[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 110 (Wednesday, June 10, 2009)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 27588-27640]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-13013]



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Part II





Department of the Interior





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Fish and Wildlife Service



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50 CFR Part 17



Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Revised 
Critical Habitat for Navarretia fossalis (Spreading Navarretia); 
Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 110 / Wednesday, June 10, 2009 / 
Proposed Rules

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2009-0038; 92210-1117-0000-B4]
RIN 1018-AW22


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Revised 
Critical Habitat for Navarretia fossalis (Spreading Navarretia)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to 
revise designated critical habitat for Navarretia fossalis (spreading 
navarretia). Approximately 6,872 acres (ac) (2,781 hectares (ha)) of 
habitat fall within the boundaries of the proposed revised critical 
habitat designation. This proposed revised designation of critical 
habitat is located in Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego Counties in 
southern California.

DATES: We will accept comments from all interested parties until August 
10, 2009. We must receive requests for public hearings, in writing, at 
the address shown in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section by 
July 27, 2009.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. FWS-R8-
ES-2009-0039.
     U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, 
Attn: FWS-R8-ES-2009-0038; Division of Policy and Directives 
Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, 
Suite 222; Arlington, VA 22203. We will not accept e-mail or faxes. We 
will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally 
means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see 
the Public Comments section below for more information).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jim Bartel, Field Supervisor, U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, 6010 
Hidden Valley Road, Suite 101, Carlsbad, CA 92011; telephone (760) 431-
9440; facsimile (760) 431-5901. If you use a telecommunications device 
for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) 
at (800) 877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Public Comments

    We intend any final action resulting from this proposal to be as 
accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we request comments 
or suggestions on this proposed rule. We particularly seek comments 
concerning:
    (1) The reasons we should or should not revise the designation of 
habitat as ``critical habitat'' under section 4 of the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), 
including whether the benefit of designation would outweigh any threats 
to the species caused by the designation, such that the designation of 
critical habitat is prudent.
    (2) Specific information on:
     Areas that provide habitat for Navarretia fossalis that we 
did not discuss in this proposed critical habitat rule,
     Areas containing the features essential to the 
conservation of N. fossalis that we should include in the designation 
and why,
     Areas not containing features essential for the 
conservation of the species and why, and
     Areas not occupied at the time of listing that are 
essential to the conservation of the species and why.
    (3) Land-use designations and current or planned activities in the 
areas proposed as critical habitat, as well as their possible effects 
on proposed critical habitat.
    (4) Comments or information that may assist us in identifying or 
clarifying the primary constituent elements.
    (5) How the proposed revised critical habitat boundaries could be 
refined to more closely circumscribe the landscapes identified as 
containing the features essential to the species' conservation.
    (6) Any probable economic, national-security, or other impacts of 
designating particular areas as critical habitat, and, in particular, 
any impacts on small entities (e.g., small businesses or small 
governments), and the benefits of including or excluding areas that 
exhibit these impacts.
    (7) Whether any specific subunits being proposed as critical 
habitat should be excluded under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, and 
whether the benefits of potentially excluding any particular area 
outweigh the benefits of including that area under section 4(b)(2) of 
the Act.
    (8) The potential exclusion of the portion of the subunit (Unit 2) 
being proposed as critical habitat within the jurisdiction of the City 
of Carlsbad Habitat Management Plan, a subarea plan under the San Diego 
Multiple Habitat Conservation Plan under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, 
and whether the benefits of exclusion of this area outweigh the 
benefits of including this area as critical habitat, and why.
    (9) Specific reasons whether we should exclude, under section 
4(b)(2) of the Act, the subunit proposed as critical habitat within the 
unincorporated community of Ramona in San Diego County (Subunit 4E), an 
area where the County of San Diego is working on a Habitat Conservation 
Plan (HCP) called the ``North County Plan'' with the Service that is 
currently available for public review (The North County Plan is 
available on the Internet at: http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/dplu/mscp/nc.html), and whether the benefits of exclusion of this area outweigh 
the benefits of including this area as critical habitat, and why.
    (10) The potential exclusion of the subunits being proposed as 
critical habitat within the jurisdiction of the County of San Diego 
Subarea Plan (Subunit 3A and portions of Subunits 5B, 5F, and 5I) under 
the San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Plan under section 4(b)(2) 
of the Act, and whether the benefits of exclusion of this area outweigh 
the benefits of including this area as critical habitat, and why.
    (11) The potential exclusion of the subunits being proposed as 
critical habitat within the jurisdiction of the Western Riverside 
County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan (Subunits 6A, 6B, 6C, 
6D, and 6E) under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, and whether the benefits 
of exclusion of this area would outweigh the benefits of including this 
area as critical habitat, and why.
    (12) Information on any quantifiable economic costs or benefits of 
the proposed revised designation of critical habitat.
    (13) Whether we could improve or modify our approach to designating 
critical habitat in any way to provide for greater public participation 
and understanding, or to better accommodate public concerns and 
comments.
    Our final determination concerning critical habitat for Navarretia 
fossalis will take into consideration all written comments and any 
additional information we receive during the comment period. These 
comments are included in the public record for this rulemaking and we 
will fully consider them in the preparation of our final determination. 
On the basis of public comments, we may, during the development of our 
final determination, find that areas within the proposed designation do 
not meet the definition

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of critical habitat, that some modifications to the described 
boundaries are appropriate, or that areas may or may not be appropriate 
for exclusion under section 4(b)(2) of the Act.
    You may submit your comments and materials concerning this proposed 
rule by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. We will not 
consider comments sent by e-mail or fax or to an address not listed in 
the ADDRESSES section.
    If you submit a comment via http://www.regulations.gov, your entire 
comment--including any personal identifying information--will be posted 
on the Web site. If you submit a hardcopy comment that includes 
personal identifying information, you may request at the top of your 
document that we withhold this information from public review. However, 
we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. We will post all 
hardcopy comments on http://www.regulations.gov.

Background

    It is our intent to discuss only those topics directly relevant to 
the proposed revised designation of critical habitat in this proposed 
rule. No new information pertaining to the species description, life 
history, ecology, or habitat of Navarretia fossalis was received 
following the 2005 final critical habitat designation for this species; 
summary information relevant to this species' critical habitat is 
provided below. This rule incorporates new information on the 
distribution of N. fossalis that was not available when we completed 
our 2005 final critical habitat designation for this species. For more 
information on N. fossalis, refer to the final listing rule published 
in the Federal Register on October 13, 1998 (63 FR 54975), and the 
designation of critical habitat for N. fossalis published in the 
Federal Register on October 18, 2005 (70 FR 60658). Additionally, more 
information on this species can be found in the Recovery Plan for the 
Vernal Pools of Southern California (Recovery Plan) finalized on 
September 3, 1998 (Service 1998a).

Species Description

    Navarretia fossalis is a low, mostly spreading or ascending, annual 
herb, 4 to 6 inches (in.) (10 to 15 centimeters (cm)) tall. The lower 
portions of the stems are mostly glabrous (bare). The leaves are soft 
and finely divided, 0.4 to 2 in. (1 to 5 cm) long, and spine-tipped 
when dry. The corolla (i.e., flower tube and petals) are white to 
lavender-white with linear petals and are arranged in flat-topped, 
compact, leafy heads. The fruit is an ovoid, 2-chambered capsule (Moran 
1977, pp. 155-156; Day 1993, p. 847). The fruit of this species 
consists of indehiscent (i.e., not opening spontaneously at maturity to 
release seeds) capsules 0.08 to 0.12 in. (2 to 3 millimeters (mm)) long 
containing 5 to 25 seeds (Moran 1977, p. 156; Day 1993, p. 847). The 
seeds develop a sticky, slimy coating when wet, which may retain 
moisture and aid in germination (Moran 1977, p. 156).

Habitat

    Navarretia fossalis grows in natural vernal pool habitat, 
seasonally flooded alkali vernal plain habitat (a habitat that includes 
alkali playa, alkali scrub, alkali vernal pool, and alkali annual 
grassland), and man-made irrigation ditches and detention basins 
(Bramlet 1993a, pp. 10, 14, 21-23; Ferren and Fiedler 1993, pp. 126-
127; Spencer 1997, pp. 8, 13). A common feature of the N. fossalis 
habitat is its ephemerally wet, flooded, or ponded nature (i.e., 
habitat is wet for a portion the year and dry the remainder of the 
year), and in this rule, we use the term ``ephemerally wet habitats'' 
to refer to N. fossalis habitat. These habitats are periodically wet or 
ponded from October to May, and dry from June to September. The period 
of time during which these habitats pond is referred to as the ``period 
of inundation.'' This time period varies from year to year depending on 
the timing and amount of precipitation. Despite the ephemeral nature of 
the wetland habitat where N. fossalis occurs its habitat occurs and 
relies on ``fixed landscape features'' that include (1) mounds of soil 
that are interspersed with depressed areas (basins) that harbor 
appropriate clay soils that provide ponding opportunities during winter 
and spring months; or (2) flood plain areas with alkali soils that 
drain slowly following winter and spring rains. The ponding that N. 
fossalis requires for its growth and reproduction would not be present 
without this underlying topography, which is a fixed and permanent 
feature of the landscape. So even though the wetland habitat is 
ephemeral, the habitat where N. fossalis occurs is geographically fixed 
and there are only a limited number of locations that can support this 
species.

Life History

    The life cycle of Navarretia fossalis begins with the germination 
of seeds when the habitat is in the wetland phase (i.e., flooded or 
ponded) during winter and spring months. In contrast to most species of 
Navarretia, which are unable to grow in vernal pool habitat, N. 
fossalis and other vernal pool Navarretias have indehiscent fruit/
capsules. This means that the capsules that hold the seeds do not break 
apart when the seeds mature, and instead the seeds are held on the 
plant until the capsules absorb water and expand to break open the 
fruit after a substantial rain (Crampton 1954, pp. 233-234; Spencer and 
Rieseberg 1998, p. 82). After the seeds are released from the capsules, 
they come in contact with the wet soil and are able to germinate. This 
enables the seeds to germinate under favorable conditions when the 
habitat is inundated with the winter and spring rains. After 
germination, plants grow and flower in May and June as the habitat 
dries (Glenn Lukos Associates, Inc. 2000, p. 17). Subsequently, the 
plant produces fruit and senesces in the hot, dry summer months. The 
cycle begins again each year when the fall and spring rains begin.
    In addition to the general life history for Navarretia fossalis, 
there are two important evolutionary traits that contribute to this 
species survival: (1) Its relatively limited seed dispersal capability; 
and (2) the presence of a persistent seed bank.
    Navarretia fossalis has ``limited dispersal capabilities,'' which 
is one cause of this species' narrow distribution, and also 
demonstrates this species' ability to persist in occupied habitat. The 
seeds of N. fossalis are not dispersed far from the parent plant, 
because the seed capsules are indehiscent and do not shatter when the 
plants dry in the summer heat (Crampton 1954, pp. 233-234; Spencer 
1997, p. 17). Instead, the seeds remain on the dried plant until heavy 
winter rains break up the dry plants and cause the seed capsules to 
open (Spencer 1997, p. 17). In a local context, the limited dispersal 
for N. fossalis is advantageous because the seeds stay in suitable 
habitat rather than being transported into areas that do not provide 
suitable habitat (Zedler 1990, pp. 130-134). As a result, the bulk of 
the seeds produced by N. fossalis stay close to the parent plants and 
contribute to the persistence of the species within the local area. 
Conversely, the limited dispersal of this species results in a 
decreased ability for this species to colonize new habitats. In 
relation to the conservation of this species, conserving occupied 
localities will help to conserve this species because N. fossalis has 
traits that allow it to be successful in the same habitat year after 
year. Additionally, putting resources towards the conservation will 
help prevent local extinctions, which in the case of a species with 
limited dispersal

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capabilities, could be detrimental to the species (Spencer 1997, p. 
17).
    Navarretia fossalis has a persistent seed bank that makes occupied 
sites more valuable for conservation than potential, but unoccupied, 
habitat. Elam (1998, p. 182) indicates that many plants restricted to 
vernal pool habitat are thought to have a persistent seed bank. At one 
site where N. fossalis was salvaged, both standing plants and soil that 
contained plants encased in silt were collected. In germination tests, 
both the current crop of seeds (standing plants) and the seeds encased 
in silt (presumably from previous years) were viable (Wall 2004, pp. 2-
3). Additional studies should be conducted to better quantify the seed 
bank that exists for N. fossalis, but we believe the currently 
available information demonstrates that N. fossalis has a persistent 
seed bank in occupied areas. Therefore, the preservation of the seed 
bank is important to the conservation of this species, primarily with 
native occurrences where the seed bank has built up over several years. 
Native occurrences contrast with translocated occurrences (where seed 
or plants are moved from one location to another) because in most 
translocations, only seed from a single year is moved and used to 
establish a new occurrence. In a native occurrence, seed has been 
deposited in the local area year after year. Therefore, native 
occurrences have a more varied seed bank and will more likely persist 
into the future.

Geographic Range and Status

    Navarretia fossalis is distributed from northwestern Los Angeles 
County and western Riverside County, south through coastal San Diego 
County, California, to northwestern Baja California, Mexico (Moran 
1977, p. 156; Oberbauer 1992, p. 7). It is found at elevations between 
sea level and 4,250 feet (ft) (1,300 meters (m)) in vernal pool and 
seasonally flooded alkali vernal plain habitats (Day 1993, pp. 847-848; 
Tibor 2001, p. 229; California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB) 2008, 
pp. 1-44).
    In the United States, Navarretia fossalis is limited to Los 
Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego Counties in southern California. At 
the time of listing (1998), N. fossalis was known from approximately 30 
occurrences, with 60 percent of the known plants concentrated in three 
areas: Otay Mesa in southern San Diego County, along the San Jacinto 
River in western Riverside County, and near Hemet in Riverside County 
(referred to as the Salt Creek Seasonally Flooded Alkali Plain in the 
current proposed revised critical habitat rule) (October 13, 1998, 63 
FR 54975). In the final listing rule (October 13, 1998, 63 FR 54975), 
we estimated that less than 300 ac (121 ha) of habitat in the United 
States was occupied by this species in approximately 30 occurrences. 
This habitat estimate only quantified the areas where N. fossalis was 
physically found (i.e., ponded areas of ephemeral wetlands) and did not 
include the intermixed upland areas and local watersheds necessary to 
support the conservation of this species. For this reason, we have 
identified a much larger area as proposed critical habitat for N. 
fossalis in this rule than the 300 ac (121 ha) of occupied habitat 
discussed in the final listing rule for this species. Each area that we 
propose as critical habitat contains a current occurrence of N. 
fossalis; however, N. fossalis does not physically occur throughout the 
entirety of each area. The 6,872 ac (2,781 ha) proposed as critical 
habitat contains occurrences of N. fossalis and surrounding upland 
areas that contain the primary constituent elements essential to 
support N. fossalis where it physically occurs within the proposed 
critical habitat. For information about how this proposed critical 
habitat rule compares to the final critical habitat designated for this 
species in 2005, see the ``Summary of Changes From Previously 
Designated Critical Habitat'' section below.
    In Mexico, Navarretia fossalis is limited to northwestern Baja 
California. At the time of listing (1998), N. fossalis was known from 
approximately nine occurrences concentrated in three areas: Along the 
international border, on the plateaus south of the Rio Guadalupe and 
north of Ensenada, and on the San Quintin coastal plain (Moran 1977, p. 
156).
    In this proposed rule, we use the word ``occurrence'' to refer to a 
specific area where Navarretia fossalis has been positively identified. 
An occurrence of N. fossalis is not necessarily synonymous with a 
population of N. fossalis. One occurrence may refer to several 
localized areas where N. fossalis has been found in habitat that is 
continuous and connected, such as the several mile stretch along the 
San Jacinto River in Riverside, California, where N. fossalis occurs 
intermittently (although the habitat is essentially continuous). One 
occurrence may also refer to only one localized area where N. fossalis 
has been found, in habitat that is isolated, such as the vernal pools 
at the Poinsettia Lane Commuter Station in Carlsbad, California, where 
the next closest occurrence is several miles (kilometers) away. The 
occurrences that we defined in this rule are not the same as the 
element occurrences described by the California Natural Diversity 
Database (CNDDB).
    As part of this proposed revised critical habitat, we reviewed the 
available data on Navarretia fossalis. We determined that a total of 51 
documented occurrences exist from the United States and that 49 of 
these occurrences are extant (i.e., currently supporting an occurrence 
of N. fossalis). Since this species was listed in 1998, 17 additional 
occurrences have been documented from survey reports and herbarium 
collections. We believe that the recently documented occurrences were 
extant at the time of listing because this species has limited 
dispersal capabilities, and the species can only occur in specific 
habitat types with fixed landscape features. (Limited dispersal is 
defined and discussed in detail in paragraph 3 of the ``Life History'' 
section. ``Fixed landscape features'' we further defined the first time 
we used this terminology (paragraph 1 of the ``Habitat'' section.) It 
is unlikely that any new occurrences were established during the 
relatively short, ten-year time period following the listing of this 
species. Instead, we believe the areas discovered to contain N. 
fossalis in the years since the listing were occupied for many years 
prior to listing of the species and were only recently documented due 
to increased number of surveys for this species. Additionally, all 
recently documented occurrences of N. fossalis are within the 
historical geographical range of the species. Therefore, throughout 
this rule we refer to all occurrences as ``occupied at the time of 
listing'' whether the areas were documented before or after the species 
was listed.
    As part of our review of data on this species, we were able to get 
a more complete list of the past herbarium collections for Navarretia 
fossalis in Baja California, Mexico; all of which were made prior to 
the listing of this species. Our current list of collections from 
Mexico indicates that there are 12 specific locations where N. fossalis 
has been found in Baja California (Sanborn 2009, pp. 2-3). Other than 
the original collection information, we have no specific data on these 
occurrences; however, development, clay mining, and agricultural 
activities have been ongoing in the areas where N. fossalis has been 
found in the past (Moran 1984, pp. 175-178). We cannot make any 
specific conclusions about how many of these occurrences are extant, 
but we do think that this species is as rare in Mexico as it is in the 
United States and that its existence is threatened by

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development, clay mining, and agricultural activities in Mexico.

Areas Needed for Conservation: Core and Satellite Habitat Areas

    Details about the distribution and status of this species provide 
important background information for understanding the areas that we 
are proposing for revised critical habitat. The areas that contain the 
features essential for the conservation of Navarretia fossalis and that 
we are proposing as revised critical habitat in this rule are 
represented by core habitat areas and satellite habitat areas. Core 
habitat represents the most critical areas in conserving this species, 
including areas that contain the highest concentrations of N. fossalis 
and the largest contiguous blocks of habitat for this species. We 
identified four core habitat areas; three core habitat areas were 
identified in the listing rule (along the San Jacinto River, in the 
Upper Salt Creek drainage, and on Otay Mesa), and in the current 
revised proposed critical habitat rule, we added one additional area 
that we believe represents a core habitat area (Mesa de Burro on the 
Santa Rosa Plateau). In addition to the four core areas, N. fossalis 
occurs at several other sites that make up the range of this species; 
many of these sites also contain the features essential to the 
conservation of this species.
    In this rule, we use the term ``satellite habitat areas'' to mean 
habitat areas that support occurrences that are smaller than those 
supported by the ``core habitat areas,'' but provide the means to 
significantly contribute to the recovery of N. fossalis. Satellite 
habitat areas provide connectivity between the core habitat areas by 
shortening the distances that pollen and seeds would need to be 
transferred, fill in gaps that would exist in the species range, if 
only the core habitat areas were conserved, support stable occurrences 
(e.g., occurrences that continue to persist in an area), and likely 
support genetically unique occurrences. The satellite habitat areas are 
generally smaller than the core habitats. However, the satellite 
habitat areas contain the features essential to the conservation of N. 
fossalis.
    Together, the core habitat areas and satellite habitat areas 
represent a matrix of viable occurrences that provide the stability, 
resilience, and flexibility that this species requires to survive 
current threats and adapt to future threats that may be caused by 
environmental changes. Special management considerations or protection 
of the core habitat areas and satellite habitat areas will help with 
the recovery of N. fossalis and bring the species to the point where 
the protections of the Act are no longer needed.
    The four core habitat areas where this species occurs are large, 
both in number of occupied areas and in terms of the occurrence size 
(greater than 3,000 plants). The core habitat areas support self-
sufficient occurrences that have been resilient to human impacts at the 
landscape scale. These core habitat areas contain the largest 
occurrences of N. fossalis, and, therefore, the conservation of these 
areas and the essential features contained therein will make a 
substantial contribution to the recovery of this species.
    We have determined, however, that the conservation of the core 
habitat areas alone will not be sufficient to provide for recovery of 
Navarretia fossalis. As a result, we believe that the conservation of 
satellite habitat areas is essential for the recovery of this species. 
Satellite habitats include: (1) Important peripheral occurrences of 
this species that are on the geographic edge of this species' 
distribution; (2) occurrences that are isolated from other occurrences 
by geographic features; and (3) areas that are nested within the 
distribution of this species and provide connections between the core 
habitat areas and other satellite habitat areas. The satellite habitat 
areas are dispersed throughout the range of this species. Therefore, we 
believe the protection and management of both core and satellite 
habitat areas will result in a matrix of viable occurrences and 
supportive habitat areas that will provide for the long-term 
conservation of N. fossalis.

Previous Federal Actions

    On October 18, 2005 (70 FR 60658), we published our final 
designation of critical habitat for Navarretia fossalis. On December 
19, 2007, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a complaint in the 
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California challenging 
our designation of critical habitat for N. fossalis and Brodiaea 
filifolia (Center for Biological Diversity v. United States Fish and 
Wildlife Service et al., Case No. 07-CV-02379-W-NLS). This lawsuit 
challenged the validity of the information and reasoning we used to 
exclude areas from the 2005 critical habitat designation for N. 
fossalis. On July 25, 2008, we reached a settlement agreement, in which 
we agreed to reconsider critical habitat designation for N. fossalis. 
The settlement stipulated that we submit a proposed revised critical 
habitat designation for N. fossalis to the Federal Register for 
publication on or before May 29, 2009, and submit a final revised 
critical habitat designation to the Federal Register for publication on 
or before May 28, 2010.

Critical Habitat

    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the Act as:
    (1) 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
    (a) Essential to the conservation of the species and
    (b) That may require special management considerations or 
protection; and
    (2) 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, as defined under section 3 of the Act, means the use 
of all methods and procedures that are necessary to bring any 
endangered or threatened species to the point at which the measures 
provided under the Act are no longer necessary. Such methods and 
procedures include, but are not limited to, all activities associated 
with scientific resources management, such as research, census, law 
enforcement, habitat acquisition and maintenance, propagation, live 
trapping, transplantation, and--in the extraordinary case where 
population pressures within a given ecosystem cannot otherwise be 
relieved--regulated taking.
    Critical habitat receives protection under section 7(a)(2) of the 
Act through the prohibition against Federal agencies carrying out, 
funding, or authorizing the destruction or adverse modification of 
critical habitat. Section 7(a)(2) of the Act requires consultation on 
Federal actions that may affect critical habitat. The designation of 
critical habitat does not affect land ownership or establish a refuge, 
wilderness, reserve, preserve, or other conservation area. Such 
designation does not allow the government or public to access private 
lands. Such designation does not require implementation of restoration, 
recovery, or enhancement measures by private landowners. Where a 
landowner requests Federal agency funding or authorization for an 
action that may affect a listed species or critical habitat, the 
consultation requirements of section 7(a)(2) would apply, but even in 
the event of a destruction or adverse modification finding, the 
landowner's obligation is not to restore or recover the species, but to 
implement reasonable and prudent alternatives to avoid

[[Page 27592]]

destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat.
    For inclusion in a critical habitat designation, the habitat within 
the geographical area occupied by the species at the time of listing 
must contain physical and biological features that are essential to the 
conservation of the species, and be included only if those features may 
require special management considerations or protection. Critical 
habitat designations identify, to the extent known using the best 
scientific data available, habitat areas that provide essential life 
cycle needs of the species (i.e., areas on which are found the Primary 
Constituent Elements (PCEs) laid out in the appropriate quantity and 
spatial arrangement essential to the conservation of the species). 
Under the Act, we can designate critical habitat in areas outside the 
geographical area occupied by the species at the time it is listed as 
critical habitat only when we determine that those areas are essential 
for the conservation of the species.
    Section 4 of the Act requires that we designate critical habitat on 
the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available. 
Further, our Policy on Information Standards Under the Endangered 
Species Act (published in the Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 
34271)), the Information Quality Act (section 515 of the Treasury and 
General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Pub. L. 
106-554; H.R. 5658)), and our associated Information Quality Guidelines 
provide criteria, establish procedures, and provide guidance to ensure 
that our decisions are based on the best scientific data available. 
They require our biologists, to the extent consistent with the Act and 
with the use of the best scientific data available, to use primary and 
original sources of information as the basis for recommendations to 
designate critical habitat.
    When we are determining which areas should be designated as 
critical habitat, our primary source of information is generally the 
information developed during the listing process for the species. 
Additional information sources may include the recovery plan for the 
species, articles in peer-reviewed journals, conservation plans 
developed by States and counties, scientific status surveys and 
studies, biological assessments, or other unpublished materials and 
expert opinion or personal knowledge.
    Habitat is often dynamic, and species may move from one area to 
another over time. Furthermore, we recognize that designation of 
critical habitat may not include all habitat areas that we may 
eventually determine are necessary for the recovery of the species, 
based on scientific data not now available to the Service. For these 
reasons, a critical habitat designation does not signal that habitat 
outside the designated area is unimportant or may not promote the 
recovery of the species.
    Areas that support occurrences, but are outside the critical 
habitat designation, will continue to be subject to conservation 
actions we implement under section 7(a)(1) of the Act. They are also 
subject to the regulatory protections afforded by the section 7(a)(2) 
jeopardy standard, as determined on the basis of the best available 
scientific information at the time of the agency action. Federally 
funded or permitted projects affecting listed species outside their 
designated critical habitat areas may still result in jeopardy findings 
in some cases. Similarly, critical habitat designations made on the 
basis of the best available information at the time of designation will 
not control the direction and substance of future recovery plans, 
habitat conservation plans (HCPs), or other species conservation 
planning efforts if new information available to these planning efforts 
calls for a different outcome.

