Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Revised Recovery Plan for Texas Snowbells, 38164-38166 [2018-16655]

Download as PDF 38164 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 150 / Friday, August 3, 2018 / Notices to comment on this application. Before issuing the requested permit, we will take into consideration any information that we receive during the public comment period. DATES: We must receive your written comments on or before September 4, 2018. ADDRESSES: Document availability and comment submission: Submit requests for a copy of the application and related documents and submit any comments by one of the following methods. All requests and comments should specify the applicant name and application number (i.e., Greg Fitzpatrick, TE– 08913A–2): • Email: permitsR1ES@fws.gov. • U.S. Mail: Marilet Zablan, Program Manager, Restoration and Endangered Species Classification, Ecological Services, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Regional Office, 911 NE 11th Avenue, Portland, OR 97232–4181. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Colleen Henson, Recovery Permit Coordinator, Ecological Services, (503) 231–6131 (phone); permitsR1ES@ fws.gov (email). Individuals who are hearing or speech impaired may call the Federal Relay Service at 1–800–877– 8339 for TTY assistance. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, invite the public to comment on an application for a permit under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The requested permit would allow the applicant to conduct activities intended to promote recovery of species that are listed as endangered or threatened under the ESA. Background Permit Application Available for Review and Comment With some exceptions, the ESA prohibits activities that constitute take of listed species unless a Federal permit is issued that allows such activity. The ESA’s definition of ‘‘take’’ includes such activities as pursuing, harassing, trapping, capturing, or collecting in addition to hunting, shooting, harming, wounding, or killing. A recovery permit issued by us under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA authorizes the permittee to conduct activities with endangered or threatened species for scientific purposes that promote recovery or for enhancement of Proposed activities in the following permit request are for the recovery and enhancement of propagation or survival of the species in the wild. The ESA requires that we invite public comment before issuing this permit. Accordingly, we invite local, State, Tribal, and Federal agencies and the public to submit written data, views, or arguments with respect to this application. The comments and recommendations that will be most useful and likely to influence agency decisions are those supported by quantitative information or studies. Application No. Applicant, city, state Species TE–08913A–2 ............ Greg Fitzpatrick, Fitzpatrick Ecological Consulting, Corvallis, OR. Fender’s blue butterfly (Icaricia icarioides fenderi). OR amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES1 Authority Written comments we receive become part of the administrative record associated with this action. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can request in your comment that we withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be made available for public disclosure in their entirety. We publish this notice under section 10(c) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). If we decide to issue a permit to the applicant listed in this notice, we will publish a notice in the Federal Register. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:26 Aug 02, 2018 Jkt 244001 Rachel Merkel, Acting Deputy Assistant Regional Director— Ecological Services, Pacific Region. [FR Doc. 2018–16625 Filed 8–2–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R2–ES–2018–N071; FXES11130200000–189–FF02ENEH00] Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Revised Recovery Plan for Texas Snowbells Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comment. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the SUMMARY: Frm 00049 Fmt 4703 Permit action Capture, handle, identify, mark, temporarily hold and translocate, and release. Renew. availability of our draft revised recovery plan for Texas snowbells, listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Texas snowbells is a rare, endemic shrub of the Edwards Plateau, and is found in Real, Edwards, and Val Verde Counties, Texas. We provide this notice to seek comments from the public and Federal, Tribal, State, and local governments. To ensure consideration, we must receive written comments on or before October 2, 2018. However, we will accept information about any species at any time. DATES: DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR PO 00000 Take activity Location Public Availability of Comments Next Steps propagation or survival of the species. These activities often include such prohibited actions as capture and collection. Our regulations implementing section 10(a)(1)(A) for these permits are found in the Code of Federal Regulations at 50 CFR 17.22 for endangered wildlife species, 50 CFR 17.32 for threatened wildlife species, 50 CFR 17.62 for endangered plant species, and 50 CFR 17.72 for threatened plant species. Sfmt 4703 Reviewing document: You may obtain a copy of the draft revised recovery plan by any one of the following methods: Internet: Download the file at https:// www.fws.gov/southwest/es/ AustinTexas/ESA_Species_news.html. U.S. mail: Send a request to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Austin Ecological Services Field Office, 10711 Burnet Road, Suite 200, Austin, TX 78758; or Telephone: 512–490–0057. ADDRESSES: E:\FR\FM\03AUN1.SGM 03AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 150 / Friday, August 3, 2018 / Notices Submitting comments: Submit your comments in writing by any one of the following methods: • U.S. mail: Project Leader, at the above Austin Ecological Services Field Office address; • Hand-delivery: Project Leader, at the above Austin Ecological Services Field Office address; • Fax: 512–490–0974; or • Email: chris_best@fws.gov. For additional information about submitting comments, see Request for Public Comments and Public Availability of Comments under SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Adam Zerrenner, Field Supervisor, at the above address and phone number, or by email at adam_zerrenner@fws.