[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 74 (Tuesday, April 17, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 23059-23092]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-8811]



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Vol. 77

Tuesday,

No. 74

April 17, 2012

Part V





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; Determination of 
Endangered Status for Three Forks Springsnail and Threatened Status for 
San Bernardino Springsnail Throughout Their Ranges and Designation of 
Critical Habitat for Both Species; Final Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 77 , No. 74 / Tuesday, April 17, 2012 / Rules 
and Regulations

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2009-0083; 4500030114]
RIN 1018-AV84


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Determination of 
Endangered Status for Three Forks Springsnail and Threatened Status for 
San Bernardino Springsnail Throughout Their Ranges and Designation of 
Critical Habitat for Both Species

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), determine 
endangered status for the Three Forks springsnail (Pyrgulopsis 
trivialis) and threatened status for the San Bernardino springsnail 
(Pyrgulopsis bernardina); and designate critical habitat for both 
species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). In 
total, approximately 17.2 acres (6.9 hectares) are designated as 
critical habitat for Three Forks springsnail in Apache County, Arizona, 
and approximately 2.0 acres (0.8 hectares) for San Bernardino 
springsnail in Cochise County, Arizona. This final rule implements the 
Federal protections provided by the Act for these species.

DATES: This rule becomes effective on May 17, 2012.

ADDRESSES: This final rule and associated final economic analysis are 
available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov or http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/arizona/. Comments and materials received, as 
well as supporting documentation used in preparing this final rule, are 
available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business 
hours at: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Ecological Services 
Field Office, 2321 West Royal Palm Road, Suite 103, Phoenix, AZ 85021; 
telephone 602-242-0210; facsimile 602-242-2513.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Spangle, Field Supervisor, 
Arizona Ecological Services Field Office (see ADDRESSES section). If 
you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the 
Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Executive Summary

Purpose of the Regulatory Action

    Under the Endangered Species Act, a species may warrant protection 
through listing if it is endangered or threatened throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range. The Endangered Species Act sets forth 
procedures for adding species to, removing species from, or 
reclassifying species on the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife and Plants.
    Under the Act, a species may be determined to be endangered or 
threatened based on any of the following five factors: (1) Destruction, 
modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (2) Overuse; (3) 
Disease or predation; (4) Inadequate existing regulations; or (5) Other 
natural or manmade factors. Based on our analysis under the five 
factors, we find that there are threats of sufficient imminence, 
intensity, or magnitude to cause a substantial decrease in 
distribution, or loss of viability of both the Three Forks springsnail 
and San Bernardino springsnail. Therefore, these species qualify for 
listing, which can only be done by issuing a rule.
    We have made the following findings for the Three Forks springsnail 
related to these criteria:
     Historically, the Three Forks springsnail is known to have 
occurred in numerous springs and seeps in Apache County, Arizona. In 
recent years, the species' range has been reduced to the point that it 
has only been found at two spring complexes.
     Because the species is so limited in range, the magnitude 
of threats that are occurring now are high, and those that may impact 
the species in the foreseeable future are high as well.
     A recent high-intensity fire that burned around the only 
remaining populations of the Three Forks springsnail has caused the 
habitat of the species to be currently threatened with destruction, 
modification, and curtailment due to soil erosion and sedimentation 
during storm events.
     Also, we have found that predation by nonnative crayfish 
is currently threatening the Three Forks springsnail across its entire 
range.
     In addition to the current threats, the Three Forks 
springsnail is also at a high risk of extinction due to threats that 
could affect the species in the foreseeable future, such as the use of 
fire retardant chemicals during future wildfires, the potential spread 
and competition with New Zealand springsnails, and the potential for 
climate change and drought to dry its springhead habitat.
     Due to its endemic nature, the Three Forks springsnail may 
be more vulnerable to extinction from both present and future threats.
    We have made the following findings for the Three Forks springsnail 
related to the five factor criteria:
     The historical range of the San Bernardino springsnail in 
the United States may have included several springs in Cochise County, 
Arizona. The current range of the species in the United States is now 
believed to be limited to two springs.
     The San Bernardino springsnail was recently discovered to 
occur at five sites in Sonora, Mexico, in at least nine springs.
     San Bernardino springsnail is not presently in danger of 
extinction throughout its entire range, based on the immediacy, 
severity, and extent of the threats.
     However, we have determined that, while significant 
threats are not operative now, they are likely to cause the species to 
become in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future.
     The species' habitat is likely to be threatened in the 
foreseeable future with destruction, modification, and curtailment in 
part of its range due to the potential use of fire retardant chemicals 
in the United States, and throughout its entire range in both the 
United States and Mexico due to potential springhead inundation, and 
water depletion and diversion.
     Also, we found that the San Bernardino springsnail is 
likely to become in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future 
throughout its entire range due to the potential invasion and predation 
by nonnative crayfish, invasion and competition with New Zealand 
springsnails, and climate change and drought drying its springhead 
habitat.
     Due to the species' endemic nature, the San Bernardino 
springsnail may be more vulnerable to extinction in the foreseeable 
future from these potential threats throughout its entire range.

Summary of the Major Provisions of the Regulatory Action

    This document consists of: (1) A final rule to list the Three Forks 
springsnail as endangered; (2) a final rule to list the San Bernardino 
springsnail as threatened; and (3) final critical habitat designation 
for both species.
    On April 12, 2011, we proposed listing these species as endangered 
with critical habitat. On November 17, 2011, we proposed revision of 
the previously proposed critical habitat for the Three Forks 
springsnail, based on new information indicating the species was

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more widely distributed. We also announced the receipt of new 
information confirming that populations of springsnails in Sonora, 
Mexico, are San Bernardino springsnail. Since the publication of the 
proposed rule, we have made the following changes in the final rule:
     We previously proposed to list the San Bernardino 
springsnail as endangered, but upon review of additional information 
regarding the status of, and threats to, the springsnail in Mexico, we 
have determined the species meets the definition of threatened instead 
of endangered. We believe the species is likely to become an endangered 
species within the foreseeable future rather than being in danger of 
extinction now.
     For the San Bernardino springsnail, we expanded the 
Summary of Factors Affecting the Species to include a discussion 
factors throughout the species' entire range, including the United 
States and Mexico.
    We obtained opinions from knowledgeable individuals with scientific 
expertise to review our technical assumptions, analysis, adherence to 
regulations, and whether or not we had used the best available 
information. These peer reviewers generally concurred with our methods 
and conclusions and provided additional information, clarifications, 
and suggestions to improve the final listing and critical habitat rule. 
As a result, we determine endangered status for the Three Forks 
springsnail and threatened status for the San Bernardino springsnail. 
We also designate critical habitat for both species. In total, 
approximately 17.2 acres (6.9 hectares) are designated as critical 
habitat for Three Forks springnail in Apache County, Arizona, and 
approximately 2.0 acres (0.8 hectares) for San Bernardino springsnail 
in Cochise County, Arizona.

Previous Federal Actions

    We first identified the Three Forks springsnail as a candidate for 
listing on October 30, 2001 (66 FR 54808). We first identified the San 
Bernardino springsnail as a candidate for listing on December 6, 2007 
(72 FR 69034). Candidates are those fish, wildlife, and plants for 
which we have on file sufficient information on biological 
vulnerability and threats to support preparation of a listing proposal, 
but for which development of a listing regulation is precluded by other 
higher priority listing activities.
    On May 4, 2004, the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the 
Service to list 225 species of plants and animals as endangered under 
the provisions of the Endangered Species Act, as amended (16 U.S.C. 
1531 et seq.), including the Three Forks springsnail. On June 25, 2007, 
we received a petition from Forest Guardians to list 475 species in the 
southwestern United States as threatened or endangered under the 
provisions of the Act, including the San Bernardino springsnail. In our 
most recent annual Candidate Notice of Review dated November 10, 2010 
(75 FR 69222), we retained a listing priority number (LPN) of 2 for the 
Three Forks springsnail and the San Bernardino springsnail in 
accordance with our priority guidance published on September 21, 1983 
(48 FR 43098). An LPN of 2 reflects threats that are both imminent and 
high in magnitude, as well as the taxonomic classification as a full 
species.
    On April 12, 2011, we proposed listing the Three Forks springsnail 
and San Bernardino springsnail as endangered with critical habitat (76 
FR 20464) under the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Proposed critical 
habitat for the Three Forks springsnail included spring ecosystems 
within Apache County, Arizona, and for the San Bernardino springsnail 
spring ecosystems within Cochise County, Arizona.
    On November 17, 2011, we reopened the comment period on the 
proposed rule, and announced the availability of a draft economic 
analysis (76 FR 71300). At that time, we proposed revision of the 
previously proposed critical habitat for the Three Forks springsnail, 
based on new information indicating that the species was more widely 
distributed along Boneyard Creek. We also announced the receipt of new 
information confirming that populations of springsnails in Sonora, 
Mexico, are San Bernardino springsnails.

Summary of Comments and Recommendations

    We requested written comments from the public on the proposed 
listing and designation of critical habitat for the Three Forks 
springsnail and San Bernardino springsnail during two comment periods 
from April 12 to June 13, 2011, and November 17 to December 19, 2011. 
We did not receive any requests for a public hearing, and thus, none 
was held. We also contacted associated Federal, State, and local 
agencies, scientific organizations, and other interested parties and 
invited them to comment on the proposed rule and draft economic 
analysis during the two comment periods.
    During the 2 comment periods, we received 11 letters addressing the 
proposed listing and critical habitat designation. We did not receive 
any comments on the draft economic analysis associated with this 
rulemaking. However, all other substantive information provided during 
the comment periods has either been incorporated directly into this 
final determination as appropriate or addressed below.

Peer Review

    In accordance with our peer review policy published on July 1, 1994 
(59 FR 34270), we solicited expert opinions from five knowledgeable 
individuals with scientific expertise that included familiarity with 
the species, the geographic region in which the species occur, and 
conservation biology principles. We received responses from three of 
the peer reviewers.
    We reviewed all comments received from peer reviewers for 
substantive issues and new information regarding critical habitat for 
the two springsnails. The peer reviewers generally concurred with our 
methods and conclusions, and provided additional information, 
clarifications, and suggestions to improve the final critical habitat 
rule. Peer reviewer comments are addressed in the following summary and 
incorporated into the final rule as appropriate.

Peer Reviewer Comments

    Comment (1): Peer reviewers made a number of technical scientific 
suggestions regarding our discussions and presentations of biological 
terminology, springsnail ecology, species' descriptions, habitat 
associations, and species distribution.
    Our response: We have revised the language accordingly in this 
final rule.
    Comment (2): One peer reviewer stated that livestock grazing is a 
threat to Three Forks springsnail and their habitats, because the 
current fence around Boneyard Bog is inadequate as evidenced by the 
recent presence of 25 to 35 cattle grazing near spring-seeps on 
numerous occasions.
    Our response: Based on communication with staff from the Apache-
Sitgreaves National Forests and Arizona Game and Fish Department 
(AGFD), the current fence around Boneyard Bog is adequate, and they 
have not observed livestock within the fenced exclosure. Also, since 
2001, the AGFD has been conducting annual springsnail surveys (Nelson 
et al. 2002, entire) and since 1997 the Apache-Sigreaves National 
Forests have been implementing special management to minimize potential 
livestock trespass (USFS 2011b, p. 184). For further information, see 
Ungulate discussion

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under Factor A analysis for this species, below.
    Comment (3): One peer reviewer stated that it is clear the 
abundance and distribution of both species has declined since studies 
were first conducted, and the proposed rule supports listing of both 
species.
    Our response: The Three Forks springsnail and San Bernardino 
springsnail have declined in abundance and distribution, and the 
available information continues to support listing.
    Comment (4): One peer reviewer suggested that the amount of 
occupied habitat (particularly spring surface area) is a superior 
metric over abundance of individual snails for assessing status of 
springsnails.
    Our response: When we assess the status of a species, we take into 
consideration the factors that may impact the species' continued 
existence, as well as the species' life history processes. In regards 
to a springsnail's abundance, we agree that limits on springsnail 
productivity appear to be more closely related to the availability of 
suitable habitat rather than number of individuals, because 
springsnails exhibit high fecundity. The availability of suitable 
habitat is one of the components we take into consideration when 
assessing the status of the springsnails.
    Comment (5): One peer reviewer noted that numerous scattered 
springs along Boneyard Creek, downstream of Boneyard Bog Springs and 
upstream of Three Forks Springs, are inhabited by springsnails that are 
likely Three Forks springsnails and should be included as critical 
habitat.
    Our response: We agree, and based on this new information 
indicating that the species was more widely distributed along Boneyard 
Creek, in November 17, 2011 (76 FR 71300), we proposed to revise the 
previously proposed critical habitat for the Three Forks springsnail by 
increasing the size of the Boneyard Bog Springs Unit, and by adding an 
additional unit, the Boneyard Creek Springs Unit.
    Comment (6): One peer reviewer noted that recent genetic work shows 
that San Bernardino springsnails inhabit springs in Sonora, Mexico, on 
the Rancho San Bernardino, and the proposed rule does not contain a 
threats assessment for that portion of its range.
    Our response: The genetic information was not available in early 
2011 when the proposed rule was published in the Federal Register. We 
have reviewed this new information and conducted a threats assessment 
for San Bernardino springsnail across its entire range as part of this 
final rule.
    Comment (7): One peer reviewer suggested that the discussion under 
Wildfire Suppression warrants reevaluation to avoid overstating the 
effects of aerial retardant on populations of Three Forks springsnail 
at Three Forks Springs.
    Our response: The available evidence regarding the effects of fire 
retardant on Three Forks springsnail does not constitute definitive 
proof that exposure to drift resulted in the extirpation of the species 
from Three Forks Springs. However, we are required to utilize the best 
scientific and commercial information available, and conclude the 
information we have cited meets the criteria. It is unlikely that 
retardant residue traveled upstream within spring-runs, and if 
springsnails were exposed to retardant it would have been drift from 
high-elevation drops. Fire retardant chemicals are known to be toxic to 
aquatic life, including those fire retardants used in the Three Forks 
Fire in 2004. We find the inability of surveyors to locate the species 
at Three Forks Springs since 2005, the season immediately following 
suspected exposure to drift, to be a compelling reason to suspect 
retardant-related toxicity. However, we acknowledge the speculative 
nature of this conclusion, as well as technical errors, such as 
overestimating the amount of retardant used to fight the fire, and have 
revised the language accordingly in this final rule.
    Comment (8): One peer reviewer did not believe sufficient evidence 
was provided to conclude that elk wallowing threatens the integrity of 
an entire spring system.
    Our response: Field observations, largely from Service biologists, 
have provided anecdotal evidence that wet seeps and boggy areas 
characterized by elk wallows are not occupied by Three Forks 
springsnails, and are unsuitable for the species. Even though elk 
wallowing is a factor that seems to be impacting the Three Forks 
springsnail's habitat, we do not believe it is occurring at a scale 
that would cause the extinction of Three Forks springsnail on its own. 
However, in combination with the other threats identified in this five-
factor analysis, we think elk wallowing may be contributing to the 
species' risk of extinction by reducing its long-term viability.
    Comment (9): One peer reviewer stated that it is unclear from the 
information in the proposed rule if inundation continues to be a 
threat, particularly at House Pond.
    Our response: The San Bernardino springsnail is mainly found near 
spring vents (area where water emerges from underground) and in 
association with high water velocity. Inundation can alter the 
springsnail's preferred habitat by increasing water depth, reducing 
water velocity, and causing shifts in substrate (the base on which an 
organism lives) composition, vegetation, and water chemistry. Because 
of inundation's ability to alter the springsnail's preferred habitat, 
we consider springhead inundation to be a threat to the San Bernardino 
springsnail's continued existence. For more details on this issue, 
please see Factor A analysis for the San Bernardino springsnail, below.
    Comment (10): One peer reviewer indicated that the threat of 
groundwater depletion to the San Bernardino springsnail is not clearly 
demonstrated.
    Our response: The use of the phrase ``groundwater depletion'' has 
been revised in this final rule, because it did imply an unverified 
connection to identifiable groundwater pumping or withdrawal. The loss 
of habitat and the springsnail population at Snail Spring was clearly 
due to the loss of water flow. However, the underlying hydrologic 
mechanism that caused the spring to dry is unclear. Additionally, 
because that population is now extirpated, the threat from water 
depletion is no longer acting upon the species at that site. We have 
revised the language accordingly in this final rule.
    Comment (11): One peer reviewer questioned the potential effects of 
glyphosate. The reviewer stated the use of the herbicide glyphosate 
(Roundup[supreg]) on the John Slaughter Ranch Museum was not well 
documented, and the pesticide has low toxicity for freshwater mollusks.
    Our response: Based on a more in-depth evaluation of the available 
information, the possible detrimental effects of glyphosate exposure to 
springsnails are not well supported. We have revised the language 
accordingly in this final rule.
    Comment (12): One peer reviewer questioned our conclusions 
regarding the potential effects of nonnative crayfish (Orconectis 
virilis) on the Three Forks springsnail.
    Our response: Our conclusion regarding the threat of crayfish 
predation on the Three Forks springsnail is based on the fact that 
nonnative crayfish are known predators of aquatic snails (Fernandez and 
Rosen 1996, pp. 24-25; Parkyn et al. 1997, p. 690), and are relatively 
recent invaders of Three Forks springsnail habitats. We also drew our 
conclusion from field observations that noted a concurrent decline in 
springsnail abundance in conjunction with an increase in crayfish

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abundance. Therefore, based upon the best available information, we 
consider nonnative crayfish predation to be a threat to the Three Forks 
springsnail.
    Comment (13): One peer reviewer asked how haplotype differentiation 
would factor into the need to repopulate Three Forks Springs to ensure 
the ecological representation of the Three Forks springsnail.
    Our response: We believe information on genetic diversity will be a 
critical element in determining the most appropriate manner in which to 
promote recovery of the Three Forks springsnail, particularly at Three 
Forks Springs. It is our goal to maintain the genetic diversity of the 
species, and we have commissioned a genetic study to review the genetic 
relationships between and among Three Forks springsnails within each 
critical habitat unit. The decision of whether or not to allow natural 
repopulation from upstream populations, or to conduct active 
translocations, will be determined in the context of a recovery team 
comprising Service personnel, species experts, and other stakeholders.
    Comment (14): One peer reviewer stated that Tule Spring does not 
appear conducive to occupation by San Bernardino springsnail, 
particularly in regard to the presence of the primary constituent 
elements (PCEs), and should not be designated as critical habitat.
    Our response: Under the second prong of the Act's definition of 
critical habitat, we can designate critical habitat in areas outside 
the geographic area occupied by the species at the time it is listed, 
upon a determination that such areas are essential for the conservation 
of the species. We have determined that Tule Spring is essential to the 
conservation of the San Bernardino springsnail, because it provides 
redundancy of the species if a population were to become established 
there either through natural or artificial reintroductions.

Comments From the States

    Section 4(i) of the Act states the Secretary shall submit to the 
State agency a written justification for his failure to adopt 
regulations consistent with the agency's comments or petition. We 
received two comment letters from the AGFD. The majority of AGFD's 
comments were similar to those expressed by peer reviewers, and have 
been addressed above (see our responses (3), (5), (8), and (14) under 
Peer Reviewer Comments).
    Comment (15): The AGFD stated that, due to new information on its 
status and distribution, the San Bernardino springsnail is at less risk 
to extinction, and they would support not listing this species.
    Our response: We have reviewed the new information indicating the 
San Bernardino springsnail is more widespread than previously believed, 
particularly in Sonora, Mexico. We have included these sites in our 
five-factor analysis, and have concluded that sufficient threats still 
exist to warrant listing the species as threatened.

Comments From the U.S. Forest Service

    We did not receive comments from the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) 
specifically on the proposed rule. However, we did receive a map from 
the USFS during the open comment period on the proposed rule to 
designate critical habitat for the Chiricahua leopard frog (Lithobates 
chiricahuensis) (76 FR 58441, September 21, 2011) outlining the area 
they are considering as the Three Forks Recommended Research Natural 
Area (RNA) and Associated Features.

