[Federal Register Volume 62, Number 117 (Wednesday, June 18, 1997)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 33029-33038]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 97-15924]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AC96


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Endangered Status 
for Four Plants From Vernal Pools and Mesic Areas in Northern 
California

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.

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

SUMMARY: The Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) determines endangered 
status pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended 
(Act), for four plants--Lasthenia conjugens (Contra Costa goldfields), 
Navarretia leucocephala ssp. pauciflora (few-flowered navarretia), 
Navarretia leucocephala ssp. plieantha (many-flowered navarretia), and 
Parvisedum leiocarpum (Lake County stonecrop). These species grow in 
and around the margins of vernal pools and in seasonally wet areas in 
northern California. Habitat loss and degradation imperil the continued 
existence of these plants. This final rule implements protection 
provisions of the Act for listed plants.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 18, 1997.

ADDRESSES: The complete file for this rule is available for inspection, 
by appointment, during normal business hours at the Sacramento Field 
Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 3310 El Camino Ave., Suite 130, 
Sacramento, California 95821-6340.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Elizabeth Warne or Kirsten Tarp (see 
ADDRESSES section) (telephone 916/979-2120).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Lasthenia conjugens was described from specimens collected near 
Antioch in Contra Costa County, California (Greene 1888). Hall (1914) 
included the taxon within Baeria fremontii, however, Ferris (1958) 
later recognized this material as B. fremontii var. conjugens. Ornduff 
(1966) submerged the genus Baeria under Lasthenia and recognized the 
specific rank of L. conjugens.
    Lasthenia conjugens is a showy spring annual in the aster family 
(Asteraceae) that grows 10 to 30 centimeters (cm) (4 to 12 inches 
(in.)) tall and is usually branched. The leaves are opposite, light 
green, and usually have a feather-like arrangement with narrow clefts 
extending more than halfway toward the stem. The flowers are found in 
terminal yellow heads. The phyllaries are one-third to one-half fused; 
the achenes are less than 1.5 millimeters (mm) (0.06 in.) long and 
always lack a pappus. Lasthenia conjugens flowers from March to June. 
The partially fused phyllaries and the lack of a pappus distinguish 
this species from L. fremontii and L. burkei, which it otherwise 
closely resembles.
    Habitat for Lasthenia conjugens consists of vernal pools in open 
grassy areas of woodland and valley grassland communities. Vernal pools 
are a natural habitat type of the Mediterranean climate region of the 
Pacific coast and the Central Valley of California. Covered by shallow 
water for extended periods during the cool season but completely dry 
for most of the warm season drought, vernal pools hold water long 
enough to allow some purely aquatic organisms to grow and reproduce, 
but not long enough to permit the development of a typical pond or 
marsh ecosystem. The alternation of very wet and very dry conditions 
creates an unusual ecological situation that supports a unique biota 
(Zedler 1987). Lasthenia conjugens occurs at elevations up to 213 m 
(700 feet (ft)) (Ornduff 1966) although one disjunct location, which is 
possibly extirpated, occurred at an elevation of 469 m (1540 ft) 
(California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB) 1996).
    Historically, Lasthenia conjugens grew in vernal pool habitats in 
seven counties--Alameda, Contra Costa, Mendocino, Santa Barbara, Santa 
Clara, Napa, and Solano counties, California. Currently, the species is 
known from a total of 13 populations in Alameda, Contra Costa, Napa, 
and Solano counties (California Native Plant Society (CNPS) 1978, CNDDB 
1996). Eight of these populations were discovered after

[[Page 33030]]

