above baseline) in Miami-Dade County: ``Spring high tides 
would be at about 6 to 7 ft; freshwater resources would be gone; the 
Everglades would be inundated on the west side of Miami-Dade County; 
the barrier islands would be largely inundated; storm surges would be 
devastating; landfill sites would be exposed to erosion contaminating 
marine and coastal environments. Freshwater and coastal mangrove 
wetlands will not keep up with or offset SLR of 2 ft per century or 
greater. With a 5-ft rise (spring tides at nearly +8 ft), Miami-Dade 
County will be extremely diminished'' (Wanless et al. 2008, pp. 3-4).
    Drier conditions and increased variability in precipitation 
associated with climate change are expected to hamper successful 
regeneration of forests and cause shifts in vegetation types through 
time (Wear and Greis 2012, p. 39). Although it has not been well 
studied, existing pine rocklands have probably been affected by 
reductions in the mean water table. Climate changes are also forecasted 
to extend fire seasons and the frequency of large fire events 
throughout the Coastal Plain (Wear and Greis 2012, p. 43). While 
restoring fire to pine rocklands is essential to the long-term 
viability of the Miami tiger beetle (see Factor A discussion, above), 
increases in the scale, frequency, or severity of wildfires could have 
negative effects on the species (e.g., if wildfire occurs over the 
entire area occupied by the two known populations during the adult 
flight season when adults are present).
    To accommodate the large uncertainty in SLR projections, 
researchers must estimate effects from a range of scenarios. Various 
model scenarios developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology 
(MIT) and GeoAdaptive Inc. have projected possible trajectories of 
future transformation of the south Florida landscape by 2060, based 
upon four main drivers: climate change, shifts in planning approaches 
and regulations, human population change, and variations in financial 
resources for conservation (Vargas-Moreno and Flaxman 2010, pp. 1-6). 
The scenarios do not account for temperature, precipitation, or species 
habitat shifts due to climate change, and no storm surge effects are 
considered. The current MIT scenarios range from an increase of 0.09-
1.00 m (0.3-3.3 ft) by 2060.
    Based on the most recent estimates of SLR and the data available to 
us at this time, we evaluated potential effects of SLR using the 
current ``high'' range MIT scenario, as well as comparing elevations of 
remaining pine rockland fragments and extant occurrences of the Miami 
tiger beetle. The ``high'' range (or ``worst case'') MIT scenario 
assumes high SLR (1.0 m (3.3 ft) by 2060), low financial resources, a 
`business as usual' approach to planning, and a doubling of human 
population. Based on this scenario, pine rocklands along the coast in 
central Miami-Dade County would become inundated. The ``new'' sea level 
(1.0 m (3.3 ft) higher) would come up to the edge of pine rockland 
fragments at the southern end of Miami-Dade County, translating to 
partial inundation or, at a minimum, vegetation shifts for these pine 
rocklands. While sea level under this scenario would not overtake other 
pine rocklands in urban Miami-Dade County, including the known 
locations for the Miami tiger beetle, changes in the salinity of the 
water table and soils would surely cause vegetation shifts that may 
negatively impact the viability of the beetle. In addition, many 
existing pine rockland fragments are projected to be developed for 
housing as the human population grows and adjusts to changing sea 
levels under this ``high'' range (or ``worst case'') MIT scenario. 
Actual impacts may be greater or less than anticipated based upon high 
variability of factors involved (e.g., SLR, human population growth) 
and assumptions made in the model.
    When simply looking at current elevations of pine rockland 
fragments and occurrences of the Miami tiger beetle, it appears that an 
SLR of 1 m (3.3 ft) will inundate the coastal and southern pine 
rocklands and cause vegetation shifts largely as described above. SLR 
of 2 m (6.6 ft) appears to inundate much larger portions of urban 
Miami-Dade County. The western part of urban Miami-Dade County would 
also be inundated (barring creation of sea walls or other barriers), 
creating a virtual island of the Miami Rock Ridge. After a 2-m rise in 
sea level, approximately 75 percent of the remaining pine rockland 
would still be above sea level but an unknown percentage of these 
fragments would be negatively impacted by salinization of the water 
table and soils, which would be exacerbated due to isolation from 
mainland fresh water flows. Above 2 m (6.6 ft) of SLR, very little pine 
rockland would remain, with the vast majority either being inundated or 
experiencing vegetation shifts.
    The climate of southern Florida is driven by a combination of 
local, regional, and global events, regimes, and oscillations. There 
are three main ``seasons'': (1) The wet season, which is hot, rainy, 
and humid from June through October; (2) the official hurricane season 
that extends 1 month beyond the wet season (June 1 through November 
30), with peak season being August and September; and (3) the dry 
season, which is drier and cooler, from November through May. In the 
dry season, periodic surges of cool and dry continental air masses 
influence the weather with short-duration rain events followed by long 
periods of dry weather.
    Climate change may lead to increased frequency and duration of 
severe storms (Golladay et al. 2004, p. 504; McLaughlin et al. 2002, p. 
6074; Cook