Methods

    As required by section 4(b) of the Act, we used the best scientific 
and commercial data available in determining areas occupied at the time 
of listing that contain the features essential to the conservation of 
Navarretia fossalis. We reviewed the approach to the conservation of N. 
fossalis provided in its recovery plan (Service 1998a, pp. 1-113, 
appendices), the 2005 final designation of critical habitat for N. 
fossalis (October 18, 2005, 70 FR 60658), information from State, 
Federal, and Local government agencies, and information from academia 
and private organizations that collected scientific data on the 
species. Other information we used for this proposed revised critical 
habitat includes: The CNDDB (CNDDB 2008, pp. 1-44); published and 
unpublished papers, reports, academic theses, surveys; Geographic 
Information System (GIS) data (such as species occurrence data, soil 
data, land use, topography, aerial imagery, and ownership maps); 
correspondence to the Service from recognized experts; and other 
information as available.

Primary Constituent Elements

    In accordance with section 3(5)(A)(i) of the Act and regulations at 
50 CFR 424.12(b), in determining which areas occupied by the species at 
the time of listing to propose as critical habitat, we consider those 
physical and biological features that are essential to the conservation 
of the species that may require special management considerations or 
protection. We consider the physical and biological features to be the 
primary constituent elements (PCEs) laid out in the appropriate 
quantity and spatial arrangement for the conservation of the species. 
The PCEs include, but are not limited to:
    (1) Space for individual and population growth and for normal 
behavior;
    (2) Food, water, air, light, minerals, or other nutritional or 
physiological requirements;
    (3) Cover or shelter;
    (4) Sites for breeding, reproduction, and rearing (or development) 
of offspring; and
    (5) Habitats that are protected from disturbance or are 
representative of the historical, geographical, and ecological 
distributions of a species.
    We derived the PCEs required for Navarretia fossalis from its 
biological needs. The area proposed for designation as revised critical 
habitat consists of ephemeral wetland habitat for the reproduction and 
growth of N. fossalis, intermixed wetland and upland habitats that act 
as the local watershed to support the ephemeral wetland habitat, and 
the topography and soils that support ponding during winter and spring 
months. The methods of dispersal and pollination for N. fossalis are 
not well understood and may not be captured by this proposed revised 
critical habitat. Likewise, the larger watershed areas that support the 
ephemeral wetland habitat are difficult to define and may require 
hydrological data and modeling that are not available; therefore, areas 
beyond the local watershed are not included in this proposed critical 
habitat rule. The PCEs and the resulting physical and biological 
features essential for the conservation of N. fossalis are derived from 
studies of this species' habitat, ecology, and life history as 
described below, in the ``Background'' section in this proposed rule, 
as well as in the previous critical habitat rule (October 18, 2005, 70 
FR 60658), and in the final listing rule published in the Federal 
Register on October 13, 1998 (63 FR 54975).

Habitats That Are Representative of the Historic Geographical and 
Ecological Distribution of the Species

    Navarretia fossalis is restricted to temporary wetlands in southern 
California and northwestern Baja

[[Page 27593]]

California (Moran 1977, pp. 155-156; Oberbauer 1992, p. 7; Day 1993, p. 
847; CNDDB 2008, pp. 1-44), and primarily associated with vernal pools 
and seasonally flooded alkali vernal plain habitats (Moran 1977, pp. 
155-156; Bramlet 1993a, p. 10; Day 1993, p. 847; Ferren and Fiedler 
1993, pp. 126-127). In Los Angeles County, N. fossalis is known to 
occur in vernal pools on Cruzan Mesa and the associated drainage of 
Plum Canyon. In Riverside County, N. fossalis is known to occur in 
large vernal pools with basins that range in size from 0.5 ac (0.2 ha) 
to 10.0 ac (4.0 ha) (e.g., CNDDB 2008, EO 43, 44), and in temporary 
wetlands that are described as seasonally flooded alkali vernal plain 
habitat along the San Jacinto River and near Salt Creek in Hemet (e.g., 
CNDDB 2008, EO 22, 23, 24). In San Diego County, N. fossalis is found 
in vernal pools that are smaller than those in Riverside County, 
ranging in size from 0.01 ac (0.005 ha) to 0.2 ac (0.09 ha) and are 
often found in clusters of several vernal pools referred to as vernal 
pool complexes (e.g., CNDDB 2008, EO 4, 14, 19). In Mexico, N. fossalis 
is known from fewer than 12 occurrences, of which the main occurrences 
are clustered in three areas: along the international border, on the 
plateaus south of the Rio Guadalupe, and on the San Quintin coastal 
plain (Moran 1977, p. 156).

Ephemeral Wetland Habitat

    Despite the variation in the types of habitat where Navarretia 
fossalis is found (i.e., vernal pool habitat and seasonally flooded 
alkali vernal plain habitat), these ephemeral wetlands all share the 
same temporary nature (i.e., areas fill with water during winter or 
spring months and dry completely during summer and fall months). 
Navarretia fossalis depends on both the inundation and the drying of 
its habitat for survival. This type of ephemerally wet habitat does not 
support upland plants that live in a dry environment year round or 
wetland plants that require year round moisture to become established 
(Keeler-Wolf et al. 1998). Rather, these habitats support specialized 
plants, such as N. fossalis that are able to grow in the open niche 
created by the exclusion of strictly upland and wetland plants.
    Navarretia fossalis primarily occurs in ephemeral wetland habitat, 
more specifically, vernal pool and seasonally flooded alkali vernal 
plain habitat (Moran 1977, pp.156-157; Bramlet 1993a, p. 10; Bramlet 
1993b, p. 14; Day 1993, p. 847). Vernal pools form during the winter 
rains in depressions that are part of a gently sloping, undulating 
landscape, where soil mounds are interspersed with basins. This 
landscape is called ``mima-mound'' topography (Cox 1984, pp. 1397-
1398), which is situated above an impervious soil layer called a ``hard 
pan'' or ``clay pan.'' Additionally, the final listing rule states that 
N. fossalis can occur in ditches and other artificial depressions 
associated with degraded vernal pool habitat (63 FR 54975, October 13, 
1998; Moran 1977, p. 155).
    Seasonally flooded alkali vernal plain habitat includes alkali 
playa, alkali scrub, alkali vernal pool, and alkali annual grassland 
components. The hydrologic regime for this habitat involves sporadic 
flooding (as described above) in combination with slow drainage on the 
alkaline soils. The habitat floods locally on a seasonal basis. Mid-
range floods occur less frequently, approximately every 20 to 50 years, 
but are necessary to maintain the habitat by removing scrub vegetation 
(Roberts 2004, p. 4). During a typical, seasonal flooding period, 
alkali scrub vegetation expands its distribution into the deeper areas 
of the seasonally flooded alkali vernal plain habitat and crowds out 
the more ephemeral wetland species. During a large scale flooding 
period, standing and slow draining water remains for weeks or months 
and results in the death of alkali scrub vegetation. As a result, 
conditions become favorable for annual species (e.g., Navarretia 
fossalis) to regain and locally expand their range (Bramlet 2004, p. 8; 
Roberts 2004, p. 4).

Intermixed Wetland and Upland Habitats That Act as the Local Watershed

    Vernal pools within a vernal pool complex are hydrologically 
connected to one another within the local geographical context. 
Seasonally flooded alkali vernal plain habitats are also hydrologically 
connected by flowing water. Water flows over the surface from one 
vernal pool to another or throughout the seasonally flooded alkali 
vernal plain. Due to an impervious clay layer or hard pan, water also 
flows and collects below ground such that the soil becomes saturated 
with water. The result of the movement of the water through vernal pool 
and seasonally flooded alkali vernal plain systems is that pools fill 
and hold water continuously for a number of days following the initial 
rainfall (Hanes et al. 1990, p. 51). For this reason, these hydrologic 
systems are best described from a watershed perspective. The local 
watershed associated with a vernal pool complex or seasonally flooded 
alkali vernal plain includes all surfaces in the surrounding area that 
flow into the vernal pool complex or seasonally flooded alkali vernal 
plain. Some hydrologic systems (e.g., the San Jacinto River, the Salt 
Creek Seasonally Flooded Alkali Plain) have watersheds that cover a 
large area and that contribute to filling and the hydrological dynamics 
of the system, while other hydrologic systems have very small 
watersheds (e.g., Carroll Canyon, Nobel Drive) and fill almost entirely 
from direct rainfall (Hanes et al. 1990, p. 53; Hanes and Stromberg 
1998, p. 38). It is also possible that subsurface inflows from 
surrounding soils within a watershed contribute to filling some vernal 
pools and seasonally flooded alkali vernal plains (Hanes et al. 1990, 
p. 53; Hanes and Stromberg 1998, p. 48).

Topography and Soils That Support Ponding During Winter and Spring

    Impervious subsurface layers of clay soils or hardpan geology, 
combined with flat to gently sloping topography, serve to inhibit rapid 
infiltration of rainwater, resulting in ponded water in vernal pools 
and seasonally flooded alkali vernal plains (Bramlet 1993a, p. 1; 
Bauder and McMillian 1998, pp. 57-59). These soils also act as a buffer 
to moderate the water chemistry and rate of water loss to evaporation 
(Zedler 1987, pp. 17-30). In Los Angeles County, the vernal pools that 
support Navarretia fossalis are found on Cieneba-Pismo-Caperton soils 
(Service GIS analysis). In western Riverside County, the seasonally 
flooded alkali vernal plain habitat that supports N. fossalis is found 
on Domino, Traver, Waukena, and Chino soils (Bramlet 1993a, p. 1, 10; 
December 15, 1994, 59 FR 64812). In San Diego County, the vernal pool 
habitat that supports N. fossalis is found on Huerhuero, Placentia, 
Olivenhain, Stockpen, and Redding soils (Service GIS analysis).

Primary Constituent Elements for Navarretia fossalis

    Under the Act and its implementing regulations, we are required to 
identify the physical and biological features within the geographical 
area occupied by Navarretia fossalis at the time of listing that are 
essential to the conservation of the species and which may require 
special management considerations or protection. The physical and 
biological features are those PCEs laid out in a specific special 
arrangement and quantity determined to be essential to the conservation 
of the species. All areas proposed as critical habitat for N. fossalis 
were occupied at the time of listing (see the ``Geographic Range and 
Status'' section for a more detailed explanation) and are currently

[[Page 27594]]

occupied, are within the species' geographic range, and contain 
sufficient essential features to support at least one life history 
function.
    Based on our current knowledge of the life history, biology, and 
ecology of Navarretia fossalis, and the requirements of the habitat to 
sustain the essential life history functions of the species, we 
determined that the PCEs specific to N. fossalis are:
    (1) PCE 1--Ephemeral wetland habitat. Vernal pools (up to 10 ac (4 
ha)) and seasonally flooded alkali vernal plains that become inundated 
by the winter rains and hold water or have saturated soils for 2 weeks 
to 6 months during a year with average rainfall. This period of 
inundation is long enough to promote germination, flowering, and seed 
production for N. fossalis and other native species typical of vernal 
pool and seasonally flooded alkali vernal plain habitat, but not so 
long that true wetland species inhabit the areas.
    (2) PCE 2--Intermixed wetland and upland habitats that act as the 
local watershed. Areas characterized by mounds, swales, and depressions 
within a matrix of upland habitat that results in intermittently 
flowing surface and subsurface water in swales, drainages, and pools 
that support the habitat described in PCE 1, and provide the water that 
allows for the inundation described in PCE 1.
    (3) PCE 3--Soils that support ponding during winter and spring. 
Soils found in areas characterized in PCE 2 that allow for ponding of 
water because they have a clay component or other property that creates 
an impermeable surface or subsurface layer. The properties of these 
soils contribute to reduced percolation and minimal run-off of water, 
all of which lead to supporting the habitat and period of inundation 
described in PCE 1. These soil types are known to include, but are not 
limited to: Cieneba-Pismo-Caperton soils in Los Angeles County; Domino, 
Traver, and Willows soils in Riverside County; and Huerhuero, 
Placentia, Olivenhain, Stockpen, and Redding soils in San Diego County.
    With this proposed designation of critical habitat, we intend to 
conserve the physical and biological features essential to the 
conservation of the species, through the identification of the 
appropriate quantity and spatial arrangement of the PCEs sufficient to 
support the life history functions of the species. For Navarretia 
fossalis, the size of the ephemeral wetland habitat can vary a great 
deal, but the important factor (i.e., the appropriate quantity and 
spatial arrangement of the PCEs) in any of the subunits proposed as 
critical habitat is that the vernal pool or alkali playa habitat has 
intact and functioning hydrology and intact adjacent upland areas that 
ensure a functioning ecosystem. All units and subunits proposed as 
critical habitat contain the PCEs in the appropriate quantity and 
spatial arrangement essential to the conservation of this species and 
support multiple life processes for N. fossalis.

Special Management Considerations or Protection

    When designating critical habitat, we assess whether the occupied 
areas contain the physical and biological features that are essential 
to the conservation of the species, and whether these features may 
require special management considerations or protection.
    The area proposed for designation as revised critical habitat will 
require some level of management to address the current and future 
threats to the physical and biological features essential to the 
conservation of the species. In all units, special management 
considerations or protection of the essential features may be required 
to provide for the sustained function of the ephemeral wetland 
ecosystems on which N. fossalis depends. The designation of critical 
habitat does not imply that lands outside of critical habitat do not 
play an important role in the conservation of N. fossalis. Activities 
with a Federal nexus that may affect areas outside of critical habitat, 
such as development, agricultural activities, and road construction, 
are still subject to review under section 7 of the Act if they may 
affect N. fossalis, because Federal agencies must consider both effects 
to the plant and effects to critical habitat independently. The 
prohibitions of section 9 of the Act applicable to N. fossalis under 50 
CFR 17.71 (e.g., reduce to possession or maliciously damage or destroy 
on Federal lands) also continue to apply both inside and outside of 
designated critical habitat.
    Researchers estimate that greater than 90 percent of the vernal 
pool habitat in southern California has been converted as a result of 
past human activities (Bauder and McMillian 1998, pp. 56-67; Keeler-
Wolf et al. 1998, pp. 10, 60-61, 63-64). A detailed discussion of 
threats to Navarretia fossalis and its habitat can be found in the 
final listing rule (October 13, 1998, 63 FR 54975), the previous 
critical habitat designation (October 18, 2005, 70 FR 60658), and the 
Recovery Plan for Vernal Pools of Southern California (Service 1998a, 
pp.1-113, appendices). The features essential to the conservation of N. 
fossalis require special management considerations or protection to 
reduce the following threats, among others: habitat destruction and 
fragmentation from urban and agricultural development; pipeline 
construction; alteration of hydrology and floodplain dynamics; 
excessive flooding; channelization; water diversions; off-road vehicle 
activity; trampling by cattle and sheep; weed abatement; fire 
suppression practices (including discing and plowing to remove weeds 
and create fire breaks); competition from nonnative plant species; and 
direct and indirect impacts from some human recreational activities 
(October 13, 1998, 63 FR 54975; Service 1998a, p. 7).

Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat

    We are proposing to designate critical habitat in areas that were 
occupied by the species at the time of listing and continue to be 
occupied today, and that contain the PCEs in the quantity and spatial 
arrangement to support life history functions essential for the 
conservation of the species (see the ``Geographic Range and Status'' 
section for more information). We are not proposing to designate any 
areas outside the geographical area occupied at the time of listing. 
All units and subunits proposed contain the PCEs in the appropriate 
quantity and spatial arrangement essential to the conservation of this 
species and support multiple life processes for N. fossalis.
    As required by section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act, we use the best 
scientific and commercial data available in determining areas that 
contain the features that are essential to the conservation of 
Navarretia fossalis. The ``Methods'' section summarizes the data used 
for this proposed revised critical habitat. This proposed revised rule 
is an effort to update our 2005 final designation of critical habitat 
for N. fossalis with the best available data. In some areas that were 
analyzed in 2005, we have new information that led us to either add or 
remove areas from this proposal to revise critical habitat.
    This section provides details of the process and criteria we used 
to delineate proposed revised critical habitat. This proposed revised 
rule is the result of a progression of conservation efforts for 
Navarretia fossalis. This progression is based largely on the past 
analysis of the areas that are required for the conservation of N. 
fossalis as presented in the Recovery Plan for Vernal Pools of Southern 
California (Service 1998a, pp.1-113, appendices), the 2005 final 
critical habitat designation, and new

[[Page 27595]]

information we obtained on the species and its distribution since 
listing. Table 1 shows the changes in identified essential habitat 
between the 1998 Recovery Plan, the 2005 final critical habitat 
designation, and this proposed revised critical habitat designation. 
The unit names used in this proposed revised critical habitat are based 
on the names used for management areas used in the 1998 Recovery Plan. 
The specific changes made to the 2005 final designation of critical 
habitat are summarized in the ``Summary of Changes From Previously 
Designated Critical Habitat'' section of this rule.

                   Table 1--Areas Identified as Essential to Navarretia Fossalis Conservation
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                 Final critical habitat      Proposed revised
              Location*                 Recovery plan appendix           (2005)          critical habitat (2009)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                Unit 1: Los Angeles Basin-Orange Management Area
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cruzan Mesa..........................  F......................  1A.....................  1A.
Plum Canyon..........................  N/A....................  1B.....................  1B.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                            Unit 2: San Diego: Northern Coastal Mesa Management Area
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Stuart Mesa, Marine Corps Base (MCB)   F......................  4(a)(3) exemption......  4(a)(3) exemption.
 Camp Pendleton, Recovery plan (RP)**
 name: Stuart Mesa.
Wire Mountain, MCB Camp Pendleton, RP  F......................  .......................  4(a)(3) exemption.
 name: Wire Mountain.
Poinsettia Lane Commuter Station, RP   F......................  2 (partially excluded    2.
 name: JJ 2 Poinsettia Lane.                                     under section 4(b)(2)).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                             Unit 3: San Diego: Central Coastal Mesa Management Area
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Santa Fe Valley (Crosby Estates).....  N/A....................  .......................  3A.
Carroll Canyon (D 5-8)...............  .......................  .......................  3B.
Nobel Drive (X 5)....................  .......................  .......................  3C.
Large Pool southwest of runway, MCAS   N/A....................  .......................  4(a)(3) exemption.
 Miramar.
EE1-2, MCAS Miramar, RP name: EE1-2,   F......................  4(a)(3) exemption......
 Miramar Interior.
Kearny Mesa (U 19)...................  N/A....................  4(a)(3) exemption......
New Century (BB 2), RP name: BB 2 New  G......................
 Century.
Montgomery Field, RP name: N1-4, 6     F......................  Excluded under section   3D.
 Montgomery Field.                                               4(b)(2).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    Unit 4: San Diego: Inland Management Area
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
San Marcos (North L 15), RP name: L    G......................
 7, 8, 14-20.
San Marcos (Northwest L 14), RP name:  G......................
 L 7, 8, 14-20.
San Marcos (L 1-6), RP name: L 1-6, 9- F......................  4C1....................  4C1.
 13 San Marcos.
San Marcos (L 9-10), RP name: L 1-6,   F......................  4C2....................  4C2.
 9-13 San Marcos.
San Marcos (L 11-13), RP name: L 1-6,  F......................  4D.....................  4D.
 9-13 San Marcos.
San Marcos (North L 15), RP name: L    G......................
 7, 8, 14-20.
Ramona, RP name: Ramona..............  F......................
Ramona, RP name: Ramona T............  G......................  4E.....................  4E.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                            Unit 5: San Diego: Southern Coastal Mesa Management Area
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sweetwater Vernal Pools (S1-3), RP     F......................  5A ( partially excluded  5A.
 name: Sweetwater Lake.                                          under section 4(b)(2)).
Otay River Valley (M2)...............  .......................  5B.....................  5B.
Otay Mesa (J26), RP name: J 26 Otay    F......................  5C.....................
 Mesa.
Proctor Valley (R1), RP name: R        F......................  .......................  5F.
 Proctor Valley.
Otay Reservoir (K3-5), RP name: K3-5   F......................  .......................  5G.
 Otay River.
K1, 2, RP name: K 1, 2, 6, 7 Otay      G......................  Excluded under section
 River.                                                          4(b)(2).
K 6, 7, RP name: K 1, 2, 6, 7 Otay     G......................
 River.
Western Otay Mesa vernal pool          F/G....................  Excluded under section   5H/5I.
 complexes, RP name: J 2, 5, 7, 11-                              4(b)(2).
 21, 23-30 Otay Mesa/J 3 Otay Mesa.
Western Otay Mesa vernal pool          N/A....................  .......................  5H.
 complexes (J 32 (West Otay A + B), J
 33 (Sweetwater High School)).
Eastern Otay Mesa vernal pool          F/G....................  Excluded under section   5H/5I.
 complexes, RP name: 23-30 Otay Mesa/                            4(b)(2).
 J 22 Otay Mesa.
Eastern Otay Mesa vernal pool          .......................  Excluded under section
 complexes, RP name: J 19, 27, 28E,                              4(b)(2).
 28W Otay Mesa.
RP name: J (undescribed).............  G......................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 27596]]

 
                                        Unit 6: Riverside Management Area
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
San Jacinto River, RP name: San        F......................  Excluded under section   6A.
 Jacinto.                                                        4(b)(2).
Salt Creek Seasonally Flooded Alkali   F......................  Excluded under section   6B.
 Plain, RP name: Hemet/Salt Creek.                               4(b)(2).
Wickerd Road and Scott Road Pools....  N/A....................  .......................  6C.
Skunk Hollow, RP name: Skunk Hollow..  .......................  Excluded under section   6D.
                                                                 4(b)(2).
RP name: Temecula....................  F......................
Mesa de Burro, RP name: Santa Rosa     F......................  Excluded under section   6E.
 Plateau.                                                        4(b)(2).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Areas (out of 39 areas       27.....................  22.....................  27.
     listed in this table).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*This table does not include all locations that are occupied by Navarretia fossalis. It includes only those
  locations that were included in Appendix F or G of the Recovery Plan; designated, excluded, or exempt in 2005;
  or proposed as critical habitat in the current rule. Note: The alpha-numeric labels were applied in the
  recovery plan.
**RP name = Name in recovery plan, if different from the current rule.