publication of the proposed rule and are located within the original 
range of the species near Fairfield in Solano County, and near Fremont 
in Alameda County (CNDDB 1996, Duncan & Jones 1996). One population of 
L. conjugens occurs in Contra Costa County, two in Napa County, one in 
Alameda County, and nine in Solano County. Of the nine populations 
located in Solano County, eight are clustered near the town of 
Fairfield and one is located at Travis Air Force Base. The population 
located at Travis Air Force Base is the only population on Federal 
land; all other populations are on private lands.
    The type specimen for Navarretia pauciflora was collected from a 
playa 8 kilometers (km) (5 miles (mi)) north of Lower Lake, Lake 
County, California (Mason 1946). Day (1993) revised the treatment of 
Navarretia and reduced N. pauciflora to a subspecies of N. 
leucocephala. More than a dozen species of Navarretia occur in the 
region, including several restricted to vernal pools. Both N. 
leucocephala ssp. pauciflora and N. leucocephala ssp. plieantha are 
restricted to northern ash-flow volcanic vernal pools, a pool type with 
a very limited distribution. (CNPS 1994; Todd Keeler-Wolfe, California 
Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), pers. comm. 1996).
    Navarretia leucocephala ssp. pauciflora is a low-growing, 
spreading, and much-branched annual herb in the phlox family 
(Polemoniaceae). This plant grows to a height of 1 to 4 cm (0.4 to 1.6 
in.). The nearly hairless leaves are linear and entire, or parted into 
a few linear lobes, and 1 to 2.5 cm (0.4 to 1.0 in.) long. The 
inflorescence is a head of 2 to 15 blue or white (fading to blue) 
flowers. A few spiny, leaf-like bracts below each head extend out 1.5 
to 3 times the radius of the head; bracts within the head are shorter. 
The funnel-shaped corollas are 5 to 7 mm (0.2 to 0.3 in.) long with 
five lobes 1.5 mm (0.06 in.) long. Each corolla lobe has a single 
unbranched vein. The stigma has two minute lobes. Navarretia 
leucocephala ssp. pauciflora flowers from May to June.
    Navarretia leucocephala ssp. pauciflora is found growing in 
volcanic ash substrate, clay pan vernal pools in chaparral, grassland, 
or mixed coniferous forest in southern Lake and Napa Counties. The 
subspecies occurs over a 50 square-kilometer (sq-km) (20 square-mile 
(sq-mi)) area at elevations of 450 to 850 m (1,400 to 2,800 ft). 
Historically, N. leucocephala ssp. pauciflora was known from nine sites 
in Napa and Lake counties. The subspecies has become extirpated from 
six historical localities (CNPS 1990a; Alva Day, California Academy of 
Sciences, in litt. 1993). Two new localities were found in 1989. The 
five extant populations occur on private lands.
    Five subspecies of Navarretia leucocephala are currently recognized 
(Day 1993), two of which may hybridize with N. leucocephala ssp. 
pauciflora (A. Day, pers. comm. 1993). These two subspecies, N. 
leucocephala ssp. bakeri and N. leucocephala ssp. plieantha, differ 
from N. leucocephala ssp. pauciflora in stature, degree of hairiness, 
or size, number or lobing of floral parts. In addition, the flower 
color in ssp. plieantha differs, being bright blue rather that white or 
pale blue as in ssp. pauciflora. As stated in the Service's proposed 
policy on the treatment of intercrosses and intercross progeny (61 FR 
4710; February 7, 1996), ``intercross progeny'' (hybrids) that are the 
result of a cross involving a listed taxon receive protection under the 
Act if the progeny more closely resemble the listed parent's taxon. 
This policy, if finalized, will primarily apply to a population at Loch 
Lomond, which is a product of intercross between ssp. plieantha and 
ssp. pauciflora (A. Day, in litt. 1993). If the policy is finalized, 
the Loch Lomond population of N. leucocephala will be treated as if it 
were listed because both parental taxa will be listed with the 
publication of this rule. The intercross policy could also apply to two 
historical populations in Sonoma County. Day identified herbaria 
specimens of these populations as intermediates between ssp. plieantha 
and ssp. bakeri (a non-listed taxon) (A. Day, in litt. 1993). However, 
at least one of these populations appears to be no longer extant 
(McCarten 1985, CNPS 1987). Should these populations be rediscovered, a 
morphological assessment would be required to determine the 
applicability of any intercross policy and subsequent protection under 
the Act.
    Navarretia plieantha was described from the margin of Bogg's Lake 
in Lake County, California (Mason 1946). Day reduced the taxon to a 
subspecies of N. leucocephala in her revised treatment (Day 1993). 
Navarretia leucocephala ssp. plieantha is distinguished from N. 
leucocephala ssp. pauciflora by its more numerous and multi-flowered 
heads (20 to 60 flowers versus 2 to 15), and in having three or more 
pairs of outer bracts with the bract lobes being forked or three-four 
branched from the base. It is distinguished from other Navarretias in 
the region by stature, degree of hairiness, or size, number, or lobing 
of floral parts.
    Navarretia leucocephala ssp. plieantha is a low growing annual herb 
in the phlox family (Polemoniaceae) that forms a mat 5 to 20 cm (2 to 8 
in.) wide. The 3 to 4 cm (1.0 to 1.6 in.) long leaves are linear or 
have a few widely spaced linear lobes. The inflorescence is a head 
composed of 20 to 50 white or blue flowers. Each head is 1.5 to 2 cm 
(0.6 to 0.8 in.) across and is subtended by 3 to 4 leaf-like bracts 
that are simple-pinnate or compound-pinnate and extend outward 1 to 2 
times the radius of the head. The bracts within the head are shorter. 
The funnel-shaped corolla is 5 to 6 mm (0.20 to 0.24 in.) long with 
five lobes each 2 mm (0.7 in.) long. The stigma is two-cleft. 
Navarretia leucocephala ssp. plieantha flowers in May and June.
    Navarretia leucocephala ssp. plieantha is found in dry meadows, 
along the margins of volcanic ash substrate vernal pools and lakes, and 
in open, wet ground in forest openings. It occurs over a 1,000 sq-km 
(390 sq-mi) area at elevations of 700 to 915 m (2,300 to 3,000 ft). 
Navarretia leucocephala ssp. plieantha is historically known from eight 
locations in Lake and Sonoma counties, California. Two historical 
populations in Sonoma County are considered potentially extirpated 
(CNDDB 1996) and were possibly hybrids between N. leucocephala ssp. 
plieantha and N. leucocephala ssp. bakeri. All five extant populations 
are found in Lake County (A. Day, in litt. 1993). Four of the extant 
populations are located on private land; one of these is located on The 
Nature Conservancy (TNC) preserve at Bogg's Lake. The fifth population 
is an intercross population (N. leucocephala ssp. plieantha  x  N. 
leucocephala ssp. pauciflora) that occurs on State land at Loch Lomond. 
As discussed above, as an intercross population resulting from two 
listed species, this population could receive protection under the Act 
if the proposed hybrid policy is finalized. This site is managed as an 
ecological reserve by the CDFG.
    Parvisedum leiocarpum is a low, erect to spreading annual in the 
stonecrop family (Crassulaceae) with reddish stems 3 to 5 cm (1 to 2 
in.) tall. The fleshy, oblong leaves are 4 to 5 mm (0.16 to 0.20 in.) 
long and fall off the stem by flowering time. The inflorescence is a 
cyme of campanulate (bell-shaped) yellow flowers that are crowded on 
curving stems in two rows. The five petals are 3 to 3.5 mm (0.12 to 
0.14 in.) long with large, club-shaped, red nectaries. The five carpels 
have smooth surfaces. Parvisedum leiocarpum flowers in April and May.
    Parvisedum leiocarpum was described from an area 10.4 km (6.5 mi) 
north of Lower Lake, Lake County,

[[Page 33031]]

California, as Sedella leiocarpa (Sharsmith 1940). Clausen (1946) 
subsequently placed the plant in the genus Parvisedum and gave it the 
specific rank of P. leiocarpum. Two similar species occur within the 
range of P. leiocarpum. Parvisedum pentandrum differs in having shorter 
petals, top-shaped flowers, and carpels with glandular bumps on the 
surfaces. Crassula connata differs in having only one to a few, four-
petaled flowers above each leaf base not arranged in definite cymes.
    Parvisedum leiocarpum is found on volcanic substrates in areas of 
impeded drainage, such as in and along the margins of vernal pools and 
depressions in bedrock. The historical range of the species encompasses 
six collection localities within a 16 km (10 mi) radius from Siegler 
Springs near Lower Lake, Lake County, California (CDFG 1991b). 
Elevations of occurrences range from 395 to 790 m (1,300 to 2,600 ft). 
Parvisedum leiocarpum has apparently disappeared at three sites within 
this area (CDFG 1991b, CNPS 1990b). The extant populations of P. 
leiocarpum collectively cover a total area of less than 1.2 hectares 
(ha) (3 acres (ac)). All populations occur on private lands.

