Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 17 Species Not Warranted for Listing as Endangered or Threatened Species, 53255-53261 [2021-20823]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 184 / Monday, September 27, 2021 / Proposed Rules Constitution Avenue NW, Room 7896, Washington, DC 20230. [FR Doc. 2021–20651 Filed 9–24–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–BW–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17 [FF09E21000 FXES11110900000 212] Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 17 Species Not Warranted for Listing as Endangered or Threatened Species AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. Notification of findings. ACTION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce findings that 17 species are not warranted for listing as endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). After a thorough review of the best available scientific and commercial information, we find that it is not warranted at this time to list Amargosa tryonia (Tryonia variegata), Ash Meadows pebblesnail (Pyrgulopsis erythropoma), boat-shaped bugseed (Corispermum navicula), Burrington jumping-slug (Hemphillia burringtoni), crystal springsnail (Pyrgulopsis crystalis), Dalles sideband (Monadenia fidelis minor), distal-gland springsnail (Pyrgulopsis nanus), early dark blue butterfly (Euphilotes ancilla purpura), Fairbanks springsnail (Pyrgulopsis fairbanksensis), late dark blue butterfly SUMMARY: (Euphilotes ancilla cryptica), mediangland springsnail (Pyrgulopsis pisteri), minute tryonia (Tryonia ericae), Point of Rocks tryonia (Tryonia elata), southern rubber boa (Charina umbratica), southwest Nevada pyrg (Pyrgulopsis turbatrix), sportinggoods tryonia (Tryonia angulata), and Virgin spinedace (Lepidomeda mollispinis mollispinis). However, we ask the public to submit to us at any time any new information relevant to the status of any of the species mentioned above or their habitats. The findings in this document were made on September 27, 2021. DATES: Detailed descriptions of the bases for these findings are available on the internet at https:// www.regulations.gov under the following docket numbers: ADDRESSES: Species Docket No. Amargosa tryonia ............................................................................................................................................................ Ash Meadows pebblesnail .............................................................................................................................................. boat-shaped bugseed ..................................................................................................................................................... Burrington jumping-slug .................................................................................................................................................. crystal springsnail ........................................................................................................................................................... Dalles sideband .............................................................................................................................................................. distal-gland springsnail ................................................................................................................................................... early dark blue butterfly .................................................................................................................................................. Fairbanks springsnail ...................................................................................................................................................... late dark blue butterfly .................................................................................................................................................... median-gland springsnail ................................................................................................................................................ minute tryonia ................................................................................................................................................................. Point of Rocks tryonia .................................................................................................................................................... southern rubber boa ....................................................................................................................................................... southwest Nevada pyrg .................................................................................................................................................. sportinggoods tryonia ..................................................................................................................................................... Virgin spinedace ............................................................................................................................................................. Those descriptions are also available by contacting the appropriate person as specified under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Please submit any new information, materials, comments, or questions concerning this finding to the appropriate person, as specified FWS–R8–ES–2021–0077 FWS–R8–ES–2021–0078 FWS–R6–ES–2021–0079 FWS–R1–ES–2021–0080 FWS–R8–ES–2021–0081 FWS–R1–ES–2021–0082 FWS–R8–ES–2021–0083 FWS–R8–ES–2021–0084 FWS–R8–ES–2021–0085 FWS–R8–ES–2021–0086 FWS–R8–ES–2021–0087 FWS–R8–ES–2021–0088 FWS–R8–ES–2021–0089 FWS–R8–ES–2015–0119 FWS–R8–ES–2021–0090 FWS–R8–ES–2021–0091 FWS–R6–ES–2015–0121 under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Species Contact information Amargosa tryonia, Ash Meadows pebblesnail, crystal springsnail, distalgland springsnail, Fairbanks springsnail, median-gland springsnail, minute tryonia, Point of Rocks tryonia, southwest Nevada pyrg, sportinggoods tryonia, early dark blue butterfly, late dark blue butterfly. boat-shaped bugseed ............................................................................... Glen Knowles, Field Supervisor, Southern Nevada Fish and Wildlife Office, (702) 515–5244. Burrington jumping-slug ............................................................................ Dalles sideband ........................................................................................ southern rubber boa ................................................................................. lotter on DSK11XQN23PROD with PROPOSALS1 53255 Virgin spinedace ....................................................................................... If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), please call the Federal Relay Service at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:47 Sep 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 Ann Timberman, Field Supervisor, Colorado Field Office, (970) 628– 7181. Brad Thompson, State Supervisor, Washington Fish and Wildlife Office, (360) 753–9440. Paul Henson, State Supervisor, Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office, (503) 231–6179. Scott Sobiech, Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, (760) 431–9440. Yvette Converse, Field Supervisor, Utah Field Office, (801) 975–3330. Background Under section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), we are required to make a finding whether or not a PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 petitioned action is warranted within 12 months after receiving any petition for which we have determined contains substantial scientific or commercial E:\FR\FM\27SEP1.SGM 27SEP1 53256 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 184 / Monday, September 27, 2021 / Proposed Rules lotter on DSK11XQN23PROD with PROPOSALS1 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 by other listing activity. We must publish a notification of these 12-month findings in the Federal Register. Summary of Information Pertaining to the Five Factors Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and the implementing regulations at part 424 of title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations (50 CFR part 424) set forth procedures for adding species to, removing species from, or reclassifying species on the Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants (Lists). The Act defines ‘‘species’’ as including any subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct population segment of any species of vertebrate fish or wildlife which interbreeds when mature. The Act defines ‘‘endangered species’’ as any species that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range (16 U.S.C. 1532(6)), and ‘‘threatened species’’ as any species that is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range (16 U.S.C. 1532(20)). Under section 4(a)(1) of the Act, a species may be determined to be an endangered species or a threatened species because of any of the following five factors: (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (B) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; (C) Disease or predation; (D) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or (E) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence. These factors represent broad categories of natural or human-caused actions or conditions that could have an effect on a species’ continued existence. In evaluating these actions and conditions, we look for those that may have a negative effect on individuals of the species, as well as other actions or conditions that may ameliorate any negative effects or may have positive effects. We use the term ‘‘threat’’ to refer in general to actions or conditions that are known to or are reasonably likely to negatively affect individuals of a species. The term ‘‘threat’’ includes actions or conditions that have a direct impact on individuals (direct impacts), as well as those that affect individuals VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:47 Sep 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 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 Act’s definition of an ‘‘endangered species’’ or a ‘‘threatened species’’ only after conducting this cumulative analysis and describing the expected effect on the species now and in the foreseeable future. The Act does not define the term ‘‘foreseeable future,’’ which appears in the statutory definition of ‘‘threatened species.’’ Our implementing regulations at 50 CFR 424.11(d) set forth a framework for evaluating the foreseeable future on a case-by-case basis. The term ‘‘foreseeable future’’ extends only so far into the future as the Service can reasonably determine that both the future threats and the species’ responses to those threats are likely. In other words, the foreseeable future is the period of time in which we can make reliable predictions. ‘‘Reliable’’ does not mean ‘‘certain’’; it means sufficient to provide a reasonable degree of confidence in the prediction. Thus, a prediction is reliable if it is reasonable to depend on it when making decisions. It is not always possible or necessary to define foreseeable future as a particular number of years. Analysis of the foreseeable future uses the best scientific and commercial data available and should consider the timeframes applicable to the relevant threats and to the species’ likely responses to those threats in view of its life-history characteristics. Data that are typically relevant to assessing the species’ biological response include speciesspecific factors such as lifespan, reproductive rates or productivity, PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 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 Amargosa tryonia, Ash Meadows pebblesnail, Burrington jumping-slug, crystal springsnail, Dalles sideband, distalgland springsnail, early dark blue butterfly, Fairbanks springsnail, late dark blue butterfly, median-gland springsnail, minute tryonia, Point of Rocks tryonia, southern rubber boa, southwest Nevada pyrg, sportinggoods tryonia, or Virgin spinedace meet the Act’s definition of ‘‘endangered species’’ or ‘‘threatened species,’’ we considered and thoroughly evaluated the best scientific and commercial information available regarding the past, present, and future stressors and threats. In conducting our taxonomic evaluation of boat-shaped bugseed, we determined that it does not meet the definition of a ‘‘species’’ under the Act, and, as a result, we concluded that boat-shaped bugseed is not a listable entity. We reviewed the petitions, information available in our files, and other available published and unpublished information for all of these species. Our 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 forms for these species contain more detailed biological information, a thorough analysis of the listing factors, a list of literature cited, and an explanation of why we determined that these species do not meet the Act’s definition of an ‘‘endangered species’’ or a ‘‘threatened species.’’ A thorough review of the taxonomy, life history, and ecology of the Amargosa tryonia, Ash Meadows pebblesnail, Burrington jumping-slug, crystal springsnail, Dalles sideband, distal-gland springsnail, early dark blue butterfly, Fairbanks springsnail, late dark blue butterfly, median-gland springsnail, minute tryonia, Point of Rocks tryonia, southern rubber boa, southwest Nevada pyrg, sportinggoods tryonia, and Virgin spinedace is presented in the species’ Species Status Assessment reports. The species assessment form for boat-shaped bugseed contains more detailed taxonomic information, a list of literature cited, and an explanation of why we determined that boat-shaped bugseed does not meet the Act’s definition of a ‘‘species.’’ This supporting information can be found on the internet at https:// www.regulations.gov under the E:\FR\FM\27SEP1.SGM 27SEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 184 / Monday, September 27, 2021 / Proposed Rules appropriate docket number (see ADDRESSES, above). The following are informational summaries for the findings in this document. Amargosa Tryonia, Ash Meadows Pebblesnail, Crystal Springsnail, DistalGland Springsnail, Fairbanks Springsnail, Median-Gland Springsnail, Minute Tryonia, Point of Rocks Tryonia, Southwest Nevada Pyrg, and Sportinggoods Tryonia lotter on DSK11XQN23PROD with PROPOSALS1 Previous Federal Actions On February 17, 2009, we received a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) requesting that the Service list 42 species of springsnails from the Great Basin and Mojave ecosystems in Nevada, Utah, and California as endangered or threatened species, and designate critical habitat for the springsnails. The petition included Amargosa tryonia, Ash Meadows pebblesnail, crystal springsnail, distal-gland springsnail, Fairbanks springsnail, median-gland springsnail (as ‘‘median gland Nevada pyrg’’), minute tryonia, Point of Rocks tryonia, southwest Nevada pyrg (as ‘‘southeast Nevada pyrg’’), and sportinggoods tryonia. On September 13, 2011, we published in the Federal Register (76 FR 56608) a 90-day finding in which we announced that the petition contained substantial information indicating listing of 32 of the petitioned species, including these 10 springsnails, may be warranted. This document announces the 12-month finding on the February 17, 2009, petition to list the Amargosa tryonia, Ash Meadows pebblesnail, crystal springsnail, distal-gland springsnail, Fairbanks springsnail, median-gland springsnail, minute tryonia, Point of Rocks tryonia, southwest Nevada pyrg, and sportinggoods tryonia under the Act. Summary of Finding The 10 springsnail species are in the genus Pyrgulopsis or Tryonia of the Cochliopidae family. In general, the 10 species are morphologically similar with hardened shells and soft anatomy, and they are differentiated based on subtle morphological characteristics. They are small in size, only a few millimeters in length and width, and have limited ability or tendency to move. These springsnails are herbivores or detritivores that primarily graze on the periphyton (freshwater organisms attached or clinging to plants) of exposed surfaces of aquatic plants and substrates in the small springs they inhabit. Nine of the springsnails occur in desert aquifer springs comprised of VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:21 Sep 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 small aquatic and riparian systems as surface flow maintained by groundwater; each spring is uniquely influenced by aquifer geology, morphology, discharge rates, and regional precipitation. The southwest Nevada pyrg occurs in desert springs that are primarily perennial mountain block