    Appendices F and G of the Recovery Plan provide information on the 
areas that are needed to stabilize (or prevent extinction of) 
Navarretia fossalis (Appendix F) and the areas that are needed to 
reclassify (or recover) N. fossalis (Appendix G). In Table 1, we 
summarized the data from the recovery plan. According to this summary, 
27 locations were highlighted as areas that needed to be conserved and 
managed to recover N. fossalis. Our 2005 final rule to designate 
critical habitat used the Recovery Plan as the basis for designating 
areas as critical habitat; however, the rule included some additions 
and subtractions of those areas determined as essential to the 
conservation of N. fossalis in the Recovery Plan. Nine areas that the 
Recovery Plan identified as important were not identified in the 2005 
final rule as essential to the conservation of N. fossalis, and four 
areas were added that were not highlighted in the Recovery Plan. The 
nine areas that were in the Recovery Plan but not included in the 2005 
final rule were sites for which we did not have specific occurrence 
data or areas where recent surveys had not found N. fossalis. For these 
reasons, we do not believe these areas are essential to the 
conservation of N. fossalis and we did not include them in the 2005 
critical habitat designation. The four areas that were added to the 
2005 final rule were locations where the occurrence data indicated that 
these areas contained the features essential to the conservation of N. 
fossalis.
    A total of 22 areas were identified in the 2005 final rule as 
essential to the conservation of N. fossalis (see Table 1). There are 
eight occurrences of N. fossalis that were highlighted in the Recovery 
Plan that we did not include in this proposed revised critical habitat. 
We do not have detailed information on these occurrences, and during 
recent surveys at some of these sites, N. fossalis has not been 
observed. Additionally, we included areas in this proposed revised 
critical habitat (based on new data) that were not highlighted in the 
Recovery Plan. While some of the areas are different, we believe that 
the non-inclusion of some areas in the Recovery Plan and the inclusion 
of other areas for which we have better data will achieve the overall 
goal of the Recovery Plan for N. fossalis and provide for the 
conservation of this species.
    In this proposed revised designation of critical habitat for 
Navarretia fossalis, we selected areas based on the best scientific 
data available that possess those physical and biological features 
essential to the conservation of the species, and that may require 
special management considerations or protection. We took into account 
the past conservation planning that occurred for N. fossalis in the 
Recovery Plan and in the 2005 critical habitat designation. For this 
proposed revised rule, we completed the following steps to delineate 
critical habitat: (1) Compiled all available data on N. fossalis into a 
GIS database; (2) reviewed data to ensure accuracy; (3) determined 
which occurrences existed at the time of listing; (4) determined which 
areas are currently occupied; (5) defined the areas containing the 
features essential to the conservation of N. fossalis in terms of core 
habitat areas and satellite habitat areas; (6) determined if each 
occupied area represents core habitat or satellite habitat and, 
therefore, should be proposed as critical habitat; and (7) for both 
core and satellite habitat areas, mapped the specific locations that 
contain the essential physical and biological features (PCEs in the 
quantity and spatial arrangement needed to support life history 
functions essential for N. fossalis). These steps are described in 
detail below.
    (1) We compiled all available data on Navarretia fossalis into a 
GIS database. Data on locations where N. fossalis occurs was based on 
collections and observations made by botanists (both amateur and 
professional), biological consultants, and academic researchers. We 
compiled data from the following sources to create our GIS database for 
N. fossalis: (1) Data used in the Recovery Plan and in the 2005 final 
critical habitat rule for N. fossalis; (2) the CNDDB data report for N. 
fossalis and accompanying GIS records (CNDDB 2008, pp. 1-44); (3) data 
presented in the City of San Diego's Vernal Pool Inventory for 2002-
2003 (City of San Diego 2004, pp. 1-125, appendices); (4) the data 
report for N. fossalis from the California Consortium of Herbaria and 
accompanying Berkeley Mapper GIS records (Consortium of California 
Herbaria 2008, pp. 1-17); (5) the Western Riverside County Multiple 
Species Habitat Conservation Plan (Western Riverside County MSHCP) 
species GIS database; and (6) the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office's 
internal species GIS database, which includes the species data used for 
the San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Plan (MSCP) and the San 
Diego Multiple Habitat Conservation Plan (MHCP), reports from section 7 
consultations, and FWS observations of

[[Page 27597]]

N. fossalis (CFWO internal species GIS database).
    (2) We reviewed the data that we compiled to ensure its accuracy. 
We checked each data point in our database to ensure that it 
represented an original collection or observation of Navarretia 
fossalis. Data that did not represent an original collection or 
observation was removed from our database. Secondly, we checked each 
data point to ensure that it was mapped in the correct location. Data 
points that did not match the description for the original collection 
or observation were remapped in the correct location or removed from 
our database.
    (3) We determined which occurrences existed at the time of listing. 
We concluded that all known occurrences, except for a single occurrence 
translocated after this species was listed, were extant at the time of 
listing. We drew this conclusion because Navarretia fossalis has 
limited dispersal capabilities. We believe that the documentation of 
additional occurrences after the species was listed was due to an 
increased effort to survey for this species. Therefore, except on the 
single occasion where this species was translocated to a new location, 
all of the areas that we know of for this species were occupied prior 
to the time this species was listed. In other words, we do not believe 
that this species has naturally colonized any new areas since it was 
listed.
    (4) We determined which areas are currently occupied. For areas 
where we had past occupancy data for Navarretia fossalis, we assumed 
the area is currently occupied unless: (a) Two or more rare plant 
surveys conducted during the past 10 years did not find N. fossalis 
(providing the surveys were conducted in years with average rainfall 
and during the appropriate months to find this species (March, April, 
and May); or (b) the site was significantly disturbed since the last 
observation of the species at that location.
    (5) We defined the areas necessary for conservation of N. fossalis 
in terms of ``core habitat areas'' and ``satellite habitat areas.'' See 
the ``Areas Needed for Conservation: Core and Satellite Habitat Areas'' 
section in this rule for definitions of these areas.
    (6) We determined if each occupied area represents core habitat or 
satellite habitat, and, therefore, should be proposed as critical 
habitat. In the final listing rule (63 FR 54975, October 13, 1998), we 
stated that 60 percent of the known occurrences of Navarretia fossalis 
are concentrated in three locations: Otay Mesa in southern San Diego 
County, along the San Jacinto River in western Riverside County, and 
near Hemet in Riverside County (referred to as the Salt Creek 
Seasonally Flooded Alkali Plain in this proposed rule). These three 
areas represent core habitat for N. fossalis. In addition to these 
three core habitat areas, Mesa de Burro in Riverside County represents 
core habitat for this species due to the large size of the occurrence 
observed there in 2008 and because of the large amount of intact vernal 
pool habitat on this mesa. In total, we identified four core habitat 
areas for N. fossalis. These four areas represent large, interconnected 
ephemeral wetlands. Large occurrences of N. fossalis are currently 
present in these four areas, but there have been significant impacts to 
these areas in the form of habitat fragmentation, nonnative plant 
invasion, agricultural activities, and recreational use. These four 
core habitat areas are essential to the conservation of N. fossalis 
because the conservation of these areas will anchor the overall 
conservation effort for this species. Additionally, the conservation of 
these four areas will sustain the largest occurrences of N. fossalis 
and allow for N. fossalis to persist where it will be less constrained 
by the threats that negatively impact its essential habitat features 
(PCEs).
    Habitat areas outside the four core habitat areas also support 
stable, intact occurrences of Navarretia fossalis. These satellite 
areas represent unique habitat within this species' range that also 
contain the PCEs laid out in the appropriate quantity and spatial 
arrangement essential for the conservation of the species. The 
conservation of multiple areas that support occurrences dispersed 
throughout the range of N. fossalis will allow occurrences to persist 
and expand, ensuring that this species will not go extinct. The 
satellite habitat areas occur over a wide range of soils and at various 
elevations that include several occurrences over a range of 
environmental variables, the preservation of which will help maintain 
the genetic diversity of N. fossalis. The satellite habitat areas allow 
for connections between existing occurrences of N. fossalis, and 
together with the core habitat areas, will create a sustainable matrix 
of habitat for this species that will enable it to evolve and respond 
to future environmental changes.
    Areas were selected as satellite habitat areas if they are: (1) 
Important peripheral occurrences of this species that are on the 
geographic edge of this species' distribution; (2) occurrences that are 
isolated from other occurrences by geographic features; or (3) areas 
that are nested within the distribution of this species and provide 
connections between the core habitat areas and other satellite habitat 
areas.
    (7) For the core and satellite habitat areas, we mapped the 
specific areas that contain the physical and biological features (the 
PCEs) in the quantity and spatial arrangement needed to support life 
history functions essential for Navarretia fossalis. We first mapped 
the ephemeral wetland habitat in the occupied area using occurrence 
data, aerial imagery, and 1:24,000 topographic maps. We then mapped the 
intermixed wetland and upland habitats that make up the local 
watersheds and the topography and soils that support the occupied 
ephemeral wetland habitat. We mapped this area using USGS topographic 
1:24,000 scale maps, aerial imagery, and soil maps to identify the 
gently sloping area associated with ephemeral wetland habitat and any 
adjacent areas that slope directly into the ephemeral wetland habitat 
which likely contribute to the hydrology of the ephemeral wetland 
habitat. In most cases, we delineated the border of the proposed 
revised critical habitat around the occupied ephemeral wetlands and 
associated local watershed areas to follow natural breaks in the 
terrain such as ridgelines, mesa edges, and steep canyon slopes.
    When determining the proposed revised critical habitat boundaries, 
we made every effort to map precisely only the areas that contain the 
PCEs and provide for the conservation of Navarretia fossalis. However, 
we cannot guarantee that every fraction of proposed revised critical 
habitat contains the PCEs due to the mapping scale that we use to draft 
critical habitat boundaries. Additionally, we made every attempt to 
avoid including developed areas such as lands underlying buildings, 
paved areas, and other structures that lack PCEs for N. fossalis. The 
scale of the maps we prepared under the parameters for publication 
within the Code of Federal Regulations may not reflect the exclusion of 
such developed areas. Any developed structures and the land under them 
inadvertently left inside critical habitat boundaries shown on the maps 
of this proposed revised critical habitat are excluded by text in this 
rule and are not proposed for critical habitat designation. Therefore, 
Federal actions involving these lands would not trigger section 7 
consultation with respect to critical habitat and the requirement of no 
adverse modification unless the specific actions may affect the species 
or PCEs in adjacent critical habitat.

[[Page 27598]]

Summary of Changes From Previously Designated Critical Habitat

    The areas identified in this rule constitute a proposed revision 
from the areas we designated as critical habitat for Navarretia 
fossalis on October 18, 2005 (70 FR 60658). The differences include the 
following:
    (1) We refined the PCEs to more accurately define the physical and 
biological features that are essential to the conservation of 
Navarretia fossalis. The PCEs were written in both the 2005 final 
critical habitat and this proposed rule to describe the ephemeral 
wetland habitat where N. fossalis occurs, the associated watersheds 
that support the ephemeral wetland habitat, and the soils and 
topography that allow water to pond during winter and spring months. In 
the PCE related to the vernal pools and flooded alkali vernal plains 
where N. fossalis occurs, we added information relating to the 
necessary timing and duration of ponding in the ephemeral wetlands 
where N. fossalis occurs (PCE 1). In the PCE related to the local 
watershed and filling of the ephemeral wetland habitat, we discussed 
the landforms that contribute to the local hydrology and local 
watershed (PCE 2). In the PCE related to soils types associated with 
habitat for N. fossalis, we state that these soil types facilitate the 
slow percolation and minimal run-off of water necessary for the 
ephemeral wetland habitat where N. fossalis occurs (PCE 3).
    (2) We revised the criteria used to identify critical habitat. 
Similar to the 2005 critical habitat, we used the Recovery Plan as the 
basis for our criteria. However, in this proposed revised critical 
habitat we conducted an additional analysis of all the Navarretia 
fossalis data currently available. The result of the additional 
analysis was that some areas identified as essential in the 2005 
designation were removed and other areas were included in this proposed 
rule that were not identified as essential in the 2005 designation. We 
described the steps that we used to identify and delineate the areas 
that we are proposing as critical habitat in more detail compared to 
the 2005 critical habitat designation to ensure that the public better 
understands why the areas are being proposed as critical habitat.
    (3) We improved our mapping methodology to more accurately define 
the critical habitat boundaries and to better represent those areas 
that possess the physical and biological features essential to the 
conservation of the species. This proposed revised rule identifies 
12,313 fewer acres (4,983 ha) considered essential to the conservation 
of Navarretia fossalis than we identified in the 2005 rule. However, 
this reduction is primarily due to our attempt to better represent the 
areas that contain the essential features for N. fossalis. For example, 
in the 2005 final rule, we delineated large areas of watershed habitat 
as essential, which resulted in large, poorly defined critical habitat 
areas. The major reductions to the 2005 critical habitat are discussed 
in detail below (see 6). Finally, in the 2005 final rule, we 
used a 100-meter grid to delineate critical habitat. In this proposed 
revised rule, we mapped the areas that contain the PCEs as accurately 
as possible by more directly approximating the delineation of essential 
areas rather than using a 100-meter grid to map essential areas. 
However, we acknowledge the possibility that, due to mapping, data, and 
resource constraints, there may be some undeveloped areas mapped as 
critical habitat that do not contain the PCEs.
    (4) We identified several areas we are considering for exclusion 
from this proposed revised critical habitat designation under section 
4(b)(2) of the Act. Any exclusions in our upcoming final revised 
critical habitat designation could differ from the exclusions we made 
in the 2005 final critical habitat designation.
    (5) We added and subtracted some subunits and revised the area of 
proposed revised critical habitat. The 2005 final critical habitat 
designation (70 FR 60658, October 18, 2005) included 4 units and 10 
subunits, comprising a total of 652 ac (264 ha), which were grouped to 
match the management areas described in the 1998 Recovery Plan. This 
proposed revision includes 6 units with 24 subunits (two of which are 
exempt from designation under section 4(a)(3)(B) of the Act), 
comprising a total of 7,086 ac (2,868 ha) of land considered essential 
to the conservation of N. fossalis. These 6 units and 24 subunits match 
the units and subunits in the 2005 critical habitat to the extent that 
the subunits overlap and match the management areas described in the 
1998 Recovery Plan. In 2005 we identified 18,747 ac (7,587 ha) of land 
containing features essential to the conservation of N. fossalis that 
we did not designate as critical habitat. The lands were either exempt 
from critical habitat under section 4(a)(3)(B) of the Act or we 
excluded them under section 4(b)(2) of the Act. In this proposed 
revised rule, 2 subunits on MCB Camp Pendleton (145 ac (59 ha)) and 
MCAS Miramar (69 ac (28 ha)) are exempt under section 4(a)(3)(B) of the 
Act. We are also considering excluding certain areas under section 
4(b)(2) of the Act from the final designation. Specifically, we are 
requesting public comment on the potential exclusion of 5,675 ac (2,296 
ha) covered by the Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat 
Conservation Plan (MSHCP), 3 ac (1 ha) covered by the Carlsbad Habitat 
Management Plan (HMP) under the San Diego Multiple Habitat Conservation 
Plan (MHCP), and 86 ac (35 ha) covered by the County of San Diego under 
the San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Plan (MSCP).
    In Table 2 below, we provide a comparison between the 2005 final 
critical habitat designation and this proposed revised critical habitat 
rule. The table identifies the change in area for each subunit in the 
2005 critical habitat designation and our new areas for units and 
subunits in this proposed revised critical habitat designation. Some 
areas designated in the 2005 rule are not proposed as critical habitat 
because they do not meet the criteria we are using to designate 
critical habitat (See Table 2). Additionally, there are areas being 
proposed as critical habitat that were not considered in the 2005 final 
critical habitat because we have determined that these areas contain 
features essential for the conservation of Navarretia fossalis.

[[Page 27599]]



  Table 2--A Comparison of the Areas Identified as Containing Features Essential to the Conservation of Navarretia fossalis in the 2005 Final Critical
                                       Habitat Designation and This Proposed Revised Critical Habitat Designation
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                               2005 Final critical habitat              2009 Proposed revised critical habitat        Difference (2009
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------      minus 2005)
             Location*                                           Area containing                               Area containing    ----------------------
                                             Subunit           essential features           Subunit           essential features            Area
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    Unit 1: Los Angeles Basin-Orange Management Area
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Cruzan Mesa........................  1A....................  294 ac (119 ha).......  1A...................  129 ac (52 ha).......  -165 ac (-67 ha).
Plum Canyon........................  1B....................  32 ac (13 ha).........  1B...................  32 ac (13 ha)........  0 ac (0 ha).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                Unit 2: San Diego: Northern Coastal Mesa Management Area
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MCB Camp Pendleton.................  4(a)(3) exemption.....  67 ac (27 ha).........  4(a)(3) exemption....  145 ac (59 ha).......  78 ac (32 ha).
Poinsettia Lane Commuter Station...  2; partially excluded   22 ac (9 ha)..........  2....................  9 ac (4 ha)..........  -13 ac (-5 ha).
                                      under section 4(b)(2).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                 Unit 3: San Diego: Central Coastal Mesa Management Area
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Santa Fe Valley....................  Proposed as Unit 3,     ......................  Not proposed.........  .....................  .....................
                                      but determined not
                                      essential.
Santa Fe Valley (Crosby Estates)...  ......................  ......................  3A...................  5 ac (2 ha)..........  5 ac (2 ha).
Carroll Canyon.....................  ......................  ......................  3B...................  20 ac (8 ha).........  20 ac (8 ha).
Nobel Drive........................  ......................  ......................  3C...................  37 ac (15 ha)........  37 ac (15 ha).
MCAS Miramar.......................  4(a)(3) exemption.....  61 ac (25 ha).........  4(a)(3) exemption....  69 ac (28 ha)........  8 ac (3 ha).
Montgomery Field...................  Excluded under section  38 ac (16 ha).........  3D...................  48 ac (20 ha)........  10 ac (4 ha).
                                      4(b)(2).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        Unit 4: San Diego: Inland Management Area
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
San Marcos (Upham).................  4C1...................  34 ac (14 ha).........  4C1..................  34 ac (14 ha)........  0.
San Marcos (Universal Boot)........  4C2...................  32 ac (13 ha).........  4C2..................  32 ac (13 ha)........  0.
San Marcos (Bent Avenue)...........  4D....................  7 ac (3 ha)...........  4D...................  5 ac (2 ha)..........  -2 ac (-1 ha).
Ramona.............................  4E....................  86 ac (35 ha).........  4E...................  135 ac (55 ha).......  49 ac (20 ha).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                Unit 5: San Diego: Southern Coastal Mesa Management Area
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sweetwater Vernal Pools (S1-3).....  5A; partially excluded  163 ac (66 ha)........  5A...................  95 ac (38 ha)........  -68 ac (-27 ha).
                                      under section 4(b)(2).
Otay River Valley (K1 and K2)......  Excluded under section  57 ac (23 ha).........  Not proposed,          .....................  -57 ac (-23 ha).
                                      4(b)(2).                                        determined not
                                                                                      essential.
Otay River Valley (M2).............  5B and excluded under   109 ac (44 ha)........  5B...................  24 ac (10 ha)........  -85 ac (-34 ha).
                                      section 4(b)(2).
Otay Mesa (J26)....................  5C and excluded under   19 ac (8 ha)..........  Not proposed,          .....................  -19 ac (-8 ha).
                                      section 4(b)(2).                                determined not
                                                                                      essential.
Arnie's Point......................  Proposed as Subunit     ......................  Not proposed.........  .....................  .....................
                                      5D, but determined
                                      not essential.
Proctor Valley (R1-2)..............  ......................  ......................  5F...................  88 ac (36 ha)........  88 ac (36 ha).
Otay Lakes (K3-5)..................  ......................  ......................  5G...................  140 ac (57 ha).......  140 ac (57 ha).
Western Otay Mesa vernal pool        Excluded under section  117 ac (47 ha)........  5H...................  143 ac (58ha)........  26 ac (11 ha).
 complexes.                           4(b)(2).
Eastern Otay Mesa vernal pool        Excluded under section  277 ac (112 ha).......  5I...................  221 ac (89 ha).......  -56 ac (-23 ha).
 complexes.                           4(b)(2).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            Unit 6: Riverside Management Area
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
San Jacinto River..................  Excluded under section  10,774 ac (4,360 ha)..  6A...................  3,550 ac (1,437 ha)..  -7,224 ac (-2,924
                                      4(b)(2).                                                                                      ha).
Salt Creek Seasonally Flooded        Excluded under section  2,233 ac (904 ha).....  6B...................  1,054 ac (427 ha)....  -1,179 ac (-477 ha).
 Alkali Plain.                        4(b)(2).
Wickerd Road and Scott Road Pools..  Excluded under section  275 ac (111 ha).......  6C...................  205 ac (83 ha).......  -70 ac (-28 ha).
                                      4(b)(2).

[[Page 27600]]

 
Skunk Hollow.......................  Excluded under section  306 ac (124 ha).......  6D...................  158 ac (64 ha).......  -148 ac (-60 ha).
                                      4(b)(2).
Mesa de Burro......................  Excluded under section  4,396 ac (1,779 ha)...  6E...................  708 ac (287 ha)......  -3,688 ac (-1,493
                                      4(b)(2).                                                                                      ha).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Area Essential for the     ......................  19,399 ac (7,851 ha)..  .....................  7,086 ac (2,868 ha)..  -12,313 ac (-4,983
     Conservation of Navarretia                                                                                                     ha).**
     fossalis.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*This table does not include all locations that are occupied by Navarretia fossalis. It includes only those locations that were designated as critical
  habitat in 2005 or proposed as critical habitat in this rule.
**Values in this table may not sum due to rounding.

    (6) Following is a list of the areas reduced or enlarged in this 
proposed revision to critical habitat designation, or eliminated from 
the 2005 final critical habitat designation, and an explanation of why 
these areas are no longer considered to contain the PCEs in the 
appropriate spatial arrangement and quantity essential to the 
conservation of Navarretia fossalis.
    (a) Cruzan Mesa--The habitat identified as essential to the 
conservation of N. fossalis on Cruzan Mesa in 2005 included the areas 
on top of this mesa where occurrences of N. fossalis had been found. 
The slopes of the mesa were also included due to the gridding technique 
that was used to describe critical habitat in the 2005 final rule. 
Because the mesa slopes do not contribute to the watershed of the 
vernal pools on Cruzan Mesa occupied by N. fossalis, they were removed. 
This area was reduced by 165 ac (67 ha).
    (b) Poinsettia Lane Commuter Station--The habitat identified as 
essential to the conservation of N. fossalis at the Poinsettia Lane 
Commuter Station in 2005 included several vernal pools where 
occurrences of N. fossalis had been found. Due to the base map layer 
and the coarseness of the gridding techniques used in the 2005 final 
rule, some of the area designated as critical habitat consisted of 
developed residential lots and some of the area was on the west side of 
the railroad tracks where N. fossalis has not been found. These areas 
do not contribute to the watershed of the vernal pools at the 
Poinsettia Lane Commuter Station and were removed. In some places the 
boundary of this proposed subunit includes lands that were not mapped 
in 2005 due to our change in mapping methodology to better capture the 
watershed for these vernal pools. This area was reduced by 13 ac (5 
ha).
    (c) San Marcos (Bent Avenue)--The habitat identified as essential 
to the conservation of N. fossalis in San Marcos in 2005 included 
several vernal pools where occurrences of N. fossalis had been found. 
In the 2005 final rule, we were unaware that the designated critical 
habitat included developed areas. These areas do not contribute to the 
watershed of the vernal pools in San Marcos and were removed. This area 
was reduced by 2 ac (1 ha).
    (d) Ramona--The habitat identified as essential to the conservation 
of N. fossalis in Ramona in the 2005 final rule captured the vernal 
pools where N. fossalis had been found, but did not capture the 
associated watershed area. In some places, the boundary of this 
proposed subunit includes lands that were not mapped in 2005 due to our 
change in mapping methodology to better capture the watershed for the 
vernal pools in this area. This area was enlarged by 49 ac (20 ha).
    (e) Montgomery Field--The habitat identified as essential to the 
conservation of N. fossalis at Montgomery Field in the 2005 final rule 
did not capture all of the vernal pool and associated watershed area 
essential for the conservation of N. fossalis. In some places, the 
boundary of this proposed subunit includes lands that were not mapped 
in 2005 due to our change in mapping methodology to better capture the 
vernal pools and watershed area in this subunit. This area was enlarged 
by 10 ac (4 ha).
    (f) Sweetwater Vernal Pools--The habitat identified as essential to 
the conservation of N. fossalis at the Sweetwater Vernal Pools in the 
2005 final rule included several vernal pools where occurrences of N. 
fossalis had been found. Due to the coarseness of the gridding 
technique used in the 2005 final rule, the lands designated included 
areas that actually slope away from the vernal pools. These areas do 
not contribute to the watershed of the Sweetwater vernal pools and were 
removed. This area was reduced by 68 ac (27 ha).
    (g) Otay River Valley (K1 and EO 10)--The habitat identified as 
essential to the conservation of N. fossalis in the Otay River Valley 
at the K1 and K2 vernal pool complexes are not known to support N. 
fossalis at this time. We have no data that indicates N. fossalis 
occurred in the K1 vernal pool complex. Navarretia fossalis was last 
reported in the Otay River Valley at CNDDB EO 10 in 1981. At this time, 
we do not believe that the unoccupied habitat in the Otay River Valley 
is essential for the conservation of N. fossalis. More occupied habitat 
exists for N. fossalis than we were aware of when the 1998 Recovery 
Plan was written and we believe that the species can be recovered with 
the management and protection of habitat that is currently occupied. We 
removed 57 ac (23 ha) in the Otay River Valley.
    (h) Otay River Valley (M2)--The habitat identified as essential to 
the conservation of N. fossalis in the Otay River Valley in 2005 
included several vernal pools where occurrences of N. fossalis had been 
found. Due to the coarseness of the gridding technique in the 2005 
final rule, the lands designated included areas that actually slope 
away from the vernal pools. These areas do not contribute to the 
watershed of the vernal pools in the Otay River Valley and were 
removed. This area was reduced by 85 ac (34 ha).
    (i) Otay Mesa (J26)--The habitat identified as essential to the 
conservation of N. fossalis on Otay Mesa at the J26 vernal pool complex 
is not known to support an occurrence of N. fossalis at this time, and 
we have no data that indicates N. fossalis ever occurred in the J26 
vernal pool