Previous Federal Action

    Federal government actions on these four plants began as a result 
of section 12 of the 1973 Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), which directed 
the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution to prepare a report on 
those plants considered to be endangered, threatened, or extinct in the 
United States. This report, designated as House Document No. 94-51, was 
presented to Congress on January 9, 1975, and included Lasthenia 
conjugens as threatened, and Navarretia pauciflora (now known as N. 
leucocephala ssp. pauciflora), Navarretia plieantha (now known as N. 
leucocephala ssp. plieantha), and Parvisedum leiocarpum as endangered. 
The Service published a notice in the July 1, 1975, Federal Register 
(40 FR 27823) of its acceptance of the report of the Smithsonian 
Institution as a petition within the context of section 4(c)(2) 
(petition provisions are now found in section 4(b)(3) of the Act) and 
its intention to review the status of the plant taxa named in the 
report. The above four taxa were included in the July 1, 1975, notice. 
On June 16, 1976, the Service published a proposal in the Federal 
Register (42 FR 24523) to determine approximately 1,700 vascular plant 
species to be endangered species pursuant to section 4 of the Act. The 
list of 1,700 plant taxa was assembled on the basis of comments and 
data received by the Smithsonian Institution and the Service in 
response to House Document No. 94-51 and the July 1, 1975, Federal 
Register publication. Navarretia pauciflora and N. plieantha were 
included in the June 16, 1976, Federal Register document. General 
comments received in relation to the 1976 proposal were summarized in 
an April 26, 1978, Federal Register publication (43 FR 17909).
    The Endangered Species Act Amendments of 1978 required that all 
proposals over 2 years old be withdrawn. A 1-year grace period was 
given to those proposals already more than 2 years old. In the December 
10, 1979, Federal Register (44 FR 70796), the Service published a 
notice of withdrawal of the June 16, 1976, proposal.
    The Service published an updated candidate notice of review for 
plants on December 15, 1980 (45 FR 82480). This notice included 
Lasthenia conjugens, Navarretia pauciflora, Navarretia plieantha, and 
Parvisedum leiocarpum as category 1 candidates for Federal listing. 
Category 1 candidates were those species for which the Service had on 
file sufficient information to support issuance of proposed listing 
rules. On November 28, 1983, the Service published a supplement to this 
notice of review (48 FR 39526) which changed L. conjugens, N. 
pauciflora, N. plieantha, and P. leiocarpum from category 1 to category 
2 candidates. Category 2 candidates were those species for which the 
Service had information indicating that listing may be warranted but 
for which it lacked sufficient information on status and threats to 
support issuance of proposed listing rules.
    When the plant notice was revised on September 27, 1985 (50 FR 
39526), Lasthenia conjugens, Navarretia pauciflora, Navarretia 
plieantha, and Parvisedum leiocarpum were included as category 2 
candidates. When the plant notice was again revised on February 21, 
1990 (55 FR 6184), L. conjugens, N. plieantha, and P. leiocarpum were 
elevated to category 1 candidates. Navarretia pauciflora was retained 
as a category 2 candidate. Since the publication of that notice, the 
Service has received additional information on the status of Navarretia 
leucocephala ssp. pauciflora that supports the listing of this species. 
The September 30, 1993, plant notice of review (58 FR 51144) included 
all four plant taxa as category 1 candidates. As announced in a notice 
published in the February 28, 1996, Federal Register (61 FR 7596), the 
designation of multiple categories of candidates has been discontinued, 
and only former category 1 species are now recognized as candidates for 
listing purposes.
    Section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act requires the Secretary to make 
certain findings on pending petitions within 12 months of their 
receipt. Section 2(b)(1) further requires that all petitions pending on 
October 13, 1982, be treated as having been newly submitted on that 
date. This was the case for Lasthenia conjugens, Navarretia pauciflora, 
Navarretia plieantha, and Parvisedum leiocarpum because the 1975 
Smithsonian report had been accepted as a petition. On October 13, 
1982, the Service determined, in accordance with section 
4(b)(3)(B)(iii) of the Act, that the petitioned listing of these 
species was warranted, but precluded by other pending listing actions; 
notification of this finding was published on January 20, 1984 (49 FR 
2485). Such a finding requires the petition to be recycled, pursuant to 
section 4(b)(3)(C)(i) of the Act. The finding was reviewed in October 
of 1983 through 1993.
    A proposed rule to list Lasthenia conjugens, Navarretia 
leucocephala ssp. pauciflora, Navarretia leucocephala ssp. plieantha, 
and Parvisedum leiocarpum as endangered was published on December 19, 
1994 (59 FR 65311). The proposal was based on information from the 
CNDDB and observations and studies by numerous botanists. The Service 
now determines L. conjugens, N. leucocephala ssp. pauciflora, N. 
leucocephala ssp. plieantha, and P. leiocarpum to be endangered with 
the publication of this rule.
    The processing of this final listing rule conforms with the 
Service's final listing priority guidance published in the Federal 
Register on December 5, 1996 (61 FR 64475). The guidance clarifies the 
order in which the Service will process rulemakings following two 
related events: (1) The lifting on April 26, 1996, of the moratorium on 
final listings imposed on April 10, 1995 (Pub. L. 104-6), and (2) the 
restoration of significant funding for processing listing actions. The 
Service's Sacramento Field Office has confirmed that the status of the 
four species in this rule has not changed since publication of the 
proposed rule prior to the moratorium on final listings.

Summary of Comments and Recommendations

    In the December 19, 1994, proposed rule and associated 
notifications, all interested parties were requested to submit factual 
reports or information that contribute to the development of a final 
rule. A 60-day comment period closed on February 19, 1995, and was 
extended to April 28, 1995 (the

[[Page 33032]]