aquifer springs that are less likely to be influenced by groundwater withdrawals. All of the species excluding the southwest Nevada pyrg occur only on Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in the Amargosa Valley (Amargosa Desert Hydrographic Area) in Nye County, Nevada. However, additional surveys are necessary to determine if Amargosa tryonia occurs in more locations on the refuge and on private lands in Shoshone and Tecopa, California. In contrast, the southwest Nevada pyrg is widespread across southeastern California (Inyo and San Bernardino Counties) and southwestern Nevada (Nye and Clark Counties). Spring conditions that are most critical in influencing the resource needs of all life stages of the 10 springsnails include water quality (e.g., appropriate water temperature, dissolved oxygen levels, conductivity, pH), presence of aquatic vegetation and appropriate substrate (both of which can be variable), the continuity of free-flowing water, and adequate spring discharge. We carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial information available regarding the past, present, and future threats to the springsnails, and we evaluated all relevant factors under the five listing factors, including any regulatory mechanisms and conservation measures addressing these threats. Historically and through to the present, the 10 springsnail species and their habitats were impacted to varying degrees by one or more of the following threats: Predation and competition, vegetation and soil disturbance, spring modification, and groundwater pumping. Sources of these threats include invasive, nonnative and native species; roads; wildfire; grazing and browsing by ungulates; recreation; herbicides; and human development. The primary threat currently and into the future is spring modifications resulting from potential groundwater pumping or altered precipitation/ temperature from climate change, both of which could affect the availability of adequate water and flow. The species’ locations are as follows: • Amargosa tryonia currently occurs in 12 spring locations (some of which are comprised of multiple, clustered springs described as spring provinces). The majority of these spring locations PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 53257 are found within protected lands on Ash Meadows NWR (11 locations), with the remaining location at Devils Hole at Death Valley National Park. • Ash Meadows pebblesnail currently occurs on Ash Meadows NWR in the large Kings Pool and at four small, clustered springs within the Point of Rocks Spring Province. • Crystal springsnail occurs in a single desert spring known as the Crystal Spring on Ash Meadows NWR. • Distal-gland springsnail currently occurs on Ash Meadows NWR in the following three springs/spring provinces that are centrally located on the refuge: Collins Ranch Spring, Five Springs Province, and Mary Scott Spring. • Fairbanks springsnail occurs in a single desert spring known as the Fairbanks Spring on Ash Meadows NWR. • Median-gland springsnail is centrally located in the Warm Springs area of Ash Meadows NWR in three springs (Marsh Spring, North Scruggs Spring, and School Spring). • Minute tryonia occurs in a single desert spring known as North Scruggs Spring within the Warm Springs area of Ash Meadows NWR. • Point of Rocks tryonia occurs on Ash Meadows NWR within the Point of Rocks Spring Province, which is comprised of six small, geographically clustered springs, four of which are occupied by the species. • Sportinggoods tryonia is located within three large springs on the Ash Meadows NWR (Big Spring, Crystal Pool, and Fairbanks Pool). • Southwest Nevada pyrg occurs within 36 springs or spring provinces in 8 different geographic areas (9 different hydrologic subbasins, which are analogous to medium-sized river basins) in southwest Nevada and southeast California. Spring locations and ownership across its range include primarily Federal lands at Death Valley National Park, Bureau of Land Management lands (Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Darwin Falls Wilderness, Argus Range Wilderness, Surprise Canyon Wilderness, Pleasant Canyon), U.S. Forest Service lands (Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, Big Bear Lake Range Station and Mill Creek Canyon in the San Bernardino National Forest), Department of Defense lands (China Lake Naval Weapons Center), and private lands in both Nevada and California. The best available information indicates an overall high likelihood that the 10 springsnails will continue to maintain resilient populations in the foreseeable future given the significant E:\FR\FM\27SEP1.SGM 27SEP1 53258 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 184 / Monday, September 27, 2021 / Proposed Rules conservation afforded to them across the majority of the springs/populations, no information suggesting new groundwater pumps or increased impacts from groundwater pumping compared to current levels, and climate models showing increased precipitation into the future across the species’ ranges. Coupled with aquifer rate of recharge information, there is a high likelihood that adequate levels of water and flow (as well as the other resource needs of the species) would be available in the foreseeable future. We considered these primary threats cumulatively with the additional non-primary threats described above (e.g., invasive species), in our determination. Therefore, we find that listing the Amargosa tryonia, Ash Meadows pebblesnail, crystal springsnail, distalgland springsnail, Fairbanks springsnail, median-gland springsnail, minute tryonia, Point of Rocks tryonia, southwest Nevada pyrg, and sportinggoods tryonia as endangered species or threatened species under the Act is not warranted. Furthermore, we did not find any evidence of a concentration of threats at a biologically meaningful scale in any portion of the species’ range. A detailed discussion of the basis for this finding can be found in the species assessment forms for these 10 species and other supporting documents (see ADDRESSES, above). Boat-Shaped Bugseed Previous Federal Actions On July 30, 2007, the Service received a petition from Forest Guardians (now WildEarth Guardians) requesting that the Service list 206 species the Mountain-Prairie Region, including the boat-shaped bugseed (formerly Corispermum navicula), as endangered or threatened species, and designate critical habitat, under the Act. On August 18, 2009, the Service published a 90-day finding (74 FR 41649) indicating that listing may be warranted for 29 species, including the boat-shaped bugseed. As a result, the Service initiated a status review for the boat-shaped bugseed. This document announces the 12-month finding on the July 30, 2007, petition to list the boatshaped bugseed under the Act. lotter on DSK11XQN23PROD with PROPOSALS1 Summary of Finding We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial information available regarding the boat-shaped bugseed and evaluated the petition’s claims that the species warrants listing under the Act. Genetic and morphometric analyses indicate that the boat-shaped bugseed is not a distinct VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:47 Sep 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 species or subspecies. The boat-shaped bugseed is not genetically or morphologically distinguishable from other bugseeds, including the more wide-ranging American bugseed (C. americanum). Therefore, the boatshaped bugseed is not a valid taxonomic entity, does not meet the definition of a ‘‘species’’ under the Act, and, as a result, does not warrant listing under the Act. A detailed discussion of the basis for this finding can be found in the boat-shaped bugseed species assessment form and other supporting documents (see ADDRESSES, above). Burrington Jumping-Slug Previous Federal Actions On March 17, 2008, we received a petition from CBD, Conservation Northwest, the Environmental Protection Information Center, the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, and Oregon Wild, requesting that the Service list 32 species and subspecies of mollusks in the Pacific Northwest, including the Burrington jumping-slug, as endangered or threatened species under the Act. The petition also requested that the Service designate critical habitat concurrent with listing. On October 5, 2011, the Service published a 90-day finding that the petition presented substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that Burrington jumping-slug (also known as the ‘‘keeled jumping-slug’’) may be warranted for listing (76 FR 61826). This document announces the 12-month finding on the March 17, 2008, petition to list the Burrington jumping-slug under the Act. Summary of Finding Burrington jumping-slugs are small terrestrial gastropods that range throughout the western portions of British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon. The species is known from approximately 2,350 records, most of which are a result of surveys conducted prior to vegetation management, thinning, and timber projects on Federal lands. In British Columbia, documented Burrington jumping-slug occurrences are limited to the southern portion of Vancouver Island. In Washington, they occur on the Olympic Peninsula and along the Pacific coast. In Oregon, they occur primarily in the Coast Range. The species inhabits moist, cool, and shady forest floors where there is sufficient shade and downed, decaying logs and leaf litter. They are found in a variety of forest types including dense old-growth rainforests, riparian areas, late-successional and old-growth coniferous forests, mixed coniferous PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 forests, and areas densely forested with Pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttallii). Red alder (Alnus rubra), bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum), vineleaf maple (Acer circinatum), and Pacific dogwood are consistently associated with the understory and mid-story components of suitable habitat for the species. We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial information available regarding the past, present, and future threats to the Burrington jumping-slug, and evaluated all relevant factors under the five listing factors, including any regulatory mechanisms and conservation measures addressing these stressors. The primary stressors affecting the Burrington jumping-slug’s biological status include habitat loss and fragmentation due to forest management and development, and climate-mediated changes in temperature and wildfire risk. Currently, the species has more than 50 populations in good or moderate condition that are distributed across its historical range and occupy a diversity of ecological settings. The projected effects of habitat loss, rising temperatures, and increased fire risk are likely to reduce the number of populations in good or moderate condition and lead to some additional extirpations of populations. However, due to the number and spatial heterogeneity of remaining populations, the species is projected to maintain adequate levels of resiliency. Given the species’ continued widespread distribution and its ecological and genetic diversity, we project that it will also maintain adequate redundancy and representation rangewide in the foreseeable future. Furthermore, we did not find any evidence of a concentration of threats at any biologically meaningful scale in any portion of the species’ range. Therefore, we find that listing the Burrington jumping-slug as an endangered species or threatened species under the Act is not warranted. A detailed discussion of the basis for this finding can be found in the Burrington jumping-slug SSA report and other supporting documents (see ADDRESSES, above). Dalles Sideband Previous Federal Actions On March 17, 2008, we received a petition from CBD, Conservation Northwest, the Environmental Protection Information Center, the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, and Oregon Wild, requesting that the Service list 32 species and subspecies of mollusks in the Pacific Northwest, E:\FR\FM\27SEP1.SGM 27SEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 184 / Monday, September 27, 2021 / Proposed Rules lotter on DSK11XQN23PROD with PROPOSALS1 including the Dalles sideband, as endangered or threatened under the Act. The petition also requested that the Service designate critical habitat concurrent with listing. On October 5, 2011, the Service published a 90-finding that the petition presented substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the Dalles sideband may be warranted for listing (76 FR 61826). To inform our status review, we completed an SSA for the Dalles sideband. This document announces the 12-month finding on the March 17, 2008, petition to list the Dalles sideband under the Act. Summary of Finding The Dalles sideband is a small, terrestrial snail that is a subspecies of the Pacific sideband snail (Monadenia fidelis), with a known range east of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon and Washington, primarily along the Columbia River corridor, extending east to the mouth of the John Day River. Occurrences have been documented near The Dalles, Oregon, with more recent detections on the Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon and the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington. The Dalles sideband has been identified in Wasco, Hood River, and Sherman Counties in Oregon, and Skamania, Lewis, and Klickitat Counties in Washington. The majority of known occurrences are a result of surveys conducted prior to vegetation management, thinning, and timber projects on Federal lands. The Dalles sideband inhabits forested environments, particularly those near talus slopes and/or in areas containing a high concentration of woody debris, leaves, or other refugia. They also live in cool, moist areas near springs and riparian areas. While the specific diet of the Dalles sideband is not known, other members of its genus feed on various plant material, roots, fungus, microorganisms, and other organic matter. We carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial information available regarding the past, present, and future threats to the Dalles sideband, and we evaluated all relevant factors under the five listing factors, including any regulatory mechanisms and conservation measures addressing these stressors. The primary stressors affecting the Dalles sideband’s biological status include habitat loss and fragmentation due to forest management, and the climate-mediated risk of drought and wildfire. Currently, the subspecies is known from 23 resiliency units (delineated from 174 occurrence records), the majority of VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:47 Sep 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 which are in high condition, with the remainder in moderate condition. These resiliency units are distributed across the historical range of the subspecies and occupy a diversity of ecological settings. We considered three plausible future scenarios that included projected changes in forest management, and the risk of drought and wildfire, as influenced by climate change, and how these threats would impact Dalles sideband habitat and population connectivity. We determined that these threats are likely to reduce the number of Dalles sideband populations in high or moderate condition, and may lead to some populations becoming extirpated in the future. However, our analysis indicates that even with the projected decline in habitat quality, and by proxy the populations, the subspecies will maintain adequate levels of resiliency across most remaining populations, and adequate redundancy and representation rangewide, to maintain the subspecies’ viability in the foreseeable future. Therefore, we find that listing the Dalles sideband as an endangered or threatened species under the Act is not warranted. Furthermore, we did not find any evidence of a concentration of threats at a biologically meaningful scale in any portion of the species’ range. A detailed discussion of the basis for this finding can be found in the Dalles sideband species assessment form and other supporting documents (see ADDRESSES, above). Early Dark Blue Butterfly and Late Dark Blue Butterfly Previous Federal Actions On October 6, 2011, we received a petition, dated September 30, 2011, from WildEarth Guardians to list the two dark blue butterfly subspecies as endangered or threatened under the Act. On August 7, 2012, we published a 90day finding stating that the petition presented substantial information indicating that listing the dark blue butterflies (as ‘‘two Spring Mountains dark blue butterflies’’) may be warranted (77 FR 47003). This document