[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 95 (Wednesday, May 16, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 29077-29128]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-11339]



[[Page 29077]]

Vol. 77

Wednesday,

No. 95

May 16, 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; 12-Month Finding on a 
Petition To Downlist Three San Clemente Island Plant Species; Proposed 
Rule To Reclassify Two San Clemente Island Plant Species; Taxonomic 
Correction; Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 77 , No. 95 / Wednesday, May 16, 2012 / 
Proposed Rules

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2012-0007; FXES11130900000C5-123-FF09E32000]
RIN 1018-AY04


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding 
on a Petition To Downlist Three San Clemente Island Plant Species; 
Proposed Rule To Reclassify Two San Clemente Island Plant Species; 
Taxonomic Correction

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of 12-month petition finding and proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce our 12-month 
findings on a petition to reclassify San Clemente Island lotus, and San 
Clemente Island paintbrush under the Endangered Species Act are 
warranted and we propose to change the status of these two species from 
endangered to threatened. We also propose to correct the scientific and 
common names of San Clement Island lotus. We are also announcing our 
12-month finding on a petition to reclassify San Clemente Island bush 
mallow is not warranted at this time, and therefore we are not 
proposing to change the status of this species. We are taking these 
actions as a result of a petition to reclassify these three species.

DATES: The finding announced in this document was made on May 16, 2012 
Regarding the proposed rule to reclassify Acmispon dendroideus var. 
traskiae and Castilleja grisea, we will accept comments received or 
postmarked on or before July 16, 2012. We must receive requests for 
public hearings, in writing, at the address shown in the FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT section by July 2, 2012.

ADDRESSES: This finding is available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket Number [FWS-R8-ES-2012-0007]. Supporting 
documentation we used in preparing this finding is available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, 6010 
Hidden Valley Road, Suite 101, Carlsbad, CA, 92011. Please submit any 
new information, materials, comments, or questions concerning this 
finding to the above address. Regarding the proposed rule to reclassify 
Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae and Castilleja grisea, you may 
submit comments by one of the following methods:
    Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the 
instructions for submitting comments for Docket No. [FWS-R8-ES-2012-
0007].
    U.S. mail or hand delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: 
Docket No. [FWS-R8-ES-2012-0007]; Division of Policy and Directives 
Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, 
Suite 222; Arlington, VA 22203.
    We will not accept email or faxes. We will post all comments on 
http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any 
personal information you provide us (see the Public Comments Solicited 
section below for more information).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jim Bartel, Field Supervisor, Carlsbad 
Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES); by telephone at 760-431-9440; 
or by facsimile (fax) at 760-431-9624. If you use a telecommunications 
device for the deaf (TDD), please call the Federal Information Relay 
Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Executive Summary

    This document contains: (1) 12-month findings in response to a 
petition to reclassify Malacothamnus clementinus, Acmispon dendroideus 
var. traskiae, and Castilleja grisea as threatened; and (2) a proposed 
rule to reclassify A. d. var. traskiae and C. grisea as threatened 
under the Act.
    Species addressed. Malacothamnus clementinus (San Clemente Island 
bush mallow), Acmispon (previously listed as Lotus) dendroideus var. 
traskiae (previously San Clemente Island broom and currently known as 
San Clemente Island lotus), and Castilleja grisea (San Clemente Island 
paintbrush) are endemic to San Clemente Island, which is located 64 
miles (mi) (103 kilometers (km)) west of San Diego, California. Current 
habitat conditions for M. clementinus, A. d. var. traskiae, and C. 
grisea on San Clemente Island are the result of present and historical 
land use practices. San Clemente Island is owned by the U.S. Department 
of the Navy and, with its associated offshore range complex, is the 
primary maritime training area for the Navy Pacific Fleet and Navy Sea, 
Air and Land teams (SEALs). The island also supports training by the 
U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Air Force, and other military 
organizations.
    Purpose of the Regulatory Action. Under the Endangered Species Act, 
we may be petitioned to list, delist or reclassify a species. In 2010, 
we received a petition from the Pacific Legal Foundation requesting 
that the Service reclassify Malacothamnus clementinus, Acmispon 
dendroideus var. traskiae, and Castilleja grisea from endangered to 
threatened. These species are currently listed as endangered under the 
Act. In 2011, we published our 90-day finding on the petition which 
concluded that the petition contained substantial information 
indicating reclassification of the three San Clemente Island plants may 
be warranted. We therefore also announced that we were initiating 
status reviews for these taxa as required under the Act. A change in 
listing status can only be done by issuing a rule.
    Basis for the Regulatory Action. Under the Endangered Species Act, 
a species may be determined to be endangered or threatened based on any 
of five factors: (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; or (E) Other natural or manmade factors 
affecting its continued existence.
    We reviewed all available scientific and commercial information 
pertaining to the five threat factors in our status review of each 
species.
    We summarize the results of our status review for each species 
below.

Malacothamnus clementinus (San Clemente Island Bush Mallow)

     Our review does not support a conclusion that the threats 
have been sufficiently removed, or that their imminence, intensity, or 
magnitude have been reduced to the extent that the species no longer 
meets the definition of an endangered species. Threats associated with 
military activities, erosion, nonnatives, fire, climate change, and low 
genetic diversity continue to impact Malacothamnus clementinus at all 
of the 11 occurrences on San Clemente Island. M. clementinus continues 
to be impacted throughout its range because of the change in intensity 
of training and associated impacts enacted in the 2008 San Clemente 
Island Military Operations and Fire Management Plan (MOFMP). 
Additionally, closure of areas on San Clemente Island to natural 
resource personnel creates uncertainty regarding the status of 4 of 11 
occurrences, including the largest and most genetically diverse, and 
whether those

[[Page 29079]]

occurrences will benefit from conservation measures.
     We find that reclassifying Malacothamnus clementinus is 
not warranted at this time.
     Although we recommended downlisting in our 2007 status 
review, at this time we believe that Malacothamnus clementinus 
continues to be in danger of extinction throughout its range.

Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae (San Clemente Island Lotus)

     We find that the ongoing threats are not of sufficient 
imminence, intensity, or magnitude to indicate that Acmispon 
dendroideus var. traskiae is presently in danger of extinction 
throughout its range and does not, therefore, meet the definition of an 
endangered species.
     Since listing and the removal of feral goats and pigs on 
San Clemente Island, the distribution of Acmispon dendroideus var. 
traskiae has expanded from 6 to 29 occurrences. Significant gains in 
distribution demonstrate that the species is persisting despite 
existing threats across the landscape.
     The Navy is implementing an Island Integrated Natural 
Resources Management Plan (INRMP) to coordinate the management of 
natural resources and provide for long-term conservation planning 
within the scope of military readiness.
     While it is anticipated that military training activities, 
erosion, nonnatives, and fire will have ongoing impacts to A. d. var. 
traskiae habitat, impacts from these threats are reduced and minimized 
based on its distribution and current and anticipated conservation 
efforts for the taxon.
     We find that reclassifying Acmispon dendroideus var. 
traskiae as threatened is warranted.

Castilleja grisea (San Clemente Island Paintbrush)

     We find the ongoing threats are not of sufficient 
imminence, intensity, or magnitude to indicate that Castilleja grisea 
is presently in danger of extinction across its range and does not, 
therefore, meet the definition of an endangered species.
     Since listing and the removal of feral goats and pigs on 
San Clemente Island, the distribution of Castilleja grisea has expanded 
from 19 to 29 known occurrences. This significant increase in 
occurrences shows that the species is persisting despite existing 
threats across the landscape.
     The Navy is implementing an Island Integrated Natural 
Resources Management Plan (INRMP) to coordinate the management of 
natural resources and provide for long-term conservation planning 
within the scope of military readiness.
     While it is anticipated that military training activities, 
erosion, nonnatives, and fire will have ongoing impacts to Castilleja 
grisea habitat, impacts from these threats are reduced and minimized 
based on its distribution and current and anticipated conservation 
efforts for the taxon.
     We find that reclassifying  Castilleja grisea as 
threatened is warranted.
    We are proposing the following changes to the List of Threatened 
and Endangered Plants:
     Correct the scientific and common names of Acmispon 
dendroideus var. traskiae, formerly known as Lotus dendroideus var. 
traskiae (San Clemente broom).
     Change the status of Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae 
from endangered to threatened.
     Change the status of Castilleja grisea from endangered to 
threatened.

Acronyms Used

    We use several acronyms throughout the preamble to this proposed 
rule. To assist the reader, we set them forth here:

AFP = Artillery Firing Point
AVMA = Assault Vehicle Maneuver Area
BMP = Best Management Practices
CERCLA = Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and 
Liability Act
CESA = California Endangered Species Act
CDFG = California Department of Fish and Game
CNDDB = California Natural Diversity Database
CNPS = California Native Plant Society
DPS = Distinct Population Segment
EO = California Natural Diversity Database element occurrence
GIS = Geographic Information System
INRMP = Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan
IOA = Infantry Operations Areas
IPCC = Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
MOFMP = Military Operations and Fire Management Plan
Navy = United States Department of the Navy
NEPA = National Environmental Policy Act
NPPA = Native Plant Protection Act
OHV = Off Highway Vehicle
OMB = Office of Management and Budget
PL = Point Location
RCRA = Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
SEALs = Navy Sea, Air, and Land teams
SERG = San Diego State University Soil Ecology and Restoration Group
SHOBA = Shore Bombardment Area
SPR = Significant Portion of the Range
SWAT = Special Warfare Training Areas
TAR = Training Area Ranges
USFWS = United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Public Comments Solicited

    Our intent is to use the best available commercial and scientific 
data as the foundation for all endangered and threatened species 
classification decisions. Therefore, we request comments or information 
from the public, other concerned governmental agencies, Native American 
tribes, the scientific community, industry, or any other interested 
parties concerning this proposed rule to downlist Acmispon dendroideus 
var. traskiae and Castilleja grisea. We particularly seek comments 
concerning:
    (1) Reasons why we should or should not reclassify Acmispon 
dendroideus var. traskiae and Castilleja grisea under the Act.
    (2) New biological, trade, or other relevant information and data 
concerning any threat (or lack thereof) to A. d. var. traskiae and C. 
grisea.
    (3) New information and data on the projected and reasonably likely 
impacts to A. d. var. traskiae and C. grisea associated with climate 
change.
    (4) The location of, and status, trends, and threats to, any 
additional occurrences of A. d. var. traskiae and C. grisea.
    (5) New information and data concerning the range, distribution, 
occurrence size, and occurrence trends of A. d. var. traskiae and C. 
grisea.
    (6) New information and data on the current or planned activities 
within the geographic range of A. d. var. traskiae and C. grisea that 
may adversely affect or benefit the species.
    (7) New information on the host plants of C. grisea.
    (8) Information and data on the hybridization of A. d. var. 
traskiae, and the impacts of this hybridization on the species.
    We will also continue to accept new information that becomes 
available concerning the status or threats to the Malacothamnus 
clementinus or its habitat at any time.
    We will post your entire comment on http://www.regulations.gov. 
Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other 
personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware 
that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.
    Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting 
documentation we used in preparing this proposed rule,

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will be available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, 
or by appointment during normal business hours at the Carlsbad Fish and 
Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES).

Public Hearing

    The Act provides for one or more public hearings on this proposal, 
if requested. Requests must be received by the date specified in DATES. 
Such requests must be made in writing and addressed to the Field 
Supervisor (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section above).

Background

    Section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as 
amended (Act; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), requires that, for any petition 
to revise the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and 
Plants that contains substantial scientific or commercial information 
that reclassifying the species may be warranted, we make a finding 
within 12 months of the date of receipt of the petition. In this 
finding, we will determine whether the petitioned action is: (a) Not 
warranted, (b) warranted, or (c) warranted, but the immediate proposal 
of a regulation implementing the petitioned action is precluded by 
other pending proposals to determine whether species are endangered or 
threatened, and expeditious progress is being made to add or remove 
qualified species from the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife and Plants. We must publish these 12-month findings in the 
Federal Register.

Previous Federal Actions

    Malacothamnus clementinus, Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae, and 
Castilleja grisea were listed as endangered under the Act on August 11, 
1977 (42 FR 40682). Subsequently, a Recovery Plan for Channel Island 
species, including M. clementinus, A. d. var. traskiae, and C. grisea, 
was finalized in 1984 (USFWS 1984, pp. 1-165), and 5-year status 
reviews were completed for each of these taxa in 2007 (USFWS 2007a, pp. 
1-28; USFWS 2007b, pp. 1-22; USFWS 2007c, pp. 1-19). These status 
reviews recommended reclassification of M. clementinus, A. d. var. 
traskiae, and C. grisea from endangered to threatened status.
    On May 18, 2010, we received a petition dated May 13, 2010, from 
the Pacific Legal Foundation requesting that the Service delist 
Oenothera californica (avita) subsp. eurekensis (Eureka Valley evening-
primrose) and Swallenia alexandrae (Eureka Valley dunegrass), and 
downlist tidewater goby (Eucyclogobius newberryi), Acmispon dendroideus 
(Lotus scoparius subsp.) var. traskiae, Malacothamnus clementinus, and 
Castilleja grisea from endangered to threatened under the Act. The 
petition was based on the analysis and recommendations contained in the 
2007 5-year reviews for these taxa. In a letter to the petitioner dated 
September 10, 2010, we acknowledged receipt of the petition and 
initiated a review of the petition under a provision of section 4 of 
the Act. We stated that we anticipated making an initial 90-day finding 
in Fiscal Year 2011 (based on available staffing and funding) as to 
whether or not the petition presented substantial information 
indicating that the requested action may be warranted.
    On January 19, 2011, we published a 90-day finding (76 FR 3069) in 
which we concluded that the petition and information in our files 
provided substantial information that the reclassification of these 
species may be warranted, and announced that we were initiating status 
reviews for these species. Five-year reviews pursuant to section 
4(c)(2)(A) of the Act for Malacothamnus clementinus, Acmispon 
dendroideus var. traskiae, and Castilleja grisea were previously 
initiated on May 21, 2010 (75 FR 28636). We will base our 5-year review 
recommendations on the information and conclusions provided in this 
finding, and we expect to finalize those reviews following publication 
of this finding. To ensure that the status reviews are comprehensive, 
we requested in the 90-day finding any scientific or commercial data 
and other information regarding these taxa be submitted by March 21, 
2011. This document includes: (1) A notice that constitutes the 12-
month finding in response to the petition to reclassify M. clementinus, 
A. d. var. traskiae, and C. grisea as threatened (the 12-month findings 
for O. californica (avita) subsp. eurekensis, S. alexandrae, and 
tidewater goby will be addressed in separate documents); and (2) a 
proposed rule to reclassify A. d. var. traskiae and C. grisea from 
endangered to threatened under the Act.

Species Information

    For purposes of this finding, we present the species description 
and taxonomy for each individual plant species below. However, the 
remaining species information, where possible, is combined for all 
three taxa to avoid redundancy, followed by applicable species-specific 
information by taxon.
Species Description and Taxonomy--Malacothamnus clementinus
    Malacothamnus clementinus is a rounded subshrub (stems woody only 
at the base) in the Malvaceae (mallow family). Plants are 2.3 to 3.3 
feet (ft) (0.7 to 1 meters (m)) tall with numerous hairy branched stems 
arising from the base of the plant (Munz and Johnston 1924, p. 296; 
Munz 1959, pp. 122-125; Bates 1993, p. 752; Junak 2006a, pers. comm.). 
Plants have the ability to spread vegetatively by underground rhizomes, 
resulting in patches of spatially separate, but genetically identical, 
individuals (Evans and Bohn 1987, p. 538). The leaves are 1.2 to 2 
inches (in) (3 to 5 centimeters (cm)) wide and conspicuously bicolored, 
with green upper surfaces covered in short fine hairs and veiny, white 
undersurfaces that are densely matted with hairs (Munz and Johnston 
1924, p. 296). Flowers are clustered in the uppermost leaf axils, 
forming interrupted spikes 3.9 to 7.9 in (10 to 20 cm) long (Munz 1959, 
p. 125). Flowers are bisexual and variously described as having pink or 
white and fading lavender petals (Munz and Johnston 1924, p. 296; Bates 
1993, p. 752). Each flower can produce about 10 seeds that are 0.08 in 
(2 millimeters (mm)) long (Munz 1959, p. 122; Navy 2002, p. C-43). The 
fruits mature and open slowly and irregularly on the plant (Navy 2002, 
p. C-43). The genus Malacothamnus includes 20 species found in the 
southwestern region of the United States (Junak and Wilken 1998, p. 
290). Malacothamnus clementinus is endemic to San Clemente Island and 
is the only species within the genus that occurs there (Bates 1993, p. 
752; Tierra Data Inc. 2005, p. C-8).
    No taxonomic classifications or nomenclature changes affecting this 
taxon have been published since it was listed as endangered in 1977. 
The Jepson Manual, the standard reference flora for the State, 
continued to treat this species under the same name, Malacothamnus 
clementinus, in the recent edition (Bates 2012, pp. 1-2).
Species Description and Taxonomy--Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae
    Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae is a suffrutescent (semi-woody), 
short-lived (less than 5 years), floriferous (flower bearing) subshrub 
in the legume family Fabacaeae (pea family). It is endemic to San 
Clemente Island (Isely 1993, p. 619), and is one of five taxa in the 
genus Acmispon found on the island (Tierra Data Inc. 2005, p. C-8; 
Brouillet 2008, pp. 388-392). There are no other varieties of A. 
dendroideus found on the island. This variety can be distinguished from 
other varieties of A. dendroideus by its bushy habit and elongated 
fruits (Allan 1999, p. 88). Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae is 
typically

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less than 4 ft (1.2 m) tall with slender erect green branches (Munz 
1974, pp. 449-450; USFWS 1984, p. 59; Allan 1999, p. 82). Each leaf has 
three to five leaflets, each approximately 0.2 to 0.3 in (5 to 9 mm) 
long and uniformly glabrous (surface without hair) to finely hairy 
(USFWS 1984, p. 59; Allan 1999, p. 82). Acmispon dendroideus var. 
traskiae has small yellow flowers that are bisexual and arranged in one 
to five flowered clusters on stalks that arise from axils between the 
stem and leaf of terminal shoots (Junak and Wilken 1998, p. 256). 
Pistils are initially yellow, turning orange then red as the fruit 
matures (USFWS 1984, p. 59; California Native Plant Society (CNPS) 
2001, p. 208).
    Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae has undergone taxonomic 
realignments since the 1977 listing. We accept the change of scientific 
name to Acmispon dendroideus (Greene) Brouillet var. traskiae (Noddin) 
Brouillet from Lotus dendroideus (Nutt.) Ottley subsp. traskiae. This 
change is supported by morphological and molecular data (Allan and 
Porter 2000, p. 1876; Sokoloff 2000, p. 128; Brouillet 2008, p. 389).
    The name used for this taxon when it was listed in 1977 (42 FR 
40682) was Lotus scoparius (Nutt.) Ottley subsp. traskiae (Abrams) 
Raven. Subsequently, Isely (1978, p. 467) separated this and two other 
Channel Islands endemic taxa (L. scoparius var. veatchi Ottley and L. 
scoparius var. dendroideus (Greene) Ottley) from mainland Lotus 
scoparius. He recognized them as varieties (considered equivalent to 
subspecies in plants) of a single species, Lotus dendroideus, which was 
the oldest name among the three taxa. The name, Lotus dendroideus var. 
traskiae, was published by Isely in 1978 (p. 467), and recognized in 
floristic (Isely 1993, p. 619) and systematic treatments (Isely 1998, 
p. 646). Following Isely's taxonomic revision, we amended the list of 
endangered and threatened plants (50 CFR 17.12), but incorrectly 
transcribed the name as Lotus dendroideus subsp. traskiae (USFWS 1980, 
45 FR 82483). This combination, as a subspecies and not a variety, was 
never validly published and thus cannot be used.
    Recent morphological (Sokoloff 2000, p. 128) and molecular (Allan 
and Porter 2000, p. 1876) data support recognition of a separate genus, 
Acmispon, from Lotus. The required nomenclatural combination Acmispon 
dendroideus (Greene) Brouillet var. traskiae (Noddin) Brouillet was 
made in 2008 (Brouillet 2008, p. 389). This name is recognized and 
accepted by the scientific community in floristic works, the Jepson 
Manual revision for California (Brouillet 2012), and the continental 
Flora of North America, as well as by the California Native Plant 
Society (CNPS 2011). We concur with the scientific evidence and 
acceptance by the scientific community and likewise accept the name 
Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae. Based upon this acceptance, we will 
make appropriate corrections to this taxon's references in our 
regulations (50 C.F.R. 17.12) and will use this nomenclature in future 
notices regarding this taxon. Moreover, in previous documents, this 
taxon has been referred to by other common names (such as Trask's 
Island lotus, San Clemente Island broom, and San Clemente Island lotus) 
(Isely 1993, p. 619; 76 FR 3069, January 19, 2011; 42 FR 40682, August 
11, 1977). In this document, we use San Clemente Island lotus to 
represent A. d. var. traskiae. The taxonomic and nomenclatural changes 
described here do not alter the description, distribution, or listing 
status of the taxon.
Species Description and Taxonomy--Castilleja grisea
    Castilleja grisea is a highly branched hemiparasitic (plant that 
can be either free-living or parasitic) perennial herb to subshrub in 
the Orobanchaceae (broomrape family) (Chuang and Heckard 1993, p. 1016; 
Young et al. 1999, p. 890; Olmstead et al. 2001, p. 352). Castilleja 
grisea is endemic to San Clemente Island and the only species of the 
genus found there (Chuang and Heckard 1993, p. 1021; Helenurm et al. 
2005, p. 1222; Tierra Data Inc. 2005, p. A-7). Castilleja grisea plants 
are 1.3 to 2 ft (0.4 to 0.6 m) tall and ash-gray in color with densely 
hairy leaves (Chuang and Heckard 1993, p. 1021). The leaves are 
alternate and linear, and 0.4 to 2 in (1 to 5 cm) long with 0 to 3 
lobes (Chuang and Heckard 1993, p. 1021). The yellow bisexual flowers 
are borne in terminal spikes. The fruit is a semi-woody capsule, 0.4 to 
0.5 in (10 to 12 mm) long, bearing many small seeds (Chuang and Heckard 
1993, p. 1021; Junak and Wilken 1998, p. 83). Seeds have a deeply 
netted seedcoat, and are 0.4 to 0.6 in (1 to 1.5 mm) in diameter 
(Muller and Junak 2011, p. 12).
    Castilleja grisea was described by Dunkle (p. 31) in 1943. The name 
has not changed since the species was listed, although the family 
affiliation has been changed to the Orobanchaceae (broomrape family) 
from the Scrophulariaceae (figwort family; Olmstead et al. 2001, p. 
352). We will revise our regulations at 50 C.F.R. 17.12 to reflect this 
change in family affiliation. This taxonomic change remains consistent 
in the upcoming edition of the Jepson Manual (Chuang and Heckard, 
Weatherwax, rev. 2012).