moratorium on final listings was imposed on April 10, 1995 (Public Law 
104-6)). Appropriate Federal and State agencies, county and city 
governments, scientists, and interested parties were contacted and 
requested to comment. In accordance with its July 1, 1994, peer review 
policy (59 FR 34270), the Service solicited three independent 
specialists to review pertinent scientific and commercial data and 
assumptions relating to the proposed rule. Two of the three specialists 
submitted comments. One specialist found the proposed listing to be 
concise and technically accurate. The other specialist commented only 
on the discussion and descriptive paragraphs about Navarretia. This 
specialist's comments have been incorporated into the ``Background'' 
section of this rule.
    The Service published notices in the Lake County Record-Bee and the 
Napa County Register on December 30, 1994, which invited general public 
comment. Twenty-two individuals or agencies, including the CDFG, the 
Lake County Farm Bureau, and the CNPS, submitted comments. Several 
people submitted more than one comment to the Service. Ten commenters 
supported, five opposed, and seven were neutral on the proposed action.
    In response to the publication of the proposed rule, the Service 
received written requests for a public hearing from Michael Delbar, 
Executive Director, Lake County Farm Bureau, and Daniel Macon, Director 
of Industry Affairs, California Cattlemen's Association. Notice of the 
public hearing was published in the Napa Register, Petaluma Argus-
Courier and Santa Rosa Press Democrat on March 20, 1995, and in the 
Lake County Record-Bee on March 21, 1995. A public hearing was held at 
the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel in Napa on April 6, 1995, from 6 pm. to 
8 pm. Eight people presented oral and written testimony.
    Written comments and oral statements presented at the public 
hearing or received during the comment period are addressed in the 
following summary. Comments of a similar nature are grouped into 
general issues. These issues and the Service's response to each are 
discussed below.
    Issue 1: Four commenters expressed concern that the protection 
afforded listed species by the Act would violate private property 
rights, and result in a ``taking'' of property. Two commenters 
questioned whether they would be monetarily reimbursed for property 
loss if the listed species were found on their land.
    Service Response: The Attorney General has issued guidelines to the 
Department of the Interior (Department) regarding Taking Implications 
Assessments (TIAs). The Attorney General's guidelines state that TIAs 
used to analyze the potential for Fifth Amendment taking claims are to 
be prepared after, rather than before, an agency makes a restricted 
discretionary decision. In enacting the Act, Congress required the 
Department to list a species based solely upon scientific and 
commercial data. The Service may not withhold a listing decision based 
upon economic concerns. Therefore, even though a TIA may be required, a 
TIA for a listing action is finalized only after the final 
determination whether to list a species is made.
    The listing of species as threatened or endangered typically does 
not result in the ``taking'' of private property. The determination of 
whether ``taking'' has occurred as a result of an agency's action is 
made by a court based on the specific facts of that action.
    Issue 2: Several commenters questioned the accuracy of the 
supporting information. Concern was expressed that many areas may 
contain potential habitat for the species and, therefore, the species 
may be more widespread than stated in the proposed rule. One commenter 
stated that the primary findings for Navarretia leucocephala ssp. 
plieantha, N. leucocephala ssp. pauciflora, and Parvisedum leiocarpum 
were based on only two sources.
    Service Response: Specific justification for listing the four plant 
species is summarized in the ``Summary of Factors Affecting the 
Species'' section of this rule. The Service used information obtained 
from Federal, State, and local agencies, the CNDDB, professional 
botanists, and studies by Niall McCarten (1985), Robert Ornduff (1966), 
and Alva Day (1993) that were specifically directed at determining the 
distribution or threats to the four plant taxa. The Service also used 
information from botanical collections of these plants to prepare the 
proposed rule. Destruction and loss of habitat and extirpation of 
populations of the four plant taxa from a variety of causes have been 
documented. Following publication of the proposed rule, the Service 
sought comments from Federal, State, and local agencies, species 
experts, and other individuals, including three independent 
specialists. All information received during the public comment period 
has been incorporated into the final rule.
    The taxa in this rule are restricted in their range. More detailed 
discussion of the historical and current distribution of these four 
plants can be found in the ``Background'' section of this rule. The 
Service's two primary sources of information on Navarretia leucocephala 
ssp. plieantha, N. leucocephala ssp. pauciflora, and Parvisedum 
leiocarpum are compilations of information from a number of 
inventories, and, therefore, not limited in scope.
    Issue 3: Several commenters stated that livestock trampling was 
unsubstantiated and had no or little adverse effect on these four 
vernal pool plants.
    Service Response: Documented observations of detrimental effects of 
livestock trampling on some populations of two of the vernal pool 
plants, Lasthenia conjugens and Navarretia leucocephala spp. 
pauciflora, exist and are part of the administrative record for this 
rule. In addition, two populations of Parvisedum leiocarpum may be 
threatened by trampling by livestock (CDFG 1989a). The Service 
maintains that livestock trampling, under certain conditions, adversely 
affects these species (CDFG 1989a, 1989b, 1991; CNPS 1987, 1990a, 
1990b). Livestock trampling is one of a number of impacts adversely 
affecting these three vernal pool plants.
    Issue 4: Two commenters were concerned about whether the data on 
which the rule was based were acquired legally. One of these commenters 
asked whether permission was given by landowners to the CDFG, the CNPS, 
or any other person to enter private property in order to do the 
surveys on which the listing is partially based.
    Service Response: An important information source used for this 
rule is the CNDDB operated by the Natural Heritage Division of the 
CDFG. Data in this system come from a variety of experts, including 
local professional botanists, members of CNPS, and botanical 
consultants. The Service does not condone entering private land without 
landowner permission. Because the database records make no reference to 
whether permission was granted to those collecting data, the Service 
has no knowledge whether observers obtained landowner permission to 
enter private lands. No surveys of these species were conducted or 
funded by the Service.
    Issue 5: One commenter was concerned about the potential impacts 
the listing would have on agricultural operations in Lake County. This 
commenter stated that the effects on the economic viability of 
agriculture on lands on which the species occur would be severe. This 
commenter also wanted to know what impact the listing would have on 
grazing on public lands.

[[Page 33033]]

    Service Response: Section 4(b)(10)(A) of the Act requires that 
listing determinations be based solely on the best scientific and 
commercial data available. The legislative history of this provision 
explains the intent of Congress to ``ensure'' that listing decisions 
are ``based solely on biological criteria and to prevent non-biological 
considerations from affecting such decisions'' (H. R. Rep. No. 97-835, 
97th Cong. 2d Sess. 19 (1982)). As further stated in the legislative 
history, ``Applying economic criteria * * * to any phase of the species 
listing process is applying economics to the determinations made under 
section 4 of the Act and is specifically rejected by the inclusion of 
the word ``solely'' in this legislation'' ( H. R. Rep. No. 97-835, 97th 
Cong. 2d Sess. 19 (1982)). Because the Service is precluded from 
considering economic impacts in a final listing decision, the Service 
has not examined such impacts.
    The Service expects this listing to have negligible effect on 
grazing on public lands. Except for one location of Lasthenia conjugens 
on Federal land (at Travis Air Force Base), all known populations of 
these plants are on private land. No known vernal pools or habitat for 
these plant species are located on federally owned grazing land in the 
counties in which these species occur (P. Bardwell, Bureau of Land 
Management, pers. comm. 1996)
    Issue 6: The CDFG noted the discrepancies between the locations and 
distributions of populations of each species in the proposed rule 
versus the information from the CNDDB.
    Service Response: In the preparation of both the proposed and final 
rules, the Service used information provided by Dr. Alva Day for the 
number and locations of Navarretia leucocephala ssp. pauciflora and N. 
leucocephala ssp. plieantha. Dr. Day's population information matched 
the taxonomic circumscriptions in her revised treatment for Navarretia 
(Day 1993), which the Service considers to be the best available 
information and most recent treatment. The Service has also 
incorporated the most recent information for Lasthenia conjugens into 
the rule. Some of this information is not contained in the CNDDB; 
therefore, location and distribution figures in this rule will not 
exactly match those in the CNDDB.
    Issue 7: One commenter requested that the proposed rule be amended 
to give complete descriptions of all sites and their watersheds. This 
commenter also stated that the delineation of the potential range of 
the species on U.S. Geological Survey (1:24,000) quadrangle sheets 
would be helpful. Additionally, this commenter stated that listing the 
species as endangered will likely increase the threat of overcollection 
by rare plant collectors.
    Service Response: The Service believes that publication of detailed 
site information, such as map locations or site descriptions, may 
increase the threat of overcollection by rare plant collectors. Because 
the ranges of Navarretia leucocephala ssp. pauciflora, N. leucocephala 
ssp. plieantha and Parvisedum leiocarpum are small, the plant 
populations might easily be located. Therefore, the Service considers 
it imprudent to publish site-specific information.
    Issue 8: One commenter stated that information on hydrological 
changes at the vernal pool sites during the recent droughts is needed, 
because the mesic conditions may have disappeared before the 
alterations were made.
    Service Response: The Service disagrees that further information on 
hydrological changes at the sites because of the recent drought is 
needed prior to listing. These plants evolved in a climate where 
periodic droughts occur. As discussed under factor A in the ``Summary 
of Factors Affecting the Species'' section, the human-caused 
alterations to hydrology are the primary threat. Although hydrological 
modeling may have some utility for aiding the species' recovery, the 
Service does not believe this information is needed to support the 
listing justification for the four vernal pool plants in this rule.
    Issue 9: The California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) 
discussed two highways (State Route 175 and State Route 29) that are 
adjacent to populations of the proposed plants. The agency stated that 
the current maintenance activities along State Route 175 and State 
Route 29 are not likely to affect the long-term survival of these 
species. Additionally, CALTRANS stated that no major construction 
projects were planned for these segments of highway.
    Service Response: The Service acknowledges CALTRANS' support of 
this listing action, but remains concerned about the potential loss of 
Navarretia leucocephala ssp. pauciflora and Parvisedum leiocarpum 
adjacent to State Route 29 and the hybrid population of Navarretia 
leucocephala ssp. plieantha X ssp. pauciflora adjacent to State Route 
175. As discussed further under factor A in the ``Summary of Factors 
Affecting the Species'' section of this rule, the Service believes 
highway maintenance activities along State routes 29 and 175 may be a 
threat to these species.