Public Comments

    Several commenters made numerous comments similar to those 
expressed by peer reviewers, and which have been addressed above (see 
our responses (3), (5), (6), (11), and (14) under Peer Reviewer 
Comments).
    Comment (16): One commenter noted that current husbandry research 
indicates that the Three Forks springsnail requires a consistent 
environment in order to thrive, particularly in the context of water 
quality and temperature.
    Our response: We have compiled the available information regarding 
ongoing research on captive populations of Three Forks springsnail and 
incorporated this information into the final rule as appropriate.
    Comment (17): One commenter stated that, at the time of public 
comment, the Wallow Fire was burning in the White Mountains, 
potentially threatening remaining populations of Three Forks 
springsnail.
    Our response: We have compiled the available information regarding 
the Wallow fire and incorporated it into the final rule as appropriate. 
Wildfire has been known to have negative effects on springsnails, and 
most Three Forks springsnail sites were severely burned. However, 
reporting indicates that aerial fire retardants were not applied along 
Boneyard Creek, because the fire burned too hot and fast. At this time, 
we do not know what effect the Wallow Fire will have on the long-term 
viability of Three Forks springsnail. We will continue to work with the 
USFS, AGFD, and interested stakeholders, to monitor and conserve the 
species.
    Comment (18): One commenter questioned what actions the Service was 
taking to alter established policies identified in the preamble to the 
proposed rule under The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms.
    Our response: Many regulatory mechanisms discussed are under the 
purview and discretion of other Federal and State agencies. The Service 
has no regulatory authority to affect change to existing regulatory 
mechanisms of other agencies. However, we do work under the authorities 
of the Act to assist and coordinate with other agencies to ensure their 
actions are protective of threatened and endangered species and their 
critical habitats.
    Comment (19): One commenter stated additional suitable springs in 
the vicinity of habitat currently occupied by the San Bernardino 
springsnail should be designated as critical habitat.
    Our response: Other than those discussed in this final rule, the 
commenter did not provide nor do we have any information on other 
springs in the vicinity of habitat currently occupied by the San 
Bernardino springsnail in the United States to evaluate for critical 
habitat. Although several springs in Sonora, Mexico, provide habitat 
for the species, we do not designate critical habitat in foreign 
countries.
    Comment (20): One commenter stated that the Service should consider 
designation of critical habitat throughout the historical ranges of 
both species, and include areas that are not currently occupied.
    Our response: In this final critical habitat designation, we are 
including both occupied and unoccupied units, for both species. In 
accordance with section 3(5)(A) of the Act, we are designating critical 
habitat in specific areas within the geographic area occupied by the 
species at the time of listing, which contain the physical and 
biological features essential for the conservation of the species, and 
which may require special management, as well as specific areas outside 
the geographic area occupied by the species at the time of listing, and 
are essential to the conservation of the species. In this final rule, 
the unoccupied units we designated as critical habitat are areas within 
the historical ranges of both species.

Summary of Changes From the Proposed Rule

    Since the publication of the April 12, 2011 (76 FR 20464), proposed 
rule to list and designate critical habitat for the

[[Page 23064]]

Three Forks springsnail and San Bernardino springsnail, and the 
November 17, 2011 (76 FR 71300), proposed revision of the critical 
habitat for the Three Forks springsnail, we have made the following 
changes in this final rule:
    (1) We previously proposed to list the San Bernardino springsnail 
as endangered, but upon review of additional information, which we 
described in the notice announcing the availability of a draft economic 
analysis (76 FR 71300; November 17, 2011), regarding the status of, and 
threats to, the springsnail in Mexico, we have the determined the 
species meets the definition of threatened instead of endangered. Based 
on the best available information at this time, the species is likely 
to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future rather 
than being in danger of extinction now.
    (2) For the San Bernardino springsnail, we expanded the Summary of 
Factors Affecting the Species to include a discussion of factors 
throughout the species' entire range, including the United States and 
Mexico.

Endangered Status for Three Forks Springsnail and Threatened Status for 
San Bernardino Springsnail

    It is our intent to discuss below only those topics directly 
relevant to the listing of the Three Forks springsnail as endangered, 
and the San Bernardino springsnail as threatened, in this section of 
the final rule.

Species Information

    Both the Three Forks springsnail and San Bernardino springsnail are 
members of the genus Pyrgulopsis in the family Hydrobiidae. In the arid 
Southwest, springsnails are largely relicts of the wetter Pleistocene 
Epoch (2.5 million to 10,000 years ago), and are typically distributed 
across the landscape as geographically isolated populations exhibiting 
a high degree of endemism (found only in a particular area or region) 
(Bequart and Miller 1973, p. 214; Taylor 1987, pp. 5-6; Shepard 1993, 
p. 354; Hershler and Sada 2002, p. 255).
    Springsnails are strictly aquatic, and respiration occurs through 
an internal gill. Springsnails in the genus Pyrgulopsis are egg-layers 
with a single small egg capsule deposited on a hard surface (Hershler 
1998, p. 14; Pearson 2011, p. 3). The larval stage is completed in the 
egg capsule, and upon hatching, tiny snails emerge into their adult 
habitat (Brusca and Brusca 1990, p. 759; Hershler and Sada 2002, p. 
256). The sexes are separate, and females are noticeably larger than 
males. Mobility is limited, and significant migration likely does not 
occur, although aquatic snails have been known to disperse by becoming 
attached to the feathers of migratory birds (Roscoe 1955, p. 66; Dundee 
et al. 1967, pp. 89-90). Springsnails in the family Hydrobiidae feed 
primarily on periphyton, which is a complex mixture of algae, detritus, 
bacteria, and other microbes that live upon submerged surfaces in 
aquatic environments (Mladenka 1992, pp. 46, 81; Hershler and Sada 
2002, p. 256; Lysne et al. 2007, p. 649). The life span of most aquatic 
snails is 9 to 15 months (Pennak 1989, p. 552); the survival of one 
species in the genus Pyrgulopsis in the laboratory was nearly 13 months 
(Lysne et al. 2007, p. 3).
    Hydrobiid snails occur in springs, seeps, spring runs, and a 
variety of waters, but particularly spring systems that produce running 
water. Snails in the genus Pyrgulopsis are rarely found in mud or soft 
sediments (Hershler 1998, p. 14), and are typically more abundant in 
gravel-to cobble-size substrates (Frest and Johannes 1995, p. 203; 
Malcom et al. 2005, p. 75; Martinez and Thome 2006, pp. 12-13; Lysne et 
al. 2007, p. 650). These substrate types provide a suitable surface for 
springsnails to graze and lay eggs (Taylor 1987, p. 5; Hersler 1998, p. 
14).
    Proximity to springheads, where water emerges from the ground, 
plays a key role in the life history of springsnails. Many springsnail 
species exhibit decreased abundance farther away from spring vents, 
presumably due to their need for stable water chemistry and flow 
provided by spring waters (Hershler 1984, p. 68; Hershler 1998, p. 11; 
Hershler and Sada 2002, p. 256; Martinez and Thome 2006, p. 14; Tsai et 
al. 2007, p. 216). They are sensitive to water quality, and each 
species is usually found within relatively narrow habitat parameters 
(Sada 2008, p. 59). Several habitat parameters, such as substrate, 
dissolved carbon dioxide, dissolved oxygen, temperature, conductivity, 
pH, and water depth, have been shown to influence the distribution and 
abundance of Pyrgulopsis snails (O'Brien and Blinn 1999, pp. 231-232; 
Mladenka and Minshall 2001, pp. 209-211; Malcom et al. 2005, p. 75; 
Martinez and Thome 2006. pp. 12-15; Lysne et al. 2007, p. 650; Tsai et 
al. 2007, p. 2006; Martinez and Rogowski 2011, pp. 218-220). Dissolved 
salts such as calcium carbonate may also be important factors because 
they are essential for shell formation (Pennak 1989, p. 552).
Three Forks Springsnail
    The Three Forks springsnail was originally described as 
Fontelicella trivialis by Taylor (1987, pp. 30-32) and later 
Pyrgulopsis confluentis by Hershler and Landye (1988, pp. 32-35) from a 
spring-fed pond at Three Forks, Apache County, Arizona. The species was 
renamed Pyrgulopsis trivialis by Hershler (1994, pp. 68-69). We have 
carefully reviewed the available taxonomic information (Landye 1973, p. 
49; Taylor 1987, pp. 30-32; Hershler and Landye 1988, pp. 32-35; 
Hershler 1994, pp. 68-69; Hurt 2004, p. 1176), and conclude that Three 
Forks springsnail is a valid taxon (entity). The Three Forks 
springsnail is a variably sized species, with a shell height (length) 
of 0.06 to 0.19 inches (in) (1.5 to 4.8 millimeters (mm). A detailed 
description of the identifying characteristics of the Three Forks 
springsnail is found in Taylor (1987, pp. 30-32), Hershler and Landye 
(1988, pp. 32-35), and Hershler (1994, pp. 68-69).
    Historically, the Three Forks springsnail is known to have occurred 
in numerous springs and seeps along Boneyard Creek and its confluence 
with the North Fork East Fork Black River in the White Mountains on the 
Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, in Apache County, east-central 
Arizona. In recent years, the springnail was found only in the Three 
Forks Springs, Boneyard Bog Springs, and Boneyard Creek Springs. Each 
of these spring complexes comprise few to many spring vents (Table 1) 
and are found in shallow canyon drainage or open mountain meadows at 
8,200 feet (ft) (2,500 meters (m)) in elevation. These springs are 
spread across 3.7 miles (mi) (6 kilometers (km)) of perennial flowing 
stream. The species has been found in free-flowing springheads, 
concrete boxed springheads, spring runs, spring seeps, and shallow 
ponded water (Martinez and Myers 2008, p. 189). Unfortunately, the 
species was extirpated from Three Forks Springs in 2004 following the 
Three Forks Springs Fire (see a more detailed discussion on the effects 
of this fire under Factor A analysis for this species, below).

[[Page 23065]]



Table 1--Occupancy of the Three Forks Springsnail in Springs Along Boneyard Creek and North Fork East Fork Black
                                                 River, Arizona
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                  Year of last
       Area of recent occurrence             Number of springs          Currently occupied          verified
                                                                                                   occupancy
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Three Forks Springs....................  At least 8...............  No.......................               2003
Boneyard Bog Springs...................  At least 8...............  Yes......................               2010
Boneyard Creek Springs.................  At least 11..............  Yes......................               2010
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Martinez and Myers (2008, pp. 189-194) found that presence of Three 
Forks springsnail was associated with gravel and pebble substrates, 
shallow water up to 2.4 in (6 centimeters (cm)) deep, high 
conductivity, alkaline waters of pH 8, and the presence of pond snails 
(Physa gyrina). Martinez and Rogowski (2011, p. 218) found that density 
of Three Forks springsnail was greater in water depths less than 2.2 in 
(5.6 cm), where density of pond snails was less than 5.5 per square 
yard (4.6 per square meter), and where distance from the springhead was 
less than 2.6 ft (0.8 m). In captivity, the species selected water 
depths of 3.2 in (8.1 cm) in an aquarium that ranged from 1.9 in (4.8 
cm) to 7.5 in (19.1 cm) in depth (Rogowski 2011, p. 1). It has been 
shown that density of Three Forks springsnail is significantly greater 
on gravel and cobble substrates (Martinez and Rogowski 2011, p. 220; 
Martinez and Myers 2002, p. 1), though the species has been reported as 
``abundant'' in the fine-grained mud of a 0.03-acre (ac) (0.01-hectare 
(ha)) pond at Three Forks Springs (Taylor 1987, p. 32). Abundance has 
been found to decrease downstream from springheads (Martinez and 
Rogowski 2011, p. 218, Nelson et al. 2002, p. 11), consistent with 
studies of other springsnails (Hershler 1984, p. 68; Hershler 1998, p. 
11; Hershler and Sada 2002, p. 256; Martinez and Thome 2006, p. 14; 
Tsai et al. 2007, p. 216). The Three Forks springsnail was known to 
occur in ponded springboxes and the big pond at Three Forks, prior to 
extirpation. Although research indicates the species exhibits higher 
density in shallower water, the species does not appear to be 
intolerant of deeper ponded water. In captive settings, the number of 
observed living springsnails declined along with decreasing water 
temperature (Phoenix Zoo 2009, p. 2), and the species preferred 
temperatures near 71.6 degrees Fahrenheit ([deg]F) (22 degrees Celsius 
([deg]C)) (Rogowski and Martinez 2010, p. 1; Rogowski 2011, p. 1).
    The Three Forks springsnail was historically abundant within all 
spring ecosystems where found, though with patchy micro-distribution. 
Nelson et al. (2002, p. 5) reported Three Forks springsnail densities 
of approximately 72 snails per square yard (60 snails per square meter) 
at Three Forks Springs, and approximately 945 per square yard (790 
snails per square meter) at Boneyard Bog Springs. The highest number 
recorded at a single spring-brook occurred in a 254-square yards (213-
square meters) area at Three Forks Springs in 2002, where tens of 
thousands of individual snails were estimated (Martinez 2009, pp. 31-
32). Unfortunately, the Three Forks springsnail was last documented at 
Three Forks Springs in 2003. The AGFD has been conducting annual 
surveys since 2001 (Nelson et al. 2002, entire), and they have been 
reporting very low numbers of the springsnails at Three Forks Springs 
since 2005 (Cox 2007, p. 1; Bailey 2008, p. 1; Grosch 2010, p. 1). 
However, no voucher specimens (specimens collected to verify species 
identification) were actually collected until 2011, when it was 
discovered that the small snails from Three Forks Springs were not 
Three Forks springsnails (Sorensen 2011a, p. 1), but rather air-
breathing, land snails belonging to the family Pupillidae. Based on 
this new information, the species is not currently considered to be 
extant at Three Forks Springs. Fortunately, the species continues to be 
abundant at Boneyard Bog Springs and Boneyard Creek Springs.
San Bernardino Springsnail
    The San Bernardino springsnail was originally described as 
Yaquicoccus bernardinus by Taylor (1987, pp. 34-35) and later 
Pyrgulopsis cochisi by Hershler and Landye (1988, p. 41) from a spring 
in the San Bernardino Creek drainage, Cochise County, Arizona. The 
species was renamed Pyrgulopsis bernardina by Hershler (1994, pp. 21-
22). We have reviewed the available taxonomic information (Landye 1973, 
p. 34; Landye 1981, p. 21; Hershler and Landye 1988, p. 41; Taylor 
1987, p. 34; Hershler 1994, p. 21; Hurt 2004, p. 1176; Varela Romero 
and Myers 2010, p. 9), and conclude that San Bernardino springsnail is 
a valid taxon. The San Bernardino springsnail has a narrow-conic shell 
and a height of 0.05 to 0.07 in (1.3 to 1.7 mm). A detailed description 
of the identifying characteristics of the San Bernardino springsnail is 
found in Taylor (1987, pp. 35-35); Hershler and Landye (1988, p. 41), 
and Hershler (1994, pp. 21-22).
    The historical range of the San Bernardino springsnail in the 
United States may have included several springs along the Rio San 
Bernardino (also known as San Bernardino Creek or Black Draw) within 
the headwaters of the Rio Yaqui in Cochise County, southern Arizona 
around 3,806 ft (1,160 m) elevation on what is now the San Bernardino 
National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and the State-owned John Slaughter Ranch 
Museum, including Snail Spring, Horse Spring, Goat Tank Spring, and 
perhaps Tule Spring (Cox et al. 2007, pp. 1-2; Service 2007, pp. 82-83; 
Malcom et al. 2005, p. 75; Malcom et al. 2003, p. 2; Velasco 2000, p. 
1). The current range of the species in the United States is now 
believed to be limited to two springs on the John Slaughter Ranch 
Museum, Goat Tank Spring and Horse Spring (Martinez 2010, p. 2) (Table 
2). Surveys by SBNWR staff confirmed the presence of San Bernardino 
springsnails in Horse Spring in 2009 (Martinez 2010, p. 2). Also, Horse 
Spring is now known to be directly connected via an underground 
pipeline to Goat Spring (which is occupied by thousands of 
springsnails), so the liklihood of springsnails being at both sites is 
high.
    The species was formerly collected and very abundant at Snail 
Spring on the John Slaughter Ranch Museum (Malcom et al. 2003, p. 17; 
Malcom et al. 2005, p. 74), but now appears to be extirpated having 
last been confirmed from that site in 2005 (Cox et al. 2007, p. 1; 
Malcom 2007, p. 1; Service 2007, p. 83; Martinez 2010, p. 1; Varela 
Romero and Myers 2010, p. 2).

[[Page 23066]]



      Table 2--Occupancy of San Bernardino Springsnail in Springs in the San Bernardino Basin, Arizona, and
                                       Caj[oacute]n Bonito Basins, Mexico
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                          Year of last verified
      Spring or springs complex          Number of springs        Currently occupied            occupancy
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Goat Tank...........................  1......................  Yes....................  2010.
Horse...............................  1......................  Yes....................  2009.
Snail...............................  1......................  No.....................  2002.
Tule................................  1......................  No.....................  Unknown.
Ojo El Chorro.......................  At least 1.............  Yes....................  2010.
Los Ojitos..........................  At least 1.............  Yes....................  2010.
Ojo El Ojito........................  At least 2.............  Yes....................  2010.
Ojo Agua Fria.......................  At least 2.............  Yes....................  2010.
Ojo Caliente........................  At least 3.............  Yes....................  2010.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    According to recent genetic studies, the San Bernardino springsnail 
occurs at five sites in Sonora, Mexico, in the San Bernardino and 
Caj[oacute]n Bonito Basins, including Ojo El Chorro, Los Ojitos, Ojo El 
Ojito, Ojo Agua Fria, and Ojo Caliente (Liu and Hershler 2005, p. 293; 
Varela and Myers 2010, pp. 5-9). All five of these sites are located on 
privately owned ranches. The springs where the San Bernardino 
springsnail is found at these sites are typical ci[eacute]nega 
ecosystems (wet, marshy areas at the foot of a mountain, in a canyon, 
or on the edge of a grassland where groundwater bubbles to the surface) 
occurring near 3,806 ft (1,160 m) in elevation (Minckley and Brunelle 
2007, pp. 421-422), and most of the sites contain several springheads 
occupied by the species (Varela and Myers 2010, pp. 6-8) (Table 2).
    Malcom et al. 2005 (pp. 71, 75-76) showed that density of San 
Bernardino springsnail was positively associated with cobble 
substrates, high vegetation density, faster water velocity, high 
dissolved oxygen, water temperatures ranging from 57 to 72 [deg]F (14 
to 22 [deg]C), and pH values between 7.6 and 8.0. San Bernardino 
springsnail density exhibited positive relationships to sand and cobble 
substrates, vegetation density, and water velocity, and negative 
relationships to silt and organic substrates, and water depth (Malcom 
et al. 2005, pp. 75-76).
    Limited information is available on population sizes for the San 
Bernardino springsnail. Malcom et al. (2003, p. 7; 2005, p. 74) 
estimated former average springsnail density as 66,893 per square yard 
(55,929 individuals per square meter) at Snail Spring from September 
2001 to March 2002. The species formerly occurred in low population 
numbers at Goat Tank Spring, but has since exhibited an increase in 
abundance following the modification of a metal cover on the spring-box 
(Radke 2010, p. 1; Service 2011, pp. 117-118).

Summary of Factors Affecting the Three Forks Springsnail

    Section 4 of the Act and implementing regulations at 50 CFR 424 set 
forth procedures for adding species to the Federal Lists of Endangered 
and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. A species may be determined to be 
an endangered or threatened species due to one or more of the five 
factors described in section 4(a)(1) of the Act: (A) The present or 
threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or 
range; (B) overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes; (C) disease or predation; (D) the inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms; and (E) other natural or manmade 
factors affecting its continued existence. Listing actions may be 
warranted based on any of the above threat factors, singly or in 
combination. Each of these factors is discussed below.