announces our 12-month finding on the September 30, 2011, petition to list the two dark blue butterfly subspecies. Summary of Finding The Spring Mountains dark blue butterflies are two subspecies of the Ancilla dotted blue butterfly (Euphilotes ancilla) found in the Spring Mountains in Clark County in southwestern Nevada. The two subspecies have no widely recognized common names, so we refer to them as the early subspecies PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 53259 (E. a. purpura) and the late subspecies (E. a. cryptica) to coincide with their respective flight periods. The Spring Mountains dark blue butterflies are distributed across the Spring Mountains above an elevation of 1,600 meters (5,250 feet). The late dark blue butterfly is distributed throughout the Spring Mountains, and the early dark blue butterfly has a narrower range restricted to the northern third of the Spring Mountains. The two subspecies overlap with each other in three locations in this part of their range. The early dark blue butterfly has a flight period from May to June, and the late dark blue butterfly has a flight period from late June to early September. Both subspecies use varieties of sulphurflowered buckwheats (Eriogonum umbellatum) as their host plants. We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial information available regarding the past, present, and future threats to the early and late dark blue butterflies, and we evaluated all relevant factors under the five listing factors, including any regulatory mechanisms and conservation measures addressing these threats. The primary threats affecting both the early and the late dark blue butterflies’ biological status include fire, herbivory of host plants, drought, and climate change. If the magnitude or frequency of fire increased with less time for habitat to recover, the effects of fire on dark blue butterflies and their habitat could become more severe. However, current models show that fire risk in the Spring Mountains is moderate to low, and we do not have any information that fires will increase in magnitude into the foreseeable future. As a result of climate change in the Spring Mountains, droughts could become more frequent, and host plants will likely shift upward in elevation. However, both subspecies of dark blue butterfly already occur at a wide elevational range, which may allow them to respond by moving upslope to more favorable areas. Adult dark blue butterflies are capable of finding diffuse and small patches of flowers, which allows them to match with habitat over a wide range of elevations, allowing for survival during climatic fluctuations. Additionally, although herbivory by native species and feral horses is occurring at most dark blue butterfly locations, the magnitude of impacts is low. Currently, all 9 populations of early dark blue butterflies and 30 of 33 populations of late dark blue butterflies are experiencing low or moderate exposure to threats. In all future scenarios, we expect that populations will continue to experience only low or E:\FR\FM\27SEP1.SGM 27SEP1 53260 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 184 / Monday, September 27, 2021 / Proposed Rules moderate levels of threat in the foreseeable future. In scenarios for the two subspecies, the resiliency, redundancy, and representation of both may decrease depending on the severity of climate change as the risk of drought and catastrophic fires increases the potential for population extirpation. The early dark blue butterfly is at greater risk because it occurs at only nine locations. However, dark blue butterflies display adaptive capacity in their ability to recolonize areas following disturbance, and as previously discussed, they likely have the ability to shift upslope in response to climate change. Overall, even if some reductions occur, we expect that the subspecies will maintain enough viability that they will not be likely to be endangered in the foreseeable future. Therefore, we find that listing the early dark blue butterfly as an endangered species or threatened species under the Act is not warranted. We also find that listing the late dark blue butterfly as an endangered species or threatened species under the Act is not warranted. Furthermore, we did not find any evidence of a concentration of threats at a biologically meaningful scale in any portion of either the early dark blue butterfly’s range or the late dark blue butterfly’s range. A detailed discussion of the basis for this finding can be found in the species assessment form for the early and late dark blue butterflies and other supporting documents (see ADDRESSES, above). Southern Rubber Boa lotter on DSK11XQN23PROD with PROPOSALS1 Previous Federal Actions On July 11, 2012, we received a petition from CBD requesting that the Service list 53 amphibians and reptiles in the United States, including the southern rubber boa, as an endangered or threatened species and designate critical habitat for these species under the Act. We published a 90-day finding on 25 species, including the southern rubber boa, in the Federal Register on September 18, 2015 (80 FR 56423), in response to the petition. We determined in our 90-day finding that the petition presented substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that listing may be warranted for 23 species, including the southern rubber boa. This document announces the 12-month finding on the July 11, 2012, petition to list the southern rubber boa under the Act. Summary of Finding The southern rubber boa is one of six rubber boas of the genus Charina that reside within the Boidae family, aptly VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:47 Sep 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 named because they have skin that folds in a way that resembles rubber. The southern rubber boa is a stout-bodied snake with a short, blunt tail; measures between 13 and 21 inches (35 and 55 centimeters); and may live over 60 years in the wild. It is historically and currently known exclusively from the higher elevations within the San Bernardino Mountains and San Jacinto Mountains of southern California, in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, California. Each mountain range is believed to support a single population, as there are no clear separations in the species’ distribution within each mountain range. The species is fossorial (burrows), nocturnal, and only infrequently active aboveground. Southern rubber boa habitat is characterized as montane forest with relatively high humidity, welldeveloped soil, woody canopy openings, and piles or outcroppings of granitic rock formations. The species uses rock outcroppings, as well as existing rodent burrows, as winter hibernacula—warm areas that allow boas to remain protected underground from predators and winter weather. Deep rock crevices and area beneath large rocks are also used throughout the year for basking at night, or when they are not searching for mates or prey such as juvenile rodents, insects, and lizard eggs. Approximately 88 percent of the species’ range, as quantified by our examination of modeled habitat, occurs on public or conserved lands owned and managed by the San Bernardino National Forest, the Bureau of Land Management, the State of California, and local governments and conservancies; thus, the species is protected from large-scale habitat loss. The southern rubber boa’s resource needs reflect the species’ reliance on moisture; their nocturnal habits; and the importance of shelters for hibernation, gestation, basking under cover, and humidity. Habitat and demographic needs include appropriate humidity, sufficient prey, appropriate gestation sites and shelter, mate availability and adult abundance, and adequate habitat diversity. We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial information available regarding the past, present, and future threats to the southern rubber boa, and we evaluated all relevant factors under the five listing factors in the Act, including any regulatory mechanisms and conservation measures addressing these threats. We evaluated both San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountain range populations, including, for the purposes of our analysis, evaluating the San Bernardino PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Mountains population as consisting of an eastern and a western subpopulation.. The primary threats to the southern rubber boa are (1) the loss, degradation, or modification of habitat from drying conditions, and (2) loss of individuals, with the most significant sources of these threats for both individual southern rubber boa losses and species’ habitat impacts resulting from changing climate conditions (i.e., drought, increased temperatures), wildfire, and rock pile disturbance from snake collectors and field hobbyists. Other less significant sources of threats that could also result in loss, degradation, or modification of habitat, and loss of individuals, include development/land use change, recreation, infrastructure and forest management, and resource extraction. After evaluation of impacts from current threats on habitat and demographic needs, we determined that each of the three analysis units (western San Bernardino Mountains subpopulation, eastern San Bernardino Mountains subpopulation, and San Jacinto Mountains population) consist of moderately to highly resilient populations/subpopulations that are likely to be able to withstand normal year-to-year variations in environmental conditions such as temperature changes; periodic disturbances within the normal range of variation such as wildfire; and normal variation in demographic rates such as mortality and fecundity. The best available information indicates the southern rubber boa is also able to withstand catastrophic events within each of the analysis units, and has the ability to adapt to environmental changes, such as changes to climate or habitat conditions. At this time, the best available information (based on our assumptions given significant unknowns surrounding the species and its response to changing habitat conditions) indicates an overall high likelihood that the species will continue to maintain resilient populations in the foreseeable future, particularly in light of significant conservation afforded the species across its range. Therefore, we find that listing the southern rubber boa as an endangered or threatened species under the Act is not warranted. Furthermore, we did not find any evidence of a concentration of threats at a biologically meaningful scale in any portion of the species’ range. A detailed discussion of the basis for this finding can be found in the southern rubber boa species assessment form and other supporting documents (see ADDRESSES, above). E:\FR\FM\27SEP1.SGM 27SEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 184 / Monday, September 27, 2021 / Proposed Rules Virgin Spinedace Previous Federal Actions On November 20, 2012, the Service received a petition from CBD to list the Virgin spinedace as endangered or threatened under the Act. On September 18, 2015, we published a 90-day finding in the Federal Register in which we determined that the petition presented substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that listing the Virgin spinedace may be warranted (80 FR 56423). On March 16, 2016, CBD filed a complaint alleging failure to complete a 12-month finding for the species. On August 30, 2016, we entered into a settlement agreement, in which we committed to submitting a 12-month finding to the Federal Register by September 30, 2021. This document announces the 12-month finding on the November 20, 2012, petition to list the Virgin spinedace under the Act and fulfills our settlement agreement obligations. Summary of Finding lotter on DSK11XQN23PROD with PROPOSALS1 The Virgin spinedace is a small freshwater minnow found in the mainstream Virgin River and its tributaries in southwestern Utah (Washington County), northwestern Arizona (Mohave County), and southeastern Nevada (Lincoln County). The species’ current distribution is approximately 222 kilometers (138 miles), which is 95 percent of its historical distribution. The Virgin spinedace is adapted to a highly variable western stream hydrology with intermittent drying. Its resource needs include stream reaches of sufficient length to maintain a population, adequate perennial flow, unimpeded fish passage, suitable habitat (presence of pools, runs, and riffles), suitable water quality, sufficient food base, and absence of predators and competitors. The species is an opportunistic feeder, but primarily feeds on insects. We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial information VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:47 Sep 24, 2021 Jkt 253001 available regarding the past, present, and future threats to the Virgin spinedace, and we evaluated all relevant factors under the five listing factors, including any regulatory mechanisms and conservation measures addressing these stressors. The primary stressors affecting the Virgin spinedace’s biological status include reduced streamflow, impeded fish passage, habitat destruction, poor water quality, nonnative fish predators/competitors, and climate change. We conducted a population-specific analysis of the environmental conditions that negatively affect individuals or populations of the Virgin spinedace, as well as conservation efforts that ameliorate those stressors. The Virgin spinedace currently exhibits good resiliency, redundancy, and representation. We anticipate maintaining good or fair levels of resiliency, redundancy, and representation in the foreseeable future across a range of future scenarios. There was no concentration of stressors in any significant portion of the species’ range sufficient to cause the species to likely become in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future. Our conclusions are supported by the fact that since the Virgin Spinedace Conservation Assessment and Strategy was implemented in 1995, the distribution of the species has increased to within 95 percent of its historical distribution. Implementation of the Virgin Spinedace Conservation Assessment and Strategy is ongoing and involves Federal, State, and local partners. Therefore, we find that listing the Virgin spinedace as an endangered species or threatened species under the Act is not warranted. Furthermore, we did not find any evidence of a concentration of threats at a biologically meaningful scale in any portion of the species’ range. A detailed discussion of the basis for this finding can be found in the Virgin spinedace species assessment form and other supporting documents (see ADDRESSES, above). PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 53261 New Information We request that you submit any new information concerning the taxonomy of, biology of, ecology of, status of, or stressors to Amargosa tryonia, Ash Meadows pebblesnail, boat-shaped bugseed, Burrington jumping-slug, crystal springsnail, Dalles sideband, distal-gland springsnail, early dark blue butterfly, Fairbanks springsnail, late dark blue butterfly, median-gland springsnail, minute tryonia, Point of Rocks tryonia, southern rubber boa, southwest Nevada pyrg, sportinggoods tryonia, or Virgin spinedace to the appropriate person, as specified under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, whenever it becomes available. New information will help us monitor these species and make appropriate decisions about their conservation and status. We encourage local agencies and stakeholders to continue cooperative monitoring and conservation efforts. References Cited A list of the references cited in this petition finding is available in the relevant species assessment form, which is available on the internet at https:// www.regulations.gov in the appropriate docket (see ADDRESSES, above) and upon request from the appropriate person (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, above). Authors The primary authors of this document are the staff members of the Species Assessment Team, Ecological Services Program. Authority The authority for this action is section 4 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Martha Williams, Principal Deputy Director, Exercising the Delegated Authority of the Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. 2021–20823 Filed 9–24–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P E:\FR\FM\27SEP1.SGM 27SEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 184 (Monday, September 27, 2021)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 53255-53261]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-20823]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[FF09E21000 FXES11110900000 212]


