Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding for the Monarch Butterfly, 81813-81822 [2020-27523]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 243 / Thursday, December 17, 2020 / Rules and Regulations requiring carriage, awarding damages to any person denied carriage, or any combination of such sanctions. Such order shall set forth a timetable for compliance. Such order issued by the Commission or Commission staff shall be effective upon release. See §§ 1.102(b) and 1.103 of this chapter. The effective date of such order issued by the Administrative Law Judge is set forth in § 1.276(d) of this chapter. * * * * * [FR Doc. 2020–26259 Filed 12–16–20; 8:45 am] Background BILLING CODE 6712–01–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17 [Docket No. FWS–R3–ES–2020–0103; FF09E21000 FXES11110900000 212] Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding for the Monarch Butterfly Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of 12-month finding. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 12-month finding on a petition to list the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus plexippus) as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended. After a thorough review of the best available scientific and commercial information, we find that listing the monarch butterfly as an endangered or threatened species is warranted but precluded by higher priority actions to amend the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. We will develop a proposed rule to list the monarch butterfly as our priorities allow. However, we ask the public to submit to us any new information relevant to the status of the species or its habitat at any time. DATES: The finding in this document was made on December 17, 2020. ADDRESSES: A detailed description of the basis for this finding is available on the internet at http:// www.regulations.gov under docket number FWS–R3–ES–2020–0103. Supporting information used to prepare this finding is available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours, by contacting the person specified under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Please submit any new information, materials, comments, or questions SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:27 Dec 16, 2020 Jkt 253001 concerning this finding to the person specified under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Barbara Hosler, Regional Listing Coordinator, Ecological Services, Great Lakes Region, telephone: 517–351–6326, email: monarch@fws.gov. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), please call the Federal Relay Service at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Under section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (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. ‘‘Warranted but precluded’’ means that (a) the petitioned action is warranted, but the immediate proposal of a regulation implementing the petitioned action is precluded by other pending proposals to determine whether species are endangered or threatened species, and (b) expeditious progress is being made to add qualified species to the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants (Lists) and to remove from the Lists species for which the protections of the Act are no longer necessary. Section 4(b)(3)(C) of the Act requires that, when we find that a petitioned action is warranted but precluded, we treat the petition as though it is resubmitted on the date of such finding, that is, requiring that a subsequent finding be made within 12 months of that date. We must publish these 12-month findings in the Federal Register. Summary of Information Pertaining to the Five Factors Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and the implementing regulations 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 (found in 50 CFR part 17). 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 PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 81813 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 Secretary determines whether the species meets the definition of an ‘‘endangered species’’ or a ‘‘threatened species’’ only E:\FR\FM\17DER1.SGM 17DER1 81814 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 243 / Thursday, December 17, 2020 / Rules and Regulations 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 Services 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 conducting our evaluation of the five factors provided in section 4(a)(1) of the Act to determine whether the monarch butterfly meets the definition of an ‘‘endangered species’’ or ‘‘threatened species,’’ we considered and thoroughly evaluated the best scientific and commercial information available regarding the past, present, and future threats to the species. We reviewed the petition, information available in our files, and other available published and unpublished information. This evaluation 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 form for the monarch butterfly contains more detailed biological information, a thorough analysis of the listing factors, and an explanation of why we determined that this species meets the definition of an endangered species or a threatened species. This supporting information can be found on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:27 Dec 16, 2020 Jkt 253001 under docket number FWS–R3–ES– 2020–0103. The following is an informational summary of the finding in this document. Previous Federal Actions On August 26, 2014, we received a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), Center for Food Safety (CFS), Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, and Dr. Lincoln Brower, requesting that we list the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus plexippus) as a threatened species under the Act. On December 31, 2014, we published a 90-day finding that the petition presented substantial scientific or commercial information, indicating that listing the monarch butterfly may be warranted (79 FR 78775). On March 10, 2016, the CFS and CBD filed a complaint against the Service for not issuing a finding on the petition within the statutory timeframe, and on July 5, 2016, we entered a stipulated settlement agreement with CFS and CBD to submit the 12-month finding to the Federal Register by June 30, 2019. On May 24, 2019, the court granted an extension of this deadline to December 15, 2020. Summary of Finding The petition that the Service received in 2014 was for listing a subspecies of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus plexippus) (Center for Biological Diversity et al., 2014, p. 4). The petition also requested a determination of whether any new North American subspecies of Danaus plexippus should be listed. After careful examination of the literature and consultation with experts, there is no clearly agreed upon definition of potential subspecies of Danaus plexippus or where the geographic borders between these subspecies might exist. Given these findings, we examined the entire range of Danaus plexippus. Monarch butterflies in eastern and western North America represent the ancestral origin for the species worldwide. They exhibit long-distance migration and overwinter as adults at forested locations in Mexico and California. These overwintering sites provide protection from the elements (for example, rain, wind, hail, and excessive radiation) and moderate temperatures, as well as nectar and clean water sources located nearby. Adult monarch butterflies feed on nectar from a wide variety of flowers. Reproduction is dependent on the presence of milkweed, the sole food source for larvae. Monarch butterflies are found in 90 countries, islands, or island groups. Monarch butterflies have PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 become naturalized at most of these locations outside of North America since 1840. The populations outside of eastern and western North America (including southern Florida) do not exhibit long-distance migratory behavior. We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial information available regarding the past, present, and future threats to the monarch butterfly, and we evaluated all relevant factors under the five listing factors, including any regulatory mechanisms and conservation measures addressing these stressors. The primary threats to the monarch’s biological status include loss and degradation of habitat from conversion of grasslands to agriculture, widespread use of herbicides, logging/ thinning at overwintering sites in Mexico, senescence and incompatible management of overwintering sites in California, urban development, and drought (Factor A); exposure to insecticides (Factor E); and effects of climate change (Factor E). Conservation efforts are addressing some of the threats from loss of milkweed and nectar resources across eastern and western North America and management at overwintering sites in California; however, these efforts and the existing regulatory mechanisms (Factor D) are not sufficient to protect the species from all of the threats. We found no evidence that the monarch butterfly is currently impacted at the population level by overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes (Factor B) or predation or disease (Factor C), nor did we find information to suggest that the species will be impacted by these factors in the future. Based on the past annual censuses, the eastern and western North American migratory populations have been generally declining over the last 20 years. The monarch butterfly is also known from 29 populations that are outside of the 2 migratory North American populations. At least 1 monarch butterfly has been observed in 25 of these populations since 2000, and these are considered extant. Monarch butterfly presence within the remaining four populations has not been confirmed since 2000, but they are presumed extant. We know little about population sizes or trends of most of the populations outside of the eastern and western North American populations (except for Australia, which has an estimate of just over 1 million monarch butterflies). We do not have information related to the threats acting on the populations outside of eastern and western North America; however, we E:\FR\FM\17DER1.SGM 17DER1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 243 / Thursday, December 17, 2020 / Rules and Regulations determined that 15 of the 29 populations, including the Australian population, are classified as being ‘‘at risk’’ due to sea-level rise or increasing temperatures, resulting from climate change. The North American migratory populations are the largest relative to the other rangewide populations, accounting for more than 90 percent of the worldwide number of monarch butterflies. For the two North American migratory populations, we estimated the probability of the population abundance reaching the point at which extinction is inevitable (pE) for each population. In its current condition, the eastern North American population has a pE less than 10 percent over the next 10 years. The western North American population has a much higher risk of extinction due to current threats, with a pE of 60–68 percent over the next 10 years. Looking across the range of future conditions that we can reasonably determine, the pE for the eastern population is estimated to be 24 percent to 46 percent in 30 years, and the pE for the western population is estimated to be 92 percent to 95 percent in 30 years. These pE estimates incorporate the primary factors that influence the populations’ resiliency, including availability of milkweed and nectar resources (losses as well as gains from conservation efforts), loss and degradation of overwintering habitat, insecticides, and effects of climate change. Additionally, at the current and projected population numbers, both the eastern and western populations become more vulnerable to catastrophic events (for example, extreme storms at the overwintering habitat). Also, under different climate change scenarios, the number of days and the area in which monarch butterflies will be exposed to unsuitably high temperatures will increase markedly. The potential loss of the North American migratory populations from these identified threats would substantially reduce the species’ resiliency, representation, and redundancy. To alleviate threats to the monarch butterfly, numerous conservation efforts have been developed and/or implemented since the species was petitioned in 2014, and these were considered in our assessment of the status of the species. Protection, restoration, enhancement and creation of habitat is a central aspect of recent monarch butterfly conservation strategies. In the breeding and migratory grounds, these habitat conservation strategies include the enhancement and creation of milkweed and nectar sources. Improved management at VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:27 Dec 16, 2020 Jkt 253001 overwintering sites in California has been targeted to improve the status of western North American monarch butterflies. Major overarching landscape-level conservation plans and efforts include the Mid-America Monarch Conservation Strategy developed by the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (MAFWA) and the Western Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan developed by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA). In early 2020, the Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement for Monarch Butterfly on Energy and Transportation Lands (CCAA/CCA) was finalized and will contribute to meeting the MAFWA Strategy and WAFWA Plan goals. Under this agreement, energy and transportation entities will provide habitat for the species along energy and transportation rights-of-way corridors across the country, including a 100 foot extension of the right-of-way onto private agricultural lands. Participants will carry out conservation measures to reduce or remove threats to the species and create and maintain habitat annually. In exchange for implementing voluntary conservation efforts and meeting specific requirements and criteria, those businesses and organizations enrolled in the CCAA will receive assurance from the Service that they will not have to implement additional conservation measures should the species be listed. The goal of the CCAA, which participants may continue to join until a final listing rule is published, is enrollment of up to 26 million acres of land in the agreement, providing over 300 million additional stems of milkweed. Many conservation efforts implemented under Federal, Tribal, State, or other programs, such as the Farm Service Agency’s Conservation Reserve Program, the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Agricultural Conservation Easement Program and Conservation Stewardship Program, and the Service’s Partners For Fish and Wildlife Program, are expected to contribute to the overarching habitat and population goals of the MAFWA Strategy and WAFWA Plan. Smaller conservation efforts implemented by local governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private businesses, and interested individuals will also play an important role in reaching habitat and population goals established in the MAFWA Strategy and WAFWA Plan. The Service developed the Monarch Conservation Database PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 81815 (MCD) to capture information about monarch butterfly conservation plans and efforts to inform the listing decision. As of June 1, 2020, there are 48,812 complete monarch butterfly conservation effort records in the MCD that have a status of completed, implemented, or planned since 2014, and 113 monarch butterfly conservation plans. Among the efforts included in the MCD are those provided by NRCS from EQIP, their program designed to provide financial and technical assistance to agricultural producers to address natural resource concerns. Across the 10 states that NRCS targeted for monarch butterfly conservation efforts through EQIP (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wisconsin), efforts