A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment 
of Its Habitat or Range

Wildfire and Suppression
    Fire frequency and intensity in southwestern forests are altered 
from historical conditions (Dahms and Geils 1997, p. 34; Danzer et al. 
1997, pp. 1-2). Before the late 1800s, surface fires generally occurred 
at least once per decade in montane forests with a pine component 
(Swetnam and Baisan 1996, p. 15), landscapes similar to those within 
which the Three Forks springsnail occurs. During the early 1900s, 
frequent widespread ground fires ceased to occur due to intensive 
livestock grazing that removed fine fuels, such as grasses. Coupled 
with fire suppression, changes in fuel load began to alter forest 
structure and natural fire regime (Dahms and Geils 1997, p. 34). An 
absence of low-intensity ground fires allowed a buildup of woody fuels 
that resulted in infrequent, but very hot, stand-replacing fires (fires 
that kill all or most of above-ground parts of dominant vegetation, 
changing the above-ground structure substantially) (Danzer et al. 1997, 
p. 9; Dahm and Geils 1997, p. 34).
    In the past decade, USFS's lands around, or adjacent to, Three 
Forks springsnail habitats have been burned by wildfires, including the 
Three Forks Fire in 2004, and the Wallow Fire in 2011. These fires 
developed into hot crown fires (fires burning in tree canopies), while 
the Wallow Fire also exhibited very hot, stand-replacing effects. The 
lack of vegetation and forest litter following intense fires can expose 
soils to surface erosion during storms, often causing sedimentation and 
erosion in downstream drainages (DeBano and Neary 1996, pp. 70-75). 
This can cause infilling of substrates and shifts in water chemistry 
within spring systems.
    We do not expect that surface erosion would have affected spring 
ecosystems occupied by Three Forks springsnail following the Three 
Forks Fire, because the spring areas did not burn. In contrast, most of 
the areas around Boneyard Bog and Boneyard Creek Springs, which are 
occupied by the species, were burned by the Wallow Fire in 2011, and 
these occupied springs are at risk from ash and sediment erosion during 
anticipated storm-water flows (USFS 2011a, pp. 65-69). We believe the 
species evolved with frequent low-intensity wildfire, and likely 
exhibits some resiliency. However, there is cause for concern as fire-
induced changes in habitat for the Koster's springsnail (Juturnia 
kosteri) in New Mexico, resulted in lower springsnail densities post-
fire (Lang 2002, pp. 5-7; NMDGF 2006, p. 9). Conversely, Sada and 
Vinyard (2002, p. 282) noted the presence of large populations of the 
springsnail P. glibba in recently burned springs in Nevada. Initial 
reports indicate that Three Forks

[[Page 23067]]

springsnails were not observed in at least one spring within Boneyard 
Bog Springs that was affected by recent flooding and ash debris 
(Sorensen 2011a, p. 1). Because the Wallow Fire exhibited very hot, 
stand-replacing effects, and it burned around the entirety of the only 
two spring complexes (consisting of several springs) known to be 
occupied by the species, additional storm-water flows are likely to 
cause erosion and sedimentation to flow into the springsnail's habitat, 
thus potentially resulting in the species' decline to the point of 
extinction.
    Although the Three Forks Fire in 2004 did not directly burn Three 
Forks springsnail habitats, fire suppression included application of 
aerial fire retardants (chemicals used to suppress fire). Fire 
retardants may be toxic to springsnails if they enter the aquatic 
systems the snails occupy. Some fire retardant chemicals are ammonia-
based, which are toxic to aquatic wildlife; however, many formulations 
also contain yellow prussiate of soda (sodium ferrocyanide), which is 
added as an anticorrosive agent. Such formulations are toxic for fish, 
aquatic invertebrates, and algae (Angeler et al. 2006, pp. 171-172; 
Calfee and Little 2003, pp. 1527-1530; Little and Calfee 2002, p. 5; 
Buhl and Hamilton 1998, p. 1598; Hamilton et al. 1998, p. 3; Gaikowkski 
et al. 1996, pp. 1372-1373). Toxicity of these formulations is enhanced 
by sunlight (Calfee and Little 2003, pp. 1529-1533). Contamination of 
aquatic sites can occur via direct application, wind drift, or runoff 
from treated uplands.
    During the 2004 fire season, it is suspected that surface waters 
within the Three Forks Springs area were exposed to fire retardant that 
could have drifted from high-elevation retardant releases from aircraft 
(USFS 2005, pp. 4, 12). During fire suppression activities related to 
the Three Forks Fire, approximately 54,122 gallons (204,874 liters) of 
aerial fire retardant were applied from aircraft (USFS 2005, p. 4). The 
nearest documented release into a waterway was 0.65 mi (1.05 km) from 
Three Forks Springs, though other undocumented aerial releases in the 
area could have been closer. Available data indicate that the Three 
Forks springsnail was still abundant in spring sites at Three Forks 
Springs in 2002 and 2003, prior to the fire (AGFD 2008, entire; 
Martinez 2009, pp. 31-32), but has not been detected since that time. 
Although a definitive connection between extirpation and exposure to 
fire retardant drift has not been made, it is reasonable to assume that 
drift from the documented use of fire retardant chemicals during the 
2004 fires caused retardant-related toxicity, and thus, the inability 
of surveyors to locate the species at Three Forks Springs since. 
Fortunately, the species still persists at Boneyard Bog Springs and 
Boneyard Creek Springs, but there is the potential for future wildfires 
to occur near these occupied sites. Because of the toxic effects to 
springsnails from aerial fire retardant chemicals and the potential for 
exposure during future wildfires, we consider the use of fire retardant 
chemicals to be a threat to the Three Forks springsnail in the 
foreseeable future.
Ungulates
    High-intensity ungulate (hoofed-mammal) grazing on spring 
ecosystems can alter or remove springsnail habitat and limit the 
distribution of springsnails, or result in extirpation. For instance, 
cattle trampling at a spring in Owens Valley, California, reduced banks 
to mud and sparse grass, limiting the occurrence of the endangered Fish 
Slough springsnail (Pyrgulopsis pertubata) (Bruce and White 1998, pp. 
3-4). Additionally, a population of Chupadera springsnail, (P. 
chupaderae), endemic to Socorro County, New Mexico, was extirpated due 
to the impacts of intensive livestock grazing on its habitat (Arritt 
1998, p. 10; NMDGF 2006, p. 13). Even though other springsnails have 
been impacted by high intensity ungulate grazing, we do not consider it 
to be factor for the Three Forks springsnail. Livestock have been 
fenced out of the springs where the Three Forks springsnail occurs 
since the mid- to late 1990s.
    Although fencing excludes livestock from springs where the Three 
Forks springsnail occurs (USFS 2011b, p. 184), free-ranging elk (Cervus 
elaphus) can access all the springs. Elk are able to jump or cross the 
fencing in ways that livestock cannot. Because elk have been able to 
access the springs, some habitat modification from elk wallowing has 
been observed by Service personnel (Martinez 2000, p. 1; Nelson 2002, 
p. 2). In 2007 and 2008, erosive soil conditions related to elk 
wallowing were documented at Boneyard Bog Springs (Myers 2007, p. 2; 
Martinez 2008, p. 1). Intensive elk wallowing causes muddy conditions, 
soil loss, sparse grass, and stagnant, rather than flowing, water. 
These habitat conditions created by elk wallowing are typically 
unsuitable for the Three Forks springsnail, because the springsnail are 
mostly found in habitats with gravel and pebble substrates, and shallow 
running water (Martinez and Myers 2008, pp. 189-194). It appears that 
elk wallowing prevents spring seepage from developing into free-flowing 
spring-runs, which is the preferred habitat of the Three Forks 
springsnail. Although elk wallowing is a factor that seems to be 
impacting the Three Forks springsnail's habitat, it is not occurring at 
a scale that would cause the extinction of Three Forks springsnail on 
its own. However, in combination with the other threats identified in 
this five-factor analysis, elk wallowing may be contributing to the 
species' risk of extinction by reducing its long-term viability. 
Importantly, the AGFD is partnering with the conservation community to 
implement habitat improvements for the Three Forks springsnail, 
including the construction of fenced elk exclosures around targeted 
spring sites (Sorensen 2011b, p. 1).
Springhead Inundation
    Springhead inundation refers to pooling of water over a spring 
vent, resulting in ponded water (sometimes relatively deep) that would 
otherwise exist as shallow, free-flowing water. As noted above in the 
species description, the Three Forks springsnail was known to occur in 
ponded springboxes and the big pond at Three Forks, prior to 
extirpation. Although research indicates the species exhibits higher 
density in shallower water, the species does not appear to be 
intolerant of deeper ponded water. Thus springhead inundation is not a 
threat for this particular species because it persists in deeper water 
than many other springsnails.
    Summary of Factor A: At this time, the primary threats to the only 
known occupied habitats of Three Forks springsnails are soil erosion 
resulting from the high-intensity Wallow Fire that occurred in 2011, 
and the potential exposure of fire retardant chemicals during future 
wildfires. Also, elk wallowing may be contributing to the species' risk 
of extinction by reducing its long-term viability. However, springhead 
inundation does not appear to be a threat. Based on the best available 
information, the present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of the Three Forks springsnail's habitat and range poses a 
significant threat to the species' continued existence across its 
entire range now, and into the foreseeable future.

B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational Purposes

    The Three Forks springsnail has been subjected to a limited number 
of

[[Page 23068]]

scientific studies aimed at determining taxonomy, distribution, and 
habitat use. Although sampling can reduce population size of 
springsnails (Martinez and Sorensen 2007, p. 29), studies have not 
resulted in the removal of large numbers of snails, and we do not 
believe they have had discernible effects on any population. 
Unauthorized collecting has been identified as a threat to other 
snails, including springsnails (65 FR 10033, February 25, 2000; 58 FR 
5938, January 25, 1993; 56 FR 49646, September 30, 1991), due to their 
rarity, restricted distribution, and generally well-known locations. 
However, there is currently no documentation of collection being a 
significant threat to the Three Forks springsnail.
    In summary, the best available information indicates that the Three 
Forks springsnail is not threatened by overutilization for commercial, 
recreational, scientific, or educational purposes now, and we do not 
have any information to indicate that this will likely become a 
significant threat in the foreseeable future in any portion of its 
range.

C. Disease or Predation

    Exceptionally heavy parasitism on the female reproductive system of 
the Three Forks springsnail has been observed on specimens from the 
extirpated Three Forks Springs population (Taylor 1987, p. 31). 
However, we have no information that parasitism exists in the remaining 
Three Forks springsnail populations at Boneyard Creek Springs and 
Boneyard Bog Springs.
    In general, springsnails are vulnerable to predation by a variety 
of fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and macroinvertebrates (Dillon 
2000, p. 273; Raisanen 1991, p. 71). Nonnative crayfish are known 
predators of aquatic snails (Fernandez and Rosen 1996, pp. 24-25; 
Parkyn et al. 1997, p. 690), and are relatively recent invaders of 
Three Forks springsnail habitats. In a laboratory aquaria experiment 
that mimicked stream conditions found at Three Forks Springs, crayfish 
consumed snails and their eggs in the family Physidae (which occupy 
similar habitats as springsnails) within 1 week of introduction 
(Fernandez and Rosen 1996, pp. 24-25).
    Prior to total extirpation at Three Forks Springs, Three Forks 
springsnails were no longer being found in concrete-boxed springheads 
where they had previously been observed in abundance (Myers 2000, p. 1; 
Martinez and Myers 2008, p. 191). The localized extirpation of the 
species from concrete-boxed springheads coincided with an invasion by 
nonnative crayfish. Because Arizona has no native crayfish species 
(Inman 1999, p. 6), the Three Forks springsnail likely did not evolve 
in the presence of crayfish predation. Therefore, the springsnail 
probably does not have an evolutionary mechanism to escape this type of 
predation. Recognizing the impact that nonnative crayfish were having 
on the Three Forks springsnail, AGFD personnel conducted an intensive 
crayfish trapping program aimed at reducing predatory pressure at Three 
Forks Springs (Nelson et al. 2002, pp. 4, 6). However, complete 
elimination of crayfish from an aquatic system is usually not possible 
(Helfrich et al. 2001, p. 4). This has been the case with the trapping 
effort at Three Forks Springs. More recently, crayfish have also been 
found in Boneyard Creek Springs and Boneyard Bog Springs. These efforts 
have not eliminated crayfish or prevented their spread along Boneyard 
Creek.
    In summary, parasitism is not currently known to be a threat to the 
Three Forks springsnail, but this factor may need to be investigated 
further considering that it was observed on specimens in the past, and 
it has the potential to contribute to population declines (Dillon 2000, 
pp. 270-272). At this time, we have no information to indicate that 
parasitism is occurring within the remaining populations or that it 
might occur at a level in the future that affects the species' 
continued existence. On the other hand, we consider predation by 
nonnative crayfish to be a threat to the Three Forks springsnail across 
its entire range, because the springsnail has been locally extirpated 
from concrete-boxed springheads after the nonnative crayfish invaded.

D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    The primary causes of the Three Forks springsnail's decline are 
soil erosion following high-intensity wildfire, application of aerial 
fire retardant, and predation by nonnative crayfish. Existing Federal, 
State, and local laws have been unable to prevent loss of habitat or 
populations, and the existing regulatory mechanisms are not expected to 
prevent causes of Three Forks springsnail decline in the future.
    The policy for delivery of wildland fire chemicals near waterways 
on USFS lands is described in the Interagency Standards for Fire and 
Fire Aviation Operations, developed by the National Interagency Fire 
Center (NIFC; NIFC 2011). The policy directs the USFS to avoid aerial 
application of wildland fire chemicals within 300 ft (91 m) of 
waterways, and avoid any ground application of wildland fire chemicals 
into waterways (NIFC 2011, p. 3). The closest accidental delivery of 
fire retardant into a waterway was approximately 0.65 mi (1 km) 
upstream of Three Forks Springs (USFS 2005, p. 12), well over the 300-
ft (91-m) buffer established by NIFC policy. Nevertheless, aquatic 
areas at Three Forks are suspected to have been affected by fire 
retardant drift.
    In addition to the 300-ft (91-m) buffer, the USFS recently adopted 
a policy of establishing avoidance areas specifically for listed 
species (USFS 2011c, p. 6). Although the implementation of an avoidance 
zone will likely reduce the probability of exposure to aerial fire 
retardants, it cannot entirely eliminate the possibility of an 
accidental catastrophic event. Furthermore, although fire retardants 
containing sodium ferrocyanide are no longer used, USFS (2011c, pp. 
121-123) acknowledges that fire retardants currently in use still 
contain substances toxic to aquatic invertebrates, including mollusks.
    Take of the Three Forks springsnail is regulated by Arizona Game 
and Fish Commission Order 42, which establishes no open season (no 
collecting) for any snail species in the genus Pyrgulopsis (AGFD 2010, 
p. 29). Although Order 42 prohibits direct taking of individuals, it 
does not prohibit habitat modification. The species is also identified 
as a priority species in the State Wildlife Action Plan prepared by 
AGFD (AGFD 2006, pp. 136, 419). This plan helps guide AGFD and other 
agencies in determining what biotic resources should receive priority 
management consideration, but this plan is not legally binding on any 
agency.
    In summary, current regulatory mechanisms are inadequate to protect 
Three Forks springsnail habitat from modification or destruction due to 
the threats of accidental application of aerial fire retardant. The 
USFS and State regulatory mechanisms are adequate to control scientific 
collecting, but this does not appear to be a threat to the species.

E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting Its Continued Existence

Invasive Competitors
    The nonnative New Zealand mudsnail (Potamopyrgus antipodarum) is an 
invasive freshwater snail of the family Hydrobiidae that has become a 
concern for spring-dependent aquatic snails, including springsnails. 
The mudsnail is known to compete with and slow the growth of native 
freshwater snails,

[[Page 23069]]

including springsnails (Lysne and Koetsier 2008, pp. 103, 105; Lysne et 
al. 2007, p. 6). There is potential for mudsnail invasion into spring 
ecosystems, because the mudsnail can be easily transported and 
unintentionally introduced into aquatic environments via birds, hikers, 
researchers, and resource managers.
    The mudsnail was first discovered in the United States in the Snake 
River, Idaho, in 1987, and has since spread to the Colorado River basin 
in the western United States (U.S. Geological Survey 2002, p. 1). 
Mudsnails were discovered in Utah in 2001, and since have dispersed 
rapidly through that State (Vinson 2004, p. 9). Since 2002, New Zealand 
mudsnails have been detected in Arizona along the Colorado River at 
Lees Ferry, Diamond Creek, Lake Mead, and Willow Beach Fish Hatchery 
(AGFD 2002, p. 1, Olson 2008, pp. 1-2, Montana State University 2008, 
p. 1, Sorensen 2010, p. 3).
    The mudsnail has characteristics that enable it to out-compete and 
replace native springsnails. Mudsnails tolerate a wide range of 
habitats, and can reach densities exceeding tens of thousands per 
square meter, particularly in systems with high primary productivity 
(system with organisms that create organic molecules that serve as food 
for other organisms), constant temperatures, and constant flow (typical 
of spring systems), though faster moving water seems to limit 
colonization (Richards et al. 2001, pp. 378-379). Mudsnails can 
dominate the invertebrate composition of an aquatic system, accounting 
for up to 97 percent of invertebrate biomass (Hall et al. 2003, p. 
409). In doing so, they can consume nearly all microorganisms attached 
to submerged substrates, making food no longer available for native 
species, such as springsnails (Hall et al. 2003, p. 409).
    Invasion by mudsnails is not a current threat to the Three Forks 
springsnail. However, the New Zealand mudsnail is spreading throughout 
the State of Arizona. If they were to be introduced into the spring 
systems harboring the Three Forks springsnail, the effect could be 
devastating. Additionally, control would be difficult because mudsnails 
are small and cryptic, and chemical treatment to eradicate them would 
also eradicate springsnails. Because the New Zealand mudsnail can out-
compete and replace native springsnails, we consider this nonnative 
competitor to be a potential threat to the Three Forks springsnail's 
continued existence in the foreseeable future.
Climate Change and Drought
    Our analyses under the Act include consideration of ongoing and 
projected changes in climate. The terms ``climate'' and ``climate 
change'' are defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 
(IPCC). ``Climate'' refers to the mean and variability of different 
types of weather conditions over time, with 30 years being a typical 
period for such measurements, although shorter or longer periods also 
may be used (IPCC 2007, p. 78). The term ``climate change'' thus refers 
to a change in the mean or variability of one or more measures of 
climate (e.g., temperature or precipitation) that persists for an 
extended period, typically decades or longer, whether the change is due 
to natural variability, human activity, or both (IPCC 2007, p. 78). 
Various types of changes in climate can have direct or indirect effects 
on species. These effects may be positive, neutral, or negative and 
they may change over time, depending on the species and other relevant 
considerations, such as the effects of interactions of climate with 
other variables (e.g., habitat fragmentation) (IPCC 2007, pp. 8-14, 18-
19). In our analyses, we use our expert judgment to weigh relevant 
information, including uncertainty, in our consideration of various 
aspects of climate change.
    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 2007, p. 7) 
summarized the likelihood of future trends in global climatic variables 
over most land areas, predicting: (1) Warmer and fewer cold days and 
nights, (2) warmer and more frequent hot days and nights, (3) more 
frequent warm spells and heat waves or both, (4) changes in 
precipitation patterns favoring an increased frequency of heavy 
precipitation events, and (5) an increase in area affected by drought. 
These global climate changes are expected to influence climatic 
patterns at regional and local scales.
    At a regional scale, there is broad consensus among climate models 
that the southwestern United States and northern Mexico will become 
drier in the twenty-first century and that the trend is already 
underway (Seager et al. 2007). Seager et al. (2007, pp. 1181-1184) 
analyzed 19 computer models of different variables to estimate the 
future climatology of the southwestern United States and northern 
Mexico in response to predictions of changing climatic patterns. All 
but 1 of the 19 models predicted a drying trend, while 1 predicted a 
trend toward a wetter climate (Seager et al. 2007, p. 1181). A total of 
49 projections were created using the 19 models, and all but 3 
predicted a shift to increasing aridity (dryness) in the southwestern 
United States as early as 2021-2040 (Seager et al. 2007, p. 1181). 
Wetlands in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico are 
predicted to be at risk of drying (Seager et al. 2007, pp. 1183-1184), 
which has severe implications for aquatic ecosystems.
    The current, multiyear drought in the southwestern United States is 
the most severe drought recorded since 1900 (Overpeck and Udall 2010, 
p. 1642). Numerous models predict a decrease in annual precipitation in 
the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Solomon et al. 
(2009, p. 1707) predicted precipitation in the southwestern United 
States and northern Mexico will decrease by 9 to 12 percent. 
Christensen et al. (2007, p. 888) contend the projection of smaller 
warming over the Pacific Ocean than over the continent is likely to 
induce a decrease in annual precipitation in the southwestern United 
States and northern Mexico.
    Maximum summer temperatures in the southwestern United States are 
expected to increase over time in response to changes in the climate 
system (Christensen et al. 2007, p. 887). Weiss and Overpeck (2005, p. 
2075) examined low-temperature data over a 40-year timeframe from 
numerous weather stations in the Sonoran desert ecoregion and found: 
(1) Widespread warming trends in winter and spring, (2) decreased 
frequency of freezing temperatures, (3) lengthening of the freeze-free 
season, and (4) increased minimum temperatures per winter year. 
Additionally, the timing of precipitation may be altered, contributing 
to significant changes in vegetation communities. The IPCC (2007, p. 
20) found that winter precipitation in the southwestern United States 
is predicted to decline by as much as 20 percent as a result of climate 
change, while summer precipitation may increase slightly.
    Arid environments can be especially sensitive to climate change, 
because the biota that inhabit these areas are often near their 
physiological tolerances for temperature and water stress. Slight 
changes in temperature and rainfall, along with increases in the 
magnitude and frequency of extreme climatic events, can significantly 
alter species distributions and abundance (Archer and Predick 2008, p. 
23). Nonnative plant species may respond positively, out-competing 
native vegetation (Smith et al. 2000, p. 79; Lioubimsteva and Adams 
2004, p. 401), thereby increasing the risk of wildfire. Seasonal 
changes in rainfall may contribute to the spread of