Species Location

Description and Land Use of San Clemente Island
    Malacothamnus clementinus, Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae, and 
Castilleja grisea are endemic to San Clemente Island (Raven 1965, p. 
60), which is located 64 miles (mi) (103 kilometers (km)) west of San 
Diego, California (USFWS 1984, p. 5). The island is approximately 56 
square mi (145 square km) (Junak and Wilken 1998, p. 2) and is long and 
narrow: 21 mi (34 km) long by 1.5 mi (2.4 km) wide at the north end and 
4 mi (6.4 km) wide at the south end (USFWS 1984, p. 5).
    The historical ranges and distributions of Malacothamnus 
clementinus, Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae, and Castilleja grisea 
on San Clemente Island are unknown because botanical studies were not 
conducted on the island prior to grazing, which began in the 1800s 
(Kellogg and Kellogg 1994, p. 4). The first herbarium specimens were 
collected in 1894 for M. clementinus and C. grisea, and in 1905 for A. 
d. var. traskiae. Although herbarium specimens were collected from time 
to time, the first surveys for these species did not occur until the 
1970s (USFWS 2007b, p. 4).
    San Clemente Island is owned by the U.S. Department of the Navy 
(Navy) and, with its associated offshore range complex, is the primary 
maritime training area for the Pacific Fleet and SEALs. The island also 
supports training by the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Air Force, and 
other military organizations. As the western most training range in the 
eastern Pacific Basin where training operations are performed prior to 
troop deployments, portions of the island receive intensive use by the 
military (Navy 2008b, p. 2-2). Various training activities occur within 
particular land use designations and training areas on the island, 
which are coincidentally concentrated in habitat that supports 
Malacothamnus clementinus, Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae, and 
Castilleja grisea. In 2008, the Navy adopted the MOFMP to increase the 
amount and intensity of training on San Clemente Island (Navy 2008b, 
pp. 2-1 to 2-52). The impact to habitat from military activities is 
increasing under this plan (USFWS 2008, pp. 1-237).
    Military training activities within Naval Special Warfare Training 
Areas (SWAT), Training Area Ranges (TAR), Impact Areas, and the 
Infantry

[[Page 29082]]

Operations Areas (IOA) involve the movement of vehicles and troops over 
the landscape, and can include live munitions fire, incendiaries, 
demolitions, and bombardment. These activities have multiple impacts, 
including disturbances to soil and vegetation, spread of nonnative 
plant species, creation of road ruts and trails, and compaction of 
soils (USFWS 2008, pp. 83-87). TARs cover a total of 1,840 acres (ac) 
(744 hectares (ha)), or 5.4 percent of the island, while IOAs encompass 
8,815 ac (3,567 ha) or approximately 25 percent of the island, SWATs 
cover a total of 10,897 ac (4410 ha) or approximately 30 percent of the 
island, and Impact Areas cover 3,459 ac (1,400 ha) or approximately 10 
percent of the island (Navy 2008a, pp. 2-17, 2-45; Navy 2008b, p. 3.11-
52).
    The Navy has delineated areas of military use to define where 
specific activities will take place. These delineated areas include the 
Shore Bombardment Area (SHOBA), constituting the southern one third of 
the island. Please note that while the SHOBA boundary is illustrated in 
Figures 1 to 3, no other boundaries are shown for security reasons, 
although other training areas will be discussed in the text of this 
document. SHOBA, which covers approximately 10,061 ac (4071 ha) (Navy 
2009, p. 2-4), serves as a buffer around Impact Areas I and II and 
supports a variety of training operations. Parts of SHOBA are not 
subject to training activities and serve only as a buffer, while other 
areas support military activities, including movement of troops and 
vehicles or bombing exercises (Navy 2002, p. 2-4). The Impact Areas 
sustain heavy live fire and are a recurrent source of wildfires. Fuel 
breaks are applied each year prior to fire season to help prevent 
spread of fire to areas outside of the Impact Areas.
    Because parts of SHOBA are used for ship-to-shore bombardment, 
access to this area is restricted for nonmilitary personnel on days 
when bombing is occurring. Individuals conducting surveys or working on 
invasive species control projects are granted access to areas outside 
of the Impact Areas within SHOBA when military activities requiring 
exclusive use are not occurring. Because of the frequency of training, 
access to SHOBA can be restricted for long periods of time. Range 
operators are aware of the natural resource obligations within SHOBA, 
and at least 1 day a week is usually allowed for natural resource 
programs to conduct their activities. Weeks with reduced natural 
resource access, including infrequent events that exclude natural 
resource personnel from SHOBA for 10 to 20 days, are announced in 
advance and provide natural resource managers the opportunity to plan 
accordingly.
    Safety concerns relative to the presence of unexploded ordnance 
within SHOBA have recently prompted the Navy to review access policies 
(O'Connor 2006, pers. comm.; USFWS 2008, p. 50; Munson 2011c, pers. 
comm.). In the Navy's MOFMP (Navy 2008a; pp. 2-38 to 2-44), Impact 
Areas I and II were indefinitely closed ``for any purpose, including 
monitoring and management of endangered and sensitive species and their 
habitat'' for safety reasons (Navy 2008a, p. 2-45). Impact Areas I and 
II cover approximately 3,459 ac (1,400 ha), or approximately 10 percent 
of the island's 36,000 ac (14,568 ha; Navy 2008a, p. 2-45. The Navy is 
revising its INRMP to develop solutions to monitor species and their 
threats in these areas potentially through unmanned vehicles, aircraft, 
or with the assistance of range maintenance personnel that regularly 
access the areas. In the meantime, there are no monitoring or 
management actions occurring in these areas.
    Access to additional areas on the island where unexploded ordnance 
has been found is now also restricted for natural resource personnel 
(such as areas in the eastern escarpment within SHOBA, Eel Point, 
Pyramid Head, and Lemon Tank Canyon) (Munson 2011c, pers. comm.). 
Restricted access to these sites limits the opportunities to acquire 
information on the status of Malacothamnus clementinus, Acmispon 
dendroideus var.  traskiae, and Castilleja grisea occurrences, and 
inhibits the ability to manage threats in those areas. The Navy is 
developing plans to trim the vegetation in these areas so that sweeps 
by specially trained technicians can clear the areas of unexploded 
ordnance to allow access by nonmilitary personnel (Munson 2011c, pers. 
comm.).
    As part of its monitoring and recovery efforts for listed species, 
the Navy initiated several rare plant surveys on San Clemente Island 
(Junak and Wilken 1998, pp. 1-416, GIS data; Junak 2006, pp. 1-176, GIS 
data; Tierra Data Inc. 2008, pp. 1-24, appendices and GIS data; SERG 
2009-2011, GIS data). These surveys involved the collection of point 
locations that represent discrete localities of plants detected during 
field surveys. Temporal and spatial variation among data points from 
these surveys is likely due to differences between individual 
researchers' survey techniques or accuracy of data records. Groups of 
plants were described in the past using many different terms including: 
Point localities, populations, occurrences, and element occurrences. 
Unless referring to a specific author's research and language, we refer 
to identifiable and separable groups of plants as ``occurrences'' in 
this finding and proposed rule. We defined these occurrences by mapping 
smaller groupings of plants (point locations) and combining point 
locations that fall within 0.25 mi (402 m) of one another with any 
corresponding California Natural Diversity Database (CNDDB) polygons. 
These combined points meet the broader California Department of Fish 
and Game (CDFG) definition of an element occurrence, which is a record 
of an observation or series of observations. Discussion of occurrences 
throughout this 12-month finding includes groupings of CNDDB element 
occurrences and point localities within a 0.25-mi (402 m) radius of a 
given occurrence. Information for each occurrence of these three taxa 
is described in Table 1.

[[Page 29083]]



 Table 1--Distribution and Status of Occurrences of Malacothamnus clementinus (San Clemente Island Bush Mallow), Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae (San
                                     Clemente Island Lotus), and Castilleja grisea (San Clemente Island Paintbrush)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       Element  occurrence
                                       (EO)  and    Status \2\ at listing;     Current  status
       Location  description           point location (PL)    year of first record        (reference)        Current threats \3\      Military use \4\
                                               \1\
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                Malacothamnus clementinus
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Canchalagua Canyon.................  No EO; 1 PL...........  Unknown...............  Presumed Extant (SERG  A: Nonnative, Fire;    Low Military Value;
                                                                                      2011).                 E: Fire, Climate,      Area Recently
                                                                                                             Genetic.               Closed.
Horse Beach Canyon.................  EO 3; 48 PLs..........  Unknown...............  Presumed Extant        A: Land Use, Erosion,  High Military Value;
                                                                                      (Junak 2005).          Nonnative, Fire,       Area Closed.
                                                                                                             Fire Management; E:
                                                                                                             Movement, Fire,
                                                                                                             Climate, Genetic.
Lower China Canyon.................  EO 1; 9 PLs...........  Extant; 1975 herbarium  Presumed Extant        A: Land Use, Erosion,  High Military Value;
                                                              record.                 (Junak 1997, SERG      Nonnative, Fire,       Area Closed.
                                                                                      2009).                 Fire Management; E:
                                                                                                             Movement, Fire,
                                                                                                             Climate, Genetic.
Upper China Canyon (including Upper  No EO; 4 PLs..........  Extant; 1975 herbarium  Extant (SERG 2010)...  A: Land Use, Erosion,  Low Military Value.
 Horse Beach Canyon).                                         record.                                        Nonnative, Fire,
                                                                                                             Fire Management; E:
                                                                                                             Movement, Fire,
                                                                                                             Climate, Genetic.
Cave Canyon (including Kinkipar      No EO; 27 PLs.........  Unknown...............  Extant (SERG 2010)...  A: Nonnative, Fire;    Medium Military
 Canyon).                                                                                                    E: Fire, Climate,      Value.
                                                                                                             Genetic.
Chukit Canyon......................  2 PLs.................  Unknown...............  Extant (Junak 2004)..  A: Nonnative, Fire;    Low Military Value.
                                                                                                             E: Fire, Climate,
                                                                                                             Genetic.
Lemon Tank Canyon..................  EO 2..................  Extant; 1923 herbarium  Presumed Extant        A: Land Use, Erosion,  Low Military Value;
                                                              record.                 (CNDDB 1996).          Nonnative; E:          Area Closed.
                                                                                                             Movement, Climate,
                                                                                                             Genetic.
Box Canyon.........................  EO 4; 9 PLs...........  Unknown...............  Extant (SERG 2009)...  A: Nonnative; E:       Low Military Value.
                                                                                                             Climate, Genetic.
Norton Canyon......................  EO 7; 27 PLs..........  Unknown...............  Extant--(SERG 2011)..  A: Nonnative; E:       Low Military Value.
                                                                                                             Climate, Genetic.
Middle Ranch Canyon................  EO 5; 5 PLs...........  Unknown...............  Extant (SERG 2008)...  A: Erosion,            Low Military Value.
                                                                                                             Nonnative; E:
                                                                                                             Climate, Genetic.
Waymuck Canyon.....................  EO 6; 1 PL............  Unknown...............  Presumed Extant        A: Erosion,            High Military Value.
                                                                                      (CNDDB 1985).          Nonnative; E:
                                                                                                             Climate, Genetic.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                           Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Eagle Canyon.......................  EO 1, 9 PLs...........  Extant; 1980 CNDDB....  Extant (Junak 2006,    A: Land Use, Erosion,  Low Military Value;
                                                                                      SERG 2008).            Nonnative, Fire; E:    Area Recently
                                                                                                             Movement, Fire,        Closed.
                                                                                                             Climate.
Bryce Canyon.......................  No EO, 14 PLs.........  Unknown...............  Extant (SERG 2009)...  A: Nonnative, Fire; :  Low Military Value;
                                                                                                             Fire, Climate.         Area Recently
                                                                                                                                    Closed.
North Mosquito Cove................  EO 8, 14 PLs..........  Extant; 1939 herbarium  Extant (SERG 2010)...  A: Land Use, Erosion,  Low Military Value;
                                                              record.                                        Nonnative, Fire; E:    Area Recently
                                                                                                             Movement, Fire,        Closed.
                                                                                                             Climate.
Canchalagua Canyon (including south  EO 4, 21 PLs..........  Unknown...............  Extant (SERG 2011)...  A: Land Use, Erosion,  Low Military Value;
 Mosquito Cove).                                                                                             Nonnative, Fire; E:    Area Recently
                                                                                                             Movement, Fire,        Closed.
                                                                                                             Climate.
Thirst Canyon (including Vista       No EO, 8 PLs..........  Unknown...............  Extant (SERG 2009)...  A: Nonnative, Fire;    Medium Military
 Canyon).                                                                                                    E: Fire, Climate.      Value.
Cave Canyon........................  No EO, 3 PLs..........  Unknown...............  Presumed Extant        A: Nonnative, Fire;    Medium Military
                                                                                      (Junak 1997).          E: Fire, Climate.      Value.
Horse Canyon.......................  No EO, 2 PLs..........  Unknown...............  Presumed Extant        A: Nonnative, Fire;    Medium Military
                                                                                      (Junak 1997).          E: Fire, Climate.      Value.
Pyramid Head.......................  EO 5, 1 PL............  Extant; 1979 CNDDB....  Presumed Extant        A: Nonnative, Fire;    High Military Value;
                                                                                      (Junak 1997).          E: Fire, Climate.      Area Closed.

[[Page 29084]]

 
SHOBA Boundary (north to Twin Dams   No EO, 8 PLs..........  Unknown...............  Presumed Extant        A: Nonnative; E:       Medium Military
 Canyon).                                                                             (Junak 1996).          Climate.               Value.
Twin Dams Canyon...................  No EO, 2 PLs..........  Unknown...............  Extant (Junak 2006)..  A: Nonnative; E:       Medium Military
                                                                                                             Climate.               Value.
Horton Canyon (including Stone,      EO 13, 27 PLs.........  Unknown...............  Extant (SERG 2010)...  A: Erosion,            Medium Military
 Burn's, and Horton Canyons).                                                                                Nonnative; E:          Value.
                                                                                                             Climate.
Tota Canyon........................  No EO, 7 PLs..........  Unknown...............  Presumed Extant (SERG  A: Erosion,            Low Military Value.
                                                                                      2010).                 Nonnative; E:
                                                                                                             Climate.
Lemon Tank Canyon (including Nanny   No EO, 19 PLs.........  Unknown...............  Extant (Junak 2004)..  A: Erosion,            Low Military Value;
 Canyon).                                                                                                    Nonnative; E:          Area Partially
                                                                                                             Movement, Climate.     Closed.
Larkspur Canyon....................  EO 16, 2 PLs..........  Unknown...............  Extant (SERG 2011)...  A: Erosion,            Low Military Value.
                                                                                                             Nonnative, Fire; E:
                                                                                                             Movement, Fire,
                                                                                                             Climate.
Chamish Canyon.....................  EO 3, 1 PL............  Extant; 1980 CNDDB....  Presumed Extant        A: Erosion,            Low Military Value.
                                                                                      (Junak 1997).          Nonnative, Fire; E:
                                                                                                             Movement, Fire,
                                                                                                             Climate.
Box Canyon.........................  No EO, 2 PLs..........  Unknown...............  Presumed Extant        A: Nonnative; E:       Low Military Value.
                                                                                      (Junak 1997).          Climate.
Norton Canyon......................  No EO, 1 PL...........  Unknown...............  Extant (Junak 2004)..  A: Nonnative; E:       Low Military Value.
                                                                                                             Climate,
                                                                                                             Hybridization.
Upper Middle Ranch Canyon..........  EO 10, 5 PLs..........  Unknown...............  Extant (Junak 2004)..  A: Erosion,            Low Military Value.
                                                                                                             Nonnative; E:
                                                                                                             Climate.
Lower Middle Ranch Canyon..........  No EO, 3 PLs..........  Unknown...............  Extant (SERG 2008)...  A: Nonnative; E:       Low Military Value.
                                                                                                             Climate.
Waymuck Canyon.....................  No EO, 4 PLs..........  Unknown...............  Extant (SERG 2011)...  A: Nonnative; E:       High Military Value.
                                                                                                             Climate.
Warren Canyon......................  EO 12, 20 PLs.........  Unknown...............  Extant (SERG 2011)...  A: Erosion,            High Military Value.
                                                                                                             Nonnative; E:
                                                                                                             Movement, Climate.
Middle Wallrock Canyon.............  No EO, 10 PLs.........  Unknown...............  Extant (Junak 2004)..  A: Nonnative; E:       High Military Value.
                                                                                                             Movement, Climate.
Upper Wallrock Canyon..............  No EO, 3 PLs..........  Unknown...............  Extant (Junak 2006)..  A: Erosion,            High Military Value.
                                                                                                             Nonnative; E:
                                                                                                             Climate.
Seal Cove Terraces.................  No EO, 3 PLs..........  Unknown...............  Extant (Junak 2004)..  A: Erosion,            High Military Value.
                                                                                                             Nonnative, Fire; E:
                                                                                                             Movement, Fire,
                                                                                                             Climate.
Eel Cove Canyon (including           EO 14, 6 PLs..........  Unknown...............  Extant (SERG 2010)...  A: Erosion,            High Military Value.
 terraces).                                                                                                  Nonnative, Fire; E:
                                                                                                             Movement, Fire,
                                                                                                             Climate.
Middle Island Plateau..............  EO 7, 6 PLs...........  Unknown...............  Extant (Tierra Data    A: Land Use, Erosion,  High Military Value.
                                                                                      2007).                 Nonnative, Fire; E:
                                                                                                             Movement, Fire,
                                                                                                             Climate.
Wilson Cove........................  EO 11, 52 PLs.........  Extant; 1981 CNDDB....  Extant (SERG 2010)...  A: Land Use, Erosion,  High Military Value.
                                                                                                             Nonnative, Fire; E:
                                                                                                             Movement, Fire,
                                                                                                             Climate,
                                                                                                             Hybridization.
North Wilson Cove..................  EO 9, no PLs..........  Extant; 1959 herbarium  Unknown..............  A: Erosion,            High Military Value.
                                                              record.                                        Nonnative; E:
                                                                                                             Climate.
North Island Terraces..............  EO 15, no PLs.........  Unknown...............  Presumed Extant        A: Erosion,            Medium Military
                                                                                      (CNDDB 1996).          Nonnative; E:          Value.
                                                                                                             Movement, Climate.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                    Castilleja grisea
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thirst Canyon (including Vista       EO 10, 11 & 40; 21 PLs  Extant; 1980 CNDDB....  Extant (SERG 2010)...  A: Nonnative, Fire;    Medium Military
 Canyon).                                                                                                    E: Climate.            Value.

[[Page 29085]]

 
Eagle Canyon (including Grove        EO 7 & 30; 50 PLs.....  Extant; 1979 herbarium  Extant (Tierra Data    A: Land Use, Erosion,  Low Military Value;
 Canyon).                                                     record.                 2006).                 Nonnative, Fire; E:    Area Recently
                                                                                                             Movement, Climate.     Closed.
Bryce Canyon.......................  EO 3, 8 & 47; 43 PLs..  Extant; 1979 GIS data.  Extant (SERG 2010)...  A: Land Use, Erosion,  Low Military Value;
                                                                                                             Nonnative, Fire; E:    Area Recently
                                                                                                             Movement, Climate.     Closed.
Canchalagua Canyon (including south  EO 4 & 27; 56 PLs.....  Extant; 1963 herbarium  Extant (SERG 2011)...  A: Land Use, Erosion,  Low Military Value;
 Mosquito Cove and Matriarch                                  record.                                        Nonnative, Fire,       Area Recently
 Canyon).                                                                                                    Fire Management; E:    Closed.
                                                                                                             Movement, Climate.
Knob Canyon........................  EO 2 & 49; 21 PLs.....  Extant; 1979 CNDDB....  Extant (Tierra Data    A: Land Use, Erosion,  Low Military Value;
                                                                                      2006, SERG 2008).      Nonnative, Fire,       Area Recently
                                                                                                             Fire Management; E:    Closed.
                                                                                                             Movement, Climate.
Pyramid Head.......................  EO 1 & 15; 25 PLs.....  Extant; 1965 herbarium  Extant (SERG 2011)...  A: Land Use, Erosion,  High Military Value;
                                                              record.                                        Nonnative, Fire; E:    Partially Recently
                                                                                                             Movement, Climate.     Closed.
Snake Canyon (including Sun Point).  EO 23; 4 PLs..........  Extant; 1939 CNDDB....  Presumed Extant        A: Nonnative, Fire;    High Military Value;
                                                                                      (Junak 1997).          E: Fire, Climate.      Area Closed.
Upper Chenetti Canyon..............  EO 34; 1 PL...........  Unknown...............  Extant (Junak 2004)..  A: Nonnative,          High Military Value;
                                                                                                             Erosion, Fire, Fire    Area Closed.
                                                                                                             Management; E: Fire,
                                                                                                             Climate.
Horse Beach Canyon.................  EO 33 & 35; 49 PLs....  Extant; 1939 herbarium  Presumed Extant        A: Land Use, Erosion,  High Military Value;
                                                              record.                 (Junak 2005).          Nonnative, Fire,       Area Closed.
                                                                                                             Fire Management; E:
                                                                                                             Movement, Fire,
                                                                                                             Climate.
China Canyon.......................  EO 25, 37 & 46; 6 PLs.  Extant; 1939 herbarium  Presumed Extant        A: Land Use, Erosion,  High Military Value;
                                                              record.                 (Junak 1997; SERG      Nonnative, Fire,       Area Closed.
                                                                                      2009).                 Fire Management; E:
                                                                                                             Movement, Fire,
                                                                                                             Climate.
Red Canyon.........................  EO 36; no PLs.........  Extant; 1975 herbarium  Presumed Extant        A: Land Use, Erosion,  High Military Value;
                                                              record.                 (CNDDB 1986).          Nonnative, Fire,       Area Closed.
                                                                                                             Fire Management; E:
                                                                                                             Movement, Fire,
                                                                                                             Climate.
Kinkipar Canyon....................  No EO; 2 PLs..........  Unknown...............  Extant (SERG 2006)...  A: Nonnative, Fire;    Medium Military
                                                                                                             E: Climate.            Value.
Cave Canyon........................  EO 17, 18 & 45; 9 PLs.  Extant; 1980 CNDDB....  Extant (SERG 2009)...  A: Nonnative, Fire;    Medium Military
                                                                                                             E: Climate.            Value.
Horse Canyon.......................  No EO; 6 PLs..........  Unknown...............  Extant (SERG 2010)...  A: Nonnative, Fire;    Medium Military
                                                                                                             E: Climate.            Value.
Upper Horse Canyon.................  EO 19 & 39; 1 PL......  Extant; 1979 CNDDB....  Extant (Junak 2004)..  A: Erosion,            Medium Military
                                                                                                             Nonnative, Fire; E:    Value.
                                                                                                             Climate.
SHOBA Boundary (north to and         EO 31; 55 PLs.........  Extant; 1965 CNDDB....  Extant (Junak 2006,    A: Nonnative; E:       Medium Military
 including Twin Dams Canyon).                                                         SERG 2011).            Climate.               Value.
Horton Canyon (including Stone and   EO 12 & 44; 24 PLs....  Extant; 1981 CNDDB....  Extant (Junak 2006,    A: Erosion,            Medium Military
 Burn's Canyons).                                                                     SERG 2010).            Nonnative; E:          Value.
                                                                                                             Climate.
Lemon Tank Canyon (including Tota    No EO; 14 PLs.........  Unknown...............  Extant (SERG 2010)...  A: Land Use, Erosion,  Low Military Value;
 Canyon).                                                                                                    Nonnative, Fire; E:    Area Closed.
                                                                                                             Movement, Fire,
                                                                                                             Climate.
Nanny Canyon.......................  EO 13; 3 PLs..........  Extant; 1979 CNDDB....  Extant (Junak 2004)..  A: Nonnative; E:       Low Military Value;
                                                                                                             Movement, Climate.     Area Partially
                                                                                                                                    Closed.

