Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Two Species Not Warranted for Listing as Endangered or Threatened Species, 54339-54342 [2020-16721]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 170 / Tuesday, September 1, 2020 / Proposed Rules (c) Reasonable and necessary costs to maintain the breakthrough device. (d) Related care and services for the breakthrough device. (e) Reasonable and necessary services to treat complications arising from use of the breakthrough device. § 405.607 Coverage period. (a) Start of the period. The MCIT pathway begins on the date the breakthrough device receives FDA market authorization. (b) End of the period. The MCIT pathway for a breakthrough device ends as follows: (1) No later than 4 years from the date the breakthrough device received FDA market authorization. (2) Prior to 4 years if a manufacturer withdraws the breakthrough device from the MCIT pathway. (3) Prior to 4 years if the breakthrough device becomes the subject of a national coverage determination or otherwise becomes noncovered through law or regulation. Dated: May 4, 2020. Seema Verma, Administrator, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Dated: June 11, 2020. Alex M. Azar II, Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services. [FR Doc. 2020–19289 Filed 8–31–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4120–01–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17 [FF09E21000 FXES11110900000 201] Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Two Species Not Warranted for Listing as Endangered or Threatened Species AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. Notice of findings. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS ACTION: SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce 12month findings on petitions to add Big Cypress epidendrum (Epidendrum strobiliferum) and Cape Sable orchid (Trichocentrum undulatum) to the List of Endangered and Threatened Plants under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). After a thorough review of the best available scientific and commercial information, we find that it is not warranted at this time to list the Big Cypress epidendrum VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:11 Aug 31, 2020 Jkt 250001 or Cape Sable orchid. However, we ask the public to submit to us at any time any new information relevant to the status of either of the species mentioned above or their habitats. DATES: The findings in this document were made on September 1, 2020. ADDRESSES: Detailed descriptions of the basis for these findings are available on the internet at http:// www.regulations.gov under the following docket numbers: Species Docket No. Big Cypress epidendrum Cape Sable orchid ........ FWS–R4–ES–2020–0043. FWS–R4–ES–2020–0044. Please submit any new information, materials, comments, or questions concerning this finding to the person specified under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Roxanna Hinzman, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, South Florida Ecological Services Field Office, email: roxanna_hinzman@fws.gov, telephone: 772–469–4309. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background Under section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), we are required to make a finding whether or not a petitioned action is warranted within 12 months after receiving any petition that we have determined contains substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted (‘‘12-month finding’’). We must make a finding that the petitioned action is: (1) Not warranted; (2) warranted; or (3) warranted but precluded. We must publish a notice of these 12-month findings in the Federal Register. Summary of Information Pertaining to the Five Factors Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and the implementing regulations at part 424 of title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations (50 CFR part 424) set forth procedures for adding species to, removing species from, or reclassifying species on the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants (Lists). The Act defines ‘‘species’’ as any subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct population segment of any species of vertebrate fish or wildlife which interbreeds when mature. The Act defines ‘‘endangered species’’ as any species that is in danger of extinction PO 00000 Frm 00054 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 54339 throughout all or a significant portion of its range (16 U.S.C. 1532(6)), and ‘‘threatened species’’ as any species that is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range (16 U.S.C. 1532(20)). Under section 4(a)(1) of the Act, a species may be determined to be an endangered species or a threatened species because of any of the following five factors: (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (B) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; (C) Disease or predation; (D) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or (E) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence. These factors represent broad categories of natural or human-caused actions or conditions that could have an effect on a species’ continued existence. In evaluating these actions and conditions, we look for those that may have a negative effect on individuals of the species, as well as other actions or conditions that may ameliorate any negative effects or may have positive effects. We use the term ‘‘threat’’ to refer in general to actions or conditions that are known to or are reasonably likely to negatively affect individuals of a species. The term ‘‘threat’’ includes actions or conditions that have a direct impact on individuals (direct impacts), as well as those that affect individuals through alteration of their habitat or required resources (stressors). The term ‘‘threat’’ may encompass—either together or separately—the source of the action or condition or the action or condition itself. However, the mere identification of any threat(s) does not necessarily mean that the species meets the statutory definition of an ‘‘endangered species’’ or a ‘‘threatened species.’’ In determining whether a species meets either definition, we must evaluate all identified threats by considering the expected response by the species, and the effects of the threats—in light of those actions and conditions that will ameliorate the threats—on an individual, population, and species level. We evaluate each threat and its expected effects on the species, then analyze the cumulative effect of all of the threats on the species as a whole. We also consider the cumulative effect of the threats in light of those actions and conditions that will have positive effects on the species, such as any existing regulatory mechanisms or conservation efforts. The E:\FR\FM\01SEP1.SGM 01SEP1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS 54340 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 170 / Tuesday, September 1, 2020 / Proposed Rules Secretary determines whether the species meets the definition of an ‘‘endangered species’’ or a ‘‘threatened species’’ only after conducting this cumulative analysis and describing the expected effect on the species now and in the foreseeable future. The Act does not define the term ‘‘foreseeable future,’’ which appears in the statutory definition of ‘‘threatened species.’’ Our implementing regulations at 50 CFR 424.11(d) set forth a framework for evaluating the foreseeable future on a case-by-case basis. The term ‘‘foreseeable future’’ extends only so far into the future as the Service can reasonably determine that both the future threats and the species’ responses to those threats are likely. In other words, the foreseeable future is the period of time in which we can make reliable predictions. ‘‘Reliable’’ does not mean ‘‘certain’’; it means sufficient to provide a reasonable degree of confidence in the prediction. Thus, a prediction is reliable if it is reasonable to depend on it when making decisions. It is not always possible or necessary to define foreseeable future as a particular number of years. Analysis of the foreseeable future uses the best scientific and commercial data available and should consider the timeframes applicable to the relevant threats and to the species’ likely responses to those threats in view of its life-history characteristics. Data that are typically relevant to assessing the species’ biological response include speciesspecific factors such as lifespan, reproductive rates or productivity, certain behaviors, and other demographic factors. In considering whether a species may meet the definition of an endangered species or a threatened species because of any of the five factors, we must look beyond the mere exposure of the species to the stressor to determine whether the species responds to the stressor in a way that causes actual impacts to the species. If there is exposure to a stressor, but no response, or only a positive response, that stressor does not cause a species to meet the definition of an endangered species or a threatened species. If there is exposure and the species responds negatively, we determine whether that stressor drives or contributes to the risk of extinction of the species such that the species warrants listing as an endangered or threatened species. The mere identification of stressors that could affect a species negatively is not sufficient to compel a finding that listing is or remains warranted. For a species to be listed or remain listed, we require evidence that these stressors are VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:11 Aug 31, 2020 Jkt 250001 operative threats to the species and its habitat, either singly or in combination, to the point that the species meets the definition of an endangered or a threatened species under the Act. In conducting our evaluation of the five factors provided in section 4(a)(1) of the Act to determine whether the Big Cypress epidendrum (Epidendrum strobiliferum) and Cape Sable orchid (Trichocentrum undulatum) meet the definition of ‘‘endangered species’’ or ‘‘threatened species,’’ we considered and thoroughly evaluated the best scientific and commercial information available regarding the past, present, and future stressors and threats. We reviewed the petitions, information available in our files, and other available published and unpublished information. These evaluations may include information from recognized experts; Federal, State, and tribal governments; academic institutions; foreign governments; private entities; and other members of the public. The species assessment forms for the Big Cypress epidendrum and Cape Sable orchid contain more detailed biological information, a thorough analysis of the listing factors, and an explanation of why we determined that these species do not meet the definition of an endangered species or a threatened species. This supporting information can be found on the internet at http:// www.regulations.gov under the appropriate docket number (see ADDRESSES, above). The following are informational summaries for each of the findings in this document. Previous Federal Actions On April 20, 2010, we received a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity, Alabama Rivers Alliance, Clinch Coalition, Dogwood Alliance, Gulf Restoration Network, Tennessee Forests Council, and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy to list 404 aquatic, riparian, and wetland species, including the Big Cypress epidendrum and Cape Sable orchid, as endangered or threatened species under the Act. On September 27, 2011, we published 90day findings for both species in the Federal Register (76 FR 59836), concluding that the petition presented substantial information indicating that listing the Big Cypress epidendrum and Cape Sable orchid may be warranted. This document constitutes our 12month findings on the April 20, 2010, petition to list the Big Cypress epidendrum and Cape Sable orchid under the Act. PO 00000 Frm 00055 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Big Cypress Epidendrum Summary of Finding The Big Cypress epidendrum is an epiphytic, herbaceous plant with small white flowers in the Orchidaceae