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of our draft revised recovery plan for Texas snowbells (Styrax platanifolius ssp. texanus; formerly Styrax texanus), listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Texas snowbells is a rare, endemic shrub of the Edwards Plateau, and is found in Real, Edwards, and Val Verde Counties, Texas. The draft revised recovery plan includes specific recovery objectives and criteria that, when achieved, will enable us to remove Texas snowbells from the list of endangered and threatened plants. We request review and comment on this plan from local, State, and Federal agencies; Tribes; and the public. We will also accept any new information on the status of Texas snowbells throughout its range to assist in finalizing the recovery plan. amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES1 Background Recovery of endangered or threatened animals and plants to the point where they are again secure, self-sustaining members of their ecosystems is a primary goal of our endangered species program and the ESA. Recovery means improvement of the status of listed species to the point at which listing is no longer appropriate under the criteria set out in section 4(a)(1) of the ESA. The ESA requires the development of recovery plans for listed species, unless such a plan would not promote the conservation of a particular species. The Service approved a recovery plan for Texas snowbells in 1987; however, the original plan did not establish criteria for reclassifying Texas snowbells from an endangered to threatened status (downlisting) or for removal from the endangered species list (delisting) (Service 1987). Therefore, this plan will VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:26 Aug 02, 2018 Jkt 244001 serve as a revision to the 1987 recovery plan for Texas snowbells. We utilized a streamlined approach to recovery planning and implementation by first conducting a species status assessment (SSA) of Texas snowbells (Service 2017), which is a comprehensive analysis of the taxon’s needs, current condition, threats, and future viability. The information in the SSA report provides the biological background, a threats assessment, and a basis for a strategy for recovery of Texas snowbells. We then used this information to prepare an abbreviated draft revised recovery plan for Texas snowbells that includes prioritized recovery actions, downlisting and delisting criteria, and the estimated time and cost to recovery. A separate recovery implementation strategy has also been prepared and includes the specific tasks necessary to implement recovery actions (Service 2018). Summary of Subspecies Information Texas snowbells is a rare, endemic shrub of the Edwards Plateau of Texas. We listed it as an endangered species, Styrax texanus, on October 12, 1984 (49 FR 40036). We currently recognize this plant as S. platanifolius ssp. texanus, one of five closely related subspecies described in the most recent taxonomic treatment (Fritsch 1997). When listed as endangered, only 25 individuals had been documented in 5 locations. Since 1986, field surveyors have documented 400 mature and 452 immature Texas snowbells plants in 22 naturally occurring sites over a range of 121 km (75 mi) east to west and 35 km (22 mi) north to south in Real, Edwards, and Val Verde Counties. The known populations occur along watercourses, on or near steep slopes, in exposed limestone and gravel of the upper reaches of the Nueces, West Nueces, and Devils River watersheds. We estimate that about 15,043 ha (37,172 ac) of potential habitat exists in these watersheds. Texas snowbells usually flowers in April and fertilization is believed to require out-crossing (transfer of pollen between individuals that are not too closely related). The subspecies’ pollinators include bumble bees (Bombus sp.), carpenter bees (Xylocopa sp.), and honey bees (Apis sp.). Texas snowbells seed production depends on the grouping of genetically diverse individuals within their pollinators’ forage ranges of 0.5 to 1.0 km (0.3 to 0.6 mi). Almost all documented reproduction of Texas snowbells in the wild occurs where at least 56 mature individuals are distributed over a distance of 1.6 km (1.0 mi) or less. For PO 00000 Frm 00050 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 38165 this reason, small population sizes, the isolation of populations, and low levels of genetic diversity are significant factors affecting the viability of the subspecies, viability being defined as the likelihood of persistence over the long term. Other factors affecting the viability of Texas snowbells include severe browsing by native white-tailed deer (Cervus elaphus) and introduced ungulate species, severe floods, and endemism to a small geographic and habitat range. In addition to the above stressors, drought attributed to climate changes and pollinator deficiency are also projected to affect the future viability of Texas snowbells. A large portion of known individuals and populations occurs on privately owned lands where there is no protection under the ESA unless there is a Federal nexus. Activities impacting plants on private lands without Federal involvement are not regulated under the ESA. So, without a Federal nexus, conservation on private lands is entirely voluntary and thus more challenging. Texas snowbells is endemic to a small geographic area and has a low level of genetic diversity, and therefore has low representation (ability to adapt to environmental changes and to colonize new sites). Since there are few populations, redundancy (the number and geographic distribution of populations or sites necessary to endure catastrophic events) is also low. In addition, population resilience (ability to endure stochastic environmental variation) is low because all known populations are far below the estimated minimum viable population level. In synthesis, the current viability of Texas snowbells is low. For a detailed discussion of the subspecies’ natural history, current status, and future viability, please refer to the SSA report for Texas snowbells (Service 2017). Recovery Plan Goals The objective of a recovery plan is to provide a framework for the recovery of a species so that protection under the ESA is no longer necessary. A recovery plan includes scientific information about the species and provides criteria and actions necessary for us to be able to reclassify the species to threatened status or remove it from the lists of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants. Recovery