[[Page 79551]]

et al. 2004, p. 1015). Hurricanes and tropical storms can modify 
habitat (e.g., through storm surge) and have the potential to destroy 
the only known population of the Miami tiger beetle and its suitable 
habitat. With most of the historical habitat having been destroyed or 
modified, the two known remaining populations of the beetle are at high 
risk of extirpation due to stochastic events.
Alternative Future Landscape Models and Coastal Squeeze
    The Miami tiger beetle is anticipated to face major risks from 
coastal squeeze, which occurs when habitat is pressed between rising 
sea levels and coastal development that prevents landward movement 
(Scavia et al. 2002, entire; FitzGerald et al. 2008, entire; Defeo et 
al. 2009, p. 8; LeDee et al. 2010, entire; Menon et al. 2010, entire; 
Noss 2011, entire). Habitats in coastal areas (i.e., Charlotte, Lee, 
Collier, Monroe, Miami-Dade Counties) are likely the most vulnerable. 
Although it is difficult to quantify impacts due to the uncertainties 
involved, coastal squeeze will likely result in losses in habitat for 
the beetles as people and development are displaced further inland.
Summary of Factor E
    Based on our analysis of the best available information, we have 
identified a wide array of natural and manmade factors affecting the 
continued existence of the Miami tiger beetle. The beetle is 
immediately vulnerable to extinction, due to the effects of few 
remaining small populations, restricted range, and isolation. Aspects 
of the Miami tiger beetle's natural history (e.g., limited dispersal) 
and environmental stochasticity (including hurricanes and storm surge) 
may also contribute to imperilment. Other natural (e.g., changes to 
habitat, invasive and exotic vegetation) and anthropogenic (e.g., 
habitat alteration, impacts from humans) factors are also identifiable 
threats. Climate change, sea-level rise, and coastal squeeze are major 
concerns. Collectively, these threats have occurred in the past, are 
impacting the species now, and will continue to impact the species in 
the future.

Cumulative Effects From Factors A Through E

    The limited distribution, small population size, few populations, 
and relative isolation of the Miami tiger beetle makes it extremely 
susceptible to further habitat loss, modification, degradation, and 
other anthropogenic threats. The Miami tiger beetle's viability at 
present is uncertain, and its continued persistence is in danger, 
unless protective actions are taken. Mechanisms causing the decline of 
this beetle, as discussed above, range from local (e.g., lack of 
adequate fire management, vegetation encroachment), to regional (e.g., 
development, fragmentation, nonnative species), to global influences 
(e.g., climate change, SLR). The synergistic effects of threats (such 
as hurricane effects on a species with a limited distribution 
consisting of just two known populations) make it difficult to predict 
population viability now and in the future. While these stressors may 
act in isolation, it is more probable that many stressors are acting 
simultaneously (or in combination) on the Miami tiger beetle.