on 16,952 acres have already been implemented and NCRS anticipates conservation on an additional 31,322 acres through ongoing enrollment (see https:// www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/ mcd.html). In addition to conservation of the breeding and migratory habitats, land managers in California are developing and implementing grove management strategies within the western population’s overwintering sites as well. The monarch butterfly species assessment form and the Monarch Species Status Assessment report (Service 2020) provide additional details on the status of the monarch butterfly and the conservation efforts listed here (see ADDRESSES, above). On the basis of the best scientific and commercial information available, we find that the petitioned action to list the monarch butterfly under the Act is warranted. We will make a determination on the status of the species as threatened or endangered when we complete a proposed listing determination. When we complete a proposed listing determination, we will examine whether the species may be endangered or threatened throughout all of its range or whether the species may be endangered or threatened in a significant portion of its range. However, an immediate proposal of a regulation implementing this action is precluded by work on higher priority listing actions and final listing determinations. This work includes all the actions listed in the National Listing Workplan discussed below under Preclusion and in the tables below under Expeditious Progress, as well as other actions at various stages of completion, such as 90-day findings for new petitions. E:\FR\FM\17DER1.SGM 17DER1 81816 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 243 / Thursday, December 17, 2020 / Rules and Regulations Preclusion and Expeditious Progress To make a finding that a particular action is warranted but precluded, the Service must make two determinations: (1) That the immediate proposal and timely promulgation of a final regulation is precluded by pending proposals to determine whether any species is endangered or threatened; and (2) that expeditious progress is being made to add qualified species to either of the Lists and to remove species from the Lists (16 U.S.C. 1533(b)(3)(B)(iii)). Preclusion A listing proposal is precluded if the Service does not have sufficient resources available to complete the proposal, because there are competing demands for those resources, and the relative priority of those competing demands is higher. Thus, in any given fiscal year (FY), multiple factors dictate whether it will be possible to undertake work on a proposed listing regulation or whether promulgation of such a proposal is precluded by higher priority listing actions—(1) The amount of resources available for completing the listing function, (2) the estimated cost of completing the proposed listing regulation, and (3) the Service’s workload, along with the Service’s prioritization of the proposed listing regulation in relation to other actions in its workload. Available Resources The resources available for listing actions are determined through the annual Congressional appropriations process. In FY 1998 and for each fiscal year since then, Congress has placed a statutory cap on funds that may be expended for the Listing Program (spending cap). This spending cap was designed to prevent the listing function from depleting funds needed for other functions under the Act (for example, recovery functions, such as removing species from the Lists) or for other Service programs (see House Report 105–163, 105th Congress, 1st Session, July 1, 1997). The funds within the spending cap are available to support work involving the following listing actions: Proposed and final rules to add species to the Lists or to change the status of species from threatened to endangered; 90-day and 12-month findings on petitions to add species to the Lists or to change the status of a species from threatened to endangered; annual ‘‘resubmitted’’ petition findings on prior warranted-but-precluded petition findings as required under section 4(b)(3)(C)(i) of the Act; critical habitat petition findings; proposed rules VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:27 Dec 16, 2020 Jkt 253001 designating critical habitat or final critical habitat determinations; and litigation-related, administrative, and program-management functions (including preparing and allocating budgets, responding to Congressional and public inquiries, and conducting public outreach regarding listing and critical habitat). For more than two decades the size and cost of the workload in these categories of actions have far exceeded the amount of funding available to the Service under the spending cap for completing listing and critical habitat actions under the Act. Since we cannot exceed the spending cap without violating the Anti-Deficiency Act (31 U.S.C. 1341(a)(1)(A)), each year we have been compelled to determine that work on at least some actions was precluded by work on higher priority actions. We make our determinations of preclusion on a nationwide basis to ensure that the species most in need of listing will be addressed first, and because we allocate our listing budget on a nationwide basis. Through the listing cap and the amount of funds needed to complete courtmandated actions within the cap, Congress and the courts have in effect determined the amount of money remaining (after completing courtmandated actions) for listing activities nationwide. Therefore, the funds that remain within the listing cap—after paying for work needed to comply with court orders or court-approved settlement agreements—set the framework within which we make our determinations of preclusion and expeditious progress. For FY 2019, through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019 (Pub. L. 116–6, February 15, 2019), Congress appropriated the Service $18,318,000 under a consolidated cap for all domestic and foreign listing work, including status assessments, listings, domestic critical habitat determinations, and related activities. For FY 2020, through the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (Pub. L. 116–94, December 20, 2019), Congress appropriated $20,318,000 for all domestic and foreign listing work. The amount of funding Congress will appropriate in future years is uncertain. Costs of Listing Actions The work involved in preparing various listing documents can be extensive, and may include, but is not limited to: Gathering and assessing the best scientific and commercial data available and conducting analyses used as the basis for our decisions; writing and publishing documents; and obtaining, reviewing, and evaluating PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 public comments and peer-review comments on proposed rules and incorporating relevant information from those comments into final rules. The number of listing actions that we can undertake in a given year also is influenced by the complexity of those listing actions; that is, more complex actions generally are more costly. Our practice of proposing to designate critical habitat concurrent with listing species requires additional coordination and an analysis of the economic impacts of the designation, and thus adds to the complexity and cost of our work. Since completing all of the work for outstanding listing and critical habitat actions has for so long required more funding than has been available within the spending cap, the Service has developed several ways to determine the relative priorities of the actions within its workload to identify the work it can complete with the funding it has available for listing and critical habitat actions each year. Prioritizing Listing Actions The Service’s Listing Program workload is broadly composed of four types of actions, which the Service prioritizes as follows: (1) Compliance with court orders and court-approved settlement agreements requiring that petition findings or listing or critical habitat determinations be completed by a specific date; (2) essential litigationrelated, administrative, and listing program-management functions; (3) section 4 (of the Act) listing and critical habitat actions with absolute statutory deadlines; and (4) section 4 listing actions that do not have absolute statutory deadlines. In previous years, the Service received many new petitions, including multiple petitions to list numerous species—a single petition even sought to list 404 domestic species. The emphasis that petitioners placed on seeking listing for hundreds of species at a time through the petition process significantly increased the number of actions within the third category of our workload—actions that have absolute statutory deadlines for making findings on those petitions. In addition, the necessity of dedicating all of the Listing Program funding towards determining the status of 251 candidate species and complying with other court-ordered requirements between 2011 and 2016 added to the number of petition findings awaiting action. Because we are not able to work on all of these at once, the Service’s most recent effort to prioritize its workload focuses on addressing the backlog in petition findings that has resulted from the influx of large E:\FR\FM\17DER1.SGM 17DER1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 243 / Thursday, December 17, 2020 / Rules and Regulations multispecies petitions and the 5-year period in which the Service was compelled to suspend making 12-month findings for most of those petitions. The number of petitions that are awaiting status reviews and accompanying 12month findings illustrates the considerable extent of this backlog. As a result of the outstanding petitions to list hundreds of species and our efforts to make initial petition findings within 90 days of receiving the petition to the maximum extent practicable, at the beginning of FY 2020, we had 422 12month petition findings for domestic species yet to be initiated and completed. To determine the relative priorities of the outstanding 12-month petition findings, the Service developed a prioritization methodology (methodology) (81 FR 49248; July 27, 2016) after providing the public with notice and an opportunity to comment on the draft methodology (81 FR 2229; January 15, 2016). Under the methodology, we assign each 12-month finding to one of five priority bins: (1) The species is critically imperiled; (2) strong data are already available about the status of the species; (3) new science is underway that would inform key uncertainties about the status of the species; (4) conservation efforts are in development or underway and likely to address the status of the species; or (5) the available data on the species are limited. As a general rule, 12-month findings with a lower bin number have a higher priority than, and are scheduled before, 12-month findings with a higher bin number. However, we make some limited exceptions—for example, we may schedule a lower priority finding earlier if batching it with a higher priority finding would generate efficiencies. We may also consider where there are any special circumstances whereby an action should be bumped up (or down) in scheduling. One limitation that might result in divergence from priority order is when the current highest priorities are clustered in a geographic area, such that our scientific expertise at the field office level is fully occupied with their existing workload. We recognize that the geographic distribution of our scientific expertise will in some cases require us to balance workload across geographic areas. Since before Congress first established the spending cap for the Listing Program in 1998, the Listing Program workload has required considerably more resources than the amount of funds Congress has allowed for the Listing Program. Therefore, it is VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:27 Dec 16, 2020 Jkt 253001 important that we be as efficient as possible in our listing process. In 2016, we assigned the 12-month finding for monarch butterfly to bin 4 due to the many conservation efforts underway to address threats facing the species. We determined that these efforts were likely to reduce threats from loss of breeding habitat for the eastern and western North American populations and overwintering habitat for the western North American population. However, due to the stipulated settlement agreement, we are completing the 12-month finding for monarch butterfly before other higher priority actions. After finalizing the prioritization methodology, we then applied that methodology to develop a multiyear National Listing Workplan (Workplan) for completing the outstanding status assessments and accompanying 12month findings. The purpose of the Workplan is to provide transparency and predictability to the public about when the Service anticipates completing specific 12-month findings while allowing for flexibility to update the Workplan when new information changes the priorities. In May 2019, the Service released its updated Workplan for addressing the Act’s domestic listing and critical habitat decisions over the subsequent 5 years. The updated Workplan identified the Service’s schedule for addressing all domestic species on the candidate list and conducting 267 status reviews and accompanying 12-month findings by FY 2023 for domestic species that have been petitioned for Federal protections under the Act. As we implement our Workplan and work on proposed rules for the highest priority species, we increase efficiency by preparing multispecies proposals when appropriate, and these may include species with lower priority if they overlap geographically or have the same threats as one of the highest priority species. Overall, 161 species on the Workplan (64 percent) have a higher bin number than the monarch butterfly. Current funding levels would not be sufficient to complete all of those 12-month findings in FY 2020, and listing appropriations for FY 2021 are not determined yet. The National Listing Workplan is available online at https://www.fws.gov/ endangered/what-we-do/listingworkplan.html. An additional way in which we determine relative priorities of outstanding actions in the section 4 program is application of the listing priority guidelines (48 FR 43098; September 21, 1983). Under those PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 81817 guidelines, which apply primarily to candidate species, we assign each candidate a listing priority number (LPN) of 1 to 12, depending on the magnitude of threats (high or moderate to low), immediacy of threats (imminent or nonimminent), and taxonomic status of the species (in order of priority: Monotypic genus (a species that is the sole member of a genus), a species, or a part of a species (subspecies or distinct population segment)). The lower the listing priority number, the higher the listing priority (that is, a species with an LPN of 1 would have the highest listing priority). A species with a higher LPN would generally be precluded from listing by species with lower LPNs, unless work on a proposed rule for the species with the higher LPN can be combined for efficiency with work on a proposed rule for other highpriority species. Based on our listing priority system, we are assigning an LPN of 8 for the monarch butterfly. This priority number indicates the magnitude of threats is moderate to low and those threats are imminent. The priority number also reflects that we are evaluating monarch butterflies at the species level. We will continue to monitor the threats to the monarch butterfly and the species’ status on an annual basis, and should the magnitude or the imminence of the threats change, we will revisit our assessment of the LPN. Listing Program Workload The National Listing Workplan that the Service released in 2019 outlined work for domestic species over the period from 2019 to 2023. Tables 1 and 2 under Expeditious Progress, below, identify the higher priority listing actions that we completed through FY 2020 (September 30, 