[[Page 29086]]

 
Larkspur Canyon (including Chamish   EO 14 & 48; 15 PLs....  Extant; 1981 CNDDB....  Extant (SERG 2006--    A: Land Use, Erosion,  Low Military Value.
 Canyon).                                                                             2011).                 Nonnative, Fire; E:
                                                                                                             Movement, Fire,
                                                                                                             Climate.
Box Canyon.........................  EO 20 & 41; 22 PLs....  Extant; 1979 CNDDB....  Extant (SERG 2011)...  A: Nonnative; E:       Low Military Value.
                                                                                                             Climate.
Upper Norton Canyon................  EO 21; 6 PLs..........  Extant; 1979 CNDDB....  Extant (SERG 2011)...  A: Nonnative; E:       Low Military Value.
                                                                                                             Climate.
Middle Ranch Canyon................  EO 24; 8 PLs..........  Extant; 1981 CNDDB....  Extant (SERG 2008)...  A: Nonnative; E:       Low Military Value.
                                                                                                             Climate.
Waymuck Canyon.....................  EO 22; 1 PL...........  Unknown...............  Extant (Junak 2004)..  A: Nonnative; E:       High Military Value.
                                                                                                             Climate.
Plain northeast of Warren Canyon...  No EO; 4 PLs..........  Unknown...............  Extant (Tierra Data    A: Land Use, Erosion,  Medium Military
                                                                                      2007).                 Nonnative; E:          Value.
                                                                                                             Movement, Climate.
Seal Cove Terraces.................  EO 43; 2 PLs..........  Unknown...............  Extant (CNDDB 1985,    A: Erosion,            High Military Value.
                                                                                      SERG 2010).            Nonnative, Fire; E:
                                                                                                             Movement, Fire,
                                                                                                             Climate.
Eel Cove Canyon (including           No EO; 3 PLs..........  Unknown...............  Extant (Junak 2004)..  A: Nonnative, Fire;    High Military Value.
 terraces).                                                                                                  E: Movement, Fire,
                                                                                                             Climate.
Terrace Canyon (south to terraces    No EO; 6 PLs..........  Unknown...............  Presumed Extant (SERG  A: Erosion,            High Military Value.
 around Spray).                                                                       2004).                 Nonnative; E:
                                                                                                             Movement, Climate.
West Cove..........................  No EO; 3 PLs..........  Unknown...............  Extant (Tierra Data    A: Land Use, Erosion,  Medium Military
                                                                                      2006).                 Nonnative; E:          Value.
                                                                                                             Movement, Climate.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ EO: element occurrence, as defined and described according to the California Natural Diversity Database. PL: point locations of plants.
\2\ Threats identified in the listing rule for these three taxa include: Factor A: habitat modification by feral animals; Factor C: grazing by animals;
  Factor E: nonnative plants.
\3\ Current threats: Nonnative = Nonnative Plants; Movement = Movement of Vehicles and Troops; Climate = Climate Change; Genetic = Genetic Diversity.
\4\ Military value as defined in the Navy's 2002 Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan (INRMP). Values defined according to the management
  emphasis, with high-value areas designated for maximum military use and low-value areas retaining the greatest flexibility for maintaining natural
  resource values.

Species Distribution--Malacothamnus clementinus
    For many decades prior to its listing, Malacothamnus clementinus 
was only known from the type locality (the area where the species is 
first identified and described) at Lemon Tank Canyon, on the eastern 
side of the middle of the island (Kearney 1951, p. 128; USFWS 1984, p. 
48). Dumping of scrap metal actually protected this occurrence from the 
ongoing threat of feral goat herbivory by preventing the goats from 
destroying the plants (USFWS 1984, p. 48). The historical range and 
distribution of M. clementinus on San Clemente Island is unknown 
because surveys were not carried out before the plant's decline. In the 
Recovery Plan, we noted that a public citizen commented in the Listing 
Rule on the discovery of two to three small plants on the edge of an 
inaccessible ledge in China Canyon (now described as two occurrences--
Lower China Canyon and Upper China Canyon; 42 FR at 40683; USFWS 1984, 
p. 48). These two occurrences, along with the occurrence at Lemon Tank, 
were known at the time of listing. Since listing, eight new occurrences 
of M. clementinus have been discovered among the generally 
southwesterly facing coastal terraces and their associated escarpments 
in the southern and middle regions of San Clemente Island (Junak and 
Wilken 1998, pp. 1-416, GIS data; Junak 2006, pp. 1-176, GIS data; 
Tierra Data Inc. 2008, pp. 1-24, appendices and GIS data; SERG 2009-
2011, GIS data; Figure 1). Many of these new occurrences have appeared 
since feral goats and pigs were removed from the island in the early 
1990s. This suggests the possibility that the plants reemerged from 
underground stems that survived grazing by feral herbivores (Junak 
2006a, pers. comm.).
    Malacothamnus clementinus occurrences are scattered below canyon 
rims, at the base of terrace escarpments, and in flat areas from 
approximately Middle Ranch Canyon in the north to Horse Beach Canyon in 
the south. A large, genetically diverse occurrence is found within 
Horse Beach Canyon (Helenurm 1999, pp. 39-40). Ten of the 11 known 
occurrences are located throughout the southwestern region of the 
island; in addition, the Lemon Tank Canyon occurrence is located in the 
northeastern region of the island (Figure 1). Six of the occurrences 
are within SHOBA, and five are to the north outside of SHOBA. The main 
southern distribution of M. clementinus is disconnected from the 
historical type locality (the area where the species is first 
identified and described) of the species, which is the Lemon Tank 
Canyon occurrence. Lemon Tank lies about 3.6 mi (5.8 km) to the 
northeast of the nearest occurrence (Waymuck Canyon). The Lemon Tank 
Canyon occurrence has not been resurveyed since 1996, and its current 
status is uncertain and presumed extant (CNDDB

[[Page 29087]]

2011a, p. 2). Beyond the 11 known occurrences, there is an additional 
record of M. clementinus in the northern plateau area of the island, 
near Ridge Road, but this has not been confirmed despite targeted 
searches for the plant (SERG 2006, GIS data; Howe 2011a, pers. comm.). 
We are not considering this record as a known occurrence at this time 
due to the possibility of error.
    The known range of M. clementinus has expanded to the south on San 
Clemente Island since its listing, with the distance between the 
northernmost and southernmost occurrence spanning about 9.5 mi (15.3 
km). Occurrences within Impact Areas I and II in the southwestern 
portion of the island (within SHOBA) have not been surveyed since 2006, 
largely due to area closures implemented through the recent MOFMP (Navy 
2008a, pp. 2-38 to 2-44; Munson 2011a, pers. comm.). Because of these 
closures, we were unable to evaluate the status of occurrences in Horse 
Beach Canyon, Lower China Canyon, and part of Upper China Canyon for 
this review. While the remaining eight occurrences fall outside of 
these Impact Areas, one of the largest and most genetically diverse of 
the 11 known occurrences, Horse Beach Canyon, is within the restricted 
area.
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    Aerial stems of Malacothamnus clementinus can sprout from spreading 
underground stems (rhizomes). This makes it difficult to distinguish 
individual plants among groups of stems. Consequently, the size of an 
occurrence has been variously measured by counting the number of stem 
groupings or ``clumps,'' counting the total number of stems within a 
clump, and measuring the approximate area covered by plant groupings. 
These inconsistent survey methods make it difficult to document 
occurrence trends beyond the appearance of new

[[Page 29089]]

occurrences. There is no detailed information about the abundance 
(number or density of plants) of M. clementinus at the time of its 
listing in 1977 (42 FR 40683). Occurrences documented in 1996 to 1997 
ranged in size from 1 to 50 clumps (Junak and Wilken 1998, p. 301). The 
Navy recently estimated 1,516 individuals of M. clementinus recorded 
since 2006 (Munson 2011d, pers. comm.). However, given the challenge in 
distinguishing individuals in a group of plants, and variability in 
methods of estimating the number of individuals, it is difficult to 
accurately quantify the abundance of M. clementinus on San Clemente 
Island and, as such, numbers should be interpreted cautiously.
    Despite difficulties in determining species abundance, extensive 
surveys for Malacothamnus clementinus have detected 8 new occurrences 
since listing, for a total of 11 occurrences. This suggests that the 
species is responding favorably to the elimination of grazing pressure 
from feral herbivores on San Clemente Island. It is unknown to what 
extent this increase is attributable to more intensive survey efforts, 
detection of previously undetected individuals, recruitment from the 
seed bank, resprouting from rhizomes, recolonization associated with 
dispersal events, or management efforts.
Species Distribution--Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae
    Since the 1970s, the distribution of Acmispon dendroideus var. 
traskiae has been documented on north-facing slopes over most of the 
eastern and western sides of the island (USFWS 1984, p. 59; Junak and 
Wilken 1998, p. 256; Navy 2002, p. D-9; Junak 2006, p. 125). Twenty-
nine occurrences of this taxon have been identified, which span the 
entire length of the island from Wilson Cove to the southern tip east 
of Pyramid Cove, a distance of approximately 19 mi (31 km) (Junak and 
Wilken 1998, p. 261; Junak 2006, Map A-C) (Figure 2). The majority of 
occurrences tend to be clustered on north-facing slopes on the eastern 
side of the island (Table 1). The distribution of A. d. var. traskiae 
spans the boundary of SHOBA at the southern end of the island: 8 
occurrences fall within SHOBA and 21 are outside (Junak and Wilken 
1998, pp. 1-416, GIS data; Junak 2006, pp. 1-176, GIS data; Tierra Data 
Inc. 2008, pp. 1-24, appendices and GIS data; SERG 2009-2011, GIS 
data). Approximately 13 of 29 (45 percent) of the occurrences (Wilson 
Cove, Canchalagua Canyon, Middle Island Plateau, North Mosquito Cove, 
Eagle Canyon, Larkspur Canyon, Chamish Canyon, Lemon Tank Canyon, Seal 
Cove Terraces, Eel Cove Canyon, Middle Wallrock Canyon, Warren Canyon, 
and North Island Terraces) are partially or wholly within the 
boundaries of a training area (IOA, TAR, or SWAT).

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    Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae tends to occur in small groups 
of 10 to 50 individuals (Allan 1999, p. 84). There is no information 
about the abundance of A. d. var. traskiae at the time of its listing 
in 1977. In the 1984 Recovery Plan (USFWS, p. 59), six occurrences of 
A. d. var. traskiae were recognized, all generally associated with 
rocky areas. However, no other specific information regarding species 
location or numbers of individuals at those six sites was provided in 
the Recovery Plan, except the statement that ``the largest number of 
plants grow in the vicinity of

[[Page 29091]]

Wilson Cove'' (USFWS 1984, p. 59). Additionally, there are only a few 
herbarium specimens of the taxon, making historical distribution and 
condition of the species difficult to assess. For purposes of 
comparison to the current status, we will use the number of occurrences 
cited in the recovery plan as the most conservative estimate of 
species' distribution around the time of its listing (Table 1). Thus, 
the historical range (based on herbarium records, CNDDB records, and 
the recovery plan) includes occurrences in the northern part of the 
island (Wilson Cove) down to the southern point (Pyramid Head).
    CNDDB currently lists 14 element occurrences of Acmispon 
dendroideus var. traskiae (as Lotus dendroideus subsp. traskiae) (CNDDB 
2011b) that are presumed extant. These occurrences are located on both 
the western and eastern sides of the island and are distributed across 
almost the entire length of the island. Recently, survey efforts have 
concentrated on discovering new plant occurrences, rather than tracking 
the status of historical occurrences (Junak 2006a, pers. comm.). New 
observations were mainly concentrated on north-facing slopes in the 
middle of the island, both on the eastern and western sides. Analysis 
of these newer point localities revealed proximity to individuals 
detected during the 1996 and 1997 surveys. These element occurrences 
and point localities combined total 29 separate A. d. var. traskiae 
occurrences (Table 1).
    Abundance is difficult to determine for this species because range-
wide surveys were not conducted each year. Instead, monitoring took 
place over multiple years with varying conditions. A recent estimate 
from the Navy reported 3,525 individuals of Acmispon dendroideus var. 
traskiae recorded since 2006 (Munson 2011d, pers. comm.). Even though 
there is uncertainty in the number of individuals, the number of 
occurrences has increased from 6 to 29. Thus, extensive survey findings 
suggest that A. d. var. traskiae has increased throughout most of its 
historical range, and there are more occurrences now than there were at 
the time of listing. It is unknown to what extent this increase is 
attributable to more intensive survey efforts, detection of previously 
undetected individuals, recruitment from the seed bank, recolonization 
associated with dispersal events, or management efforts. The increase 
in number of occurrences could indicate an increase in the distribution 
of A. d. var. traskiae on San Clemente Island.
Species Distribution--Castilleja grisea
    Castilleja grisea was described as relatively common on San 
Clemente Island in the 1930s, and subsequently declined as a result of 
unchecked grazing by introduced feral herbivores (Helenurm et al. 2005, 
p. 1222). The historical range and distribution of C. grisea on San 
Clemente Island is unknown because botanical studies were not completed 
before the plant's decline. Herbarium records documented the species on 
the south and east sides of the island before the time of listing 
(California Consortium of Herbaria 2011, records for C. grisea). By 
1963, C. grisea was reported as rare or occasional (Raven 1963, p. 
337). Since the complete removal of goats and pigs from San Clemente 
Island in 1992, C. grisea has been detected across much of the island 
(Helenurm et al. 2005, pp. 1221, 1226; Junak 2006, p. 47; USFWS 2007c, 
p. 14). Plants have been recorded across the southern two-thirds of the 
island, and a single disjunct occurrence was documented at the northern 
end in West Cove (Junak and Wilken 1998, pp. 1-416, GIS data; Junak 
2006, pp. 1-176, GIS data; Tierra Data Inc. 2008, pp. 1-24, appendices 
and GIS data; SERG 2009-2011, GIS data) (Figure 3). The distribution of 
any parasitic or hemiparasitic plant is limited by the distribution of 
its host or hosts. However, host availability does not appear to be 
limiting the abundance of this species.
    The linear distance between the northernmost and southernmost 
occurrences is 19.7 mi (32 km), with plants primarily distributed 
across the southern 15.5 mi (25 km) of the island. Occurrences on the 
southern end of the island on both the western and eastern sides are 
reported in the CNDDB (CNDDB 2011c). We combined CNDDB element 
occurrences with adjacent point localities from island surveys to 
identify Castilleja grisea occurrences (Table 1). The known 
distribution for C. grisea documented since 1992 reflects a more 
continuous and slightly expanded distribution since the time of listing 
(Tierra Data Inc. 2008, p. B-3). Survey efforts have concentrated on 
discovering new occurrences rather than tracking the status of 
historical occurrences (Junak, 2006a, pers. comm.). Using available GIS 
and distribution data, we have determined there are 29 occurrences of 
C. grisea currently on the island; only 19 of these were known at 
listing.
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(Table 1). The extant occurrences at listing are derived from herbarium 
records, CNDDB records, and information in the Recovery Plan. 
Distribution of C. grisea extends into SHOBA at the southern end of the 
island; 15 occurrences fall within and 14 outside of SHOBA.
    A number of surveys have found new occurrences throughout the 
island (Junak and Wilken 1998, GIS data; Junak 2006, GIS data; Tierra 
Data Inc. 2008, GIS data; SERG 2009-2011, GIS data; CNDDB 2011c). Most 
new observations were concentrated in steep canyons on the western side 
of the island, although a few were discovered near previously

[[Page 29093]]

recorded individuals in the eastern canyons. Recent counts, based on 
the Navy's data, estimate 11,733 individuals of Castilleja grisea since 
2006 (Munson 2011d, pers. comm.). Extensive survey efforts since 1992 
suggest C. grisea has filled in its known historical range on the 
island, and there are more individuals now than at listing. Even though 
there is uncertainty in the number of individuals, the number of 
occurrences of species has increased from 19 to 29. It remains unknown 
how much of this apparent increase in range density can be attributed 
to more intensive survey efforts, detection of previously undetected 
individuals, recruitment from the seed bank, recolonization associated 
with dispersal events, or management efforts. However, the increase in 
the number of occurrences suggests an expansion of the species across 
the island.

Habitat

General Habitat Conditions
    Current habitat conditions for Malacothamnus clementinus, Acmispon 
dendroideus var. traskiae, and Castilleja grisea on San Clemente Island 
are the result of present and historical land use practices. San 
Clemente Island has been inhabited by humans for thousands of years 
(Schoenherr et al. 1999, p. 317). There is evidence that the Gabrielino 
people used the island for harvesting marine organisms before European 
settlers arrived. The first lease for sheep ranching was granted in 
1848 (Schoenherr et al. 1999, p. 317). From 1850 until 1934, San 
Clemente Island was used for sheep and cattle ranching, goat grazing, 
and pig farming (Navy 2002, pp. 3-4). Some accounts even report goats 
present on the island as early as 1827 (Dunkle 1950, p. 261). These 
nonnative herbivores greatly changed the vegetative landscape of San 
Clemente Island, and were cited in the final listing rule (42 FR 40682; 
August 11, 1977) for M. clementinus, A. d. var. traskiae, and C. grisea 
as the main cause of these species' decline. Sheep were removed from 
the island in the 1930s, but feral goats and pigs were not completely 
eradicated until 1992. Since the removal of goats and pigs, the 
vegetation on San Clemente Island has rebounded, and the condition of 
many rare plants has improved (Junak 2006a, pers. comm.). As a 
persistent historical impact to the landscape, overgrazing also led to 
the creation of bare trails, denuded areas, and severe erosion. Grazing 
animals also facilitated the introduction and spread of nonnative 
plants. Specifically, nonnative grasses were spread through grazing and 
ranching on the island (Navy 2002, p. 3-31).
Fire
    Past and current fire regimes (pattern, frequency, and intensity of 
fire in an area) have influenced the distribution of native and 
nonnative plants on San Clemente Island (Navy 2002, p. 3-28). Although 
the natural fire regime of the island is unknown, there have only been 
three documented lightning ignitions of wildfires on the Channel 
Islands in 140 years (Carroll et al. 1993, p. 83). Natural fire 
ignition was probably rare, as lightning-caused fires tend to be less 
frequent with proximity to the coastline, due to higher fuel moisture 
levels and a cooler climate (Keeley 1982, pp. 436-437; Keeley 2002, p. 
305). While the island was used for ranching, fires were set 
intermittently to increase the forb and grass cover (Navy 2002, p. 3-
29). After purchase by the Navy in 1934, fire ignited by military 
training activities became a more common occurrence throughout much of 
the island.
    It was assumed in previous descriptions that Malacothamnus 
clementinus is adapted to, and tolerant of, the periodic fires that 
probably occurred in a prehistorical, lightning-ignition fire regime, 
although there is no direct research to support this assumption (USFWS 
1984. p. 48; Navy 2002, D-20; USFWS 2007a, p. 3). Other species in the 
same genus are fire tolerant and able to adapt, such as Malacothamnus 
fremontii (Fremont's bushmallow), a primary successional species that 
can form the major shrub cover after a fire (Rundel 1982, p. 86). The 
seeds of M. fremontii are stimulated by heat shock treatments, 
suggesting that it is adapted to germinate after fires (Keeley et al. 
2005, p. 175). Another related species, M. fasciculatus (Mendocino 
bushmallow), germinates after being stimulated by heat and is known to 
flourish after fires (Swensen et al. 1995, pp. 412-413; Beyers and 
Wakeman 1997, p. 2). Malacothamnus clementinus has underground stems, 
and can resprout after disturbance to reproduce vegetatively. The fire 
tolerance of the genus and its ability to resprout suggest that M. 
clementinus may be adapted to fire. Although no direct research has 
been done on the effects of fire on M. clementinus, its continued 
presence in areas that have burned (such as SHOBA) indicates that it is 
tolerant of at least occasional fire (intervals of at least 5 years) 
(Navy 2008b, pp. 3.11-24, 3.11-81). However, frequent fires could 
exceed its tolerance of fire intensity and frequency.
    The fire tolerance of Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae is 
unknown. Some studies have shown that the related mainland species, 
Lotus scoparius (deerweed), is fire tolerant and becomes more abundant 
in years after fire (Nilsen and Schlesinger 1981, p. 217; Westman and 
O'Leary 1986, pp. 184-185). Other studies indicate that intense or 
frequent burns (three times in 6 years) of L. scoparius lead to 
establishment of fewer seedlings (Westman and O'Leary 1986, p. 185; 
Haidinger and Keeley 1993, p. 141). In San Clemente Island species, 
observations show that Acmispon argophyllus var. adsurgens (San 
Clemente Island bird's-foot trefoil) germination is slowed or depressed 
after fire, but A. argophyllus var. argenteus (silver bird's-foot 
trefoil) flourishes in burn areas (Allan 1999, pp. 90-91). Observations 
of A. d. var. traskiae before and several years following a fire in 
Canchalagua Canyon found that adult plants were usually killed by fire, 
but were replaced with a similar number of seedlings after the fire 
(Navy 2002, p. D-10; Tierra Data Inc. 2005, p. 80). Based on A. d. var. 
traskiae's growth characteristics and occurrence increases in areas 
affected by fire, and the fire adaptations of related species, A. d. 
var. traskiae may be resilient to at least occasional fire. Frequent 
fires could exceed its tolerance of fire intensity and frequency, and 
exhaust the seed bank in repeatedly burned areas. Until studies can be 
conducted specifically on A. d. var. traskiae, it is prudent to avoid 
the conclusion that the species benefits from, or germinates with, 
fire.
    The fire tolerance of Castilleja grisea is unknown at this time. We 
do not know of any studies conducted on the fire tolerance of this 
species, and there is very little information from related species to 
infer fire tolerance for the genus Castilleja. A related rare species, 
C. levisecta (golden Indian paintbrush), tolerates fire and performs 
better in areas that have burned in the past (Dunwiddie 2002, p. 1; 
Dunwiddie 2009, p. 5). Castilleja grisea has survived and expanded its 
distribution in areas that have burned. It is generally assumed that 
the species has some tolerance of infrequent fire (Navy 2002, D-32) 
based on C. grisea occurrence increases in areas affected by fire, and 
the fire adaptations of other plants in the genus. However, until 
species-specific research is conducted, we cannot conclude with 
certainty that C. grisea is adapted to fire. Additionally, research is 
needed on the fire tolerance of potential host plants and their impacts 
on establishment of C. grisea.
    Although the three species share the same island habitat, they 
inhabit different niches. The habitat