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 17 Species Not 
Warranted for Listing as Endangered or Threatened Species

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notification of findings.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce 
findings that 17 species are not warranted for listing as endangered or 
threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended 
(Act). After a thorough review of the best available scientific and 
commercial information, we find that it is not warranted at this time 
to list Amargosa tryonia (Tryonia variegata), Ash Meadows pebblesnail 
(Pyrgulopsis erythropoma), boat-shaped bugseed (Corispermum navicula), 
Burrington jumping-slug (Hemphillia burringtoni), crystal springsnail 
(Pyrgulopsis crystalis), Dalles sideband (Monadenia fidelis minor), 
distal-gland springsnail (Pyrgulopsis nanus), early dark blue butterfly 
(Euphilotes ancilla purpura), Fairbanks springsnail (Pyrgulopsis 
fairbanksensis), late dark blue butterfly (Euphilotes ancilla 
cryptica), median-gland springsnail (Pyrgulopsis pisteri), minute 
tryonia (Tryonia ericae), Point of Rocks tryonia (Tryonia elata), 
southern rubber boa (Charina umbratica), southwest Nevada pyrg 
(Pyrgulopsis turbatrix), sportinggoods tryonia (Tryonia angulata), and 
Virgin spinedace (Lepidomeda mollispinis mollispinis). However, we ask 
the public to submit to us at any time any new information relevant to 
the status of any of the species mentioned above or their habitats.