2020), as well as those we have been working on in FY 2020 but have not yet completed. For FY 2020, our National Listing Workplan includes 74 12-month findings or proposed listing actions that are at various stages of completion at the time of this finding. In addition to the actions scheduled in the National Listing Workplan, the overall Listing Program workload also includes the development and revision of listing regulations that are required by new court orders or settlement agreements, or to address the repercussions of any new court decisions, as well as proposed and final critical habitat designations or revisions for species that have already been listed. The Service’s highest priorities for spending its funding in FY 2019 and FY 2020 are actions included in the Workplan and actions required to address court decisions. As described in E:\FR\FM\17DER1.SGM 17DER1 81818 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 243 / Thursday, December 17, 2020 / Rules and Regulations ‘‘Prioritizing Listing Actions,’’ above, listing of the monarch butterfly is a lower priority action than these types of work. Therefore, these higher priority actions precluded immediate proposal of a regulation implementing the petitioned action in FY 2020, and the Service anticipates that they will continue to preclude work on listing the monarch butterfly in FY 2021 and the near future. Expeditious Progress As explained above, a determination that listing is warranted but precluded must also demonstrate that expeditious progress is being made to add and remove qualified species to and from the Lists. Please note that, in the Code of Federal Regulations, the ‘‘Lists’’ are grouped as one list of endangered and threatened wildlife (50 CFR 17.11(h)) and one list of endangered and threatened plants (50 CFR 17.12(h)). However, the ‘‘Lists’’ referred to in the Act mean one list of endangered species (wildlife and plants) and one list of threatened species (wildlife and plants). Therefore, under the Act, expeditious progress includes actions to reclassify species—that is, either remove them from the list of threatened species and add them to the list of endangered species, or remove them from the list of endangered species and add them to the list of threatened species. As with our ‘‘precluded’’ finding, the evaluation of whether expeditious progress is being made is a function of the resources available and the competing demands for those funds. As discussed earlier, the FY 2020 appropriations law included a spending cap of $20,318,000 for listing activities, and the FY 2019 appropriations law included a spending cap of $18,318,000 for listing activities. As discussed below, given the limited resources available for listing, the competing demands for those funds, and the completed work cataloged in the tables below, we find that we are making expeditious progress in adding qualified species to the Lists. The work of the Service’s domestic listing program in FY 2019 and FY 2020 (as of September 30, 2020) includes all three of the steps necessary for adding species to the Lists: (1) Identifying VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:27 Dec 16, 2020 Jkt 253001 species that may warrant listing (90-day petition findings); (2) undertaking an evaluation of the best available scientific data about those species and the threats they face to determine whether or not listing is warranted (a status review and accompanying 12month finding); and (3) adding qualified species to the Lists (by publishing proposed and final listing rules). We explain in more detail how we are making expeditious progress in all three of the steps necessary for adding qualified species to the Lists (identifying, evaluating, and adding species). Subsequent to discussing our expeditious progress in adding qualified species to the List, we explain our expeditious progress in removing from the Lists species that no longer require the protections of the Act. First, we are making expeditious progress in identifying species that may warrant listing. In FY 2019 and FY 2020 (as of September 30, 2020), we completed 90-day findings on petitions to list 14 species. Second, we are making expeditious progress in evaluating the best scientific and commercial data available about species and threats they face (status reviews) to determine whether or not listing is warranted. In FY 2019 and FY 2020 (as of September 30, 2020), we completed 12-month findings for 69 species. In addition, we funded and worked on the development of 12month findings for 34 species and proposed listing determinations for 9 candidates. Although we did not complete those actions during FY 2019 or FY 2020 (as of September 30, 2020), we made expeditious progress towards doing so by initiating and making progress on the status reviews to determine whether adding the species to the Lists is warranted. Third, we are making expeditious progress in adding qualified species to the Lists. In FY 2019 and FY 2020 (as of September 30, 2020), we published final listing rules for 7 species, including final critical habitat designations for 1 of those species and final protective regulations under section 4(d) of the Act for 2 of the species. In addition, we published proposed rules to list an additional 20 species (including concurrent proposed PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 critical habitat designations for 13 species and concurrent protective regulations under the Act’s section 4(d) for 14 species). As required by the Act, we are also making expeditious progress in removing species from the Lists that no longer require the protections of the Act. Specifically, we are making expeditious progress in removing (delisting) domestic species, as well as reclassifying endangered species to threatened species status (downlisting). This work is being completed under the Recovery program in light of the resources available for recovery actions, which are funded through the recovery line item in the budget of the Endangered Species Program. Because recovery actions are funded separately from listing actions, they do not factor into our assessment of preclusion; that is, work on recovery actions does not preclude the availability of resources for completing new listing work. However, work on recovery actions does count towards our assessment of making expeditious progress because the Act states that expeditious progress includes both adding qualified species to, and removing qualified species from, the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. During FY 2019 and FY 2020 (as of September 30, 2020), we finalized downlisting of 1 species, finalized delisting rules for 7 species, proposed downlisting of 7 species, and proposed delisting of 11 species. The rate at which the Service has completed delisting and downlisting actions in FY 2019 and FY 2020 (as of September 30, 2020) is higher than any point in the history of the Act. The tables below catalog the Service’s progress in FY 2019 and FY 2020 (as of September 30, 2020) as it pertains to our evaluation of making expeditious progress. Table 1 includes completed and published domestic listing actions; Table 2 includes domestic listing actions funded and initiated in previous fiscal years and in FY 2020 that are not yet complete as of September 30, 2020; and Table 3 includes completed and published proposed and final downlisting and delisting actions for domestic species. E:\FR\FM\17DER1.SGM 17DER1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 243 / Thursday, December 17, 2020 / Rules and Regulations 81819 TABLE 1—COMPLETED DOMESTIC LISTING ACTIONS IN FY 2019 AND FY 2020 [As of September 30] Publication date Title Action(s) 10/9/2018 ....... Threatened Species Status for Coastal Distinct Population Segment of the Pacific Marten. Threatened Species Status for Black-Capped Petrel With a Section 4(d) Rule. 12-Month Petition Finding and Threatened Species Status for Eastern Black Rail With a Section 4(d) Rule. Threatened Species Status With Section 4(d) Rule and Critical Habitat Designation for Slenderclaw Crayfish. Threatened Species Status With Section 4(d) Rule and Critical Habitat Designation for Atlantic Pigtoe. Endangered Species Status for the Candy Darter 12-Month Findings on Petitions to List 13 Species as Endangered or Threatened Species. Threatened Species Status for Trispot Darter ..... 12-Month Findings on Petitions to List Eight Species as Endangered or Threatened Species. 12-Month Petition Finding and Endangered Species Status for the Missouri Distinct Population Segment of Eastern Hellbender. 90-Day Findings for Four Species (3 domestic species and 1 foreign species) *. Threatened Species Status with Section 4(d) Rule for Neuse River Waterdog and Endangered Species Status for Carolina Madtom and Proposed Designations of Critical Habitat. Endangered Species Status for Franklin’s Bumble Bee. 12-Month Findings on Petitions to List Eight Species as Endangered or Threatened Species. 90-Day Findings for Three Species ..................... 90-Day Findings for Three Species ..................... Twelve Species Not Warranted for Listing as Endangered or Threatened Species. Endangered Species Status for Barrens Topminnow. 12-Month Finding for the California Spotted Owl Threatened Species Status for Meltwater Lednian Stonefly and Western Glacier Stonefly With a Section 4(d) Rule. Endangered Species Status for Beardless Chinchweed With Designation of Critical Habitat, and Threatened Species Status for Bartram’s Stonecrop With Section 4(d) Rule. Five Species Not Warranted for Listing as Endangered or Threatened Species. 90-Day Findings for Two Species ........................ Threatened Species Status for the Hermes Copper Butterfly With 4(d) Rule and Designation of Critical Habitat. Endangered Status for the Sierra Nevada Distinct Population Segment of the Sierra Nevada Red Fox. Endangered Status for the Island Marble Butterfly and Designation of Critical Habitat. Endangered Species Status for Southern Sierra Nevada Distinct Population Segment of Fisher. 90-Day Finding for the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard 90-Day Findings for Two Species ........................ Four Species Not Warranted for Listing as Endangered or Threatened Species. Endangered Species Status for Marron Bacora and Designation of Critical Habitat. Two Species Not Warranted for Listing as Endangered or Threatened Species. Proposed Listing—Threatened with Section 4(d) Rule and 12-Month Petition Finding. Proposed Listing—Threatened with Section 4(d) Rule and 12-Month Petition Finding. Proposed Listing—Threatened with Section 4(d) Rule and 12-Month Petition Finding. 83 FR 50574–50582. Proposed Listing—Threatened with Section 4(d) Rule and Critical Habitat and 12-Month Finding. Proposed Listing—Threatened with Section 4(d) Rule and Critical Habitat and 12-Month Finding. Final Listing—Endangered ................................... 12-Month Petition Findings .................................. 83 FR 50582–50610. Final Listing—Threatened .................................... 12-Month Petition Findings .................................. 83 FR 67131–67140. 84 FR 13237–13242. Proposed Listing—Endangered and 12-Month Petition Finding. 84 FR 13223–13237. 90-Day Petition Findings ...................................... 84 FR 17768–17771. Proposed Listings—Threatened Status with Section 4(d) Rule with Critical Habitat; Endangered Status with Critical Habitat and 12Month Petition Findings. Proposed Listing—Endangered and 12-Month Petition Finding. 12-Month Petition Findings .................................. 84 FR 23644–23691. 90-Day Petition Findings ...................................... 90-Day Petition Findings ...................................... 12-Month Petition Findings .................................. 84 FR 41691–41694. 84 FR 46927–46931. 84 FR 53336–53343. Final Listing—Endangered ................................... 84 FR 56131–56136. 12-Month Petition Finding .................................... Final Listing—Threatened with Section 4(d) Rule 84 FR 60371–60372. 84 FR 64210–64227. Proposed Listings—Endangered with Critical Habitat; Threatened with Section 4(d) Rule and 12-Month Petition Findings. 84 FR 67060–67104. 12-Month Petition Findings .................................. 84 FR 69707–69712. 90-Day Petition Findings ...................................... Proposed Listing—Threatened with Section 4(d) Rule and Critical Habitat. 84 FR 69713–69715. 85 FR 1018–1050. Proposed Listing—Endangered ........................... 85 FR 862–872. Final Listing—Endangered with Critical Habitat ... 85 FR 26786–26820. Final Listing—Endangered ................................... 85 FR 29532–29589. 90-Day Petition Finding ........................................ 90-Day Petition Findings ...................................... 12-Month Petition Findings .................................. 85 FR 43203–43204. 85 FR 44265–44267. 85 FR 44478–44483. Proposed Listing—Endangered with Critical Habitat and 12-Month Petition Finding. 12-Month Petition Findings .................................. 85 FR 52516–52540. 10/9/2018 ....... 10/9/2018 ....... 10/9/2018 ....... 10/11/2018 ..... 11/21/2018 ..... 12/19/2018 ..... 12/28/2018 ..... 4/4/2019 ......... 4/4/2019 ......... 4/26/2019 ....... 5/22/2019 ....... 8/13/2019 ....... 8/15/2019 ....... 8/15/2019 ....... 9/6/2019 ......... 10/07/2019 ..... 10/21/2019 ..... 11/08/2019 ..... 11/21/2019 ..... 12/06/2019 ..... 12/19/2019 ..... 12/19/2019 ..... 01/08/2020 ..... 01/08/2020 ..... 05/05/2020 ..... 05/15/2020 ..... 7/16/2020 ....... 7/22/2020 ....... 7/23/2020 ....... 8/26/2020 ....... 9/1/2020 ......... VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:27 Dec 16, 2020 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00039 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\17DER1.SGM Federal Register citation 17DER1 83 FR 50560–50574. 83 FR 50610–50630. 83 FR 51570–51609. 83 FR 58747–58754. 83 FR 65127–65134. 84 FR 40006–40019. 84 FR 41694–41699. 85 FR 54339–54342. 81820 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 243 / Thursday, December 17, 2020 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 1—COMPLETED DOMESTIC LISTING ACTIONS IN FY 2019 AND FY 2020—Continued [As of September 30] Publication date Title Action(s) 9/16/2020 ....... Findings on a Petition To Delist the Distinct Population Segment of the Western Yellow-Billed Cuckoo and a Petition To List the U.S. Population of Northwestern Moose **. Threatened Species Status for Chapin Mesa milkvetch and Section 4(d) Rule with Designation of Critical Habitat. Threatened Species Status for Big Creek crayfish and St. Francis River Crayfish and With Section 4(d) Rule with Designation of Critical Habitat. Threatened Species Status for longsolid and round hickorynut mussel and Section 4(d) Rule With Designation of Critical Habitat, Not Warranted 12-Month Finding for purple Lilliput. Threatened Species Status for Wright’s Marsh Thistle and Section 4(d) Rule With Designation of Critical Habitat. 12-Month Petition Finding .................................... 85 FR 57816–57818. Proposed Listing—Threatened With Section 4(d) Rule and Critical Habitat. 85 FR 58224–58250. Proposed Listings—Threatened With Section 4(d) Rule and Critical Habitat. 85 FR 58192–58222. Proposed Listings—Threatened With Section 4(d) Rule and Critical Habitat; 12-Month Petition Findings. 85 FR 61384–61458. Proposed Listing—Threatened With Section (4) Rule and Critical Habitat. 85 FR 61460–61498. 9/17/2020 ....... 9/17/2020 ....... 9/29/2020 ....... 