[[Page 29094]]

characteristics of each species are discussed below.
Habitat--Malacothamnus clementinus
    Malacothamnus clementinus occurs in a variety of habitats on San 
Clemente Island. Historically, it was observed on rocky canyon walls 
and ridges, presumably because foraging goats did not graze those 
areas. More recently, M. clementinus has been found at the base of 
escarpments between coastal terraces on the western side of the island 
within maritime cactus scrub (Navy 2002, pp. D-19, D-20). It can also 
occur on low canyon benches and in rocky grasslands. Malacothamnus 
clementinus is found at approximately 30 to 900 ft (10 to 275 m) 
elevation (CNPS 2001, p. 215). Moisture that collects in rock crevices 
and at the base of canyon walls and escarpments may provide favorable 
conditions for this species (Junak 2006a, pers. comm.). Based on its 
habitat range on the island and the ease of cultivating the plant, M. 
clementinus appears to tolerate a broad range of soil types (USFWS 
1984, p. 50). It is often associated with maritime cactus scrub 
vegetation on coastal flats at the southwestern end of the island 
(Junak and Wilken 1998, p. 256). In the INRMP, M. clementinus is listed 
as associated with canyon woodlands (approximately 696 ac (282 ha)), 
maritime desert scrub-prickly pear vegetation community (approximately 
8,921 ac (3,610 ha)), and maritime sage scrub (approximately 369 ac 
(149 ha)) (Navy 2002, pp. 3-57, 3-63, 3-66). According to Junak and 
Wilken (1998, p. 290), it is associated with numerous plant species, 
including: Artemisia californica (California sage brush), Avena fatua 
(wild oat), Bromus spp. (brome grass), Calystegia macrostegia subsp. 
amplissima (island morning glory), Encelia californica (California 
brittlebush), Nassella cernua (nodding needlegrass), Nassella lepida 
(foothill stipa), Opuntia littoralis (western prickly pear), Opuntia 
oricola (chaparral prickly pear), Opuntia prolifera (cholla), and Rhus 
intergrifolia (lemonade sumac).
Habitat--Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae
    Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae occurs on north-facing slopes, 
canyon bottoms, or ridgelines (Junak 2006, p. 125). Plants grow 
somewhat colonially around rock outcrops and boulders in grassy areas, 
and along the interface between grassland and maritime sage scrub 
(Allan 1999, p. 84; Navy 2002, p. D-9). Acmispon dendroideus var. 
traskiae occurs between 25 and 1,400 ft (7.6 to 463 m) in elevation on 
well-drained soils where adequate soil moisture is available to the 
plant (Junak and Wilken 1998, p. 256; Navy 2002, p. D-9). Some plants 
have been found in close proximity to buildings, roads, and pipelines, 
indicating that A. d. var. traskiae is capable of colonizing disturbed 
areas (Allan 1999, p. 84; Navy 2002, p. D-9). A. d. var. traskiae is 
associated with two habitat types on the island: Canyon woodland 
supported on approximately 696 ac (282 ha) and maritime desert scrub 
along the northeastern escarpment supported on approximately 6,228 ac 
(2,520 ha) (Navy 2002, pp. 3-57, 3-58). According to Junak and Wilken 
(1998, p. 256), A. d. var. traskiae is associated with numerous plant 
species including, but not limited to: Artemisia californica, Avena 
fatua, Bromus spp., Calystegia macrostegia subsp. amplissima, 
Dichelostemma capitatum (wild hyacinth), Gnaphalium bicolor (bicolored 
everlasting), Hemizonia clementina (island tarplant), Opuntia spp. 
(prickly pear), Nassella pulchra (purple stipa), and  Quercus 
tomentella (island live oak).
Habitat--Castilleja grisea
    Castilleja grisea is often associated with coastal sage scrub found 
on approximately 369 ac (149 ha) of the island and maritime desert 
scrub plant communities found on approximately 5,858 ac (2,371 ha), 
with scattered concentrations of plants in canyon woodland 
(approximately 696 ac (282 ha)) and grassland habitat (approximately 
8,921 ac (3,610 ha)) (Navy 2002, pp. 3-58, 3-63, 3-66). Plants are 
located in steep, rocky canyons on both the eastern escarpment and 
western side of the island, although some have been observed on coastal 
bluffs, slopes, and terraces around the island's perimeter. Some of the 
largest concentrations of plants are located in bowl-shaped swales on 
coastal terraces (Junak and Wilken 1998, p. 82). Castilleja grisea 
grows between 32 and 2,000 ft (10 and 365 m) in elevation. This 
hemiparasitic plant is known to parasitize many different plants, 
although a definitive understanding of host-plant associations is 
currently unknown. Potential host plants include Calystegia macrostegia 
subsp. amplissima (island morning glory), Opuntia littoralis (prickly 
pear), and Constancia nevinii (Nevin's eriophyllum). These may be 
important habitat components for C. grisea. Junak and Wilken (1998, p. 
82) suggest that habitat conditions must be of sufficient quality to 
sustain potential host plants and provide opportunities for C. grisea 
establishment. Numerous plant species are associated with C. grisea 
including, but not limited to: Artemisia californica, Calystegia 
macrostegia subsp. amplissima, Encelia californica, Constancia nevinii 
(Nevin's woolly sunflower), Hemizonia clementina, Isocoma menziesii 
(Menzies' goldenbush), Lycium californicum (California boxthorn), and 
Opuntia spp. (Junak and Wilken 1998, p. 82).

Biology and Genetics

Biology--Malacothamnus clementinus
    Malacothamnus clementinus is an herbaceous clonal plant (descended 
asexually from a single individual) that may spread locally by 
underground rhizomes that produce aerial stems. On average there are 90 
flowers per inflorescence (a flower cluster) (Junak and Wilken 1998, p. 
291). The species flowers in the spring, typically from March to August 
(Kearney 1951, p. 115; Navy 2002, D-19; California Native Plant Society 
2011). Junak and Wilken (1998, p. 291) found that M. clementinus is 
self-compatible (capable of self-fertilization), but not self-
pollinating. The plant produced seed when hand pollinated with pollen 
from the same plant, but not when flowers were bagged to prevent 
pollinator visitations (Junak and Wilken 1998, p. 291). It is generally 
thought that M. clementinus is pollinated by insects, although no 
specific pollinator for this species is known. Other species in the 
family Malvaceae are pollinated by specialist bees in the genus 
Diadasia (Sipes and Tepedino 2005, p. 487). Given the evidence that 
suggests pollinators may be necessary for successful seed production, a 
decline in M. clementinus may in part be due to a decline in 
pollinators or an absence of pollinator visitations (Junak and Wilken 
1998, p. 291).
    Each fertilized flower produces three to four seeds on average 
(Junak and Wilken 1998, p. 291). Seed production in natural occurrences 
of Malacothamnus clementinus is very low (Helenurm 1997, p. 51; 
Helenurm 1999, p. 39; Junak 2006a, pers. comm.), as is germination, 
with low germination rates of only 4 to 35 percent (Evans and Bohn 
1987, p. 538; Junak and Wilken 1998, p. 291). Junak and Wilken (1998, 
p. 291) hypothesized that the relatively low number of seeds produced 
in situ could be due to low pollinator visitation rates or some other 
unknown factor. Seed germination may be stimulated by heat associated 
with fire in other Malvaceae species, although this has not been 
studied in M. clementinus (Keeley et al. 2005, p. 175). Junak and 
Wilken (1998, p. 291) tried scarifying seeds (softening the outer coat 
of a seed through

[[Page 29095]]

mechanical or chemical means) to promote germination, but this did not 
significantly increase germination rates. Based on these limited 
studies of seed production and germination in M. clementinus, it is 
difficult to determine the cause of its low reproductive output.
    In addition to sexual reproduction, Malacothamnus clementinus can 
reproduce vegetatively, or clonally, by sprouting from rhizomes (Evans 
and Bohn 1987, p. 538). Because M. clementinus typically occurs in 
clusters of stems, it is difficult to differentiate between 
individuals, as rhizome sprouts can also look like seedlings. 
Therefore, it can be a challenge to determine in the field if a small 
plant is a seedling or a sprout without digging up the root system 
(Junak 2006b, pers. comm.). The life history of M. clementinus suggests 
that many of the newly detected occurrences have sprouted from 
underground rhizomes (Junak 2006a, pers. comm.).
Genetics--Malacothamnus clementinus
    Genetic studies have provided insights into the clonal nature of 
Malacothamnus clementinus. Overall, genetic diversity found in the M. 
clementinus occurrences is very low compared with other island endemic 
plant taxa (Helenurm 1999, p. 40). However, individuals in a patch do 
not represent the same genetic individual, and there is genetic 
diversity within patches of M. clementinus (Helenurm 1999, p. 39). A 
substantial proportion of the genetic diversity in M. clementinus is 
found among different occurrences rather than within a single 
occurrence. This research indicates that each occurrence may contain 
unique genetic variation not found elsewhere, and that there is not 
much cross pollination or gene flow between occurrences or even patches 
in the same area (Helenurm 1999, pp. 39-40); this underscores the high 
conservation value of each of the different occurrences to the long-
term survival and recovery of the species.
    Malacothamnus clementinus may have low genetic fitness due to small 
occurrence numbers, low seed production, and low genetic diversity. 
Helenurm (1999, p. 40) found that most of the species' genetic 
variation is within the Box Canyon and Horse Beach Canyon occurrences, 
although other occurrences may contain unique genetic material not 
found elsewhere (Helenurm 1999, p. 40). Occurrences of M. clementinus 
could be vulnerable to inbreeding depression (loss of vigor and general 
health) and reduced seed production due to apparently limited 
outcrossing (reproduction between individuals of different strains) of 
the plant (Helenurm 1997, p. 50; Helenurm 1999, p. 40).
Biology--Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae
    Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae flowers between February and 
August, with halictid bees (a family of small solitary bees that 
typically nest in the ground), bumblebees, and small beetles observed 
foraging on the flowers (Junak and Wilken 1998, p. 257; Allan 1999, pp. 
64, 85). The taxon is self-compatible (Allan 1999, pp. 85-86), but 
plants may also rely on insects for more effective pollination (Arroyo 
1981, pp. 728-729). Fertilized ovaries develop into a slender, beak-
like fruit 1 to 2 in (2.5 to 5 cm) long containing up to six seeds 
(Isely 1993, p. 619; Junak and Wilken 1998, p. 257; Allan 1999, p. 82). 
The fruits do not split open to release their seeds at maturity (Isely 
1993, p. 619), so it is likely that they disperse close to the parent 
plants, which may limit the ability of A. d. var. traskiae to colonize 
unoccupied suitable habitat. Junak and Wilken (1998, p. 257) found 
that, on average, a single A. d. var. traskiae individual can produce 
approximately 36 to 64 flowering shoots, 118 to 144 flowers per shoot, 
and 4 to 6 seeds per fruit. This suggests that, under ideal conditions, 
an individual A. d. var. traskiae can produce a high volume of seeds 
(16,000 or more). Like most legumes, A. d. var. traskiae seeds require 
scarification or gradual seed coat degradation to germinate (Wall 2011, 
pers. comm.).
Genetics--Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae
    Allan (1999, pp. 1-105) analyzed 10 California mainland and Channel 
Island taxa of Lotus (all of which are now in the genus Acmispon and 
referred to as such here), including Acmispon dendroideus var. 
traskiae. Of the 29 occurrences of A. d. var. traskiae on San Clemente 
Island, Allan (1999, pp. 50-53) sampled only the Wilson Cove 
occurrence. The Acmispon island populations, including A. d. var. 
traskiae, tended to have lower genetic variability than mainland 
populations (Allan 1999, p. 63). There are several possible 
explanations for this lower genetic variation, including small 
occurrence size, genetic bottlenecks associated with the establishment 
of new island occurrences, stochastic events (a random incident such as 
local extinctions), and genetic isolation (Allan 1999, p. 63). Allan's 
(1999, p. 61) analysis of genetic diversity also found that the 
majority (67 percent) of A. d. var. traskiae's variability is found 
among, rather than within, occurrences. He postulated that the low 
genetic variability within a given occurrence may be due to endemism 
(native to or confined to a certain region), partial inbreeding, 
isolation, and stochastic events in small occurrences (Allan 1999, pp. 
63-64).
    Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae has been known to hybridize with 
A. argophyllus var. argenteus in disturbed areas in Wilson Cove (Liston 
et al. 1990, pp. 239-240; Allan 1999, p. 86). Based on intermediate 
characteristics, the hybrid plants appear to be first generation plants 
(F1 generation) from a cross between the two varieties. It 
is not known whether these plants are capable of producing viable seeds 
by backcrossing between the hybrids or with the putative parent plants 
(Allan 1999, p. 86). Plants of intermediate morphology were first 
observed by R.M. Beauchamp in 1986 (Liston et al. 1990, p. 239). In 
April 1989, Liston et al. (1990, pp. 239-240) noted a small number of 
suspected hybrids in the same area as the largest known occurrence of 
A. d. var. traskiae in Wilson Cove. A smaller group of nonhybrid A. 
argophyllus var. argenteus was found approximately 80 ft (24.4 m) 
upwind; the two taxa were separated by a road. No documented evidence 
of hybridization has been recorded anywhere else on the island (Allan 
1999, p. 86), although there are unconfirmed reports in other areas 
(e.g., Warren Canyon; A. Braswell 2011, pers. obs.).
Biology--Castilleja grisea
    All taxa of Castilleja are considered hemiparasitic. Plants are 
capable of photosynthesis and can exist without a host, but are able to 
derive water, nutrients, or photosynthates from a host plant if present 
(Heckard 1962, p. 25). Castilleja roots have haustorial attachments 
(specialized absorbing structures) that penetrate the host plant's root 
tissue, forming an organic bridge with the host (Heckard 1962, p. 27). 
In field settings, species of Castilleja tend to establish haustorial 
connections with one or more hosts (Heckard 1962, p. 27; Atsatt and 
Strong 1970, p. 280). In greenhouse studies, seedlings of C. grisea 
grown in the absence of host plants did not perform well and died 
shortly after germination, suggesting that host plants are important 
for this species (Junak and Wilken 1998, p. 84). Greenhouse studies 
have also shown that overall performance and fecundity of parasitic 
plants are usually higher with a host than without one (Heckard 1962, 
p. 29; Atsatt and Strong 1970, p. 280).

[[Page 29096]]

    Castilleja grisea appears to be capable of forming haustorial 
connections with a range of plant species (Heckard 1962, p. 28; Atsatt 
and Strong 1970, p. 280; Marvier 1996, p. 1399; Adler 2002, p. 2704; 
Adler 2003, p. 2086). Nassella pulchra, Calystegia macrostegia subsp. 
amplissima, and Constancia nevinii are considered potential hosts 
(Muller 2009, pers. comm.). Twelve co-occurring plant taxa have been 
found consistently in C. grisea occurrences (Muller and Junak 2011, p. 
5). However, further study is needed to determine which of these plants 
serve as hosts to C. grisea, and at what frequency. Castilleja grisea 
may rely on more than one host species for growth and reproduction. 
Therefore, recovery may depend on the conservation of a community of 
host species (Marvier and Smith 1997, p. 846).
    Castilleja grisea flowers between February and May, producing 
yellow bisexual flowers (Chuang and Heckard 1993, pp. 1016-1024; Navy 
2002, p. D-31). Castilleja grisea is likely self-incompatible (unable 
to produce viable seed through self-fertilization), as observed in 
other species of the genus (Carpenter 1983, p. 218; Junak and Wilken 
1998, p. 84). Among four populations of C. grisea examined, Junak and 
Wilken (1998, pp. 83-84) found limited flower-to-fruit conversion (67 
to 71 percent of flowers produced fruits) and large variation in the 
number of seeds set per fruit. Castilleja grisea appears to produce 
seed primarily through outcrossing, and relies on pollinators for 
sexual reproduction (Junak and Wilken 1998, p. 84; Helenurm et al. 
2005, p. 1225).
    Castilleja grisea is most closely related to, and shares floral 
traits with, other species in the genus primarily adapted for bee 
pollination (Chuang and Heckard 1991, p. 658). A single bee from the 
family Andrenidae, covered in pollen, was recently collected from a 
flowering C. grisea plant in Canchalagua Canyon on San Clemente Island 
(Howe 2009a, pers. comm.). The fruit of C. grisea is an ovoid capsule, 
less than 0.5 in (1.27 cm) long, and contains approximately 150 seeds 
(Junak and Wilken 1998, pp. 82-83). The seed coats are deeply netted, 
which indicates they can float and may be able to disperse via water 
(Muller and Junak 2011, pp. 12, 16). During attempts to propagate C. 
grisea plants from seed, no significant differences were found between 
seed viability (79.5 to 85 percent) and germination (68.3 to 76.7 
percent), suggesting that most viable seed are able to germinate 
immediately without a period of dormancy to induce germination (Junak 
and Wilken 1998, pp. 83-84).
Genetics--Castilleja grisea
    Genetic variation within Castilleja grisea is moderately high for 
an insular endemic plant, particularly given its history of extreme 
rarity (Helenurm et al. 2005, p. 1225). This suggests C. grisea may 
have retained substantial genetic variation through the period of 
overgrazing. Consistent with an outcrossing breeding system, most of 
the genetic variation in C. grisea is within, rather than among, 
occurrences (Helenurm et al. 2005, p. 1225). Historically, there were 
likely high rates of gene flow between occurrences. The transmittal of 
genes between occurrences in the past influenced the genetic similarity 
found between occurrences by Helenurm et al. (2005, p. 1226). While all 
occurrences are important for maintaining levels of gene flow, the loss 
of any single occurrence is unlikely to represent a significant loss of 
genetic diversity to the species (Helenurm et al. 2005, p. 1226). 
Overall, this species likely does not have low fitness due to limiting 
genetic factors (Helenurm et al. 2005, p. 1226).

Recovery

    Section 4(f) of the Act directs us to develop and implement 
recovery plans for the conservation and survival of endangered and 
threatened species unless we determine that such a plan will not 
promote the conservation of the species. The Act directs that, to the 
maximum extent practicable, we incorporate into each plan:
    (1) Site-specific management actions that may be necessary to 
achieve the plan's goals for conservation and survival of the species;
    (2) Objective, measurable criteria, which when met would result in 
a determination, in accordance with the provisions of section 4 of the 
Act, that the species be removed from the list; and
    (3) Estimates of the time required and cost to carry out the plan.
    However, revisions to the list (adding, removing, or reclassifying 
a species) must reflect determinations made in accordance with sections 
4(a)(1) and 4(b) of the Act. Section 4(a)(1) requires that the 
Secretary determine whether a species is endangered or threatened (or 
not) because of one or more of five threat factors. Therefore, recovery 
criteria must indicate when a species is no longer endangered or 
threatened by any of the five factors. In other words, objective, 
measurable criteria, or recovery criteria contained in recovery plans, 
must indicate when we would anticipate an analysis of the five threat 
factors under section 4(a)(1) would result in a determination that a 
species is no longer endangered or threatened. Section 4(b) of the Act 
requires that the determination be made ``solely on the basis of the 
best scientific and commercial data available.''
    Thus, while recovery plans are intended to provide guidance to the 
Service, States, and other partners on methods of minimizing threats to 
listed species and on criteria that may be used to determine when 
recovery is achieved, they are not regulatory documents and cannot 
substitute for the determinations and promulgation of regulations 
required under section 4(a)(1) of the Act. Determinations to remove a 
species from the list made under section 4(a)(1) of the Act must be 
based on the best scientific and commercial data available at the time 
of the determination, regardless of whether that information differs 
from the recovery plan.
    In the course of implementing conservation actions for a species, 
new information is often gained that requires recovery efforts to be 
modified accordingly. There are many paths to accomplishing recovery of 
a species, and recovery may be achieved without all criteria being 
fully met. For example, one or more recovery criteria may have been 
exceeded while other criteria may not have been accomplished, yet the 
Service may judge that, overall, the threats have been minimized 
sufficiently, and the species is robust enough, that the Service may 
reclassify the species from endangered to threatened or perhaps delist 
the species. In other cases, recovery opportunities may have been 
recognized that were not known at the time the recovery plan was 
finalized. These opportunities may be used instead of methods 
identified in the recovery plan.
    Likewise, information on the species may be learned that was not 
known at the time the recovery plan was finalized. The new information 
may change the extent that criteria need to be met for recognizing 
recovery of the species. Overall, recovery of species is a dynamic 
process requiring adaptive management, planning, implementing, and 
evaluating the degree of recovery of a species that may, or may not, 
fully follow the guidance provided in a recovery plan.
    Thus, while the recovery plan provides important guidance on the 
direction and strategy for recovery, and indicates when a rulemaking 
process may be initiated, the determination to remove a species from 
the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Plants (50 CFR 17.12) is 
ultimately based on an

[[Page 29097]]

analysis of whether a species is no longer endangered or threatened. 
The following discussion provides a brief review of recovery planning 
for Malacothamnus clementinus, Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae, and 
Castilleja grisea, as well as an analysis of the recovery criteria and 
goals as they relate to evaluating the status of the taxa.
    In 1984, the Service published the Recovery Plan for the Endangered 
and Threatened Species of the California Channel Islands (Recovery 
Plan) that addresses 10 plants (including Malacothamnus clementinus, 
Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae, and Castilleja grisea) and animals 
distributed among three of the Channel Islands (USFWS 1984). Recovery 
plans are intended to guide actions to recover listed species and to 
provide measurable objectives against which to measure progress towards 
recovery. Following guidance in effect at that time, the Recovery Plan 
was not focused on criteria that specifically addressed the point at 
which threats identified for each species in the listing rule would be 
removed or sufficiently ameliorated. Given the threats in common to the 
10 species addressed, the Recovery Plan is broad in scope and focuses 
on restoration of habitats and ecosystem function. Instead of specific 
criteria, it included six general objectives covering all 10 of the 
plant and animal species:
    Objective 1: Identify present adverse impacts to biological 
resources and strive to eliminate them.
    Objective 2: Protect known resources from further degradation by: 
(a) Removal of feral herbivores, carnivores, and selected exotic plant 
species; (b) control of erosion in sensitive locations; and (c) direct 
military operations and adverse recreational uses away from 
biologically sensitive areas.
    Objective 3: Restore habitats by revegetation of disturbed areas 
using native species.
    Objective 4: Identify areas of San Clemente Island where habitat 
restoration and population increase of certain addressed taxa may be 
achieved through a careful survey of the island and research on habitat 
requirements of each taxon.
    Objective 5: Delist or upgrade the listing status of those taxa 
that achieve vigorous, self-sustaining population levels as the result 
of habitat stabilization, restoration, and preventing or minimizing 
adverse human-related impacts.
    Objective 6: Monitor effectiveness of recovery effort by 
undertaking baseline quantitative studies and subsequent follow-up work 
(USFWS 1984, pp. 106-107).
    Progress has been made toward achieving these objectives. Our 
review of the Recovery Plan focuses on the actions identified that 
promote the recovery of Malacothamnus clementinus, Acmispon dendroideus 
var. traskiae, and Castilleja grisea. The Recovery Plan adopts a 
generalized strategy of eliminating or controlling selected nonnative 
species and restoring habitat conditions on the Channel Islands to 
support viable, self-sustaining occurrences of each of the addressed 
taxa. The Recovery Plan states that ``[o]nce the threats to these taxa 
have been removed or minimized and the habitats are restored, 
adequately protected, and properly managed, reclassification for some 
taxa may be considered'' (USFWS 1984, p. 108). Actions specified in the 
Recovery Plan that are pertinent to recovery of the endangered San 
Clemente Island plant taxa include:
    (1) Removing feral animals;
    (2) Removing or controlling selected nonnative plants;
    (3) Controlling erosion;
    (4) Revegetating eroded and disturbed areas;
    (5) Reintroducing and reestablishing listed plant species 
populations;
    (6) Modifying existing management plans to minimize habitat 
disturbance and incorporate recovery actions into natural resource 
management plans;
    (7) Protecting habitat by minimizing habitat loss and disturbance 
and by preventing the introduction of additional nonnative organisms;
    (8) Determining the habitat and other ecological requirements of 
the listed plant taxa (such as reproductive biology and fire 
tolerance);
    (9) Evaluating the success of management actions;
    (10) Increasing public support for recovery efforts; and,
    (11) Using existing laws and regulations to protect each taxon.