[[Page 23070]]

invasive species, which are often capable of explosive growth, and able 
to out-compete native species (Barrows et al. 2009, p. 673).
    There are three hydrologic predictions for anticipated effects from 
climate change in the southwestern United States. First, climate change 
is expected to shorten periods of snowpack accumulation, as well as 
lessen snowpack levels. With gradually increasing temperatures and 
reduced snowpack (due to higher spring temperatures and reduced winter-
spring precipitation), annual runoff will be reduced (Garfin 2005, p. 
42; Smith et al. 2003, p. 226), consequently reducing groundwater 
recharge. Second, snowmelt is expected to occur earlier in the calendar 
year, because increased minimum winter and spring temperatures could 
melt snowpacks sooner, causing peak water flows to occur much sooner 
than the historical spring and summer peak flows (Garfin 2005, p. 41; 
Smith et al. 2003, p. 226; Stewart et al. 2004, pp. 217-218, 224, 230), 
and reducing flows later in the season. Third, the hydrologic cycle is 
expected to become more dynamic on average with climate models 
predicting increases in the variability and intensity of rainfall 
events. This will modify disturbance regimes by changing the magnitude 
and frequency of floods. Warmer water temperatures, altered stream flow 
events and groundwater recharge, and increased demand for water storage 
and conveyance systems (Rahel and Olden 2008, pp. 521-522) may alter 
spring habitats by altering surface water flow and ground water supply.
    In addition, increases in riverine system temperatures in drier 
climates will result in periods of prolonged low flows and stream 
drying (Rahel and Olden 2008, p. 526), and will increase demand for 
water storage and conveyance systems (Rahel and Olden 2008, pp. 521-
522). Warmer water temperatures across temperate regions are predicted 
to expand the distribution of existing aquatic nonnative species. In a 
study that compared the thermal tolerances of 57 fish species with 
predictions made from climate change temperature models, Mohseni et al. 
(2003, p. 389) concluded that there would be 31 percent more suitable 
habitat for aquatic nonnative species, which are often tropical in 
origin and adaptable to warmer water temperatures. This could result in 
an expansion in the ranges of nonnative aquatic species to the 
detriment of native species.
    Climate change and drought could eventually exacerbate existing 
threats to spring habitats in the southwestern United States. Increased 
and prolonged drought associated with changing climatic patterns could 
adversely affect spring habitats by reducing water availability, and 
altering food availability and predation rates. Drying of spring flow 
is of particular concern because springsnails depend on permanent 
flowing water for survival. At this time we have no specific 
information indicating that any springs occupied, or formerly occupied, 
by the Three Forks springsnail have experienced a decline in water flow 
due to climate change or drought. However, the best available 
information indicates that climate change and drought may be a factor 
in the foreseeable future that could adversely alter the Three Forks 
springsnail's habitat. Therefore, the potential impacts from climate 
change and drought could affect the Three Forks springsnail's continued 
existence in the future.
Endemism
    Endemic species (organisms with narrowly distributed isolated 
populations) are often more susceptible to extinction from localized, 
catastrophic events. Biological and ecological factors that put a 
species at risk of extinction include specialized habitat preference, 
restricted distribution, poor dispersal ability, population size, 
fragmentation of range, and life history specialization (McKinney 1997, 
p. 497; O'Grady et al. 2004, p. 514). The Three Forks springsnail is a 
highly endemic species. It occurs only within two spring complexes with 
a very restricted distribution, has limited mobility, and is a strict 
aquatic specialist requiring spring systems to complete its life 
history function. Endemism is not a threat in and of itself, but the 
Three Forks springsnail's endemic nature may make them more vulnerable 
to extinction from other existing or potential threats. The remaining 
populations of Three Forks springsnail are less than 1 mi (1.6 km) 
apart, and their total overall range is approximately 11.1 ac (4.5 ha) 
in size. Because their range is so small, one catastrophic event, such 
as a high-intensity wildfire, could potentially result in the entire 
loss of the species.

Listing Determination for the Three Forks Springsnail

    Section 3 of the Act defines an endangered species as any species 
that is ``in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant 
portion of its range'' and a threatened species as any species that 
``is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable 
future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.'' We find 
that the Three Forks springsnail is presently in danger of extinction 
throughout its entire range, based on the immediacy, severity, and 
extent of the threats described above. We have carefully assessed the 
best scientific and commercial information available regarding the 
past, present, and future threats to the species, and have determined 
that the Three Forks springsnail meets the definition of endangered 
under the Act, rather than a threatened species, because significant 
threats are occurring now and in the foreseeable future, at a high 
magnitude, and across the species' entire range, making the species in 
danger of extinction at the present time.
    Based on the best scientific and commercial information available 
regarding the threats to the species, we have found that some serious 
threats are occurring now, while some will negatively impact the 
species in the foreseeable future. For instance, the high-intensity 
2011 Willow Fire that burned around the only remaining populations of 
the Three Forks springsnail has caused the habitat of the species to be 
currently threatened with destruction, modification, and curtailment 
due to soil erosion and sedimentation during storm events. Also, we 
have found that predation by nonnative crayfish is currently 
threatening the Three Forks springsnail across its entire range. In 
addition to the current threats, the Three Forks springsnail is also at 
a high risk of extinction due to threats that could affect the species 
in the foreseeable future, such as the use of fire retardant chemicals 
during future wildfires, the potential spread and competition with New 
Zealand springsnails, and the potential for climate change and drought 
to dry its springhead habitat. Due to its endemic nature, the Three 
Forks springsnail may be more vulnerable to extinction from both 
present and future threats.
    Under the Act and our implementing regulations, a species may 
warrant listing if it is endangered or threatened throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range. We find that the threats to the Three 
Forks springsnail occur at relatively high magnitudes throughout its 
entire range. Historically, the Three Forks springsnail is known to 
have occurred in numerous springs and seeps along Boneyard Creek and 
its confluence with the North Fork East Fork Black River in the White 
Mountains on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, in Apache County, 
Arizona. In recent years, the species'

[[Page 23071]]

range has been reduced to the point that it has only been found at two 
spring complexes. These two remaining sites are restricted to less than 
1 mi (1.6 km) along Boneyard Creek. Because the species is so limited 
in range, the magnitude of threats that are occurring now are high, and 
those that may impact the species in the foreseeable future are high as 
well. For example, one catastrophic event, such as a high-intensity 
wildfire, could potentially result in the entire loss of the species. 
Accordingly, our assessment and determination applies to the species 
throughout its entire range. In conclusion, based on the immediacy, 
severity, and extent of the threats, we have determined that the Three 
Forks springsnail meets the definition of endangered under the Act.

Summary of Factors Affecting the San Bernardino Springsnail

A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment 
of its Habitat or Range

Wildfire and Suppression
    Wildfires are common in southern Arizona along the border with 
Mexico (U.S. Government Accountability Office 2011, pp. 9-12), though 
we have limited information on wildfire frequency or intensity in the 
San Bernardino or Caj[oacute]n Bonito Basins where the San Bernardino 
springsnail occurs. Even so, nonnative buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare 
[= Cenchrus ciliare]) is a concern, because of its potential to occur 
in this area and its ecological effects related to wildfire. Since its 
introduction in the 1940s, buffelgrass has become widespread in 
southeastern Arizona and northeastern Sonora, Mexico (Stevens and Falk 
2009, p. 417; Van Devender and Reina 2005, p. 161; Cohn 2005, pp. 1-2, 
Yetman 1994, pp. 1, 8). The introduction of this invasive species is 
known to result in the addition of fire as an ecological process in the 
normally fire-intolerant Sonoran desert ecosystems, changing the 
natural fire regime from infrequent, low-intensity, localized fires, to 
frequent, high-intensity, spreading fires (Van Devender and Reina 2005, 
p. 161; Stevens and Falk 2009, p. 418; Yetman 1994, pp. 8-9).
    Buffelgrass has been documented up to 4,150 ft (1,265 m) in 
elevation (Arizona Sonora Desert Musuem 2012, p. 2), but because it is 
frost-intolerant, it is usually limited to elevations less than 3,300 
ft (1,000 m) (Perramond 2000, p. 5). All the sites where the San 
Bernardino springsnail is found in both the United States and Mexico 
are near or above 3,806 ft (1,160 m) in elevation, suggesting that most 
spring sites where the springsnail occurs may be protected from 
buffelgrass invasion. However, climatic warming trends (see Climate 
Change discussion, below) may facilitate future invasion by 
buffelgrass, increasing the potential for high-intensity wildfire 
around spring sites occupied by San Bernardino springsnail. At this 
time, the best available information indicates that wildfire is not a 
current threat to the species. We have no information relating to 
actual impacts of wildfire on the San Bernardino springsnail or its 
habitat.
    If a wildfire were to occur in the greater San Bernardino Basin, 
Arizona, we suspect suppression efforts in the United States could 
include the application of fire retardant chemicals via aircraft, 
because this is one of the methods typically used to fight wildfires in 
this region. Should San Bernardino springsnails be exposed to fire 
retardants, we would expect them to react negatively, for the same 
reasons discussed under Factor A of the Three Forks springsnail, above. 
Wind drift of fire retardant has been noted in an unconfirmed report up 
to five miles from a drop site. So if there were a fire in the San 
Bernardino Valley, and the U.S. used retardant tankers, drift of the 
chemicals might reach San Bernardino springsnail sites in Mexico, 
although we have no confirmation of this occurring.
    Further, we have no information indicating that aerial fire 
retardants have been used in the area around the two spring sites at 
the John Slaughter Ranch Museum. We anticipate the probability of 
exposure to fire retardant to be low, because the two spring sites are 
surrounded by a substantial area of well-tended lawn turf, and this 
area is unlikely to burn. Should there be a fire near the John 
Slaughter Ranch Museum, we expect that conventional fire-fighting 
techniques, utilizing fire engines and ground-based suppression 
activities, would most likely be employed in fighting any fires near 
the two springs. Further, concerning the populations of San Bernardino 
springsnails recently discovered in Sonora, Mexico, we expect that 
similar on-the-ground fire-fighting techniques would be employed, as 
opposed to the application of fire retardant chemical from aircraft. 
However, there is a possibility that wildfire may occur in the San 
Bernardino Basin at some point in the future, and fire retardant 
exposure could happen. As such, exposure to fire retardant chemicals, 
especially exposure resulting from wind drift, could represent a threat 
to the species in the future.
Controlled Burning
    Varela Romero and Myers (2010, pp. 7, 10) indicate that the Los 
Ojitos ci[eacute]nega in Sonora, Mexico, has been exposed to fire 
intentionally set to control cattails (Typha sp.). They noted ash and 
loss of water flow post-fire, and could not locate springsnails in an 
area where springsnails had occurred a few months prior (Varela Romero 
and Myers, 2010, p. 7). As noted above, fire-induced changes in spring 
habitats can result in lower springsnail densities post-fire (Lang 
2002, pp. 5-7; NMDGF 2006, p. 9). Although the available information is 
unclear regarding the relationship between fire at Los Ojitos and 
springsnail population viability, it appears that a controlled burn may 
have contributed to a decrease in springsnail abundance. It is 
premature to conclude that the species has been extirpated from Los 
Ojitos, considering that survey efforts have been limited and the genus 
appears to exhibit some resiliency to fire. Controlled burns are 
probably low-intensity wetland fires that do not exhibit the same 
effects as very hot, high-intensity, stand-replacing fires. Also, it is 
not clear if controlled burning is a regular management tool employed 
by the landowner that we can reasonably anticipate will reoccur with 
any frequency. However, controlled burning does seem likely to reoccur, 
considering that management of cattails with fire requires regular 
treatment. Although controlled burning likely impacts the species, we 
are unable to determine the long-term impacts on the San Bernardino 
springsnail or its habitat. We do not have any additional information 
on controlled burning at any other locality where San Bernardino 
springsnail occurs.
Ungulates
    The general effects of ungulate grazing on springsnails and their 
habitats are discussed under Factor A for the Three Forks springsnail. 
As previously noted, high-intensity ungulate grazing at spring 
ecosystems can alter or remove springsnail habitat and limit the 
distribution of springsnails, or result in their extirpation (Arritt 
1998, p. 10; Bruce and White 1998, pp. 3-4; NMDGF 2006, p. 13). For the 
San Bernardino springsnail, we do not consider ungulate grazing to be a 
threat. Cattle grazing does not currently occur on the San Bernardino 
NWR. A small number of cattle graze on the John Slaughter Ranch Museum, 
but they do not have access to spring sites. Horse Spring is located in 
a horse pen (Martinez 2010, p. 2), but it is unclear what effect, if 
any, the horses have on the spring. Low-

[[Page 23072]]

intensity cattle grazing does occur on the private ranches in Mexico, 
but the cows are removed from areas if they start impacting an area 
(Cuenca Los Ojos 2012, p. 1; Bodner 2005, p. 6). The San Bernardino 
Valley historically supported extensive cattle ranching (Hendrickson 
and Minckley 1984, pp. 142-144; Service 2007, pp. iii-iv), and 
livestock likely had access to all spring habitats within the Rio San 
Bernardino watershed at that time. At this time, we do not consider 
ungulate grazing to be a threat to the San Bernardino springsnail, 
because there is no information that the limited exposure of cattle 
grazing within the springsnail's range is affecting the species' 
continued existence.
Springhead Inundation
    Springhead inundation refers to pooling of water over a spring 
vent, resulting in ponded water (sometimes relatively deep) that would 
otherwise exist as shallow, free-flowing water. As previously noted, 
the San Bernardino springsnail is mainly found near spring vents and in 
association with shallow water, but high velocity. Inundation can alter 
springsnail habitats by causing shifts in water depth, velocity, 
substrate composition, vegetation, and water chemistry. These changes 
in springhead habitat can cause reductions in the San Bernardino 
springsnail's distribution and abundance.
    Springhead inundation has affected the San Bernardino springsnail's 
habitat on the John Slaughter Ranch Museum. Cox et al. (2007, p. 1) 
speculated that the species previously occurred in the springs now 
inundated by House Pond. But, we have no evidence to confirm that they 
actually occurred in these springs, nor do we have information that 
they currently exist in the pond. As such, we cannot verify that 
inundation has affected the species there. However, because the San 
Bernardino springsnail currently exists in Goat Tank and Horse Springs, 
which both are within several hundred feet (meters) of House Pond, it 
is reasonable to assume that the San Bernardino springsnail occurred in 
the springs now inundated by House Pond. Thus, based on the altered 
habitat caused by inundation, it is reasonable to assume that 
inundation does affect the species' continued existence in such areas.
    Springs in Sonora, Mexico, appear to have been impounded, including 
springs at Los Ojitos ci[eacute]nega and Ojo El Chorro (Varela Romero 
and Myers 2010, pp. 6, 7, 10). But fortunately, springsnails have been 
found in spring-runs draining into impounded ponds and in the outflows 
at these sites. Because springsnails seem to prefer flowing, rather 
than pooled water, it is possible that impoundments have affected the 
species at these sites. Springhead inundation appears to be a threat 
that has altered the San Bernardino springsnail's habitat in the past, 
but at this time we do not consider this threat to be ongoing. However, 
because of its ability to alter the springsnail's preferred habitat in 
such a way that could affect the species continued existence, 
springhead inundation could be a threat to the San Bernardino 
springsnail in the foreseeable future.
Water Depletion and Diversion
    Spring ecosystems rely on water discharged at the surface from 
underground aquifers, and depletion of the underground aquifers can 
result in the drying of springs. The drying of springs can be severe 
for springsnails, because they are strictly aquatic organisms. 
Groundwater depletion has been recognized as a threat to the continued 
existence of other biota occurring in the Rio San Bernardino and 
associated springs, such as the Yaqui fishes (49 FR 34490, August 31, 
1984; Service 1994, p. 17). Several populations of San Bernardino 
springsnail are believed to have been extirpated as water was depleted 
and diverted for domestic water use (Landye 1973, p. 34; Malcom et al. 
2003, p. 2), though the springsnail's actual occurrence in these 
springs prior to desiccation was never verified by field surveys.
    Two distinct aquifers exist in the San Bernardino Valley basin, one 
deep and the other shallow (Earman et al. 2003, p. 35). These aquifers 
exhibit different chemical and thermal properties. Many of the springs 
in the area are influenced by both the deep and the shallow aquifers 
(Earman et al. 2003, p. 166; Malcom et al. 2005, pp. 75-76). House 
Spring, Snail Spring, and Goat Tank Spring have different chemical 
compositions from one another, as well as from other springs in the 
area (Earman et al. 2003, p. 166). A study using radioactive isotopes 
to trace water flow into the springs indicated that some springs appear 
to be fed by the deep aquifer, some by the shallow aquifer and 
groundwater, and others are influenced by a mixing of the two water 
sources (Earman et al. 2003, p. 166).
    The John Slaughter Ranch Museum has an irrigation system that 
relies on the shallow aquifer and surface water from House Pond to 
provide water for turf grass and a cattle pasture (Malcom et al. 2003, 
p. 18; Malcom 2007, p. 1; Cox et al. 2007, p. 2). Malcom (2007, p. 1) 
and Cox (2007, p. 1) both reported a visible decline in flow from Snail 
Spring and Tule Spring when this irrigation system was running. This 
indicates that House Pond is hydrologically connected to Snail Spring 
and Tule Spring. However, we have no hydrologic data verifying that 
this is the case. Regardless, Snail Spring no longer discharges flowing 
water from the springhead, and the San Bernardino springsnail is now 
extirpated from that site (Martinez 2010, p. 1; Varela Romero and Myers 
2010, p. 2).
    The cessation of water flow at Snail Spring dates back to 2002. 
Following several years of below-average precipitation, Arizona faced 
extreme drought during 2002, which was the driest year on record for 
many parts of the State (McPhee et al. 2004, p. 1). At that time, the 
San Bernardino NWR staff and the John Slaughter Ranch Museum manager 
tapped into the domestic water supply from House Spring to try to 
maintain the springsnail's habitat at Snail Spring (Smith 2003, p. 1; 
Malcom 2003, p. 18; Malcom 2007, p. 1). Use of this domestic water 
supply for maintaining springsnail habitat was intended as an emergency 
measure only, and ultimately could not be sustained. Since 2002, 
surface flows at Snail Spring were periodically augmented by water 
diverted from House Pond. Unfortunately, consistent water flow has not 
been maintained at Snail Spring since 2005, and the San Bernardino 
springsnail has not been found at that site since then (Cox et al. 
2007, p. 1; Malcom 2007, p. 1; Service 2007, p. 83; Martinez 2010, p. 
1).
    The Service has the right to control the use of water on the John 
Slaughter Ranch Museum, through a warranty deed that reserves water 
rights to The Nature Conservancy (TNC 1982, pp. 1-20). The Nature 
Conservancy deeded the water rights on the John Slaughter Ranch Museum 
to the Service, but also deeded ``water use'' rights to the John 
Slaughter Ranch Museum itself, with a stipulation that the ranch use 
should not adversely affect wildlife. Therefore, the Service can 
withhold its consent for planned water uses and other activities by the 
owner and managers of the John Slaughter Ranch Museum if it determines 
that such activities may have an adverse effect on the fish and snail 
species occurring on the ranch. However, such action appears 
unnecessary at this time, as the San Bernardino NWR is proactively 
working with the John Slaughter Ranch Museum to moderate use of 
irrigation water and to find an alternative water source to restore 
flow at Snail Spring. To offset the John Slaughter Ranch Museum's

