[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 207 (Friday, October 24, 2008)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 63421-63424]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-25403]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[FWS-R8-ES-2008-0112; MO 9221050083-B2]


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Finding on 
a Petition To List the Sacramento Valley Tiger Beetle as Endangered

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of 90-day petition finding.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 
90-day finding on a petition to list the Sacramento Valley tiger beetle 
(Cicindela hirticollis abrupta) as threatened or endangered under the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). We find that the 
petition does not present substantial scientific or commercial 
information indicating that listing the Sacramento Valley tiger beetle 
may be warranted. Therefore, we will not be initiating a further status 
review in response to this petition. However, we ask the public to 
submit to us any new information that becomes available concerning the 
status of, or threats to, the Sacramento Valley tiger beetle or its 
habitat at any time.

DATES: The finding announced in this document was made on October 24, 
2008.

ADDRESSES: This finding is available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov. Supporting documentation we used in preparing this 
finding is available for public inspection, by appointment, during 
normal business hours at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Sacramento 
Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2800 Cottage 
Way, Room W-2605, Sacramento, CA 95825-1846. Please submit any new 
information, materials, comments, or questions concerning this finding 
to the above address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Susan Moore, Field Supervisor, or 
Arnold Roessler, Listing Branch Chief, of the Sacramento Fish and 
Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES), by telephone at (916) 414-6600, or by 
facsimile to (916) 414-6712. If you use a telecommunications device for 
the deaf (TDD), please call the Federal Information Relay Service 
(FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    Section 4(b)(3)(A) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended (Act) (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), requires that we make a finding 
on whether a petition to list, delist, or reclassify a species presents 
substantial scientific or commercial information to indicate that the 
petitioned action may be warranted. We are to base this finding on 
information provided in the petition, supporting information submitted 
with the petition, and information otherwise available in our files at 
the time we make the determination. To the maximum extent practicable, 
we are to make this finding within 90 days of our receipt of the 
petition, and publish our notice of the finding promptly in the Federal 
Register.
    Our standard for substantial information within the Code of Federal 
Regulations (CFR) with regard to a 90-day petition finding is ``that 
amount of information that would lead a reasonable person to believe 
that the measure proposed in the petition may be warranted'' (50 CFR 
424.14(b)). If we find that substantial information was presented, we 
are required to promptly commence a review of the status of the 
species.
    We base this finding on information provided by the petitioner that 
we determined to be reliable after reviewing sources referenced in the 
petition and information available in our files at the time of the 
petition review. We evaluated that information in accordance with 50 
CFR 424.14(b). Our process for making this 90-day finding under section 
4(b)(3)(A) of the Act and 50 CFR 424.14(b) of our regulations is 
limited to a determination of whether the information in the petition 
meets the ``substantial information'' threshold.

Petition History

    On May 14, 2003, we received a petition, dated May 13, 2003, from 
Mr. John Mendoza of Chico, California, requesting we emergency list the 
Sacramento Valley tiger beetle as an endangered species. The petition 
clearly identified itself as such and included the requisite 
identification information

[[Page 63422]]

of the petitioner required at 50 CFR 424.14(a). In our July 9, 2003, 
response letter to Mr. Mendoza, we explained that we had reviewed the 
petition and determined that an emergency listing was not warranted, 
and that due to court orders and judicially approved settlement 
agreements, we would not be able to further address the petition to 
list the Sacramento Valley tiger beetle at that time, but would 
complete the action when workload and funding allowed. This finding 
addresses the petition.

Previous Federal Actions

    We had included the Sacramento Valley tiger beetle as a candidate 
(Category 2) for Federal listing as either threatened or endangered in 
the 1994 Candidate Notice of Review (CNOR) (59 FR 58981, November 15, 
1994, p. 59014). Category 2 status included those taxa for which 
information in the Service's possession indicated that a proposed 
listing rule was possibly appropriate, but for which sufficient data on 
biological vulnerability and threats were not available to support a 
proposed rule. In the CNOR published on February 28, 1996, we announced 
a revised list of animal and plant taxa that were regarded as 
candidates for possible addition to the Lists of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife and Plants (61 FR 7595). The revised candidate list 
included only former Category 1 species. All former Category 2 species 
were dropped from the list in order to reduce confusion about the 
conservation status of these species, and to clarify that the Service 
no longer regarded these species as candidates for listing. Because the 
Sacramento Valley tiger beetle was a Category 2 species, it was no 
longer recognized as a candidate species as of the February 28, 1996, 
CNOR.