family. The species is found across the tropical Americas and the Caribbean, including in Collier County, Florida, United States, as well as in Mexico, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Vincent, Trinidad and Tobago, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, French Guiana, Surinam, Guyana, and Venezuela. The best available data suggest that the species’ current range has not changed significantly from its historical range. The Big Cypress epidendrum is a long-lived perennial with a typical orchid life cycle from seed to flowering plant. Mature Big Cypress epidendrum plants usually produce flowers in October and November, but they may flower at any time of the year; seed capsules have been observed on plants in March. All orchids produce capsules containing thousands of miniscule seeds that are dispersed by wind. The Big Cypress epidendrum can self-fertilize, but may also be pollinated by bees, flies, butterflies, and moths (Dressler 1990, p. 106; North American Orchid Conservation Center 2018). For successful recruitment, the seed requires suitable host fungi to be present where they land. After successful germination on a suitable host tree, seedlings grow for several years before reaching maturity. The exact number of years to maturity is not known, but likely depends on resource availability (principally light and water). After approximately 10 years, adult plants may consist of many stems arising from leaf axils and the plant’s base. Individual plant lifespan is unknown, but is likely many years to decades, due to continuous vegetative generation of pseudo-bulbs (sympodial growth). In Florida, Big Cypress epidendrum plants are found in dense tangles high on the branches or trunks of canopy trees and occasionally standing dead wood (snags) in habitats classified as wooded slough and strand swamp. Slough and strand swamp habitats are broad, shallow channels with peat over mineral substrate, which are seasonally inundated with flowing water. Outside of the United States, the Big Cypress epidendrum occurs in tropical hammocks, tropical rain forests, and lowland rainforests, up to 4,500 feet (ft) (1,371 meters (m)) in elevation. In Brazil, the species has been recorded in the following vegetation types: Riverine E:\FR\FM\01SEP1.SGM 01SEP1 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 170 / Tuesday, September 1, 2020 / Proposed Rules Forest and/or Gallery Forest, Inundated Forest, Terra Firme Forest, Seasonally Semideciduous Forest, Ombrophyllous Forest (Tropical Rain Forest), and Coastal Forest that are within the following biomes: Amazon Rainforest, Central Brazilian Savanna, and Atlantic Rainforest (Flora do Brasil 2020, entire). Habitat elements that are important to the Big Cypress epidendrum include host trees with partial sun exposure in epiphytic microhabitats in swamps, rainforests, and cloud forests; nearly continual high humidity without freezing temperatures; and germinating seeds requiring the presence of symbiotic fungal species in order to grow to maturity. The primary stressors affecting the Big Cypress epidendrum’s biological status include habitat destruction and modification and hydrologic modification. Habitat destruction and modification are caused by changes in the host trees’ forest structure occurring now and into the future through impacts from sea-level rise, such as salt water intrusion and inundation, and deforestation. However, the species’ distribution and occurrences across a wide range (25 countries with at least 81 to 300 populations) within a variety of habitat types ensure that the Big Cypress epidendrum will not be in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future. We carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial information available regarding the past, present, and future threats to the Big Cypress epidendrum, and we evaluated all relevant factors under the five listing factors, including any regulatory mechanisms and conservation measures addressing these stressors. Under the Act and our implementing regulations, a species may warrant listing if it is in danger of extinction or likely to become so in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. We identified a concentration of threats acting on the Florida portion of the species’ range. Sea-level rise affects the Florida population disproportionately compared to the rest of the species’ range due to the population’s proximity to the coast and occurrence in lowelevation areas, and is expected to reduce the amount of suitable habitat for the host trees. However, as explained in our species assessment form (available on http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS–R4–ES–2020–0043), we found no substantial information to indicate that the Florida portion of the species’ range is a biologically significant portion of the range. Accordingly, we find there is no significant portion of the range that is VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:11 Aug 31, 2020 Jkt 250001 endangered or likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future. Our review of the best available scientific and commercial information indicates the Big Cypress epidendrum does not meet the definition of an endangered species or a threatened species in accordance with sections 3(6) and 3(20) of the Act. Therefore, we find that listing the Big Cypress epidendrum is not warranted at this time. A detailed discussion of the basis for this finding can be found in the Big Cypress epidendrum species assessment form and other supporting documents (see ADDRESSES, above). Cape Sable Orchid Summary of Finding Cape Sable orchid is an epiphytic, lithophytic (growing on rock substrate), or sometimes terrestrial herbaceous plant that is found across the tropical Americas and the Caribbean, including in Monroe County, Florida, United States, as well as in Cuba, Mexico, Jamaica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, French Guiana, Surinam, Guyana, and Brazil. The best available data suggest that the species’ current range has not changed significantly from its historical range. The