[[Page 23073]]

domestic water supply from House Spring, the San Bernardino NWR is 
working with the ranch to moderate use of irrigation water and to find 
an alternative water source to restore flow at Snail Spring. Two wells 
were drilled during December 2011 that are helping with restoration of 
flow at the spring. One well, a shallow well at the head of Snail 
Spring on the Slaughter Ranch, directly supplements Snail Spring to 
provide year round habitat for the springsnail. A second (off-site) 
deep well, located on San Bernardino NWR adjacent to Slaughter Ranch, 
will be used to augment the amount of water available for domestic 
water needs at Slaughter Ranch (Arizona Department of Water Resources 
2012, p. 1; Service 2012, p. 1). Preliminary analysis indicates that 
water quality between the well and Snail Spring is similar (Service 
2012, p. 1).
    In 2010, loss of water flow was noted and reported for the Los 
Ojitos ci[eacute]nega in Sonora (Varela Romero and Myers 2010, p. 7). 
The factors contributing to the loss of flow at that site are unknown, 
and may include manipulation of water control devices by land managers 
or extended drought conditions. We do not know if this loss of flow at 
Los Ojitos is temporary or permanent. At another site occupied by the 
San Bernardino springsnail, Varela Romero and Myers (2010, p. 10) noted 
water flow interruption at Ojo El Chorro and recommended monitoring of 
groundwater pumping and water diversions to determine if these were 
causing flow water loss. The water flow interruption at Ojo El Chorro 
must not be severe, because Varela Romero and Myers (2010, p. 10) 
reported a functioning spring system at that site. Water harvesting 
efforts (construction of structures that capture stormwater runoff) are 
ongoing on the Austin Ranch in the San Bernardino watershed in Mexico 
(Cuenca de Los Ojos 2012, entire). However, water depletion is still a 
threat to spring ecosystems throughout the watershed (Earman et al. 
2003, p. 259; Earman et al. 2008, p. 15; Hadley 2006, p. 13; Varela-
Romero and Myers 2010, p. 10).
    We have no information indicating that other springs in the San 
Bernardino or Caj[oacute]n Bonito Basins where the San Bernardino 
springsnail occurs have experienced water loss or reduced water flow. 
However, the San Bernardino ground water table is a desirable domestic 
water source, particularly in Mexico, and ground water use could 
eventually have severe negative consequences on the viability of 
springs and wetlands in the San Bernardino watershed (Earman et al. 
2003, p. 259; Earman et al. 2008, p. 15; Hadley 2006, p. 13). Water 
depletion from future groundwater use could eventually contribute to 
the drying of springs throughout the range of the San Bernardino 
springsnail, placing the species at increased risk of extinction.
Pesticides
    Pesticides, including glyphosate, the active ingredient in the 
herbicides Roundup[supreg] and Rodeo[supreg], have been reportedly used 
adjacent to spring ecosystems on the John Slaughter Ranch Museum 
(Malcom et al. 2003, p. 17; Service 2005, p. 6). Spring endemic species 
are typically adapted to the unique environmental conditions provided 
by spring water and may be quite sensitive to shifts in water quality 
(Hershler 1998, p. 11), including those caused by contamination.
    In the proposed rule, we discussed results presented by Tate et al. 
(1997, pp. 287-288) indicating that long-term exposure to glyphosate in 
a laboratory affected growth and development, egg-laying capacity, and 
hatching of the mimic lymnaea (Pseudosuccinea columella), an unrelated 
freshwater snail. As such, we were concerned that sublethal, as well as 
lethal, effects from the use of glyphosate or other pesticides used on 
the John Slaughter Ranch Museum may be affecting the San Bernardino 
springsnail. However, upon further evaluation, we found that, for 
freshwater mollusks, the aquatic formulation of glyphosate 
(Rodeo[supreg]) has an ecotoxicity rating of Class 0 (practically 
nontoxic), while the nonaquatic formulation (Roundup[supreg]) has a 
rating of Class 1 (slightly-to-moderately toxic) (White 2007, pp. 158, 
198). Although glyphosate can be slightly-to-moderately toxic to 
aquatic organisms, particularly zooplankton (Montenegro-Rayo 2004, p. 
34), and impacts including mortality have been documented in other 
snail species, Tate et al. (1997, pp. 287-288) found that glyphosate 
stimulates growth and development of snails at different 
concentrations. Normal use of glyphosate is not expected to 
detrimentally affect aquatic biota.
    In the proposed rule, we also presented our concern that the 
pesticide may contaminate the food base for the springsnail. Upon 
further review, we find contamination of the food base to be unlikely. 
Glyphosate adsorbs strongly to sediments and soils, and would not be 
expected to leach to surface waters at high levels through surface 
runoff (USEPA 2008, pp. 8, 25). Although direct exposure from spray 
drift is a possibility, we do not anticipate adverse effects to the San 
Bernardino springsnail or its food base, because long-term exposure is 
unlikely to occur in a natural spring setting, as flowing water should 
allow for dissipation. Accordingly, we do not consider the proper use 
of the pesticide to threaten the San Bernardino springsnail's continued 
existence.
Sunlight Inhibition
    Goat Tank Spring box is covered with a heavy metal lid that 
previously prevented significant sunlight penetration. The San 
Bernardino springsnail formerly occurred in very low population numbers 
at Goat Tank Spring, but has exhibited an increase in abundance 
following the modification of this cover to allow sunlight to enter the 
spring-box (Radke 2010, p. 1, Service 2011, pp. 117-118). Although this 
effort has successfully resulted in an increase in the abundance of 
springsnails, a large portion of the spring-box is still covered. The 
lack of direct sunlight into the aquatic environment likely inhibits 
primary production resulting in reduced availability of periphytic 
diatoms and algae, key habitat elements required by the San Bernardino 
springsnail. Radke (2010, p. 1) noted that the side of the spring-box, 
where the modified lid allows more light to enter, had a larger number 
of snails than the dark side of the spring-box. Although we do not 
believe this situation will result in the loss of the springsnail 
population at Goat Tank Spring, the continued maintenance of this lid 
likely prevents the population from realizing its full potential 
productivity.
    Summary of Factor A: We have identified a number of impacts to the 
San Bernardino springsnail's habitat, which have operated in the past 
or that could impact the species in the foreseeable future. On the 
basis of this analysis, the potential use of fire retardant chemicals 
to fight wildfires, springhead inundation, and water depletion and 
diversion could result in destruction, modification, or curtailment of 
the San Bernardino springsnail's habitat throughout all of its range in 
the foreseeable future.

B. Overutilization for Commercial, Recreational, Scientific, or 
Educational

Purposes
    Like the Three Forks springnsail, the San Bernardino springsnail 
has been subjected to a limited number of scientific studies aimed at 
determining taxonomy, distribution, and habitat use. The impacts to 
springsnails from collection are described under Factor B for the Three 
Forks springsnail. At this

[[Page 23074]]

time, there is no documentation of collection being a significant 
threat to the San Bernardino springsnail.
    In summary, the best available information indicates that the San 
Bernardino springsnail is not threatened by overutilization for 
commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes now, and 
we do not have any information to indicate that this will likely become 
a significant threat in the foreseeable future in any portion of its 
range.

C. Disease or Predation

    We have no information regarding parasites on the San Bernardino 
springsnail. Also, we are unaware of the presence of nonnative 
predators within springs occupied by the San Bernardino springsnail. 
Field surveys have not detected the presence of nonnative crayfish 
within springs occupied by the San Bernardino springsnail, nor or we 
aware of any information indicating that crayfish have or will 
potentially invade the watersheds where the springsnail occurs. 
Additionally, current management activities are conducted on the 
private, State, and Federal lands to prevent the spread of nonnative 
species. Therefore, we do not consider disease or predation to be 
threats to the San Bernardino springsnail, now or in the future.

D. The Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    In the proposed rule, we found the label restriction on 
Rodeo[supreg] (glyphosate) inadequate to protect the San Bernardino 
springsnail, because it does not restrict use within and near aquatic 
sites (DowAgroSciences 2006, p. 11). However, the low toxicity rating 
(as noted above in the Factor A discussion), and the fact that 
Rodeo[supreg] is an aquatic formulation, explains the lack of 
restrictions near aquatic sites. As such, we find the label restriction 
is adequate to protect the springsnail. Even so, Rodeo[supreg] still 
has the potential to negatively impact the springsnail if misused, but 
we have no evidence that it is being misused or is impacting the 
species. Although glyphosate is believed to be used on the John 
Slaughter Ranch Museum property, we have no reliable information 
regarding user application practices that would lead us to believe this 
pesticide is a threat to the San Bernardino springsnail.
    Take of the San Bernardino springsnail is regulated by Arizona Game 
and Fish Commission Order 42, which establishes no open season (no 
collecting) for any snail species in the genus Pyrgulopsis (AGFD 2010, 
p. 29). Although Order 42 prohibits direct taking of individuals, it 
does not prohibit habitat modification. The species is also identified 
as a priority species in the State Wildlife Action Plan prepared by 
AGFD. This plan helps guide AGFD and other agencies in determining what 
biotic resources should receive priority management consideration. 
However, this plan is not legally binding on any agency.
    In Mexico, the Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales 
has authority to designate species as threatened, or ``Amenzadas,'' 
based on recommendations from the Instituto Nacional de 
Ecolog[iacute]a. Based on the best available information, the San 
Bernardino springsnail does not have special status in Mexico that 
would protect it from water depletion and diversion, controlled 
burning, or springhead inundation. Varela Romero and Myers (2010, p. 
10) reported that these springsnails are not protected in Mexico, 
except that Mexican Federal permits are required to intentionally 
collect specimens for scientific study.
    In summary, the primary factors likely to affect the San Bernardino 
springsnail's continued existence include the fire retardant chemicals, 
springhead inundation, and water depletion and diversion. Based on our 
analysis of the best available information, current regulatory 
mechanisms are inadequate to protect the San Bernardino springsnail's 
habitat from these threats in the United States and Mexico.

E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting Its Continued Existence

Invasive Competitors
    The potential threat to springsnails from New Zealand mudsnails is 
described under Factor E for the Three Forks springsnail. Although 
invasion by New Zealand mudsnails is not considered an immediate 
threat, they are spreading into Arizona from Utah. If New Zealand 
mudsnails were to be spread into the spring systems harboring the San 
Bernardino springsnail, the effect could be devastating. Additionally, 
control would be difficult because mudsnails are small and cryptic, and 
chemical treatment to eradicate them would also eradicate springsnails. 
Because the New Zealand mudsnail can outcompete and replace native 
springsnails, we consider this nonnative competitor to be a potential 
threat to the San Bernardino springsnail's continued existence in the 
foreseeable future.
Climate Change and Drought
    The same potential effects of climate change described under Factor 
E for the Three Forks springsnail apply to the San Bernardino 
springsnail. Loss of water flow has already manifested itself within 
the range of the San Bernardino springsnail, coinciding with extreme 
drought in the case of Snail Spring. Continued drying related to 
drought will likely exacerbate potential drying of springs and may lead 
to population declines and localized extirpations. In addition to loss 
of water flow, continued drying trends could exacerbate the terrestrial 
spread of buffelgrass, making San Bernardino springsnail habitats 
vulnerable to wildfires in the future. As such, we find that climate 
change and drought could threaten the San Bernardino springsnail in the 
future throughout its entire range.
Endemism
    The increased vulnerability posed by endemism as described under 
Factor E for the Three Forks springsnail applies to the San Bernardino 
springsnail. Basically, the San Bernardino springsnail has suffered 
reductions in overall distribution and abundance, as evidenced at Snail 
Spring and Los Ojitos. We consider the San Bernardino springsnail to be 
an endemic species, because it only occurs at two sites in the United 
States and five sites in Mexico. Also, their populations are very 
restricted in distribution, have limited mobility, and are strictly 
aquatic specialists of spring ecosystems. Endemism is not a threat to 
the species in and of itself, but the San Bernardino springsnail's 
endemic nature may make them more vulnerable to extinction from other 
potential threats in the future.

Listing Determination for the San Bernardino Springsnail

    Section 3 of the Act defines an endangered species as any species 
that is ``in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant 
portion of its range'' and a threatened species as any species that 
``is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable 
future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.'' We find 
that the San Bernardino springsnail is not presently in danger of 
extinction throughout its entire range, based on the immediacy, 
severity, and extent of the threats described above. However, we have 
carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial information 
available regarding the past, present, and future threats to the 
species, and have determined that the San Bernardino springsnail meets 
the definition of

[[Page 23075]]

threatened under the Act, rather than endangered, because significant 
threats are not operative now, but are likely to cause the species to 
become in danger of extinction in the foreseeable future. Thus the San 
Bernardino springsnail meets the definition of a threatened species, 
because it is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future 
throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
    Based on the best scientific and commercial information available 
regarding the threats to the species, we have found that threats do not 
rise to the level such that the San Bernardino springsnail is in danger 
of extinction now. However, significant threats may rise to a level in 
the foreseeable future that the species is likely to become an 
endangered species throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range. The species' habitat is likely to be threatened in the 
foreseeable future with destruction, modification, and curtailment in 
part of its range due to the potential use of fire retardant chemicals 
in the United States, and throughout its entire range in both the 
United States and Mexico due to potential springhead inundation, and 
water depletion and diversion. Also, we found that the San Bernardino 
springsnail is likely to become in danger of extinction in the 
foreseeable future throughout its entire range due to the potential 
invasion and predation by nonnative crayfish, invasion and competition 
with New Zealand springsnails, and climate change and drought drying 
its springhead habitat. Due to the species' endemic nature, the San 
Bernardino springsnail may be more vulnerable to extinction in the 
foreseeable future from these potential threats throughout its entire 
range.
    Unlike the Three Forks springsnail, there are more currently 
occupied sites with San Bernardino springsnail populations, and the 
current severe threats of fire and crayfish predation identified for 
the Three Forks springsnail are not currently operative on the San 
Bernardino springsnail. The site locations in the United States for the 
two species are separated by over 125 mi (200 km); the environmental 
conditions are different for the two species (i.e. landscape setting), 
and the threat type, magnitude, and immediacy are different for the 
two. Therefore, while the Three Forks springsnail meets the definition 
of an endangered species under the Act, we have determined that the San 
Bernardino springsnail meets the definition of threatened under the 
Act, rather than endangered, because significant threats are not 
immediately affecting the species and are not at a high enough 
magnitude that they are causing the species to be presently in danger 
of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.
    Under the Act and our implementing regulations, a species may 
warrant listing if it is endangered or threatened throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range. The San Bernardino springsnail is an 
endemic species occurring at two sites in the United States and five 
sites in Mexico. We find that all threats to the San Bernardino 
springsnail could potentially occur throughout its entire range in the 
foreseeable future. Accordingly, our assessment and determination 
applies to the species throughout its entire range.

Available Conservation Measures

    Conservation measures provided to species listed as endangered or 
threatened under the Act include recognition, recovery actions, 
requirements for Federal protection, and prohibitions against certain 
practices. Recognition through listing results in public awareness and 
conservation by Federal, State, Tribal, local agencies, private 
organizations, and individuals. The Act encourages cooperation with the 
States and requires that recovery actions be carried out for all listed 
species. The protection measures required of Federal agencies and the 
prohibitions against certain activities are discussed, in part, below.
    The primary purpose of the Act is the conservation of endangered 
and threatened species and the ecosystems upon which they depend. The 
ultimate goal of such conservation efforts is the recovery of listed 
species, so that they no longer need the protective measures of the 
Act. Subsection 4(f) of the Act requires the Service to develop and 
implement recovery plans for the conservation of endangered and 
threatened species. The recovery planning process involves the 
identification of actions that are necessary to halt or reverse the 
species' decline by addressing the threats to its survival and 
recovery. The goal of this process is to restore listed species to a 
point where they are secure, self-sustaining, and functioning 
components of their ecosystems.
    Recovery planning includes the development of a recovery outline 
shortly after a species is listed, preparation of a draft and final 
recovery plan, and revisions to the plan as significant new information 
becomes available. The recovery outline guides the immediate 
implementation of urgent recovery actions and describes the process to 
be used to develop a recovery plan. The recovery plan identifies site-
specific management actions that will achieve recovery of the species, 
measurable criteria that determine when a species may be downlisted or 
delisted, and methods for monitoring recovery progress. Recovery plans 
also establish a framework for agencies to coordinate their recovery 
efforts and provide estimates of the cost of implementing recovery 
tasks. Recovery teams (comprising species experts, Federal and State 
agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and stakeholders) are often 
established to develop recovery plans. When completed, the recovery 
outline, draft recovery plan, and the final recovery plan will be 
available from our Web site (http://www.fws.gov/endangered), or from 
our Arizona Ecological Services Field Office (see FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT).
    Implementation of recovery actions generally requires the 
participation of a broad range of partners, including other Federal 
agencies, States, nongovernmental organizations, businesses, and 
private landowners. Examples of recovery actions include habitat 
restoration (e.g., restoration of native vegetation), research, captive 
propagation and reintroduction, and outreach and education. The 
recovery of many listed species cannot be accomplished solely on 
Federal lands because their range may occur primarily or solely on non-
Federal lands. To achieve recovery of these species requires 
cooperative conservation efforts on private and State lands.
    Funding for recovery actions will be available from a variety of 
sources, including Federal budgets, State programs, and cost share 
grants for nonfederal landowners, the academic community, and 
nongovernmental organizations. In addition, pursuant to section 6 of 
the Act, the State of Arizona would be eligible for Federal funds to 
implement management actions that promote the protection and recovery 
of the Three Forks springsnail. Information on our grant programs that 
are available to aid species recovery can be found at: http://www.fws.gov/grants.
    Please let us know if you are interested in participating in 
recovery efforts for the Three Forks springsnail and the San Bernardino 
springsnail. Additionally, we invite you to submit any new information 
on these species whenever it becomes available and any information you 
may have for recovery planning purposes (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT).
    Section 7(a) of the Act, as amended, requires Federal agencies to 
evaluate their actions with respect to any species that is proposed or 
listed as endangered or threatened and with respect to its

[[Page 23076]]

critical habitat, if any is designated. Regulations implementing this 
interagency cooperation provision of the Act are codified at 50 CFR 
part 402. Section 7(a)(1) requires Federal agencies, in consultation 
with the Service, to carry out programs for the conservation of listed 
species. Section 7(a)(4) requires Federal agencies to confer with the 
Service on any action that is likely to jeopardize the continued 
existence of a species proposed for listing or result in destruction or 
adverse modification of proposed critical habitat. If a species is 
subsequently listed, section 7(a)(2) requires Federal agencies to 
ensure that activities they authorize, fund, or carry out are not 
likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the species or destroy 
or adversely modify its critical habitat. If a Federal action may 
adversely affect a listed species or its critical habitat, the 
responsible Federal agency must enter into formal consultation with the 
Service.
    For the Three Forks springsnail and San Bernardino springsnail, 
Federal agency actions that may require consultation as described in 
the preceding paragraph include activities approved under a forest 
management plan, a refuge comprehensive management plan, and activities 
that require a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers pursuant to 
section 404 of the Clean Water Act.
    The USFS has established a closure around Three Forks Springs to 
prevent unauthorized access. The AGFD has implemented a crayfish 
trapping program and a Three Forks springsnail monitoring program. A 
captive refugium for Three Forks springsnail has been established at 
the Phoenix Zoo, in coordination with USFS and AGFD. We intend to 
continue working with the USFS, AGFD, the Phoenix Zoo, and a private 
landowner who owns property near Boneyard Bog Springs to develop 
conservation actions for the Three Forks springsnail.
    Efforts to rehabilitate habitat on the San Bernardino NWR at Tule 
Spring were initiated (Service 2003, p. 2), with the intention of 
potentially introducing San Bernardino springsnails. However, the 
inconsistency of water flow complicated the habitat reestablishment 
effort. There was not enough free-flowing water to support San 
Bernardino springsnail reintroduction at Tule Spring. The San 
Bernardino NWR is currently looking for opportunities to augment the 
water supply to complete the habitat restoration efforts at Tule Spring 
and reintroduce springsnails. Also, the Service is seeking to acquire, 
through donation, the John Slaughter Ranch Museum for incorporation 
into the San Bernardino NWR. This would provide tremendous 
opportunities to protect, manage, and enhance springs on the property. 
However, it is uncertain if this transaction will occur. The Service is 
continuing to work with AGFD and the John Slaughter Ranch Museum to 
develop conservation actions for the San Bernardino springsnail, 
including the development of a domestic water well to augment surface 
water flow.
    The Act and its implementing regulations set forth a series of 
general prohibitions and exceptions that apply to all endangered 
wildlife. The prohibitions, codified at 50 CFR 17.21 for endangered 
wildlife, in part, make it illegal for any person subject to the 
jurisdiction of the United States to take (includes harass, harm, 
pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect; or to 
attempt any of these), import, export, ship in interstate commerce in 
the course of commercial activity, or sell or offer for sale in 
interstate or foreign commerce any listed species. It is also illegal 
to possess, sell, deliver, carry, transport, or ship any such wildlife 
that has been taken illegally. Certain exceptions apply to agents of 
the Service and State conservation agencies.
    We may issue permits to carry out otherwise prohibited activities 
involving threatened or endangered wildlife species under certain 
circumstances. Regulations governing permits are codified at 50 CFR 
17.22 for endangered species. With regard to endangered wildlife, a 
permit must be issued for the following purposes: For scientific 
purposes, to enhance the propagation or survival of the species, and 
for incidental take in connection with otherwise lawful activities.
    It is our policy, as published in the Federal Register on July 1, 
1994 (59 FR 34272), to identify to the maximum extent practicable at 
the time a species is listed, those activities that would or would not 
constitute a violation of section 9 of the Act. The intent of this 
policy is to increase public awareness of the effect of a proposed 
listing on proposed and ongoing activities within the range of species 
proposed for listing. The following activities could potentially result 
in a violation of section 9 of the Act; this list is not comprehensive:
    (1) Unauthorized collecting, handling, possessing, selling, 
delivering, carrying, or transporting of the species, including import 
or export across State lines and international boundaries, except for 
properly documented antique specimens at least 100 years old, as 
defined by section 10(h)(1) of the Act;
    (2) Introduction of nonnative species that compete with or prey 
upon the Three Forks springsnail and San Bernardino springsnail, such 
as the introduction of competing, nonnative species to the State of 
Arizona;
    (3) Unauthorized release of biological control agents that attack 
any life stage of this species;
    (4) Unauthorized modification of the springs or water flow of any 
stream or removal or destruction of emergent aquatic vegetation in any 
body of water in which the Three Forks springsnail or San Bernardino 
springsnail are known to occur; and
    (5) Unauthorized discharge of chemicals or fill material into any 
waters in which the Three Forks springsnail or San Bernardino 
springsnail are known to occur.
    Questions regarding whether specific activities would constitute a 
violation of section 9 of the Act should be directed to the Arizona 
Ecological Services Field Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

Critical Habitat

Background

    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) Which 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 species 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, and transplantation, and, in the 
extraordinary case where population pressures within a given ecosystem 
cannot be otherwise relieved, may include regulated taking.