Species Information

Subspecies Description

    The Sacramento Valley tiger beetle is one of 11 recognized 
subspecies of the hairy-necked tiger beetle (Cicindela hirticollis), so 
called because of the small white hairs on the side of the thorax (the 
middle of three body sections in insects) (Pearson et al. 2006, p. 71). 
Hairy-necked tiger beetles are medium-sized beetles approximately 10 to 
15 millimeters (mm) (0.4 to 0.6 inches (in)) long, with cream-colored 
maculations (spots and squiggles) on their wing covers (elytra).
    The Sacramento Valley tiger beetle is distinguished most easily by 
its dark blackish-brown background color, and by the two G-shaped 
maculations at the front of the elytra (Pearson et al. 2006, p. 72). 
These maculations tend to be strongly hooked, and separate from a line 
running along the outer elytral edge. The Sacramento Valley tiger 
beetle was first described as a subspecies in 1913 (Casey 1913, p. 31), 
and its subspecies status was confirmed by Graves et al. in 1988 
(Graves et al. 1988, pp. 660-661).

Distribution

    The petition did not provide any information on the Sacramento 
Valley tiger beetle's distribution or life history. However, from 
information in our files, we know that although the hairy-necked tiger 
beetle is distributed widely across North America, the Sacramento 
Valley tiger beetle is only known from five locations in the Sacramento 
Valley of California (Knisley 2004, p. 8, fig. 1, table 1; Pearson et 
al. 2006, p. 74; CNDDB 2007, pp. 1-5). Three of the five locations are 
in or near the cities of: Colusa, in Colusa County; Nicolaus, in Sutter 
County; and Davis, in Yolo County. A fourth location is along the 
Feather River, about 6 miles (10 kilometers) southwest of Nicolaus, in 
Sutter County. The fifth location does not appear in the California 
Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB), but is supported by various 
collection specimens examined by Knisley (2004, p. 8, table 1). The 
specimens were variously labeled ``Sacramento'' and ``Sacramento, 
west'', and so may come from either the City of Sacramento, in 
Sacramento County, or West Sacramento, in Yolo County. Knisley stated 
they were probably from West Sacramento (Knisley 2004, p. 8, fig. 1), 
but he also indicated they may have come from Discovery Park, which is 
in the city of Sacramento (Knisley 2004, p. 8).
    The CNDDB lists the Nicolaus site as historically supporting the 
largest known population, with over 250 individuals seen in 1984, but 
it is difficult to make comparisons since population estimates for 
other sites were not recorded (Knisley 2004, table 1; CNDDB 2007, pp. 
1-5). The Nicolaus site has also provided the majority of collection 
records (19 of 29), and was the location of the subspecies' last known 
siting on April 14, 1984 (Knisley 2004, p. 8, table 1; CNDDB 2007, pp. 
1-5). Existing records for other sites are much older, ranging from May 
1918 in ``Sacramento,'' to April 1959 at the site 6 miles (10 
kilometers) southwest of Nicolaus (Knisley 2004, table 1).

Habitat and Life History

    Although there is essentially no literature on the specific biology 
of the Sacramento Valley tiger beetle, the hairy-necked tiger beetle 
species as a whole lives on sandy soils near water, including sandy 
riverbanks and sand bars (Graves et al. 1988, p. 647; Knisley 2004, p. 
5; Knisley and Fenster 2005, p. 451). In relatively warmer areas of 
North America, including Virginia and presumably in California's 
Sacramento Valley, eggs are laid in early spring, and the grublike 
larvae hatch and pass through three molts prior to becoming adults in 
late summer (Knisley 2004, p. 6). Beginning in late September to mid-
October, the adults overwinter in burrows they dig in the sand. They 
then re-emerge in early spring to mate and lay eggs (Knisley 2004, pp. 
5, 6). They are not known to live through two winters as adults, 
although subspecies living in colder areas may overwinter their first 
year as larvae and overwinter a second year as adults. Both adults and 
larvae are predatory and feed on small arthropods such as ants, flies, 
and spiders (Knisley 2004, p. 6; Pearson et al. 2006, pp. 7, 8). Larvae 
dig burrows in the sand from which they ambush passing prey (Pearson et 
al. 2006, pp. 8, 9). Adults hunt during the day, running down prey 
items by sight and catching them with their large mandibles. They may 
also scavenge on dead organisms (Fenster and Knisley 2006, p. 2).