9/29/2020 ....... Federal Register citation * 90-Day finding batches may include findings regarding both domestic and foreign species. The total number of 90-day findings reported in this assessment of expeditious progress pertains to domestic species only. ** Batched 12-month findings may include findings regarding listing and delisting petitions. The total number of 12-month findings reported in this assessment of expeditious progress pertains to listing petitions only. TABLE 2—DOMESTIC LISTING ACTIONS FUNDED AND INITIATED IN PREVIOUS FYS AND IN FY 2020 THAT ARE NOT YET COMPLETE AS OF SEPTEMBER 30, 2020 Species Action northern spotted owl ................................................................................. false spike ................................................................................................. Guadalupe fatmucket ............................................................................... Guadalupe orb .......................................................................................... Texas fatmucket ....................................................................................... Texas fawnsfoot ....................................................................................... Texas pimpleback ..................................................................................... South Llano Springs moss ....................................................................... peppered chub .......................................................................................... whitebark pine .......................................................................................... Key ringneck snake .................................................................................. Rimrock crowned snake ........................................................................... Euphilotes ancilla cryptica ........................................................................ Euphilotes ancilla purpura ........................................................................ Hamlin Valley pyrg ................................................................................... longitudinal gland pyrg ............................................................................. sub-globose snake pyrg ........................................................................... Louisiana pigtoe ....................................................................................... Texas heelsplitter ..................................................................................... triangle pigtoe ........................................................................................... prostrate milkweed ................................................................................... alligator snapping turtle ............................................................................ Black Creek crayfish ................................................................................. bracted twistflower .................................................................................... Canoe Creek clubshell ............................................................................. Clear Lake hitch ....................................................................................... Doll’s daisy ............................................................................................... frecklebelly madtom .................................................................................. longfin smelt (San Francisco Bay-Delta DPS) ......................................... magnificent Ramshorn .............................................................................. Mt. Rainier white-tailed ptarmigan ............................................................ Ocmulgee skullcap ................................................................................... Penasco least chipmunk .......................................................................... Puerto Rico harlequin butterfly ................................................................. Puget oregonian snail ............................................................................... relict dace ................................................................................................. Rocky Mountain monkeyflower ................................................................ sickle darter .............................................................................................. southern elktoe ......................................................................................... southern white-tailed ptarmigan ............................................................... tidewater amphipod .................................................................................. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:27 Dec 16, 2020 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00040 Fmt 4700 12-month finding. 12-month finding. 12-month finding. 12-month finding. Proposed listing determination Proposed listing determination Proposed listing determination 12-month finding. 12-month finding. Proposed listing determination 12-month finding. 12-month finding. 12-month finding. 12-month finding. 12-month finding. 12-month finding. 12-month finding. 12-month finding. 12-month finding. 12-month finding. 12-month finding. 12-month finding. 12-month finding. Proposed listing determination 12-month finding. 12-month finding. 12-month finding. 12-month finding. Proposed listing determination Proposed listing determination 12-month finding. 12-month finding. Proposed listing determination Proposed listing determination 12-month finding. 12-month finding. 12-month finding. 12-month finding. 12-month finding. 12-month finding. 12-month finding. Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\17DER1.SGM or not warranted finding. or not warranted finding. or not warranted finding. or not warranted finding. or not warranted finding. or not warranted finding. or not warranted finding. or not warranted finding. or not warranted finding. 17DER1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 243 / Thursday, December 17, 2020 / Rules and Regulations 81821 TABLE 2—DOMESTIC LISTING ACTIONS FUNDED AND INITIATED IN PREVIOUS FYS AND IN FY 2020 THAT ARE NOT YET COMPLETE AS OF SEPTEMBER 30, 2020—Continued Species Action tufted puffin ............................................................................................... western spadefoot .................................................................................... 12-month finding. 12-month finding. TABLE 3—COMPLETED DOMESTIC RECOVERY ACTIONS (PROPOSED AND FINAL DOWNLISTINGS AND DELISTINGS) IN FY 2019 AND FY 2020 [As of September 30, 2020] Federal Register Citation Publication date Title Action(s) 10/18/2018 ................... Removing Deseret Milkvetch (Astragalus desereticus) From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants. Removing the Borax Lake Chub From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. Removing the Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. Reclassifying the American Burying Beetle From Endangered to Threatened on the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife With a 4(d) Rule. Removing Trifolium stoloniferum (Running Buffalo Clover) From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants. Removing the Foskett Speckled Dace From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. Removal of the Monito Gecko (Sphaerodactylus micropithecus) From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. Removal of Howellia aquatilis (Water Howellia) From the List of Endangered and Threatened Plants. Removing the Kirtland’s Warbler From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. Removal of the Interior Least Tern From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. Removing Oenothera coloradensis (Colorado Butterfly Plant) From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants. Removing Bradshaw’s Lomatium (Lomatium bradshawii) From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants. Reclassification of the Endangered June Sucker to Threatened With a Section 4(d) Rule. Removal of the Nashville Crayfish From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. Reclassifying the Hawaiian Goose From Endangered to Threatened With a Section 4(d) Rule. Removing the Hawaiian Hawk From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. Removing the Kanab Ambersnail From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. Reclassification of the Humpback Chub From Endangered to Threatened With a Section 4(d) Rule. Removing Lepanthes eltoroensis From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants. Final Rule—Delisting ...................................... 83 FR 52775–52786. Proposed Rule—Delisting ............................... 84 FR 6110–6126. Proposed Rule—Delisting ............................... 84 FR 9648–9687. Proposed Rule—Downlisting .......................... 84 FR 19013–19029. Proposed Rule—Delisting ............................... 84 FR 44832–44841. Final Rule—Delisting ...................................... 84 FR 48290–48308. Final Rule—Delisting ...................................... 84 FR 52791–52800. Proposed Rule—Delisting ............................... 84 FR 53380–53397. Final Rule—Delisting ...................................... 84 FR 54436–54463. Proposed Rule—Delisting ............................... 84 FR 56977–56991. Final Rule—Delisting ...................................... 84 FR 59570–59588. Proposed Rule—Delisting ............................... 84 FR 65067–65080. Proposed Rule—Downlisting .......................... 84 FR 65080–65098. Proposed Rule—Delisting ............................... 84 FR 65098–65112. Final Rule—Downlisting .................................. 84 FR 69918–69947. Final Rule—Delisting ...................................... 85 FR 164–189. Proposed Rule—Delisting ............................... 85 FR 487–492. Proposed Rule—Downlisting .......................... 85 FR 3586–3601 Proposed Rule—Delisting ............................... 85 FR 13844–13856. 02/26/2019 ................... 03/15/2019 ................... 05/03/2019 ................... 08/27/2019 ................... 09/13/2019 ................... 10/03/2019 ................... 10/07/2019 ................... 10/09/2019 ................... 10/24/2019 ................... 11/05/2019 ................... 11/26/2019 ................... 11/26/2019 ................... 11/26/2019 ................... 12/19/2019 ................... 01/02/2020 ................... 01/06/2020 ................... 01/22/2020 ................... 03/10/2020 ................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:27 Dec 16, 2020 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 E:\FR\FM\17DER1.SGM 17DER1 81822 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 243 / Thursday, December 17, 2020 / Rules and Regulations TABLE 3—COMPLETED DOMESTIC RECOVERY ACTIONS (PROPOSED AND FINAL DOWNLISTINGS AND DELISTINGS) IN FY 2019 AND FY 2020—Continued [As of September 30, 2020] Federal Register Citation Publication date Title Action(s) 4/27/2020 ..................... Removing Arenaria ......................................... cumberlandensis (Cumberland Sandwort) From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants. Removing San Benito Evening-Primrose (Camissonia benitensis) From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants. Removing the Borax Lake Chub From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. Reclassification of Morro Shoulderband Snail (Helminthoglypta walkeriana) From Endangered to Threatened With a 4(d) Rule. Reclassification of Stephens’ Kangaroo Rat From Endangered to Threatened With a Section 4(d) Rule. Reclassification of Layia carnosa (Beach Layia) From Endangered To Threatened Species Status With Section 4(d) Rule. Reclassifying the Virgin Islands Tree Boa From Endangered To Threatened With a Section 4(d) Rule. Proposed Rule—Delisting ............................... 85 FR 23302–23315. Proposed Rule—Delisting ............................... 85 FR 33060–33078. Final Rule—Delisting ...................................... 85 FR 35574–35594. Proposed Rule—Downlisting .......................... 85 FR 44821–44835. Proposed Rule—Downlisting .......................... 85 FR 50991–51006. Proposed Rule—Downlisting .......................... 85 FR 61684–61700. Proposed Rule—Downlisting .......................... 85 FR 61700–61717. 06/01/2020 ................... 06/11/2020 ................... 07/24/2020 ................... 08/19/2020 ................... 9/30/2020 ..................... 9/30/2020 ..................... When a petitioned action is found to be warranted but precluded, the Service is required by the Act to treat the petition as resubmitted on an annual basis until a proposal or withdrawal is published. If the petitioned species is not already listed under the Act, the species becomes a ‘‘candidate’’ and is reviewed annually in the Candidate Notice of Review. The number of candidate species remaining in FY 2020 is the lowest it has been since 1975. For these species, we are working on developing a species status assessment, preparing proposed listing determinations, or preparing notwarranted 12-month findings. Another way that we have been expeditious in making progress in adding and removing qualified species to and from the Lists is that we have made our actions as efficient and timely as possible, given the requirements of the Act and regulations and constraints relating to workload and personnel. We are continually seeking ways to streamline processes or achieve economies of scale, such as batching related actions together for publication. Given our limited budget for implementing section 4 of the Act, these efforts also contribute toward our expeditious progress in adding and removing qualified species to and from the Lists. The monarch butterfly will be added to the candidate list, and we will continue to evaluate this species as new information becomes available. Continuing review will determine if a VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:27 Dec 16, 2020 Jkt 253001 change in status is warranted, including the need to make prompt use of emergency listing procedures. A detailed discussion of the basis for this finding can be found in the monarch butterfly species assessment form and other supporting documents (see ADDRESSES, above). New Information We intend that any proposed listing rule for the monarch butterfly will be as accurate as possible. Therefore, we will continue to accept additional information and comments from all concerned governmental agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested party concerning this finding. We request that you submit any new information concerning the taxonomy of, biology of, ecology of, status of, threats to, or conservation actions for the monarch butterfly to the person specified under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, whenever it becomes available. New information will help us monitor this species and make appropriate decisions about its conservation and status. We encourage all stakeholders to continue cooperative monitoring and conservation efforts. The list of the references cited in the petition finding is available on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov under docket number FWS–R3–ES– 2020–0103 and upon request from the person specified under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Frm 00042 Fmt 4700 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. 2020–27523 Filed 12–16–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 50 CFR Parts 223 and 224 [Docket No. 201123–0313; RTID 0648– XE804] Revisions to Hatchery Programs Included as Part of Pacific Salmon and Steelhead Species Listed Under the Endangered Species Act National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: References Cited PO 00000 Authors The primary authors of this document are the staff members of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Species Assessment Team. Sfmt 4700 We, NMFS, announce updates to the descriptions of Pacific salmon and steelhead (Oncorhynchus spp.) SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\17DER1.SGM 17DER1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 243 (Thursday, December 17, 2020)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 81813-81822]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-27523]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R3-ES-2020-0103; FF09E21000 FXES11110900000 212]