Cape Sable orchid is a long-lived perennial with a typical orchid life cycle from seed to flowering plant. Mature Cape Sable orchid plants usually produce flowers from April through October. All orchids produce capsules containing thousands of miniscule seeds that are dispersed by wind. For successful recruitment, the seed requires a suitable host fungus to be present where it lands. After successful germination on a suitable host substrate, seedlings grow for several years before reaching maturity. For this species, the exact number of years to maturity is not known, but likely depends on resource availability (principally light and water). Adult plants may consist of many stems arising from leaf axils and the plant’s base. The species’ life span is unknown, but is likely many years, due to new outgrowths on the stem. In Florida, the Cape Sable orchid occurs as an epiphyte on the branches or trunks of canopy trees and occasionally standing dead wood (snags) primarily in buttonwood hammock and, to a small extent, in mangrove forest habitat. The species historically occurred in coastal berm and rockland hammock habitat. The Cape Sable orchid has not been PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 54341 observed growing on rock substrate in Florida. Outside the United States, the Cape Sable orchid occurs in the understory of mesic hilly broadleaf forests, montane rain forests, and cloud forests, on tree trunks or rocks, or in leaf mold on limestone rocks at elevations from 30 to 3,100 ft (10 to 950 m). Habitat elements that are important to the Cape Sable orchid include host trees with partial sun exposure in epiphytic microhabitats in swamps, rainforests, and cloud forests; nearly continual high humidity without freezing temperatures; and germinating seeds requiring the presence of symbiotic fungal species in order to grow to maturity. The primary stressors affecting the Cape Sable orchid’s biological status include habitat destruction and modification, hydrologic modification, insect damage, and poaching. Habitat destruction and modification are caused by changes in the host trees’ forest structure occurring now and into the future through impacts from sea-level rise, such as salt water intrusion and inundation, and deforestation. The species’ distribution and occurrences across a wide range (in 19 countries and 81 populations) within a variety of habitat types ensure that the Cape Sable orchid will not become in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future. We carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial information available regarding the past, present, and future threats to the Cape Sable orchid, and we evaluated all relevant factors under the five listing factors, including any regulatory mechanisms and conservation measures addressing these stressors. Under the Act and our implementing regulations, a species may warrant listing if it is in danger of extinction or likely to become so in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. We identified a concentration of threats acting on the Florida portion of the species’ range. Sea-level rise affects the Florida population disproportionately compared to the rest of the species’ range due to the population’s proximity to the coast and occurrence in lowelevation areas, and is expected to reduce the amount of suitable habitat for the host trees. However, as explained in our species assessment form (available on http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS–R4–ES–2020–0044), we found no substantial information to indicate that the Florida portion of the species’ range is a biologically significant portion of the range. Accordingly, we find there is no significant portion of the range that is E:\FR\FM\01SEP1.SGM 01SEP1 54342 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 170 / Tuesday, September 1, 2020 / Proposed Rules endangered or likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future. Our review of the best available scientific and commercial information indicates the Cape Sable orchid does not meet the definition of an endangered species or a threatened species in accordance with sections 3(6) and 3(20) of the Act. Therefore, we find that listing the Cape Sable orchid is not warranted at this time. A detailed discussion of the basis for this finding can be found in the Cape Sable orchid species assessment form and other supporting documents (see ADDRESSES, above). jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with PROPOSALS New Information We request that you submit any new information concerning the taxonomy VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:11 Aug 31, 2020 Jkt 250001 of, biology of, ecology of, status of, or stressors to the Big Cypress epidendrum or Cape Sable orchid to the person specified under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, whenever it becomes available. New information will help us monitor these species and make appropriate decisions about their conservation and status. We encourage local agencies and stakeholders to continue cooperative monitoring and conservation efforts. References Cited A list of the references cited in the petition finding are available on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov in the dockets provided above in ADDRESSES and upon request from the person specified under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 Authors The primary authors of this document are the staff members of the Species Assessment Team, Ecological Services Program. Authority The authority for this action is section 4 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Aurelia Skipwith, Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. 2020–16721 Filed 8–31–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P E:\FR\FM\01SEP1.SGM 01SEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 170 (Tuesday, September 1, 2020)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 54339-54342]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-16721]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[FF09E21000 FXES11110900000 201]