Status of the Species

    The petition cites a February 2003 final draft report to the 
Service on the status of the Sacramento Valley tiger beetle as reported 
by Dr. C. Barry Knisley (Knisley 2003, pp. 1-19 plus appendices). The 
status review cited by the petition indicates that only three 
Sacramento Valley tiger beetles were found during comprehensive surveys 
of historically occupied sites and potential habitat within the 
subspecies' known range. However, a subsequently revised draft of the 
report (2004 revised report) explains that the surveys did not in fact 
find any Sacramento Valley tiger beetles, and concludes that the 
Sacramento Valley tiger beetle ``must now be extinct from throughout 
its former range along the Feather and Sacramento Rivers and from other 
areas of potential range'' (Knisley 2004, p. 10). Knisley explains in 
the 2004 revised report (Knisley 2004, p. 10), that the three 
``Sacramento Valley tiger beetles'' previously reported were actually 
Cicindela hirticollis gravida collected at Point Reyes, California, and 
mistakenly placed by a colleague in a vial containing C. oregona tiger 
beetles from Nicolaus, California.
    Knisley (2004, pp. 9-10) concluded the Sacramento Valley tiger 
beetle is extinct based on 4 years of surveys

[[Page 63423]]

(2001 to 2004) conducted during months and times when the adults should 
have been active (May to October). The surveys included all potential 
sites within the Sacramento Valley tiger beetle's known historic range, 
as well as many additional sites outside the subspecies' known range 
that contained the necessary habitat characteristics. The areas 
surveyed included stream reaches of the Kings River in Tulare, Kings, 
and Fresno Counties; San Joaquin River in Fresno, Madera, Stanislaus, 
San Joaquin, Sacramento, and Contra Costa Counties; American River in 
Sacramento County; Yuba River in Yuba County; Feather River in Yuba and 
Sutter Counties; and the Sacramento River in Shasta, Tehama, Glenn, 
Colusa, Sutter, Yolo, Sacramento, and Solano Counties. River sections 
deemed most likely to still support Sacramento Valley tiger beetles 
(based on remaining habitat and historic population locations) were 
surveyed four to six times each over 4 years. Over 150 different sites 
were surveyed from 2001 to 2004, including 130 sites in 2003-2004. 
Survey methods and conclusions were also published in a peer-reviewed 
journal (Knisley and Fenster 2005). Because the sandy shoreline habitat 
preferred by Sacramento Valley tiger beetles was easily identified and 
searched, there is a high likelihood the surveys would have accounted 
for year-to-year variation in population numbers and would have found 
Sacramento Valley tiger beetles had any remained extant. Knisley and 
Fenster (2005, p. 451) estimated the subspecies probably went extinct 
in the late 1980s to early 1990s.
    Based on the best scientific information available, the most likely 
cause of the Sacramento Valley tiger beetle's extinction is habitat 
change brought about by construction of Oroville and Shasta dams 
(Knisley 2003, p. 15; Knisley 2004, p. 24; Knisley and Fenster 2005, p. 
456; Fenster and Knisley 2006, pp. 19-20). Flow alterations established 
by these dams likely led to the gradual loss of fine-grained shoreline 
habitat due to reduction of sediment transport, reduced variability in 
water flow, and resulting increases to vegetation growth along the 
water's edge. Due to these factors, relatively little suitable habitat 
now remains along the Feather and Sacramento rivers within the 
Sacramento Valley tiger beetle's historic range (Knisley and Fenster 
2005, p. 456). Flow releases are also likely to have resulted in 
prolonged flooding of large areas of remaining, suitable habitat, 
drowning larvae in their burrows during summer months, and adults in 
their overwintering burrows during the winter (Fenster and Knisley 
2006, p. 19). Both larvae and adults have adapted to short periods of 
immersion, such as might have resulted from heavy flows prior to dam 
construction, but C. hirticollis larvae will die after 4 to 8 days of 
immersion, and may simply dig out of their burrows prior to that, to be 
swept away by the flow (Knisley 2004, p. 19; Fenster and Knisley 2006, 
p. 20). Adults survive only a few days of immersion (Fenster and 
Knisley 2006, p. 20), although it is unclear to what extent an 
overwintering adult would be able to simply move to higher ground 
(Knisley 2004, p. 22).
    Additional habitat loss has been caused by riprapping and 
channelization, particularly in the Sacramento River south of Colusa 
(Knisley 2003, p. 14; Knisley 2004, p. 25; Knisley and Fenster 2005, p. 
456). The ``Davis'' occurrence, which likely was actually west of Davis 
along Putah Creek (Knisley 2004, p. 8), would not have been affected by 
the construction of Shasta or Oroville dams, but would have been 
subjected to similar losses of sandy shoreline habitat due to the 
construction of Monticello dam in 1957 (Knisley 2004, p. 28; USBR 2007, 
p. 1). Some suitable sandy river edge habitat may remain at the site of 
the ``Sacramento'' occurrence, assuming that site to be Discovery Park 
(Knisley 2004, p. 8), but that habitat is heavily impacted by human 
foot traffic and would therefore be largely unsuitable for Sacramento 
Valley tiger beetles.
    Species Status Summary: Stream flow management through the 
construction of dams and streambank alteration through channelization 
and riprapping has posed a serious threat to the Sacramento Valley 
tiger beetle by causing habitat destruction, alteration, and inundation 
of historic and other suitable habitat for the subspecies. Extensive 
survey efforts of areas with known populations and other areas with 
suitable habitat have been unable to locate any extant populations of 
the Sacramento Valley tiger beetle. As a result of these survey 
efforts, the Sacramento Valley tiger beetle is believed to be extinct, 
and this likely occurred sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s. 
Although no single factor (dam construction and operation, stream 
channelization, levee construction, riprapping, etc.) can be singled 
out as the cause for the subspecies' decline, the combination of all 
these factors has led to the extinction of this subspecies.
    The petition presented information for one of the five listing 
factors (Factor A) in section 4 of the Act in an effort to identify 
threats that may be leading to the decline of the Sacramento Valley 
tiger beetle. However, these factors are pertinent only in cases where 
the organism being proposed for listing: May be a listable entity as 
defined by section 3(16) of the Act; and is extant in the wild. Because 
the information in our files indicates that the Sacramento Valley tiger 
beetle is now extinct and, at the time the petition was presented to 
the Service, no longer extant in the wild, the five threat factors are 
not analyzed here.