Summary of Factors Affecting the Species

    After a thorough review and consideration of all information 
available, the Service has determined that Lasthenia conjugens, 
Navarretia leucocephala ssp. pauciflora, Navarretia leucocephala ssp. 
plieantha, and Parvisedum leiocarpum should be classified as endangered 
species. Procedures found at section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and 
regulations (50 CFR Part 424) promulgated to implement the listing 
provisions of the Act were followed. A species may be determined to be 
endangered or threatened due to one or more of the five factors 
described in section 4(a)(1). These factors and their application to 
Lasthenia conjugens Ornduff (Contra Costa goldfields), Navarretia 
leucocephala Benth. ssp. pauciflora (H. Mason) Day (few-flowered 
navarretia), Navarretia leucocephala Benth. ssp. plieantha (H. Mason) 
Day (many-flowered navarretia), and Parvisedum leiocarpum (H. Sharsm.) 
R. T. Clausen (Lake County stonecrop) are as follows:
    A. The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of their habitat or range. The primary threats to Lasthenia 
conjugens, Navarretia leucocephala ssp. pauciflora, Navarretia 
leucocephala ssp. plieantha, and Parvisedum leiocarpum are activities 
that result in the direct destruction of the plants and their habitats 
or hydrologic changes in their vernal pool habitats. Such activities 
include urbanization, wetland drainage, vernal pool and pond 
construction, industrial development, agricultural land conversion, 
ditch construction, off-highway vehicle use, road widening, horseback 
riding, and trampling by cattle. Damage or destruction of vernal pool 
habitat happens quickly and easily due to the extremely crumbly nature 
of the soil and the dependency of the pool upon an intact durapan or 
impermeable subsurface soil layer.
    Lasthenia conjugens is no longer found in three of the seven 
counties in which it historically occurred--Mendocino, Santa Clara, and 
Santa Barbara counties. Agricultural land conversion, urbanization, and 
associated developments have extirpated populations of this species in 
Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara, and Santa Barbara counties (CNDDB 
1993, 1996; CNPS 1978). Agricultural land conversion extirpated one 
additional population of L. conjugens in Napa County (CNDDB 1993). 
Widening and straightening of Ledgewood Creek north of Cordelia Road in 
Solano County by the Corps eliminated a large amount of

[[Page 33034]]