[[Page 27601]]

complex. Surveys of the area conducted by the City of San Diego in 2003 
did not locate N. fossalis in the J26 vernal pool complex. The 1998 
Recovery Plan indicated the J26 vernal pool complex is important for 
the stabilization of N. fossalis as a species. However, at this time, 
we do not believe that the unoccupied habitat at the J26 vernal pool 
complex in Otay Mesa is essential for the conservation of N. fossalis. 
More occupied habitat for this species exists than we were aware of 
when the 1998 Recovery Plan was written and we believe that N. fossalis 
can be recovered with the management and protection of habitat that is 
currently occupied. We removed 19 ac (8 ha) at the J26 vernal pool 
complex.
    (j) Western Otay Mesa vernal pool complexes--The habitat identified 
as essential to the conservation of N. fossalis within the Western Otay 
Mesa vernal pool complexes in 2005 included several vernal pools where 
occurrences of N. fossalis had been found. Due to the coarseness of the 
gridding technique used in the 2005 final rule, the lands designated 
included areas that actually slope away from the vernal pools. These 
areas do not contribute to the watershed of the vernal pools within the 
Western Otay Mesa vernal pool complexes and were removed. There are 
also additional areas that provide habitat for N. fossalis that were 
not included in the 2005 final rule. These areas meet our criteria for 
critical habitat as described in this proposed revised critical habitat 
and have been included. In some places, the boundary of this proposed 
subunit includes essential habitat that was not mapped in 2005. When 
our mapping methods changed, we used more detailed maps to ensure that 
all vernal pool complexes occupied by N. fossalis were accurately 
mapped. Overall, this area was enlarged by 26 ac (11 ha).
    (k) Eastern Otay Mesa vernal pool complexes--The habitat identified 
as essential to the conservation of N. fossalis within the Eastern Otay 
Mesa vernal pool complexes in 2005 included several vernal pools where 
occurrences of N. fossalis had been found. Due to the coarseness of the 
gridding technique used to describe critical habitat in the 2005 final 
rule, the lands designated included areas that actually slope away from 
the vernal pools. These areas do not contribute to the conservation of 
N. fossalis within the Eastern Otay Mesa vernal pool complexes and were 
removed. There are also additional areas that provide habitat for N. 
fossalis that were not included in the 2005 final rule. These areas 
meet our criteria for critical habitat as described in this proposed 
revised critical habitat and have been included. In some places, the 
boundary of this proposed subunit includes lands that were not mapped 
in 2005. When our mapping methods changed, we used more detailed maps 
to ensure that all vernal pool complexes occupied by N. fossalis were 
accurately mapped. Overall, this area was reduced by 57 ac (23 ha).
    (l) San Jacinto River--The habitat identified as essential to the 
conservation of N. fossalis along the San Jacinto River in 2005 
included a large area north of the habitat known to support occurrences 
of N. fossalis. This area is referred to as Mystic Lake. It is an 
ephemeral lake bed that only fills during years of high rainfall. 
Mystic Lake may help create conditions that result in the appropriate 
habitat for N. fossalis to the south (downstream). However, based on 
the best available data, we do not believe that this area provides an 
essential contribution to the viability of the occurrences of N. 
fossalis along the San Jacinto River. In this proposed revised rule we 
have identified the ephemeral wetland habitat that supports occurrences 
of N. fossalis and local associated watershed areas as PCEs. The Mystic 
Lake area included in the 2005 critical habitat rule does not 
constitute part of the local associated watershed area for the San 
Jacinto River occurrences as defined in this proposed revised rule. 
Although the Mystic Lake area may contribute to conservation of N. 
fossalis in a general sense, it is not occupied by the species and we 
do not consider it to be essential to the conservation of the species. 
In addition to the removal of the Mystic Lake area, some habitat on the 
outer edges of the San Jacinto River flood plain were removed from 
critical habitat because they do not contain the physical and 
biological features that are essential to the conservation of this 
species. This area was reduced by 7,224 ac (2,924 ha).
    (m) Salt Creek Seasonally Flooded Alkali Plain--The habitat 
identified as essential to the conservation of N. fossalis at the Salt 
Creek Seasonally Flooded Alkali Plain in 2005 included a large area to 
the west that is outside of the local watershed for this vernal pool 
complex. Upon closer examination of USGS 1:24,000 scale topographic 
maps, we determined that some areas identified in the 2005 rule as 
essential to the conservation of N. fossalis do not fall within the 
local watershed of this vernal pool complex. Impacts originating from 
these more distant watershed areas could affect the vernal pool 
complex, but we do not believe that these areas contain essential 
physical and biological features or are otherwise essential to the 
conservation of this species in the Salt Creek Seasonally Flooded 
Alkali Plain. This area was reduced by 1,179 ac (477 ha).
    (n) Wickerd Road and Scott Road Pools--The habitat identified as 
essential to the conservation of N. fossalis at the Wickerd Road and 
Scott Road Pools in 2005 included two vernal pools where occurrences of 
N. fossalis had been found. Due to the coarseness of the gridding 
technique that was used to describe critical habitat in the 2005 final 
rule, some of the areas consisted of developed residential lots. These 
areas do not contribute to the watershed of the vernal pools at Wickerd 
Road and Scott Road Pools and were removed. In some places the boundary 
of this proposed subunit includes lands that were not mapped in 2005 
due to our change in mapping methodology to better capture the 
watershed for these two pools. This area was reduced by 70 ac (28 ha).
    (o) Skunk Hollow--The habitat identified as essential to the 
conservation of N. fossalis at Skunk Hollow in 2005 included two vernal 
pools where occurrences of N. fossalis had been found. Due to the 
coarseness of the gridding technique that was used to describe critical 
habitat in the 2005 final rule, some of the areas designated consisted 
of developed residential lots. There were also some areas included that 
slope away from the vernal pools. These areas do not contribute to the 
watershed of the vernal pools at Skunk Hollow and were removed. In some 
places, the boundary of this proposed subunit includes lands that were 
not mapped in 2005 due to our change in mapping methodology to better 
capture the watershed for these two pools. This area was reduced by 148 
ac (60 ha).
    (p) Santa Rosa Plateau (Renamed ``Mesa de Burro'' in this revised 
proposed critical habitat rule)--The habitat identified as essential to 
the conservation of N. fossalis on the Santa Rosa Plateau in the 2005 
rule included the entire plateau area (i.e., flat table-like geological 
formations), which contains three distinct plateaus. Upon further 
review, we found that N. fossalis only occurs on one of the plateaus: 
Mesa de Burro. We determined that only the Mesa de Burro plateau 
contains the physical and biological features essential to the 
conservation of this species. The other areas on the Santa Rosa Plateau 
are not known to support N. fossalis and are not hydrologically 
connected to Mesa de Burro, and therefore are not essential to the 
conservation of N. fossalis. This area was reduced by 3,688 ac (1,493 
ha).

[[Page 27602]]

    (7) The following areas we consider to contain features essential 
to the conservation of the species have been added to this proposed 
revised critical habitat, but were not considered essential to the 
conservation of Navarretia fossalis in the 2005 final critical habitat 
designation: Santa Fe Valley (Crosby Estates); Carroll Canyon; Nobel 
Drive; Proctor Valley; and Otay Lakes. We have added a total of 290 ac 
(117 ha) of proposed critical habitat in these five new subunits. An 
explanation of how the added areas contribute to the conservation of N. 
fossalis is provided below in the ``Proposed Revised Critical Habitat 
Designation'' section.

Proposed Revised Critical Habitat Designation

    We are proposing 6 units that include 22 subunits as critical 
habitat for Navarretia fossalis. The critical habitat areas we describe 
below, which include the 22 subunits we are proposing as critical 
habitat but not the 2 subunits that are exempt from critical habitat, 
constitute our best assessment at this time of areas that meet the 
definition of critical habitat for N. fossalis. Table 3 identifies the 
approximate area of each proposed critical habitat subunit by 
landownership. These subunits, which generally correspond to the 
geographic area of the subunits delineated in the 2005 designation (see 
Table 2 for a detailed comparison of this proposed rule and the 2005 
designation), if finalized, will replace the current critical habitat 
designation for N. fossalis in 50 CFR 17.96(a). The critical habitat 
areas we describe below constitute our best assessment of areas 
determined to be occupied at the time of listing that contain the 
primary constituent elements with the appropriate spatial arrangement 
and quantity (i.e., essential features) that may require special 
management considerations or protection. We are not proposing any 
unoccupied areas or areas outside of the species' historical range 
because we determined that occupied lands within the species' 
historical range are sufficient for the conservation of N. fossalis, 
providing that these lands are protected and receive special management 
considerations for N. fossalis.

             Table 3--Area Estimates (Acres (ac) Hectares (ha)) and Land Ownership for Navarretia fossalis Proposed Revised Critical Habitat
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Location                       Federal            State government        Local government           Private                 Total
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    Unit 1: Los Angeles Basin-Orange Management Area
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1A. Cruzan Mesa....................  ......................  ......................  .....................  129 ac (52 ha).......  129 ac (52 ha).
1B. Plum Canyon....................  ......................  ......................  .....................  32 ac (13 ha)........  32 ac (13 ha).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                Unit 2: San Diego: Northern Coastal Mesa Management Area
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MCB Camp Pendleton.................  4(a)3 exemption*......  ......................  .....................  .....................  4(a)3 exemption.*
2. Poinsettia Lane Commuter Station  ......................  ......................  6 ac (2 ha)..........  3 ac (1 ha)..........  9 ac (4 ha).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                 Unit 3: San Diego: Central Coastal Mesa Management Area
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3A. Santa Fe Valley (Crosby          ......................  ......................  .....................  5 ac (2 ha)..........  5 ac (2 ha).
 Estates).
3B. Carroll Canyon.................  ......................  ......................  16 ac (7 ha).........  3 ac (1 ha)..........  20 ac (8 ha).
3C. Nobel Drive....................  ......................  ......................  37 ac (15 ha)........  .....................  37 ac (15 ha).
MCAS Miramar.......................  4(a)3 exemption*......  ......................  .....................  .....................  4(a)3 exemption.*
3D. Montgomery Field...............  ......................  ......................  48 ac (20 ha)........  .....................  48 ac (20 ha).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        Unit 4: San Diego: Inland Management Area
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
4C1. San Marcos (Upham)............  ......................  ......................  .....................  34 ac (14 ha)........  34 ac (14 ha).
4C2. San Marcos (Universal Boot)...  ......................  ......................  15 ac (6 ha).........  17 ac (7 ha).........  32 ac (13 ha).
4D. San Marcos (Bent Avenue).......  ......................  ......................  .....................  5 ac (2 ha)..........  5 ac (2 ha).
4E. Ramona.........................  ......................  ......................  3 ac (1 ha)..........  132 ac (53 ha).......  135 ac (55 ha).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                Unit 5: San Diego: Southern Coastal Mesa Management Area
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
5A. Sweetwater Vernal Pools (S1-3).  23 ac (9 ha)..........  1 ac (<1 ha)..........  71 ac (29 ha)........  .....................  95 ac (38 ha).
5B. Otay River Valley (M2).........  ......................  ......................  .....................  24 ac (10 ha)........  24 ac (10 ha).
5F. Proctor Valley (R1-2)..........  ......................  ......................  51 ac (21 ha)........  37 ac (15 ha)........  88 ac (36 ha).
5G. Otay Lakes (K3-5)..............  ......................  ......................  140 ac (57 ha).......  .....................  140 ac (57 ha).
5H. Western Otay Mesa vernal pool    ......................  ......................  45 ac (18 ha)........  98 ac (40 ha)........  143 ac (58 ha).
 complexes.
5I. Eastern Otay Mesa vernal pool    ......................  ......................  .....................  221 ac (89 ha).......  221 ac (89 ha).
 complexes.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            Unit 6: Riverside Management Area
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
6A. San Jacinto River..............  ......................  1,504 ac (608 ha).....  .....................  2,046 ac (828 ha)....  3,550 ac (1,437 ha).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
6B. Salt Creek Seasonally Flooded    ......................  ......................  .....................  1,054 ac (427 ha)....  1,054 ac (427 ha).
 Alkali Plain.
6C. Wickerd Road and Scott Road      ......................  ......................  .....................  205 ac (83 ha).......  205 ac (83 ha).
 Pools.
6D. Skunk Hollow...................  ......................  ......................  .....................  158 ac (64 ha).......  158 ac (64 ha).

[[Page 27603]]

 
6E. Mesa de Burro..................  ......................  675 ac (273 ha).......  .....................  32 ac (13 ha)........  708 ac (287 ha).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total..........................  23 ac (9 ha)..........  2,180 ac (882 ha).....  434 ac (176 ha)......  4,235 ac (1,714 ha)..  6,872 ac (2,781
                                                                                                                                    ha).**
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* 145 ac (59 ha) of federally owned land on MCB Camp Pendleton and 69 ac (28 ha) of federally owned land MCAS Miramar are exempt from this critical
  habitat (see ``Exemptions under Section 4(a)(3) of the Act'' section).
** Values in this table may not sum due to rounding.

Critical Habitat Units

    Presented below are brief descriptions of all subunits and reasons 
why they meet the definition of critical habitat for Navarretia 
fossalis. The units in this proposed revised critical habitat 
correspond to the management areas described in the 1998 Recovery Plan 
for Vernal Pools of Southern California. Each subunit contains either 
(1) a core habitat area; or (2) a satellite habitat area that provide 
connectivity between core habitat areas or other satellite habitat 
areas that are captured in other subunits. Areas identified as subunits 
that harbor satellite habitat areas were identified as containing 
features essential to the conservation of the species (compared to 
other areas not identified as essential habitat) due to a combination 
of their geographic proximity to core habitat areas, their status as an 
area that supports a stable occurrence (representing occurrences that 
continue to persist within a given geographic area), and the likelihood 
that these particular habitat areas support genetically unique 
occurrences. Other areas not chosen as satellite areas/subunits include 
occurrences that are represented by one or more of the following 
characteristics: small population size, no detailed information on 
occurrence, lack of observations during recent surveys, locations not 
identified in the Recovery Plan, or areas that have low likelihood of 
persistence due to fragmentation or enclosure by developed areas, 
resulting in unstable occurrences.

Unit 1: Los Angeles Basin--Orange Management Area

    Unit 1 is located in northwestern Los Angeles County and consists 
of two subunits totaling 161 ac (65 ha) of private land.
Subunit 1A: Cruzan Mesa
    Subunit 1A is located near the City of Santa Clarita in Los Angeles 
County, California. This subunit is on Cruzan Mesa, northwest of Forest 
Park and the Sierra Highway and southwest of Vasquez Canyon Road. 
Subunit 1A consists of 129 ac (52 ha) of private land and meets our 
selection criteria as satellite habitat. Cruzan Mesa is one of the only 
areas in Los Angeles County that supports mesa-top vernal pools. As 
satellite habitat, this subunit supports a stable occurrence of 
Navarretia fossalis, provides potential connectivity with Subunit 1B, 
and likely supports a genetically distinct occurrence because of the 
separation of these two northern occurrences from other occurrences of 
N. fossalis. This subunit and subunit 1B (described below) represent 
the most northern occurrences of this species. Subunit 1A contains 
physical and biological features that are essential to the conservation 
of N. fossalis, including ephemeral wetland habitat (PCE 1), intermixed 
wetland and upland habitats that act as the local watershed (PCE 2), 
and the topography and soils that support ponding during winter and 
spring months (PCE 3). The physical and biological features essential 
to the conservation of the species in this subunit may require special 
management considerations or protection to address threats from 
nonnative plant species and activities (e.g., mowing, grading) that 
occur in the vernal pool basins. Please see the ``Special Management 
Considerations or Protection'' section of this proposed rule for a 
discussion of the threats to N. fossalis habitat and potential 
management considerations.
Subunit 1B: Plum Canyon
    Subunit 1B is located near the City of Santa Clarita in Los Angeles 
County, California. This subunit is in Plum Canyon, west of Forest Park 
and the Sierra Highway and north of Plum Canyon Road. Subunit 1B 
consists of 32 ac (13 ha) of private land and meets our selection 
criteria as satellite habitat. As satellite habitat, this subunit 
supports a stable occurrence of Navarretia fossalis, provides potential 
connectivity with Subunit 1A, and likely supports a genetically 
distinct occurrence because of the separation of these two northern 
occurrences from other occurrences of N. fossalis. The Plum Canyon 
vernal pool habitat occurs on a flat area down-slope from the vernal 
pools on Cruzan Mesa. The vernal pools on Cruzan Mesa (Subunit 1A) and 
Plum Canyon represent the only habitat for N. fossalis in Los Angeles 
County and the most northern occurrences of this species. Subunit 1B 
contains physical and biological features that are essential to the 
conservation of N. fossalis, including ephemeral wetland habitat (PCE 
1), intermixed wetland and upland habitats that act as the local 
watershed (PCE 2), and the topography and soils that support ponding 
during winter and spring months (PCE 3). The physical and biological 
features essential to the conservation of the species in this subunit 
may require special management considerations or protection to address 
threats from nonnative plant species within this subunit. Please see 
the ``Special Management Considerations or Protection'' section of this 
proposed rule for a discussion of the threats to N. fossalis habitat 
and potential management considerations.

Unit 2: San Diego--Northern Coastal Mesa Management Area

    Unit 2 is located in Northern Coastal San Diego County and consists 
of one subunit totaling 9 ac (4 ha), as well as, the exempt areas on 
MCB Camp Pendleton. This unit contains 6 ac (3 ha) owned by the North 
County Transit District, and 3 ac (1 ha) of private land. MCB Camp 
Pendleton is exempt in this revised critical habitat designation for 
Navarretia fossalis under section 4(a)(3)(B) of the Act because the 
2007 Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan (INRMP) for MCB Camp 
Pendleton provides a benefit to N. fossalis (see the ``Exemptions under 
Section 4(a)(3) of the Act'' section of this proposed rule for a 
detailed discussion).
Unit 2: Poinsettia Lane Commuter Station
    Unit 2 is located adjacent to the City of Carlsbad in San Diego 
County, California. This subunit is loosely

[[Page 27604]]

bounded by Avenida Encinas on the north, a housing development on the 
east, Poinsettia Lane on the south, and train tracks on the west. Unit 
2 consists of approximately 9 ac (4 ha) that includes 6 ac (2 ha) of 
land owned by State or local governments and 3 ac (1 ha) of private 
land. Unit 2 meets our selection criteria as satellite habitat. As 
satellite habitat, this subunit supports a stable occurrence of 
Navarretia fossalis and provides potential connectivity between 
occurrences of N. fossalis on MCB Camp Pendleton and in Subunits 4C1, 
4C2, and 4D. The Poinsettia Lane vernal pool complex consists of a 
series of vernal pools that run parallel to the berm created by the 
train tracks. Unit 2 contains the physical and biological features that 
are essential to the conservation of N. fossalis including ephemeral 
wetland habitat (PCE 1), intermixed wetland and upland habitats that 
act as the local watershed (PCE 2), and the topography and soils that 
support ponding during winter and spring months (PCE 3). The physical 
and biological features essential to the conservation of the species in 
this subunit may require special management considerations or 
protection to address threats from nonnative plant species and 
activities (e.g., unauthorized recreational use) that occur in the 
vernal pool basins. Please see the ``Special Management Considerations 
or Protection'' section of this proposed rule for a discussion of the 
threats to N. fossalis habitat and potential management considerations. 
We are considering this subunit for exclusion under 4(b)(2) of the Act; 
please see the ``Proposed Exclusions under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act'' 
section of this proposed rule for more information.

Unit 3: San Diego: Central Coastal Mesa Management Area

    Unit 3 is located in Central Coastal San Diego County and consists 
of four subunits totaling 110 ac (45 ha), as well as the exempt lands 
on MCAS Miramar. This unit contains 102 ac (42 ha) owned by State and 
local governments, and 8 ac (3 ha) of private land. MCAS Miramar is 
exempt in this proposed revised critical habitat designation for 
Navarretia fossalis under section 4(a)(3)(B) of the Act, because the 
2006 INRMP for MCAS Miramar provides a benefit to N. fossalis (see the 
``Exemptions under Section 4(a)(3) of the Act'' section of this 
proposed rule for a detailed discussion).
Subunit 3A: Santa Fe Valley: Crosby Estates
    Subunit 3A is located southwest of Lake Hodges and east of the 
unincorporated community of Rancho Santa Fe. This subunit is loosely 
bounded by a driving range to the north and northwest, High Society Way 
on the east and southeast, and Country Girl Lane on the southwest. 
Subunit 3A consists of 5 ac (2 ha) of private land and meets our 
selection criteria as satellite habitat. As satellite habitat, this 
subunit supports a stable occurrence of Navarretia fossalis and 
provides potential connectivity between occurrences of N. fossalis in 
San Marcos and in Subunit 3B. The Crosby Estates vernal pool complex 
consists of a series of vernal pools on a flat area 150 ft (46 m) above 
the San Dieguito River. This vernal pool complex occurred naturally, 
but it had been degraded by past agricultural activities. It was 
restored as to its current condition when the adjacent area was 
developed. Subunit 3A contains physical and biological features that 
are essential to the conservation of N. fossalis, including ephemeral 
wetland habitat (PCE 1), intermixed wetland and upland habitats that 
act as the local watershed (PCE 2), and the topography and soils that 
support ponding during winter and spring months (PCE 3). The physical 
and biological features essential to the conservation of the species in 
this subunit may require special management considerations or 
protection to address threats from nonnative plant species that occur 
in the vernal pool basins. Please see the ``Special Management 
Considerations or Protection'' section of this proposed rule for a 
discussion of the threats to N. fossalis habitat and potential 
management considerations. We are considering this subunit for 
exclusion under 4(b)(2) of the Act; please see the ``Proposed 
Exclusions under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act'' section of this proposed 
rule for more information.
Subunit 3B: Carroll Canyon
    Subunit 3B is located in the City of San Diego in San Diego County, 
California. This subunit is located to the southwest of the 
intersection of Parkdale Avenue and Osgood Way, and is loosely bounded 
by residential development on the north, open space to the east, and a 
quarry to the south and west. Subunit 3B consists of approximately 20 
ac (8 ha) that includes 17 ac (7 ha) of land owned by State or local 
governments and 3 ac (1 ha) of private land. Subunit 3B meets our 
selection criteria as satellite habitat. As satellite habitat, this 
subunit supports a stable occurrence of Navarretia fossalis and 
provides potential connectivity between occurrences of N. fossalis in 
Subunits 3A and 3C. The Carroll Canyon vernal pool complex consists of 
a group of vernal pools on the edge of a mesa north of Carroll Canyon. 
Historically, there may have been more habitat for this species in this 
area; however, the majority of vernal pool habitat in the vicinity of 
this subunit has been developed. Subunit 3B contains the physical and 
biological features that are essential to the conservation of N. 
fossalis, including ephemeral wetland habitat (PCE 1), intermixed 
wetland and upland habitats that act as the local watershed (PCE 2), 
and the topography and soils that support ponding during winter and 
spring months (PCE 3). The physical and biological features essential 
to the conservation of the species in this subunit may require special 
management considerations or protection to address threats from 
nonnative plant species and activities (e.g., trespass, illegal trash 
dumping) that occur in the vernal pool basins. Please see the ``Special 
Management Considerations or Protection'' section of this proposed rule 
for a discussion of the threats to N. fossalis habitat and potential 
management considerations.
Subunit 3C: Nobel Drive
    Subunit 3C is located in the City of San Diego in San Diego County, 
California. This subunit is loosely bounded by the 805 interstate on 
the northeast, the train tracks on the south, and Nobel Drive on the 
northwest. Subunit 3C consists of 37 ac (15 ha) of land owned by State 
or local governments and meets our selection criteria as satellite 
habitat. As satellite habitat, this subunit supports a stable 
occurrence of Navarretia fossalis and provides potential connectivity 
between occurrences of N. fossalis in Subunits 3B and 3D. The Nobel 
Drive vernal pool complex consists of a group of vernal pools on a 
mesa-top north of Rose Canyon. Subunit 3C contains the physical and 
biological features that are essential to the conservation of N. 
fossalis, including ephemeral wetland habitat (PCE 1), intermixed 
wetland and upland habitats that act as the local watershed (PCE 2), 
and the topography and soils that support ponding during winter and 
spring months (PCE 3). The physical and biological features essential 
to the conservation of the species in this subunit may require special 
management considerations or protection to address threats from 
nonnative plant species and activities

[[Page 27605]]

(e.g., unauthorized recreational use) that occur in the vernal pool 
basins. Please see the ``Special Management Considerations or 
Protection'' section of this proposed rule for a discussion of the 
threats to N. fossalis habitat and potential management considerations.
Subunit 3D: Montgomery Field
    Subunit 3D is located in the City of San Diego in San Diego County, 
California. This subunit is located at Montgomery Field (airport) to 
the northeast of the runway area. Subunit 3D consists of 48 ac (20 ha) 
of land owned by the City of San Diego and meets our selection criteria 
as satellite habitat. As satellite habitat, this subunit supports a 
stable occurrence of Navarretia fossalis and provides potential 
connectivity with the occurrence of N. fossalis in Subunit 3C. The 
Montgomery Field vernal pool complex consists of a large group of 
vernal pools east of the runway area at Montgomery Field, although only 
the northeastern portion of this vernal pool complex is being proposed 
as critical habitat. Navarretia fossalis has not been documented in the 
southeastern portion of this vernal pool complex. The northeastern 
portion and southeastern portion of this vernal pool complex are 
hydrologically disconnected by past development of the area. Subunit 3D 
contains the physical and biological features that are essential to the 
conservation of N. fossalis, including ephemeral wetland habitat (PCE 
1), intermixed wetland and upland habitats that act as the local 
watershed (PCE 2), and the topography and soils that support ponding 
during winter and spring months (PCE 3). The physical and biological 
features essential to the conservation of the species in this subunit 
may require special management considerations or protection to address 
threats from nonnative plant species that occur in the vernal pool 
basins. Please see the ``Special Management Considerations or 
Protection'' section of this proposed rule for a discussion of the 
threats to N. fossalis habitat and potential management considerations.