Recovery Plan Implementation

    The primary objective of the Recovery Plan is to restore endangered 
and threatened species to nonlisted status. Though specific size and 
number of occurrences needed for self-sustaining populations for each 
species was not identified, habitat restoration and protection that 
would result in achieving self-sustaining populations (see Objective 5) 
were discussed. The Recovery Plan stated that reclassification of these 
taxa may be considered after threats have been removed or sufficiently 
minimized and the habitat is restored. Specific criteria for 
determining when threats have been removed or sufficiently minimized 
were not identified in the Recovery Plan, but six objectives were 
described in general to achieve recovery of the Channel Island species. 
This section provides a summary of actions and activities that have 
been implemented according to the 1984 Recovery Plan (USFWS 1984, pp. 
106-107) and contribute to achievement of these objectives.

Objective 1: Identify Present Adverse Impacts to Biological Resources 
and Strive To Eliminate Them

    The Navy has taken steps to eliminate incidental impacts to the 
three species by educating Navy personnel stationed on San Clemente 
Island. To increase support for recovery efforts, the Navy has created 
the position of Island Operations Manager. This individual's role is to 
act as a liaison between the Navy's natural resource branch and other 
island users (Larson 2009, pers. comm.). The Island Operations Manager 
educates users of the island to the uniqueness and fragility of the 
island's ecosystem, and briefs new operational groups as they come onto 
the island (Larson 2009, pers. comm.). These briefings inform 
operational groups of the Navy's natural resource management 
responsibilities under the law, and may include additional information 
about threats to, and locations of, listed taxa.
    The Recovery Plan recommends that existing laws and regulations be 
used to protect Malacothamnus clementinus, Acmispon dendroideus var. 
traskiae, and Castilleja grisea from threats on San Clemente Island. 
Based on the occurrence of these taxa on federally owned land, the 
primary laws with potential to protect them include the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Act. NEPA requires Federal 
action agencies to integrate environmental values into their decision 
making processes by considering the environmental impacts of their 
proposed actions and reasonable alternatives to those actions. The Navy 
has implemented NEPA since its enactment in 1970. Likewise, the Navy 
has a history of consultation and coordination with the Service under 
the Act regarding the effects of various San Clemente Island activities 
on federally listed species since taxa on the island were first listed 
in 1977. Finally, pursuant to the Sikes Act Improvement Act, the Navy 
adopted an INRMP for San Clemente Island in 2002 that helps guide the 
management and protection of these taxa (Navy 2002, pp. 1.1-8.12). An 
INRMP is a plan that is intended ``* * * to guide installation 
commanders in managing their natural resources in a manner that is 
consistent with the sustainability of those resources while

[[Page 29098]]

ensuring continued support of the military mission'' (Navy 2002, p. 1-
1). To achieve this, the INRMP identifies goals and objectives for 
specified management units and their natural resources. The following 
objectives have been incorporated as part of the INRMP to address the 
Recovery Plan task of incorporating recovery actions into existing 
management plans:
    (1) Protect, monitor, and restore plants and cryptograms (soil 
crusts composed of living cyanobacteria, algae, fungi, or moss) in 
order to manage for their long-term sustainability on the island;
    (2) Consider Malacothamnus clementinus, Acmispon dendroideus var. 
traskiae, or Castilleja grisea as ``Management Focus Plants,'' such 
that they are considered independently from their plant communities as 
special management focuses (habitat protection alone is not assumed to 
be sufficient for their protection);
    (3) Conduct status surveys for listed plants;
    (4) Ensure that Management Focus Plants have a network of suitable 
sites;
    (5) Perform studies to determine the pollinators of Malacothamnus 
clementinus, Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae, or Castilleja grisea; 
and
    (6) Continue to apply genetic research and management approaches to 
rare plant management.
    Through these mechanisms, the Navy is required to identify and 
address all threats to these species during the INRMP planning process. 
If possible, threats are ameliorated, eliminated, or mitigated through 
this procedure. The Navy has strived to fulfill this objective through 
both internal planning (INRMP) and through compliance with Federal law 
(consultations with the Service under the Act and preparing 
environmental review documents under NEPA). As discussed below under 
the five factors, the actions taken by the Navy under the INRMP have 
not completely eliminated all adverse impacts, but many threats have 
been greatly reduced. These contributions to the elimination of adverse 
impacts partially fulfill, but do not fully achieve, the objective for 
all three species.

Objective 2: Protect Known Resources From Further Degradation By: (a) 
Removal of Feral Herbivores, Carnivores, and Selected Exotic Plant 
Species; (b) Control of Unnatural Erosion in Sensitive Locations; and 
(c) Directing Military Operations and Adverse Recreational Uses Away 
From Biologically Sensitive Areas

    In 1992, the Navy fulfilled a major part of this objective by 
removing the last of the feral goats and pigs from San Clemente Island 
(as described above in the Habitat section). Nonnative plants have also 
been targeted for removal from San Clemente Island, and efforts to 
control nonnatives have been implemented on an annual basis since 
approximately 1993 (O'Connor 2009a, pers. comm.). The specific 
nonnative plants targeted and amount of money allocated to this program 
are adjusted on an annual basis (O'Connor 2009b, pers. comm.; Munson 
2011a, pers. comm.). The effectiveness of this program was recently 
improved by providing authorization to apply herbicides (O'Connor 
2009b, pers. comm.). Priorities in the nonnative plant program are 
currently focused on new nonnatives to the island and particularly 
destructive nonnative species.
    The Navy is also taking steps to minimize the effects of erosion on 
the island. Erosion control measures are being incorporated into 
project designs to minimize the potential to exacerbate existing 
erosion (O'Connor 2009c, pers. comm.). With the expansion of military 
operational areas, the Navy committed to prepare and implement an 
erosion control plan that will minimize soil erosion within and 
adjoining the operational areas (Navy 2008b, pp. 5-30; USFWS 2008 p. 
62). However, this plan has not been finalized nor yet implemented, and 
it is unclear whether erosion control measures will be implemented 
consistently or at all in areas that are operationally closed to 
monitoring and access due to unexploded ordnance. The proposed erosion 
control plan includes development and application of best management 
practices (BMPs) such as: Establishing setbacks and buffers from steep 
slopes, drainages, and sensitive resources; constructing site-specific 
erosion control structures; conducting revegetation and routine 
maintenance; and monitoring and adjusting the BMPs as appropriate. 
While the erosion control plan is being prepared, the Navy has 
postponed all major battalion movements and training, and is using BMPs 
when creating and approving projects that might contribute to erosion 
on the island. The Navy has taken steps to reduce the threat of erosion 
on the island and contribute to the achievement of this objective.
    The Navy is taking precautions to avoid plants when possible to 
minimize direct impacts to Malacothamnus clementinus, Acmispon 
dendroideus var. traskiae, and Castilleja grisea resulting from 
military activities. For example, in the MOFMP, the Navy proposed to 
develop a Training Area Range (TAR) that contained A. d. var. traskiae 
within its boundaries. After consultation with USFWS, the Navy revised 
these boundaries to avoid most of the A. d. var. traskiae and minimize 
the impact of training on the species (USFWS 2008, p. 118).
    This objective has been largely met for Acmispon dendroideus var. 
traskiae and Castilleja grisea. Feral herbivores have been removed, 
erosion control measures are being implemented, and military activities 
are avoiding direct impacts to plants whenever possible. The Navy is 
also developing an erosion control plan for military activities. 
However, many occurrences of Malacothamnus clementinus are located in 
areas that continue to be impacted, or their status remains unknown due 
to closures. Therefore, Objective 2 has not been sufficiently satisfied 
for this taxon.

Objective 3: Restore Habitats by Revegetation of Disturbed Areas Using 
Native Species

    Since 2001, the Navy has contracted with the San Diego State 
University Soil Ecology and Restoration Group (SERG) to propagate and 
outplant (transplant individuals from the greenhouse to vegetative 
communities) native species on the island (Howe 2009b, pers. comm.). 
The SERG propagates and outplants approximately 4,000 native plants per 
year, and has initiated restoration at approximately 28 sites (O'Connor 
2009b, pers. comm.). This program has not included propagation and 
outplanting of listed plant taxa, except in one recent instance to 
replace Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae plants that were extirpated 
during a scrap metal removal project (Munson 2011a, pers. comm.). The 
outplanting of native species is primarily focused on restoring 
sensitive island habitats and improving habitat conditions for 
endangered animal taxa (such as the San Clemente loggerhead shrike 
(Lanius ludovicianus mearnsi)), with some revegetation of eroded and 
disturbed areas (O'Connor 2009, pers. comm.). Although only one of the 
restoration efforts was specifically designed for the benefit of one of 
the three plant taxa addressed in this finding, restoration of the 
island's vegetation communities should help improve habitat suitability 
for all three taxa by reducing the spread of invasive nonnative plants 
and restoring ecological processes. Although progress has been made 
towards restoring disturbed areas, there are still areas (e.g., 
especially within SHOBA) that need further restoration of native 
species. Therefore, while restoration is occurring, the objective has 
not been

[[Page 29099]]

fully met at this time for the three species.

Objective 4: Identify Areas of San Clemente Island Where Habitat 
Restoration and Population Increase of Certain Addressed Taxa May be 
Achieved Through a Careful Survey of the Island and Research on Habitat 
Requirements of Each Taxon

    Since they were listed, a number of studies have addressed the 
ecology, taxonomy, and genetics of the three plant taxa. Evans and Bohn 
(1987, pp. 537-545) observed insects on plants, collected seeds, and 
studied the germination of Malacothamnus clementinus, Acmispon 
dendroideus var. traskiae, and Castilleja grisea. Junak and Wilken 
(1998, pp. 1-426) studied flowering and fruiting in natural populations 
and performed germination trials with collected seeds from all three 
taxa. Allan (1999, pp. 46-105) observed pollinators and germinated 
seeds collected from A. d. var. traskiae. Liston et al. (1990) 
confirmed suspected hybridization between A. d. var. traskiae and A. 
argophyllus var. argenteus using genetic techniques. Additionally, 
Allan (1999, pp. 46-105) surveyed the genetics of a number of taxa 
within the genus Lotus, including a group that includes A. d. var. 
traskiae, to compare genetic divergence between California mainland and 
island taxa. Helenurm et al. (2005, pp. 1221-1227) studied patterns of 
genetic variation among occurrences of C. grisea. Helenurm (1997, pp. 
41-51; 1999, pp. 29-40) studied the genetic variation and clonal nature 
of M. clementinus. These studies have helped to elucidate potential 
plant pollinators and mating systems, plant propagation techniques, and 
to design management strategies that take into consideration genetic 
factors. There is a growing body of knowledge on the habitat 
requirements and life history of listed species on the island. This 
research, encouraged and supported by the Navy, has contributed to 
achieving Objective 4 and to planning successful restoration of habitat 
and recovery of the three taxa. Additional surveys and research 
necessary to identify appropriate restoration, management, and recovery 
actions include: further genetic studies for M. clementinus, research 
on the degree of hybridization in A. d. var. traskiae and study of the 
host plants of C. grisea. Thus, this objective has not been fully 
achieved at this time for the three species.

Objective 5: Delist or Upgrade the Listing Status of Those Taxa That 
Achieve Vigorous, Self-Sustaining Population Levels as the Result of 
Habitat Stabilization, Restoration, and Preventing or Minimizing 
Adverse Human-Related Impacts

    The distributions of Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae and 
Castilleja grisea have increased substantially over much of the island 
since listing. There are now vigorous, self-sustaining occurrences of 
A. d. var. traskiae and C. grisea on San Clemente Island, as described 
above. Threats to these taxa have also been reduced to levels such that 
they are no longer in danger of extinction throughout all of their 
range (USFWS 2007b, pp. 1-22; USFWS 2007c, pp. 1-19). Although the goal 
of delisting has not yet been met, the objective to improve the status 
of A. d. var. traskiae and C. grisea to the point they can be 
reclassified has been met. Because many occurrences of Malacothamnus 
clementinus are located in areas that continue to be impacted, or their 
status remains unknown due to closures, we have not yet met either 
standard of this objective to reclassify or delist this species.

Objective 6: Monitor Effectiveness of Recovery Efforts by Undertaking 
Baseline Quantitative Studies and Subsequent Follow Up Work

    To evaluate the success of management actions undertaken to benefit 
the three plant taxa, the Navy implemented a long-term vegetation 
monitoring study (Tierra Data Inc. 2005, pp. i-96 and Appendices) and 
commissioned sensitive plant surveys (Junak and Wilken 1998, pp. 1-416; 
Junak 2006, pp. 1-176). Overall, vegetation trend monitoring reveals 
that the cover of both native and nonnative plant species has changed 
since the removal of feral goats and pigs, but the response of 
individual species and vegetative communities has varied, with some 
species and communities exhibiting greater changes than others. 
Discerning long-term vegetative community trends is difficult because 
the vegetative community study was preceded by a wet year that likely 
had a strong influence on the data collected (Tierra Data Inc. 2005, p. 
29). Within the few monitoring plots that included the three plant 
taxa, occurrence counts varied among years and did not provide a clear 
indication of trend (Tierra Data Inc. 2005, pp. 79-80). The clearest 
indication of the success of feral animal removals for the three plant 
taxa was obtained from rare plant survey data (Junak and Wilken 1998, 
pp. 1-416, GIS data; Junak 2006, pp. 1-176, GIS data; Tierra Data Inc. 
2008, pp. 1-24, appendices and GIS data; SERG 2009-2011, GIS data). 
These surveys have added substantially to the number of documented 
occurrences of each of the three taxa.
    Rare plant surveys and island flora studies have documented many 
more locations occupied by Malacothamnus clementinus, Acmispon 
dendroideus var. traskiae, and Castilleja grisea than were known at the 
time of listing. Since listing, 8 additional occurrences of M. 
clementinus, 23 occurrences of A. d. var. traskiae, and 10 occurrences 
of C. grisea have been documented (Table 1). It is unknown whether the 
higher number of occurrences represents detections due to increased 
survey efforts, recruitment from the seed bank, or recolonization by 
the plants as a result of management actions implemented by the Navy to 
conserve listed species on the island (see Distribution section for 
each taxon above). However, this improvement in the documented status 
of each of these taxa suggests that feral goats and pigs were a 
significant threat to each. Thus, their improved status may largely be 
due to the implementation of a single action identified in the Recovery 
Plan. Because portions of the island remain closed, monitoring 
effectiveness of recovery efforts is not being fully implemented. 
Occurrences for each species, as described above, are closed to access 
for monitoring or any recovery efforts. Thus, Objective 6 cannot be 
fully met for the three taxa under current operational closure 
directives.

Summary of Recovery Plan Implementation

    In summary, while the Recovery Plan does not include taxon-specific 
downlisting or delisting criteria for measuring the recovery of 
Malacothamnus clementinus, Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae, and 
Castilleja grisea, many of the actions identified in the Recovery Plan 
have been implemented to benefit these taxa. Most significantly, the 
Navy removed feral goats and pigs from San Clemente Island in 1992. The 
improvement in the documented status of each of these listed plant taxa 
suggests that the removal of these animals was integral to their 
ability to establish vigorous, self-sustaining occurrences. Though the 
distribution of Malacothamnus clementinus has continued to increase on 
the island, the majority of its range occurs within SHOBA. Since access 
to Impact Areas within SHOBA is restricted to military personnel, the 
status of three M. clementinus

[[Page 29100]]

occurrences is uncertain at this time. A fourth occurrence, with a 
significant amount of genetic diversity, outside of the impact areas is 
also closed at this time. Due to limited access to these areas, there 
are insufficient data to indicate that the objectives have been 
successfully met. In addition, limited access precludes natural 
resource managers from implementing management actions, such as 
nonnative control and fire suppression.
    In contrast, threats are reduced in areas occupied by Acmispon 
dendroideus var. traskiae and Castilleja grisea, and many of the 
objectives have been met in part or full. Complementing the success of 
these conservation measures, the ecology and genetics of each of these 
taxa have been studied, and a number of programs are now in place to 
improve habitat suitability, prevent introductions of nonnative 
species, guide and track management efforts, and protect occurrences of 
these plant taxa. We investigated other potential threats for these 
taxa and concluded that they do not pose significant impacts. Based on 
our review of the Recovery Plan, we conclude that the status of 
Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae and Castilleja grisea has improved 
due to activities being implemented by the Navy on San Clemente Island. 
The effects of these activities on the status of the three taxa are 
discussed in further detail below.

Summary of Factors Affecting the Species

    Section 4 of the Act and its implementing regulations (50 CFR part 
424) set forth procedures for listing species, reclassifying species, 
or removing species from the Federal Lists of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife and Plants. ``Species'' is defined by the Act as including any 
species or subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct 
vertebrate population segment of fish or wildlife that interbreeds when 
mature (16 U.S.C. 1532(16)). Once the ``species'' is determined, we 
then evaluate whether that species may be endangered or threatened 
because of one or more of the five factors described in section 4(a)(1) 
of the Act. Those factors are:
    (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; or
    (E) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued 
existence.

We must consider these same five factors in reclassifying or delisting 
a species. Listing, reclassifying, or delisting may be warranted based 
on any of the above threat factors, either singly or in combination. 
For species that are already listed as threatened or endangered, an 
analysis of threats is an evaluation of both the threats currently 
facing the species and the threats that are reasonably likely to affect 
the species in the foreseeable future following the delisting or 
downlisting.
    Under section 3 of the Act, a species is ``endangered'' if it is in 
danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range, and is ``threatened'' if it is likely to become endangered in 
the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range. The word ``range'' refers to the range in which the species 
currently exists, and the word ``significant'' refers to the value of 
that portion of the range being considered to the conservation of the 
species. The ``foreseeable future'' is the period of time over which 
events or effects reasonably can or should be anticipated, or trends 
extrapolated.
    We considered and evaluated the best available scientific and 
commercial information for this analysis. Information pertaining to 
Malacothamnus clementinus, Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae, and 
Castilleja grisea in relation to the five factors provided in section 
4(a)(1) of the Act is discussed below. For the purposes of this 
analysis, we will first evaluate whether the currently listed species 
should be considered threatened or endangered throughout all their 
ranges. If we determine that the species are threatened, then we will 
consider whether there are any significant portions of their ranges 
where they are in danger of extinction or likely to become endangered 
within the foreseeable future. The five factors listed under section 
4(a)(1) of the Act and their applications to M. clementinus, A. d. var. 
traskiae, and C. grisea are presented below.

Malacothamnus clementinus (San Clemente Island Bush Mallow)

    In the 2007 status review, we acknowledged that the predominant 
threat at listing (grazing from feral herbivores) was ameliorated with 
the removal of goats and pigs from the island in 1992 (USFWS 2007a, pp. 
1-28). Threats to Malacothamnus clementinus identified in 2007 
included: (1) Land use, (2) fire, (3) nonnative species, (4) erosion, 
(5) natural factors, (6) fire management, and (7) limited access to 
SHOBA. Land use, fire, nonnatives, erosion, and fire management are 
discussed as habitat threats below under Factor A. Natural factors in 
the 2007 status review refer to the low genetic diversity of this taxon 
and are discussed in Factor E below. In 2007, access to SHOBA was 
described as a threat because it ``undermines the effectiveness of 
surveys and management efforts'' (USFWS 2007a, p. 21). While lack of 
access to portions of the island still limits our ability to assess the 
status of the taxon, access to SHOBA is not considered a threat. 
Rather, the lack of access contributes to uncertainty in assessing 
threats and the species' response to those threats and to actions taken 
to ameliorate threats. In this finding, we focus on threats responsible 
for impacting the listed entity or habitat where it occurs, not our 
inability to access these areas.