DATES: The findings in this document were made on September 27, 2021.

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

------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Species                             Docket No.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Amargosa tryonia.................  FWS-R8-ES-2021-0077
Ash Meadows pebblesnail..........  FWS-R8-ES-2021-0078
boat-shaped bugseed..............  FWS-R6-ES-2021-0079
Burrington jumping-slug..........  FWS-R1-ES-2021-0080
crystal springsnail..............  FWS-R8-ES-2021-0081
Dalles sideband..................  FWS-R1-ES-2021-0082
distal-gland springsnail.........  FWS-R8-ES-2021-0083
early dark blue butterfly........  FWS-R8-ES-2021-0084
Fairbanks springsnail............  FWS-R8-ES-2021-0085
late dark blue butterfly.........  FWS-R8-ES-2021-0086
median-gland springsnail.........  FWS-R8-ES-2021-0087
minute tryonia...................  FWS-R8-ES-2021-0088
Point of Rocks tryonia...........  FWS-R8-ES-2021-0089
southern rubber boa..............  FWS-R8-ES-2015-0119
southwest Nevada pyrg............  FWS-R8-ES-2021-0090
sportinggoods tryonia............  FWS-R8-ES-2021-0091
Virgin spinedace.................  FWS-R6-ES-2015-0121
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Those descriptions are also available by contacting the appropriate 
person as specified under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Please 
submit any new information, materials, comments, or questions 
concerning this finding to the appropriate person, as specified under 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: 

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Species                        Contact information
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Amargosa tryonia, Ash Meadows            Glen Knowles, Field Supervisor,
 pebblesnail, crystal springsnail,        Southern Nevada Fish and
 distal-gland springsnail, Fairbanks      Wildlife Office, (702) 515-
 springsnail, median-gland springsnail,   5244.
 minute tryonia, Point of Rocks
 tryonia, southwest Nevada pyrg,
 sportinggoods tryonia, early dark blue
 butterfly, late dark blue butterfly.
boat-shaped bugseed....................  Ann Timberman, Field
                                          Supervisor, Colorado Field
                                          Office, (970) 628-7181.
Burrington jumping-slug................  Brad Thompson, State
                                          Supervisor, Washington Fish
                                          and Wildlife Office, (360) 753-
                                          9440.
Dalles sideband........................  Paul Henson, State Supervisor,
                                          Oregon Fish and Wildlife
                                          Office, (503) 231-6179.
southern rubber boa....................  Scott Sobiech, Field
                                          Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and
                                          Wildlife Office, (760) 431-
                                          9440.
Virgin spinedace.......................  Yvette Converse, Field
                                          Supervisor, Utah Field Office,
                                          (801) 975-3330.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    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 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 for which we 
have determined contains substantial scientific or commercial

[[Page 53256]]

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 by other listing activity. We must publish a notification of 
these 12-month findings in the Federal Register.

Summary of Information Pertaining to the Five Factors

    Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and the implementing 
regulations at part 424 of title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations 
(50 CFR part 424) set forth procedures for adding species to, removing 
species from, or reclassifying species on the Lists of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife and Plants (Lists). The Act defines ``species'' as 
including any subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any 
distinct population segment of any species of vertebrate fish or 
wildlife which interbreeds when mature. The Act defines ``endangered 
species'' as any species that is in danger of extinction throughout all 
or a significant portion of its range (16 U.S.C. 1532(6)), and 
``threatened species'' as any species that is likely to become an 
endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range (16 U.S.C. 1532(20)). Under section 
4(a)(1) of the Act, a species may be determined to be an endangered 
species or a threatened species because of any of the following five 
factors:
    (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of its habitat or range;
    (B) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes;
    (C) Disease or predation;
    (D) The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; or
    (E) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued 
existence.
    These factors represent broad categories of natural or human-caused 
actions or conditions that could have an effect on a species' continued 
existence. In evaluating these actions and conditions, we look for 
those that may have a negative effect on individuals of the species, as 
well as other actions or conditions that may ameliorate any negative 
effects or may have positive effects.
    We use the term ``threat'' to refer in general to actions or 
conditions that are known to or are reasonably likely to negatively 
affect individuals of a species. The term ``threat'' includes actions 
or conditions that have a direct impact on individuals (direct 
impacts), as well as those that affect individuals through alteration 
of their habitat or required resources (stressors). The term ``threat'' 
may encompass--either together or separately--the source of the action 
or condition or the action or condition itself. However, the mere 
identification of any threat(s) does not necessarily mean that the 
species meets the statutory definition of an ``endangered species'' or 
a ``threatened species.'' In determining whether a species meets either 
definition, we must evaluate all identified threats by considering the 
expected response by the species, and the effects of the threats--in 
light of those actions and conditions that will ameliorate the 
threats--on an individual, population, and species level. We evaluate 
each threat and its expected effects on the species, then analyze the 
cumulative effect of all of the threats on the species as a whole. We 
also consider the cumulative effect of the threats in light of those 
actions and conditions that will have positive effects on the species, 
such as any existing regulatory mechanisms or conservation efforts. The 
Secretary determines whether the species meets the Act's definition of 
an ``endangered species'' or a ``threatened species'' only after 
conducting this cumulative analysis and describing the expected effect 
on the species now and in the foreseeable future.
    The Act does not define the term ``foreseeable future,'' which 
appears in the statutory definition of ``threatened species.'' Our 
implementing regulations at 50 CFR 424.11(d) set forth a framework for 
evaluating the foreseeable future on a case-by-case basis. The term 
``foreseeable future'' extends only so far into the future as the 
Service can reasonably determine that both the future threats and the 
species' responses to those threats are likely. In other words, the 
foreseeable future is the period of time in which we can make reliable 
predictions. ``Reliable'' does not mean ``certain''; it means 
sufficient to provide a reasonable degree of confidence in the 
prediction. Thus, a prediction is reliable if it is reasonable to 
depend on it when making decisions.
    It is not always possible or necessary to define foreseeable future 
as a particular number of years. Analysis of the foreseeable future 
uses the best scientific and commercial data available and should 
consider the timeframes applicable to the relevant threats and to the 
species' likely responses to those threats in view of its life-history 
characteristics. Data that are typically relevant to assessing the 
species' biological response include species-specific factors such as 
lifespan, reproductive rates or productivity, certain behaviors, and 
other demographic factors.
    In conducting our evaluation of the five factors provided in 
section 4(a)(1) of the Act to determine whether Amargosa tryonia, Ash 
Meadows pebblesnail, Burrington jumping-slug, crystal springsnail, 
Dalles sideband, distal-gland springsnail, early dark blue butterfly, 
Fairbanks springsnail, late dark blue butterfly, median-gland 
springsnail, minute tryonia, Point of Rocks tryonia, southern rubber 
boa, southwest Nevada pyrg, sportinggoods tryonia, or Virgin spinedace 
meet the Act's definition of ``endangered species'' or ``threatened 
species,'' we considered and thoroughly evaluated the best scientific 
and commercial information available regarding the past, present, and 
future stressors and threats. In conducting our taxonomic evaluation of 
boat-shaped bugseed, we determined that it does not meet the definition 
of a ``species'' under the Act, and, as a result, we concluded that 
boat-shaped bugseed is not a listable entity. We reviewed the 
petitions, information available in our files, and other available 
published and unpublished information for all of these species. Our 
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 forms for these species contain more 
detailed biological information, a thorough analysis of the listing 
factors, a list of literature cited, and an explanation of why we 
determined that these species do not meet the Act's definition of an 
``endangered species'' or a ``threatened species.'' A thorough review 
of the taxonomy, life history, and ecology of the Amargosa tryonia, Ash 
Meadows pebblesnail, Burrington jumping-slug, crystal springsnail, 
Dalles sideband, distal-gland springsnail, early dark blue butterfly, 
Fairbanks springsnail, late dark blue butterfly, median-gland 
springsnail, minute tryonia, Point of Rocks tryonia, southern rubber 
boa, southwest Nevada pyrg, sportinggoods tryonia, and Virgin spinedace 
is presented in the species' Species Status Assessment reports. The 
species assessment form for boat-shaped bugseed contains more detailed 
taxonomic information, a list of literature cited, and an explanation 
of why we determined that boat-shaped bugseed does not meet the Act's 
definition of a ``species.'' This supporting information can be found 
on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov under the

[[Page 53257]]

appropriate docket number (see ADDRESSES, above). The following are 
informational summaries for the findings in this document.