[[Page 23077]]

    Critical habitat receives protection under section 7 of the Act 
through the requirement that Federal agencies ensure, in consultation 
with the Service, that any action they authorize, fund, or carry out is 
not likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification of 
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 
non-Federal 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) 
of the Act would apply, but even in the event of a destruction or 
adverse modification finding, the obligation of the Federal action 
agency and the landowner is not to restore or recover the species, but 
to implement reasonable and prudent alternatives to avoid destruction 
or adverse modification of critical habitat.
    Under the first prong of the Act's definition of critical habitat, 
areas within the geographical area occupied by the species at the time 
it was listed are included in a critical habitat designation if they 
contain physical or biological features (1) which are essential to the 
conservation of the species and (2) which may require special 
management considerations or protection. For these areas, critical 
habitat designations identify, to the extent known using the best 
scientific and commercial data available, those physical or biological 
features that are essential to the conservation of the species (such as 
space, food, cover, and protected habitat). In identifying those 
physical and biological features within an area, we focus on the 
principal biological or physical constituent elements (primary 
constituent elements, such as roost sites, nesting grounds, seasonal 
wetlands, water quality, tide, soil type) that are essential to the 
conservation of the species. Primary constituent elements are the 
specific elements of physical or biological features that, together, 
provide for a species' life-history processes and are essential to the 
conservation of the species.
    Under the second prong of the Act's definition of critical habitat, 
we can designate critical habitat in areas outside the geographical 
area occupied by the species at the time it is listed, upon a 
determination that such areas are essential for the conservation of the 
species. For example, an area currently occupied by the species, but 
that was not occupied at the time of listing, may be essential to the 
conservation of the species and may be included in the critical habitat 
designation. We designate critical habitat in areas outside the 
geographical area occupied by a species at its time of listing only 
when a designation limited to its then current range would be 
inadequate to ensure 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, other unpublished materials, or 
experts' opinions or personal knowledge.
    Habitat is dynamic, and species may move from one area to another 
over time. We recognize that critical habitat designated at a 
particular point in time may not include all of the habitat areas that 
we may later determine are necessary for the recovery of the species. 
For these reasons, a critical habitat designation does not signal that 
habitat outside the designated area is unimportant or may not be needed 
for recovery of the species. Areas that are important to the 
conservation of the species, both inside and outside the critical 
habitat designation, will continue to be subject to: (1) Conservation 
actions implemented under section 7(a)(1) of the Act, (2) regulatory 
protections afforded by the requirement in section 7(a)(2) of the Act 
for Federal agencies to insure their actions are not likely to 
jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened 
species, and (3) the prohibitions of section 9 of the Act if actions 
occurring in these areas may affect the species. Federally funded or 
permitted projects affecting listed species outside their designated 
critical habitat areas may still result in jeopardy findings in some 
cases. These protections and conservation tools will continue to 
contribute to recovery of this species. 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 at 
the time of these planning efforts calls for a different outcome.

Physical or Biological Features

    In accordance with section 3(5)(A)(i) and 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act and 
regulations at 50 CFR 424.12, in determining which areas within the 
geographical area occupied at the time of listing to designate as 
critical habitat, we consider the physical or biological features 
(PBFs) that are essential to the conservation of the species, and which 
may require special management considerations or protection. These 
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, or 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 derive the specific PBFs from studies of the species' habitats, 
ecology, and life history as described below. We have determined that 
the Three Forks springsnail and San Bernardino springsnail require the 
following physical or biological features:
Space for Individual and Population Growth and Normal Behavior
    The Three Forks and San Bernardino springsnails occur where water 
emerges from the ground as free-flowing springs and spring runs. Within 
spring ecosystems, proximity to springheads is important due to their 
need for

[[Page 23078]]

appropriate water chemistry, substrate, and flow characteristics of 
springheads. The Three Forks springsnail inhabits free-flowing springs, 
concrete boxed springheads, spring runs, spring seeps, and shallow pond 
water. In the United States, the San Bernardino springsnail inhabits 
free-flowing springs, a concrete boxed springhead, and spring runs. 
Therefore, based on the information above, we identify free-flowing 
springs, spring runs, spring seeps, and shallow pond water to be 
physical or biological features for both species.
Food, Water, Air, Light, or Other Nutritional or Physiological 
Requirements
    Martinez and Myers (2008, pp. 189-194) found the presence of Three 
Forks springsnail was associated with gravel and pebble substrates, 
shallow water up to 6 cm (2.35 in) deep, high conductivity, alkaline 
waters of pH 8, and the presence of pond snail, Physa gyrina. Three 
Forks springsnail density is significantly greater on gravel and cobble 
substrates (Martinez and Rogowski 2011, p. 220; Martinez and Myers 
2002, p. 1), though the species has been reported as ``abundant'' in 
the fine-grained mud of a 0.01 ha (0.02 ac) pond at Three Forks Springs 
(Taylor 1987, p. 32). Flowing water is essential to provide for the 
species' life-history processes.
    The density of San Bernardino springsnails is positively associated 
with cobble substrates, higher vegetation density, faster water 
velocity, higher dissolved oxygen, water temperature of 57 to 72 [deg]F 
(14 to 22 [deg]C), and pH values between 7.6 and 8.0 (Malcom et al. 
2005, pp. 71, 75-76). San Bernardino springsnail densities are higher 
in sand and cobble substrates, higher vegetation density, and higher 
water velocity, but lower in silt and organic substrates, and deeper 
water (Malcom et al. 2005, pp. 75-76). Flowing water is essential to 
provide for the species' life-history processes.
    Three Forks and San Bernardino springsnails consume periphyton on 
submerged surfaces. Periphyton is a complex mixture of algae, detritus, 
bacteria, and other microbes that grow attached to submerged surfaces 
such as cobble or larger plants, such as watercress. Periphyton are 
primary producers of energy (organisms at the beginning of a food chain 
that produce biomass from inorganic compounds) and can be sensitive 
indicators of environmental change in flowing waters. Production of 
periphyton is essential to provide forage to support physiological 
health. Therefore, based on the information above, we identify 
substrates with periphyton to be a physical or biological feature for 
both species.
Cover and Shelter
    Three Forks springsnail and San Bernardino springsnail utilize 
cobble, gravel, sand, woody debris, aquatic vegetation, and leaf matter 
for cover and shelter. These features are necessary to provide some 
protection from predators and competitors. Therefore, we identify 
cobble, gravel, sand, woody debris, aquatic vegetation, and leaf matter 
for cover and shelter to be a physical or biological feature for both 
species.
Sites for Breeding, Reproduction, and Rearing and Development of 
Offspring
    Substrate characteristics can influence the productivity of Three 
Forks and San Bernardino springsnails. Suitable substrates are 
typically firm, characterized by cobble, gravel, sand, woody debris, 
and aquatic vegetation such as watercress, though this is influenced by 
water flow and depth. Suitable substrates increase productivity by 
providing suitable egg laying sites, protection of young from 
predators, and provision of food resources. Therefore, based on the 
information above, we identify substrates with cobble, gravel, pebble, 
sand, silt, and aquatic vegetation, for egg laying, maturing, feeding, 
and escape from predators to be physical or biological features for 
both species.
Habitats That Are Protected From Disturbance or Are Representative of 
the Historical, Geographical, and Ecological Distribution of the 
Species
    The Three Forks springsnail and the San Bernardino springsnail have 
restricted geographic distributions. Endemic species whose populations 
exhibit a high degree of isolation are extremely susceptible to 
extinction from both random and nonrandom catastrophic natural or 
human-caused events. Therefore, it is essential to maintain the spring 
systems upon which the species' depend. Adequate spring sites, free of 
disturbance, must exist to promote population expansion and viability. 
This means reasonable protection from disturbance caused by soil 
erosion following wildfires, exposure to fire retardant, water 
depletion and diversion, springhead inundation, and nonnative species. 
Therefore, based on the information above, we identify spring sites 
free of disturbance to be a physical or biological feature for both 
species.

Primary Constituent Elements for the Three Forks and San Bernardino 
Springsnails

    Under the Act and its implementing regulations, we are required to 
identify the physical or biological features essential to the 
conservation of the Three Forks springsnail and San Bernardino 
springsnail in areas occupied at the time of listing, focusing on the 
features' primary constituent elements. We consider primary constituent 
elements to be the specific elements of physical or biological features 
that, together, provide for a species' life-history processes and are 
essential to the conservation of the species.
    Based on the above needs and our current knowledge of the life 
history, biology, and ecology of these species and the habitat 
requirements for sustaining the essential life-history functions of 
these species, we have determined that the PCEs specific to the Three 
Forks springsnail and San Bernardino springsnail are:
    (1) Adequately clean spring water (free from contamination) 
emerging from the ground and flowing on the surface;
    (2) Periphyton (attached algae), bacteria, and decaying organic 
material for food;
    (3) Substrates that include cobble, gravel, pebble, sand, silt, and 
aquatic vegetation, for egg laying, maturing, feeding, and escape from 
predators; and
    (4) Either an absence of nonnative predators (crayfish) and 
competitors (snails) or their presence at low population levels.

Special Management Considerations or Protections

    When designating critical habitat, we assess whether the specific 
areas within the geographic area occupied by the species at the time of 
listing contain features that are essential to the conservation of the 
species and which may require special management considerations or 
protections. The features essential to the conservation of the Three 
Forks springsnail and San Bernardino springsnail may require special 
management considerations or protections to reduce the following 
threats: Soil erosion following high-intensity wildfires, exposure to 
fire retardant, springhead inundation, water depletion and diversion, 
and the introduction of nonnative predators and competitors.
    For these springsnails, special management considerations or 
protection are needed both within and outside of critical habitat areas 
to

[[Page 23079]]

address threats. Management activities that could ameliorate threats 
include (but are not limited to) protecting against: (1) Wildfire and 
fire retardant used to fight wildfires, (2) predation by nonnative 
crayfish, (3) water depletion and diversion, (4) potential competition 
from nonnative New Zealand mudsnails or predation by nonnative 
crayfish, and (5) harm from livestock and other ungulates through 
fencing to protect spring habitats from damage. Special management is 
also needed for the purposes of adaptive management, and includes 
continuing to conduct research on the springsnails, and on critical 
aspects of their biology (for example, reproduction, sources of 
mortality, sensitivity to contaminants, dispersal behavior, anti-
predator behavior, etc.).

Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat

    As required by section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act, we used the best 
scientific and commercial data available to designate critical habitat. 
We reviewed available information pertaining to the habitat 
requirements of the Three Forks springsnail and San Bernardino 
springsnail. In accordance with the Act and its implementing regulation 
at 50 CFR 424.12(e), we considered whether designating additional 
areas--outside those currently occupied as well as those occupied at 
the time of listing--are necessary to ensure the conservation of the 
species. We are designating critical habitat in areas within the 
geographical area occupied by the species at the time of this final 
listing rule. We also are designating specific areas outside the 
geographical area occupied by the species at the time of this final 
listing rule that were historically occupied, but are presently 
unoccupied, because we have determined that such areas are essential 
for the conservation of the species. We are designating all habitat in 
the United States containing PCEs that we consider to be currently 
occupied, and unoccupied springs that are essential for the 
conservation of the species. We are not designating critical habitat in 
Sonora, Mexico, because we do not designate critical habitat outside 
the United States.
    We assessed the critical life-history components of these 
springsnail species, as they relate to habitat, and used this 
information to identify which areas to designate as critical habitat. 
Three Forks and San Bernardino springsnails require unpolluted spring 
water in springheads and spring runs; periphyton, bacteria, and 
decaying organic material for food; rock-derived substrates for egg-
laying, maturing, feeding, and escape from predators; and absence or 
tolerable levels of nonnative predators and competitors. The areas 
designated as critical habitat for the Three Forks springsnail and the 
San Bernardino springsnail contain these PCEs that are essential to 
these life-history processes of the species.
    Units were designated based on sufficient elements of physical or 
biological features being present to support the Three Forks 
springsnail's and San Bernardino springsnail's life-history processes. 
Some units contain all of the identified elements of physical or 
biological features and supported multiple life processes. Some units 
contain only some elements of the physical or biological features 
necessary to support the Three Forks springsnail's and San Bernardino 
springsnail's particular use of that habitat. Each specific area will 
be described below, including a discussion of why that area meets the 
definition of critical habitat.
    When determining critical habitat boundaries within this final 
rule, we made every effort to avoid including developed areas such as 
lands covered by buildings, pavement, and other structures because such 
lands lack physical or biological features for the Three Forks 
springsnail and San Bernardino springsnail. 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 
lands. Any such lands inadvertently left inside critical habitat 
boundaries shown on the maps of this final rule have been excluded by 
text in the rule and are not designated as critical habitat. Therefore, 
a Federal action involving these lands will not trigger a section 7 
consultation with respect to critical habitat and the requirement of no 
adverse modification unless the specific action would affect the 
physical or biological features in the adjacent critical habitat.

Final Critical Habitat Designation

    For the Three Forks springsnail, we are designating critical 
habitat in two areas currently occupied, and one area currently 
unoccupied by the species, but considered to have been historically 
occupied. We have determined that the unoccupied unit, Three Forks 
Springs, is essential for the conservation of the species, because the 
geographic area occupied at the time of this final listing rule is not 
sufficient for recovery. The currently occupied areas represent a 
portion of the former range and are vulnerable to a single catastrophic 
event. When developing conservation strategies for species whose life 
histories are characterized by short generation time, small body size, 
high rates of population increase, and high habitat specificity, 
greater emphasis should be placed on the maintenance of multiple 
populations as opposed to protecting a single population (Murphy et al. 
1990, pp. 41-51).
    For the San Bernardino springsnail, we are designating critical 
habitat in two springs currently occupied and two springs not currently 
occupied by the species. The unoccupied springs are essential to the 
conservation of the species, because the geographic area that is 
currently occupied is not sufficient for recovery. Even though five 
additional sites have been recently discovered in Sonora, Mexico, there 
are currently only two occupied units in the United States and all 
seven sites where the species occurs are close enough in they are 
vulnerable to a single catastrophic event. So, we are designating the 
unoccupied units of Snail and Tule Springs to increase species' 
redundancy, resiliency, and representation. (Resiliency of a species 
allows the species to recover from periodic disturbance. Redundancy of 
populations may be needed to provide a margin of safety for the species 
to withstand catastrophic events. Adequate representation ensures that 
the species' adaptive capabilities are conserved and genetic diversity 
is maintained.)
    The critical habitat units we describe below constitute our current 
and best assessment of the areas that meet the definition of critical 
habitat for the Three Forks springsnail and the San Bernardino 
springsnail. Table 3 summarizes the threats and current occupancy of 
the designated critical habitat units. Table 4 provides approximate 
areas (ac/ha) and land ownership of the units.

[[Page 23080]]



Table 3--Threats and Occupancy in Areas Containing Features Essential to the Conservation of the Three Forks and
                                           San Bernardino Springsnails
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             Threats requiring special management or
          Critical habitat unit                            protections                     Currently occupied
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             Three Forks springsnail
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Three Forks Springs Unit.................  Soil erosion following wildfires, fire      No.
                                            retardant use, nonnative predators,
                                            drought, and potential introduction of
                                            nonnative snails.
Boneyard Bog Springs Unit................  Soil erosion following wildfires, fire      Yes.
                                            retardant use, nonnative predators,
                                            drought, and potential introduction of
                                            nonnative snails.
Boneyard Creek Springs Unit..............  Soil erosion following wildfires, fire      Yes.
                                            retardant use, nonnative predators,
                                            drought, and potential introduction of
                                            nonnative snails.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           San Bernardino springsnail
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Snail Spring Unit........................  Water depletion, drought, potential         No.
                                            introduction of nonnative snails, and
                                            potential exposure to fire retardant
                                            chemicals through wind drift.
Goat Tank Spring Unit....................  Water depletion, drought, potential         Yes.
                                            introduction of nonnative snails, and
                                            potential exposure to fire retardant
                                            chemicals through wind drift.
Horse Spring Unit........................  Water depletion, drought, potential         Yes.
                                            introduction of nonnative snails, and
                                            potential exposure to fire retardant
                                            chemicals through wind drift.
Tule Spring Unit.........................  Fire retardant use, water depletion,        No.
                                            drought, and potential introduction of
                                            nonnative snails.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Table 4--Ownership and Approximate Area of Critical Habitat Units for the Three Forks and San Berdardino
                                                  Springsnails
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
          Critical habitat unit                      Ownership               Total area in acres  (hectares)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                             Three Forks springsnail
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Three Forks Springs Unit.................  Federal.....................  6.1 ac (2.5 ha)
Boneyard Bog Springs Unit................  Federal.....................  5.3 ac (2.1 ha)
Boneyard Creek Springs Unit..............  Federal.....................  5.8 ac (2.3 ha)
                                                                        ----------------------------------------
    Total................................  ............................  17.2 ac (6.9 ha)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           San Bernardino springsnail
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Snail Spring Unit........................  State.......................  1.129 ac (0.457 ha)
Goat Tank Spring Unit....................  State.......................  0.005 ac (0.002 ha)
Horse Spring Unit........................  State.......................  0.078 ac (0.032 ha)
Tule Spring Unit.........................  Federal.....................  0.801 ac (0.324 ha)
                                                                        ----------------------------------------
    Total................................  ............................  2.013 ac (0.815 ha)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We present brief descriptions of all units, and reasons why they 
meet the definition of critical habitat for the Three Forks springsnail 
and San Bernardino springsnail, below. Unit descriptions are presented 
separately for each species.