Unit 4: San Diego: Inland Management Area

    Unit 4 is located in Inland San Diego County and consists of four 
subunits totaling 206 ac (83 ha). This unit contains 15 ac (6 ha) owned 
by State and local governments, and 191 ac (77 ha) of private land.
Subunits 4C1, 4C2, and 4D: San Marcos
    Subunits 4C1, 4C2, and 4D are located in the City of San Marcos in 
San Diego County, California. These three subunits consist of three 
separate vernal pool complexes. The first (Subunit 4C1) is loosely 
bounded by La Mirada Drive on the northeast, Las Posas Road on the 
southeast, Linda Vista Drive on the southwest, and South Pacific Street 
on the northwest. The second (Subunit 4C2) is loosely bounded by Linda 
Vista Drive on the northeast, Las Posas Road on the east, West San 
Marcos Boulevard on the south, and South Pacific Street on the west. 
The third (Subunit 4D) is loosely bounded by South Bent Avenue on the 
northeast, commercial development on the southeast and southwest, and 
Linda Vista Drive on the northwest. Subunit 4C1 consists of 34 ac (14 
ha) of private land, Subunit 4C2 consists of 15 ac (6 ha) of land owned 
by local government and 17 ac (7 ha) of private land, and Subunit 4D 
consists of 5 ac (2 ha) of private land. These three subunits meet our 
selection criteria as satellite habitat areas because they support 
stable occurrences of Navarretia fossalis and provide potential 
connectivity between occurrences of N. fossalis in Unit 2 and Subunit 
4E. We grouped these vernal pool complexes because of the clustered 
nature of these occurrences. These subunits have separate subunit 
numbers to be consistent with the numbering identified in the previous 
critical habitat designation. Subunits 4C1, 4C2, and 4D contain the 
physical and biological features that are essential to the conservation 
of N. fossalis, including ephemeral wetland habitat (PCE 1), intermixed 
wetland and upland habitats that act as the local watershed (PCE 2), 
and the topography and soils that support ponding during winter and 
spring months (PCE 3). The physical and biological features essential 
to the conservation of the species in these subunits may require 
special management considerations or protection to address threats from 
nonnative plant species and activities (e.g., commercial development, 
trespass, off-road vehicle use) that occur in the vernal pool basins. 
Please see the ``Special Management Considerations or Protection'' 
section of this proposed rule for a discussion of the threats to N. 
fossalis habitat and potential management considerations.
Subunit 4E: Ramona
    Subunit 4E is located in the unincorporated community of Ramona. 
This subunit is loosely bounded by the Ramona Airport and Ramona 
Airport Road on the north, Sawday Road on the east, Santa Maria Creek 
on the south, and a series of rock outcrops on the west. Subunit 4E 
consists of approximately 135 ac (55 ha) that includes 3 ac (1 ha) of 
land owned by State or local governments and 132 ac (53 ha) of private 
land. Subunit 4E meets our selection criteria as satellite habitat. As 
satellite habitat, this subunit supports a stable occurrence of 
Navarretia fossalis and provides potential connectivity with 
occurrences of N. fossalis in Subunits 4C1, 4C2, and 4D. The vernal 
pools in this subunit occur in gently sloping grassland habitat and are 
at the highest elevation where N. fossalis is known to occur. Subunit 
4E contains the physical and biological features that are essential to 
the conservation of N. fossalis, including ephemeral wetland habitat 
(PCE 1), intermixed wetland and upland habitats that act as the local 
watershed (PCE 2), and the topography and soils that support ponding 
during winter and spring months (PCE 3). The physical and biological 
features essential to the conservation of the species in this subunit 
may require special management considerations or protection to address 
threats from nonnative plant species and activities (e.g., agricultural 
activities, recreational use) that occur in the vernal pool basins. 
Please see the ``Special Management Considerations or Protection'' 
section of this proposed rule for a discussion of the threats to N. 
fossalis habitat and potential management considerations.

Unit 5: San Diego: Southern Coastal Mesa Management Area

    Unit 5 is located in Southern San Diego County and consists of six 
subunits totaling 711 ac (288 ha). This unit contains 23 ac (9 ha) of 
federally owned land, 308 ac (124 ha) of land owned by State and local 
governments, and 380 ac (154 ha) of private land.
Subunit 5A: Sweetwater Vernal Pools
    Subunit 5A is located southwest of the Sweetwater Reservoir. This 
subunit is loosely bounded by the Sweetwater Reservoir on the north, 
steeply sloping topography on the east, State Route 125 on the south, 
and an unnamed drainage on the west. Subunit 5A consists of 
approximately 95 ac (38 ha) and includes 23 ac (9 ha) of Federal land 
that is part of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex and 72 
ac (29 ha) of land owned by State or local governments and meets our 
selection criteria as satellite habitat. This satellite habitat subunit 
supports a stable occurrence of Navarretia fossalis and provides 
potential connectivity between occurrences of N. fossalis in Subunits 
5B and 5F. Some of the area occupied by N. fossalis was lost during the 
construction of State Route 125. The soil

[[Page 27606]]

from that area was salvaged and is being used to restore other vernal 
pools in this subunit. Subunit 5A contains the physical and biological 
features that are essential to the conservation of N. fossalis, 
including ephemeral wetland habitat (PCE 1), intermixed wetland and 
upland habitats that act as the local watershed (PCE 2), and the 
topography and soils that support ponding during winter and spring 
months (PCE 3). The physical and biological features essential to the 
conservation of the species in this subunit may require special 
management considerations or protection to address threats from 
nonnative plant species and activities (e.g., unauthorized recreational 
use) that occur in the vernal pool basins. Please see the ``Special 
Management Considerations or Protection'' section of this proposed rule 
for a discussion of the threats to N. fossalis habitat and potential 
management considerations.
Subunit 5B: Otay River Valley
    Subunit 5B is located adjacent to the City of Chula Vista in San 
Diego County, California. This subunit is loosely bounded by Olympic 
Parkway on the north, a housing development on the east, and a landfill 
to the southwest. Subunit 5B consists of 24 ac (10 ha) of private land 
and meets our selection criteria as satellite habitat, which supports a 
stable occurrence of Navarretia fossalis and provides potential 
connectivity between occurrences of N. fossalis in Subunits 5A and 5H. 
Subunit 5B contains the physical and biological features that are 
essential to the conservation of N. fossalis, including ephemeral 
wetland habitat (PCE 1), intermixed wetland and upland habitats that 
act as the local watershed (PCE 2), and the topography and soils that 
support ponding during winter and spring months (PCE 3). The physical 
and biological features essential to the conservation of the species in 
this subunit may require special management considerations or 
protection to address threats from nonnative plant species and 
activities (e.g., unauthorized recreational use) that occur in the 
vernal pool basins. Please see the ``Special Management Considerations 
or Protection'' section of this proposed rule for a discussion of the 
threats to N. fossalis habitat and potential management considerations. 
We are considering the portion of this subunit covered by the County of 
San Diego Subarea Plan under the MSCP for exclusion under 4(b)(2) of 
the Act; please see the ``Proposed Exclusions under Section 4(b)(2) of 
the Act'' section of this proposed rule for more information.
Subunit 5F: Proctor Valley
    Subunit 5F is located between the unincorporated communities of 
Eastlake and Jamul in San Diego County, California. This subunit is 
located along Proctor Valley Road in Proctor Valley. Subunit 5F 
consists of approximately 88 ac (36 ha) and includes 51 ac (21 ha) of 
land owned by the City of San Diego and 37 ac (15 ha) of private land. 
Subunit 5F meets our selection criteria as satellite habitat, which 
supports a stable occurrence of Navarretia fossalis and provides 
potential connectivity between occurrences of N. fossalis in Subunits 
5A and 5G. The vernal pools in this subunit occur in Proctor Valley on 
a flat area that is slightly elevated from the stream channel that runs 
through this valley. The vernal pools in this subunit to the west of 
Proctor Valley Road have been severely impacted by off-road vehicle 
use, but the vernal pools to the east of Proctor Valley road have 
remained relatively intact. Subunit 5F contains the physical and 
biological features that are essential to the conservation of N. 
fossalis, including ephemeral wetland habitat (PCE 1), intermixed 
wetland and upland habitats that act as the local watershed (PCE 2), 
and the topography and soils that support ponding during winter and 
spring months (PCE 3). The physical and biological features essential 
to the conservation of the species in this subunit may require special 
management considerations or protection to address threats from 
nonnative plant species and activities (e.g., unauthorized recreational 
use, off-road vehicle use) that occur in the vernal pool basins. Please 
see the ``Special Management Considerations or Protection'' section of 
this proposed rule for a discussion of the threats to N. fossalis 
habitat and potential management considerations. We are considering the 
portion of this subunit covered by the County of San Diego Subarea Plan 
under the MSCP for exclusion under 4(b)(2) of the Act; please see the 
``Proposed Exclusions under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act'' section of 
this proposed rule for more information.
Subunit 5G: Otay Lakes
    Subunit 5G is located east of the City of Chula Vista in San Diego 
County, California. This subunit is loosely bounded by Lower Otay 
Reservoir to the north and west and by the slopes of Otay Mountain to 
the southeast. Subunit 5G consists of 140 ac (57 ha) of land owned by 
State or local governments and meets our selection criteria as 
satellite habitat because this location supports a stable occurrence of 
Navarretia fossalis and provides potential connectivity between 
occurrences of N. fossalis in Subunits 5F and 5I. The vernal pool 
complexes in this subunit are located on the flat areas to the south of 
Lower Otay Reservoir. Subunit 5G contains the physical and biological 
features that are essential to the conservation of N. fossalis, 
including ephemeral wetland habitat (PCE 1), intermixed wetland and 
upland habitats that act as the local watershed (PCE 2), and the 
topography and soils that support ponding during winter and spring 
months (PCE 3). The physical and biological features essential to the 
conservation of the species in this subunit may require special 
management considerations or protection to address threats from 
nonnative plant species and activities (e.g., unauthorized recreational 
use) that occur in the vernal pool basins. Please see the ``Special 
Management Considerations or Protection'' section of this proposed rule 
for a discussion of the threats to N. fossalis habitat and potential 
management considerations.
Subunit 5H: Western Otay Mesa Vernal Pool Complexes
    Subunit 5H is located within the Otay Mesa Community planning area 
of the City of San Diego in San Diego County, California. Subunit 5H 
consists of approximately 143 ac (58 ha) that includes 45 ac (18 ha) of 
land owned by State or local governments and 98 ac (40 ha) of private 
land. Subunit 5H and Subunit 5I encompass the core habitat on Otay 
Mesa. As core habitat, this subunit contains a large area of habitat 
that supports sizable occurrences of Navarretia fossalis and provides 
potential connectivity between occurrences of N. fossalis in Subunits 
5G and 5I. This subunit contains several mesa-top vernal pool complexes 
on western Otay Mesa (Bauder vernal pool complexes J 2N, J 2S, J 2W, J 
4, J 13N, J 13S, J 14, J 33, J 34 as in Appendix D of City of San 
Diego, 2004). Subunit 5H contains the physical and biological features 
that are essential to the conservation of N. fossalis, including 
ephemeral wetland habitat (PCE 1), intermixed wetland and upland 
habitats that act as the local watershed (PCE 2), and the topography 
and soils that support ponding during winter and spring months (PCE 3). 
The physical and biological features essential to the conservation of 
the species in this subunit may require special management 
considerations or protection to address threats from nonnative plant 
species and activities (e.g., unauthorized recreational use,

[[Page 27607]]

residential and commercial development) that occur in the vernal pool 
basins. Please see the ``Special Management Considerations or 
Protection'' section of this proposed rule for a discussion of the 
threats to N. fossalis habitat and potential management considerations.
Subunit 5I: Eastern Otay Mesa Vernal Pool Complexes
    Subunit 5I is located in the City of San Diego in San Diego County, 
California. This subunit contains several mesa top vernal pool 
complexes on eastern Otay Mesa. Subunit 5I consists of 220 ac (89 ha) 
of private land. Subunit 5I along with Subunit 5H encompass the core 
habitat on Otay Mesa. As core habitat, this subunit contains a large 
area of habitat that supports sizable occurrences of Navarretia 
fossalis and provides potential connectivity between occurrences of N. 
fossalis in Subunits 5B and 5H. This subunit contains several mesa-top 
vernal pool complexes on eastern Otay Mesa (Bauder vernal pool 
complexes J 22, J 29, J 30, J 31N, J 31S as in Appendix D of City of 
San Diego, 2004 and Service GIS). Subunit 5I contains the physical and 
biological features that are essential to the conservation of N. 
fossalis, including ephemeral wetland habitat (PCE 1), intermixed 
wetland and upland habitats that act as the local watershed (PCE 2), 
and the topography and soils that support ponding during winter and 
spring months (PCE 3). The physical and biological features essential 
to the conservation of the species in this subunit may require special 
management considerations or protection to address threats from 
nonnative plant species and activities (e.g., unauthorized recreational 
use, residential and commercial development) that occur in the vernal 
pool basins. Please see the ``Special Management Considerations or 
Protection'' section of this proposed rule for a discussion of the 
threats to N. fossalis habitat and potential management considerations. 
We are considering the portion of this subunit covered by the County of 
San Diego Subarea Plan under the MSCP for exclusion under 4(b)(2) of 
the Act; please see the ``Proposed Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of 
the Act'' section of this proposed rule for more information.

Unit 6: Riverside Management Area

    Unit 6 is located in Western Riverside County and consists of five 
subunits totaling 5,675 ac (2,297 ha). This unit contains 2,179 ac (882 
ha) of land owned by the State of California's Department of Fish and 
Game and 3,496 ac (1,415 ha) of private land.
Subunit 6A: San Jacinto River
    Subunit 6A is generally located along the San Jacinto River near 
the cities of Hemet and Perris in Riverside County, California. This 
subunit is loosely bounded by Mystic Lake on the northeast and by the 
Perris Airport in the southwest. Subunit 6A consists of approximately 
3,550 ac (1,437 ha), including 1,504 ac (609 ha) of land owned by State 
or local governments and 2,046 ac (828 ha) of private land. Subunit 6A 
encompasses the core habitat along the San Jacinto River. As core 
habitat, this subunit contains a large area of habitat that supports 
sizable occurrences of Navarretia fossalis and provides potential 
connectivity between occurrences of N. fossalis in Subunits 6B and 5C. 
This subunit consists of seasonally flooded alkali vernal plains that 
occur along the San Jacinto River. Subunit 6A contains the physical and 
biological features that are essential to the conservation of N. 
fossalis, including ephemeral wetland habitat (PCE 1), intermixed 
wetland and upland habitats that act as the local watershed (PCE 2), 
and the topography and soils that support ponding during winter and 
spring months (PCE 3). The physical and biological features essential 
to the conservation of the species in this subunit may require special 
management considerations or protection to address threats from 
nonnative plant species and activities (e.g., manure dumping, flood 
control) that occur in the vernal pool basins. Please see the ``Special 
Management Considerations or Protection'' section of this proposed rule 
for a discussion of the threats to N. fossalis habitat and potential 
management considerations. We are considering this subunit for 
exclusion under 4(b)(2) of the Act; please see the ``Proposed 
Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act'' section of this proposed 
rule for more information.
Subunit 6B: Salt Creek Seasonally Flooded Alkali Plain
    Subunit 6B is located near the City of Hemet and west of the Hemet-
Ryan Airport in Riverside County, California. This subunit is loosely 
bounded by Devonshire Avenue on the north, Warren Road on the east, the 
train tracks on the south, and the low-lying hills on the west. Subunit 
6B consists of 1,054 ac (427 ha) of private land that encompasses the 
core habitat along the Upper Salt Creek drainage in western Hemet. As 
core habitat, this subunit contains a large area of habitat that 
supports sizable occurrences of Navarretia fossalis and provides 
potential connectivity between occurrences of N. fossalis in Subunits 
6A and 6C. This subunit consists of seasonally flooded alkali vernal 
plains. Subunit 6B contains the physical and biological features that 
are essential to the conservation of N. fossalis, including ephemeral 
wetland habitat (PCE 1), intermixed wetland and upland habitats that 
act as the local watershed (PCE 2), and the topography and soils that 
support ponding during winter and spring months (PCE 3). The physical 
and biological features essential to the conservation of the species in 
this subunit may require special management considerations or 
protection to address threats from nonnative plant species and 
activities (e.g., grazing, flood control, discing for vegetation 
control) that occur in the vernal pool basins. Please see the ``Special 
Management Considerations or Protection'' section of this proposed rule 
for a discussion of the threats to N. fossalis habitat and potential 
management considerations. We are considering this subunit for 
exclusion under 4(b)(2) of the Act; please see the ``Proposed 
Exclusions under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act'' section of this proposed 
rule for more information.
Subunit 6C: Wickerd and Scott Road Pools
    Subunit 6C is located in the City of Menifee in Riverside County, 
California. This subunit is loosely bounded by low-lying hills north of 
Garbani Road on the north, Briggs Road on the east, Scott Road on the 
south, and Menifee Road on the west. Subunit 6C consists of 205 ac (83 
ha) of private land and meets our selection criteria as satellite 
habitat because this location supports a stable occurrence of 
Navarretia fossalis and provides potential connectivity between 
occurrences of N. fossalis in Subunits 6A, 6B, and 6D. This subunit 
consists of two large vernal pools. Subunit 6C contains the physical 
and biological features that are essential to the conservation of N. 
fossalis, including ephemeral wetland habitat (PCE 1), intermixed 
wetland and upland habitats that act as the local watershed (PCE 2), 
and the topography and soils that support ponding during winter and 
spring months (PCE 3). The physical and biological features essential 
to the conservation of the species in this subunit may require special 
management considerations or protection to address threats from 
nonnative plant species and activities (e.g., residential or 
agricultural

[[Page 27608]]

development, discing for vegetation control, and maintenance of 
existing pipelines) that occur in the vernal pool basins. Please see 
the ``Special Management Considerations or Protection'' section of this 
proposed rule for a discussion of the threats to N. fossalis habitat 
and potential management considerations. We are considering this 
subunit for exclusion under 4(b)(2) of the Act; please see the 
``Proposed Exclusions under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act'' section of 
this proposed rule for more information.
Subunit 6D: Skunk Hollow
    Subunit 6D is located east of the City of Murrieta in Riverside 
County, California. This subunit is loosely bounded by Browning Street 
on the north, the edge of an unnamed canyon on the east, Murrieta Hot 
Springs Road on the south, and Pourroy Avenue on the west. Subunit 6D 
consists of 158 ac (64 ha) of private land and meets our selection 
criteria as satellite habitat because this subunit supports a stable 
occurrence of Navarretia fossalis and provides potential connectivity 
between occurrences of N. fossalis in Subunits 6C and 6E. This subunit 
consists of the large Skunk Hollow vernal pool and a small pool to the 
east of the Skunk Hollow pool. Subunit 6D contains the physical and 
biological features that are essential to the conservation of N. 
fossalis, including ephemeral wetland habitat (PCE 1), intermixed 
wetland and upland habitats that act as the local watershed (PCE 2), 
and the topography and soils that support ponding during winter and 
spring months (PCE 3). The physical and biological features essential 
to the conservation of the species in this subunit may require special 
management considerations or protection to address threats from 
nonnative plant species and activities (e.g., unauthorized recreational 
use) that occur in the vernal pool basins. Please see the ``Special 
Management Considerations or Protection'' section of this proposed rule 
for a discussion of the threats to N. fossalis habitat and potential 
management considerations. We are considering this subunit for 
exclusion under 4(b)(2) of the Act; please see the ``Proposed 
Exclusions under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act'' section of this proposed 
rule for more information.
Subunit 6E: Mesa de Burro
    Subunit 6E is located west of the City of Murrieta in Riverside 
County, California. This subunit is on Mesa de Burro within the Santa 
Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve. Subunit 6E consists of approximately 
708 ac (287 ha), including 676 ac (274 ha) of land owned by State or 
local governments and 32 ac (13 ha) of private land. Subunit 6E 
encompasses the core habitat on Mesa de Burro at the Santa Rosa 
Plateau.
    As core habitat, this subunit contains a large area of habitat that 
supports a sizable occurrence of Navarretia fossalis and provides 
potential connectivity between occurrences of N. fossalis on MCB Camp 
Pendleton and in Subunit 6D. This subunit consists of seasonally 
flooded alkali vernal plains, including mesa-top vernal pools on 
volcanic basalt soils. Subunit 6E contains the physical and biological 
features that are essential to the conservation of N. fossalis, 
including ephemeral wetland habitat (PCE 1), intermixed wetland and 
upland habitats that act as the local watershed (PCE 2), and the 
topography and soils that support ponding during winter and spring 
months (PCE 3). The physical and biological features essential to the 
conservation of the species in this subunit may require special 
management considerations or protection to address threats from 
nonnative plant species and activities (e.g., unauthorized recreational 
use) that occur in the vernal pool basins. Please see the ``Special 
Management Considerations or Protection'' section of this proposed rule 
for a discussion of the threats to N. fossalis habitat and potential 
management considerations. We are considering this subunit for 
exclusion under 4(b)(2) of the Act; please see the ``Proposed 
Exclusions under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act'' section of this proposed 
rule for more information.

Effects of Critical Habitat Designation

Section 7 Consultation

    Section 7(a)(2) of the Act requires Federal agencies, including the 
Service, to ensure that actions they fund, authorize, or carry out are 
not likely to destroy or adversely modify critical habitat. Decisions 
by the 5th and 9th Circuit Courts of Appeals have invalidated our 
definition of ``destruction or adverse modification'' (50 CFR 402.02) 
(see Gifford Pinchot Task Force v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 378 
F.3d 1059 (9th Cir 2004) and Sierra Club v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service et al., 245 F.3d 434, 442F (5th Cir 2001)), and we do not rely 
on this regulatory definition when analyzing whether an action is 
likely to destroy or adversely modify critical habitat. Under the 
statutory provisions of the Act, we determine destruction or adverse 
modification on the basis of whether, with implementation of the 
proposed Federal action, the affected critical habitat would remain 
functional (or retain the current ability for the PCEs to be 
functionally established) to serve its intended conservation role for 
the species (Service 2004a, p. 3).
    Section 7(a)(4) of the Act requires Federal agencies to confer with 
us 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. Conference reports provide 
conservation recommendations to assist the agency in eliminating 
conflicts that may be caused by the proposed action. We may issue a 
formal conference report if requested by a Federal agency. Formal 
conference reports on proposed critical habitat contain an opinion that 
is prepared according to 50 CFR 402.14, as if critical habitat were 
designated. We may adopt the formal conference report as the biological 
opinion when the critical habitat is designated, if no substantial new 
information or changes in the action alter the content of the opinion 
(see 50 CFR 402.10(d)). The conservation recommendations in a 
conference report or opinion are advisory.
    If a species is listed or critical habitat is designated, section 
7(a)(2) of the Act 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 (action agency) 
must enter into consultation with us in most cases. As a result of this 
consultation, we document compliance with the requirements of section 
7(a)(2) through our issuance of:
    (1) A concurrence letter for Federal actions that may affect, but 
are not likely to adversely affect, listed species or designated 
critical habitat; or
    (2) A biological opinion for Federal actions that are likely to 
adversely affect listed species or designated critical habitat.
    An exception to the concurrence process referred to in (1) above 
occurs in consultations involving National Fire Plan projects. In 2004, 
the U.S. Forest Service and the BLM reached agreements with the Service 
to streamline a portion of the section 7 consultation process (BLM-ACA 
2004, pp. 1-8; FS-ACA 2004, pp. 1-8). The agreements allow the U.S. 
Forest Service and the BLM the opportunity to make ``not likely to 
adversely affect'' (NLAA) determinations for projects implementing the 
National Fire Plan.