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Two Species Not 
Warranted for Listing as Endangered or Threatened Species

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of findings.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce 12-
month findings on petitions to add Big Cypress epidendrum (Epidendrum 
strobiliferum) and Cape Sable orchid (Trichocentrum undulatum) to the 
List of Endangered and Threatened Plants under the Endangered Species 
Act of 1973, as amended (Act). After a thorough review of the best 
available scientific and commercial information, we find that it is not 
warranted at this time to list the Big Cypress epidendrum or Cape Sable 
orchid. However, we ask the public to submit to us at any time any new 
information relevant to the status of either of the species mentioned 
above or their habitats.

DATES: The findings in this document were made on September 1, 2020.

ADDRESSES: Detailed descriptions of the basis for these findings are 
available on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov under the 
following docket numbers:

------------------------------------------------------------------------
               Species                            Docket No.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Big Cypress epidendrum..............  FWS-R4-ES-2020-0043.
Cape Sable orchid...................  FWS-R4-ES-2020-0044.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Please submit any new information, materials, comments, or 
questions concerning this finding to the person specified under FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Roxanna Hinzman, Field Supervisor, 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, South Florida Ecological Services Field 
Office, email: [email protected], telephone: 772-469-4309. 
Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call 
the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Under section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), we 
are required to make a finding whether or not a petitioned action is 
warranted within 12 months after receiving any petition that we have 
determined contains substantial scientific or commercial information 
indicating that the petitioned action may be warranted (``12-month 
finding''). We must make a finding that the petitioned action is: (1) 
Not warranted; (2) warranted; or (3) warranted but precluded. We must 
publish a notice of these 12-month findings in the Federal Register.

Summary of Information Pertaining to the Five Factors

    Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and the implementing 
regulations at part 424 of title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations 
(50 CFR part 424) set forth procedures for adding species to, removing 
species from, or reclassifying species on the Lists of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife and Plants (Lists). The Act defines ``species'' as 
any subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct 
population segment of any species of vertebrate fish or wildlife which 
interbreeds when mature. The Act defines ``endangered species'' as any 
species that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant 
portion of its range (16 U.S.C. 1532(6)), and ``threatened species'' as 
any species that is likely to become an endangered species within the 
foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range 
(16 U.S.C. 1532(20)). Under section 4(a)(1) of the Act, a species may 
be determined to be an endangered species or a threatened species 
because of any of the following five factors:
    (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of its habitat or range;
    (B) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes;
    (C) Disease or predation;
    (D) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or
    (E) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued 
existence.
    These factors represent broad categories of natural or human-caused 
actions or conditions that could have an effect on a species' continued 
existence. In evaluating these actions and conditions, we look for 
those that may have a negative effect on individuals of the species, as 
well as other actions or conditions that may ameliorate any negative 
effects or may have positive effects.
    We use the term ``threat'' to refer in general to actions or 
conditions that are known to or are reasonably likely to negatively 
affect individuals of a species. The term ``threat'' includes actions 
or conditions that have a direct impact on individuals (direct 
impacts), as well as those that affect individuals through alteration 
of their habitat or required resources (stressors). The term ``threat'' 
may encompass--either together or separately--the source of the action 
or condition or the action or condition itself. However, the mere 
identification of any threat(s) does not necessarily mean that the 
species meets the statutory definition of an ``endangered species'' or 
a ``threatened species.'' In determining whether a species meets either 
definition, we must evaluate all identified threats by considering the 
expected response by the species, and the effects of the threats--in 
light of those actions and conditions that will ameliorate the 
threats--on an individual, population, and species level. We evaluate 
each threat and its expected effects on the species, then analyze the 
cumulative effect of all of the threats on the species as a whole. We 
also consider the cumulative effect of the threats in light of those 
actions and conditions that will have positive effects on the species, 
such as any existing regulatory mechanisms or conservation efforts. The

[[Page 54340]]