plans help guide our recovery efforts by describing actions we consider necessary for the species’ conservation, and by estimating time and costs for implementing needed recovery measures. The original Texas snowbells recovery plan (Service 1987) did not establish delisting or downlisting criteria. The E:\FR\FM\03AUN1.SGM 03AUN1 38166 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 150 / Friday, August 3, 2018 / Notices core conservation strategy of the revised plan is to increase recruitment and decrease mortality, thereby allowing populations of Texas snowbells to grow naturally. One recovery objective is to reduce the intensity of ungulate browsing throughout the subspecies’ range, allowing populations to become self-sustaining without human intervention. Another recovery objective is population augmentation and strategic placement of reintroduced populations to restore population connectivity, thereby enhancing gene flow and fertilization between genetically diverse individuals and populations. To date, cooperating landowners and volunteers have made significant progress toward accomplishing these objectives. The downlisting and delisting criteria provided in the revised recovery plan are based on the natural recruitment of new Texas snowbells individuals, their growth to maturity, and the increase of populations to a viable level that is sustained without human intervention. The time required to improve the viability of Texas snowbells is influenced largely by its life history. Request for Public Comments amozie on DSK3GDR082PROD with NOTICES1 Section 4(f) of the ESA requires us to provide public notice and an opportunity for public review and comment during recovery plan development. It is also our policy to request peer review of recovery plans (July 1, 1994; 59 FR 34270). In an appendix to the approved recovery plan, we will summarize and respond to the issues raised by the public and peer reviewers. Substantive comments may or may not result in changes to the recovery plan; comments regarding recovery plan implementation will be forwarded as appropriate to Federal or other entities so that they can be taken into account during the course of implementing recovery actions. Responses to individual commenters will not be provided, but we will provide a summary of how we addressed substantive comments in an appendix to the approved recovery plan. We invite written comments on the draft recovery plan. In particular, we are interested in additional information regarding the current threats to the species, ongoing beneficial management efforts, and the costs associated with implementing the recommended recovery actions. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:26 Aug 02, 2018 Jkt 244001 Public Availability of Comments All comments received, including names and addresses, will become part of the administrative record and will be available to the public. Before including your address, phone number, electronic mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—will be publicly available. If you submit a hardcopy comment 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. Comments and materials we receive will be available, by appointment, for public inspection during normal business hours at our office (see ADDRESSES). Authority We developed our draft recovery plan and publish this notice under the authority of section 4(f) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Dated: May 24, 2018. Amy L. Lueders, Regional Director, Southwest Region. [FR Doc. 2018–16655 Filed 8–2–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management [LLIDB00100 L17110000.PH0000 LXSS024D0000 45001222254] Notice of Public Meeting, Boise District Resource Advisory Council, Idaho Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice of public meeting. AGENCY: In accordance with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972, the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Boise District Resource Advisory Council (RAC) will meet as indicated below. DATES: The Boise District RAC will meet September 13, 2018. The meeting will begin at 8:00 a.m. and end at 4:00 p.m. The public comment period will take place from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. ADDRESSES: The Boise District RAC will meet at the BLM Boise District Office, SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00051 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 3948 Development Avenue, Boise, Idaho 83705. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Williamson, BLM Boise District, Idaho, 3948 Development Avenue, Boise, Idaho 83705, 208–384– 3393, email mwilliamson@blm.gov. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may contact Mr. Williamson by calling the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at (800) 877–8339. The FRS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to leave a message or question with Mr. Williamson. You will receive a reply during normal business hours. The 15member RAC advises the Secretary of the Interior, through the BLM, on a variety of planning and management issues associated with public land management in Idaho. During the September 13, 2018 meeting, the Boise District RAC will have a briefing on the Boise District’s wild horse program, TriState fuel breaks project, travel management planning, and other Field Office updates. Additional topics may be added and will be included in local media announcements. RAC meetings are open to the public. The public may present written comments to the Council at the address provided above. Each formal Council meeting will also have time allocated for hearing public comments. Depending on the number of persons wishing to comment and time available, the time for individual oral comments may be limited. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comments, please be aware that your entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Individuals who plan to attend and need special assistance, such as sign language interpretation, tour transportation or other reasonable accommodations, should contact the BLM as provided above. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Authority: 43 CFR 1784.4–2 Lara Douglas, District Manager. [FR Doc. 2018–16589 Filed 8–2–18; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–AK–P E:\FR\FM\03AUN1.SGM 03AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 150 (Friday, August 3, 2018)]
[Notices]
[Pages 38164-38166]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-16655]