[[Page 27609]]

Such projects include prescribed fire, mechanical fuels treatments 
(thinning and removal of fuels to prescribed objectives), emergency 
stabilization, burned area rehabilitation, road maintenance and 
operation activities, ecosystem restoration, and culvert replacement 
actions. The U.S. Forest Service and the BLM must ensure staff are 
properly trained, and both agencies must submit monitoring reports to 
the Service to determine if the procedures are being implemented 
properly and that effects on endangered species and their habitats are 
being properly evaluated. As a result, we do not believe the 
alternative consultation processes being implemented as a result of the 
National Fire Plan will differ significantly from those consultations 
being conducted by the Service.
    If we issue a biological opinion concluding that a project is 
likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species or 
destroy or adversely modify critical habitat, we also provide 
reasonable and prudent alternatives to the project, if any are 
identifiable. We define ``Reasonable and prudent alternatives'' at 50 
CFR 402.02 as alternative actions identified during consultation that:
     Can be implemented in a manner consistent with the 
intended purpose of the action,
     Can be implemented consistent with the scope of the 
Federal agency's legal authority and jurisdiction,
     Are economically and technologically feasible, and
     Would, in the Director's opinion, avoid jeopardizing the 
continued existence of the listed species or destroying or adversely 
modifying its critical habitat.
    Reasonable and prudent alternatives can vary from slight project 
modifications to extensive redesign or relocation of the project. Costs 
associated with implementing a reasonable and prudent alternative are 
similarly variable.
    When we issue a biological opinion concluding that a project is not 
likely to jeopardize a listed species or adversely modify its critical 
habitat but may result in incidental take of listed animals, we provide 
an incidental take statement that specifies the impact of such 
incidental taking on the species. We then define ``Reasonable and 
Prudent Measures'' considered necessary or appropriate to minimize the 
impact of such taking. Reasonable and prudent measures are binding 
measures the action agency must implement to receive an exemption to 
the prohibition against take contained in section 9 of the Act. These 
reasonable and prudent measures are implemented through specific 
``Terms and Conditions'' that must be followed by the action agency or 
passed along by the action agency as binding conditions to an 
applicant. Reasonable and prudent measures, along with the terms and 
conditions that implement them, cannot alter the basic design, 
location, scope, duration, or timing of the action under consultation 
and may involve only minor changes (50 CFR 402.14). The Service may 
provide the action agency with additional conservation recommendations, 
which are advisory and not intended to carry binding legal force.
    Regulations at 50 CFR 402.16 require Federal agencies to reinitiate 
consultation on previously reviewed actions in instances where we have 
listed a new species or subsequently designated critical habitat that 
may be affected and the Federal agency has retained discretionary 
involvement or control over the action (or the agency's discretionary 
involvement or control is authorized by law). Consequently, Federal 
agencies may sometimes need to request reinitiation of consultation 
with us on actions for which formal consultation has been completed, if 
those actions with discretionary involvement or control may affect 
subsequently listed species or designated critical habitat.
    Federal activities that may affect Navarretia fossalis or its 
designated critical habitat will require section 7 consultation under 
the Act. Activities on State, Tribal, local, or private lands requiring 
a Federal permit (such as a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of 
Engineers under section 404 of the Clean Water Act or a permit under 
section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act from the Service) or involving some 
other Federal action (such as funding from the Federal Highway 
Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, or the Federal 
Emergency Management Agency) will also be subject to the section 7 
consultation process. Federal actions not affecting listed species or 
critical habitat, and actions on State, Tribal, local, or private lands 
that are not Federally funded, authorized, or permitted, do not require 
section 7 consultations.

Application of the ``Adverse Modification'' Standard

    The key factor related to the adverse modification determination is 
whether, with implementation of the proposed Federal action, the 
affected critical habitat would continue to serve its intended 
conservation role for the species, or would retain its current ability 
for the primary constituent elements to be functionally established. 
Activities that may destroy or adversely modify critical habitat are 
those that alter the physical and biological features to an extent that 
appreciably reduces the conservation value of critical habitat for 
Navarretia fossalis. Generally, the conservation role of the N. 
fossalis proposed revised critical habitat units is to support viable 
occurrences in core habitat areas and satellite habitat areas.
    Section 4(b)(8) of the Act requires us to briefly evaluate and 
describe in any proposed or final regulation that designates critical 
habitat those activities involving a Federal action that may destroy or 
adversely modify such habitat, or that may be affected by such 
designation.
    Activities that, when carried out, funded, or authorized by a 
Federal agency, may adversely affect critical habitat and therefore 
should result in consultation for Navarretia fossalis include, but are 
not limited to, the following:
    (1) Actions that would impact the ability of an ephemeral wetland 
to continue to provide habitat for Navarretia fossalis and other native 
species that require this specialized habitat type. Such activities 
could include, but are not limited to, water impoundment, stream 
channelization, water diversion, water withdrawal, and development 
activities. These activities could alter the biological and physical 
features that provide the appropriate habitat for N. fossalis by 
eliminating ponding habitat, changing the duration and frequency of the 
ponding events that this species relies on, making the habitat too wet 
and allowing for obligate wetland species to become established, making 
the habitat too dry and allowing upland species to become established, 
causing large amounts of sediment to be deposited in N. fossalis 
habitat, or causing increased erosion and incising of waterways.
    (2) Actions that would impact the soil and topography that cause 
water to pond during the winter and spring months. Such activities 
could include, but are not limited to, deep ripping of soils, 
trenching, soil compaction, and development activities. These 
activities could alter the biological and physical features that 
provide the appropriate habitat for N. fossalis by eliminating ponding 
habitat, impacting the impervious nature of the soil layer, or making 
the soil so impervious that water pools for an extended, detrimental 
hydroperiod (as described in the PCEs).

[[Page 27610]]

Exemptions Under Section 4(a)(3) of the Act

    The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 (Pub. 
L. 108-136) amended the Act to limit areas eligible for designation as 
critical habitat. Specifically, section 4(a)(3)(B)(i) of the Act (16 
U.S.C. 1533(a)(3)(B)(i)) now provides: ``The Secretary shall not 
designate as critical habitat any lands or other geographical areas 
owned or controlled by the Department of Defense, or designated for its 
use, that are subject to an integrated natural resources management 
plan prepared under section 670a of this title, if the Secretary 
determines in writing that such plan provides a benefit to the species 
for which critical habitat is proposed for designation.''
    The Sikes Act Improvement Act of 1997 required each military 
installation that includes land and water suitable for the conservation 
and management of natural resources to complete an INRMP by November 
17, 2001. An INRMP integrates implementation of the military mission of 
the installation with stewardship of the natural resources found on the 
base. Each INRMP includes:
    (1) An assessment of the ecological needs on the installation, 
including the need to provide for the conservation of listed species;
    (2) A statement of goals and priorities;
    (3) A detailed description of management actions to be implemented 
to provide for these ecological needs; and
    (4) A monitoring and adaptive management plan.
    Among other things, each INRMP must, to the extent appropriate and 
applicable, provide for fish and wildlife management; fish and wildlife 
habitat enhancement or modification; wetland protection, enhancement, 
and restoration where necessary to support fish and wildlife; and 
enforcement of applicable natural resource laws.
    We consult with the military on the development and implementation 
of INRMPs for installations with federally listed species. Any INRMPs 
developed by military installations located within the range of 
Navarretia fossalis and which contain those features essential to the 
species' conservation were analyzed for exemption under the authority 
of section 4(a)(3)(B) of the Act.
    Both Marine Corps Base (MCB) Camp Pendleton and Marine Corps Air 
Station (MCAS) Miramar have approved INRMPs that address Navarretia 
fossalis, and the Marine Corps (on both installations) has committed to 
work closely with us, California Department of Fish and Game, and 
California Department of Parks and Recreation to continually refine the 
existing INRMPs as part of the Sikes Act's INRMP review process. In 
accordance with section 4(a)(3)(B)(i) of the Act, we determined that 
conservation efforts identified in the INRMPs will provide a benefit to 
N. fossalis occurring in habitats within or adjacent to MCB Camp 
Pendleton and MCAS Miramar (see the following sections that detail this 
determination for each installation). Therefore, 214 ac (87 ha) of 
habitat on MCB Camp Pendleton and MCAS Miramar are exempt from revised 
critical habitat for N. fossalis under section 4(a)(3) of the Act.

Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton (MCB Camp Pendleton)

    In the previous final critical habitat designation for Navarretia 
fossalis, we exempted MCB Camp Pendleton from the designation of 
critical habitat (October 18, 2005, 70 FR 60658). We based this 
decision on the conservation benefits to N. fossalis identified in the 
INRMP developed by MCB Camp Pendleton in November 2001. A revised and 
updated INRMP was prepared by MCB Camp Pendleton in March 2007 (Marine 
Corp Base Camp Pendleton 2007). We determined that conservation efforts 
identified in the INRMP provide a benefit to the occurrences of N. 
fossalis and vernal pool habitat occurring on MCB Camp Pendleton 
(Marine Corp Base Camp Pendleton 2007, Section 4, pp. 51-76). This 
conservation includes the 145 ac (59 ha) of habitat that we believe to 
be essential for the conservation of N. fossalis on Stuart Mesa and 
near the Wire Mountain Housing Complex. Therefore, lands containing 
features essential to the conservation of N. fossalis on this 
installation are exempt from revised critical habitat for N. fossalis 
under section 4(a)(3) of the Act.
    The INRMP for MCB Camp Pendleton benefits Navarretia fossalis 
through ongoing efforts to survey and monitor the species, and by 
providing this information to all necessary personnel through MCB Camp 
Pendleton's GIS database on sensitive resources and in their published 
resource atlas. The INRMP also benefits N. fossalis by implementing the 
following base directives to avoid and minimize adverse effects to the 
species: (1) Keeping bivouac/command post/field support activities at 
least 984 ft (300 m) from N. fossalis habitat year-round; (2) keeping 
vehicle/equipment on existing roads (however, foot traffic is 
authorized year-round); and (3) prohibiting digging (including 
construction of fighting positions) in N. fossalis habitat (Marine Corp 
Base Camp Pendleton 2007, Appendix F, p. 54). Additionally, MCB Camp 
Pendleton's environmental security staff reviews projects and enforces 
existing regulations and orders that, through their implementation, 
avoid and minimize impacts to natural resources, including N. fossalis 
and its habitat. As a result, activities occurring on MCB Camp 
Pendleton are currently being conducted in a manner that benefits N. 
fossalis. Finally, MCB Camp Pendleton provides training to personnel on 
environmental awareness for sensitive resources on the base, including 
N. fossalis and vernal pool habitat. We are currently consulting with 
the Marine Corps under section 7 of the Act to programmatically address 
potential impacts of military training and other activities on MCB Camp 
Pendleton. Upon completion of this consultation, we anticipate 
additional measures that benefit N. fossalis to be incorporated into 
the INRMP for MCB Camp Pendleton.

Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (MCAS Miramar)

    In the previous final critical habitat designation for Navarretia 
fossalis, we exempted MCAS Miramar from the designation of critical 
habitat (October 18, 2005, 70 FR 60658). We based this decision on the 
conservation benefits to N. fossalis identified in the INRMP developed 
by MCAS Miramar in May 2000. A revised and updated INRMP was prepared 
by MCAS Miramar in October 2006 (Gene Stout and Associates et al. 
2006). We determined that conservation efforts identified in the INRMP 
provide a benefit to the occurrences of N. fossalis and vernal pool 
habitat occurring on MCAS Miramar (Gene Stout and Associates et al. 
2006, Section 7, pp. 17-23). This conservation includes the 69 ac (28 
ha) of habitat that we have determined contains the features essential 
for the conservation of N. fossalis in the western portion of MCAS 
Miramar. Therefore, lands containing features essential to the 
conservation of N. fossalis on this installation are exempt from 
revised critical habitat for N. fossalis under section 4(a)(3) of the 
Act.
    The INRMP for MCAS Miramar benefits Navarretia fossalis through 
ongoing efforts to avoid and minimize impacts to the species and vernal 
pool habitat. The INRMP classifies all N. fossalis habitat and nearly 
all other vernal pool basins and watersheds on MCAS Miramar as a Level 
I Management Area (Gene Stout and Associates et al. 2006, Section 5, 
Table 1). Under the INRMP, Level I

[[Page 27611]]

Management Areas receive the highest conservation priority of the 
various Management Areas on MCAS Miramar. The conservation of vernal 
pool basins and watersheds in the Level I Management Areas is achieved 
through: (1) Education of base personnel; (2) implementation of 
proactive measures that help avoid accidental impacts (e.g., signs and 
fencing); (3) development of procedures to respond to and restore 
accidental impacts on vernal pools; and (4) maintenance of an inventory 
of vernal pool basins and the associated watersheds on MCAS Miramar 
(Gene Stout and Associates et al. 2006, Section 7, pp. 17-23). 
Additionally, the MCAS Miramar's environmental security staff reviews 
projects and enforces existing regulations and orders that, through 
their implementation, avoid and minimize impacts to natural resources, 
including N. fossalis and its habitat. Activities occurring on MCAS 
Miramar are currently being conducted in a manner that benefits N. 
fossalis and prevents degradation or destruction of the species' vernal 
pool habitat.

Proposed Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act

    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act states that the Secretary must designate 
and revise critical habitat on the basis of the best available 
scientific data after taking into consideration the economic impact, 
national security impact, and any other relevant impact of specifying 
any particular area as critical habitat. The Secretary may exclude an 
area from critical habitat if he determines that the benefits of such 
exclusion outweigh the benefits of specifying such area as part of the 
critical habitat, unless he determines, based on the best scientific 
data available, that the failure to designate such area as critical 
habitat will result in the extinction of the species. In making that 
determination, the legislative history is clear that the Secretary has 
broad discretion regarding which factor(s) to use and how much weight 
to give to any factor.
    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we may exclude an area from 
designated critical habitat based on economic impacts, impacts on 
national security, or any other relevant impacts. In considering 
whether to exclude a particular area from the designation, we must 
identify the benefits of including the area in the designation, 
identify the benefits of excluding the area from the designation, and 
determine whether the benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of 
inclusion. If based on this analysis, we make this determination, then 
we can exclude the area only if such exclusion would not result in the 
extinction of the species.
    When considering the benefits of inclusion for an area, we consider 
the additional regulatory benefits that area would receive from the 
protection from adverse modification or destruction as a result of 
actions with a Federal nexus; the educational benefits of mapping 
essential habitat for recovery of the listed species; and any benefits 
that may result from a designation due to State or Federal laws that 
may apply to critical habitat.
    When considering the benefits of exclusion, we consider, among 
other things, whether exclusion of a specific area is likely to result 
in conservation; the continuation, strengthening, or encouragement of 
partnerships; and/or implementation of a management plan that provides 
equal to or more conservation than a critical habitat designation would 
provide.
    In the case of N. fossalis, the benefits of critical habitat 
include public awareness of N. fossalis presence and the importance of 
habitat protection, and in cases where a Federal nexus exists, 
increased habitat protection for N. fossalis due to the protection from 
adverse modification or destruction of critical habitat. In practice, a 
Federal nexus exists primarily on Federal lands or for projects 
undertaken or requiring authorization by a Federal agency.
    When we evaluate the existence of a conservation plan when 
considering the benefits of exclusion, we consider a variety of factors 
including, but not limited to, whether the plan is finalized; how it 
provides for the conservation of the essential physical and biological 
features; whether there is a reasonable expectation that the 
conservation management strategies and actions contained in a 
management plan will be implemented into the future; whether the 
conservation strategies in the plan are likely to be effective; and 
whether the plan contains a monitoring program or adaptive management 
to ensure that the conservation measures are effective and can be 
adapted in the future in response to new information.
    After evaluating the benefits of inclusion and the benefits of 
exclusion, we carefully weigh the two sides to determine whether the 
benefits of exclusion outweigh those of inclusion. If we determine that 
they do, we then determine whether exclusion would result in 
extinction. If exclusion of an area from critical habitat will result 
in extinction, we will not exclude it from the designation.

Conservation Partnerships on Non-Federal Lands

    Most Federally listed species in the United States will not recover 
without cooperation of non-Federal landowners. More than 60 percent of 
the United States is privately owned (National Wilderness Institute 
1995), and at least 80 percent of endangered or threatened species 
occur either partially or solely on private lands (Crouse et al. 2002, 
p. 720). Stein et al. (1995, p. 400) found that only about 12 percent 
of listed species were found almost exclusively on Federal lands (90 to 
100 percent of their known occurrences restricted to Federal lands) and 
that 50 percent of Federally listed species are not known to occur on 
Federal lands at all.
    Given the distribution of listed species with respect to land 
ownership, conservation of listed species in many parts of the United 
States is dependent upon working partnerships with a wide variety of 
entities and the voluntary cooperation of many non-Federal landowners 
(Wilcove and Chen 1998, p. 1407; Crouse et al. 2002, p. 720; James 
2002, p. 271). Building partnerships and promoting voluntary 
cooperation of landowners are essential to understanding the status of 
species on non-Federal lands, and are necessary to implement recovery 
actions such as reintroducing listed species, habitat restoration, and 
habitat protection.
    Many non-Federal landowners derive satisfaction from contributing 
to endangered species recovery. We promote these private-sector efforts 
through the Department of the Interior's Cooperative Conservation 
philosophy. Conservation agreements with non-Federal landowners (safe 
harbor agreements, other conservation agreements, easements, and State 
and local regulations) enhance species conservation by extending 
species protections beyond those available through section 7 
consultations. In the past decade, we encouraged non-Federal landowners 
to enter into conservation agreements, based on a view that we can 
achieve greater species conservation on non-Federal land through such 
partnerships than we can through regulatory methods (December 2, 1996, 
61 FR 63854).
    As discussed above, consultation under section 7(a)(2), and the 
duty to avoid jeopardy to a listed species and adverse modification of 
designated critical habitat, is only triggered where Federal agency 
action involved. In the absence of Federal agency action, the primary 
regulatory restriction applicable to non-Federal landowners is the 
prohibition against take of listed animal

[[Page 27612]]

species under section 9 of the Act. In order to take listed animal 
species where no independent Federal action is involved that would 
trigger section 7 consultation, a private landowner must obtain an 
incidental take permit under section 10 of the Act. However, because 
take of listed plants is not prohibited under the Act, section 10 
permits are not required for listed plant species. As a consequence, 
the Department's Cooperative Conservation approach is particularly 
suited to the conservation of listed plant species. By entering into 
voluntary conservation agreements and management plans with non-Federal 
landowners to protect listed plant species on non-Federal lands and by 
encouraging non-Federal landowners to voluntarily include measures to 
conserve listed plants in HCPs developed for animal species under 
section 10 of the Act, we can extend essential protection to listed 
plants beyond those available under the regulatory provisions of the 
Act.
    Many private landowners, however, are wary of the possible 
consequences of encouraging endangered species to their property. 
Mounting evidence suggests that some regulatory actions by the Federal 
Government, while well-intentioned and required by law, can (under 
certain circumstances) have unintended negative consequences for the 
conservation of species on private lands (Wilcove et al. 1996, pp. 5-6; 
Bean 2002, pp. 2-3; Conner and Mathews 2002, pp. 1-2; James 2002, pp. 
270-271; Koch 2002, pp. 2-3; Brook et al. 2003, pp. 1639-1643). Many 
landowners fear a decline in their property value due to real or 
perceived restrictions on land-use options where threatened or 
endangered species are found. Consequently, harboring endangered 
species is viewed by many landowners as a liability. This perception 
results in anti-conservation incentives because maintaining habitats 
that harbor endangered species represents a risk to future economic 
opportunities (Main et al. 1999, pp. 1264-1265; Brook et al. 2003, pp. 
1644-1648).
    According to some researchers, the designation of critical habitat 
on private lands significantly reduces the likelihood that landowners 
will support and carry out conservation actions (Main et al. 1999, p. 
1263; Bean 2002, p. 2; Brook et al. 2003, pp. 1644-1648). The magnitude 
of this negative outcome is greatly amplified in situations where 
active management measures (such as reintroduction, fire management, 
and control of invasive species) are necessary for species conservation 
(Bean 2002, pp. 3-4). We believe that the judicious exclusion of 
specific areas of non-federally owned lands from critical habitat 
designations can contribute to species recovery and provide a superior 
level of conservation than critical habitat alone.
    The purpose of designating critical habitat is to contribute to the 
conservation of threatened and endangered species and the ecosystems 
upon which they depend. The outcome of the designation, triggering 
regulatory requirements for actions funded, authorized, or carried out 
by Federal agencies under section 7(a)(2) of the Act, can sometimes be 
counterproductive to its intended purpose on non-Federal lands. Thus 
the benefits of excluding areas that are covered by partnerships or 
voluntary conservation efforts can often be high, particularly for 
listed plant species.

Benefits of Excluding Lands With HCPs

    The benefits of excluding lands with approved HCPs from critical 
habitat designation, such as HCPs that cover listed plant species, 
include relieving landowners, communities, and counties of any 
additional regulatory burden that might be imposed as a result of the 
critical habitat designation. Many HCPs take years to develop, and upon 
completion, are consistent with the recovery objectives for listed 
species that are covered within the plan area. Many conservation plans 
also provide conservation benefits to unlisted sensitive species.
    A related benefit of excluding lands covered by approved HCPs from 
critical habitat designation is the unhindered, continued ability it 
gives us to seek new partnerships with future plan participants, 
including States, counties, local jurisdictions, conservation 
organizations, and private landowners, which together can implement 
conservation actions that we would be unable to accomplish otherwise. 
Habitat Conservation Plans often cover a wide range of species, 
including listed plant species and species that are not State and 
federally listed and would otherwise receive little protection from 
development. By excluding these lands, we preserve our current 
partnerships and encourage additional conservation actions in the 
future.
    We also note that permit issuance in association with HCP 
applications requires consultation under section 7(a)(2) of the Act, 
which would include the review of the effects of all HCP-covered 
activities that might adversely impact the species under a jeopardy 
standard, including possibly significant habitat modification (see 
definition of ``harm'' at 50 CFR 17.3), even without the critical 
habitat designation. In addition, all other Federal actions that may 
affect the listed species would still require consultation under 
section 7(a)(2) of the Act, and we would review these actions for 
possibly significant habitat modification in accordance with the 
definition of harm referenced above.
    The information provided in the previous section applies to the 
following discussions of proposed exclusions under section (4)(b)(2). 
Navarretia fossalis is covered under the City of Carlsbad Habitat 
Management Plan (HMP) under the MHCP, the County of San Diego Subarea 
Plan under the MSCP, and the Western Riverside County MSHCP. We are 
considering the exclusion of lands covered by these plans. We are also 
asking for public comment on the possible exclusion of essential 
habitat within the City of Chula Vista Subarea plan. The Chula Vista 
Subarea Plan does not specifically address the conservation of N. 
fossalis (see Table 4 for a list of the subunits that we are 
considering for exclusion). Portions of the proposed critical habitat 
subunits may warrant exclusion from the proposed designation of 
critical habitat under section 4(b)(2) of the Act based on the 
partnerships, management, and protection afforded under these approved 
and legally operative Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs). In this 
revised proposed rule, we are seeking input from the stakeholders in 
these HCPs and the public as to whether or not we should exclude these 
areas from the final revised critical habitat designation. Below is a 
brief description of each plan and the lands proposed as critical 
habitat that are covered by each plan.