Determination

    We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial 
information available regarding the past, present, and future threats 
to the Miami tiger beetle. Habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation 
have destroyed an estimated 98 percent of the historical pine rockland 
habitat in Miami-Dade County, with only two known populations 
remaining. The threat of habitat loss is continuing from development, 
inadequate habitat management resulting in vegetation encroachment, and 
environmental effects resulting from climatic change (see discussions 
under Factors A and E). Due to the restricted range, small population 
size, few populations, and relative isolation (see Factor E), 
collection is a significant threat to the species and could potentially 
occur at any time (see discussions under Factor B). Additionally, the 
species is currently threatened by a wide array of natural and manmade 
factors (see Factor E). Existing regulatory mechanisms do not provide 
adequate protection for the species (see Factor D). As a result, 
impacts from increasing threats, singly or in combination, are likely 
to result in the extinction of the species because the magnitude of 
threats is high.
    The Act defines an endangered species as any species that is ``in 
danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range'' and a threatened species as any species ``that is likely to 
become endangered throughout all or a significant portion of its range 
within the foreseeable future.'' We find that the Miami tiger beetle is 
presently in danger of extinction throughout its entire range based on 
the severity and immediacy of threats currently affecting the species. 
The overall range has been significantly impacted because of 
significant habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation of pine 
rockland habitat. Newly proposed development is currently threating the 
only known population of this species. The fragmented nature of Miami-
Dade County's remaining pine rockland habitat and the influx of 
development around them may preclude the ability to conduct prescribed 
burns or other beneficial management actions that are needed to prevent 
vegetation encroachment. The remaining two known, small populations of 
the Miami tiger beetle appears to occupy relatively small habitat 
patches, which make the population vulnerable to local extinction from 
normal fluctuations in population size, genetic problems from small 
population size, or environmental catastrophes. Limited dispersal 
abilities in combination with limited habitat may result in local 
extirpations.
    Therefore, on the basis of the best available scientific and 
commercial information, we propose to list the Miami tiger beetle as an 
endangered species in accordance with sections 3(6) and 4(a)(1) of the 
Act. We find that a threatened species status is not appropriate for 
the Miami tiger beetle because of significant habitat loss (i.e., 98 
percent of pine rockland habitat in Miami-Dade County) and degradation; 
the fact that only two known small populations of the species remain; 
and the imminent threat of large development projects in the Richmond 
pine rocklands.
    Under the Act and our implementing regulations, a species may 
warrant listing if it is endangered or threatened throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range. The threats to the survival of the 
species occur throughout the species' range and are not restricted to 
any particular significant portion of that range. Accordingly, our 
assessment and proposed determination apply to the species throughout 
its entire range.

Available Conservation Measures

    Conservation measures provided to species listed as endangered or 
threatened under the Act include recognition, recovery actions, 
requirements for Federal protection, and prohibitions against certain 
practices. Recognition through listing results in public awareness, and 
conservation by Federal, State, Tribal, and local agencies; private 
organizations; and individuals. The Act encourages cooperation with the 
States and other countries and calls for recovery actions to be carried 
out for listed species. The protection required by Federal agencies and 
the prohibitions against certain activities are discussed, in part, 
below.
    The primary purpose of the Act is the conservation of endangered 
and