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

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R2-ES-2018-N071; FXES11130200000-189-FF02ENEH00]


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Revised 
Recovery Plan for Texas Snowbells

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION:  Notice of availability; request for comment.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the 
availability of our draft revised recovery plan for Texas snowbells, 
listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Texas snowbells 
is a rare, endemic shrub of the Edwards Plateau, and is found in Real, 
Edwards, and Val Verde Counties, Texas. We provide this notice to seek 
comments from the public and Federal, Tribal, State, and local 
governments.

DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive written comments on or 
before October 2, 2018. However, we will accept information about any 
species at any time.

ADDRESSES: Reviewing document: You may obtain a copy of the draft 
revised recovery plan by any one of the following methods:
    Internet: Download the file at https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/AustinTexas/ESA_Species_news.html.
    U.S. mail: Send a request to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Austin 
Ecological Services Field Office, 10711 Burnet Road, Suite 200, Austin, 
TX 78758; or
    Telephone: 512-490-0057.

[[Page 38165]]

    Submitting comments: Submit your comments in writing by any one of 
the following methods:
     U.S. mail: Project Leader, at the above Austin Ecological 
Services Field Office address;
     Hand-delivery: Project Leader, at the above Austin 
Ecological Services Field Office address;
     Fax: 512-490-0974; or
     Email: [email protected].
    For additional information about submitting comments, see Request 
for Public Comments and Public Availability of Comments under 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Adam Zerrenner, Field Supervisor, at 
the above address and phone number, or by email at 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
(Service), announce the availability of our draft revised recovery plan 
for Texas snowbells (Styrax platanifolius ssp. texanus; formerly Styrax 
texanus), listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Texas snowbells is a 
rare, endemic shrub of the Edwards Plateau, and is found in Real, 
Edwards, and Val Verde Counties, Texas. The draft revised recovery plan 
includes specific recovery objectives and criteria that, when achieved, 
will enable us to remove Texas snowbells from the list of endangered 
and threatened plants. We request review and comment on this plan from 
local, State, and Federal agencies; Tribes; and the public. We will 
also accept any new information on the status of Texas snowbells 
throughout its range to assist in finalizing the recovery plan.