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding 
for the Monarch Butterfly

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of 12-month finding.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 
12-month finding on a petition to list the monarch butterfly (Danaus 
plexippus plexippus) as a threatened species under the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended. After a thorough review of the best 
available scientific and commercial information, we find that listing 
the monarch butterfly as an endangered or threatened species is 
warranted but precluded by higher priority actions to amend the Lists 
of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. We will develop a 
proposed rule to list the monarch butterfly as our priorities allow. 
However, we ask the public to submit to us any new information relevant 
to the status of the species or its habitat at any time.

DATES: The finding in this document was made on December 17, 2020.

ADDRESSES: A detailed description of the basis for this finding is 
available on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov under docket 
number FWS-R3-ES-2020-0103.
    Supporting information used to prepare this finding is available 
for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours, by 
contacting the person specified under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. 
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: Barbara Hosler, Regional Listing 
Coordinator, Ecological Services, Great Lakes Region, telephone: 517-
351-6326, email: [email protected]. If you use a telecommunications 
device for the deaf (TDD), please call the Federal Relay Service at 
800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Under section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended (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. ``Warranted but precluded'' 
means that (a) the petitioned action is warranted, but the immediate 
proposal of a regulation implementing the petitioned action is 
precluded by other pending proposals to determine whether species are 
endangered or threatened species, and (b) expeditious progress is being 
made to add qualified species to the Lists of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife and Plants (Lists) and to remove from the Lists species for 
which the protections of the Act are no longer necessary. Section 
4(b)(3)(C) of the Act requires that, when we find that a petitioned 
action is warranted but precluded, we treat the petition as though it 
is resubmitted on the date of such finding, that is, requiring that a 
subsequent finding be made within 12 months of that date. We must 
publish these 12-month findings in the Federal Register.

Summary of Information Pertaining to the Five Factors

    Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and the implementing 
regulations 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 (found in 50 CFR 
part 17). 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 Secretary determines 
whether the species meets the definition of an ``endangered species'' 
or a ``threatened species'' only

[[Page 81814]]

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 
Services 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 conducting our evaluation of the five factors provided in 
section 4(a)(1) of the Act to determine whether the monarch butterfly 
meets the definition of an ``endangered species'' or ``threatened 
species,'' we considered and thoroughly evaluated the best scientific 
and commercial information available regarding the past, present, and 
future threats to the species. We reviewed the petition, information 
available in our files, and other available published and unpublished 
information. This evaluation 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 form for the monarch butterfly contains more 
detailed biological information, a thorough analysis of the listing 
factors, and an explanation of why we determined that this species 
meets 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 docket number FWS-R3-ES-2020-0103. The 
following is an informational summary of the finding in this document.

Previous Federal Actions

    On August 26, 2014, we received a petition from the Center for 
Biological Diversity (CBD), Center for Food Safety (CFS), Xerces 
Society for Invertebrate Conservation, and Dr. Lincoln Brower, 
requesting that we list the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus 
plexippus) as a threatened species under the Act. On December 31, 2014, 
we published a 90-day finding that the petition presented substantial 
scientific or commercial information, indicating that listing the 
monarch butterfly may be warranted (79 FR 78775). On March 10, 2016, 
the CFS and CBD filed a complaint against the Service for not issuing a 
finding on the petition within the statutory timeframe, and on July 5, 
2016, we entered a stipulated settlement agreement with CFS and CBD to 
submit the 12-month finding to the Federal Register by June 30, 2019. 
On May 24, 2019, the court granted an extension of this deadline to 
December 15, 2020.

Summary of Finding

    The petition that the Service received in 2014 was for listing a 
subspecies of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus plexippus) 
(Center for Biological Diversity et al., 2014, p. 4). The petition also 
requested a determination of whether any new North American subspecies 
of Danaus plexippus should be listed. After careful examination of the 
literature and consultation with experts, there is no clearly agreed 
upon definition of potential subspecies of Danaus plexippus or where 
the geographic borders between these subspecies might exist. Given 
these findings, we examined the entire range of Danaus plexippus.
    Monarch butterflies in eastern and western North America represent 
the ancestral origin for the species worldwide. They exhibit long-
distance migration and overwinter as adults at forested locations in 
Mexico and California. These overwintering sites provide protection 
from the elements (for example, rain, wind, hail, and excessive 
radiation) and moderate temperatures, as well as nectar and clean water 
sources located nearby. Adult monarch butterflies feed on nectar from a 
wide variety of flowers. Reproduction is dependent on the presence of 
milkweed, the sole food source for larvae. Monarch butterflies are 
found in 90 countries, islands, or island groups. Monarch butterflies 
have become naturalized at most of these locations outside of North 
America since 1840. The populations outside of eastern and western 
North America (including southern Florida) do not exhibit long-distance 
migratory behavior.
    We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial 
information available regarding the past, present, and future threats 
to the monarch butterfly, and we evaluated all relevant factors under 
the five listing factors, including any regulatory mechanisms and 
conservation measures addressing these stressors. The primary threats 
to the monarch's biological status include loss and degradation of 
habitat from conversion of grasslands to agriculture, widespread use of 
herbicides, logging/thinning at overwintering sites in Mexico, 
senescence and incompatible management of overwintering sites in 
California, urban development, and drought (Factor A); exposure to 
insecticides (Factor E); and effects of climate change (Factor E). 
Conservation efforts are addressing some of the threats from loss of 
milkweed and nectar resources across eastern and western North America 
and management at overwintering sites in California; however, these 
efforts and the existing regulatory mechanisms (Factor D) are not 
sufficient to protect the species from all of the threats. We found no 
evidence that the monarch butterfly is currently impacted at the 
population level by overutilization for commercial, recreational, 
scientific, or educational purposes (Factor B) or predation or disease 
(Factor C), nor did we find information to suggest that the species 
will be impacted by these factors in the future.
    Based on the past annual censuses, the eastern and western North 
American migratory populations have been generally declining over the 
last 20 years. The monarch butterfly is also known from 29 populations 
that are outside of the 2 migratory North American populations. At 
least 1 monarch butterfly has been observed in 25 of these populations 
since 2000, and these are considered extant. Monarch butterfly presence 
within the remaining four populations has not been confirmed since 
2000, but they are presumed extant. We know little about population 
sizes or trends of most of the populations outside of the eastern and 
western North American populations (except for Australia, which has an 
estimate of just over 1 million monarch butterflies). We do not have 
information related to the threats acting on the populations outside of 
eastern and western North America; however, we

[[Page 81815]]

determined that 15 of the 29 populations, including the Australian 
population, are classified as being ``at risk'' due to sea-level rise 
or increasing temperatures, resulting from climate change.
    The North American migratory populations are the largest relative 
to the other rangewide populations, accounting for more than 90 percent 
of the worldwide number of monarch butterflies. For the two North 
American migratory populations, we estimated the probability of the 
population abundance reaching the point at which extinction is 
inevitable (pE) for each population. In its current condition, the 
eastern North American population has a pE less than 10 percent over 
the next 10 years. The western North American population has a much 
higher risk of extinction due to current threats, with a pE of 60-68 
percent over the next 10 years. Looking across the range of future 
conditions that we can reasonably determine, the pE for the eastern 
population is estimated to be 24 percent to 46 percent in 30 years, and 
the pE for the western population is estimated to be 92 percent to 95 
percent in 30 years. These pE estimates incorporate the primary factors 
that influence the populations' resiliency, including availability of 
milkweed and nectar resources (losses as well as gains from 
conservation efforts), loss and degradation of overwintering habitat, 
insecticides, and effects of climate change. Additionally, at the 
current and projected population numbers, both the eastern and western 
populations become more vulnerable to catastrophic events (for example, 
extreme storms at the overwintering habitat). Also, under different 
climate change scenarios, the number of days and the area in which 
monarch butterflies will be exposed to unsuitably high temperatures 
will increase markedly. The potential loss of the North American 
migratory populations from these identified threats would substantially 
reduce the species' resiliency, representation, and redundancy.
    To alleviate threats to the monarch butterfly, numerous 
conservation efforts have been developed and/or implemented since the 
species was petitioned in 2014, and these were considered in our 
assessment of the status of the species. Protection, restoration, 
enhancement and creation of habitat is a central aspect of recent 
monarch butterfly conservation strategies. In the breeding and 
migratory grounds, these habitat conservation strategies include the 
enhancement and creation of milkweed and nectar sources. Improved 
management at overwintering sites in California has been targeted to 
improve the status of western North American monarch butterflies. Major 
overarching landscape-level conservation plans and efforts include the 
Mid-America Monarch Conservation Strategy developed by the Midwest 
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (MAFWA) and the Western 
Monarch Butterfly Conservation Plan developed by the Western 
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA). In early 2020, the 
Nationwide Candidate Conservation Agreement for Monarch Butterfly on 
Energy and Transportation Lands (CCAA/CCA) was finalized and will 
contribute to meeting the MAFWA Strategy and WAFWA Plan goals. Under 
this agreement, energy and transportation entities will provide habitat 
for the species along energy and transportation rights-of-way corridors 
across the country, including a 100 foot extension of the right-of-way 
onto private agricultural lands. Participants will carry out 
conservation measures to reduce or remove threats to the species and 
create and maintain habitat annually. In exchange for implementing 
voluntary conservation efforts and meeting specific requirements and 
criteria, those businesses and organizations enrolled in the CCAA will 
receive assurance from the Service that they will not have to implement 
additional conservation measures should the species be listed. The goal 
of the CCAA, which participants may continue to join until a final 
listing rule is published, is enrollment of up to 26 million acres of 
land in the agreement, providing over 300 million additional stems of 
milkweed.
    Many conservation efforts implemented under Federal, Tribal, State, 
or other programs, such as the Farm Service Agency's Conservation 
Reserve Program, the Natural Resource Conservation Service's (NRCS) 
Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Agricultural 
Conservation Easement Program and Conservation Stewardship Program, and 
the Service's Partners For Fish and Wildlife Program, are expected to 
contribute to the overarching habitat and population goals of the MAFWA 
Strategy and WAFWA Plan. Smaller conservation efforts implemented by 
local governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), private 
businesses, and interested individuals will also play an important role 
in reaching habitat and population goals established in the MAFWA 
Strategy and WAFWA Plan. The Service developed the Monarch Conservation 
Database (MCD) to capture information about monarch butterfly 
conservation plans and efforts to inform the listing decision. As of 
June 1, 2020, there are 48,812 complete monarch butterfly conservation 
effort records in the MCD that have a status of completed, implemented, 
or planned since 2014, and 113 monarch butterfly conservation plans. 
Among the efforts included in the MCD are those provided by NRCS from 
EQIP, their program designed to provide financial and technical 
assistance to agricultural producers to address natural resource 
concerns. Across the 10 states that NRCS targeted for monarch butterfly 
conservation efforts through EQIP (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, 
Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wisconsin), efforts on 
16,952 acres have already been implemented and NCRS anticipates 
conservation on an additional 31,322 acres through ongoing enrollment 
(see https://www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/mcd.html). In addition to 
conservation of the breeding and migratory habitats, land managers in 
California are developing and implementing grove management strategies 
within the western population's overwintering sites as well.
    The monarch butterfly species assessment form and the Monarch 
Species Status Assessment report (Service 2020) provide additional 
details on the status of the monarch butterfly and the conservation 
efforts listed here (see ADDRESSES, above).
    On the basis of the best scientific and commercial information 
available, we find that the petitioned action to list the monarch 
butterfly under the Act is warranted. We will make a determination on 
the status of the species as threatened or endangered when we complete 
a proposed listing determination. When we complete a proposed listing 
determination, we will examine whether the species may be endangered or 
threatened throughout all of its range or whether the species may be 
endangered or threatened in a significant portion of its range. 
However, an immediate proposal of a regulation implementing this action 
is precluded by work on higher priority listing actions and final 
listing determinations. This work includes all the actions listed in 
the National Listing Workplan discussed below under Preclusion and in 
the tables below under Expeditious Progress, as well as other actions 
at various stages of completion, such as 90-day findings for new 
petitions.

[[Page 81816]]

Preclusion and Expeditious Progress

    To make a finding that a particular action is warranted but 
precluded, the Service must make two determinations: (1) That the 
immediate proposal and timely promulgation of a final regulation is 
precluded by pending proposals to determine whether any species is 
endangered or threatened; and (2) that expeditious progress is being 
made to add qualified species to either of the Lists and to remove 
species from the Lists (16 U.S.C. 1533(b)(3)(B)(iii)).