[[Page 79552]]

threatened species and the ecosystems upon which they depend. The 
ultimate goal of such conservation efforts is the recovery of these 
listed species, so that they no longer need the protective measures of 
the Act. Subsection 4(f) of the Act calls for the Service to develop 
and implement recovery plans for the conservation of endangered and 
threatened species. The recovery planning process involves the 
identification of actions that are necessary to halt or reverse the 
species' decline by addressing the threats to its survival and 
recovery. The goal of this process is to restore listed species to a 
point where they are secure, self-sustaining, and functioning 
components of their ecosystems.
    Recovery planning includes the development of a recovery outline 
shortly after a species is listed and preparation of a draft and final 
recovery plan. The recovery outline guides the immediate implementation 
of urgent recovery actions and describes the process to be used to 
develop a recovery plan. Revisions of the plan may be done to address 
continuing or new threats to the species, as new substantive 
information becomes available. The recovery plan also identifies 
recovery criteria for review of when a species may be ready for 
downlisting or delisting, and methods for monitoring recovery progress. 
Recovery plans also establish a framework for agencies to coordinate 
their recovery efforts and provide estimates of the cost of 
implementing recovery tasks. Recovery teams (composed of species 
experts, Federal and State agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and 
stakeholders) are often established to develop recovery plans. When 
completed, the recovery outline, draft recovery plan, and the final 
recovery plan will be available on our Web site (http://www.fws.gov/endangered), or from the South Florida Ecological Services Office (see 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).
    Implementation of recovery actions generally requires the 
participation of a broad range of partners, including other Federal 
agencies, States, Tribes, nongovernmental organizations, businesses, 
and private landowners. Examples of recovery actions include habitat 
restoration (e.g., restoration of native vegetation), research, captive 
propagation and reintroduction, and outreach and education. The 
recovery of many listed species cannot be accomplished solely on 
Federal lands because their range may occur primarily or solely on non-
Federal lands. To achieve recovery of this species requires cooperative 
conservation efforts on private, State, and Tribal lands. If the Miami 
tiger beetle is listed, funding for recovery actions will be available 
from a variety of sources, including Federal budgets, State programs, 
and cost share grants for non-Federal landowners, the academic 
community, and nongovernmental organizations. In addition, pursuant to 
section 6 of the Act, the State of Florida would be eligible for 
Federal funds to implement management actions that promote the 
protection or recovery of the Miami tiger beetle. Information on our 
grant programs that are available to aid species recovery can be found 
at: http://www.fws.gov/grants.
    Although the Miami tiger beetle is only proposed for listing under 
the Act at this time, please let us know if you are interested in 
participating in recovery efforts for this species. Additionally, we 
invite you to submit any new information on this species whenever it 
becomes available and any information you may have for recovery 
planning purposes (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).
    Section 7(a) of the Act requires Federal agencies to evaluate their 
actions with respect to any species that is proposed or listed as an 
endangered or threatened species and with respect to its critical 
habitat, if any is designated. Regulations implementing this 
interagency cooperation provision of the Act are codified at 50 CFR 
part 402. Section 7(a)(4) of the Act requires Federal agencies to 
confer with the Service on any action that is likely to jeopardize the 
continued existence of a species proposed for listing or result in 
destruction or adverse modification of proposed critical habitat. If a 
species is listed subsequently, section 7(a)(2) of the Act requires 
Federal agencies to ensure that activities they authorize, fund, or 
carry out are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the 
species or destroy or adversely modify its critical habitat. If a 
Federal action may affect a listed species or its critical habitat, the 
responsible Federal agency must enter into consultation with the 
Service.
    Federal agency actions within the species' habitat that may require 
conference or consultation or both, as described in the preceding 
paragraph, include management and any other landscape-altering 
activities on Federal lands administered by the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. 
Army Corps of Engineers, and other Federal agencies; issuance of 
section 404 Clean Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) permits by the 
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and construction and maintenance of roads 
or highways by the Federal Highway Administration.
    The Act and its implementing regulations set forth a series of 
general prohibitions and exceptions that apply to all endangered and 
threatened wildlife. The prohibitions of section 9(a)(2) of the Act, 
codified at 50 CFR 17.21 for endangered wildlife, in part, make it 
illegal for any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States 
to take (includes harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, 
capture, or collect; or to attempt any of these), import, export, ship 
in interstate commerce in the course of commercial activity, or sell or 
offer for sale in interstate or foreign commerce any listed species. 
Under the Lacey Act (18 U.S.C. 42-43; 16 U.S.C. 3371-3378), it is also 
illegal to possess, sell, deliver, carry, transport, or ship any such 
wildlife that has been taken illegally. Certain exceptions apply to 
agents of the Service and State conservation agencies. 50 CFR 17.31 
generally applies the prohibitions for endangered wildlife to 
threatened wildlife, unless a rule issued under section 4(d) of the Act 
is adopted by the Service.
    We may issue permits to carry out otherwise prohibited activities 
involving endangered and threatened wildlife species under certain 
circumstances. Regulations governing permits are codified at 50 CFR 
17.22 for endangered species, and at 17.32 for threatened species. With 
regard to endangered wildlife, a permit must be issued for the 
following purposes: For scientific purposes, to enhance the propagation 
or survival of the species, and for incidental take in connection with 
otherwise lawful activities. There are also certain statutory 
exemptions from the prohibitions, which are found in sections 9 and 10 
of the Act.