Background

    Recovery of endangered or threatened animals and plants to the 
point where they are again secure, self-sustaining members of their 
ecosystems is a primary goal of our endangered species program and the 
ESA. Recovery means improvement of the status of listed species to the 
point at which listing is no longer appropriate under the criteria set 
out in section 4(a)(1) of the ESA. The ESA requires the development of 
recovery plans for listed species, unless such a plan would not promote 
the conservation of a particular species. The Service approved a 
recovery plan for Texas snowbells in 1987; however, the original plan 
did not establish criteria for reclassifying Texas snowbells from an 
endangered to threatened status (downlisting) or for removal from the 
endangered species list (delisting) (Service 1987). Therefore, this 
plan will serve as a revision to the 1987 recovery plan for Texas 
snowbells.
    We utilized a streamlined approach to recovery planning and 
implementation by first conducting a species status assessment (SSA) of 
Texas snowbells (Service 2017), which is a comprehensive analysis of 
the taxon's needs, current condition, threats, and future viability. 
The information in the SSA report provides the biological background, a 
threats assessment, and a basis for a strategy for recovery of Texas 
snowbells. We then used this information to prepare an abbreviated 
draft revised recovery plan for Texas snowbells that includes 
prioritized recovery actions, downlisting and delisting criteria, and 
the estimated time and cost to recovery. A separate recovery 
implementation strategy has also been prepared and includes the 
specific tasks necessary to implement recovery actions (Service 2018).

Summary of Subspecies Information

    Texas snowbells is a rare, endemic shrub of the Edwards Plateau of 
Texas. We listed it as an endangered species, Styrax texanus, on 
October 12, 1984 (49 FR 40036). We currently recognize this plant as S. 
platanifolius ssp. texanus, one of five closely related subspecies 
described in the most recent taxonomic treatment (Fritsch 1997).
    When listed as endangered, only 25 individuals had been documented 
in 5 locations. Since 1986, field surveyors have documented 400 mature 
and 452 immature Texas snowbells plants in 22 naturally occurring sites 
over a range of 121 km (75 mi) east to west and 35 km (22 mi) north to 
south in Real, Edwards, and Val Verde Counties. The known populations 
occur along watercourses, on or near steep slopes, in exposed limestone 
and gravel of the upper reaches of the Nueces, West Nueces, and Devils 
River watersheds. We estimate that about 15,043 ha (37,172 ac) of 
potential habitat exists in these watersheds.
    Texas snowbells usually flowers in April and fertilization is 
believed to require out-crossing (transfer of pollen between 
individuals that are not too closely related). The subspecies' 
pollinators include bumble bees (Bombus sp.), carpenter bees (Xylocopa 
sp.), and honey bees (Apis sp.). Texas snowbells seed production 
depends on the grouping of genetically diverse individuals within their 
pollinators' forage ranges of 0.5 to 1.0 km (0.3 to 0.6 mi). Almost all 
documented reproduction of Texas snowbells in the wild occurs where at 
least 56 mature individuals are distributed over a distance of 1.6 km 
(1.0 mi) or less. For this reason, small population sizes, the 
isolation of populations, and low levels of genetic diversity are 
significant factors affecting the viability of the subspecies, 
viability being defined as the likelihood of persistence over the long 
term. Other factors affecting the viability of Texas snowbells include 
severe browsing by native white-tailed deer (Cervus elaphus) and 
introduced ungulate species, severe floods, and endemism to a small 
geographic and habitat range. In addition to the above stressors, 
drought attributed to climate changes and pollinator deficiency are 
also projected to affect the future viability of Texas snowbells. A 
large portion of known individuals and populations occurs on privately 
owned lands where there is no protection under the ESA unless there is 
a Federal nexus. Activities impacting plants on private lands without 
Federal involvement are not regulated under the ESA. So, without a 
Federal nexus, conservation on private lands is entirely voluntary and 
thus more challenging.
    Texas snowbells is endemic to a small geographic area and has a low 
level of genetic diversity, and therefore has low representation 
(ability to adapt to environmental changes and to colonize new sites). 
Since there are few populations, redundancy (the number and geographic 
distribution of populations or sites necessary to endure catastrophic 
events) is also low. In addition, population resilience (ability to 
endure stochastic environmental variation) is low because all known 
populations are far below the estimated minimum viable population 
level. In synthesis, the current viability of Texas snowbells is low. 
For a detailed discussion of the subspecies' natural history, current 
status, and future viability, please refer to the SSA report for Texas 
snowbells (Service 2017).