Preclusion

    A listing proposal is precluded if the Service does not have 
sufficient resources available to complete the proposal, because there 
are competing demands for those resources, and the relative priority of 
those competing demands is higher. Thus, in any given fiscal year (FY), 
multiple factors dictate whether it will be possible to undertake work 
on a proposed listing regulation or whether promulgation of such a 
proposal is precluded by higher priority listing actions--(1) The 
amount of resources available for completing the listing function, (2) 
the estimated cost of completing the proposed listing regulation, and 
(3) the Service's workload, along with the Service's prioritization of 
the proposed listing regulation in relation to other actions in its 
workload.
Available Resources
    The resources available for listing actions are determined through 
the annual Congressional appropriations process. In FY 1998 and for 
each fiscal year since then, Congress has placed a statutory cap on 
funds that may be expended for the Listing Program (spending cap). This 
spending cap was designed to prevent the listing function from 
depleting funds needed for other functions under the Act (for example, 
recovery functions, such as removing species from the Lists) or for 
other Service programs (see House Report 105-163, 105th Congress, 1st 
Session, July 1, 1997). The funds within the spending cap are available 
to support work involving the following listing actions: Proposed and 
final rules to add species to the Lists or to change the status of 
species from threatened to endangered; 90-day and 12-month findings on 
petitions to add species to the Lists or to change the status of a 
species from threatened to endangered; annual ``resubmitted'' petition 
findings on prior warranted-but-precluded petition findings as required 
under section 4(b)(3)(C)(i) of the Act; critical habitat petition 
findings; proposed rules designating critical habitat or final critical 
habitat determinations; and litigation-related, administrative, and 
program-management functions (including preparing and allocating 
budgets, responding to Congressional and public inquiries, and 
conducting public outreach regarding listing and critical habitat).
    For more than two decades the size and cost of the workload in 
these categories of actions have far exceeded the amount of funding 
available to the Service under the spending cap for completing listing 
and critical habitat actions under the Act. Since we cannot exceed the 
spending cap without violating the Anti-Deficiency Act (31 U.S.C. 
1341(a)(1)(A)), each year we have been compelled to determine that work 
on at least some actions was precluded by work on higher priority 
actions. We make our determinations of preclusion on a nationwide basis 
to ensure that the species most in need of listing will be addressed 
first, and because we allocate our listing budget on a nationwide 
basis. Through the listing cap and the amount of funds needed to 
complete court-mandated actions within the cap, Congress and the courts 
have in effect determined the amount of money remaining (after 
completing court-mandated actions) for listing activities nationwide. 
Therefore, the funds that remain within the listing cap--after paying 
for work needed to comply with court orders or court-approved 
settlement agreements--set the framework within which we make our 
determinations of preclusion and expeditious progress.
    For FY 2019, through the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019 
(Pub. L. 116-6, February 15, 2019), Congress appropriated the Service 
$18,318,000 under a consolidated cap for all domestic and foreign 
listing work, including status assessments, listings, domestic critical 
habitat determinations, and related activities. For FY 2020, through 
the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020 (Pub. L. 116-94, 
December 20, 2019), Congress appropriated $20,318,000 for all domestic 
and foreign listing work. The amount of funding Congress will 
appropriate in future years is uncertain.
Costs of Listing Actions
    The work involved in preparing various listing documents can be 
extensive, and may include, but is not limited to: Gathering and 
assessing the best scientific and commercial data available and 
conducting analyses used as the basis for our decisions; writing and 
publishing documents; and obtaining, reviewing, and evaluating public 
comments and peer-review comments on proposed rules and incorporating 
relevant information from those comments into final rules. The number 
of listing actions that we can undertake in a given year also is 
influenced by the complexity of those listing actions; that is, more 
complex actions generally are more costly. Our practice of proposing to 
designate critical habitat concurrent with listing species requires 
additional coordination and an analysis of the economic impacts of the 
designation, and thus adds to the complexity and cost of our work. 
Since completing all of the work for outstanding listing and critical 
habitat actions has for so long required more funding than has been 
available within the spending cap, the Service has developed several 
ways to determine the relative priorities of the actions within its 
workload to identify the work it can complete with the funding it has 
available for listing and critical habitat actions each year.
Prioritizing Listing Actions
    The Service's Listing Program workload is broadly composed of four 
types of actions, which the Service prioritizes as follows: (1) 
Compliance with court orders and court-approved settlement agreements 
requiring that petition findings or listing or critical habitat 
determinations be completed by a specific date; (2) essential 
litigation-related, administrative, and listing program-management 
functions; (3) section 4 (of the Act) listing and critical habitat 
actions with absolute statutory deadlines; and (4) section 4 listing 
actions that do not have absolute statutory deadlines.
    In previous years, the Service received many new petitions, 
including multiple petitions to list numerous species--a single 
petition even sought to list 404 domestic species. The emphasis that 
petitioners placed on seeking listing for hundreds of species at a time 
through the petition process significantly increased the number of 
actions within the third category of our workload--actions that have 
absolute statutory deadlines for making findings on those petitions. In 
addition, the necessity of dedicating all of the Listing Program 
funding towards determining the status of 251 candidate species and 
complying with other court-ordered requirements between 2011 and 2016 
added to the number of petition findings awaiting action. Because we 
are not able to work on all of these at once, the Service's most recent 
effort to prioritize its workload focuses on addressing the backlog in 
petition findings that has resulted from the influx of large

[[Page 81817]]

multispecies petitions and the 5-year period in which the Service was 
compelled to suspend making 12-month findings for most of those 
petitions. The number of petitions that are awaiting status reviews and 
accompanying 12-month findings illustrates the considerable extent of 
this backlog. As a result of the outstanding petitions to list hundreds 
of species and our efforts to make initial petition findings within 90 
days of receiving the petition to the maximum extent practicable, at 
the beginning of FY 2020, we had 422 12-month petition findings for 
domestic species yet to be initiated and completed.
    To determine the relative priorities of the outstanding 12-month 
petition findings, the Service developed a prioritization methodology 
(methodology) (81 FR 49248; July 27, 2016) after providing the public 
with notice and an opportunity to comment on the draft methodology (81 
FR 2229; January 15, 2016). Under the methodology, we assign each 12-
month finding to one of five priority bins: (1) The species is 
critically imperiled; (2) strong data are already available about the 
status of the species; (3) new science is underway that would inform 
key uncertainties about the status of the species; (4) conservation 
efforts are in development or underway and likely to address the status 
of the species; or (5) the available data on the species are limited. 
As a general rule, 12-month findings with a lower bin number have a 
higher priority than, and are scheduled before, 12-month findings with 
a higher bin number. However, we make some limited exceptions--for 
example, we may schedule a lower priority finding earlier if batching 
it with a higher priority finding would generate efficiencies. We may 
also consider where there are any special circumstances whereby an 
action should be bumped up (or down) in scheduling. One limitation that 
might result in divergence from priority order is when the current 
highest priorities are clustered in a geographic area, such that our 
scientific expertise at the field office level is fully occupied with 
their existing workload. We recognize that the geographic distribution 
of our scientific expertise will in some cases require us to balance 
workload across geographic areas. Since before Congress first 
established the spending cap for the Listing Program in 1998, the 
Listing Program workload has required considerably more resources than 
the amount of funds Congress has allowed for the Listing Program. 
Therefore, it is important that we be as efficient as possible in our 
listing process.
    In 2016, we assigned the 12-month finding for monarch butterfly to 
bin 4 due to the many conservation efforts underway to address threats 
facing the species. We determined that these efforts were likely to 
reduce threats from loss of breeding habitat for the eastern and 
western North American populations and overwintering habitat for the 
western North American population. However, due to the stipulated 
settlement agreement, we are completing the 12-month finding for 
monarch butterfly before other higher priority actions.
    After finalizing the prioritization methodology, we then applied 
that methodology to develop a multiyear National Listing Workplan 
(Workplan) for completing the outstanding status assessments and 
accompanying 12-month findings. The purpose of the Workplan is to 
provide transparency and predictability to the public about when the 
Service anticipates completing specific 12-month findings while 
allowing for flexibility to update the Workplan when new information 
changes the priorities. In May 2019, the Service released its updated 
Workplan for addressing the Act's domestic listing and critical habitat 
decisions over the subsequent 5 years. The updated Workplan identified 
the Service's schedule for addressing all domestic species on the 
candidate list and conducting 267 status reviews and accompanying 12-
month findings by FY 2023 for domestic species that have been 
petitioned for Federal protections under the Act. As we implement our 
Workplan and work on proposed rules for the highest priority species, 
we increase efficiency by preparing multispecies proposals when 
appropriate, and these may include species with lower priority if they 
overlap geographically or have the same threats as one of the highest 
priority species.
    Overall, 161 species on the Workplan (64 percent) have a higher bin 
number than the monarch butterfly. Current funding levels would not be 
sufficient to complete all of those 12-month findings in FY 2020, and 
listing appropriations for FY 2021 are not determined yet. The National 
Listing Workplan is available online at https://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/listing-workplan.html.
    An additional way in which we determine relative priorities of 
outstanding actions in the section 4 program is application of the 
listing priority guidelines (48 FR 43098; September 21, 1983). Under 
those guidelines, which apply primarily to candidate species, we assign 
each candidate a listing priority number (LPN) of 1 to 12, depending on 
the magnitude of threats (high or moderate to low), immediacy of 
threats (imminent or nonimminent), and taxonomic status of the species 
(in order of priority: Monotypic genus (a species that is the sole 
member of a genus), a species, or a part of a species (subspecies or 
distinct population segment)). The lower the listing priority number, 
the higher the listing priority (that is, a species with an LPN of 1 
would have the highest listing priority). A species with a higher LPN 
would generally be precluded from listing by species with lower LPNs, 
unless work on a proposed rule for the species with the higher LPN can 
be combined for efficiency with work on a proposed rule for other high-
priority species.
    Based on our listing priority system, we are assigning an LPN of 8 
for the monarch butterfly. This priority number indicates the magnitude 
of threats is moderate to low and those threats are imminent. The 
priority number also reflects that we are evaluating monarch 
butterflies at the species level. We will continue to monitor the 
threats to the monarch butterfly and the species' status on an annual 
basis, and should the magnitude or the imminence of the threats change, 
we will revisit our assessment of the LPN.
Listing Program Workload
    The National Listing Workplan that the Service released in 2019 
outlined work for domestic species over the period from 2019 to 2023. 
Tables 1 and 2 under Expeditious Progress, below, identify the higher 
priority listing actions that we completed through FY 2020 (September 
30, 2020), as well as those we have been working on in FY 2020 but have 
not yet completed. For FY 2020, our National Listing Workplan includes 
74 12-month findings or proposed listing actions that are at various 
stages of completion at the time of this finding. In addition to the 
actions scheduled in the National Listing Workplan, the overall Listing 
Program workload also includes the development and revision of listing 
regulations that are required by new court orders or settlement 
agreements, or to address the repercussions of any new court decisions, 
as well as proposed and final critical habitat designations or 
revisions for species that have already been listed. The Service's 
highest priorities for spending its funding in FY 2019 and FY 2020 are 
actions included in the Workplan and actions required to address court 
decisions. As described in

[[Page 81818]]

``Prioritizing Listing Actions,'' above, listing of the monarch 
butterfly is a lower priority action than these types of work. 
Therefore, these higher priority actions precluded immediate proposal 
of a regulation implementing the petitioned action in FY 2020, and the 
Service anticipates that they will continue to preclude work on listing 
the monarch butterfly in FY 2021 and the near future.