habitat and a large number of plants of L. conjugens (Ann Howald, CDFG, 
pers. comm. 1993).
    The largest known concentration of Lasthenia conjugens populations 
occurs in Solano County near the City of Fairfield. The General Plan 
for the City of Fairfield indicates that all of these populations are 
found in areas that will be included within the Fairfield urban 
boundary (Jones & Stokes Assoc. 1992). The implementation of this plan 
would result in the conversion of approximately 3912 ha (9,668 ac) of 
existing habitat and open space to urban use by 2020 (Jones & Stokes 
1992). This would include approximately 1376 ha (3400 ac) within the 
Travis/Northeast growth center where the greatest concentrations of L. 
conjugens occur. Two proposed residential development projects threaten 
the three largest populations of L. conjugens which contain over 70 
percent of all individual plants of this species (Lafer and Associates 
1994, Holland 1995). One of these populations is also threatened by 
landfill construction activities (LSA Associates, Inc. 1992). This 
population may also be threatened by a ditch construction project 
proposed by the California Department of Water Resources (R. Preston, 
in litt. 1995).
    Urbanization threatens the largest population of Lasthenia 
conjugens in Napa County (CNDDB 1993; Jake Ruygt, CNPS, in litt. 1993). 
Off-highway vehicle traffic has adversely impacted this same population 
(CNDDB 1993). In Contra Costa County, the primary transportation 
corridor, State Route 4, will be relocated to approximately 80 to 100 
feet from the only remaining population in the county (Woodward-Clyde 
Consultants et al. 1995; J. Gan, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, pers. 
comm. 1996). Six of the eight newly discovered populations of L. 
conjugens in Solano and Alameda counties are imminently threatened by 
development projects (Steve Lafer and Associates 1994, CNDDB 1996, 
Duncan & Jones 1996).
    One population of Navarretia leucocephala ssp. pauciflora has been 
adversely affected by drainage, and one population has been adversely 
affected by an attempt to create a more permanent water source (CDFG 
1989b). One site, Manning Flat in Lake County, has significantly eroded 
as a result of excavation of drainage ditches; this erosion has reduced 
the population and the habitat (McCarten 1985, CDFG 1989b), CNDDB 
1996). This population is also within the right-of-way of State Route 
29 (H. Sarasohn, CALTRANS, in litt. 1995), and the Service is concerned 
that individual plants may be impacted by highway maintenance. The 
intercross population of N. leucocephala ssp. plieantha  x  N. 
leucocephala ssp. pauciflora at Loch Lomond is also adjacent to a 
highway, State Route 175 (H. Sarasohn, in litt. 1995), where 
maintenance activities could result in the loss of plants. Off-highway 
vehicle use has damaged several population sites in Lake County (CDFG 
1989b, CNDDB 1996). Conversion of land to a rice field adversely 
affected another N. leucocephala ssp. pauciflora population in Lake 
County (CDFG 1989b). Construction of a stock pond for cattle partially 
destroyed the population of N. leucocephala ssp. pauciflora at Ely Flat 
in Lake County and severely altered the hydrology of its habitat (CDFG 
1989b, 1996). Agricultural land conversion threatens this same 
population (CDFG 1989b; CNPS 1990a). Attempted drainage of a pool in 
Lake County containing N. leucocephala ssp. plieantha has resulted in 
the invasion of two competitive weeds, Centaurea solstitialis and 
Taeniatherum caput-medusa (CNDDB 1996). Although the intercross 
population of N. leucocephala ssp. plieantha  x  N. leucocephala ssp. 
pauciflora at Loch Lomond occurs in an ecological reserve managed by 
the CDFG, the site is potentially threatened by timber harvesting 
within the watershed. ``Such harvesting could have significant 
detrimental effects on the vernal pool and its flora.'' (B. Gibbons, 
CDFG, in litt. 1995).
    Attempted drainage has altered the hydrology of two of the three 
remaining vernal pools containing populations of Parvisedum leiocarpum 
(CNPS 1990b). Drainage attempts at one of the sites resulted in severe 
erosion and a reduction of habitat and plant numbers (CNPS 1990b). 
Maintenance of Highway 29 by CALTRANS also threatens to impact 
individuals of this population, which is found within the highway 
right-of-way (CNPS 1990b). Discing has occurred at the third population 
site (CNDDB 1996). All populations occur on privately owned land next 
to major roads. Off-highway vehicle use has occurred at two of the 
three P. leiocarpum population sites (CNPS 1990b). Within the range of 
P. leiocarpum, habitat continues to be converted to vineyards and 
orchards (CDFG 1989a).
    Some populations of three of the four species are impacted by 
trampling by livestock or rooting by feral pigs. Because they are small 
and delicate, Parvisedum leiocarpum plants would likely be severely 
damaged if trampled by livestock. Because cattle grazing occurs in the 
area surrounding at least one population of P. leiocarpum, trampling 
may pose a threat to this population (CNDDB 1996, CDFG 1989a). 
Livestock grazing threatens four populations of L. conjugens (CNDDB 
1996). The single extant occurrence of L. conjugens in Napa County 
occurs in a grazed field. Nutrient enrichment of the vernal pool caused 
by cattle has led to algal ``blooms'' and possibly other biotic changes 
in the pool that adversely affect the growth of L. conjugens (Robert 
Ornduff, University of California, Berkeley, in litt. 1995). Eighty 
percent of one population of Navarretia leucocephala ssp. pauciflora in 
Napa County was adversely affected by the rooting of feral pigs (John 
Hoffnagle, Napa County Land Trust, pers. comm. 1995). Horse grazing 
threatens two populations and cattle grazing threatens one population 
of N. leucocephala ssp. pauciflora (CNDDB 1996).
    Three of the species, Parvisedum leiocarpum, Navarretia 
leucocephala ssp. pauciflora, and N. leucocephala ssp. plieantha, occur 
in restricted habitats primarily within 2 to 6 miles of Clear Lake in 
Lake County. The area surrounding Clear Lake is the most densely 
populated area in the county (California State Department of Finance 
1992), and is subject to residential development (CDFG 1989a, CDFG 
1989b, CNPS 1990a). While the rate of this development is moderate when 
compared to other areas of the region, the limited habitat of these 
species makes them vulnerable to even small increases in development.
    Off-highway vehicle use has resulted and continues to result in the 
destruction of plants and habitat of Navarretia leucocephala ssp. 
plieantha at four population sites in Lake County. The CDFG has 
provided fencing at the Loch Lomond site to prevent off-highway vehicle 
entry into the area (CDFG 1991a).
    B. Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes. Due to the limited distribution of Lasthenia 
conjugens, Navarretia leucocephala ssp. pauciflora, Navarretia 
leucocephala ssp. plieantha, and Parvisedum leiocarpum, indiscriminate 
collecting of plants could seriously affect these species. 
Overutilization is not known to occur at this time.
    C. Disease or predation. Disease and predation are not known to be 
a threat to these plants.
    D. The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms. The State of 
California Fish and Game Commission has listed Parvisedum leiocarpum 
and Navarretia plieantha (now known as Navarretia leucocephala ssp. 
plieantha)

[[Page 33035]]

as endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act 
(Chapter 1.5 Section 2050 et seq. of the California Fish and Game Code 
and Title 14 California Code of Regulations section 670.2 ). The 
California Fish and Game Commission also has listed Navarretia 
pauciflora (now known as Navarretia leucocephala ssp. pauciflora) as 
threatened. Listing by the State of California requires individuals to 
obtain management authorization from CDFG to possess or ``take'' a 
listed species. Although the ``take'' of State-listed plants is 
prohibited (California Native Plant Protection Act, Chapter 10 Section 
1908 and California Endangered Species Act, Chapter 1.5 Section 2080), 
State law exempts the taking of such plants via habitat modification or 
land use changes by the owner. After CDFG notifies a landowner that a 
State-listed plant grows on his or her property, State law requires 
that the land owner notify the agency ``at least 10 days in advance of 
changing the land use to allow salvage of such a plant'' (California 
Native Plant Protection Act, Chapter 10 Section 1913).
    The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) (California Public 
Resources Code section 21000-21177) requires a full disclosure of the 
potential environmental impacts of proposed projects. The public agency 
with primary authority or jurisdiction over the project is designated 
as the lead agency, and is responsible for conducting a review of the 
project and consulting with the other agencies concerned with the 
resources affected by the project. Section 15065 of the CEQA 
Guidelines, as amended, requires a finding of significance if a project 
has the potential to ``reduce the number or restrict the range of a 
rare or endangered plant or animal.'' Species eligible for listing as 
rare, threatened, or endangered, but not so listed, are given the same 
protection as those species that are officially listed with the State 
or Federal governments. Once significant effects are identified, the 
lead agency has the option to require mitigation for effects through 
changes in the project or to decide that overriding considerations make 
mitigation infeasible (CEQA section 21002). In the latter case, 
projects may be approved that cause significant environmental damage, 
such as destruction of endangered species. Protection of listed species 
through CEQA, therefore, is dependent upon the discretion of the agency 
involved.
    Because vernal pools are generally small and scattered, they are 
treated as isolated wetlands for regulatory purposes by the Corps under 
section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Section 404 addresses the discharge 
of fill material into waters of the United States including wetlands 
but does not itself protect the plants. The recently revised Nationwide 
Permit No. 26 dated December 13, 1996 (61 FR 65874), was established by 
the Corps to streamline authorization for the discharge of fill causing 
the loss of 1.25 ha (3 ac) of headwater or isolated waters. For project 
proposals falling under Nationwide Permit No. 26, the Corps 
historically has been reluctant to withhold authorization unless the 
project is likely to cause jeopardy to a federally threatened or 
endangered species. The section 404 regulations require an applicant to 
obtain an individual permit to discharge fill into greater than 1.25 ha 
(3 ac) of headwater or isolated wetlands. A project proponent proposing 
to discharge fill that would cause the loss of less than one-third acre 
of headwater or isolated waters is only required to notify the Corps; 
the Corps generally does not require compensatory mitigation in these 
cases. Regardless of the size of the discharge of fill, candidate 
species within the project area receive no special consideration. 
Equally important, upland areas adjacent to vernal pools or other 
wetlands are not provided any protection through this process.
    E. Other natural or manmade factors affecting their continued 
existence. Three of the four plant species have restricted ranges and 
few populations. Navarretia leucocephala ssp. pauciflora is known from 
five sites, N. leucocephala ssp. plieantha from four sites, and 
Parvisedum leiocarpum from three sites. These three species occupy 
highly specific and vulnerable habitats. The combination of restricted 
ranges, few populations, and highly specific and vulnerable habitats 
make these plants susceptible to destruction of all, or a significant 
part, of any population from random, natural events such as floods or 
droughts. Severe erosion threatens one of the three remaining 
populations of P. leiocarpum (CNPS 1990b). Low population numbers and 
sizes make these three species vulnerable to changes in gene frequency, 
inbreeding, and genetic drift. Several historical occurrences of N. 
leucocephala pauciflora may have been lost to hybridization with and 
genetic dilution (swamping) by larger, adjacent populations of N. 
leucocephala plieantha (CDFG 1989b, CNPS 1990a).
    The Service has carefully assessed the best scientific and 
commercial information available regarding the past, present, and 
future threats faced by these species in determining to list these 
species as endangered. Based on this evaluation, the preferred action 
is to list Lasthenia conjugens, Navarretia leucocephala ssp. 
pauciflora, Navarretia leucocephala ssp. plieantha, and Parvisedum 
leiocarpum as endangered. Endangered status is appropriate for these 
four species due to the vulnerability of their restricted habitats to 
threats posed by urbanization, agricultural land conversion, drainage, 
vernal pool and pond construction, ditch construction, off-highway 
vehicle use, road maintenance, or random natural events. Critical 
habitat is not designated for these species for reasons discussed 
below.