Amargosa Tryonia, Ash Meadows Pebblesnail, Crystal Springsnail, Distal-
Gland Springsnail, Fairbanks Springsnail, Median-Gland Springsnail, 
Minute Tryonia, Point of Rocks Tryonia, Southwest Nevada Pyrg, and 
Sportinggoods Tryonia

Previous Federal Actions
    On February 17, 2009, we received a petition from the Center for 
Biological Diversity (CBD) requesting that the Service list 42 species 
of springsnails from the Great Basin and Mojave ecosystems in Nevada, 
Utah, and California as endangered or threatened species, and designate 
critical habitat for the springsnails. The petition included Amargosa 
tryonia, Ash Meadows pebblesnail, crystal springsnail, distal-gland 
springsnail, Fairbanks springsnail, median-gland springsnail (as 
``median gland Nevada pyrg''), minute tryonia, Point of Rocks tryonia, 
southwest Nevada pyrg (as ``southeast Nevada pyrg''), and sportinggoods 
tryonia. On September 13, 2011, we published in the Federal Register 
(76 FR 56608) a 90-day finding in which we announced that the petition 
contained substantial information indicating listing of 32 of the 
petitioned species, including these 10 springsnails, may be warranted. 
This document announces the 12-month finding on the February 17, 2009, 
petition to list the Amargosa tryonia, Ash Meadows pebblesnail, crystal 
springsnail, distal-gland springsnail, Fairbanks springsnail, median-
gland springsnail, minute tryonia, Point of Rocks tryonia, southwest 
Nevada pyrg, and sportinggoods tryonia under the Act.
Summary of Finding
    The 10 springsnail species are in the genus Pyrgulopsis or Tryonia 
of the Cochliopidae family. In general, the 10 species are 
morphologically similar with hardened shells and soft anatomy, and they 
are differentiated based on subtle morphological characteristics. They 
are small in size, only a few millimeters in length and width, and have 
limited ability or tendency to move. These springsnails are herbivores 
or detritivores that primarily graze on the periphyton (freshwater 
organisms attached or clinging to plants) of exposed surfaces of 
aquatic plants and substrates in the small springs they inhabit. Nine 
of the springsnails occur in desert aquifer springs comprised of small 
aquatic and riparian systems as surface flow maintained by groundwater; 
each spring is uniquely influenced by aquifer geology, morphology, 
discharge rates, and regional precipitation. The southwest Nevada pyrg 
occurs in desert springs that are primarily perennial mountain block 
aquifer springs that are less likely to be influenced by groundwater 
withdrawals.
    All of the species excluding the southwest Nevada pyrg occur only 
on Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in the Amargosa Valley 
(Amargosa Desert Hydrographic Area) in Nye County, Nevada. However, 
additional surveys are necessary to determine if Amargosa tryonia 
occurs in more locations on the refuge and on private lands in Shoshone 
and Tecopa, California. In contrast, the southwest Nevada pyrg is 
widespread across southeastern California (Inyo and San Bernardino 
Counties) and southwestern Nevada (Nye and Clark Counties). Spring 
conditions that are most critical in influencing the resource needs of 
all life stages of the 10 springsnails include water quality (e.g., 
appropriate water temperature, dissolved oxygen levels, conductivity, 
pH), presence of aquatic vegetation and appropriate substrate (both of 
which can be variable), the continuity of free-flowing water, and 
adequate spring discharge.
    We carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial 
information available regarding the past, present, and future threats 
to the springsnails, and we evaluated all relevant factors under the 
five listing factors, including any regulatory mechanisms and 
conservation measures addressing these threats. Historically and 
through to the present, the 10 springsnail species and their habitats 
were impacted to varying degrees by one or more of the following 
threats: Predation and competition, vegetation and soil disturbance, 
spring modification, and groundwater pumping. Sources of these threats 
include invasive, nonnative and native species; roads; wildfire; 
grazing and browsing by ungulates; recreation; herbicides; and human 
development. The primary threat currently and into the future is spring 
modifications resulting from potential groundwater pumping or altered 
precipitation/temperature from climate change, both of which could 
affect the availability of adequate water and flow. The species' 
locations are as follows:
     Amargosa tryonia currently occurs in 12 spring locations 
(some of which are comprised of multiple, clustered springs described 
as spring provinces). The majority of these spring locations are found 
within protected lands on Ash Meadows NWR (11 locations), with the 
remaining location at Devils Hole at Death Valley National Park.
     Ash Meadows pebblesnail currently occurs on Ash Meadows 
NWR in the large Kings Pool and at four small, clustered springs within 
the Point of Rocks Spring Province.
     Crystal springsnail occurs in a single desert spring known 
as the Crystal Spring on Ash Meadows NWR.
     Distal-gland springsnail currently occurs on Ash Meadows 
NWR in the following three springs/spring provinces that are centrally 
located on the refuge: Collins Ranch Spring, Five Springs Province, and 
Mary Scott Spring.
     Fairbanks springsnail occurs in a single desert spring 
known as the Fairbanks Spring on Ash Meadows NWR.
     Median-gland springsnail is centrally located in the Warm 
Springs area of Ash Meadows NWR in three springs (Marsh Spring, North 
Scruggs Spring, and School Spring).
     Minute tryonia occurs in a single desert spring known as 
North Scruggs Spring within the Warm Springs area of Ash Meadows NWR.
     Point of Rocks tryonia occurs on Ash Meadows NWR within 
the Point of Rocks Spring Province, which is comprised of six small, 
geographically clustered springs, four of which are occupied by the 
species.
     Sportinggoods tryonia is located within three large 
springs on the Ash Meadows NWR (Big Spring, Crystal Pool, and Fairbanks 
Pool).
     Southwest Nevada pyrg occurs within 36 springs or spring 
provinces in 8 different geographic areas (9 different hydrologic 
subbasins, which are analogous to medium-sized river basins) in 
southwest Nevada and southeast California. Spring locations and 
ownership across its range include primarily Federal lands at Death 
Valley National Park, Bureau of Land Management lands (Red Rock Canyon 
National Conservation Area, Darwin Falls Wilderness, Argus Range 
Wilderness, Surprise Canyon Wilderness, Pleasant Canyon), U.S. Forest 
Service lands (Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, Big Bear Lake 
Range Station and Mill Creek Canyon in the San Bernardino National 
Forest), Department of Defense lands (China Lake Naval Weapons Center), 
and private lands in both Nevada and California.
    The best available information indicates an overall high likelihood 
that the 10 springsnails will continue to maintain resilient 
populations in the foreseeable future given the significant

[[Page 53258]]

conservation afforded to them across the majority of the springs/
populations, no information suggesting new groundwater pumps or 
increased impacts from groundwater pumping compared to current levels, 
and climate models showing increased precipitation into the future 
across the species' ranges. Coupled with aquifer rate of recharge 
information, there is a high likelihood that adequate levels of water 
and flow (as well as the other resource needs of the species) would be 
available in the foreseeable future. We considered these primary 
threats cumulatively with the additional non-primary threats described 
above (e.g., invasive species), in our determination.
    Therefore, we find that listing the Amargosa tryonia, Ash Meadows 
pebblesnail, crystal springsnail, distal-gland springsnail, Fairbanks 
springsnail, median-gland springsnail, minute tryonia, Point of Rocks 
tryonia, southwest Nevada pyrg, and sportinggoods tryonia as endangered 
species or threatened species under the Act is not warranted. 
Furthermore, we did not find any evidence of a concentration of threats 
at a biologically meaningful scale in any portion of the species' 
range. A detailed discussion of the basis for this finding can be found 
in the species assessment forms for these 10 species and other 
supporting documents (see ADDRESSES, above).

Boat-Shaped Bugseed

Previous Federal Actions
    On July 30, 2007, the Service received a petition from Forest 
Guardians (now WildEarth Guardians) requesting that the Service list 
206 species the Mountain-Prairie Region, including the boat-shaped 
bugseed (formerly Corispermum navicula), as endangered or threatened 
species, and designate critical habitat, under the Act.
    On August 18, 2009, the Service published a 90-day finding (74 FR 
41649) indicating that listing may be warranted for 29 species, 
including the boat-shaped bugseed. As a result, the Service initiated a 
status review for the boat-shaped bugseed. This document announces the 
12-month finding on the July 30, 2007, petition to list the boat-shaped 
bugseed under the Act.
Summary of Finding
    We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial 
information available regarding the boat-shaped bugseed and evaluated 
the petition's claims that the species warrants listing under the Act. 
Genetic and morphometric analyses indicate that the boat-shaped bugseed 
is not a distinct species or subspecies. The boat-shaped bugseed is not 
genetically or morphologically distinguishable from other bugseeds, 
including the more wide-ranging American bugseed (C. americanum). 
Therefore, the boat-shaped bugseed is not a valid taxonomic entity, 
does not meet the definition of a ``species'' under the Act, and, as a 
result, does not warrant listing under the Act. A detailed discussion 
of the basis for this finding can be found in the boat-shaped bugseed 
species assessment form and other supporting documents (see ADDRESSES, 
above).