Recovery Plan Goals

    The objective of a recovery plan is to provide a framework for the 
recovery of a species so that protection under the ESA is no longer 
necessary. A recovery plan includes scientific information about the 
species and provides criteria and actions necessary for us to be able 
to reclassify the species to threatened status or remove it from the 
lists of endangered and threatened wildlife and plants. Recovery plans 
help guide our recovery efforts by describing actions we consider 
necessary for the species' conservation, and by estimating time and 
costs for implementing needed recovery measures.
    The original Texas snowbells recovery plan (Service 1987) did not 
establish delisting or downlisting criteria. The

[[Page 38166]]

core conservation strategy of the revised plan is to increase 
recruitment and decrease mortality, thereby allowing populations of 
Texas snowbells to grow naturally. One recovery objective is to reduce 
the intensity of ungulate browsing throughout the subspecies' range, 
allowing populations to become self-sustaining without human 
intervention. Another recovery objective is population augmentation and 
strategic placement of reintroduced populations to restore population 
connectivity, thereby enhancing gene flow and fertilization between 
genetically diverse individuals and populations. To date, cooperating 
landowners and volunteers have made significant progress toward 
accomplishing these objectives.
    The downlisting and delisting criteria provided in the revised 
recovery plan are based on the natural recruitment of new Texas 
snowbells individuals, their growth to maturity, and the increase of 
populations to a viable level that is sustained without human 
intervention. The time required to improve the viability of Texas 
snowbells is influenced largely by its life history.

Request for Public Comments

    Section 4(f) of the ESA requires us to provide public notice and an 
opportunity for public review and comment during recovery plan 
development. It is also our policy to request peer review of recovery 
plans (July 1, 1994; 59 FR 34270). In an appendix to the approved 
recovery plan, we will summarize and respond to the issues raised by 
the public and peer reviewers. Substantive comments may or may not 
result in changes to the recovery plan; comments regarding recovery 
plan implementation will be forwarded as appropriate to Federal or 
other entities so that they can be taken into account during the course 
of implementing recovery actions. Responses to individual commenters 
will not be provided, but we will provide a summary of how we addressed 
substantive comments in an appendix to the approved recovery plan.
    We invite written comments on the draft recovery plan. In 
particular, we are interested in additional information regarding the 
current threats to the species, ongoing beneficial management efforts, 
and the costs associated with implementing the recommended recovery 
actions.

Public Availability of Comments

    All comments received, including names and addresses, will become 
part of the administrative record and will be available to the public. 
Before including your address, phone number, electronic mail address, 
or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should 
be aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--will be publicly available. If you submit a hardcopy 
comment 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. Comments and materials we receive will be available, by 
appointment, for public inspection during normal business hours at our 
office (see ADDRESSES).

Authority

    We developed our draft recovery plan and publish this notice under 
the authority of section 4(f) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: May 24, 2018.
Amy L. Lueders,
Regional Director, Southwest Region.
[FR Doc. 2018-16655 Filed 8-2-18; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4333-15-P