Critical Habitat

    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the Act as: (i) The 
specific areas within the geographical area occupied by a species, at 
the time it is listed in accordance with the Act, on which are found 
those physical or biological features (I) essential to the conservation 
of the species and (II) that may require special management 
considerations or protection; and (ii) specific areas outside the 
geographical area occupied by a species at the time it is listed, upon 
a determination that such areas are essential for the conservation of 
the species. ``Conservation'' means the use of all methods and 
procedures needed to bring the species to the point at which listing 
under the Act is no longer necessary.
    Section 4(a)(3) of the Act, as amended, and implementing 
regulations (50 CFR 424.12) require that, to the maximum extent prudent 
and determinable, the Secretary designate critical habitat at the time 
the species is determined to be endangered or threatened. The Service 
finds that, for the four taxa discussed in this rule, designation of 
critical habitat is not prudent at this time. Service regulations (50 
CFR 424.12(a)(1)) state that designation of critical habitat is not 
prudent when one or both of the following situations exist--(1) the 
species is threatened by taking or other human activity, and 
identification of critical habitat can be expected to increase the 
degree of such threat to the species; or (2) such designation of 
critical habitat would not be beneficial to the species.
    As discussed under factor B in the ``Summary of Factors Affecting 
the Species'' section of this rule, due to the limited distribution of 
Lasthenia conjugens, Navarretia leucocephala ssp. pauciflora, 
Navarretia leucocephala ssp. plieantha, and Parvisedum leiocarpum, any 
indiscriminate collecting of plants could seriously affect these 
species. The

[[Page 33036]]

publication of precise maps and descriptions of critical habitat in the 
Federal Register would make these plants more vulnerable to 
overcollection and, therefore, could contribute to the decline of these 
species and increase enforcement difficulties. Several populations of 
these plants are near roads or in other areas easily accessible by the 
public. The listing of these species as endangered also publicizes the 
rarity of these plants making them attractive to researchers or 
collectors of rare plants. This concern was also addressed under Issue 
7 in the ``Summary of Comments and Recommendations'' section of this 
rule.
    Furthermore, critical habitat designation for these four species is 
not prudent due to lack of benefit. Critical habitat designation 
provides protection only on Federal lands or on private lands when 
there is Federal involvement through authorization or funding of, or 
participation in, a project or activity. Of the taxa presented herein 
for listing, only one population of Lasthenia conjugens is known to 
occur on Federal lands. Although the regulatory mechanisms of section 
404 of the Clean Water Act provide a Federal nexus to certain 
activities in privately owned wetland areas, because the four plant 
species occur at very few locations, any federally regulated activity 
that would adversely modify critical habitat also would jeopardize the 
species. The designation of critical habitat therefore would not 
provide additional benefit for these species beyond the protection 
afforded by listing. The Service believes that Federal involvement in 
the areas where these plants occur can be identified without the 
designation of critical habitat. For these reasons, the Service finds 
that the designation of critical habitat for these plants is not 
prudent at this time.