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

    The final listing rule (42 FR 40682; August 11, 1977) identified 
the following threats to Malacothamnus clementinus: Habitat alteration 
and destruction, competition from nonnative species, and direct 
predation by nonnative herbivores (goats and pigs). With the final 
removal of these herbivores in 1992, the vegetation on San Clemente 
Island has rebounded, and the status of many rare plant occurrences, 
including M. clementinus, has improved (Tierra Data Inc. 2005, p. 8; 
Junak 2006a, pers. comm.). Although the direct threat from predation to 
M. clementinus identified in the final listing rule has been 
eliminated, erosion as a result of overgrazing and invasive nonnative 
plants remain ongoing threats to habitat of M. clementinus. The 
Recovery Plan also identified habitat alteration and disturbance from 
the Navy's use of the island for military operational and training 
needs as additional threats to the habitats occupied by M. clementinus 
(USFWS 1984, pp. 58-63). Additional threats identified since listing 
include alteration of San Clemente Island habitats by military training 
activities, fire, and fire management. As outlined below, we discuss in 
this section the impacts of the following threats that affect the 
habitat or range of M. clementinus: (1) Land use, (2) erosion, (3) 
nonnative plants, (4) fire, and (5) fire management.
Land Use
    In this section we describe threats considered likely based on land 
use designations. A total of 11 Malacothamnus clementinus occurrences 
are distributed on San

[[Page 29101]]

Clemente Island, including one mid-island (Lemon Tank Canyon) and the 
remaining 10 approximately 9.5 mi (15.3 km) along the southwesterly 
facing coastal terraces at the southern end of the island. 
Historically, the island was used for grazing and ranching. At the time 
of listing, the Navy had acquired the island, although military 
operations were not intense and feral grazers were still on the island. 
Since listing, training activities and land use by the Navy have 
increased significantly. Since it was first listed in 1977, the Navy 
has consulted and coordinated with us regarding the effects of various 
activities on M. clementinus, Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae, and 
Castilleja grisea (USFWS 2002, pp. 1-21; USFWS 2003, p. 1; USFWS 2004, 
pp. 1-2; USFWS 2008, pp. 1-237). These consultations have addressed 
numerous activities including training, fire management, the 
installation of wind turbines, missile tests, maintenance and 
construction of Ridge Road and the assault vehicle maneuver route, 
construction of berthing buildings, and development and use of training 
areas.
    Most recently, training activities approved in the MOFMP include 
substantial increases in vehicle and foot traffic in the IOA (Navy 
2008b, pp. 2-1 to 2-52). In November 2008, we completed a biological 
opinion describing the impact of the Navy's military training program 
proposed in the MOFMP on 11 federally listed species on San Clemente 
Island, including the three taxa that are the subject of this finding 
(USFWS 2008, pp. 1-237). This consultation addressed the proposed 
expansion of the frequency and amount of military training on the 
island, along with enhanced training complex capabilities, construction 
of new gates and buildings, use of an IOA, change in fire management 
strategies, and use of an assault vehicle maneuver corridor. Examples 
of projected increases in training levels relative to a representative 
year of training prior to 2008 include: 11 percent increase in naval 
fire support exercises, 23 percent increase in land bombing exercises, 
150 percent increase in explosive ordnance disposal, 60 percent 
increase in artillery operations, 90 percent increase in land 
demolitions, 19 percent increase in land navigation exercises, and 96 
percent increase in SEAL platoon operations (USFWS 2008, p. 11).
    We considered the status and distribution of Malacothamnus 
clementinus, and the various management, avoidance, and minimization 
measures in place, including those the Navy will implement with the new 
MOFMP in our 2008 biological opinion (we also considered impacts to 
Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae and Castilleja grisea). 
Additionally, the Service made conservation recommendations within the 
biological opinion, including: (1) Considering recommended actions from 
the 5-year review in the upcoming revision of the INRMP, (2) 
propagation and outplanting of narrowly distributed, listed plant 
species, and (3) the collection of M. clementinus cuttings and seeds 
from Horse Beach Canyon for the propagation and outplanting of 
individuals in areas without military training. We concluded that 
ongoing and likely impacts from the proposed increases in military 
training activities would not jeopardize the continued existence of M. 
clementinus, A. d. var. traskiae, and C. grisea (USFWS 2008, p. 90).
    The southern portion of the distribution of Malacothamnus 
clementinus spans the boundary of SHOBA, which supports a variety of 
training operations involving both live and inert munitions fire. The 
majority of this area serves as a buffer for areas of more intense 
training and is less susceptible to direct land use threats than 
occurrences within TAR, IOA, or Impact Areas. Six of 11 known 
occurrences (54 percent; Canchalagua Canyon, Horse Beach Canyon, Lower 
China Canyon, Upper China Canyon, Cave Canyon, and Chukit Canyon) fall 
within SHOBA, where diffuse or accidental impacts to M. clementinus are 
likely to occur, and training might result in the alteration of habitat 
by Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) movement and large-scale troop movements 
through the military impact and training areas. Within the Impact 
Areas, some munitions exercises involve the use of incendiary devices, 
such as illumination rounds, white phosphorous, and tracer rounds, 
which pose a high risk of fire ignition (USFWS 2008, pp. 11-13). One 
occurrence (Lower China Canyon) is within the IOA, and could experience 
direct impacts from troop and vehicle movement through the area. Three 
additional occurrences (Upper China Canyon, Horse Beach Canyon, and 
Lemon Tank Canyon) are near the IOA (within 1,000 ft (305 m)), and 
could be subjected to diffuse or accidental impacts. Because of the 
elevated risk of fire and disturbance associated with training 
activities, live and inert munitions fire are targeted towards two 
delineated Impact Areas (I and II) within SHOBA where bombardments and 
land demolition are concentrated. Three of 11 occurrences (27 percent; 
Upper China Canyon, Lower China Canyon, and Horse Beach Canyon) are 
within Impact Areas I or II, and are now closed to nonmilitary 
personnel (USFWS 2008, p. 50).
    As a result, it is not possible to assess the magnitude of the 
threat in these areas, and the status of the three occurrences remains 
unknown. These occurrences, although limited in number, contain the 
greatest numbers of individuals and some of the highest genetic 
diversity on the island (Helenurm 1999, p. 40). The intense training 
activities within the Impact Areas pose a direct threat to habitat and 
occurrences due to associated ground disturbance and bombardment (USFWS 
2008, pp. 83-84). The majority (8 of 11) of Malacothamnus clementinus 
occurrences are located outside of any training areas (IOA, TAR, or 
Impact Area) and are less likely to sustain direct impacts from 
military activities associated with land use; three occurrences (Upper 
China Canyon, Lower China Canyon, and Horse Beach Canyon) are partially 
or wholly within the boundaries of a training area (IOA, TAR, or Impact 
Area).
    The Lemon Tank Canyon occurrence falls within an area identified by 
the INRMP as needing environmental cleanup pursuant to the Resource 
Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and Comprehensive Environmental 
Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) (Navy 2002, p. 2-18). 
This site is still in the study phase and has not been listed, or 
proposed for listing, on the National Priorities List. Habitat at this 
occurrence could receive improvements by future environmental cleanup 
(Munson 2011b, pers. comm.). Initial surveys of the project footprint 
have been completed, and Malacothamnus clementinus was not found in the 
project footprint (B. Munson 2011e, pers. comm.), although additional 
surveys will need to be undertaken to ensure there is no impact to the 
plant. RCRA and CERCLA require that impacts to the species and its 
habitat be avoided and minimized to the extent practicable. This area 
has also been closed to natural resource personnel, and the status of 
the occurrence in this area is unknown (Munson 2011c, pers. comm.).
    While the increase in military training affects the species (as 
well as Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae and Castilleja grisea), the 
Navy through implementation of the INMRP is avoiding and minimizing the 
impacts to the extent practicable while meeting operational needs. Land 
use is currently impacting habitat of 4 of the 11 occurrences (36 
percent; Lemon Tank

[[Page 29102]]

Canyon, Lower China Canyon, Upper China Canyon, and Horse Beach Canyon) 
on the island, which may lead to overall habitat degradation, and cause 
the loss of individuals or groupings of plants in a given area. 
Military operations and training are island-wide threats to M. 
clementinus, particularly to the occurrences in or adjacent to military 
training areas.
Erosion
    Erosion and associated soil loss caused by browsing of feral goats 
and rooting of feral pigs likely modified the island's habitat (Navy 
2002, p. 1-14). Defoliation from overgrazing on San Clemente Island 
increased erosion over much of the island, especially on steep slopes 
where denuded soils can quickly wash away during storm events (Johnson 
1980, p. 107; Navy 2002, pp. 1-14, 3-9; Tierra Data Inc. 2007, pp. 6-
7). In the INRMP, erosion was identified as a threat to canyon woodland 
and maritime desert scrub vegetation communities, which is 
Malacothamnus clementinus habitat (Navy 2002, pp. 4-3, 4-12). In the 
southwestern portion of its distribution, M. clementinus is found along 
coastal terraces, canyon rims, and at the base of escarpments where 
erosion is more prevalent. The erosion process can remove soil that 
provides nutrients and physical support for the plants, displace seeds 
and deposit them in unsuitable locations, and bury extant individuals 
or small occurrences of the plants. This stripping of soil and plants 
can affect vegetation composition and landscape long after the 
herbivores are removed (Johnson 1980, p. 107). Erosion has likely been 
exacerbated by reductions in vegetation cover due to drought and fire 
(Johnson 1980, pp. 105-118). Currently, the Navy has a program run by 
SERG that grows and outplants native vegetation to areas that need to 
be restored (Navy 2002, pp. 3-51 to 3-52). Restoration of native 
vegetation helps retain soil and ameliorate erosion in stripped areas.
    Increased military activities, especially where Malacothamnus 
clementinus is found within training area boundaries, cause erosion 
through soil compaction or other soil disturbances in occupied habitat 
near roadways or vehicle maneuver areas (Tierra Data Inc. 2007, p. 12). 
With the exception of the main road, the roads on San Clemente Island 
are largely unpaved, and 5 of the 11 occurrences (45 percent; Lower 
China Canyon, Horse Beach Canyon, Middle Ranch Canyon, Waymuck Canyon, 
and Lemon Tank Canyon) are within 500 ft (152 m)) of a road on the 
island (Forman and Alexander 1998, p. 217). These occurrences could be 
subject to diffuse disturbance (spread out over a large area or not 
concentrated) and road effects that degrade habitat quality. Roads can 
concentrate water flow, causing incised channels and eroded slopes 
(Forman and Alexander 1998, pp. 216-217). This increased erosion around 
roads can degrade habitat, especially along steep canyons and ridges. 
Erosion impacts are likely greatest in SHOBA, where bombardment has led 
to a pattern of surface disturbance and recurrent fire (Navy 2002, pp. 
3-5). The Navy studied the potential for erosion from several proposed 
military activities (Tierra Data Inc. 2007, pp. 1-45, Appendices). One 
additional occurrence at Upper China Canyon is also impacted by 
erosion. Therefore, 6 of the 11 occurrences (54 percent; Lower China 
Canyon, Upper China Canyon, Horse Beach Canyon, Middle Ranch Canyon, 
Waymuck Canyon, and Lemon Tank Canyon) of M. clementinus are likely to 
be further impacted by erosion (Table 1).
    Erosion control measures are incorporated into all site feasibility 
studies and project planning, design, and construction to minimize the 
potential to exacerbate existing erosion and avoid impacts to listed 
species (Munson 2011a, pers. comm.). The INRMP requires that all 
projects include erosion conservation work and associated funding (Navy 
2002, p. 4-89). These conservation actions include best management 
practices for construction and engineering, choosing sites that are 
capable of sustaining disturbance with minimum soil erosion, and 
stabilizing disturbed sites with native plants (Navy 2002, pp. 4-89-4-
91). Additionally, large-scale island-wide maneuvers with assault 
vehicles have been postponed until an erosion control plan is drafted 
and implemented. Due to potential new training in the IOA and the 
Assault Vehicle Maneuver Area (AVMA), an erosion control plan to 
minimize the effects of the potential training is currently being 
developed for San Clemente Island (Munson 2011a, pers. comm.). The Navy 
has committed to preparing this plan and implementing it prior to any 
new training or operations in the IOA or AVMA (Navy 2008b, pp. 5-29, 5-
30). The proposed erosion control plan includes development and 
application of BMPs including: establishing setbacks and buffers from 
steep slopes, drainages, and sensitive resources; constructing site-
specific erosion control structures; conducting revegetation and 
routine maintenance; and monitoring and adjusting the BMPs as 
appropriate. Implementation of the erosion control plan is expected to 
prevent soil erosion from adversely affecting federally listed species, 
including Malacothamnus clementinus, and their habitats. Additionally, 
the plan is designed to prevent soil erosion from significantly 
impacting other sensitive resources, including sensitive plant and 
wildlife species and their habitats. This erosion control plan will 
address military operations associated with the IOA, AVMA, and AFP; 
however, since the plan is not yet finalized, it does not currently 
ameliorate the noted threats from erosion.
    The processes and results of erosion are island-wide threats to the 
habitat of Malacothamnus clementinus, particularly to the occurrences 
in or adjacent to military training areas or roads. Erosion is 
currently impacting 6 of the 11 occurrences (54 percent) on the island, 
which may lead to overall habitat degradation, and cause the loss of 
individuals or groupings of plants in a given area. Of the six 
occurrences currently impacted by erosion, four (Lower China Canyon, 
Upper China Canyon, Horse Beach Canyon, and Lemon Tank Canyon) are in 
areas that are operationally closed to access, and likely not afforded 
conservation measures to control or monitor erosion. With these 
closures and continued impacts, erosion remains a threat to the habitat 
of M. clementinus.
Nonnative Species
    One of the threats to Malacothamnus clementinus identified in the 
final listing rule was the spread of nonnative plants into its habitat 
(42 FR 40682; August 11, 1977). Nonnatives can alter habitat structure, 
ecological processes (such as fire regimes), nutrient cycling, 
hydrology, and energy budgets and compete for water, space, light, and 
nutrients (Zink et al. 1995, p. 307; Brooks 1999, pp. 16-17; Mack et 
al. 2000, p. 689). By 1992, researchers had documented 99 nonnative 
plant species on San Clemente Island (Kellogg and Kellogg 1994, p. 5), 
and transfer of nonnative species to the island continues to be a 
problem today (Dunn 2006, pers. comm.; Junak 2006c, pers. comm.; 
Kellogg 2006, pers. comm.; O'Connor 2009c, pers. comm.). Nonnative 
species of particular concern include Foeniculum vulgare (fennel) and 
Brassica tournefortii (Sahara mustard), which have already invaded M. 
clementinus habitat. Since nonnative herbivores were removed from the 
island, the most significant structural alteration to the habitat has 
been the proliferation of nonnative annual grasses, such as Avena spp. 
(oats), Bromus spp. (bromes), and Vulpia

[[Page 29103]]

myuros (annual fescue). Annual grasses vary in abundance with rainfall, 
potentially changing the vegetative community from shrubs to grasses, 
and may increase the fuel load in wet years (see Factor A--Fire section 
below). Nonnative grasses are present in the native maritime desert 
scrub vegetation community where M. clementinus is often found (Tierra 
Data Inc. 2005, pp. 36-42).
    Although previous invasions of nonnatives probably were introduced 
in grazing fodder, current invasions are typically introduced by 
military activities and training on the island. Nonnative plants likely 
come in with equipment, vehicles, material, and personnel, and are 
spread by their movements. The primary pathway and vector for nonnative 
species into arid and semi-arid ecosystems are vehicles and vehicular 
routes, and disturbances along these routes and corridors enable their 
establishment (Stylinski and Allen 1999, p. 551; Gelbard and Belnap 
2003, pp. 424-425; Von der Lippe and Kowarik 2007, p. 986). Island 
ecosystems and species are especially vulnerable to nonnative plant 
invasions due to the relative lack of biotic diversity and natural 
predators (Mack and Lonsdale 2002, p. 164).
    Nonnative plants constitute a rangewide threat to the endemic plant 
community and habitat on San Clemente Island, including the habitat of 
all occurrences of Malacothamnus clementinus. Five of 11 occurrences 
(45 percent; Lower China Canyon, Horse Beach Canyon, Middle Ranch 
Canyon, Waymuck Canyon, and Lemon Tank Canyon) are within 500 ft (152 
m) of Ridge Road or China Point Road, and may be subject to diffuse 
disturbance and road effects that degrade habitat quality along the 
road (Forman and Alexander 1998, p. 217). Roadsides tend to cultivate 
conditions (high disturbance, seed dispersal by vehicles, ample light, 
and water runoff) favorable to nonnative species (Forman and Alexander 
1998, p. 210). Nonnatives, including Foeniculum vulgare and 
Mesembryanthemum crystallinum (crystalline iceplant), have been found 
in the disturbed shoulders along the road between Ridge Road and China 
Point in SHOBA (Braswell 2011, pers. obs.).
    Potential impacts from nonnative plants to the habitats of the 
three taxa analyzed in this finding are minimized through annual 
implementation of the Navy's island-wide nonnative plant control 
program (O'Connor 2009b, pers. comm.; Munson 2011a, pers. comm.). The 
focus of the nonnative plant species program is to control plants on 
the island with the potential to adversely impact habitat of federally 
listed species, which includes the eradication of isolated occurrences 
of nonnatives and early detection and eradication of new nonnative 
species (Navy 2008b, p. 5-28). This program targets nonnative species 
for elimination using herbicide and mechanical removal, with priorities 
currently focused on new invasions and particularly destructive 
nonnative species. Nonnative species management targets are identified 
and prioritized annually by Navy natural resource managers (Munson 
2011a, pers. comm.). These tactics have been successful in isolating 
and limiting some species, such as Foeniculum vulgare, to a few 
locations (Howe 2011b, pers. comm.). To reduce the potential for 
transport of nonnative plants to San Clemente Island, military and 
nonmilitary personnel inspect tactical ground vehicles and remove any 
visible plant material, dirt, or mud on them prior to going to San 
Clemente Island (USFWS 2008, p. 63). This cleaning helps prevent 
nonnative plants from reaching the island, but once there, nonnative 
plants are easily spread from one area to another by the movement of 
vehicles.
    The Navy has implemented preventative and control programs for the 
nonnative plant species on the island. Although nonnatives will 
continue to pose a rangewide risk to the habitat of Malacothamnus 
clementinus, the Navy has taken steps to curtail habitat conversion by 
nonnative plants. Management and control of nonnative plants is not in 
place at the four occurrences that are closed to natural resource 
managers. However, outside of these areas, M. clementinus has persisted 
on the island and, despite the continued risk of encroachment by 
nonnatives, its range has continued to expand. Nonnatives remain a 
threat to the M. clementinus' habitat, particularly in the four 
occurrences that are closed to monitoring and management efforts.
Fire
    Fire was not considered a threat to Malacothamnus clementinus at 
the time of listing (42 FR 40682; August 11, 1977). Since that time, 
however, over 50 percent of the island has experienced at least one 
wildfire (Navy 2002, Map 3-3, p. 3-32), and some areas have burned 
multiple times with short intervals between fires (Navy 2002, Map 3-4, 
p. 3-33). Between 1990 and 2004, there were 114 wildfires on the island 
suspected to be from Navy operational sources (Navy 2008a, pp. 5-18, 5-
19). The majority of fires are concentrated in SHOBA, and potentially 
impact the habitat of 6 of 11 (54 percent) of M. clementinus 
occurrences (Canchalagua Canyon, Horse Beach Canyon, Lower China 
Canyon, Upper China Canyon, Cave Canyon, and Chukit Canyon). Three of 
these occurrences (Upper China Canyon, Lower China Canyon, and Horse 
Beach Canyon) are in Impact Areas I and II, where the risk of frequent 
fire (less than 5 years apart) is especially high (Navy 2002, pp. 5-93, 
5-99). The effects of fire on habitat within the Impact Areas are 
currently unknown due to closure to natural resource personnel (USFWS 
2008, p. 50).
    The remaining land in SHOBA acts as a buffer from fires and 
munitions between the Impact Areas and the rest of the island. Fires 
are occasionally ignited by activities north of SHOBA, posing a low-
magnitude threat to the remaining five occurrences (Lemon Tank Canyon, 
Box Canyon, Norton Canyon, Middle Ranch Canyon, and Waymuck Canyon) 
(Navy 2002, Map 3-4, p. 3-33). Due to the potential for unexploded 
ordnance within SHOBA, unless a fire threatens human life or 
facilities, it usually is allowed to burn itself out (Navy 2002, p. 3-
32; Kellogg 2006, pers. comm.). This contrasts with the northern 
portion of the island where wildfires are usually suppressed (Kellogg 
2006, pers. comm.).
    Increased fire frequency (more than every 5 years) from intensified 
military use could lead to localized changes in vegetation. Nonnative 
annual grasses can increase fuel load for fire ignition and spread 
within the landscape. Dried grasses provide a fuel that is easily 
ignitable, and can extend the fire season by more than a month because 
they desiccate sooner than the native herbaceous flora. These grasses 
can also colonize a burned area better and more quickly than native 
species, thereby creating a cycle where fire and nonnatives are 
positive feedbacks for one another (Brooks et al. 2004, p. 677). 
Frequent fires within and adjoining military training areas have the 
potential to alter the vegetative community, resulting in the 
conversion of shrublands to nonnative grasslands, and a reduction in 
native perennial bunchgrasses (O'Leary and Westman 1988, p. 779; 
D'Antonio and Vitousek 1992, p. 73; Minnich and Dezzani 1998, pp. 383-
384; Keeley et al. 2005, p. 2109; Tierra Data Inc. 2005, p. 88).
    At the time of listing, fire was not identified as a threat because 
of lack of fire history and the low intensity of military training on 
the island. Since that time, military training has significantly 
increased, and we have better records of the fire frequency on the 
island. Fire is a rangewide threat to the habitat of M. clementinus, 
and 6 of

[[Page 29104]]

the 11 occurrences (54 percent) of Malacothamnus clementinus occur 
within areas that may be subject to recurrent fire associated with 
military training (Table 1; Canchalagua Canyon, Horse Beach Canyon, 
Lower China Canyon, Upper China Canyon, Cave Canyon, and Chukit 
Canyon). The remaining five occurrences are in habitat with a lower 
risk of recurrent fire and are less likely to experience changes in 
vegetation community due to fire. It is unlikely that fire control or 
prevention measures will be undertaken in the habitat at the three 
occurrences within the Impact Areas that are operationally closed. 
Fires that escape designated training areas may threaten other parts of 
the island, though because of its broad distribution, it is unlikely 
that one fire would be capable of spreading throughout the entire range 
of M. clementinus. The Navy's implementation of the MOFMP will limit 
the frequency of fires that escape Impact Areas. Through the annual 
review process, the Navy identifies mechanisms to reduce fire return 
intervals in areas where this taxon is concentrated (USFWS 2008, pp. 
91-122).
    The Navy has implemented preventative and control programs for fire 
on the island. Although fire will continue to pose a rangewide risk to 
the habitat of Malacothamnus clementinus, the Navy has taken steps to 
curtail habitat conversion by frequent and intense fire. Six of the 11 
occurrences (54 percent) of M. clementinus occur within areas that may 
be subject to recurrent fire associated with military training. 
Management and control of fire is not in place at the three occurrences 
that are closed to natural resource managers. However, M. clementinus 
has persisted on the island and, despite the continued risk of fire, 
its range has continued to expand. Fire remains a threat to the M. 
clementinus' habitat, particularly in the three occurrences in the 
impact areas that are closed to monitoring and management efforts.
Fire Management
    In 2008, the Service issued a biological opinion to the Navy on its 
MOFMP on San Clemente Island (USFWS 2008, pp. 1-244). The biological 
opinion addressed impacts to all 11 currently listed terrestrial taxa 
known to occur on San Clemente Island, including the three taxa 
analyzed in this finding. Military activities contribute to fires on 
San Clemente Island that may adversely affect listed plants and 
wildlife (USFWS 2008, p. 3). The Navy's focus on fire management is 
related to military training and other human-related activities and 
facilities, as these activities represent the primary source of 
ignition on the island (USFWS 2008, p. 3). Seasonal range and training 
modifications, based on weather patterns and moisture, are efforts 
taken by the Navy to assist in the prevention of fire ignition, 
containment, and fire suppression (USFWS 2008, pp. 3-4).
    In response to the potential hazard of wildfires on San Clemente 
Island, firefighting techniques have improved for known operational-
related ignition sources (Navy 2008b, pp. 3.11-71). Within the MOFMP, 
the Navy proposed the expansion of military training, as well as the 
implementation of a fire management plan directed at fire suppression, 
fire prevention, and fuels management. This plan was developed to 
provide flexibility for the timing of military training, and will 
modify the level of fire suppression resources required to be present 
during training activities. Real-time weather data and fuels 
management, in combination with the ready availability of fire 
suppression resources, are used to minimize the risk of fires spreading 
from areas approved for the use of ordnance and incendiary devices. The 
Navy has committed to conducting an annual review of fire management 
and fire occurrences that will allow for adaptive management and 
changes in the MOFMP (USFWS 2008, pp. 91-122).
    The MOFMP was developed by the Navy to provide flexibility for the 
timing of military training, and to ensure that elevated fire 
suppression resources were present to address an increased level of 
training activities and fire risk. In response to the potential hazard 
of wildland fires on San Clemente Island, firefighting techniques have 
improved for known operational-related ignition sources (Navy 2008b, 
pp. 3.11-71). The MOFMP defines the conditions under which certain fire 
protection resources must be available and ready for use (for example, 
a dedicated fire helicopter) (USFWS 2008, p. 53). The MOFMP calls for 
the use of real-time weather and fire forecasting to determine when 
certain munitions may be used and when helicopters must be present. 
After extensive consultation with the Navy, we issued a biological 
opinion on the MOFMP that concluded the MOFMP would not jeopardize the 
continued existence of listed species, including the three taxa 
analyzed in this Finding (USFWS 2008, pp. 1-237). While the increase in 
military training and fire suppression could affect habitat of 
Malacothamnus clementinus (as well as Acmispon dendroideus var. 
traskiae and Castilleja grisea), we have worked with the Navy to avoid 
and minimize the impacts to habitat of individuals or occurrences to 
the extent practicable while meeting the operational needs of the Navy.
    Fire suppression activities described in the MOFMP and used by the 
Navy include creating firebreaks (bare soil created through manual or 
herbicide removal of vegetation), use of fire retardants (spraying of 
fire retardants along fire breaks) and aerial drops of saltwater from 
aircraft. Fire management on San Clemente Island includes the creation 
of fuelbreaks within areas of SHOBA that impact the habitat at three 
Malacothamnus clementinus occurrences (Horse Beach Canyon, Lower China 
Canyon, and Upper China Canyon) (USFWS 2008, p. 57). Fuelbreaks are 
maintained along the boundaries of Impact Areas I and II to prevent the 
spread of fire outside of the areas (USFWS 2008, p. 57). Fuelbreaks on 
the island are created using herbicides and strip burning, and 
maintained using herbicides and fire retardant (Phos-Chek D75F) (USFWS 
2008, pp. 97-98). The use of fire retardant or herbicide, as proposed 
in the MOFMP, results in the loss of M. clementinus and Castilleja 
grisea habitat within the fuelbreak footprint (USFWS 2008, p. 81). The 
use of Phos-Chek may also allow or facilitate the expansion and 
persistence of nonnative species due to the fertilizing effect of this 
retardant (Larson et al. 1999, p. 115; Kalabokidis 2000, p. 130). Fire 
retardants act as a source of nitrogen and phosphorous, which are 
nutrients that can affect plant species composition (Larson and Duncan 
1982, p. 702). The Navy has begun a study on the effects of Phos-Chek 
on San Clemente Island vegetation, and has avoided application of Phos-
Chek within 300 ft (91.4 m) of mapped listed species (including M. 
clementinus and C. grisea) to the extent allowable with fuelbreak 
installation (USFWS 2008, pp. 97-98).
    It is anticipated that the Navy will construct fuelbreaks to 
minimize the risk of fire spreading from areas of live fire and 
demolition training north of SHOBA (USFWS 2008, p. 98). In the MOFMP, 
the Navy agreed to conduct preseason briefings for firefighting 
personnel on the guidelines for fire suppression, and the limitations 
associated with the use of Phos-Chek and saltwater drops (USFWS 2008, 
pp. 97-98). The impact of saltwater on the habitat of M. clementinus 
(and Castilleja grisea) has not yet been assessed. However, if salt 
persists, the composition of the plant community could change to favor 
more salt-tolerant taxa. Fire management could have a

