Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Threatened Status for Penstemon grahamii
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to determine threatened status for Penstemon grahamii (Graham's beardtongue), a plant species from Colorado and Utah, under the authority of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). P. grahamii exists in a series of small populations that extend in a narrow band from Raven Ridge west of the town of Rangely in Rio Blanco County, Colorado, westward to the vicinity of Sand Wash near the point where Carbon, Duchesne, and Uintah Counties meet in Utah's Uinta Basin. Threats to the species include degradation of the species' habitat by oil and gas exploration, drilling and field development, and tar sand and oil shale mining. Off-road vehicle (ORV) use, overutilization by domestic and wild grazers, and overutilization for horticultural use may also affect some populations. These threats, in combination with small population sizes and limited distribution, result in species vulnerability to natural and human-caused stochastic events. This proposal, if made final, would implement Federal protection provided by the Act. In addition, we propose to designate 3,503.68 acres (2,102 hectares) as critical habitat for P. grahamii in five units in Rio Blanco County, Colorado, and Duchesne and Uintah Counties, Utah.