Available Conservation Measures

    Conservation measures provided to species listed as endangered or 
threatened under the Act include recognition, recovery actions, 
requirements for Federal protection, and prohibitions against certain 
activities. Recognition through listing encourages and results in 
conservation actions by Federal, State, and local agencies, private 
organizations, and individuals. The Act provides for possible land 
acquisition and cooperation with the States and requires that recovery 
actions be carried out for all listed species. The protection required 
of Federal agencies and the prohibitions against certain activities 
involving listed plants are discussed, in part, below.
    Section 7(a) of the Act requires Federal agencies to evaluate their 
actions with respect to any species that is proposed or listed as 
endangered or threatened and with respect to its critical habitat, if 
any is being designated. Regulations implementing this interagency 
cooperation provision of the Act are codified at 50 CFR Part 402. 
Section 7(a)(4) of the Act requires Federal agencies to confer with the 
Service on any action that is likely to jeopardize the continued 
existence of a species proposed for listing or result in destruction or 
adverse modification of proposed critical habitat. If a species is 
listed subsequently, section 7(a)(2) requires Federal agencies to 
ensure that activities they authorize, fund, or carry out are not 
likely to jeopardize the continued existence of such a species or to 
destroy or adversely modify its critical habitat. If a Federal action 
may affect a listed species or its critical habitat, the responsible 
Federal agency must enter into formal consultation with the Service.
    Federal agency actions or programs that may affect populations of 
these plant taxa include mortgage programs administered by the Veterans 
Administration and the Department of Housing and Urban Development 
(Federal Home Administration loans), Federal Highway Administration 
funding of bridge and road construction, Army Corps of Engineers 
authorization of projects affecting wetlands and other waters under 
section 404 of the Clean Water Act, Environmental Protection Agency 
registration of pesticides and authorization of pollutant discharges, 
and activities on Travis Air Force Base.
    Listing Lasthenia conjugens, Navarretia leucocephala ssp. 
pauciflora, Navarretia leucocephala ssp. plieantha, and Parvisedum 
leiocarpum as endangered provides for development of a recovery plan 
(or plans) for the taxa. Such a plan would bring together both State 
and Federal efforts for conservation of the plants. The recovery plan 
would establish a framework for agencies to coordinate activities and 
to cooperate with each other in conservation efforts. The plan would 
set recovery priorities and describe site-specific management actions 
necessary to achieve the conservation of these four plants. 
Additionally, pursuant to section 6 of the Act, the Service is more 
likely to grant funds to affected States for management actions 
promoting the protection, monitoring, and recovery of these species 
after a recovery program has been developed.
    The Service has not pursued conservation agreements for these four 
species. These species occur primarily on privately owned land. Many of 
the threats to these species, such as habitat alteration by large-scale 
urban development projects and off-highway vehicle use, are not easily 
prevented through the development of conservation agreements. Only 
three of the total 26 populations comprising the four species receive 
some level of protection. One population of Navarretia leucocephala 
ssp. plieantha is found within the Bogg's Lake Preserve and managed by 
TNC, and a second (intercrossed with N. leucocephala ssp. pauciflora) 
is located within an ecological reserve managed by the CDFG. One 
population of Navarretia leucocephala ssp. pauciflora is located on 
privately owned land within a conservation easement (CNDDB 1996). 
However, even these three protected populations are impacted by 
competition from nonnative species, adjacent land management practices, 
and feral pigs, respectively (CNDDB 1996).
    The Act and its implementing regulations set forth a series of 
general prohibitions and exceptions that apply to all endangered 
plants. With respect to the four plants from the five counties in 
northern California, all prohibitions of section 9(a)(2) of the Act, 
implemented by 50 CFR 17.61 for endangered plants, apply. These 
prohibitions, in part, make it illegal for any person subject to the 
jurisdiction of the United States to import or export, transport in 
interstate or foreign commerce in the course of a commercial activity, 
sell or offer for sale in interstate or foreign commerce, or remove and 
reduce to possession federally listed plant species from areas under 
Federal jurisdiction. In addition, for plants listed as endangered, the 
Act prohibits the malicious damage or destruction on areas under 
Federal jurisdiction and the removal, cutting, digging up, damaging, or 
destroying of such plants in knowing violation of any State law or 
regulation, including State criminal trespass law. Certain exceptions 
apply to agents of the Service and State conservation agencies.
    The Act and 50 CFR 17.62 and 17.63 also provide for the issuance of 
permits to carry out otherwise prohibited activities involving 
endangered plant species under certain circumstances. Such permits are 
available for scientific purposes and to enhance the propagation or 
survival of the species. Requests for copies of the regulations on 
listed plants and inquiries regarding them may be addressed to the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, Endangered Species 
Permits, 911 NE 11th Avenue, Portland, Oregon

[[Page 33037]]

97232-4181 (503/231-6241; FAX 503/231-6243).
    It is the policy of the Service, published in the Federal Register 
on July 1, 1994, (59 FR 34272) to identify to the maximum extent 
practicable at the time of listing those activities that would or would 
not constitute a violation of section 9 of the Act. The intent of this 
policy is to increase public awareness of the effect of the listing on 
proposed or on-going activities. Activities that are unlikely to 
violate section 9 include landscape maintenance, clearing vegetation 
for firebreaks, and livestock grazing on privately owned land not under 
Federal funding or authorization and not in violation of any State law 
or regulation. Only one of the populations of these four species occurs 
on Federal lands. Collection, damage, or destruction of the single 
population of Lasthenia conjugens located on Travis Air Force Base is 
prohibited, although in appropriate cases a Federal endangered species 
permit may be issued to allow collection. Removal, cutting, digging up, 
damaging, or destroying endangered plants on non-Federal lands would 
constitute a violation of section 9 only if conducted in knowing 
violation of State law or regulations, including violation of State 
criminal trespass law. The Service is unaware at this time of any other 
activities affected by this listing. Questions regarding whether 
specific activities will constitute a violation of section 9 should be 
directed to the Field Supervisor of the Service's Sacramento Field 
Office (see ADDRESSES section).

National Environmental Policy Act

    The Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that Environmental 
Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements, as defined under the 
authority of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, need not be 
prepared in connection with regulations adopted pursuant to section 
4(a) of the Act. A notice outlining the Service's reasons for this 
determination was published in the Federal Register on October 25, 1983 
(48 FR 49244).

Required Determinations

    The Service has examined this regulation under the Paperwork 
Reduction Act of 1995 and found it to contain no information collection 
requirements.

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited is available upon request 
from the Field Supervisor, Sacramento Field Office (see ADDRESSES 
section).
    Author: The primary authors of this final rule are Elizabeth Warne 
and Kirsten Tarp, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Sacramento Field 
Office (see ADDRESSES section).

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, part 17, subchapter B of chapter I, title 50 of the 
Code of Federal Regulations, is amended as set forth below:

PART 17--[AMENDED]

    1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 16 U.S.C. 1531-1544; 16 U.S.C. 
4201-4245; Pub. L. 99-625, 100 Stat. 3500, unless otherwise noted.

    2. Section 17.12(h) is amended by adding the following, in 
alphabetical order under FLOWERING PLANTS, to the List of Endangered 
and Threatened Plants:


Sec. 17.12  Endangered and threatened plants.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Species                                                                                                                                    
----------------------------------      Common name        Historic  range           Family            Status      When listed    Critical     Special  
         Scientific name                                                                                                          habitat       rules   
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
         Flowering Plants                                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                                        
                 *                  *                  *                    *                    *                  *                  *                
Lasthenia conjugens..............  Contra Costa          U.S.A. (CA)........  Asteraceae.........  E                       619           NA           NA
                                    goldfields.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                        
                 *                  *                  *                    *                    *                  *                  *                
Navarretia leucocephala ssp.       Few-flowered          U.S.A. (CA)........  Plemoniaceae.......  E                       619           NA           NA
 pauciflora (=Navarretia            navarretia.                                                                                                         
 pauciflora).                                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                                        
                 *                  *                  *                    *                    *                  *                  *                
Navarretia leucocephala ssp.       many-flowered         U.S.A. (CA)........  Polemoniaceae......  E                       619           NA           NA
 plicantha.                         navarretia.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                        
                 *                  *                  *                    *                    *                  *                  *                
Parvisedum leiocarpum............  Lake County           U.S.A. (CA)........  Crassulaceae.......  E                       619           NA           NA
                                    stonecrop.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                                        
                 *                  *                  *                    *                    *                  *                  *                
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 33038]]

    Dated: May 30, 1997.
John G. Rogers,
Acting Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 97-15924 Filed 6-17-97; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P