Expeditious Progress

    As explained above, a determination that listing is warranted but 
precluded must also demonstrate that expeditious progress is being made 
to add and remove qualified species to and from the Lists. Please note 
that, in the Code of Federal Regulations, the ``Lists'' are grouped as 
one list of endangered and threatened wildlife (50 CFR 17.11(h)) and 
one list of endangered and threatened plants (50 CFR 17.12(h)). 
However, the ``Lists'' referred to in the Act mean one list of 
endangered species (wildlife and plants) and one list of threatened 
species (wildlife and plants). Therefore, under the Act, expeditious 
progress includes actions to reclassify species--that is, either remove 
them from the list of threatened species and add them to the list of 
endangered species, or remove them from the list of endangered species 
and add them to the list of threatened species.
    As with our ``precluded'' finding, the evaluation of whether 
expeditious progress is being made is a function of the resources 
available and the competing demands for those funds. As discussed 
earlier, the FY 2020 appropriations law included a spending cap of 
$20,318,000 for listing activities, and the FY 2019 appropriations law 
included a spending cap of $18,318,000 for listing activities.
    As discussed below, given the limited resources available for 
listing, the competing demands for those funds, and the completed work 
cataloged in the tables below, we find that we are making expeditious 
progress in adding qualified species to the Lists.
    The work of the Service's domestic listing program in FY 2019 and 
FY 2020 (as of September 30, 2020) includes all three of the steps 
necessary for adding species to the Lists: (1) Identifying species that 
may warrant listing (90-day petition findings); (2) undertaking an 
evaluation of the best available scientific data about those species 
and the threats they face to determine whether or not listing is 
warranted (a status review and accompanying 12-month finding); and (3) 
adding qualified species to the Lists (by publishing proposed and final 
listing rules). We explain in more detail how we are making expeditious 
progress in all three of the steps necessary for adding qualified 
species to the Lists (identifying, evaluating, and adding species). 
Subsequent to discussing our expeditious progress in adding qualified 
species to the List, we explain our expeditious progress in removing 
from the Lists species that no longer require the protections of the 
Act.
    First, we are making expeditious progress in identifying species 
that may warrant listing. In FY 2019 and FY 2020 (as of September 30, 
2020), we completed 90-day findings on petitions to list 14 species.
    Second, we are making expeditious progress in evaluating the best 
scientific and commercial data available about species and threats they 
face (status reviews) to determine whether or not listing is warranted. 
In FY 2019 and FY 2020 (as of September 30, 2020), we completed 12-
month findings for 69 species. In addition, we funded and worked on the 
development of 12-month findings for 34 species and proposed listing 
determinations for 9 candidates. Although we did not complete those 
actions during FY 2019 or FY 2020 (as of September 30, 2020), we made 
expeditious progress towards doing so by initiating and making progress 
on the status reviews to determine whether adding the species to the 
Lists is warranted.
    Third, we are making expeditious progress in adding qualified 
species to the Lists. In FY 2019 and FY 2020 (as of September 30, 
2020), we published final listing rules for 7 species, including final 
critical habitat designations for 1 of those species and final 
protective regulations under section 4(d) of the Act for 2 of the 
species. In addition, we published proposed rules to list an additional 
20 species (including concurrent proposed critical habitat designations 
for 13 species and concurrent protective regulations under the Act's 
section 4(d) for 14 species).
    As required by the Act, we are also making expeditious progress in 
removing species from the Lists that no longer require the protections 
of the Act. Specifically, we are making expeditious progress in 
removing (delisting) domestic species, as well as reclassifying 
endangered species to threatened species status (downlisting). This 
work is being completed under the Recovery program in light of the 
resources available for recovery actions, which are funded through the 
recovery line item in the budget of the Endangered Species Program. 
Because recovery actions are funded separately from listing actions, 
they do not factor into our assessment of preclusion; that is, work on 
recovery actions does not preclude the availability of resources for 
completing new listing work. However, work on recovery actions does 
count towards our assessment of making expeditious progress because the 
Act states that expeditious progress includes both adding qualified 
species to, and removing qualified species from, the Lists of 
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. During FY 2019 and FY 
2020 (as of September 30, 2020), we finalized downlisting of 1 species, 
finalized delisting rules for 7 species, proposed downlisting of 7 
species, and proposed delisting of 11 species. The rate at which the 
Service has completed delisting and downlisting actions in FY 2019 and 
FY 2020 (as of September 30, 2020) is higher than any point in the 
history of the Act.
    The tables below catalog the Service's progress in FY 2019 and FY 
2020 (as of September 30, 2020) as it pertains to our evaluation of 
making expeditious progress. Table 1 includes completed and published 
domestic listing actions; Table 2 includes domestic listing actions 
funded and initiated in previous fiscal years and in FY 2020 that are 
not yet complete as of September 30, 2020; and Table 3 includes 
completed and published proposed and final downlisting and delisting 
actions for domestic species.

[[Page 81819]]



                       Table 1--Completed Domestic Listing Actions in FY 2019 and FY 2020
                                              [As of September 30]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                             Federal Register
     Publication date                  Title                        Action(s)                    citation
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
10/9/2018................  Threatened Species Status for  Proposed Listing--Threatened   83 FR 50574-50582.
                            Coastal Distinct Population    with Section 4(d) Rule and
                            Segment of the Pacific         12-Month Petition Finding.
                            Marten.
10/9/2018................  Threatened Species Status for  Proposed Listing--Threatened   83 FR 50560-50574.
                            Black-Capped Petrel With a     with Section 4(d) Rule and
                            Section 4(d) Rule.             12-Month Petition Finding.
10/9/2018................  12-Month Petition Finding and  Proposed Listing--Threatened   83 FR 50610-50630.
                            Threatened Species Status      with Section 4(d) Rule and
                            for Eastern Black Rail With    12-Month Petition Finding.
                            a Section 4(d) Rule.
10/9/2018................  Threatened Species Status      Proposed Listing--Threatened   83 FR 50582-50610.
                            With Section 4(d) Rule and     with Section 4(d) Rule and
                            Critical Habitat Designation   Critical Habitat and 12-
                            for Slenderclaw Crayfish.      Month Finding.
10/11/2018...............  Threatened Species Status      Proposed Listing--Threatened   83 FR 51570-51609.
                            With Section 4(d) Rule and     with Section 4(d) Rule and
                            Critical Habitat Designation   Critical Habitat and 12-
                            for Atlantic Pigtoe.           Month Finding.
11/21/2018...............  Endangered Species Status for  Final Listing--Endangered....  83 FR 58747-58754.
                            the Candy Darter.
12/19/2018...............  12-Month Findings on           12-Month Petition Findings...  83 FR 65127-65134.
                            Petitions to List 13 Species
                            as Endangered or Threatened
                            Species.
12/28/2018...............  Threatened Species Status for  Final Listing--Threatened....  83 FR 67131-67140.
                            Trispot Darter.
4/4/2019.................  12-Month Findings on           12-Month Petition Findings...  84 FR 13237-13242.
                            Petitions to List Eight
                            Species as Endangered or
                            Threatened Species.
4/4/2019.................  12-Month Petition Finding and  Proposed Listing--Endangered   84 FR 13223-13237.
                            Endangered Species Status      and 12-Month Petition
                            for the Missouri Distinct      Finding.
                            Population Segment of
                            Eastern Hellbender.
4/26/2019................  90-Day Findings for Four       90-Day Petition Findings.....  84 FR 17768-17771.
                            Species (3 domestic species
                            and 1 foreign species) *.
5/22/2019................  Threatened Species Status      Proposed Listings--Threatened  84 FR 23644-23691.
                            with Section 4(d) Rule for     Status with Section 4(d)
                            Neuse River Waterdog and       Rule with Critical Habitat;
                            Endangered Species Status      Endangered Status with
                            for Carolina Madtom and        Critical Habitat and 12-
                            Proposed Designations of       Month Petition Findings.
                            Critical Habitat.
8/13/2019................  Endangered Species Status for  Proposed Listing--Endangered   84 FR 40006-40019.
                            Franklin's Bumble Bee.         and 12-Month Petition
                                                           Finding.
8/15/2019................  12-Month Findings on           12-Month Petition Findings...  84 FR 41694-41699.
                            Petitions to List Eight
                            Species as Endangered or
                            Threatened Species.
8/15/2019................  90-Day Findings for Three      90-Day Petition Findings.....  84 FR 41691-41694.
                            Species.
9/6/2019.................  90-Day Findings for Three      90-Day Petition Findings.....  84 FR 46927-46931.
                            Species.
10/07/2019...............  Twelve Species Not Warranted   12-Month Petition Findings...  84 FR 53336-53343.
                            for Listing as Endangered or
                            Threatened Species.
10/21/2019...............  Endangered Species Status for  Final Listing--Endangered....  84 FR 56131-56136.
                            Barrens Topminnow.
11/08/2019...............  12-Month Finding for the       12-Month Petition Finding....  84 FR 60371-60372.
                            California Spotted Owl.
11/21/2019...............  Threatened Species Status for  Final Listing--Threatened      84 FR 64210-64227.
                            Meltwater Lednian Stonefly     with Section 4(d) Rule.
                            and Western Glacier Stonefly
                            With a Section 4(d) Rule.
12/06/2019...............  Endangered Species Status for  Proposed Listings--Endangered  84 FR 67060-67104.
                            Beardless Chinchweed With      with Critical Habitat;
                            Designation of Critical        Threatened with Section 4(d)
                            Habitat, and Threatened        Rule and 12-Month Petition
                            Species Status for Bartram's   Findings.
                            Stonecrop With Section 4(d)
                            Rule.
12/19/2019...............  Five Species Not Warranted     12-Month Petition Findings...  84 FR 69707-69712.
                            for Listing as Endangered or
                            Threatened Species.
12/19/2019...............  90-Day Findings for Two        90-Day Petition Findings.....  84 FR 69713-69715.
                            Species.
01/08/2020...............  Threatened Species Status for  Proposed Listing--Threatened   85 FR 1018-1050.
                            the Hermes Copper Butterfly    with Section 4(d) Rule and
                            With 4(d) Rule and             Critical Habitat.
                            Designation of Critical
                            Habitat.
01/08/2020...............  Endangered Status for the      Proposed Listing--Endangered.  85 FR 862-872.
                            Sierra Nevada Distinct
                            Population Segment of the
                            Sierra Nevada Red Fox.
05/05/2020...............  Endangered Status for the      Final Listing--Endangered      85 FR 26786-26820.
                            Island Marble Butterfly and    with Critical Habitat.
                            Designation of Critical
                            Habitat.
05/15/2020...............  Endangered Species Status for  Final Listing--Endangered....  85 FR 29532-29589.
                            Southern Sierra Nevada
                            Distinct Population Segment
                            of Fisher.
7/16/2020................  90-Day Finding for the Dunes   90-Day Petition Finding......  85 FR 43203-43204.
                            Sagebrush Lizard.
7/22/2020................  90-Day Findings for Two        90-Day Petition Findings.....  85 FR 44265-44267.
                            Species.
7/23/2020................  Four Species Not Warranted     12-Month Petition Findings...  85 FR 44478-44483.
                            for Listing as Endangered or
                            Threatened Species.
8/26/2020................  Endangered Species Status for  Proposed Listing--Endangered   85 FR 52516-52540.
                            Marron Bacora and              with Critical Habitat and 12-
                            Designation of Critical        Month Petition Finding.
                            Habitat.
9/1/2020.................  Two Species Not Warranted for  12-Month Petition Findings...  85 FR 54339-54342.
                            Listing as Endangered or
                            Threatened Species.