Activities Under Section 9

    It is our policy, as published in the Federal Register on July 1, 
1994 (59 FR 34272), to identify, to the maximum extent practicable at 
the time a species is listed, those activities that would or would not 
constitute a violation of section 9 of the Act. The intent of this 
policy is to increase public awareness of the effect of a proposed 
listing on proposed and ongoing activities within the range of species 
proposed for listing. Based on the best available information, the 
following activities involving the Miami tiger beetle (including all of 
its metamorphic life stages) may potentially result in a violation of 
section 9 of the Act; this list is not comprehensive:
    (1) Unauthorized possession, collecting, trapping, capturing, 
killing, harassing, sale, delivery, or movement, including interstate 
and foreign

[[Page 79553]]

commerce, or harming or attempting any of these actions, at any life 
stage without a permit (research activities where Miami tiger beetles 
are surveyed, captured (netted), or collected will require a permit 
under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Act).
    (2) Incidental take without a permit pursuant to section 
10(a)(1)(B) of the Act.
    (3) Sale or purchase of specimens, except for properly documented 
antique specimens of this taxon at least 100 years old, as defined by 
section 10(h)(1) of the Act.
    (4) Unauthorized use of pesticides/herbicides that results in take.
    (5) Release of biological control agents that attack any life 
stage.
    (6) Discharge or dumping of toxic chemicals, silts, or other 
pollutants into, or other alteration of the quality of, habitat 
supporting the Miami tiger beetles that result in take.
    (7) Unauthorized activities (e.g., plowing; mowing; burning; 
herbicide or pesticide application; land leveling/clearing; grading; 
disking; soil compaction; soil removal; dredging; excavation; 
deposition of dredged or fill material; erosion and deposition of 
sediment/soil; grazing or trampling by livestock; minerals extraction 
or processing; residential, commercial, or industrial developments; 
utilities development; road construction; or water development and 
impoundment) that take eggs, larvae, or adult Miami tiger beetles or 
that modify Miami tiger beetle habitat in such a way that take Miami 
tiger beetles by adversely affecting their essential behavioral 
patterns, including breeding, foraging, sheltering, or other life 
functions. Otherwise lawful activities that incidentally take Miami 
tiger beetles, but have no Federal nexus, will require a permit under 
section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act.
    Questions regarding whether specific activities would constitute a 
violation of section 9 of the Act should be directed to the South 
Florida Ecological Services Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT).