[[Page 29105]]

direct impact on the habitat and species composition of at least three 
occurrences of M. clementinus.
    The Navy's implementation of a MOFMP will help to reduce the risk 
of habitat conversion by fire, though the habitat of Malacothamnus 
clementinus could be altered by the management of fire. Although the 
threat is ameliorated through implementation of the MOFMP, fire 
management remains a threat to M. clementinus, particularly to the 
three occurrences that fall within areas that may be managed using fuel 
breaks and fire suppression.
Summary of Factor A
    From 1850 until 1934, San Clemente Island was used for sheep 
ranching, cattle ranching, goat grazing, and pig farming (Navy 2002, 
pp. 3-4). The effects of these grazers, which were not completely 
removed from the island until 1992, on the habitat and plants were one 
of the original reasons for classifying Malacothamnus clementinus as 
endangered in the 1977 listing rule (42 FR 40682); this threat is now 
eliminated. Currently, M. clementinus is threatened by the destruction 
and modification of habitat caused by impacts related to designated 
land use, erosion, the spread of nonnative plants, fire, and fire 
management practices. To help ameliorate these threats, the Navy is 
implementing a MOFMP and the island-wide control of nonnative plants as 
outlined in the INRMP (Navy 2002, pp. 3-114-3-116; USFWS 2008, pp. 1-
237). The fire management plan within the MOFMP has been used to inform 
strategic decisions for training using live fire or incendiary devices. 
Three occurrences within the Impact Areas are now closed to natural 
resource monitoring and management, and currently their status is 
unknown; a fourth occurrence (Lemon Tank) is also closed but is not 
within the Impact Areas.
    Per our 2008 biological opinion, the Navy has postponed major troop 
and assault vehicle maneuvers across the island until it completes and 
implements an erosion control plan (USFWS 2008, pp. 62, 87). Natural 
resource managers have been successful at decreasing the prevalence of 
particularly destructive nonnatives, such as Foeniculum vulgare. 
Management actions directed at conservation of Malacothamnus 
clementinus may not be fully implemented at 4 of the 11 known 
occurrences (Lower China Canyon, Upper China Canyon, Horse Beach 
Canyon, and Lemon Tank Canyon) currently closed to natural resource 
access. This will reduce and fragment the effectiveness of the 
conservation measures. Although the species is expanding, and ongoing 
and anticipated conservation efforts contribute to its conservation, 
military training activities, erosion, nonnatives, and fire have 
ongoing impacts to all M. clementinus occurrences rangewide both now 
and into the future.

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

    In the listing rule (42 FR 40682; August 11, 1977), the Service did 
not identify any threats from overutilization, and there is no new 
information to indicate that overutilization is a threat to 
Malacothamnus clementinus. Although herbarium specimens of M. 
clementinus and seeds have been collected for research and seed 
banking, overutilization of M. clementinus for any purpose is not 
currently considered a threat nor is expected to be in the future.

Factor C. Disease or Predation

    Grazing of feral goats and the rooting of feral pigs was considered 
a threat under this category to Malacothamnus clementinus in the final 
listing rule (42 FR 40682, at 40684; August 11, 1977). This threat was 
ameliorated by the removal of the goats and pigs from San Clemente 
Island in 1992, as recognized in our 2007 status review (USFWS 2007a, 
p. 16). Currently, no other predators or diseases on San Clemente 
Island are known to pose a significant threat to M. clementinus, nor 
are they expected to in the future.

Factor D. Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    The Act requires us to examine the adequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms with respect to those existing and foreseeable threats that 
may affect Malacothamnus clementinus. The inadequacy of existing 
regulatory mechanisms was not indicated as a threat to M. clementinus 
at listing (42 FR 40682; August 11, 1977). Since it was listed as 
endangered, the Act has been and continues to be the primary Federal 
law that affords protection to M. clementinus, Acmispon dendroideus 
var. traskiae, and Castilleja grisea. The Service's responsibilities in 
administering the Act include sections 7, 9, and 10.
    Section 7(a)(1) of the Act requires all Federal agencies, including 
the Navy, to utilize their authorities in furtherance of the purposes 
of the Act by carrying out programs for the conservation of endangered 
and threatened species. Section 7(a)(2) of the Act requires Federal 
agencies, including the Service and the Navy, to ensure that actions 
they fund, authorize, or carry out do not ``jeopardize'' the continued 
existence of a listed species or result in the destruction or adverse 
modification of habitat in areas designated by the Service to be 
critical. Critical habitat has not been designated or proposed for this 
taxon. A jeopardy determination is made for a project that is 
reasonably expected, either directly or indirectly, to appreciably 
reduce the likelihood of both the survival and recovery of a listed 
species in the wild by reducing its reproduction, numbers, or 
distribution (50 CFR 402.02). A non-jeopardy opinion may include 
reasonable and prudent measures that minimize the extent of impacts to 
listed species associated with a project. Under section 9(a)(2) of the 
Act, with respect to endangered plant taxa, it is unlawful to remove 
and reduce to possession (collect) any such taxon from areas under 
Federal jurisdiction; maliciously damage or destroy any such taxon on 
any such area; or remove, cut, dig up, or damage or destroy any such 
species on any other area in knowing violation of any law or regulation 
of any State or in the course of any violation of a State criminal 
trespass law.
    Since it was first listed in 1977, the Navy has consulted and 
coordinated with us regarding the effects of various activities on 
Malacothamnus clementinus, Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae, and 
Castilleja grisea. In November 2008, we completed a biological opinion 
describing the impact of the Navy's military training program proposed 
in the MOFMP on 11 federally listed species that occur on San Clemente 
Island (USFWS 2008, pp. 1-237). We considered the status and 
distribution of M. clementinus, the various management strategies, and 
the avoidance and minimization measures in place and those the Navy 
will implement with the new plan (as well as A. d. var. traskiae and C. 
grisea). Additionally, the Service made conservation recommendations 
within the biological opinion, including: (1) Considering recommended 
actions from the 5-year review in the upcoming revision of the INRMP, 
and (2) propagation and outplanting of narrowly distributed, listed 
plant species. We concluded that ongoing and likely impacts from the 
proposed increases in military training activities would not jeopardize 
the continued existence of M. clementinus, A. d. var. traskiae, and C. 
grisea (USFWS 2008, pp. 1-237).

[[Page 29106]]

    Thus, listing Malacothamnus clementinus provided a variety of 
protections, including the prohibitions against removing or destroying 
plants within areas under Federal jurisdiction and the conservation 
mandates of section 7 for all Federal agencies. If M. clementinus were 
not listed, these protections would not be provided. Thus, we must 
evaluate whether other regulatory mechanisms would provide adequate 
protections absent the protections of the Act.
Other Federal Protections
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
    All Federal agencies are required to adhere to the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1970 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) for 
projects they fund, authorize, or carry out. The Council on 
Environmental Quality's regulations for implementing NEPA (40 CFR parts 
1500-1518) state that agencies shall include a discussion on the 
environmental impacts of the various project alternatives (including 
the proposed action), any adverse environmental effects that cannot be 
avoided, and any irreversible or irretrievable commitments of resources 
involved (40 CFR part 1502). The NEPA is a disclosure law, and does not 
require subsequent minimization or mitigation measures by the Federal 
agency involved. Although Federal agencies may include conservation 
measures for Malacothamnus clementinus as a result of the NEPA process, 
any such measures are typically voluntary in nature and are not 
required by the statute. NEPA does not itself regulate activities that 
might affect M. clementinus, but it does require full evaluation and 
disclosure of information regarding the effects of contemplated Federal 
actions on sensitive species and their habitats.
    On San Clemente Island, the Navy must meet the NEPA requirements 
for actions significantly affecting the quality of the human 
environment. Typically, the Navy prepares Environmental Assessments and 
Environmental Impact Statements on operation plans and new or expanding 
training actions. Absent the listing of M. clementinus, we would expect 
the Navy to continue to meet the procedural requirements of NEPA for 
its actions, including evaluating the environmental impacts to rare 
plant species and other natural resources. However, as explained above, 
NEPA does not itself regulate activities that might affect M. 
clementinus.
Sikes Act Improvement Act (Sikes Act)
    The Sikes Act (16 U.S.C. 670) authorizes the Secretary of Defense 
to develop cooperative plans with the Secretaries of Agriculture and 
the Interior for natural resources on public lands. The Sikes Act 
Improvement Act of 1997 requires Department of Defense installations to 
prepare Integrated Natural Resources Management Plans (INRMPs) that 
provide for the conservation and rehabilitation of natural resources on 
military lands consistent with the use of military installations to 
ensure the readiness of the Armed Forces. An INRMP is a plan intended 
``* * * to guide installation commanders in managing their natural 
resources in a manner that is consistent with the sustainability of 
those resources while ensuring continued support of the military 
mission'' (Navy 2002, p. 1-1). INRMPs are developed in coordination 
with the State and the Service, and are generally updated every 5 
years. Although an INRMP is technically not a regulatory mechanism 
because its implementation is subject to funding availability, it is an 
important guiding document that helps to integrate natural resource 
protection with military readiness and training.
San Clemente Island Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan 
(INRMP)
    Pursuant to the Sikes Act, the Navy adopted an INRMP for San 
Clemente Island that targets multiple objectives towards protection of 
Malacothamnus clementinus and its habitat, and helps to reduce threats 
to this taxon (Navy 2002). The INRMP includes provisions to comply with 
the Endangered Species Act, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, 
Compensation, and Liability Act (42 U.S.C. 9601), the Resources 
Conservation and Recovery Act (42 U.S.C. 6901), the Federal Noxious 
Weed Act of 1974 (7 U.S.C. 2801), and the Soil Conservation Act (16 
U.S.C 3B). Goals and objectives in the INRMP for specified management 
units on the island are identified based on each unit's ranking for 
both military and natural resource value. Natural resource management 
objectives for the management units are stepped down from broader 
natural resource objectives identified for species and habitats. Of 
relevance to the protection of M. clementinus, the INRMP includes an 
objective to: ``Protect, monitor, and restore plants and cryptograms in 
order to manage for their long-term sustainability on the island'' 
(Navy 2002, p. 4-39).
    The INRMP specifically includes the following objectives for 
Malacothamnus clementinus management: removal of nonnatives, 
restoration of native plant communities, monitoring of the species, 
studies of the species' response to fire, and studies and inventory of 
insect pollinators (Navy 2002, pp. D-20, D-21). Other INRMP strategies 
that target the plant communities within which the three species occur 
include: controlling erosion, with priority given to locations where 
erosion may be affecting listed species; producing a new vegetation 
map; reducing nonnative plant cover from 1992-1993 baseline levels; 
managing the size and intervals of fires; experimenting with fire 
management to improve native plant dominance while protecting sensitive 
plant occurrences; and conducting genetic and biological studies of M. 
clementinus, Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae, and Castilleja grisea 
across the island.
    To date, multiple INRMP management strategies, or aspects of them, 
have been implemented. The Navy has implemented rare plant surveys and 
has documented new occurrences of Malacothamnus clementinus, Acmispon 
dendroideus var. traskiae, and Castilleja grisea on the island. Genetic 
research and natural history studies have also been performed. 
Concerted efforts have been made to control escape of fire from 
military training activities, and the Navy has annually implemented 
nonnative plant species control activities, with a focus on species 
that have the potential to compete with listed species. Overall, 
considerable progress has been made toward the identified INRMP goals 
to maintain sustainable occurrences and implement strategies that help 
reduce threats to M. clementinus, A. d. var. traskiae, and C. grisea.
    The INRMP is an important guiding document that helps to integrate 
the military's mission with natural resource protection on San Clemente 
Island. Although the INRMP includes objectives targeted toward habitat 
protection of optimal Malacothamnus Clementinus, Acmispon dendroideus 
var. traskiae, and Castilleja grisea habitat, Navy operational needs 
may diverge from INRMP natural resource goals. For example, control 
measures for erosion, fire, and nonnatives described in the INRMP may 
not be implemented effectively or consistently in those areas that are 
operationally closed due to the presence of unexploded ordnance. The 
MOFMP, Erosion Control Plan, and nonnative plant species control 
conducted on the island are discussed above under Factor A. The Present 
or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of Its Habitat 
or Range. Absent listing under the Act, the Navy would still be 
required to develop and

[[Page 29107]]

implement INRMPs under the Sikes Act. However, as noted under the other 
factors, while the INRMP helps to ameliorate threats and provides some 
protection for M. clementinus occurrences, those occurrences within 
Impact Areas or operationally closed areas may not benefit from the 
conservation measures. While the INRMP has reduced the severity of 
threats and contributed to conservation of the species, it still allows 
for land use consistent with military readiness and training. Thus, 
Navy activities will continue to impact M. clementinus as described 
under Factor A.
State Protections
    Since the time of listing, Malacothamnus clementinus has benefited 
from additional State protections under the Native Plant Protection Act 
(NPPA) and California Endangered Species Act (CESA; listed 1982). 
However, the range of M. clementinus is restricted to a Federal 
military installation, so listing under NPPA and CESA may only afford 
protection to this species in rare instances when the lead agency is a 
non-Federal agency or when proposed activities fall under other State 
laws.
Summary of Factor D
    In continuance of a long history of cooperative conservation 
efforts, the Navy has implemented several conservation actions that 
benefit this taxon. The Navy has a MOFMP to reduce the risk of fire on 
the island and a nonnative plant species control program. Following 
review of the Navy's MOFMP, we issued a non-jeopardy biological 
opinion, which included measures that the Navy has implemented to 
manage fires and avoid and minimize the impacts of military activities 
on listed plants. The provisions included in the San Clemente Island 
INRMP provide protection to accessible Malacothamnus clementinus 
occurrences, and adaptive management of their habitat, to help address 
threats from military activities and nonnative plants. However, as 
indicated in the discussion under Factor A, not all of the management 
tools described in the INRMP are in place, and conservation measures 
may not be implemented at several of the closed occurrences of the 
species. Malacothamnus clementinus occurrences are afforded some 
protection through Federal and military mechanisms. However, in the 
absence of the Act, the existing regulatory mechanisms are not 
currently adequate to provide for the long-term conservation of M. 
clementinus.

Factor E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting Its Continued 
Existence

    The 1977 listing rule identified nonnatives as a threat to 
Malacothamnus clementinus under Factor E: competition from nonnative 
plants (42 FR 40682; August 11, 1977). In this 5-factor analysis, 
impacts from nonnative plants are discussed above under Factor A as a 
threat to habitat. Other Factor E threats identified since listing that 
currently impact M. clementinus plants include: (1) Movement of 
vehicles and troops, (2) fire, (3) climate change, and (4) genetic 
diversity. Factor E addresses threats to individuals of the species, 
rather than the habitat modification threats that are discussed in 
Factor A. Therefore, while some threats are discussed in both sections, 
in this section we are focusing on the direct impacts to individuals of 
M. clementinus.
Movement of Vehicles and Troops
    Military training activities within SWAT, TAR, and the IOA often 
entail the movement of vehicles and troops over the landscape with the 
potential of trampling or crushing individual plants of all three 
species. SWATs are large areas that typically support the movement of 
small groups to reach an objective or destination. The dispersed 
movement of troops through these areas is likely to result in 
occasional trampling of plants, with minor or temporary impacts at the 
occurrence level. TARs are generally smaller areas designated to 
accommodate intensive use and bombardment. Plants located within TARs 
are therefore more vulnerable to being trampled by vehicle and troop 
movements, particularly as the level of military training increases in 
these areas.
    Use of the IOA, at its highest intensity, involves the movement of 
battalion-sized landings of troops (1,500 individuals) from the 
northern to southern end of the island several times a year. During 
such operations, it is anticipated that about half of the troops will 
travel on roads in vehicles, while the other half will proceed on foot. 
Based on the distribution of Malacothamnus clementinus occurrences and 
type of troop movements likely to occur, impacts due to trampling and 
crushing are likely to occur within the IOA, along roads and in the 
Impact Areas. Specifically, major troop movements and vehicle landings 
are planned through Horse Beach and the Horse Beach Canyon occurrence, 
with troops and assault vehicles moving north along Horse Beach Road 
from the beach (USFWS 2008, pp. 30, 41). These operations could affect 
the Horse Beach Canyon and Lower China Canyon occurrences (USFWS 2008, 
pp. 85-86).
    The implementation of conservation measures and the status of the 
plants at Horse Beach Canyon, Upper and Lower China Canyon, and Lemon 
Tank Canyon are currently unknown because they are closed to natural 
resource personnel (USFWS 2008, p. 50). Four of 11 occurrences (36 
percent; Lower China Canyon, Upper China Canyon, Horse Beach Canyon, 
and Lemon Tank Canyon) are partially or wholly within the boundaries of 
a training area (Impact Area or SWAT) and are likely to sustain some 
losses due to trampling associated with the proposed increases in troop 
and vehicle movements. With the lack of access to all four occurrences, 
the management of this threat and the ability to assess the plant's 
condition is compromised, and the full effects of trampling on the 
species are unknown. Therefore, the movement of troops and vehicles is 
still considered a threat to M. clementinus.
Fire
    Although not specifically mentioned in the listing rule, intense or 
frequent fires impact plants at 6 of the 11 occurrences (54 percent) of 
Malacothamnus clementinus. In the Factor A discussion above, we 
addressed impacts of fire on the habitat. This section includes 
discussion on the discrete threat to individuals of M. clementinus. As 
discussed in the Background section, it is unknown if M. clementinus is 
adapted to fire, though it is likely that this species is resilient to 
occasional fires (USFWS 1984. p. 48; Navy 2002, D-20; USFWS 2007a, p. 
3). No direct studies have been done on the effects of fire on M. 
clementinus; however, its continued presence in areas that have burned 
(such as in SHOBA), and its ability to vegetatively reproduce, suggest 
it is at least tolerant of periodic fire. The species' adaptation to 
fire frequency is unknown. In areas that burn on a more frequent basis, 
the seed bank may become depleted if individuals burn before they 
produce seeds. Additionally, M. clementinus was observed to have low 
numbers of seeds in natural populations (Junak and Wilken 1998, p. 
291). Frequent burns might exhaust the already small seed bank, and 
inhibit reproduction in M. clementinus.
    Malacothamnus clementinus occurs in some areas of the island that 
may experience elevated fire frequency, such as in SHOBA and especially 
within the Impact Areas (Lower China Canyon, Upper China Canyon, and 
Horse Beach

[[Page 29108]]