Three Forks Springsnail

Three Forks Springs Unit
    The Three Forks Springs Unit is a complex of springs, spring runs, 
spring seeps, a segment of an unnamed stream connecting them, and a 
small amount of upland area encircling them to make a single, 
contiguous unit of approximately 6.1 ac (2.5 ha) in the vicinity of UTM 
Zone 12 coordinate 655710, 3747260 in Apache County, Arizona. The 
entire unit is in Federal ownership and managed by the Apache-
Sitgreaves National Forests. The unit encompasses eight major 
springheads and spring runs, each flowing a short distance of several 
meters to an unnamed tributary of the Black River. Two of the spring 
runs flow into a shallow pond and has an outflow run to the unnamed 
tributary. The springs complex contains spring seeps along the spring 
runs and the tributary. The tributary itself provides habitat 
connectivity. The area within the designated unit contains a small 
amount of upland area adjacent to the springheads, spring runs, spring 
seeps, and the tributary segment. The moist soils and vegetation in the 
adjacent uplands (approximately 3.3 ft (1.0 m) from surface water) 
produce periphyton (food for snails) and protect the substrate.
    Currently, the Three Forks Springs Unit is not occupied. However, 
the Three Forks Springs' first documented occupancy was in 1973 (Landye 
1973, p. 49), and the species was abundant here until 2004 (AGFD 2008, 
entire), at which time the waters are suspected to have been 
contaminated by wildfire retardant drift. The last documented 
occurrence of the Three Forks springsnail at Three Forks Springs was in 
2003 (AGFD 2008, entire). Fire retardant becomes nontoxic within a few 
days of contact with water, so currently, the Three Forks Springs Unit 
contains all of the PCEs. The unit is essential for the conservation of 
the species, because: (1) It has the ability to support all of the 
Three Forks springsnail life processes, (2) the geographic area 
occupied at the time of this final listing rule is not sufficient for 
recovery, and (3) it increases the species' population redundancy. 
There are only two currently occupied areas representing a portion of 
the species' former range, and these two small areas

[[Page 23081]]

cause the species to be vulnerable to extinction from a single, 
catastrophic event.
    Threats to the Three Forks springsnail in this unit include the 
soil erosion following wildfires, fire retardant chemicals, drought, 
nonnative crayfish, and potential introduction of nonnative New Zealand 
mudsnails.
Boneyard Bog Springs Unit
    The Boneyard Bog Springs Unit is a complex of springs, spring runs, 
spring seeps, and the segment of Boneyard Creek connecting them, and a 
small amount of upland area encircling them to make them a single unit 
of approximately 5.3 ac (2.1 ha), in the vicinity of UTM Zone 12 
coordinate 659970, 3750730, in Apache County, Arizona. The entire unit 
is in Federal ownership and managed by the Apache-Sitgreaves National 
Forests. The unit encompasses eight major springheads and spring runs, 
each of which flows several yards (meters) to Boneyard Creek, a 
tributary of the Black River. The spring complex contains spring seeps 
along the spring runs and the tributary. We are designating a 
contiguous critical habitat unit that includes the springheads, spring 
runs, seeps, and that portion of Boneyard Creek that connects the 
spring runs. Boneyard Creek is occupied where spring seeps are present 
along it, and the unit will provide for springsnail movement 
downstream, and is essential for habitat connectivity. This unit 
contains approximately 3.3 ft (1.0 m) in width of upland area on each 
side of the springheads, spring runs, spring seeps, and tributary 
segment, because the moist soils and vegetation in the adjacent uplands 
provide food for the snails.
    This unit is currently occupied and contains all the PBFs essential 
for the conservation of the species. Also, the PBFs that may require 
special management are adequately flowing springs, runs, and seeps that 
are free of contaminants and disturbance from nonnative species. 
Special management is needed to protect against the threats of 
wildfire, fire retardant used to fight wildfires, elk wallowing, 
predation by nonnative crayfish, drought, and potential competition 
from nonnative New Zealand mudsnails.
Boneyard Creek Springs Unit
    The Boneyard Creek Springs Unit is a complex of springs, spring 
runs, spring seeps, and the segment of Boneyard Creek connecting them, 
and a small amount of upland area encompassing them, in a single, 
contiguous unit of approximately 5.8 ac (2.3 ha), in the vicinity of 
UTM Zone 12 coordinate 658300, 3749790, in Apache County, Arizona. The 
entire unit is in Federal ownership and managed by the Apache-
Sitgreaves National Forests. The unit encompasses at least 11 major 
springheads and spring runs, which each flow a distance of several 
meters (yards) to Boneyard Creek, a tributary of the Black River. The 
spring complex contains spring seeps along the spring runs and the 
tributary. We are designating as critical habitat a contiguous unit 
that includes the springheads, spring runs, seeps, and that portion of 
Boneyard Creek that connects the spring runs. Boneyard Creek is 
occupied where there are spring seeps along it, and it should provide 
for springsnail movement downstream and is essential for habitat 
connectivity. The area within the unit contains approximately 3.3 ft 
(1.0 m) in width of upland area on each side of the springheads, spring 
runs, spring seeps, and tributary segment. The moist soils and 
vegetation in the adjacent uplands produce food for the snails and 
protect the substrate they use.
    The Boneyard Creek Springs Unit is currently occupied and contains 
all the PBFs essential for the conservation of the species. The PBFs 
that may require special management are adequately flowing springs, 
runs, and seeps that are free of contaminants and disturbance from 
nonnative species. Threats to the Three Forks springsnail in this unit 
that may require special management include wildfire, fire retardant 
used to fight wildfires, predation by nonnative crayfish, drought, and 
potential competition from nonnative New Zealand mudsnails.

San Bernardino Springsnail

Snail Spring Unit
    The Snail Spring Unit encompasses 1.129 ac (0.457 ha) in Cochise 
County, Arizona. The entire unit is owned by the State of Arizona and 
managed by the John Slaughter Ranch Museum. The spring is approximately 
16 ft (5 m) in diameter, and has a spring run that goes south from the 
spring approximately 77 ft (23 m) to a manmade ditch, which runs 34 ft 
(10 m) to a dirt road. It passes under the road in a 12-ft (4-m) 
culvert, then flows approximately 56 ft (17 m) below the road. We are 
not designating the road as critical habitat, but we are designating 
the culvert beneath the road, because it contains flowing water that 
provides PCE 1. The spring and spring run down to the ditch are dry and 
unoccupied, though they contain PCE 3, substrate. The ditch is 
unoccupied, though all the PCEs are present. We are including as part 
of this critical habitat designation a 3.3-ft (1-m) upland area on each 
side of the spring, spring run and ditch, because moist soils and 
upland vegetation are necessary to produce food for the snails and 
protect the substrate they use. Because of the small size of the 
spring, spring run, and ditch, we are precluded from mapping them 
precisely due to inaccuracies inherent in the use of satellites for 
locating and mapping. Therefore, for mapping purposes we created a 
circle that encompasses them. The critical habitat is the spring, 
spring run, ditch and buffer within the 249-ft (76-m) diameter circle 
centered on UTM coordinate 663858, 3468182 in Zone 12.
    The Snail Spring Unit is currently unoccupied by the San Bernardino 
springsnail, but it was historically occupied. This Snail Spring Unit 
is essential for the conservation of the species, because it will 
provide population redundancy following future reintroduction of the 
species.
Goat Tank Spring Unit
    This unit encompasses 0.005 ac (0.002 ha) in Cochise County, 
Arizona. The entire unit is in State ownership and managed by the John 
Slaughter Ranch Museum. The spring is contained within a square 
concrete box approximately 2 ft by 3 ft (0.6 m by 0.9 m). There is also 
some spring seepage emanating from the base of a cottonwood tree about 
6.6 ft (2 m) from the spring-box. We are designating as critical 
habitat a 3.3-ft (1-m) upland area on each side of the springbox and 
spring seepage, because it has moist soils and vegetation that produces 
food for the snails and protects the substrate the snails use. Because 
of the small size of the spring-box and spring seepage, we are 
precluded from mapping them precisely due to inaccuracies inherent in 
the use of satellites for locating and mapping. Therefore, for mapping 
purposes we created a circle that encompasses them. The critical 
habitat designation is the spring-box, spring seepage, and buffer 
within the 16-ft (5-m) diameter circle centered on UTM coordinate 
663725, 3468162 in Zone 12.
    This unit is occupied at the time of this final listing rule, and 
contains all the PBFs essential for the conservation of the species. 
The PBFs which may require special management are free-flowing springs 
and habitat free of disturbance from nonnative competitors. Threats to 
the San Bernardino springsnail in this unit that may require special 
management include water depletion and drought. Water depletion has 
affected the species with a loss of flowing water at nearby

[[Page 23082]]

Snail Spring in the recent past (Cox et al. 2007, p. 2; Smith et al. 
2003, p. 1; Malcom et al. 2003, p. 18). Also, potential threats may be 
posed by nonnative snails, should they be introduced, and by fire 
retardant chemicals, should they be applied in other portions of the 
San Bernardino Valley and carried into this unit by wind drift.
Horse Spring Unit
    This unit encompasses 0.078 ac (0.032 ha) in Cochise County, 
Arizona. The entire unit is State-owned and managed by the John 
Slaughter Ranch Museum. The spring emerges from a PVC pipe, which is 
enclosed in a spring-box, and water flows out in a spring-run that is 
approximately 1.6 ft (0.5 m) wide and 51 ft (16 m) in length. We are 
designating as critical habitat a 3.3-ft (1-m) buffer of upland area on 
each side of the springhead and spring-run, because it has moist soils 
and vegetation that produce food for the snails and protect the 
substrate they use. Because of the small size of the springhead and 
spring-run, we are precluded from mapping them precisely due to 
inaccuracies inherent in the use of satellites for locating and 
mapping. Therefore, for mapping purposes we created a circle that 
encompasses them. The designated critical habitat is the spring-box, 
spring seepage, and buffer within the 66 ft (20 m) diameter circle 
centered on UTM coordinate 663772, 3468091 in Zone 12.
    The Horse Spring Unit is occupied at the time of this listing, and 
contains all the PBFs essential for the conservation of the species. 
The PBFs which may require special management are free-flowing springs 
and habitat free of disturbance from nonnative competitors. Threats to 
the San Bernardino springsnail in this unit that may require special 
management include groundwater depletion and drought. Groundwater 
depletion has affected the species with a loss of flowing water at 
nearby Snail Spring in the recent past (Cox et al. 2007, p. 2; Smith et 
al. 2003; p. 1, Malcom et al. 2003, p. 18), and may threaten this site 
in the future. Also, potential threats may be posed by nonnative 
snails, should they be introduced, and by fire retardant chemicals, 
should they be applied in other portions of the San Bernardino Valley 
and carried into this unit by wind drift.
Tule Spring Unit
    This unit encompasses 0.801 ac (0.324 ha) in Cochise County, 
Arizona. The entire unit is in Federal ownership and managed by the San 
Bernardino NWR. The spring forms a pond approximately 75 ft (23 m) 
north-south and 43 ft (13 m) east-west, and it has a spring-run that is 
approximately 71 ft (22 m) in length. The spring run emerges from the 
southeastern side of the spring pond, runs northeast for approximately 
41 ft (13 m) to a manmade ditch, which runs southeast 30 ft (9 m). We 
are designating as critical habitat a 3.3-ft (1-m) buffer of upland 
area on each side of the spring, spring-run, and ditch, because it has 
moist soils and vegetation that produce food for the snails and protect 
the substrate they use. Although there is a pond at this location, the 
seeps where the water emerges are not located within the pond. The pond 
is included in the designation, because, along with the spring, seeps, 
spring run, ditch, and upland buffer, it comprises an inter-related, 
functioning aquatic system important for the springsnails and the fish. 
The water from the pond will maintain a springbrook, and the 
springbrook will drain into other ponds.
    Because of the small size of the spring, spring-run, and ditch, we 
are precluded from mapping them precisely due to inaccuracies inherent 
in the use of satellites for locating and mapping. Therefore, for 
mapping purposes we created a circle that encompasses them. The 
critical habitat is the spring, spring-run, ditch and buffer within the 
210-ft (64-m) diameter circle centered on UTM coordinate 664259, 
3468499 in Zone 12.
    The Tule Spring Unit is currently unoccupied by the San Bernardino 
springsnail at the time of this listing, but is considered to have been 
historically occupied (Malcom et al. 2003, p. 19), and shares a common 
aquifer and similarities in water chemistry, temperature, and hydrology 
with Snail Spring. We consider the Tule Spring Unit to be essential to 
the conservation of the species, because it contains all the PCEs 
necessary for the life-history processes, and it provides population 
redundancy following future reintroduction of the species.
    Threats to the San Bernardino springsnail in this unit include the 
potential use of fire retardant chemicals, water depletion, drought, 
and the potential introduction of nonnative snails.

Effects of Critical Habitat Designation

Section 7 Consultation

    Section 7 of the Act requires Federal agencies, including the 
Service, to ensure that actions they fund, authorize, or carry out are 
not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species or 
destroy or adversely modify critical habitat. Decisions by the courts 
of appeals for the Fifth and Ninth 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 Circuit 2004) and Sierra Club v. 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service et al., 245 F.3d 434, 442F (5th Circuit 
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 those PCEs that relate to 
the ability of the area to periodically support the species) to serve 
its intended conservation role for the species.
    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 the 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. 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 critical habitat; 
or
    (2) A biological opinion for Federal actions that may affect, or 
are likely to adversely affect, listed species or critical habitat.
    When 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 402.2 as alternative actions identified during consultation that:
    (1) Can be implemented in a manner consistent with the intended 
purpose of the action;
    (2) Can be implemented consistent with the scope of the Federal 
agency's legal authority and jurisdiction;
    (3) Are economically and technologically feasible; and
    (4) Would, in the Director's opinion, avoid jeopardizing the 
continued existence of the listed species or

[[Page 23083]]

destroying or adversely modifying critical habitat.
    Reasonable and prudent alternatives can vary from slight project 
modifications to extensive project redesign or relocation of the 
project. Costs associated with implementing reasonable and prudent 
alternatives are similarly variable.
    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 have been 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 actions that may affect the Three Forks springsnail or the 
San Bernardino springsnail or their designated critical habitat require 
section 7(a)(2) consultation under the Act. On private lands in the 
United States, examples of Federal actions include, but are not limited 
to, Environmental Protection Agency authorization of discharges under 
the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System and registration of 
pesticides; Federal Highway Administration approval of funding of road 
or highway infrastructure and maintenance; Corps authorization of 
discharges of dredged and fill material into waters of the United 
States under section 404 of the CWA; U.S. Department of Agriculture 
(USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service technical assistance and 
other programs; USDA--Rural Utilities Service infrastructure or 
development; U.S. Department of Homeland Security activities in regard 
to immigration enforcement and regulation; the Department of Housing 
and Urban Development Small Cities Community Development Block Grant 
and home loan programs; or a permit from us under section 10(a)(1)(B) 
of the Act. 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(a)(2) consultations. In addition to several of the specific examples 
above, other Federal actions that may require consultation on Federal 
lands include land-management actions implemented by the applicable 
Federal land management agency.

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 those PCEs that 
relate to the ability of the area to periodically support the species. 
Activities that may destroy or adversely modify critical habitat are 
those that alter the PCEs to an extent that appreciably reduces the 
conservation value of critical habitat for the Three Forks springsnail 
or the San Bernardino springsnail. As discussed above, the role of 
critical habitat is to support the life-history needs of the species 
and provide for the conservation of the species.
    Section 4(b)(8) of the Act requires us to briefly evaluate and 
describe, in any proposed or final regulation that designates critical 
habitat, activities involving Federal actions that may 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 affect critical habitat and, therefore, should 
result in consultation for the Three Forks springsnail and the San 
Bernardino springsnail include, but are not limited to:
    (1) Actions that would reduce the quantity of water flow within the 
spring systems designated as critical habitat.
    (2) Actions that would result in the inundation of springheads 
within the spring systems designated as critical habitat.
    (3) Actions that would degrade water quality within the spring 
systems designated as critical habitat.
    (4) Actions that would reduce the availability of course, firm 
aquatic substrates within the spring systems that are designated as 
critical habitat.
    (5) Actions that would reduce the occurrence of native aquatic 
macrophytes, algae, and/or periphyton within the spring systems 
designated as critical habitat.
    (6) Actions that would cause, promote, or maintain the presence of 
nonnative predators and competitors at unacceptable levels within the 
spring systems designated as critical habitat.

Exemptions

Application of Section 4(a)(3) of the Act

    The Sikes Act Improvement Act of 1997 (Sikes Act) (16 U.S.C. 670a) 
required each military installation that includes land and water 
suitable for the conservation and management of natural resources to 
complete an integrated natural resources management plan (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.
    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 (DOD), or designated 
for its use, that are subject to an integrated natural resources 
management plan prepared under section 101 of the Sikes Act (16 U.S.C. 
670a), if the Secretary determines in writing that such plan provides a 
benefit to the species for which critical habitat is proposed for 
designation.''
    There are no DOD lands with a completed INRMP within the critical 
habitat designation. Therefore, we are not exempting lands from this 
final designation of critical habitat for the San Bernardino or Three 
Forks springsnails pursuant to section 4(a)(3)(B)(i) of the Act.

Exclusions

Application of 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

[[Page 23084]]

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. The statute on 
its face, as well as 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 in making that determination.
    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, the Secretary 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 identify 
the benefits of including the area in the designation, identify the 
benefits of excluding the area from the designation, and evaluate 
whether the benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of inclusion. 
If the analysis indicates that the benefits of exclusion outweigh the 
benefits of inclusion, the Secretary may exercise his discretion to 
exclude the area only if such exclusion would not result in the 
extinction of the species.
Exclusions Based on Economic Impacts
    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we consider the economic impacts 
of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. In order to 
consider economic impacts, we prepared a draft economic analysis of the 
proposed critical habitat designation and related factors (Industrial 
Economics 2011). The draft economic analysis, dated October 24, 2011, 
was made available for public review on November 17, 2011 (76 FR 
71300). We accepted comments on the draft analysis until December 19, 
2011. Following the close of the comment periods, a final analysis of 
the potential economic effects of the designation was completed on 
January 11, 2012, taking into consideration the public comments and any 
new information (Industrial Economics 2012).
    The intent of the final economic analysis (FEA) is to quantify the 
economic impacts of all potential conservation efforts for Three Forks 
springsnail and San Bernardino springsnail; some of these costs will 
likely be incurred regardless of whether we designate critical habitat 
(baseline). The economic impact of the final critical habitat 
designation is analyzed by comparing scenarios both ``with critical 
habitat'' and ``without critical habitat.'' The ``without critical 
habitat'' scenario represents the baseline for the analysis, 
considering protections already in place for the species (e.g., under 
the Federal listing and other Federal, State, and local regulations). 
The baseline, therefore, represents the costs incurred regardless of 
whether critical habitat is designated. The ``with critical habitat'' 
scenario describes the incremental impacts associated specifically with 
the designation of critical habitat for the species. The incremental 
conservation efforts and associated impacts are those not expected to 
occur absent the designation of critical habitat for the species. In 
other words, the incremental costs are those attributable solely to the 
designation of critical habitat above and beyond the baseline costs; 
these are the costs we consider in the final designation of critical 
habitat. The analysis forecasts both baseline and incremental impacts 
likely to occur with the designation of critical habitat.
    The FEA also addresses how potential economic impacts are likely to 
be distributed, including an assessment of any local or regional 
impacts of habitat conservation and the potential effects of 
conservation activities on government agencies, private businesses, and 
individuals. The FEA measures lost economic efficiency associated with 
residential and commercial development and public projects and 
activities, such as economic impacts on water management and 
transportation projects, Federal lands, small entities, and the energy 
industry. Decision-makers can use this information to assess whether 
the effects of the designation might unduly burden a particular group 
or economic sector. Finally, the FEA considers economic impacts to 
activities from 2012 (the year of this final critical habitat 
designation) through 2024 (the length of guidance and information for 
project and activity decisionmaking for the Apache-Sitgreaves National 
Forest's Land Management Plan). The FEA quantifies economic impacts of 
Three Forks springsnail and San Bernardino springsnail conservation 
efforts associated with the following categories of activity: pesticide 
use, wildfire suppression, and ungulate grazing (Industrial Economics 
2012, p. ES-1).
    Only minor administrative impacts are likely to result from the 
designation of critical habitat. This result is attributed to several 
factors, including: (1) Four of the seven proposed units already 
receive extensive protection from the Federal agencies managing the 
parcels; (2) three of the four federally-owned units are occupied, and 
thus, will require consultation regardless of the designation; (3) 
reintroduction of the San Bernardino springsnail to the unoccupied 
units is planned regardless of critical habitat designation; and (4) 
project modifications necessary to avoid adverse modification are 
indistinguishable from those necessary to avoid jeopardizing the 
species, because the species' existence heavily depends upon the spring 
systems in which they occur.
    We anticipate seven potential section 7 consultations related to 
activities on federally managed lands. Both the Apache-Sitgreaves 
National Forests and San Bernardino NWR will need to address the 
springsnails in their management plans to prevent adverse modification 
of these units. Given the presence of springsnails in the Apache-
Sitgreaves National Forests, the five consultations would occur without 
the designation. We anticipate the U.S. Forest Service will reinitiate 
two programmatic consultations, one for the Apache-Sitgreaves National 
Forests' Management Plan, and one for its nationwide plan on the use of 
fire retardants across national forests. Additionally, we anticipate up 
to three formal consultations, one for the response to the 2011 Wallow 
Fire, one for potential long-term burn area rehabilitation after the 
Wallow Fire, and one for salvaging trees within the fire perimeter. 
Incremental impacts are limited to the additional administrative costs 
(approximately $48,500) of considering the potential for the plans and 
projects to adversely modify critical habitat.
    The San Bernardino NWR will likely reinitiate one programmatic 
consultation with the Service regarding its management plan, and 
participate in one formal consultation to reintroduce the springsnail 
to the Tule Spring Unit. Because the Service plans to reintroduce the 
springsnail at this site regardless of whether critical habitat is 
designated, incremental costs are limited to the administrative costs 
($22,200) of considering adverse modification during the consultations.
    Because we do not have information regarding the timing of likely 
consultations, we conservatively assume costs are incurred immediately 
following promulgation of this final rule. Total undiscounted costs are 
$70,700. In conformance with the Office of Management and Budget 
guidance, we also report present-value impacts and impacts on an 
annualized basis applying real discount rates of 3 and 7 percent. No 
small entities are anticipated to be affected by the designation. Also, 
we do not anticipate

[[Page 23085]]

impacts to the supply, distribution, or use of energy related to this 
critical habitat designation.
    Our economic analysis did not identify any disproportionate costs 
that are likely to result from the designation. Consequently, the 
Secretary is not exerting his discretion to exclude any areas from this 
designation of critical habitat for the Three Forks and San Bernardino 
springsnails based on economic impacts. A copy of the final economic 
analysis with supporting documents may be obtained by contacting the 
Arizona Ecological Services Field Office (see ADDRESSES) or by 
downloading from the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov.
Exclusions Based on National Security Impacts
    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we consider whether there are 
lands owned or managed by the DOD where a national security impact 
might exist. In preparing this rule, we have determined that the lands 
within the designated critical habitat for the Three Forks and San 
Bernardino springsnails are not owned or managed by the DOD, and 
therefore, anticipate no impact to national security. There are no 
areas excluded based on impacts on national security.
Exclusions Based on Other Relevant Impacts
    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we consider any other relevant 
impacts, in addition to economic impacts and impacts on national 
security. We consider a number of factors including whether the 
landowners have developed any HCPs or other management plans for the 
area, or whether there are conservation partnerships that would be 
encouraged by designation of, or exclusion from, critical habitat. In 
addition, we look at any Tribal issues, and consider the government-to-
government relationship of the United States with Tribal entities. We 
also consider any social impacts that might occur because of the 
designation.
    We have determined that the designation does not include any Tribal 
lands. We anticipate no impact to Tribal lands, partnerships, or HCPs 
from this critical habitat designation. Additionally, there are 
currently no conservation plans for the private lands containing 
springs occupied by the San Bernardino springsnail. Accordingly, the 
Secretary is not exercising his discretion to exclude any areas from 
this designation based on other relevant impacts.