Secretary determines whether the species meets the definition of an 
``endangered species'' or a ``threatened species'' only after 
conducting this cumulative analysis and describing the expected effect 
on the species now and in the foreseeable future.
    The Act does not define the term ``foreseeable future,'' which 
appears in the statutory definition of ``threatened species.'' Our 
implementing regulations at 50 CFR 424.11(d) set forth a framework for 
evaluating the foreseeable future on a case-by-case basis. The term 
``foreseeable future'' extends only so far into the future as the 
Service can reasonably determine that both the future threats and the 
species' responses to those threats are likely. In other words, the 
foreseeable future is the period of time in which we can make reliable 
predictions. ``Reliable'' does not mean ``certain''; it means 
sufficient to provide a reasonable degree of confidence in the 
prediction. Thus, a prediction is reliable if it is reasonable to 
depend on it when making decisions.
    It is not always possible or necessary to define foreseeable future 
as a particular number of years. Analysis of the foreseeable future 
uses the best scientific and commercial data available and should 
consider the timeframes applicable to the relevant threats and to the 
species' likely responses to those threats in view of its life-history 
characteristics. Data that are typically relevant to assessing the 
species' biological response include species-specific factors such as 
lifespan, reproductive rates or productivity, certain behaviors, and 
other demographic factors.
    In considering whether a species may meet the definition of an 
endangered species or a threatened species because of any of the five 
factors, we must look beyond the mere exposure of the species to the 
stressor to determine whether the species responds to the stressor in a 
way that causes actual impacts to the species. If there is exposure to 
a stressor, but no response, or only a positive response, that stressor 
does not cause a species to meet the definition of an endangered 
species or a threatened species. If there is exposure and the species 
responds negatively, we determine whether that stressor drives or 
contributes to the risk of extinction of the species such that the 
species warrants listing as an endangered or threatened species. The 
mere identification of stressors that could affect a species negatively 
is not sufficient to compel a finding that listing is or remains 
warranted. For a species to be listed or remain listed, we require 
evidence that these stressors are operative threats to the species and 
its habitat, either singly or in combination, to the point that the 
species meets the definition of an endangered or a threatened species 
under the Act.
    In conducting our evaluation of the five factors provided in 
section 4(a)(1) of the Act to determine whether the Big Cypress 
epidendrum (Epidendrum strobiliferum) and Cape Sable orchid 
(Trichocentrum undulatum) meet the definition of ``endangered species'' 
or ``threatened species,'' we considered and thoroughly evaluated the 
best scientific and commercial information available regarding the 
past, present, and future stressors and threats. We reviewed the 
petitions, information available in our files, and other available 
published and unpublished information. These evaluations may include 
information from recognized experts; Federal, State, and tribal 
governments; academic institutions; foreign governments; private 
entities; and other members of the public.
    The species assessment forms for the Big Cypress epidendrum and 
Cape Sable orchid contain more detailed biological information, a 
thorough analysis of the listing factors, and an explanation of why we 
determined that these species do not meet the definition of an 
endangered species or a threatened species. This supporting information 
can be found on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov under the 
appropriate docket number (see ADDRESSES, above). The following are 
informational summaries for each of the findings in this document.

Previous Federal Actions

    On April 20, 2010, we received a petition from the Center for 
Biological Diversity, Alabama Rivers Alliance, Clinch Coalition, 
Dogwood Alliance, Gulf Restoration Network, Tennessee Forests Council, 
and West Virginia Highlands Conservancy to list 404 aquatic, riparian, 
and wetland species, including the Big Cypress epidendrum and Cape 
Sable orchid, as endangered or threatened species under the Act. On 
September 27, 2011, we published 90-day findings for both species in 
the Federal Register (76 FR 59836), concluding that the petition 
presented substantial information indicating that listing the Big 
Cypress epidendrum and Cape Sable orchid may be warranted. This 
document constitutes our 12-month findings on the April 20, 2010, 
petition to list the Big Cypress epidendrum and Cape Sable orchid under 
the Act.