[[Page 27613]]



  Table 4--Areas Being Considered for Exclusion From the Final Revised
            Critical Habitat Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              Submit                    Area considered for exclusion
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  Carlsbad HMP under the San Diego MHCP
------------------------------------------------------------------------
2. Poinsettia Lane Commuter         3 ac (1 ha).
 Station.
                                   -------------------------------------
    Subtotal Carlsbad HMP under     3 ac (1 ha).
     the San Diego MHCP.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
        County of San Diego subarea plan under the San Diego MSCP
------------------------------------------------------------------------
3A. Sante Fe Valley: Crosby         5 ac (2 ha).
 Estates.
5B. Otay River Valley.............  13 ac (5 ha).
5F. Proctor Valley................  37 ac (15 ha).
5I. Eastern Otay Mesa vernal pool   30 ac (13 ha).
 complexes.
                                   -------------------------------------
    Subtotal County of San Diego    86 ac (35 ha).
     subarea plan under the San
     Diego MSCP.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     Western Riverside County MSHCP
------------------------------------------------------------------------
6A. San Jacinto River.............  3,550 ac (1,437 ha).
6B. Salt Creek Seasonally Flooded   1,054 ac (427 ha).
 Alkali Plain.
6C. Wickerd Road Pool and Scott     205 ac (83 ha).
 Road Pool.
6D. Skunk Hollow..................  158 ac (64 ha).
6E. Mesa de Burro.................  708 ac (287 ha).
                                   -------------------------------------
    Subtotal for Western Riverside  5,675 ac (2,297 ha).
     County MSHCP.
                                   =====================================
        Total.....................  5,725 ac (2,317 ha).*
------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Values in this table may not sum due to rounding.

San Diego Multiple Habitat Conservation Program (MHCP)--Carlsbad HMP

    The San Diego MHCP is a comprehensive, multi-jurisdictional, 
planning program designed to create, manage, and monitor an ecosystem 
preserve in northwestern San Diego County. The San Diego MHCP is also a 
regional subarea plan under the State of California's Natural 
Communities Conservation Plan (NCCP) program and was developed in 
cooperation with California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG). The 
MHCP preserve system is intended to protect viable occurrences of 
native plant and animal species and their habitats in perpetuity, while 
accommodating continued economic development and quality of life for 
residents of northern San Diego County. The MHCP includes an 
approximately 112,000-ac (45,324-ha) study area within the cities of 
Carlsbad, Encinitas, Escondido, San Marcos, Oceanside, Vista, and 
Solana Beach. At this time, only the City of Carlsbad has completed its 
Subarea Plan, which is called the Carlsbad Habitat Management Plan 
(Carlsbad HMP). We are only considering lands covered by the Carlsbad 
HMP for exclusion. The section 10(a)(1)(B) permit for the City of 
Carlsbad HMP was issued on November 9, 2004 (Service 2004c).
    Navarretia fossalis is a conditionally covered species under the 
Carlsbad HMP. ``Conditional'' coverage means that the City of Carlsbad 
will receive assurances for this species after a series of conditions 
is met for this species. There is currently one area within the City of 
Carlsbad that helps to support an occurrence of N. fossalis. This 
occurrence is on land that is conserved and some management is 
currently occurring under the Carlsbad HMP. Any new occurrences of N. 
fossalis that are discovered will be conserved under the Narrow 
Endemics Policy that provides special protection to rare species such 
as N. fossalis. Under the Narrow Endemics Policy of the MHCP, any new 
occurrences found within Focused Planning Areas (FPA) (i.e., core areas 
and linkages important for conservation of sensitive species) will be 
conserved at levels of 95 to 100 percent. New occurrences found outside 
of FPAs will be conserved at a minimum level of 80 percent based on the 
Narrow Endemics Policy. The Narrow Endemics Policy requires the 
conservation of new occurrences of narrow endemic species (80 percent 
outside of FPAs), mitigation for unavoidable impacts, and 
implementation of management practices designed to achieve no net loss 
of these narrow endemic species. Additionally, cities cannot permit 
more than 5 percent gross cumulative loss of narrow endemic species or 
occupied area within the FPAs and no more than 20 percent cumulative 
loss of narrow endemic locations, population numbers, or occupied 
acreage outside of FPAs (AMEC Earth and Environmental, Inc. 2003).
    The Carlsbad HMP currently provides conservation for the Navarretia 
fossalis habitat at the Poinsettia Lane Commuter Station within Unit 2, 
which is within the boundaries of the Carlsbad HMP. Unit 2 consists of 
9 ac (4 ha); 3 ac (1 ha) is private land within the Carlsbad HMP and 6 
ac (2 ha) is on land owned by the North County Transit District that is 
not part of the Carlsbad HMP. The conservation for the 3 ac (1 ha) of 
habitat within the Carlsbad HMP is outlined in the biological opinion 
for the Carlsbad HMP (Service 2004c, pp. 312-16). The land is conserved 
with conservation easements, and funds have been designated for the 
management of this area to benefit vernal pool species, including N. 
fossalis (Service 2004c, p. 314).
    Since the issuance of the permit for the Carlsbad HMP the 3 ac (1 
ha) of land that we are considering for exclusion has been restored 
with native vegetation. This 3-acre (1 ah) area is conserved and 
management actions have taken place. Carlsbad HMP also provides the 
framework to develop a

[[Page 27614]]

comprehensive management plan that outlines measures necessary for the 
long-term conservation of Navarretia fossalis and has funding to 
implement a management plan. We anticipate working with the City of 
Carlsbad to draft a management plan that will provide for the long-term 
conservation of this area.

San Diego Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP)--County of San 
Diego's Subarea Plan

    The MSCP is a subregional HCP made up of several subarea plans that 
has been in place for more than a decade. The subregional plan area 
encompasses approximately 582,243 ac (235,626 ha) (County of San Diego 
1997, p. 1-1; MSCP 1998, pp. 2-1, and 4-2 to 4-4) and provides for 
conservation of 85 federally listed and sensitive species (``covered 
species'') through the establishment and management of approximately 
171,920 ac (69,574 ha) of preserve lands within the Multi-Habitat 
Planning Area (MHPA) (City of San Diego) and Pre-Approved Mitigation 
Areas (PAMA) (County of San Diego). The MSCP was developed in support 
of applications for incidental take permits for several federally 
listed species by 12 participating jurisdictions and many other 
stakeholders in southwestern San Diego County. Under the umbrella of 
the MSCP, each of the 12 participating jurisdictions is required to 
prepare a subarea plan that implements the goals of the MSCP within 
that particular jurisdiction. Navarretia fossalis was evaluated in the 
County of San Diego and the City of San Diego Subarea Plans. As 
discussed under the ``Benefits of Excluding Lands with HCPs'' section 
of this rule, we are only considering exclusion of lands within the 
County of San Diego Subarea Plan. Specifically, we are considering the 
exclusion of 134 ac (54 ha) in Subunits 3A, 5B, 5F, and 5I; we are only 
considering a portion of the lands in Subunits 5B, 5F, and 5I (see 
Table 4 for the amount of land being considered for exclusion in each 
subunit).
    Upon completion of preserve assembly, approximately 171,920 ac 
(69,574 ha) of the 582,243-ac (235,626-ha) MSCP plan area will be 
preserved (MSCP 1998, pp. 2-1 and 4-2 to 4-4). San Diego County's 
subarea plan identifies areas where mitigation activities should be 
focused to assemble its preserve areas (i.e., PAMA). Those areas of the 
MSCP preserve that are already conserved, as well as those areas that 
are designated for inclusion in the preserve under the plan, are 
referred to as the ``preserve area'' in this proposed revised critical 
habitat designation. When the preserve is completed, the public sector 
(i.e., Federal, State, and local government, and general public) will 
have contributed 108,750 ac (44,010 ha) (63.3 percent) to the preserve, 
of which 81,750 ac (33,083 ha) (48 percent) was existing public land 
when the MSCP was established and 27,000 ac (10,927 ha) (16 percent) 
will have been acquired. At completion, the private sector will have 
contributed 63,170 ac (25,564 ha) (37 percent) to the preserve as part 
of the development process, either through avoidance of impacts or as 
compensatory mitigation for impacts to biological resources outside the 
preserve. Currently and in the future, Federal and State governments, 
local jurisdictions and special districts, and managers of privately 
owned lands will manage and monitor their lands in the preserve for 
species and habitat protection (MSCP 1998, pp. 2-1 and 4-2 to 4-4).
    Private lands within the PAMA are subject to special restrictions 
on development, and lands that are dedicated to the preserve must be 
legally protected and permanently managed to conserve the covered 
species. Public lands owned by the County, State of California, and the 
Federal Government that are identified for conservation under the MSCP 
must also be protected and permanently managed to protect the covered 
species.
    Numerous processes are incorporated into the MSCP that allow our 
oversight of the MSCP implementation. For example, the MSCP imposes 
annual reporting requirements and provides for our review and approval 
of proposed subarea plan amendments and preserve boundary adjustments 
and for Service review and comment on projects during the California 
Environmental Quality Act review process. We also chair the MSCP 
Habitat Management Technical Committee and the Monitoring Subcommittee 
(MSCP 1998, pp. 5-11 to 5-23). Each MSCP subarea plan must account 
annually for the progress it is making in assembling conservation 
areas. We must receive annual reports that include, both cumulatively 
and by project, the habitat acreage destroyed and conserved within the 
subareas. This accounting process ensures that habitat conservation 
proceeds in rough proportion to habitat loss and in compliance with the 
MSCP subarea plans and the plans' associated implementing agreements.
    To protect vernal pool habitat, the County of San Diego subarea 
plan requires that: (1) Development be configured in a manner that 
minimizes impacts to sensitive biological resources (Service 1997, p. 
10; Service 1998b, p. 7); (2) unavoidable impacts to vernal pools 
associated with reasonable use or essential public facilities be 
minimized and mitigated to achieve no net loss of function and value; 
and (3) a sufficient amount of watershed be avoided as necessary for 
the continuing viability of vernal pools (Service 1997, pp. 43-44; 
Service 1998b, p. 67).
    At this time, a portion of lands that meet the definition of 
critical habitat for Navarretia fossalis inside the County's subarea 
plan under the MSCP have already been conserved. Although some areas 
placed in conservation are not yet fully managed, such management will 
occur over time as the subarea plan is implemented. There are also 
lands inside the PAMA, that, although they have not yet been formally 
committed to the preserve, are reasonably assured of conservation for 
N. fossalis in accordance with the subarea plan. There are also lands 
in Subunits 5B and 5I that are not currently covered by the County of 
San Diego's Subarea Plan because they are in major and minor amendment 
areas. There is an established process through which these areas can be 
covered by the plan, but presently these areas have not gone through 
this process.
    Additionally, projects that are on lands that meet the definition 
of critical habitat, but are outside the PAMA (preserve areas) must 
meet the narrow endemic requirements under the MSCP. Consistent with 
the narrow endemics requirements of the MSCP, the lands outside the 
PAMA boundaries will be surveyed for Navarretia fossalis prior to any 
development occurring on these lands. Under the County of San Diego's 
subarea plan, narrow endemic plants, including N. fossalis, are 
conserved under the Biological Mitigation Ordinance using a process 
that: (1) Requires avoidance to the maximum extent feasible; (2) allows 
for a maximum 20 percent encroachment into a population if total 
avoidance is not feasible; and (3) requires mitigation at the 1:1 to 
3:1 (in kind) for impacts if avoidance and minimization of impacts 
would result in no reasonable use of the property (County of San Diego 
(BMO) 1997, p. 11; Service 1998b, p. 12). These measures help protect 
N. fossalis and its essential habitat whether the lands are located in 
the PAMA or not. The narrow endemic policy for the County of San Diego 
subarea plan requires in situ conservation of N. fossalis or mitigation 
to ameliorate any habitat loss. Therefore, although some losses may 
occur to this species within the lands that are not within the PAMA, 
the preservation, conservation, and management of N. fossalis provided 
by

[[Page 27615]]

the County of San Diego subarea plan under the MSCP promotes the long-
term conservation of this species and its essential habitat within the 
lands covered by the subarea plan.
    In summary, we are considering the exclusion of 86 ac (35 ha) that 
meet the definition of critical habitat for Navarretia fossalis within 
the County of San Diego's subarea plans under section 4(b)(2) of the 
Act. There are an additional 23 ac (9 ha) of Federal land at the San 
Diego National Wildlife Refuge included in Subunit 5A that are within 
the County of San Diego's subarea plan that meet the definition of 
critical habitat, but because these lands are federally owned we are 
not considering them for exclusion. The 1998 final listing rule for N. 
fossalis identified the following primary threats for this species: 
Habitat destruction and fragmentation from urban and agricultural 
development, pipeline construction, road construction, alteration of 
hydrology and flood plain dynamics, excessive flooding, channelization, 
off-road vehicle activity, trampling by cattle and sheep, weed 
abatement, fire suppression practices (including discing and plowing), 
and competition from nonnative plants (October 13, 1998, 63 FR 54938). 
The implementation of the County of San Diego MSCP subarea plan helps 
to address these threats through a regional planning effort rather than 
through a project-by-project approach, and outlines species-specific 
objectives and criteria for the conservation of N. fossalis. We will 
analyze the benefits of inclusion and exclusion of this area from 
critical habitat under section 4(b)(2) of the Act. We request comments 
on lands in major and minor amendment areas (Subunits 5B and 5I) under 
the County of San Diego's subarea plan under the MSCP and we encourage 
any public comment in relation to our consideration of the areas 
discussed above for inclusion or exclusion.

Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan 
(Western Riverside County MSHCP)

    The Western Riverside County MSHCP is a large-scale, multi-
jurisdictional HCP encompassing about 1.26 million ac (510,000 ha) in 
western Riverside County (Unit 6). The Western Riverside County MSHCP 
addresses 146 listed and unlisted ``covered species,'' including 
Navarretia fossalis. Participants in the Western Riverside County MSHCP 
include 14 cities; the County of Riverside, including the Riverside 
County Flood Control and Water Conservation Agency (County Flood 
Control), Riverside County Transportation Commission, Riverside County 
Parks and Open Space District, and Riverside County Waste Department; 
California Department of Parks and Recreation; and the California 
Department of Transportation. The Western Riverside County MSHCP was 
designed to establish a multi-species conservation program that 
minimizes and mitigates the expected loss of habitat and the incidental 
take of covered species. On June 22, 2004, the Service issued a single 
incidental take permit (Service 2004b) under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the 
Act to 22 permittees under the Western Riverside County MSHCP for a 
period of 75 years.
    The Western Riverside County MSHCP will establish approximately 
153,000 ac (61,917 ha) of new conservation lands (Additional Reserve 
Lands) to complement the approximate 347,000 ac (140,426 ha) of pre-
existing natural and open space areas (Public/Quasi-Public (PQP) 
lands). These PQP lands include those under Federal ownership, 
primarily managed by the USFS and BLM, and also permittee-owned or 
controlled open-space areas, primarily managed by the State and 
Riverside County. Collectively, the Additional Reserve Lands and PQP 
lands form the overall Western Riverside County MSHCP Conservation 
Area. The configuration of the 153,000 ac (61,916 ha) of Additional 
Reserve Lands is not mapped or precisely identified (``hard-lined'') in 
the Western Riverside County MSHCP. Rather, it is based on textual 
descriptions of habitat conservation necessary to meet the conservation 
goals for all covered species within the bounds of the approximately 
310,000-ac (125,453-ha) Criteria Area and is interpreted as 
implementation of the Western Riverside County MSHCP takes place.
    Specific conservation objectives in the Western Riverside County 
MSHCP for Navarretia fossalis include providing 6,900 ac (2,792 ha) of 
occupied or suitable habitat for the species in the MSHCP Conservation 
Area. This acreage goal can be attained through acquisition or other 
dedications of land assembled from within the Criteria Area (i.e., the 
Additional Reserve Lands) or Narrow Endemic Plan Species Survey Area 
and through coordinated management of existing PQP lands. We internally 
mapped a ``Conceptual Reserve Design,'' which illustrates existing PQP 
lands and predicts the geographic distribution of the Additional 
Reserve Lands based on our interpretation of the textual descriptions 
of habitat conservation necessary to meet conservation goals. Our 
Conceptual Reserve Design was intended to predict one possible future 
configuration of the eventual approximately 153,000 ac (61,916 ha) of 
Additional Reserve Lands in conjunction with the existing PQP lands, 
including approximately 6,900 ac (2,792 ha) of ``suitable'' N. fossalis 
habitat, that will be conserved to meet the goals and objectives of the 
plan (Service 2004b, p. 73).
    Preservation and management of approximately 6,900 ac (2,792 ha) of 
Navarretia fossalis habitat under the Western Riverside County MSHCP 
will contribute to conservation and ultimate recovery of this species. 
Navarretia fossalis is threatened primarily by agricultural activities, 
development, and fuel modification actions within the plan area 
(Service 2004b, pp. 369-378). The Western Riverside County MSHCP will 
remove and reduce threats to this species and its PCEs as the plan is 
implemented by placing large blocks of occupied and unoccupied habitat 
into preservation throughout the Conservation Area. Areas identified 
for preservation and conservation include 13 of the known locations of 
the species at Skunk Hollow, the Santa Rosa Plateau, the San Jacinto 
Wildlife Area, floodplains of the San Jacinto River from the Ramona 
Expressway to Railroad Canyon, and upper Salt Creek west of Hemet. 
Areas targeted for conservation include the floodplains of the San 
Jacinto River, the area along Salt Creek from Warren Road to Newport 
Road, and the vernal pools in Upper Salt Creek west of Hemet.
    The Western Riverside County MSHCP Conservation Area will maintain 
floodplain processes along the San Jacinto River and along Salt Creek 
to provide for the distribution of the species to shift over time as 
hydrologic conditions and seed bank sources change. Additionally, the 
Western Riverside County MSHCP requires surveys for Navarretia fossalis 
as part of the project review process for public and private projects 
where suitable habitat is present within a defined narrow endemic 
species survey area (see Narrow Endemic Species Survey Area Map, Figure 
6-1 of the Western Riverside County MSHCP, Volume I, in Dudek and 
Associates, Inc. 2003). For locations with positive survey results, 90 
percent of those portions of the property that provide long-term 
conservation value for the species will be avoided until it is 
demonstrated that the conservation objectives for the species are met 
(see Protection of Narrow Endemic Plant Species; Western Riverside 
County MSHCP, Volume 1, section 6.1.3, in Dudek and Associates, Inc. 
2003).

[[Page 27616]]

    The survey requirements, the avoidance and minimization measures, 
and the management for Navarretia fossalis (and its PCEs) provided for 
in the Western Riverside County MSHCP are expected to benefit this 
species on public and private lands covered by the plan. We are 
considering the exclusion of approximately 5,675 ac (2,297 ha) of 
private lands and permittee-owned or controlled PQP lands in Unit 6 
(Subunits 6A-6E), within the Western Riverside County MSHCP Plan Area, 
from the final revised critical habitat designation under section 
4(b)(2) of the Act. Projects in the areas proposed as critical habitat 
conducted or approved by Western Riverside County MSHCP permittees are 
subject to the conservation requirements of the MSHCP. For projects 
that may impact N. fossalis, various policies (i.e., Narrow Endemic 
Plant Species Policy, and the Riparian/Riverine and Vernal Pool Policy 
in Dudek and Associates, Inc. 2003) provide additional conservation 
requirements.
    The Western Riverside County MSHCP incorporates several processes 
that allow for Service oversight and participation in program 
implementation. These processes include: (1) Consultation with the 
Service on a long-term management and monitoring plan; (2) submission 
of annual monitoring reports; (3) annual status meetings with the 
Service; and (4) submission of annual implementation reports to the 
Service (Service 2004b, pp. 9-10). Below we provide a brief analysis of 
the lands in Unit 6 that we are considering for exclusion and how each 
area is covered by the Western Riverside County MSHCP or other 
conservation measures.
    The Western Riverside County MSHCP has several measures in place to 
ensure the plan is implemented in a way that conserves Navarretia 
fossalis in accordance with the species-specific criteria and 
objectives for this species. Projects in the areas proposed as critical 
habitat conducted or approved by Western Riverside County MSHCP 
permittees are subject to the conservation requirements of the MSHCP. 
For projects that may impact N. fossalis, various policies (including 
the Narrow Endemic Plant Species Policy, and the Protection of Species 
Associated with Riparian/Riverine Areas and Vernal Pools Policy (in 
Dudek 2003) may provide additional conservation. We are proposing five 
subunits within Unit 6, all of which are within the boundaries of the 
Western Riverside County MSHCP. Each subunit has land in different 
mapping categories (some of which overlap) as they relate to different 
polices and review processes under the Western Riverside County MSHCP. 
The breakdown for each subunit, in terms of how much land is considered 
``Public/Quasi Public,'' within the ``Criteria Area,'' or in one of the 
``Narrow Endemic Plant Species Survey Areas,'' is presented in Table 5.

             Table 5--Areas Proposed for Critical Habitat Within the Western Riverside County MSHCP
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                           Lands within the
                                     Public/quasi      Lands within the     narrow endemic        Total area
            Location                 public lands        criteria area       plant species        proposed as
                                                                              survey area      critical habitat
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
6A. San Jacinto River...........  1,504 ac (608 ha).  2,264 ac (619 ha).  3,524 ac (1,426     3,550 ac (1,437
                                                                           ha).                ha).
6B. Salt Creek Seasonally         1 ac (<1 ha)......  1,030 ac (417 ha).  1,054 ac (427 ha).  1,054 ac (427 ha).
 Flooded Alkali Plain.
6C. Wickerd Pool and Scott Road   0 ac (0 ha).......  0 ac (0 ha).......  205 ac (83 ha)....  205 ac (83 ha).
 Pool.
6D. Skunk Hollow................  21 ac (8 ha)......  0 ac (0 ha).......  145 ac (59 ha)....  158 ac (64 ha).
6E. Mesa de Burro...............  708 ac (287 ha)...  0 ac (0 ha).......  708 ac (287 ha)...  708 ac (287 ha).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Two of the subunits, Subunit 6D (Skunk Hollow) and Subunit 6E (Mesa 
de Burro), primarily consist of lands already in permanent 
conservation. The majority of Subunit 6D was conserved as a result of 
the Rancho Bella Vista HCP (Rancho Bella Vista 1999, p. 2; CNLM 2009a, 
p. 1) and the remainder of the land in Subunit 6D was conserved as a 
result of the ADA 161 HCP (CNLM 2009b, p. 1). In total, 100 percent of 
the lands in Subunit 6D are conserved and managed specifically for the 
purpose of preserving the vernal pool habitat. Subunit 6E is within the 
Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve. This Reserve has four 
landowners: the California Department of Fish and Game, County of 
Riverside, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and The 
Nature Conservancy. The landowners and the Service (which owns no land 
on the Plateau) signed a cooperative management agreement on April 16, 
1991 (Dangermond and Associates, Inc. 1991), and meet regularly to work 
on the management of the Reserve (Riverside County Parks 2009, p. 2). 
The vernal pools within this Subunit 6E are managed and monitored to 
preserve the unique vernal pool plants and animals that occur on the 
Santa Rosa Plateau, including Mesa de Burro.
    The other three units (Subunit 6A, 6B, and 6C) are not conserved at 
this time; however, we anticipate that these areas will be conserved 
over time as the Western Riverside County MSHCP is implemented. Subunit 
6A is 99 percent within the Narrow Endemic Plant Species Survey Area 
(NEPSSA), and Subunits 6B and 6C are entirely within the NEPSSA. 
Because these areas are within the NEPSSA, biological surveys for 
Navarretia fossalis will occur prior to the development of any areas 
within these subunits. Furthermore, Subunits 6A and 6B have additional 
protections in place either from past conservation efforts or because 
they are within the Criteria Area.
    A large portion of Subunit 6A (1,504 ac (608 ha), or approximately 
42 percent) is within the San Jacinto Wildlife Area, a wildlife area 
owned and operated by the California Department of Fish and Game 
(CDFG). This area consists of restored wetlands that provide habitat 
for waterfowl and wading birds, as well as seasonally flooded vernal 
plain habitat along the San Jacinto River north of the Ramona 
Expressway that supports Navarretia fossalis. The Service regularly 
works with the CDFG to ensure that the seasonally flooded alkali vernal 
plain habitat at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area continues to function 
and provide a benefit for N. fossalis and other sensitive species that 
use this habitat. In addition to the portion of Subunit 6A owned by 
CDFG, 98 percent of the remaining land (2,006 ac (812 ha)) is within 
the Criteria Area. Projects in this area will be implemented through 
the Joint Project Review Process to ensure that the requirements of the 
MSHCP permit and the Implementing Agreement are properly met (Western 
Riverside County MSHCP, Volume 1,

[[Page 27617]]

section 6.6.2 in Dudek and Associates, Inc. 2003, p. 6-82).
    Additionally, the majority of Subunit 6B is within the Criteria 
Area (98 percent; 1,030 ac (417 ha) out of a total 1,054 ac (427 ha)) 
and projects in this area will be implemented through the Joint Project 
Review Process. This subunit is in the area referred to as West Hemet, 
under the jurisdiction of the City of Hemet. The City of Hemet is 
currently in the process of updating their General Plan, including 
addressing the sensitive vernal pool resources. Subunit 6C is not 
within the Criteria Area for the Western Riverside County MSHCP; 
however, impacts to the pools in this subunit should be avoided, 
minimized, or offset through implementation of the Protection of 
Species Associated with Riparian/Riverine Areas and Vernal Pools Policy 
and NEPSSA Policy.
    In summary, we are considering exclusion of 5,675 ac (2,297 ha) of 
Navarretia fossalis habitat on permittee-owned or controlled lands in 
Unit 6 that meets the definition of critical habitat for N. fossalis 
within the Western Riverside County MSHCP under section 4(b)(2) of the 
Act. The 1998 final listing rule for N. fossalis identified the 
following primary threats to N. fossalis: Habitat destruction and 
fragmentation from urban and agricultural development, pipeline 
construction, road construction, alteration of hydrology and flood 
plain dynamics, excessive flooding, channelization, off-road vehicle 
activity, trampling by cattle and sheep, weed abatement, fire 
suppression practices (including discing and plowing), and competition 
from nonnative plant species (October 13, 1998, 63 FR 54938). The 
implementation of the Western Riverside County MSHCP helps to address 
these threats through a regional planning effort, and outlines species-
specific objectives and criteria for the conservation of N. fossalis. 
We will analyze the benefits of inclusion and exclusion of this area 
from critical habitat under section 4(b)(2) of the Act. We encourage 
any public comment in relation to our consideration of the areas in 
Unit 6 for inclusion or exclusion (see Public Comments section above).