Critical Habitat

    Section 3(5)(A) of the Act defines critical habitat as ``(i) the 
specific areas within the geographical area occupied by the species, at 
the time it is listed . . . on which are found those physical or 
biological features (I) Essential to the conservation of the species 
and (II) which may require special management considerations or 
protection; and (ii) specific areas outside the geographical area 
occupied by the species at the time it is listed . . . upon a 
determination by the Secretary that such areas are essential for the 
conservation of the species.'' Section 3(3) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 
1532(3)) defines the terms ``conserve,'' ``conserving,'' and 
``conservation'' to mean ``to use and the use of all methods and 
procedures which are necessary to bring any endangered species or 
threatened species to the point at which the measures provided pursuant 
to this Act are no longer necessary.''
    Section 4(a)(3) of the Act, as amended, and implementing 
regulations (50 CFR 424.12), require that, to the maximum extent 
prudent and determinable, the Secretary shall designate critical 
habitat at the time the species is determined to be an endangered or 
threatened species. Our regulations (50 CFR 424.12(a)(1)) state that 
the designation of critical habitat is not prudent when one or both of 
the following situations exist:
    (1) The species is threatened by taking or other human activity, 
and identification of critical habitat can be expected to increase the 
degree of threat to the species, or
    (2) Such designation of critical habitat would not be beneficial to 
the species.
    There is currently an imminent threat of take attributed to 
collection or vandalism described under Factor B, above, for the 
species. However, it is believed that the majority of occurrences of 
Miami tiger beetles are well known. Although the location of the new 
population is less well known, awareness of this population is 
increasing in the natural resource community. We believe that the 
benefits of designating critical habitat will outweigh the risks 
associated with increased collection from mapping and identifying 
critical habitat.
    Therefore, in the absence of finding that the designation of 
critical habitat would increase threats to a species, if there are any 
benefits to a critical habitat designation, a finding that designation 
is prudent is warranted. Here, the potential benefits of designation 
include: (1) Triggering consultation under section 7 of the Act, in new 
areas for actions in which there may be a Federal nexus where it would 
not otherwise occur because, for example, it is unoccupied; (2) 
focusing conservation activities on the most essential features and 
areas; (3) providing educational benefits to State or county 
governments or private entities; and (4) preventing people from causing 
inadvertent harm to these species.
    Because we have determined that the designation of critical habitat 
will not likely increase the degree of threat to the species and may 
provide some measure of benefit, we determine that designation of 
critical habitat may be prudent for the Miami tiger beetle.
    Our regulations (50 CFR 424.12(a)(2)) further state that critical 
habitat is not determinable when one or both of the following 
situations exists: (1) Information sufficient to perform required 
analysis of the impacts of the designation is lacking; or (2) the 
biological needs of the species are not sufficiently well known to 
permit identification of an area as critical habitat. On the basis of a 
review of available information, we find that critical habitat for the 
Miami tiger beetle is not determinable because the specific information 
sufficient to perform the required analysis of the impacts of the 
designation is currently lacking. Specifically, we are still in the 
process of obtaining all the information needed to properly evaluate 
the economic impacts of designation.

Required Determinations

Clarity of the Rule

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

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

    We have determined that environmental assessments and environmental 
impact statements, as defined under the authority of the National 
Environmental Policy Act, need not be prepared in connection with 
listing a species as an endangered or threatened species under the 
Endangered Species Act. We published a notice outlining our reasons for 
this determination in the Federal Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 
49244).

[[Page 79554]]

References Cited

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

Authors

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

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

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

Proposed Regulation Promulgation

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

PART 17--ENDANGERED AND THREATENED WILDLIFE AND PLANTS

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

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

0
2. Amend Sec.  17.11(h) by adding an entry for ``Beetle, Miami tiger'' 
to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in alphabetical order 
under INSECTS to read as follows:


Sec.  17.11  Endangered and threatened wildlife.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Species                                                   Vertebrate
-------------------------------------------------------                        population where                                 Critical       Special
                                                           Historic range       endangered or        Status      When listed     habitat        rules
           Common name               Scientific name                              threatened
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
             Insects
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Beetle, Miami tiger..............  Cicindelidia         U.S.A. (FL)........                  NA             E   ............           NA            NA
                                    floridana.
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

* * * * *

    Dated: December 10, 2015.
Stephen Guertin,
Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-31982 Filed 12-21-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4333-15-P