Big Cypress Epidendrum

Summary of Finding
    The Big Cypress epidendrum is an epiphytic, herbaceous plant with 
small white flowers in the Orchidaceae family. The species is found 
across the tropical Americas and the Caribbean, including in Collier 
County, Florida, United States, as well as in Mexico, Cuba, Dominica, 
Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Vincent, Trinidad 
and Tobago, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, 
Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, French Guiana, Surinam, 
Guyana, and Venezuela. The best available data suggest that the 
species' current range has not changed significantly from its 
historical range.
    The Big Cypress epidendrum is a long-lived perennial with a typical 
orchid life cycle from seed to flowering plant. Mature Big Cypress 
epidendrum plants usually produce flowers in October and November, but 
they may flower at any time of the year; seed capsules have been 
observed on plants in March. All orchids produce capsules containing 
thousands of miniscule seeds that are dispersed by wind. The Big 
Cypress epidendrum can self-fertilize, but may also be pollinated by 
bees, flies, butterflies, and moths (Dressler 1990, p. 106; North 
American Orchid Conservation Center 2018).
    For successful recruitment, the seed requires suitable host fungi 
to be present where they land. After successful germination on a 
suitable host tree, seedlings grow for several years before reaching 
maturity. The exact number of years to maturity is not known, but 
likely depends on resource availability (principally light and water). 
After approximately 10 years, adult plants may consist of many stems 
arising from leaf axils and the plant's base. Individual plant lifespan 
is unknown, but is likely many years to decades, due to continuous 
vegetative generation of pseudo-bulbs (sympodial growth).
    In Florida, Big Cypress epidendrum plants are found in dense 
tangles high on the branches or trunks of canopy trees and occasionally 
standing dead wood (snags) in habitats classified as wooded slough and 
strand swamp. Slough and strand swamp habitats are broad, shallow 
channels with peat over mineral substrate, which are seasonally 
inundated with flowing water.
    Outside of the United States, the Big Cypress epidendrum occurs in 
tropical hammocks, tropical rain forests, and lowland rainforests, up 
to 4,500 feet (ft) (1,371 meters (m)) in elevation. In Brazil, the 
species has been recorded in the following vegetation types: Riverine

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Forest and/or Gallery Forest, Inundated Forest, Terra Firme Forest, 
Seasonally Semideciduous Forest, Ombrophyllous Forest (Tropical Rain 
Forest), and Coastal Forest that are within the following biomes: 
Amazon Rainforest, Central Brazilian Savanna, and Atlantic Rainforest 
(Flora do Brasil 2020, entire).
    Habitat elements that are important to the Big Cypress epidendrum 
include host trees with partial sun exposure in epiphytic microhabitats 
in swamps, rainforests, and cloud forests; nearly continual high 
humidity without freezing temperatures; and germinating seeds requiring 
the presence of symbiotic fungal species in order to grow to maturity.
    The primary stressors affecting the Big Cypress epidendrum's 
biological status include habitat destruction and modification and 
hydrologic modification. Habitat destruction and modification are 
caused by changes in the host trees' forest structure occurring now and 
into the future through impacts from sea-level rise, such as salt water 
intrusion and inundation, and deforestation. However, the species' 
distribution and occurrences across a wide range (25 countries with at 
least 81 to 300 populations) within a variety of habitat types ensure 
that the Big Cypress epidendrum will not be in danger of extinction in 
the foreseeable future.
    We carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial 
information available regarding the past, present, and future threats 
to the Big Cypress epidendrum, and we evaluated all relevant factors 
under the five listing factors, including any regulatory mechanisms and 
conservation measures addressing these stressors.
    Under the Act and our implementing regulations, a species may 
warrant listing if it is in danger of extinction or likely to become so 
in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of 
its range. We identified a concentration of threats acting on the 
Florida portion of the species' range. Sea-level rise affects the 
Florida population disproportionately compared to the rest of the 
species' range due to the population's proximity to the coast and 
occurrence in low-elevation areas, and is expected to reduce the amount 
of suitable habitat for the host trees. However, as explained in our 
species assessment form (available on http://www.regulations.gov under 
Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2020-0043), we found no substantial information to 
indicate that the Florida portion of the species' range is a 
biologically significant portion of the range. Accordingly, we find 
there is no significant portion of the range that is endangered or 
likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future.
    Our review of the best available scientific and commercial 
information indicates the Big Cypress epidendrum does not meet the 
definition of an endangered species or a threatened species in 
accordance with sections 3(6) and 3(20) of the Act. Therefore, we find 
that listing the Big Cypress epidendrum is not warranted at this time. 
A detailed discussion of the basis for this finding can be found in the 
Big Cypress epidendrum species assessment form and other supporting 
documents (see ADDRESSES, above).

