Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding for the Kern Plateau Salamander; Threatened Species Status With Section 4(d) Rule for the Kern Canyon Slender Salamander and Endangered Species Status for the Relictual Slender Salamander; Designation of Critical Habitat
We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce 12- month findings on a petition to list the Kern Plateau salamander (Batrachoseps robustus), the Kern Canyon slender salamander (Batrachoseps simatus), and the relictual slender salamander (Batrachoseps relictus), three salamander species from the southern Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We find that listing the Kern Canyon slender salamander and the relictual slender salamander is warranted. Accordingly, we propose to list the Kern Canyon slender salamander as a threatened species with a rule issued under section 4(d) of the Act (``4(d) rule''), and we propose to list the relictual slender salamander as an endangered species. We also propose to designate critical habitat under the Act for both of these species in Kern County, California. For the Kern Canyon slender salamander, approximately 2,051 acres (ac) (830 hectares (ha)) fall within the boundaries of the proposed critical habitat designation, and for the relictual slender salamander, approximately 2,685 ac (1,087 ha) fall within the boundaries of the proposed critical habitat designation. We also announce the availability of a draft economic analysis (DEA) of the proposed designations of critical habitat for the Kern Canyon slender salamander and the relictual slender salamander. After a thorough review of the best available scientific and commercial information, we find that it is not warranted at this time to list the Kern Plateau salamander. We ask the public to submit to us at any time new information relevant to the status of the Kern Plateau salamander or its habitat.