Economics

    An analysis of the economic impacts for the previous proposed 
critical habitat designation was conducted and made available to the 
public on August 31, 2005 (70 FR 51742). That economic analysis was 
finalized for the final rule to designate critical habitat for 
Navarretia fossalis published in the Federal Register on October 18, 
2005 (70 FR 60658). The analysis determined that the costs associated 
with critical habitat for N. fossalis, across the entire area 
considered for designation (across designated and excluded areas), were 
primarily a result of the potential effect of critical habitat on land 
development, flood control, and transportation. After excluding land in 
Riverside County and San Diego County from the proposed critical 
habitat, the economic impact was estimated to be between $13.9 and 
$32.1 million over the next 20 years. Based on the 2005 economic 
analysis, we concluded that the designation of critical habitat for N. 
fossalis, as proposed in 2004, would not result in significant small 
business impacts. This analysis is presented in the notice of 
availability for the economic analysis published in the Federal 
Register on August 31, 2005 (70 FR 51742).
    We are preparing a new analysis of the economic impacts of this 
proposed revision to critical habitat for Navarretia fossalis. Because 
no new geographic areas will need to be analyzed, we will use the basic 
framework of the previous analysis, primarily updating economic 
figures. We will announce the availability of the draft economic 
analysis as soon as it is completed, at which time we will seek public 
review and comment. At that time, copies of the draft economic analysis 
will be available for downloading from the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2009-0038, or by contacting 
the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office directly (see FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT section). During the development of a final 
designation, we will consider economic impacts, public comments, and 
other new information, and areas may be excluded from the final 
critical habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act and our 
implementing regulations at 50 CFR 424.19.

Peer Review

    In accordance with our joint policy published in the Federal 
Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we are soliciting the expert 
opinions of at least three appropriate independent specialists 
regarding this proposed rule. The purpose of peer review is to ensure 
that our critical habitat designation is based on scientifically sound 
data, assumptions, and analyses. We have invited these peer reviewers 
to comment during this public comment period on our specific 
assumptions and conclusions in this proposed revised designation of 
critical habitat. We will consider all comments and information we 
receive during this comment period on this proposed rule during our 
preparation of a final determination. Accordingly, our final decision 
may differ from this proposal.

Public Hearings

    Section 4(b)(5) of the Act provides for one or more public hearings 
on this proposal, if we receive any requests for hearings. We must 
receive your request for a public hearing within 45 days after the date 
of this Federal Register publication. Send your request to Jim Bartel, 
Field Supervisor of the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section). We will schedule public hearings 
on this proposal, if any are requested, and announce the dates, times, 
and places of those hearings, as well as how to obtain reasonable 
accommodations, in the Federal Register and local newspapers at least 
15 days before the first hearing.

Required Determinations

Regulatory Planning and Review--Executive Order 12866

    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has determined that this 
rule is not significant and has not reviewed this proposed rule under 
Executive Order 12866 (E.O. 12866). OMB bases its determination upon 
the following four criteria:
    (1) Whether the rule will have an annual effect of $100 million or 
more on the economy or adversely affect an economic sector, 
productivity, jobs, the environment, or other units of the government.
    (2) Whether the rule will create inconsistencies with other Federal 
agencies' actions.
    (3) Whether the rule will materially affect entitlements, grants, 
user fees, loan programs, or the rights and obligations of their 
recipients.
    (4) Whether the rule raises novel legal or policy issues.

Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.)

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA; 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., as 
amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act 
(SBREFA) of 1996), whenever an agency must publish a notice of 
rulemaking for any proposed or final rule, it must prepare and make 
available for public comment a regulatory flexibility analysis that 
describes the effect of the rule on small entities (i.e., small 
businesses, small organizations, and small government jurisdictions). 
However, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required if the head of 
an agency certifies the rule will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. SBREFA amended the 
RFA to

[[Page 27618]]

require Federal agencies to provide a statement of factual basis for 
certifying that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on 
a substantial number of small entities.
    An analysis of the economic impacts for our previous proposed 
critical habitat designation was conducted and made available to the 
public on August 31, 2005 (70 FR 51742). This economic analysis was 
finalized for the final rule to designate critical habitat for 
Navarretia fossalis as published in the Federal Register on October 18, 
2005 (70 FR 60658). The costs associated with critical habitat for N. 
fossalis, across the entire area considered for designation (across 
designated and excluded areas), were primarily a result of the 
potential effect of critical habitat on land development, flood 
control, and transportation. After excluding land in Riverside County 
and San Diego County from the proposed critical habitat, the economic 
impact was estimated to be between $13.9 and $32.1 million over the 
next 20 years. Based on the 2005 economic analysis, we concluded that 
the designation of critical habitat for N. fossalis, as proposed in 
2004, would not result in significant small business impacts. This 
analysis is presented in the notice of availability for the economic 
analysis as published in the Federal Register on August 31, 2005 (70 FR 
51742).
    While we do not believe our revised designation, as proposed, will 
result in a significant impact on a substantial number of small 
business entities based on the previous designation, we are initiating 
new analyses to more thoroughly evaluate potential economic impacts of 
this revision to critical habitat. Therefore, we defer the RFA finding 
until completion of the draft economic analysis prepared under section 
4(b)(2) of the Act and E.O. 12866. The draft economic analysis will 
provide the required factual basis for the RFA finding. Upon completion 
of the draft economic analysis, we will announce its availability in 
the Federal Register and reopen the public comment period for the 
proposed designation. We will include with this announcement, as 
appropriate, an initial regulatory flexibility analysis or a 
certification that the rule will not have a significant economic impact 
on a substantial number of small entities accompanied by the factual 
basis for that determination. We concluded that deferring the RFA 
finding until completion of the draft economic analysis is necessary to 
meet the purposes and requirements of the RFA. Deferring the RFA 
finding in this manner will ensure that we make a sufficiently informed 
determination based on adequate economic information and provide the 
necessary opportunity for public comment.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.)

    In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act, we make the 
following findings:
    (1) This rule will not produce a Federal mandate. In general, a 
Federal mandate is a provision in legislation, statute, or regulation 
that would impose an enforceable duty upon State, local, or Tribal 
governments, or the private sector, and includes both ``Federal 
intergovernmental mandates'' and ``Federal private sector mandates.'' 
These terms are defined in 2 U.S.C. 658(5)-(7). ``Federal 
intergovernmental mandate'' includes a regulation that ``would impose 
an enforceable duty upon State, local, or [T]ribal governments,'' with 
two exceptions. It excludes ``a condition of Federal assistance.'' It 
also excludes ``a duty arising from participation in a voluntary 
Federal program,'' unless the regulation ``relates to a then-existing 
Federal program under which $500,000,000 or more is provided annually 
to State, local, and [T]ribal governments under entitlement 
authority,'' if the provision would ``increase the stringency of 
conditions of assistance'' or ``place caps upon, or otherwise decrease, 
the Federal Government's responsibility to provide funding,'' and the 
State, local, or Tribal governments ``lack authority'' to adjust 
accordingly. At the time of enactment, these entitlement programs were: 
Medicaid; AFDC work programs; Child Nutrition; Food Stamps; Social 
Services Block Grants; Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants; Foster 
Care, Adoption Assistance, and Independent Living; Family Support 
Welfare Services; and Child Support Enforcement. ``Federal private 
sector mandate'' includes a regulation that ``would impose an 
enforceable duty upon the private sector, except (i) a condition of 
Federal assistance or (ii) a duty arising from participation in a 
voluntary Federal program.''
    The designation of critical habitat does not impose a legally 
binding duty on non-Federal Government entities or private parties. 
Under the Act, the only regulatory effect is that Federal agencies must 
ensure that their actions do not destroy or adversely modify critical 
habitat under section 7. While non-Federal entities that receive 
Federal funding, assistance, permits, or otherwise require approval or 
authorization from a Federal agency for an action may be indirectly 
impacted by the designation of critical habitat, the legally binding 
duty to avoid destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat 
rests squarely on the Federal agency. Furthermore, to the extent that 
non-Federal entities are indirectly impacted because they receive 
Federal assistance or participate in a voluntary Federal aid program, 
the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act would not apply, nor would critical 
habitat shift the costs of the large entitlement programs listed above 
onto State governments.
    (2) Based in part on an analysis conducted for the previous 
designation of critical habitat and extrapolated to this designation, 
we do not expect this rule to significantly or uniquely affect small 
governments. Small governments will be affected only to the extent that 
any programs having Federal funds, permits, or other authorized 
activities must ensure that their actions will not adversely affect the 
critical habitat. Therefore, a Small Government Agency Plan is not 
required. However, as we conduct our economic analysis for the revised 
rule, we will further evaluate this issue and revise this assessment if 
appropriate.

Takings--Executive Order 12630

    In accordance with E.O. 12630 (Government Actions and Interference 
with Constitutionally Protected Private Property Rights), we have 
analyzed the potential takings implications of designating critical 
habitat for Navarretia fossalis in a takings implications assessment. 
The takings implications assessment concludes that this designation of 
critical habitat for N. fossalis does not pose significant takings 
implications for lands within or affected by the designation.

Federalism--Executive Order 13132

    In accordance with E.O. 13132 (Federalism), this proposed rule does 
not have significant Federalism effects. A Federalism assessment is not 
required. In keeping with Department of the Interior and Department of 
Commerce policy, we requested information from, and coordinated 
development of this proposed critical habitat designation with, 
appropriate State resource agencies in California. The designation may 
have some benefit to these governments because the areas that contain 
the features essential to the conservation of the species are more 
clearly defined, and the primary constituent elements of the habitat 
necessary to the conservation of the species are specifically 
identified. This information does not alter where and what federally 
sponsored activities may

[[Page 27619]]

occur. However, it may assist these local governments in long-range 
planning (because these local governments no longer have to wait for 
case-by-case section 7 consultations to occur).
    Where State and local governments require approval or authorization 
from a Federal agency for actions that may affect critical habitat, 
consultation under section 7(a)(2) would be required. While non-Federal 
entities that receive Federal funding, assistance, or permits, or that 
otherwise require approval or authorization from a Federal agency for 
an action, may be indirectly impacted by the designation of critical 
habitat, the legally binding duty to avoid destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat rests squarely on the Federal agency.

Civil Justice Reform--Executive Order 12988

    In accordance with Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform), it 
has been determined that the rule does not unduly burden the judicial 
system and that it meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) 
of the Order. We have proposed to revise critical habitat in accordance 
with the provisions of the Act. This proposed rule uses standard 
property descriptions and identifies the primary constituent elements 
within the designated areas to assist the public in understanding the 
habitat needs of Navarretia fossalis.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.)

    This rule does not contain any new collections of information that 
require approval by OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 
U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). This rule will not impose recordkeeping or 
reporting requirements on State or local governments, individuals, 
businesses, or organizations. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and 
a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information 
unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 4321 et. seq.)

    It is our position that, outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. Court 
of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, we do not need to prepare 
environmental analyses as defined by NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) in 
connection with designating critical habitat under the Act. We 
published a notice outlining our reasons for this determination in the 
Federal Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244). This position was 
upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Douglas 
County v. Babbitt, 48 F.3d 1495 (9th Cir. 1995), cert. denied, 516 U.S. 
1042 (1996)).

Clarity of the Rule

    We are required by Executive Orders 12866 and 12988 and by the 
Presidential Memorandum of June 1, 1998, to write all rules in plain 
language. This means that each rule we publish must:
    (1) Be logically organized;
    (2) Use the active voice to address readers directly;
    (3) Use clear language rather than jargon;
    (4) Be divided into short sections and sentences; and
    (5) Use lists and tables wherever possible.
    If you feel that we have not met these requirements, send us 
comments by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. To 
better help us revise the rule, your comments should be as specific as 
possible. For example, you should tell us the numbers of the sections 
or paragraphs that are unclearly written, which sections or sentences 
are too long, the sections where you feel lists or tables would be 
useful, etc.

Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, 
Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal 
Governments (59 FR 22951), E.O. 13175, and the Department of the 
Interior's manual at 512 DM 2, we have a responsibility to communicate 
meaningfully with recognized Federal Tribes on a government-to-
government basis. In accordance with Secretarial Order 3206 of June 5, 
1997 (American Indian Tribal Rights, Federal-Tribal Trust 
Responsibilities, and the Endangered Species Act), we readily 
acknowledge our responsibilities to work directly with Tribes in 
developing programs for healthy ecosystems, to acknowledge that tribal 
lands are not subject to the same controls as Federal public lands, to 
remain sensitive to Indian culture, and to make information available 
to Tribes.
    We determined that there are no tribal lands occupied at the time 
of listing that contain the features essential for the conservation of 
the species, nor are there any unoccupied tribal lands that are 
essential for the conservation of Navarretia fossalis. Therefore, 
critical habitat for N. fossalis is not being proposed on tribal lands. 
We will continue to coordinate with Tribal governments as applicable 
during the designation process.

Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use--Executive Order 13211

    On May 18, 2001, the President issued an Executive Order (E.O. 
13211; Actions Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or 
Use) on regulations that significantly affect energy supply, 
distribution, and use. E.O. 13211 requires agencies to prepare 
Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. Based on 
an analysis conducted for the previous designation of critical habitat 
and extrapolated to this designation, along with a further analysis of 
the additional areas included in this revision, we determined that this 
proposed rule to designate critical habitat for Navarretia fossalis is 
not expected to significantly affect energy supplies, distribution, or 
use. Therefore, this action is not a significant energy action, and no 
Statement of Energy Effects is required. However, we will further 
evaluate this issue as we conduct our economic analysis, and we will 
review and revise this assessment as warranted.

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited in this rulemaking is 
available on  http://www.regulations.gov and upon request from the 
Field Supervisor, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT section).

Author(s)

    The primary author of this notice is the staff from the Carlsbad 
Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section).

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

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

Proposed Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, we propose to amend part 17, subchapter B of chapter 
I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, 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. In Sec.  17.96(a), revise the entry for ``Navarretia fossalis 
(spreading navarretia)'' under family Polemoniaceae to read as follows:

[[Page 27620]]

Sec.  17.96  Critical habitat--plants.

    (a) Flowering plants.
* * * * *
    Family Polemoniaceae: Navarretia fossalis (spreading navarretia)
    (1) Critical habitat units are depicted for Los Angeles, Riverside, 
and San Diego Counties, California, on the maps below.
    (2) Within these areas, the primary constituent elements (PCE) for 
Navarretia fossalis consist of three components:
    (i) PCE 1--Ephemeral wetland habitat. Vernal pools (up to 10 ac (4 
ha)) and seasonally flooded alkali vernal plains that become inundated 
by the winter rains and hold water or have saturated soils for 2 weeks 
to 6 months during a year with average rainfall. This period of 
inundation is long enough to promote germination, flowering, and seed 
production for N. fossalis and other native species typical of vernal 
pool and seasonally flooded alkali vernal plain habitat, but not so 
long that true wetland species inhabit the areas.
    (ii) PCE 2--Intermixed wetland and upland habitats that act as the 
local watershed. Areas characterized by mounds, swales, and depressions 
within a matrix of upland habitat that result in intermittently flowing 
surface and subsurface water in swales, drainages, and pools that 
support the habitat described in PCE 1, and provide the water that 
allows for the inundation described in PCE 1.
    (iii) PCE3--Soils that support ponding during winter and spring. 
Soils found in areas characterized in PCE 2 that allow for ponding of 
water because they have a clay component or other property that creates 
an impermeable surface or subsurface layer. The properties of these 
soils contribute to reduced percolation and minimal run-off of water, 
all of which lead to supporting the habitat and period of inundation 
described in PCE 1. These soil types are known to include, but are not 
limited to: Cieneba-Pismo-Caperton soils in Los Angeles County; Domino, 
Traver, and Willows soils in Riverside County; and Huerhuero, 
Placentia, Olivenhain, Stockpen, and Redding soils in San Diego County.
    (3) Critical habitat does not include manmade structures existing 
on the effective date of this rule and not containing one of more of 
the primary constituent elements, such as buildings, aqueducts, 
airports, and roads, and the land on which such structures are located.
    (4) Critical habitat map units. Data layers defining map units were 
created using a base of U.S. Geological Survey 7.5' quadrangle maps. 
Critical habitat units were then mapped using Universal Transverse 
Mercator (UTM) zone 11, North American Datum (NAD) 1983 coordinates.
    (5) Note: Index Map of critical habitat units for Navarretia 
fossalis (spreading navarretia) follows:
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 27621]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP10JN09.000

    (6) Unit 1: Los Angeles Basin--Orange Management Area, Los Angeles 
County, CA. Subunit 1A: Cruzan Mesa.
    (i) [Reserved for textual description of Subunit 1A.]
    (ii) Note: Map of Subunit 1A (Cruzan Mesa) is at paragraph (7)(ii) 
of this entry.
    (7) Unit 1: Los Angeles Basin--Orange Management Area, Los Angeles 
County, CA. Subunit 1B: Plum Canyon.
    (i) [Reserved for textual description of Subunit 1B.]
    (ii) Note: Map of Los Angeles Basin--Orange Management Area 
Subunits 1A (Cruzan Mesa) and 1B (Plum Canyon) follows:

[[Page 27622]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP10JN09.001

    (8) Unit 2: San Diego: Northern Coastal Mesa Management Area--
Poinsettia Lane Commuter Station, San Diego County, CA.
    (i) [Reserved for textual description of Unit 2.]
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 2 (Poinsettia Lane Commuter Station) 
follows:

[[Page 27623]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP10JN09.002

    (9) Unit 3: San Diego: Central Coastal Mesa Management Area, San 
Diego County, CA. Subunit 3A: Santa Fe Valley: Crosby Estates.
    (i) [Reserved for textual description of Subunit 3A.]
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 3, Subunit 3A (Santa Fe Valley: Crosby 
Estates) follows:

[[Page 27624]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP10JN09.003

    (10) Unit 3: San Diego: Central Coastal Mesa Management Area, San 
Diego County, CA. Subunit 3B: Carroll Canyon.
    (i) [Reserved for textual description of Subunit 3B.]
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 3, Subunit 3B (Carroll Canyon) follows:

[[Page 27625]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP10JN09.004

    (11) Unit 3: San Diego: Central Coastal Mesa Management Area, San 
Diego County, CA. Subunit 3C: Nobel Drive.
    (i) [Reserved for textual description of Subunit 3C.]
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 3, Subunit 3C (Nobel Drive) follows:

[[Page 27626]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP10JN09.005

    (12) Unit 3: San Diego: Central Coastal Mesa Management Area, San 
Diego County, CA. Subunit 3D: Montgomery Field.
    (i) [Reserved for textual description of Subunit 3D.]
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 3, Subunit 3D (Montgomery Field) follows:

[[Page 27627]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP10JN09.006

    (13) Unit 4: San Diego: Inland Management Area, San Diego County, 
CA. Subunit 4C1: San Marcos (Upham).
    (i) [Reserved for textual description of Subunit 4C1.]
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 4, Subunit 4C1 is at paragraph (15)(ii) of 
this entry.
    (14) Unit 4: San Diego: Inland Management Area, San Diego County, 
CA. Subunit 4C2: San Marcos (Universal Boot).
    (i) [Reserved for textual description of Subunit 4C2.]
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 4, Subunit 4C2 is at paragraph (15)(ii) of 
this entry.
    (15) Unit 4: San Diego: Inland Management Area, San Diego County, 
CA. Subunit 4D: San Marcos (Bent Avenue).
    (i) [Reserved for textual description of Subunit 4D.]
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 4, Subunits 4C1, 4C2, and 4D (San Marcos) 
follows:

[[Page 27628]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP10JN09.007

    (16) Unit 4: San Diego: Inland Management Area, San Diego County, 
CA. Subunit 4E: Ramona.
    (i) [Reserved for textual description of Subunit 4E.]
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 4, Subunit 4E (Ramona) follows:

[[Page 27629]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP10JN09.008

    (17) Unit 5: San Diego: Southern Coastal Mesa Management Area, San 
Diego County, CA. Subunit 5A: Sweetwater Vernal Pools.
    (i) [Reserved for textual description of Subunit 5A.]
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 5, Subunit 5A (Sweetwater Vernal Pools) 
follows:

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    (18) Unit 5: San Diego: Southern Coastal Mesa Management Area, San 
Diego County, CA. Subunit 5B: Otay River Valley.
    (i) [Reserved for textual description of Subunit 5B.]
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 5, Subunit 5B (Otay River Valley) follows:

[[Page 27631]]

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    (19) Unit 5: San Diego: Southern Coastal Mesa Management Area, San 
Diego County, CA. Subunit 5F: Proctor Valley.
    (i) [Reserved for textual description of Subunit 5F.]
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 5, Subunit 5F (Proctor Valley) follows:

[[Page 27632]]

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    (20) Unit 5: San Diego: Southern Coastal Mesa Management Area, San 
Diego County, CA. Subunit 5G: Otay Lakes.
    (i) [Reserved for textual description of Subunit 5G.]
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 5, Subunit 5G (Otay Lakes) follows:

[[Page 27633]]

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    (21) Unit 5: San Diego: Southern Coastal Mesa Management Area, San 
Diego County, CA. Subunit 5H: Western Otay Mesa Vernal Pool Complexes.
    (i) [Reserved for textual description of Subunit 5H.]
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 5, Subunit 5H (Western Otay Mesa Vernal Pool 
Complexes) follows:

[[Page 27634]]

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    (22) Unit 5: San Diego: Southern Coastal Mesa Management Area, San 
Diego County, CA. Subunit 5I: Eastern Otay Mesa Vernal Pool Complexes.
    (i) [Reserved for textual description of Subunit 5I.]
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 5, Subunit 5I (Eastern Otay Mesa Vernal Pool 
Complexes) follows:

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    (23) Unit 6: Riverside Management Area, Riverside County, CA. 
Subunit 6A: San Jacinto River.
    (i) [Reserved for textual description of Subunit 6A.]
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 6, Subunit 6A (San Jacinto River) follows:

[[Page 27636]]

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    (24) Unit 6: Riverside Management Area, Riverside County, CA. 
Subunit 6B: Salt Creek Seasonally Flooded Alkali Plain.
    (i) [Reserved for textual description of Subunit 6B.]
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 6, Subunit 6B (Salt Creek Seasonally Flooded 
Alkali Plain) follows:

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    (25) Unit 6: Riverside Management Area, Riverside County, CA. 
Subunit 6C: Wickerd and Scott Road Pools.
    (i) [Reserved for textual description of Subunit 6C.]
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 6, Subunit 6C (Wickerd and Scott Road Pools) 
follows:

[[Page 27638]]

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    (26) Unit 6: Riverside Management Area, Riverside County, CA. 
Subunit 6D: Skunk Hollow.
    (i) [Reserved for textual description of Subunit 6D.]
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 6, Subunit 6D (Skunk Hollow) follows:

[[Page 27639]]

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    (27) Unit 6: Riverside Management Area, Riverside County, CA. 
Subunit 6E: Mesa de Burro.
    (i) [Reserved for textual description of Subunit 6E.]
    (ii) Note: Map of Unit 6, Subunit 6E (Mesa de Burro) follows:

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* * * * *

    Dated: May 27, 2009.
Jane Lyder,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. E9-13013 Filed 6-9-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-C