Cape Sable Orchid

Summary of Finding
    Cape Sable orchid is an epiphytic, lithophytic (growing on rock 
substrate), or sometimes terrestrial herbaceous plant that is found 
across the tropical Americas and the Caribbean, including in Monroe 
County, Florida, United States, as well as in Cuba, Mexico, Jamaica, 
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, 
Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, 
French Guiana, Surinam, Guyana, and Brazil. The best available data 
suggest that the species' current range has not changed significantly 
from its historical range.
    The Cape Sable orchid is a long-lived perennial with a typical 
orchid life cycle from seed to flowering plant. Mature Cape Sable 
orchid plants usually produce flowers from April through October. All 
orchids produce capsules containing thousands of miniscule seeds that 
are dispersed by wind.
    For successful recruitment, the seed requires a suitable host 
fungus to be present where it lands. After successful germination on a 
suitable host substrate, seedlings grow for several years before 
reaching maturity. For this species, the exact number of years to 
maturity is not known, but likely depends on resource availability 
(principally light and water). Adult plants may consist of many stems 
arising from leaf axils and the plant's base. The species' life span is 
unknown, but is likely many years, due to new outgrowths on the stem.
    In Florida, the Cape Sable orchid occurs as an epiphyte on the 
branches or trunks of canopy trees and occasionally standing dead wood 
(snags) primarily in buttonwood hammock and, to a small extent, in 
mangrove forest habitat. The species historically occurred in coastal 
berm and rockland hammock habitat. The Cape Sable orchid has not been 
observed growing on rock substrate in Florida.
    Outside the United States, the Cape Sable orchid occurs in the 
understory of mesic hilly broadleaf forests, montane rain forests, and 
cloud forests, on tree trunks or rocks, or in leaf mold on limestone 
rocks at elevations from 30 to 3,100 ft (10 to 950 m).
    Habitat elements that are important to the Cape Sable orchid 
include host trees with partial sun exposure in epiphytic microhabitats 
in swamps, rainforests, and cloud forests; nearly continual high 
humidity without freezing temperatures; and germinating seeds requiring 
the presence of symbiotic fungal species in order to grow to maturity.
    The primary stressors affecting the Cape Sable orchid's biological 
status include habitat destruction and modification, hydrologic 
modification, insect damage, and poaching. Habitat destruction and 
modification are caused by changes in the host trees' forest structure 
occurring now and into the future through impacts from sea-level rise, 
such as salt water intrusion and inundation, and deforestation. The 
species' distribution and occurrences across a wide range (in 19 
countries and 81 populations) within a variety of habitat types ensure 
that the Cape Sable orchid will not become in danger of extinction in 
the foreseeable future.
    We carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial 
information available regarding the past, present, and future threats 
to the Cape Sable orchid, and we evaluated all relevant factors under 
the five listing factors, including any regulatory mechanisms and 
conservation measures addressing these stressors.
    Under the Act and our implementing regulations, a species may 
warrant listing if it is in danger of extinction or likely to become so 
in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of 
its range. We identified a concentration of threats acting on the 
Florida portion of the species' range. Sea-level rise affects the 
Florida population disproportionately compared to the rest of the 
species' range due to the population's proximity to the coast and 
occurrence in low-elevation areas, and is expected to reduce the amount 
of suitable habitat for the host trees. However, as explained in our 
species assessment form (available on http://www.regulations.gov under 
Docket No. FWS-R4-ES-2020-0044), we found no substantial information to 
indicate that the Florida portion of the species' range is a 
biologically significant portion of the range. Accordingly, we find 
there is no significant portion of the range that is

[[Page 54342]]

endangered or likely to become endangered within the foreseeable 
future.
    Our review of the best available scientific and commercial 
information indicates the Cape Sable orchid does not meet the 
definition of an endangered species or a threatened species in 
accordance with sections 3(6) and 3(20) of the Act. Therefore, we find 
that listing the Cape Sable orchid is not warranted at this time. A 
detailed discussion of the basis for this finding can be found in the 
Cape Sable orchid species assessment form and other supporting 
documents (see ADDRESSES, above).

New Information

    We request that you submit any new information concerning the 
taxonomy of, biology of, ecology of, status of, or stressors to the Big 
Cypress epidendrum or Cape Sable orchid to the person specified under 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, whenever it becomes available. New 
information will help us monitor these species and make appropriate 
decisions about their conservation and status. We encourage local 
agencies and stakeholders to continue cooperative monitoring and 
conservation efforts.

References Cited

    A list of the references cited in the petition finding are 
available on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov in the dockets 
provided above in ADDRESSES and upon request from the person specified 
under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Authors

    The primary authors of this document are the staff members of the 
Species Assessment Team, Ecological Services Program.

Authority

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

Aurelia Skipwith,
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2020-16721 Filed 8-31-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4333-15-P