[[Page 81820]]

 
9/16/2020................  Findings on a Petition To      12-Month Petition Finding....  85 FR 57816-57818.
                            Delist the Distinct
                            Population Segment of the
                            Western Yellow-Billed Cuckoo
                            and a Petition To List the
                            U.S. Population of
                            Northwestern Moose **.
9/17/2020................  Threatened Species Status for  Proposed Listing--Threatened   85 FR 58224-58250.
                            Chapin Mesa milkvetch and      With Section 4(d) Rule and
                            Section 4(d) Rule with         Critical Habitat.
                            Designation of Critical
                            Habitat.
9/17/2020................  Threatened Species Status for  Proposed Listings--Threatened  85 FR 58192-58222.
                            Big Creek crayfish and St.     With Section 4(d) Rule and
                            Francis River Crayfish and     Critical Habitat.
                            With Section 4(d) Rule with
                            Designation of Critical
                            Habitat.
9/29/2020................  Threatened Species Status for  Proposed Listings--Threatened  85 FR 61384-61458.
                            longsolid and round            With Section 4(d) Rule and
                            hickorynut mussel and          Critical Habitat; 12-Month
                            Section 4(d) Rule With         Petition Findings.
                            Designation of Critical
                            Habitat, Not Warranted 12-
                            Month Finding for purple
                            Lilliput.
9/29/2020................  Threatened Species Status for  Proposed Listing--Threatened   85 FR 61460-61498.
                            Wright's Marsh Thistle and     With Section (4) Rule and
                            Section 4(d) Rule With         Critical Habitat.
                            Designation of Critical
                            Habitat.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* 90-Day finding batches may include findings regarding both domestic and foreign species. The total number of
  90-day findings reported in this assessment of expeditious progress pertains to domestic species only.
** Batched 12-month findings may include findings regarding listing and delisting petitions. The total number of
  12-month findings reported in this assessment of expeditious progress pertains to listing petitions only.


 Table 2--Domestic Listing Actions Funded and Initiated in Previous FYs
    and in FY 2020 That Are Not Yet Complete as of September 30, 2020
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Species                               Action
------------------------------------------------------------------------
northern spotted owl...................  12-month finding.
false spike............................  12-month finding.
Guadalupe fatmucket....................  12-month finding.
Guadalupe orb..........................  12-month finding.
Texas fatmucket........................  Proposed listing determination
                                          or not warranted finding.
Texas fawnsfoot........................  Proposed listing determination
                                          or not warranted finding.
Texas pimpleback.......................  Proposed listing determination
                                          or not warranted finding.
South Llano Springs moss...............  12-month finding.
peppered chub..........................  12-month finding.
whitebark pine.........................  Proposed listing determination
                                          or not warranted finding.
Key ringneck snake.....................  12-month finding.
Rimrock crowned snake..................  12-month finding.
Euphilotes ancilla cryptica............  12-month finding.
Euphilotes ancilla purpura.............  12-month finding.
Hamlin Valley pyrg.....................  12-month finding.
longitudinal gland pyrg................  12-month finding.
sub-globose snake pyrg.................  12-month finding.
Louisiana pigtoe.......................  12-month finding.
Texas heelsplitter.....................  12-month finding.
triangle pigtoe........................  12-month finding.
prostrate milkweed.....................  12-month finding.
alligator snapping turtle..............  12-month finding.
Black Creek crayfish...................  12-month finding.
bracted twistflower....................  Proposed listing determination
                                          or not warranted finding.
Canoe Creek clubshell..................  12-month finding.
Clear Lake hitch.......................  12-month finding.
Doll's daisy...........................  12-month finding.
frecklebelly madtom....................  12-month finding.
longfin smelt (San Francisco Bay-Delta   Proposed listing determination
 DPS).                                    or not warranted finding.
magnificent Ramshorn...................  Proposed listing determination
                                          or not warranted finding.
Mt. Rainier white-tailed ptarmigan.....  12-month finding.
Ocmulgee skullcap......................  12-month finding.
Penasco least chipmunk.................  Proposed listing determination
                                          or not warranted finding.
Puerto Rico harlequin butterfly........  Proposed listing determination
                                          or not warranted finding.
Puget oregonian snail..................  12-month finding.
relict dace............................  12-month finding.
Rocky Mountain monkeyflower............  12-month finding.
sickle darter..........................  12-month finding.
southern elktoe........................  12-month finding.
southern white-tailed ptarmigan........  12-month finding.
tidewater amphipod.....................  12-month finding.

[[Page 81821]]

 
tufted puffin..........................  12-month finding.
western spadefoot......................  12-month finding.
------------------------------------------------------------------------


 Table 3--Completed Domestic Recovery Actions (Proposed and Final Downlistings and Delistings) in FY 2019 and FY
                                                      2020
                                           [As of September 30, 2020]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                              Federal Register
         Publication date                      Title                     Action(s)                Citation
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
10/18/2018........................  Removing Deseret Milkvetch  Final Rule--Delisting.....  83 FR 52775-52786.
                                     (Astragalus desereticus)
                                     From the Federal List of
                                     Endangered and Threatened
                                     Plants.
02/26/2019........................  Removing the Borax Lake     Proposed Rule--Delisting..  84 FR 6110-6126.
                                     Chub From the List of
                                     Endangered and Threatened
                                     Wildlife.
03/15/2019........................  Removing the Gray Wolf      Proposed Rule--Delisting..  84 FR 9648-9687.
                                     (Canis lupus) From the
                                     List of Endangered and
                                     Threatened Wildlife.
05/03/2019........................  Reclassifying the American  Proposed Rule--Downlisting  84 FR 19013-19029.
                                     Burying Beetle From
                                     Endangered to Threatened
                                     on the Federal List of
                                     Endangered and Threatened
                                     Wildlife With a 4(d) Rule.
08/27/2019........................  Removing Trifolium          Proposed Rule--Delisting..  84 FR 44832-44841.
                                     stoloniferum (Running
                                     Buffalo Clover) From the
                                     Federal List of
                                     Endangered and Threatened
                                     Plants.
09/13/2019........................  Removing the Foskett        Final Rule--Delisting.....  84 FR 48290-48308.
                                     Speckled Dace From the
                                     List of Endangered and
                                     Threatened Wildlife.
10/03/2019........................  Removal of the Monito       Final Rule--Delisting.....  84 FR 52791-52800.
                                     Gecko (Sphaerodactylus
                                     micropithecus) From the
                                     Federal List of
                                     Endangered and Threatened
                                     Wildlife.
10/07/2019........................  Removal of Howellia         Proposed Rule--Delisting..  84 FR 53380-53397.
                                     aquatilis (Water
                                     Howellia) From the List
                                     of Endangered and
                                     Threatened Plants.
10/09/2019........................  Removing the Kirtland's     Final Rule--Delisting.....  84 FR 54436-54463.
                                     Warbler From the Federal
                                     List of Endangered and
                                     Threatened Wildlife.
10/24/2019........................  Removal of the Interior     Proposed Rule--Delisting..  84 FR 56977-56991.
                                     Least Tern From the
                                     Federal List of
                                     Endangered and Threatened
                                     Wildlife.
11/05/2019........................  Removing Oenothera          Final Rule--Delisting.....  84 FR 59570-59588.
                                     coloradensis (Colorado
                                     Butterfly Plant) From the
                                     Federal List of
                                     Endangered and Threatened
                                     Plants.
11/26/2019........................  Removing Bradshaw's         Proposed Rule--Delisting..  84 FR 65067-65080.
                                     Lomatium (Lomatium
                                     bradshawii) From the
                                     Federal List of
                                     Endangered and Threatened
                                     Plants.
11/26/2019........................  Reclassification of the     Proposed Rule--Downlisting  84 FR 65080-65098.
                                     Endangered June Sucker to
                                     Threatened With a Section
                                     4(d) Rule.
11/26/2019........................  Removal of the Nashville    Proposed Rule--Delisting..  84 FR 65098-65112.
                                     Crayfish From the Federal
                                     List of Endangered and
                                     Threatened Wildlife.
12/19/2019........................  Reclassifying the Hawaiian  Final Rule--Downlisting...  84 FR 69918-69947.
                                     Goose From Endangered to
                                     Threatened With a Section
                                     4(d) Rule.
01/02/2020........................  Removing the Hawaiian Hawk  Final Rule--Delisting.....  85 FR 164-189.
                                     From the Federal List of
                                     Endangered and Threatened
                                     Wildlife.
01/06/2020........................  Removing the Kanab          Proposed Rule--Delisting..  85 FR 487-492.
                                     Ambersnail From the List
                                     of Endangered and
                                     Threatened Wildlife.
01/22/2020........................  Reclassification of the     Proposed Rule--Downlisting  85 FR 3586-3601
                                     Humpback Chub From
                                     Endangered to Threatened
                                     With a Section 4(d) Rule.
03/10/2020........................  Removing Lepanthes          Proposed Rule--Delisting..  85 FR 13844-13856.
                                     eltoroensis From the
                                     Federal List of
                                     Endangered and Threatened
                                     Plants.

[[Page 81822]]

 
4/27/2020.........................  Removing Arenaria.........  Proposed Rule--Delisting..  85 FR 23302-23315.
                                    cumberlandensis
                                     (Cumberland Sandwort)
                                     From the Federal List of
                                     Endangered and Threatened
                                     Plants.
06/01/2020........................  Removing San Benito         Proposed Rule--Delisting..  85 FR 33060-33078.
                                     Evening-Primrose
                                     (Camissonia benitensis)
                                     From the Federal List of
                                     Endangered and Threatened
                                     Plants.
06/11/2020........................  Removing the Borax Lake     Final Rule--Delisting.....  85 FR 35574-35594.
                                     Chub From the List of
                                     Endangered and Threatened
                                     Wildlife.
07/24/2020........................  Reclassification of Morro   Proposed Rule--Downlisting  85 FR 44821-44835.
                                     Shoulderband Snail
                                     (Helminthoglypta
                                     walkeriana) From
                                     Endangered to Threatened
                                     With a 4(d) Rule.
08/19/2020........................  Reclassification of         Proposed Rule--Downlisting  85 FR 50991-51006.
                                     Stephens' Kangaroo Rat
                                     From Endangered to
                                     Threatened With a Section
                                     4(d) Rule.
9/30/2020.........................  Reclassification of Layia   Proposed Rule--Downlisting  85 FR 61684-61700.
                                     carnosa (Beach Layia)
                                     From Endangered To
                                     Threatened Species Status
                                     With Section 4(d) Rule.
9/30/2020.........................  Reclassifying the Virgin    Proposed Rule--Downlisting  85 FR 61700-61717.
                                     Islands Tree Boa From
                                     Endangered To Threatened
                                     With a Section 4(d) Rule.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    When a petitioned action is found to be warranted but precluded, 
the Service is required by the Act to treat the petition as resubmitted 
on an annual basis until a proposal or withdrawal is published. If the 
petitioned species is not already listed under the Act, the species 
becomes a ``candidate'' and is reviewed annually in the Candidate 
Notice of Review. The number of candidate species remaining in FY 2020 
is the lowest it has been since 1975. For these species, we are working 
on developing a species status assessment, preparing proposed listing 
determinations, or preparing not-warranted 12-month findings.
    Another way that we have been expeditious in making progress in 
adding and removing qualified species to and from the Lists is that we 
have made our actions as efficient and timely as possible, given the 
requirements of the Act and regulations and constraints relating to 
workload and personnel. We are continually seeking ways to streamline 
processes or achieve economies of scale, such as batching related 
actions together for publication. Given our limited budget for 
implementing section 4 of the Act, these efforts also contribute toward 
our expeditious progress in adding and removing qualified species to 
and from the Lists.
    The monarch butterfly will be added to the candidate list, and we 
will continue to evaluate this species as new information becomes 
available. Continuing review will determine if a change in status is 
warranted, including the need to make prompt use of emergency listing 
procedures.
    A detailed discussion of the basis for this finding can be found in 
the monarch butterfly species assessment form and other supporting 
documents (see ADDRESSES, above).

New Information

    We intend that any proposed listing rule for the monarch butterfly 
will be as accurate as possible. Therefore, we will continue to accept 
additional information and comments from all concerned governmental 
agencies, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested 
party concerning this finding. We request that you submit any new 
information concerning the taxonomy of, biology of, ecology of, status 
of, threats to, or conservation actions for the monarch butterfly to 
the person specified under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, whenever it 
becomes available. New information will help us monitor this species 
and make appropriate decisions about its conservation and status. We 
encourage all stakeholders to continue cooperative monitoring and 
conservation efforts.

References Cited

    The list of the references cited in the petition finding is 
available on the internet at http://www.regulations.gov under docket 
number FWS-R3-ES-2020-0103 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 
Fish and Wildlife Service's Species Assessment Team.

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. 2020-27523 Filed 12-16-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4333-15-P