Burrington Jumping-Slug

Previous Federal Actions
    On March 17, 2008, we received a petition from CBD, Conservation 
Northwest, the Environmental Protection Information Center, the 
Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, and Oregon Wild, requesting that the 
Service list 32 species and subspecies of mollusks in the Pacific 
Northwest, including the Burrington jumping-slug, as endangered or 
threatened species under the Act. The petition also requested that the 
Service designate critical habitat concurrent with listing. On October 
5, 2011, the Service published a 90-day finding that the petition 
presented substantial scientific or commercial information indicating 
that Burrington jumping-slug (also known as the ``keeled jumping-
slug'') may be warranted for listing (76 FR 61826). This document 
announces the 12-month finding on the March 17, 2008, petition to list 
the Burrington jumping-slug under the Act.
Summary of Finding
    Burrington jumping-slugs are small terrestrial gastropods that 
range throughout the western portions of British Columbia, Washington, 
and Oregon. The species is known from approximately 2,350 records, most 
of which are a result of surveys conducted prior to vegetation 
management, thinning, and timber projects on Federal lands. In British 
Columbia, documented Burrington jumping-slug occurrences are limited to 
the southern portion of Vancouver Island. In Washington, they occur on 
the Olympic Peninsula and along the Pacific coast. In Oregon, they 
occur primarily in the Coast Range.
    The species inhabits moist, cool, and shady forest floors where 
there is sufficient shade and downed, decaying logs and leaf litter. 
They are found in a variety of forest types including dense old-growth 
rainforests, riparian areas, late-successional and old-growth 
coniferous forests, mixed coniferous forests, and areas densely 
forested with Pacific dogwood (Cornus nuttallii). Red alder (Alnus 
rubra), bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum), vineleaf maple (Acer 
circinatum), and Pacific dogwood are consistently associated with the 
understory and mid-story components of suitable habitat for the 
species.
    We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial 
information available regarding the past, present, and future threats 
to the Burrington jumping-slug, and evaluated all relevant factors 
under the five listing factors, including any regulatory mechanisms and 
conservation measures addressing these stressors. The primary stressors 
affecting the Burrington jumping-slug's biological status include 
habitat loss and fragmentation due to forest management and 
development, and climate-mediated changes in temperature and wildfire 
risk. Currently, the species has more than 50 populations in good or 
moderate condition that are distributed across its historical range and 
occupy a diversity of ecological settings. The projected effects of 
habitat loss, rising temperatures, and increased fire risk are likely 
to reduce the number of populations in good or moderate condition and 
lead to some additional extirpations of populations. However, due to 
the number and spatial heterogeneity of remaining populations, the 
species is projected to maintain adequate levels of resiliency. Given 
the species' continued widespread distribution and its ecological and 
genetic diversity, we project that it will also maintain adequate 
redundancy and representation rangewide in the foreseeable future. 
Furthermore, we did not find any evidence of a concentration of threats 
at any biologically meaningful scale in any portion of the species' 
range.
    Therefore, we find that listing the Burrington jumping-slug as an 
endangered species or threatened species under the Act is not 
warranted. A detailed discussion of the basis for this finding can be 
found in the Burrington jumping-slug SSA report and other supporting 
documents (see ADDRESSES, above).

Dalles Sideband

Previous Federal Actions
    On March 17, 2008, we received a petition from CBD, Conservation 
Northwest, the Environmental Protection Information Center, the 
Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, and Oregon Wild, requesting that the 
Service list 32 species and subspecies of mollusks in the Pacific 
Northwest,

[[Page 53259]]

including the Dalles sideband, as endangered or threatened under the 
Act. The petition also requested that the Service designate critical 
habitat concurrent with listing. On October 5, 2011, the Service 
published a 90-finding that the petition presented substantial 
scientific or commercial information indicating that the Dalles 
sideband may be warranted for listing (76 FR 61826). To inform our 
status review, we completed an SSA for the Dalles sideband. This 
document announces the 12-month finding on the March 17, 2008, petition 
to list the Dalles sideband under the Act.
Summary of Finding
    The Dalles sideband is a small, terrestrial snail that is a 
subspecies of the Pacific sideband snail (Monadenia fidelis), with a 
known range east of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon and Washington, 
primarily along the Columbia River corridor, extending east to the 
mouth of the John Day River. Occurrences have been documented near The 
Dalles, Oregon, with more recent detections on the Mount Hood National 
Forest in Oregon and the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington. 
The Dalles sideband has been identified in Wasco, Hood River, and 
Sherman Counties in Oregon, and Skamania, Lewis, and Klickitat Counties 
in Washington. The majority of known occurrences are a result of 
surveys conducted prior to vegetation management, thinning, and timber 
projects on Federal lands.
    The Dalles sideband inhabits forested environments, particularly 
those near talus slopes and/or in areas containing a high concentration 
of woody debris, leaves, or other refugia. They also live in cool, 
moist areas near springs and riparian areas. While the specific diet of 
the Dalles sideband is not known, other members of its genus feed on 
various plant material, roots, fungus, microorganisms, and other 
organic matter.
    We carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial 
information available regarding the past, present, and future threats 
to the Dalles sideband, and we evaluated all relevant factors under the 
five listing factors, including any regulatory mechanisms and 
conservation measures addressing these stressors. The primary stressors 
affecting the Dalles sideband's biological status include habitat loss 
and fragmentation due to forest management, and the climate-mediated 
risk of drought and wildfire. Currently, the subspecies is known from 
23 resiliency units (delineated from 174 occurrence records), the 
majority of which are in high condition, with the remainder in moderate 
condition. These resiliency units are distributed across the historical 
range of the subspecies and occupy a diversity of ecological settings. 
We considered three plausible future scenarios that included projected 
changes in forest management, and the risk of drought and wildfire, as 
influenced by climate change, and how these threats would impact Dalles 
sideband habitat and population connectivity. We determined that these 
threats are likely to reduce the number of Dalles sideband populations 
in high or moderate condition, and may lead to some populations 
becoming extirpated in the future. However, our analysis indicates that 
even with the projected decline in habitat quality, and by proxy the 
populations, the subspecies will maintain adequate levels of resiliency 
across most remaining populations, and adequate redundancy and 
representation rangewide, to maintain the subspecies' viability in the 
foreseeable future.
    Therefore, we find that listing the Dalles sideband as an 
endangered or threatened species under the Act is not warranted. 
Furthermore, we did not find any evidence of a concentration of threats 
at a biologically meaningful scale in any portion of the species' 
range. A detailed discussion of the basis for this finding can be found 
in the Dalles sideband species assessment form and other supporting 
documents (see ADDRESSES, above).

Early Dark Blue Butterfly and Late Dark Blue Butterfly

Previous Federal Actions
    On October 6, 2011, we received a petition, dated September 30, 
2011, from WildEarth Guardians to list the two dark blue butterfly 
subspecies as endangered or threatened under the Act. On August 7, 
2012, we published a 90-day finding stating that the petition presented 
substantial information indicating that listing the dark blue 
butterflies (as ``two Spring Mountains dark blue butterflies'') may be 
warranted (77 FR 47003). This document announces our 12-month finding 
on the September 30, 2011, petition to list the two dark blue butterfly 
subspecies.
Summary of Finding
    The Spring Mountains dark blue butterflies are two subspecies of 
the Ancilla dotted blue butterfly (Euphilotes ancilla) found in the 
Spring Mountains in Clark County in southwestern Nevada. The two 
subspecies have no widely recognized common names, so we refer to them 
as the early subspecies (E. a. purpura) and the late subspecies (E. a. 
cryptica) to coincide with their respective flight periods.
    The Spring Mountains dark blue butterflies are distributed across 
the Spring Mountains above an elevation of 1,600 meters (5,250 feet). 
The late dark blue butterfly is distributed throughout the Spring 
Mountains, and the early dark blue butterfly has a narrower range 
restricted to the northern third of the Spring Mountains. The two 
subspecies overlap with each other in three locations in this part of 
their range. The early dark blue butterfly has a flight period from May 
to June, and the late dark blue butterfly has a flight period from late 
June to early September. Both subspecies use varieties of sulphur-
flowered buckwheats (Eriogonum umbellatum) as their host plants.
    We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial 
information available regarding the past, present, and future threats 
to the early and late dark blue butterflies, and we evaluated all 
relevant factors under the five listing factors, including any 
regulatory mechanisms and conservation measures addressing these 
threats. The primary threats affecting both the early and the late dark 
blue butterflies' biological status include fire, herbivory of host 
plants, drought, and climate change. If the magnitude or frequency of 
fire increased with less time for habitat to recover, the effects of 
fire on dark blue butterflies and their habitat could become more 
severe. However, current models show that fire risk in the Spring 
Mountains is moderate to low, and we do not have any information that 
fires will increase in magnitude into the foreseeable future. As a 
result of climate change in the Spring Mountains, droughts could become 
more frequent, and host plants will likely shift upward in elevation. 
However, both subspecies of dark blue butterfly already occur at a wide 
elevational range, which may allow them to respond by moving upslope to 
more favorable areas. Adult dark blue butterflies are capable of 
finding diffuse and small patches of flowers, which allows them to 
match with habitat over a wide range of elevations, allowing for 
survival during climatic fluctuations. Additionally, although herbivory 
by native species and feral horses is occurring at most dark blue 
butterfly locations, the magnitude of impacts is low.
    Currently, all 9 populations of early dark blue butterflies and 30 
of 33 populations of late dark blue butterflies are experiencing low or 
moderate exposure to threats. In all future scenarios, we expect that 
populations will continue to experience only low or

[[Page 53260]]

moderate levels of threat in the foreseeable future. In scenarios for 
the two subspecies, the resiliency, redundancy, and representation of 
both may decrease depending on the severity of climate change as the 
risk of drought and catastrophic fires increases the potential for 
population extirpation. The early dark blue butterfly is at greater 
risk because it occurs at only nine locations. However, dark blue 
butterflies display adaptive capacity in their ability to recolonize 
areas following disturbance, and as previously discussed, they likely 
have the ability to shift upslope in response to climate change. 
Overall, even if some reductions occur, we expect that the subspecies 
will maintain enough viability that they will not be likely to be 
endangered in the foreseeable future.
    Therefore, we find that listing the early dark blue butterfly as an 
endangered species or threatened species under the Act is not 
warranted. We also find that listing the late dark blue butterfly as an 
endangered species or threatened species under the Act is not 
warranted. Furthermore, we did not find any evidence of a concentration 
of threats at a biologically meaningful scale in any portion of either 
the early dark blue butterfly's range or the late dark blue butterfly's 
range. A detailed discussion of the basis for this finding can be found 
in the species assessment form for the early and late dark blue 
butterflies and other supporting documents (see ADDRESSES, above).