Required Determinations

Regulatory Planning and Review

    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has determined that this 
rule is not significant and has not reviewed this rule under Executive 
Order 12866. OMB bases its determination upon the following four 
criteria:
    (a) 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.
    (b) Whether the rule will create inconsistencies with other Federal 
agencies' actions.
    (c) Whether the rule will materially affect entitlements, grants, 
user fees, loan programs, or the rights and obligations of their 
recipients.
    (d) 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 effects 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 
the agency certifies the rule will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. The SBREFA amended 
RFA to require Federal agencies to provide a statement of the factual 
basis for certifying that the rule will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. In this final rule, 
we are certifying that the critical habitat designations for Three 
Forks and San Bernardino springsnails will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The 
following discussion explains our rationale.
    According to the Small Business Administration, small entities 
include small organizations, such as independent nonprofit 
organizations; small governmental jurisdictions, including school 
boards and city and town governments that serve fewer than 50,000 
residents; as well as small businesses. Small businesses include 
manufacturing and mining concerns with fewer than 500 employees, 
wholesale trade entities with fewer than 100 employees, retail and 
service businesses with less than $5 million in annual sales, general 
and heavy construction businesses with less than $27.5 million in 
annual business, special trade contractors doing less than $11.5 
million in annual business, and agricultural businesses with annual 
sales less than $750,000. To determine if potential economic impacts to 
these small entities are significant, we consider the types of 
activities that might trigger regulatory impacts under this rule, as 
well as the types of project modifications that may result. In general, 
the term ``significant economic impact'' is meant to apply to a typical 
small business firm's business operations.
    To determine if the rule could significantly affect a substantial 
number of small entities, we consider the number of small businesses 
affected within particular types of economic activities. In Appendix A 
of the FEA, the analysis did not anticipate impacts to small entities 
as a result of this designation. We apply the ``substantial number'' 
test individually to each industry to determine if certification is 
appropriate. However, the SBREFA does not explicitly define 
``substantial number'' or ``significant economic impact.'' 
Consequently, to assess whether a ``substantial number'' of small 
entities is affected by this designation, this analysis considers the 
relative number of small entities likely to be impacted in an area. In 
some circumstances, especially with critical habitat designations of 
limited extent, we may aggregate across all industries and consider 
whether the total number of small entities affected is substantial. In 
estimating the number of small entities potentially affected, we also 
consider whether their activities have any Federal involvement.
    Designation of critical habitat only affects activities authorized, 
funded, or carried out by Federal agencies. Some kinds of activities 
are unlikely to have any Federal involvement and so will not be 
affected by critical habitat designation. In areas where the species is 
present, Federal agencies already are required to consult with us under 
section 7 of the Act on activities they authorize, fund, or carry out 
that may affect the Three Forks springsnail. Federal agencies also must 
consult with us if their activities may affect critical habitat. 
Designation of critical habitat, therefore, could result in an 
additional economic impact on small entities due to the requirement to 
reinitiate consultation for ongoing Federal activities (see Application 
of the

[[Page 23086]]

``Adverse Modification'' Standard section).
    In our final economic analysis of the critical habitat designation, 
we evaluated the potential economic effects on small business entities 
resulting from conservation actions related to the listing of the 
species and the designation of critical habitat. The analysis is based 
on the estimated impacts associated with the rulemaking as described in 
the analysis and evaluates the potential for economic impacts. We did 
not anticipate any activities occurring within the next 13 years within 
or adjacent to the critical habitat we are designating that could 
potentially affect small businesses.
    We determined from our analysis (Appendix A in FEA) that there will 
be no additional economic impacts to small entities resulting from the 
designation of critical habitat, because almost all of the potential 
costs of modification of activities and conservation identified in the 
economic analysis represent baseline costs that would be realized in 
the absence of critical habitat. The economic analysis estimates the 
overall annual incremental costs associated with the designation of 
critical habitat to be very modest, at approximately $70,700. All of 
these costs would derive from the added effort associated with 
considering adverse modification in the context of section 7 
consultations.
    In summary, we considered whether this designation would result in 
a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small 
entities. Based on our analysis and currently available information, we 
concluded that this rule will not result in a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. Therefore, we are 
certifying that the designation of critical habitat for Three Forks and 
San Bernardino springsnails will not have a significant economic impact 
on a substantial number of small entities, and a regulatory flexibility 
analysis is not required.

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

    Executive Order 13211 (Actions Concerning Regulations That 
Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use) requires 
agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking 
certain actions. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has provided 
guidance for implementing this Executive Order that outlines nine 
outcomes that may constitute ``a significant adverse effect'' when 
compared to not taking the regulatory action under consideration. As 
none of the outcomes that may constitute ``a significant adverse 
effect'' are relevant to this analysis, energy-related impacts within 
the critical habitat designation are not anticipated. The economic 
analysis finds that extraction, energy production, and distribution are 
not expected to be affected (Industrial Economics 2012, p. A-8). Thus, 
based on information in the economic analysis, energy-related impacts 
associated with Three Forks and San Bernardino springsnail conservation 
activities within critical habitat are not expected. As such, the 
designation of critical habitat 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.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 
et seq.), we make the following findings:
    (1) This final 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 [T]ribal 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, 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. 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) 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.

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 the Three Forks springsnail and San Bernardino springsnail 
in a takings implications assessment. Critical habitat designation does 
not affect landowner actions that do not require Federal funding or 
permits, nor does it preclude development of habitat conservation 
programs or issuance of incidental take permits to permit actions that 
do require Federal funding or permits to go forward. The takings 
implications assessment concludes that this designation of critical 
habitat 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 final rule does 
not have significant Federalism effects. A

[[Page 23087]]

federalism impact summary statement is not required. In keeping with 
Department of the Interior and Department of Commerce policy, we 
requested information from, and coordinated development of, this final 
critical habitat designation with appropriate State resource agencies 
in Arizona. We received comments from AGFD and have addressed them in 
the Summary of Comments and Recommendations section of this rule. The 
designation of critical habitat on Federal lands currently occupied by 
the Three Forks springsnail or San Bernardino springsnail imposes no 
additional restrictions to those currently in place and, therefore, has 
little incremental impact on State and local governments and their 
activities. 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 physical 
or biological features 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 occur. However, 
it may assist local governments in long-range planning (rather than 
having them 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 E.O. 12988 (Civil Justice Reform), the Office of 
the Solicitor has 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 are designating critical habitat in accordance 
with the provisions of the Act. This final rule uses standard property 
descriptions and identifies the physical or biological features within 
the designated areas to assist the public in understanding the habitat 
needs of the Three Forks springsnail and San Bernardino springsnail.

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

    This final 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 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.)

    We have determined that environmental assessments and environmental 
impact statements, as defined under the authority of the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), need not be 
prepared in connection with listing a species as endangered or 
threatened under the Endangered Species Act. We published a notice 
outlining our reasons for this determination in the Federal Register on 
October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244).
    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 pursuant to NEPA in connection with designating 
critical habitat under the Endangered Species 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 the Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (Douglas County v. 
Babbitt, 48 F.3d 1495 (9th Cir. 1995), cert. denied 516 U.S. 1042 
(1996)).

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 readily acknowledge our 
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 have determined that there are no Tribal lands occupied at the 
time of listing with features essential for the conservation, and no 
Tribal lands that are essential for the conservation, of the Three 
Forks springsnail and San Bernardino springsnail. Therefore, we have 
not designated critical habitat on Tribal lands for the Three Forks 
springsnail and San Bernardino springsnail.

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited in this rule is available 
on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov or upon request from the 
Field Supervisor, Arizona Ecological Services Field Office (see FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

Authors

    The primary authors of this document are the staff members of the 
Arizona Ecological Services Field Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT).

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

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

Regulation Promulgation

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

PART 17--[AMENDED]

0
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.


0
2. In Sec.  17.11(h), add entries for ``Springsnail, San Bernardino'' 
and ``Springsnail, Three Forks'' to the List of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife in alphabetic order under SNAILS to read as 
follows:


Sec.  17.11  Endangered and threatened wildlife.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

[[Page 23088]]



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Species                                                    Vertebrate
--------------------------------------------------------                        population where                                  Critical     Special
                                                            Historic range       endangered or         Status      When listed    habitat       rules
           Common name                Scientific name                              threatened
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
              Snails
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Springsnail, San Bernardino......  Pyrgulopsis           U.S.A. (AZ)........  Entire.............  T               ...........     17.95(f)           NA
                                    bernardina.          Mexico (Sonora)....
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Springsnail, Three Forks.........  Pyrgulopsis           U.S.A. (AZ)........  Entire.............  E               ...........     17.95(f)           NA
                                    trivialis.
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


0
3. In Sec.  17.95, amend paragraph (f) by adding entries for ``San 
Bernardino Springsnail (Pyrgulopsis bernardina)'' and ``Three Forks 
Springsnail (Pyrgulopsis trivialis)'' after the entry for ``Koster's 
Springsnail (Juturnia Kosteri) and Roswell's Springsnail (Pyrgulopsis 
Roswellensis),'' to read as follows:


Sec.  17.95  Critical habitat--fish and wildlife.

* * * * *
    (f) Clams and Snails.
* * * * *
    San Bernardino Springsnail (Pyrgulopsis bernardina)
    (1) Critical habitat units are depicted for Cochise County, 
Arizona, on the map in paragraph (5) of this entry.
    (2) Within these areas, the primary constituent elements of the 
physical or biological features essential to the conservation of the 
San Bernardino springsnail consist of four components:
    (i) Adequately clean spring water (free from contamination) 
emerging from the ground and flowing on the surface;
    (ii) Periphyton (attached algae), bacteria, and decaying organic 
material for food;
    (iii) Substrates that include cobble, gravel, pebble, sand, silt, 
and aquatic vegetation, for egg laying, maturing, feeding, and escape 
from predators; and
    (iv) Either an absence of nonnative predators (crayfish) and 
competitors (snails) or their presence at low population levels.
    (3) Critical habitat does not include manmade structures other than 
the road culvert and concrete spring-boxes, which are included to 
protect the water flowing within them.
    (4) Critical habitat map units. Data layers defining map units were 
plotted on 2007 USGS Digital Ortho Quarter Quad maps using Universal 
Transverse Mercator (UTM) coordinates in ArcMap. Because of the small 
size of the springs, spring runs and ditches, for mapping purposes we 
created a circle that encompasses them.
    (5) Note: Index map of critical habitat for the San Bernardino 
springsnail follows:
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    (6) Snail Spring Unit contains approximately 0.457 ha (1.129 ac) in 
Cochise County, Arizona. This critical habitat unit is a spring 
approximately 5 m (16 ft) in diameter and has a spring run that goes 
south from the spring approximately 23.5 m (77 ft) to a manmade ditch, 
which runs 10.2 m (33.5 ft) to a dirt road. It passes under the road in 
a 3.5 m (11.5 ft) culvert, then flows approximately 17 m (56 ft) below 
the road. The culvert beneath the road is included in critical habitat, 
but not the road itself. We include a 1-m (3.3-ft) upland area on each 
side of the spring, spring run, and ditch. The critical habitat unit is 
the spring, spring run, ditch, and buffer within the 76-m (249-ft) 
diameter circle centered on UTM coordinate 663858, 3468182 in Zone 12 
with the units in meters using North American Datum of 1983 (NAD 83).
    (7) Goat Tank Spring Unit contains approximately 0.002 ha (0.005 
ac) in Cochise County, Arizona. The unit is a spring contained entirely 
within a square concrete box approximately 0.61 by 0.91 m (2 by 3 ft) 
and spring seepage emanating from the base of a cottonwood tree about 2 
m (7 ft) from the spring-box. This unit includes a 1-m (3.3-ft) upland 
area on each side of the spring box and spring. The critical habitat is 
the spring-box, spring seepage,

[[Page 23090]]

and buffer within the 5-m (16.4-ft) diameter circle centered on UTM 
coordinate 663725, 3468162 in Zone 12 with the units in meters using 
North American Datum of 1983 (NAD 83).
    (8) Horse Spring Unit contains approximately 0.032 ha (0.078 ac) in 
Cochise County, Arizona. The unit is a spring and springrun 
approximately 0.5 m (1.6 ft) wide and 15.5 m (50.9 ft) in length. We 
include a 1-m (3.3-ft) upland area on each side of the springhead and 
spring-run. The designated critical habitat unit is the spring-box, 
spring seepage, and buffer within the 20-m (66-ft) diameter circle 
centered on UTM coordinate 663772, 3468091 in Zone 12 with the units in 
meters using North American Datum of 1983 (NAD 83).
    (9) Tule Spring Unit contains approximately 0.324 ha (0.801 ac) in 
Cochise County, Arizona. The unit is a spring, which forms a pond 
approximately 23 m (75 ft) north-south and 13 m (43 ft) east-west, and 
it has a spring run that is approximately 22 m (71 ft) in length. The 
spring run emerges from the southeastern side of the spring pond, runs 
northeast for approximately 12.5 m (41 ft) to a manmade ditch, which 
runs southeast 9.2 m (30 ft). This unit includes a 1-m (3.3-ft) upland 
area on each side of the spring, spring run, and ditch. The designated 
critical habitat unit is the spring, spring-run, ditch, and buffer 
within the 64-m (210-ft) diameter circle centered on UTM coordinate 
664259, 3468499 in Zone 12 with the units in meters using North 
American Datum of 1983 (NAD 83).
    Three Forks Springsnail (Pyrgulopsis trivialis)
    (1) Critical habitat units are depicted for Apache County, Arizona, 
on the map at paragraph (5) of this entry.
    (2) Within these areas, the primary constituent elements of the 
physical or biological features essential to the conservation of the 
San Bernardino springsnail consist of four components:
    (i) Adequately clean spring water (free from contamination) 
emerging from the ground and flowing on the surface;
    (ii) Periphyton (attached algae), bacteria, and decaying organic 
material for food;
    (iii) Substrates that include cobble, gravel, pebble, sand, silt, 
and aquatic vegetation, for egglaying, maturing, feeding, and escape 
from predators; and
    (iv) Either an absence of nonnative predators (crayfish) and 
competitors (snails) or their presence at low population levels.
    (3) Critical habitat does not include manmade structures other than 
concrete spring-boxes, which are included to protect the flowing water 
within them.
    (4) Critical habitat map units were plotted on 2007 USGS Digital 
Ortho Quarter Quad maps using Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) 
coordinates in ArcMap.
    (5) Note: Index map of critical habitat for the Three Forks 
springsnail follows:
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    (6) Three Forks Springs Unit (2.5 ha; 6.1 ac). The Three Forks 
Spring Unit consists of all areas within boundary points with the 
following coordinates in UTM Zone 12 with the units in meters using 
North American Datum of 1983 (NAD 83): 655708, 3747262; 655714, 
3747269; 655746, 3747258; 655777, 3747256; 655802, 3747270; 655808, 
3747288; 655815, 3747304; 655877, 3747299; 655898, 3747291; 655911, 
3747271; 655922, 3747253; 655932, 3747227; 655932, 3747209; 655939, 
3747196; 655948, 3747186; 655958, 3747165; 655969, 3747142; 655979, 
3747116; 655998, 3747094; 656013, 3747078; 656022, 3747061; 656023, 
3747050; 656013, 3747052; 656001, 3747065; 655991, 3747086; 655973, 
3747112; 655963, 3747133; 655951, 3747166; 655931, 3747191; 655906, 
3747198; 655886, 3747201; 655869, 3747198; 655836, 3747179; 655826, 
3747158; 655830, 3747123; 655841, 3747098; 655838, 3747083; 655818, 
3747085; 655785, 3747097; 655771, 3747122; 655782, 3747144; 655784, 
3747170; 655752, 3747216; 655715, 3747232; 655707, 3747242; Thence 
returning to 655708, 3747262.
    (7) Boneyard Bog Springs Unit (2.1 ha; 5.3 ac). The Boneyard Bog 
Springs Unit consists of all areas within boundary points with the 
following coordinates in UTM Zone 12 with the units in meters using 
North American Datum of 1983 (NAD 83): 659968, 3750753; 659990, 
3750731; 660021, 3750713; 660060, 3750717; 660070, 3750742; 660176, 
3750787; 660190, 3750781; 660199, 3750758; 660208, 3750744; 660159, 
3750685; 660125, 3750680; 660088, 3750684; 660081, 3750690; 660072, 
3750691; 660072, 3750676; 660076, 3750675; 660076, 3750664; 660069, 
3750664; 660067, 3750663; 660060, 3750654; 660052, 3750648; 660034, 
3750649; 660029, 3750654; 660027, 3750663; 660008, 3750659; 659997, 
3750649; 659997, 3750639; 659988, 3750639; 659982, 3750641; 659958, 
3750660; 659954, 3750671; 659945, 3750675; 659942, 3750688; 659933, 
3750685; 659904, 3750662; 659889, 3750669; 659885, 3750687; 659902, 
3750702; 659919, 3750712; Thence returning to 659968, 3750753.
    (8) Boneyard Creek Springs Unit (2.3 ha; 5.8 ac). The Boneyard 
Creek Springs Unit consists of all areas within boundary points with 
the following coordinates in UTM Zone 12 with the units in meters using 
North American Datum of 1983 (NAD 83): 658758, 3750008; 658765, 
3749996; 658763, 3749984; 658732, 3749975; 658714, 3749981; 658698, 
3749968; 658661, 3749971; 658655, 3749981; 658655, 3749998; 658642, 
3750000; 658638, 3750024; 658623, 3750034; 658606, 3750036; 658580, 
3750029; 658568, 3750020; 658553, 3750013; 658537, 3750005; 658519, 
3749993; 658507, 3749985; 658492, 3749992; 658479, 3749976; 658469, 
3749960; 658467, 3749945; 658460, 3749935; 658452, 3749913; 658405, 
3749863; 658371, 3749841; 658343, 3749805; 658312, 3749789; 658273, 
3749741; 658272, 3749733; 658268, 3749725; 658261, 3749722; 658254, 
3749720; 658242, 3749699; 658211, 3749682; 658184, 3749655; 658140, 
3749634; 658119, 3749610; 658074, 3749624; 658024, 3749603; 657999, 
3749549; 657932, 3749492; 657916, 3749492; 657904, 3749509; 657912, 
3749527; 657933, 3749545; 657982, 3749559; 658020, 3749623; 658072, 
3749642; 658111, 3749632; 658129, 3749649; 658174, 3749667; 658201, 
3749691; 658223, 3749705; 658246, 3749743; 658311, 3749811; 658336, 
3749826; 658403, 3749893; 658410, 3749904; 658420, 3749908; 658434, 
3749917; 658447, 3749962; 658473, 3749991; 658493, 3750013; 658509, 
3750003; 658523, 3750019; 658528, 3750030; 658538, 3750043; 658564, 
3750055; 658584, 3750053; 658598, 3750061; 658616, 3750068; 658657, 
3750052; 658658, 3750032; 658656, 3750020; 658667, 3750002; 658666, 
3749982; 658692, 3749984; 658712, 3749994; 658730, 3749994; Thence 
returning to 658758, 3750008.
* * * * *

    Dated: April 4, 2012.
 Eileen Sobeck,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2012-8811 Filed 4-16-12; 8:45 am]
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