Significant Portion of the Range Analysis

    We have reviewed the information presented and supported in the 
petition and in our files to assess whether there may be any area 
within the range of the subspecies that would be considered a 
significant portion of its range. Because the information in our files 
indicates that the Sacramento Valley tiger beetle to be extinct, an 
analysis of what might constitute a significant portion of the 
subspecies' range is not applicable.

Finding

    The petition focused entirely on threats posed by Factor A (habitat 
alterations), arguing that riprapping, channelization, and inopportune 
water releases from Oroville and Shasta dams altered the beetle's 
habitat in a manner that threatens or endangers the subspecies. All 
available evidence indicates that the subspecies is extinct, and most 
likely this occurred in the late 1980s or early 1990s, approximately a 
decade before the petition to list was submitted to the Service. The 
Act and our regulations define an ``endangered species'' to mean a 
species that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant 
portion of its range (16 U.S.C. 1532(6) and 50 CFR 424.02(e)). 
Similarly, a ``threatened species'' is defined 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) and 50 CFR 424.02(m)). Because the Sacramento Valley tiger 
beetle is extinct, it therefore is not eligible for listing as an 
endangered or threatened species under the Act.
    We have reviewed the petition and supporting information provided 
with the petition and evaluated that information in relation to other 
pertinent literature and information available to us at the time of the 
petition review. Because the subspecies is extinct, we also determined 
that a significant portion of the range analysis for the subspecies is 
not appropriate. Based on this review and evaluation, we

[[Page 63424]]

find that the petition and other available information does not present 
substantial information demonstrating that listing the Sacramento 
Valley tiger beetle under the Act as threatened or endangered in all or 
a significant portion of its range may be warranted at this time. We 
encourage interested parties to continue to gather and provide data on 
potential occurrence information for the Sacramento Valley tiger 
beetle.

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited in this document is 
available, upon request, from the Sacramento Fish and Wildlife Office 
(see ADDRESSES).

Author

    The primary authors of this notice are staff of Sacramento Fish and 
Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2800 Cottage Way, 
Sacramento, Ca 95825.

Authority

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

    Dated: October 17, 2008.
Kenneth Stansell,
Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
 [FR Doc. E8-25403 Filed 10-23-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P