Southern Rubber Boa

Previous Federal Actions
    On July 11, 2012, we received a petition from CBD requesting that 
the Service list 53 amphibians and reptiles in the United States, 
including the southern rubber boa, as an endangered or threatened 
species and designate critical habitat for these species under the Act. 
We published a 90-day finding on 25 species, including the southern 
rubber boa, in the Federal Register on September 18, 2015 (80 FR 
56423), in response to the petition. We determined in our 90-day 
finding that the petition presented substantial scientific or 
commercial information indicating that listing may be warranted for 23 
species, including the southern rubber boa. This document announces the 
12-month finding on the July 11, 2012, petition to list the southern 
rubber boa under the Act.
Summary of Finding
    The southern rubber boa is one of six rubber boas of the genus 
Charina that reside within the Boidae family, aptly named because they 
have skin that folds in a way that resembles rubber. The southern 
rubber boa is a stout-bodied snake with a short, blunt tail; measures 
between 13 and 21 inches (35 and 55 centimeters); and may live over 60 
years in the wild. It is historically and currently known exclusively 
from the higher elevations within the San Bernardino Mountains and San 
Jacinto Mountains of southern California, in San Bernardino and 
Riverside Counties, California. Each mountain range is believed to 
support a single population, as there are no clear separations in the 
species' distribution within each mountain range. The species is 
fossorial (burrows), nocturnal, and only infrequently active 
aboveground.
    Southern rubber boa habitat is characterized as montane forest with 
relatively high humidity, well-developed soil, woody canopy openings, 
and piles or outcroppings of granitic rock formations. The species uses 
rock outcroppings, as well as existing rodent burrows, as winter 
hibernacula--warm areas that allow boas to remain protected underground 
from predators and winter weather. Deep rock crevices and area beneath 
large rocks are also used throughout the year for basking at night, or 
when they are not searching for mates or prey such as juvenile rodents, 
insects, and lizard eggs. Approximately 88 percent of the species' 
range, as quantified by our examination of modeled habitat, occurs on 
public or conserved lands owned and managed by the San Bernardino 
National Forest, the Bureau of Land Management, the State of 
California, and local governments and conservancies; thus, the species 
is protected from large-scale habitat loss. The southern rubber boa's 
resource needs reflect the species' reliance on moisture; their 
nocturnal habits; and the importance of shelters for hibernation, 
gestation, basking under cover, and humidity. Habitat and demographic 
needs include appropriate humidity, sufficient prey, appropriate 
gestation sites and shelter, mate availability and adult abundance, and 
adequate habitat diversity.
    We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial 
information available regarding the past, present, and future threats 
to the southern rubber boa, and we evaluated all relevant factors under 
the five listing factors in the Act, including any regulatory 
mechanisms and conservation measures addressing these threats. We 
evaluated both San Bernardino and San Jacinto mountain range 
populations, including, for the purposes of our analysis, evaluating 
the San Bernardino Mountains population as consisting of an eastern and 
a western subpopulation.. The primary threats to the southern rubber 
boa are (1) the loss, degradation, or modification of habitat from 
drying conditions, and (2) loss of individuals, with the most 
significant sources of these threats for both individual southern 
rubber boa losses and species' habitat impacts resulting from changing 
climate conditions (i.e., drought, increased temperatures), wildfire, 
and rock pile disturbance from snake collectors and field hobbyists. 
Other less significant sources of threats that could also result in 
loss, degradation, or modification of habitat, and loss of individuals, 
include development/land use change, recreation, infrastructure and 
forest management, and resource extraction.
    After evaluation of impacts from current threats on habitat and 
demographic needs, we determined that each of the three analysis units 
(western San Bernardino Mountains subpopulation, eastern San Bernardino 
Mountains subpopulation, and San Jacinto Mountains population) consist 
of moderately to highly resilient populations/subpopulations that are 
likely to be able to withstand normal year-to-year variations in 
environmental conditions such as temperature changes; periodic 
disturbances within the normal range of variation such as wildfire; and 
normal variation in demographic rates such as mortality and fecundity. 
The best available information indicates the southern rubber boa is 
also able to withstand catastrophic events within each of the analysis 
units, and has the ability to adapt to environmental changes, such as 
changes to climate or habitat conditions. At this time, the best 
available information (based on our assumptions given significant 
unknowns surrounding the species and its response to changing habitat 
conditions) indicates an overall high likelihood that the species will 
continue to maintain resilient populations in the foreseeable future, 
particularly in light of significant conservation afforded the species 
across its range.
    Therefore, we find that listing the southern rubber boa as an 
endangered or threatened species under the Act is not warranted. 
Furthermore, we did not find any evidence of a concentration of threats 
at a biologically meaningful scale in any portion of the species' 
range. A detailed discussion of the basis for this finding can be found 
in the southern rubber boa species assessment form and other supporting 
documents (see ADDRESSES, above).

[[Page 53261]]

Virgin Spinedace

Previous Federal Actions
    On November 20, 2012, the Service received a petition from CBD to 
list the Virgin spinedace as endangered or threatened under the Act. On 
September 18, 2015, we published a 90-day finding in the Federal 
Register in which we determined that the petition presented substantial 
scientific or commercial information indicating that listing the Virgin 
spinedace may be warranted (80 FR 56423). On March 16, 2016, CBD filed 
a complaint alleging failure to complete a 12-month finding for the 
species. On August 30, 2016, we entered into a settlement agreement, in 
which we committed to submitting a 12-month finding to the Federal 
Register by September 30, 2021. This document announces the 12-month 
finding on the November 20, 2012, petition to list the Virgin spinedace 
under the Act and fulfills our settlement agreement obligations.
Summary of Finding
    The Virgin spinedace is a small freshwater minnow found in the 
mainstream Virgin River and its tributaries in southwestern Utah 
(Washington County), northwestern Arizona (Mohave County), and 
southeastern Nevada (Lincoln County). The species' current distribution 
is approximately 222 kilometers (138 miles), which is 95 percent of its 
historical distribution.
    The Virgin spinedace is adapted to a highly variable western stream 
hydrology with intermittent drying. Its resource needs include stream 
reaches of sufficient length to maintain a population, adequate 
perennial flow, unimpeded fish passage, suitable habitat (presence of 
pools, runs, and riffles), suitable water quality, sufficient food 
base, and absence of predators and competitors. The species is an 
opportunistic feeder, but primarily feeds on insects.
    We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial 
information available regarding the past, present, and future threats 
to the Virgin spinedace, and we evaluated all relevant factors under 
the five listing factors, including any regulatory mechanisms and 
conservation measures addressing these stressors. The primary stressors 
affecting the Virgin spinedace's biological status include reduced 
streamflow, impeded fish passage, habitat destruction, poor water 
quality, nonnative fish predators/competitors, and climate change. We 
conducted a population-specific analysis of the environmental 
conditions that negatively affect individuals or populations of the 
Virgin spinedace, as well as conservation efforts that ameliorate those 
stressors. The Virgin spinedace currently exhibits good resiliency, 
redundancy, and representation. We anticipate maintaining good or fair 
levels of resiliency, redundancy, and representation in the foreseeable 
future across a range of future scenarios. There was no concentration 
of stressors in any significant portion of the species' range 
sufficient to cause the species to likely become in danger of 
extinction in the foreseeable future. Our conclusions are supported by 
the fact that since the Virgin Spinedace Conservation Assessment and 
Strategy was implemented in 1995, the distribution of the species has 
increased to within 95 percent of its historical distribution. 
Implementation of the Virgin Spinedace Conservation Assessment and 
Strategy is ongoing and involves Federal, State, and local partners.
    Therefore, we find that listing the Virgin spinedace as an 
endangered species or threatened species under the Act is not 
warranted. Furthermore, we did not find any evidence of a concentration 
of threats at a biologically meaningful scale in any portion of the 
species' range. A detailed discussion of the basis for this finding can 
be found in the Virgin spinedace species assessment form and other 
supporting documents (see ADDRESSES, above).

New Information

    We request that you submit any new information concerning the 
taxonomy of, biology of, ecology of, status of, or stressors to 
Amargosa tryonia, Ash Meadows pebblesnail, boat-shaped bugseed, 
Burrington jumping-slug, crystal springsnail, Dalles sideband, distal-
gland springsnail, early dark blue butterfly, Fairbanks springsnail, 
late dark blue butterfly, median-gland springsnail, minute tryonia, 
Point of Rocks tryonia, southern rubber boa, southwest Nevada pyrg, 
sportinggoods tryonia, or Virgin spinedace to the appropriate person, 
as specified under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, whenever it becomes 
available. New information will help us monitor these species and make 
appropriate decisions about their conservation and status. We encourage 
local agencies and stakeholders to continue cooperative monitoring and 
conservation efforts.

References Cited

    A list of the references cited in this petition finding is 
available in the relevant species assessment form, which is available 
on the internet at https://www.regulations.gov in the appropriate docket 
(see ADDRESSES, above) and upon request from the appropriate person 
(see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, above).

Authors

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

Authority

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

Martha Williams,
Principal Deputy Director, Exercising the Delegated Authority of the 
Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2021-20823 Filed 9-24-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4333-15-P