Canyon) (see Factor A above). The Navy's fire management practices are 
expected to minimize ignitions as well as the spread of fires (see 
Factor A). However, fires ignited within the boundaries of the Impact 
Areas will not be suppressed due to closures and safety restrictions 
within these areas. This would affect the three occurrences of M. 
clementinus found within these areas. The Navy conducts annual reviews 
of fire management and fire occurrences to allow for adaptive 
management. These measures should minimize the frequency and spread of 
fires that could result in the loss of M. clementinus individuals or 
occurrences. The Navy's ongoing implementation of the MOFMP will limit 
the frequency with which fires escape Impact Areas and TAR, and that, 
through the annual review process, the Navy will identify mechanisms to 
reduce fire return intervals in areas not designated for incendiary use 
(USFWS 2008, pp. 76-91).
    Although the Navy has planned and implemented fire management, fire 
still affects six occurrences of Malacothamnus clementinus. Three of 
these occurrences fall within areas that are closed to natural 
resources management and prone to fire due to bombing of the area. 
Therefore, fires within these areas are allowed to burn, affecting the 
individuals and occurrences. Due to these conditions and the continued 
impacts of fire within SHOBA, fire remains a Factor E threat to the 
existence of M. clementinus both currently and in the future.
Climate Change
    Consideration of climate change is a component of our analyses 
under the Endangered Species Act, and applies in this finding to our 
analysis of all three taxa. In general terms, ``climate change'' refers 
to a change in the state of the climate (whether due to natural 
variability, human activity, or both) that can be identified by changes 
in the mean or variability of its properties, and that persists for an 
extended period--typically decades or longer (Intergovernmental Panel 
on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007a, p. 78).
    Changes in climate are occurring. Examples include warming of the 
global climate system over recent decades, and substantial increases in 
precipitation in some regions of the world and decreases in other 
regions (for these and other examples see IPCC 2007a, p. 30; Solomon et 
al. 2007, pp. 35-54, 82-85).
    Most of the observed increase in global average temperature since 
the mid-20th century cannot be explained by natural variability in 
climate, and is very likely due to the observed increase in greenhouse 
gas concentrations in the atmosphere as a result of human activities, 
particularly emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel use (IPCC 
2007a, p. 5 and Figure SPM.3; Solomon et al. 2007, pp. 21-35). 
Therefore, to project future changes in temperature and other climate 
conditions, scientists use a variety of climate models (which include 
consideration of natural processes and variability) in conjunction with 
various scenarios of potential levels and timing of greenhouse gas 
emissions (e.g., Meehl et al. 2007 entire; Ganguly et al. 2009, pp. 
11555, 15558; Prinn et al. 2011, pp. 527, 529).
    The projected magnitude of average global warming for this century 
is very similar under all combinations of models and emissions 
scenarios until about 2030. Thereafter, the projections show greater 
divergence across scenarios. Despite these differences in projected 
magnitude, however, the overall trajectory is one of increased warming 
throughout this century under all scenarios, including those which 
assume a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (Meehl et al. 2007, pp. 
760-764; Ganguly et al. 2009, pp. 15555-15558; Prinn et al. 2011, pp. 
527, 529). (For examples of other global climate projections, see IPCC 
2007b, p. 8).
    Various types of changes in climate can have direct or indirect 
effects on species and these may be positive or negative depending on 
the species and other relevant considerations, including interacting 
effects with existing habitat fragmentation or other non-climate 
variables. There are three main components of vulnerability to climate 
change: Exposure to changes in climate, sensitivity to such changes, 
and adaptive capacity (IPCC 2007, p. 89; Glick et al 2011, pp. 19-22). 
Because aspects of these components can vary by species and situation, 
as can interactions among climatic and non climatic conditions, there 
is no single way to conduct our analyses. We use the best scientific 
and commercial data available to identify potential impacts and 
responses by species that may arise in association with different 
components of climate change, including interactions with non climatic 
conditions.
    As is the case with all potential threats, if a species is 
currently affected or is expected to be affected in a negative way by 
one or more climate-related impacts, this does not necessarily mean the 
species meets the definition of a threatened or endangered species as 
defined under the Act. The impacts of climate change and other 
conditions would need to be to the level that the species is in danger 
of extinction, or likely to become so, throughout all or a significant 
portion of its range. If a species is listed as threatened or 
endangered, knowledge regarding the species' vulnerability to, and 
impacts from, climate-associated changes in environmental conditions 
can be used to help devise appropriate strategies for its recovery.
    While projections from global climate model simulations are 
informative and in some cases are the only or the best scientific 
information available, various downscaling methods are being used to 
provide higher-resolution projections that are more relevant to the 
spatial scales used to assess impacts to a given species (see Glick et 
al, 2011, pp. 58-61). With regard to the area of analysis for the San 
Clemente Island and specifically for the three species at issue here, 
downscaled projections are available at least with respect to southern 
California.
    San Clemente Island is located within a Mediterranean climatic 
regime, but with a significant maritime influence. Climate change 
models indicate a 1.8 to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 3 degrees 
Celsius) increase in average temperature for southern California by the 
year 2070 (Field et al. 1999, p. 5; Cayan et al. 2008, p. S26; PRBO 
2011, p. 40). Over the same time span, a 10 to 37 percent decrease in 
annual precipitation is predicted (PRBO 2011, p. 40), though other 
models predict little to no change in annual precipitation (Field et 
al. 1999, pp. 8-9; Cayan et al. 2008, p. S26). Although the island has 
a short rainy season, the presence of fog during the summer months 
helps to reduce drought stress for many plant species (Halvorson et al. 
1988, p. 111; Fischer et al. 2009, p. 783). However, fog projections 
remain uncertain (Field et al. 1999, pp. 21-22). There is also 
substantial uncertainty in precipitation projections, and relatively 
little consensus concerning precipitation patterns and projections for 
southwestern California (PRBO 2011, p. 40). San Clemente Island 
typically gets less rainfall than the neighboring mainland areas 
(Tierra Data 2005, p. 4). Therefore, the models may underestimate the 
effects of precipitation changes on island vegetation. Additionally, 
Malacothamnus clementinus typically occurs on the western side of the 
island, which is a less productive and drier climate (Tierra Data 2005, 
p. 7). Less rainfall and warmer air temperatures could limit the range 
of M. clementinus, although there is no direct research on the effects 
of climate change on the species.

[[Page 29109]]

    The impacts of predicted future climate change to Malacothamnus 
clementinus remain unclear. The best available information does not 
provide sufficient certainty on how and when climate change will affect 
the species, the extent of average temperature increases in California, 
or potential changes to the level of threat posed by fire on San 
Clemente Island. The most recent literature on climate change includes 
predictions of hydrological changes, higher temperatures, and expansion 
of drought areas (IPCC 2007a, pp. 1-18). While we recognize that 
climate change is an important issue with potential effects to listed 
species and their habitats, the best available information does not 
inform accurate predictions regarding its impacts to M. Clementinus at 
this time.
Genetic Diversity
    As discussed in the Background section, Malacothamnus clementinus 
has low genetic variability when compared with other island endemic 
plant species (Helenurm 1999, p. 40). This lack of diversity could 
hinder the species' ability to persist through a fluctuating 
environment or stochastic event. Although the number of known 
occurrences of M. clementinus has increased from 3 to 11 since its 
listing, there appears to be little gene flow among occurrences, and 
each comprises a relatively small number of genetically distinct 
individuals (Junak and Wilken 1998, p. 290; Helenurm 1999, p. 39). 
Genetic fitness typically decreases with decreasing genetic variation 
and population size (Leimu et al. 2006, p. 942). Specifically, small 
population size and low levels of genetic interchange make M. 
clementinus occurrences particularly vulnerable to inbreeding 
depression and loss of genetic variability due to genetic drift (the 
change in the frequency of appearance of a gene in a population of 
organisms due to chance or random events) (Ellstrand and Elam 1993, p. 
217).
    Genetic analysis suggests that M. clementinus has very low genetic 
variation at both the species and population levels (Helenurm 1997, p. 
50; Helenurm 1999, p. 39), even far below average when compared to 
other endemic plant species (Helernurm 1999, p. 39). Low genetic 
variation may affect the ability of occurrences to adjust to novel or 
fluctuating environments, survive stochastic events, or maintain high 
levels of reproductive performance (Huenneke 1991, p. 40). This 
constitutes a species and rangewide threat for which there is no 
immediate solution or amelioration.
    Malacothamnus clementinus occurrences have low seed production, 
suggesting the existence of a self-incompatibility mechanism (Helenurm 
1997, p. 50; Junak and Wilken 1998, p. 291; Helenurm 1999, p. 39). Low 
seed production may also be the result of low pollinator visitation 
and, in combination with low genetic diversity, could contribute to 
observed low recruitment in populations (Huenneke 1991, pp. 37-40; 
Junak and Wilken 1998, p. 291; Helenurm 1999, pp. 39-40). Although 
studies show that patches of plants are not made up of a single clonal 
individual (clump of genetically identical stems resulting from 
vegetative reproduction), it is still possible that patches comprise 
closely related individuals that share alleles controlling their 
ability to successfully reproduce with each other (Helenurm 1999, pp. 
39-40). Although this species has apparently expanded its range from 
that known at the time of listing and persisted through habitat 
disturbance, it may still remain susceptible to extirpation from low 
genetic variation and genetic drift. A reduction in occurrence size 
through years of grazing could have substantially lowered genetic 
variation (Helenurm 2005, p. 1221), which could decrease genetic 
fitness and compromise the species' ability to adapt to stochastic 
events (Huenneke 1991, p. 40). The apparent loss of genetic diversity 
resulting in current low genetic variation and low recruitment 
constitute a species and rangewide threat to M. clementinus.
Summary of Factor E
    Threats associated with trampling from military activities, fire, 
climate change, and low genetic diversity continue to impact 
Malacothamnus clementinus at all of the 11 occurrences on San Clemente 
Island. Trampling and crushing of individual plants are likely to 
increase at four occurrences (36 percent) in association with increased 
training levels on the island. However, this taxon has expanded its 
distribution on the island and the Navy is implementing conservation 
measures that will improve conditions for M. clementinus. Military 
training activities have the potential to ignite fires within 
occurrences or that spread to habitat supporting this species. In 
preparation for these training efforts, the Navy implemented a MOFMP to 
limit the frequency of fires escaping from the Impact Areas, although 
suppression likely will not occur within the boundaries of the Impact 
Areas. Climate change may also likely influence M. clementinus, though 
the effects are largely unknown. The genetic fitness of M. clementinus 
may be threatened by low genetic diversity and small population size. 
The threats described here affect all of the occurrences of M. 
clementinus both now and in the future; therefore, these threats also 
affect its recovery.

Combination of Factors--Malacothamnus clementinus

    A species may be affected by more than one threat in combination. 
Within the preceding review of the five listing factors, we have 
identified multiple threats that may have interrelated impacts on 
Malacothamnus clementinus (these interrelated impacts also occur for 
Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae and Castilleja grisea). For example, 
fires (Factor A and E) may be more intense or frequent in the habitat 
if there are greater amounts of nonnative grass (Factor A) present in 
the vegetative community. Similarly, fires (Factor A and E) also may 
become more frequent if the climate changes (Factor E) into a drier, 
hotter environment. The movement of troops and vehicles (Factor E) and 
land use (Factor A) can also create more disturbance and erosion 
(Factor A) in M. clementinus' habitat (as well as A. d. var. traskiae 
and C. grisea habitat). The historical past on San Clemente is an 
illustration of interacting threats: Nonnative herbivores (Factor C) 
ate and killed much of the vegetation, causing greater impacts of 
erosion (Factor A) on the island. Thus, the species' productivity may 
be reduced because of these threats, either singularly or in 
combination. However, it is not necessarily easy to determine (nor is 
it necessarily determinable) whether a particular threat is the primary 
threat having the greatest effect on the viability of the species, or 
whether it is exacerbated by or working in combination with other 
threats to have cumulative or synergistic effects on the species. While 
the combination of factors is a threat to the existence of M. 
clementinus, we are unable to determine the magnitude or extent of 
cumulative or synergistic effects of the combination of factors on the 
viability of the species at this time.

Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae (San Clemente Island lotus)

    In the 2007 status review, we acknowledged that the predominant 
threat at listing (grazing and rooting from feral herbivores) was 
ameliorated with the removal of goats and pigs from the island in 1992 
(USFWS 2007b, pp. 1-22). Threats to Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae 
identified in the 2007 status review include: (1) Erosion, (2) 
nonnative species, (3) fire,

[[Page 29110]]

(4) land use, (5) access to SHOBA, and (6) hybridization. Impacts from 
erosion, nonnatives, fire, and land use are discussed below under 
Factor A, and hybridization is discussed under Factor E below. As 
discussed above, access to SHOBA is not considered a threat, though it 
limits our ability to assess all occurrences of the taxon reviewed 
here.

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

    The final listing rule (42 FR 40682; August 11, 1977) identified 
the following threats to Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae: Habitat 
alteration and destruction, competition from nonnative species, and 
direct predation caused by nonnative herbivores (goats and pigs). The 
vegetation on San Clemente Island has rebounded, and the status of many 
rare plant occurrences, including A. d. var. traskiae, has improved 
with the final removal of herbivores in 1992 (Junak and Wilken 1998, p. 
18; Junak 2006a, pers. comm.). Although the principle threat to A. d. 
var. traskiae identified in the final listing rule has been eliminated, 
erosion as a result of overgrazing and invasive nonnative plants remain 
ongoing threats to habitat of A. d. var. traskiae. Habitat alteration 
and disturbance from the Navy's use of the island for military 
operation and training were identified as additional threats to the 
habitats occupied by A. d. var. traskiae in the Recovery Plan and the 
2007 status review (USFWS 1984, pp. 58-63; USFWS 2007b, pp. 11, 12). 
Additional threats recognized since listing include land use by 
military training activities, and fire. As outlined below, we discuss 
impacts of the following threats that affect the habitat or range of A. 
d. var. traskiae: (1) Land use, (2) erosion, (3) nonnative plants, and 
(4) fire.
Land Use
    Eight of 29 Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae occurrences (28 
percent; Eagle Canyon, Bryce Canyon, North Mosquito Cove, Canchalagua 
Canyon, Thirst Canyon, Cave Canyon, Horse Canyon, and Pyramid Head) 
occur within SHOBA, where impacts are more likely. Most of the land 
area of the SHOBA serves as a buffer from the Impact Areas, although 
military training in parts of SHOBA could result in habitat alteration 
due to OHV and large-scale troop movements through the military impact 
and training areas (IOA and AVMA). Most of the occurrences within SHOBA 
are located along the eastern escarpment, which should provide a level 
of protection from training impacts. Large-scale troop movements are 
less likely in this area, because of the extreme slope of the 
escarpment. Training impacts may become difficult to assess and manage 
with the recent closure of the eastern escarpment due to unexploded 
ordnance.
    Four of 29 of A. d. var. traskiae occurrences (14 percent; 
Canchalagua Canyon, Middle Island Plateau, North Mosquito Cove, and 
Eagle Canyon) are within or partially within the IOA and may experience 
direct impacts, while nine occurrences (31 percent; Upper Middle Ranch 
Canyon, Warren Canyon, Horton Canyon, Upper Wallrock Canyon, Tota 
Canyon, Lemon Tank Canyon, Larkspur Canyon, Chamish Canyon, and North 
Island Terraces) are within 1,000 ft (305 m) of the IOA, and could 
experience diffuse or accidental impacts associated with troop 
movement. These areas near the IOA are at less risk of disturbance than 
the occurrences within the IOA, and would only be likely to sustain 
diffuse or accidental impacts to the habitat. While the increase in 
military training could affect the species, the Navy through 
implementation of the INRMP will avoid and minimize impacts to 
individuals or occurrences of A. d. var. traskiae (as a rare plant 
species), to the extent practicable while meeting operational needs 
(Navy 2002, p. 1-2) (see above discussion on Land Use under 
Malacothamnus clementine--Factor A).
    Because of the taxon's close proximity to Navy facilities, military 
activities have the potential to impact habitat at one of the largest 
known occurrences of Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae, near Wilson 
Cove. All construction, maintenance, and training activities in the 
Wilson Cove area go through a site approval request process. Through 
this process, the areas are assessed to see if the activities will 
potentially impact any listed species, including A. d. var. traskiae. 
Part of this occurrence is within a TAR where tactical training and 
movement are projected to occur, possibly causing habitat damage 
through troop traffic (USFWS 2008, pp. 119-120). Work was done recently 
at Wilson Cove that affected A. d. var. traskiae, and the Navy assessed 
the impact to be a loss of habitat occupied by 50 plants. The Navy 
worked to salvage plant material and outplant back to the site. Thus 
far, this outplanting has been successful, the habitat has rebounded, 
and more plants are present in the area than before the work was done 
(Munson 2011a, pers. comm.).
    Twenty-four of 29 occurrences (83 percent) of A. d. var. traskiae 
are located outside of heavily impacted training areas. Though five 
occurrences (17 percent; Wilson Cove, Canchalagua Canyon, Middle Island 
Plateau, North Mosquito Cove, and Eagle Canyon) are partially or wholly 
within the boundaries of an IOA or TAR, many of the impacts to these 
occurrences would be diffuse, and are unlikely to have a high impact on 
the species' habitat. Although land use is likely to impact A. d. var. 
traskiae habitat, the Navy has demonstrated its commitment to help 
conserve and manage listed species on the island. Land use appears to 
pose a high-magnitude threat to the habitat of a small percentage of 
the occurrences of A. d. var. traskiae on San Clemente Island.
Erosion
    Erosion and associated soil loss caused by browsing of feral goats 
and rooting of feral pigs likely modified the island's habitat (Navy 
2002, p. 1-14). Defoliation from overgrazing increased erosion over 
much of San Clemente Island. In the INRMP, erosion was identified as a 
threat to the canyon woodland habitat and maritime desert scrub where 
Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae occurs (Navy 2002, p. 4-3). Gullying 
and other processes may concentrate surface runoff to unnatural levels, 
leading to accelerated erosion in the canyons below (Tierra Data Inc. 
2007, p. 6). Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae occurs within steep 
canyon areas where such concentration of flows may be a threat to its 
habitat or range.
    Although more vegetative cover is now present than at the time of 
listing, erosion is still a threat to the recovery of Acmispon 
dendroideus var. traskiae, especially in areas where it grows in close 
proximity to roads. The Navy studied the potential for erosion from 
several proposed military activities (Tierra Data Inc. 2007, pp. 1-45, 
Appendices). Increased military activities, especially where the taxon 
is located within training area boundaries (IOA), are expected to cause 
erosion through soil compaction or other soil disturbances in occupied 
habitat areas associated with roadways or vehicle maneuver areas 
(Tierra Data Inc. 2007, p. 12). Four of 29 A. d. var. traskiae 
occurrences (14 percent; Middle Island Plateau, Canchalagua Canyon, 
North Mosquito Cove, and Eagle Canyon) are within or partially within 
the IOA, and are likely to be further impacted by erosion (Table 1). 
Three of these occurrences (Canchalagua Canyon, North Mosquito Cove, 
and Eagle Canyon) are along the eastern escarpment, which has recently 
been closed to biological monitoring due to

[[Page 29111]]

unexploded ordnance. The threat of erosion to this area will be 
difficult to assess if the closure remains into the future. Nine of 29 
occurrences (31 percent; Upper Middle Ranch Canyon, Warren Canyon, 
Horton Canyon, Upper Wallrock Canyon, Tota Canyon, Lemon Tank Canyon, 
Larkspur Canyon, Chamish Canyon, and Northern Island Terraces) are near 
the IOA (within 1,000 ft (305 m)), and could experience erosion from 
nearby training activities.
    Roads can concentrate water flow causing incised channels and 
erosion of slopes (Forman and Alexander 1998, pp. 216-217). This 
increased erosion around roads can degrade habitat, especially along 
the steep canyons associated with the eastern escarpment of the island. 
Nine of 29 Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae occurrences (31 percent; 
Eel Cove Canyon, Seal Cove Terraces, Lemon Tank Canyon, Wilson's Cove, 
North Wilson's Cove, Upper Middle Ranch Canyon, Eagle Canyon, North 
Mosquito Cove, and Canchalagua Canyon) are within 500 ft (152 m) of a 
road on the island (Forman and Alexander 1998, p. 217). These 
occurrences could be subject to diffuse disturbance and road effects 
that degrade habitat quality. The largest known occurrence of A. d. 
var. traskiae, Wilson Cove, occurs on gradual or steep slopes where 
erosion is evident (USFWS 2008, p. 117). Military activities in this 
area have the potential to adversely affect the species habitat due to 
the species' proximity to Navy facilities and the level of human 
activity and traffic in the area.
    The Navy incorporates erosion control measures into all site 
feasibility studies and project planning, design, and construction to 
minimize the potential to exacerbate existing erosion and avoid impacts 
to listed species (Munson 2011a, pers. comm.). The INRMP requires that 
all projects include erosion conservation work and associated funding 
(Navy 2002, p. 4-89). These conservation actions include best 
management practices for construction and engineering, choosing sites 
that are capable of sustaining disturbance with minimum soil erosion, 
and stabilizing disturbed sites with native plants (Navy 2002, pp. 4-
89--4-91). Additionally, large-scale island-wide maneuvers with assault 
vehicles have been postponed until an erosion control plan is drafted 
and implemented. The erosion control plan for San Clemente Island is 
being developed to reduce the impacts of erosion to Acmispon 
dendroideus var. traskiae habitat in areas likely to experience 
increased and expanded military operations (Munson 2011a, pers. comm.). 
This erosion control plan will address military operations associated 
with the IOA, AVMA, and AFP; however, since the plan is not yet 
finalized, it does not currently ameliorate the noted threats from 
erosion.
    The processes and results of erosion are threats to the habitat of 
Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae, particularly to 17 of 29 
occurrences (59 percent; Middle Island Plateau, Canchalagua Canyon, 
North Mosquito Cove, Eagle Canyon, Upper Middle Ranch Canyon, Warren 
Canyon, Horton Canyon, Upper Wallrock Canyon, Tota Canyon, Lemon Tank 
Canyon, Larkspur Canyon, Chamish Canyon, North Island Terraces, Eel 
Cove Canyon, Seal Cove Terraces, Wilson Cove, and North Wilson Cove) 
that are within an IOA, within 1,000 ft (305 m) of an IOA, or within 
500 ft (152 m) of a road. Erosion may lead to overall habitat 
degradation and the loss of individuals or groupings of plants in a 
given area. However, this taxon has persisted despite current levels of 
erosion. The processes and results of erosion are island-wide threats 
to the habitat or range of A. d. var. traskiae, particularly to the 17 
occurrences in or adjacent to military training areas or roads. 
Therefore, erosion is still considered a threat to the existence of A. 
d. var. traskiae.
Nonnative Species
    One of the threats to Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae identified 
in the final listing rule is the spread of nonnative plants into its 
habitat (42 FR 40682). Nonnative plants can diminish the abundance or 
survival of native species by altering natural ecosystem processes such 
as fire regimes, nutrient cycling, hydrology, and energy budgets, and 
competing with them for water, space, light, and nutrients (Zink et al. 
1995, p. 307; Brooks 1999, pp. 16-17; Mack et al. 2000, p. 689). 
Nonnative species of particular concern include Avena barbata (slender 
oat), Bromus spp., Foeniculum vulgare, and Brassica tournefortii, which 
have already invaded the habitat of most A. d. var. traskiae 
occurrences. Another nonnative species, Carpobrotus edulis (iceplant), 
also appears to be hindering the recovery of A. d. var. traskiae (Allan 
1999, p. 92). This nonnative species occupies large areas of Wilson 
Cove where it may alter the habitat (Allan 1999, p. 92) by changing 
vegetation structure and creating an environment less hospitable to A. 
d. var. traskiae. Annual grasses vary in abundance with rainfall, 
potentially changing the vegetative community from shrubs to grasses 
and increasing the fuel load in wet years (see Factor A--Fire section 
below).
    Although previous invasions of nonnatives probably occurred through 
introductions in grazing fodder, current nonnative species invasions 
are typically introduced by military activities and training on the 
island. Nonnative plants constitute a rangewide threat to the habitat 
of all native plants on San Clemente Island, including all occurrences 
of Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae. Nine of 29 occurrences (31 
percent; Eel Cove Canyon, Seal Cove Terraces, Lemon Tank Canyon, 
Wilson's Cove, North Wilson's Cove, Upper Middle Ranch Canyon, Eagle 
Canyon, North Mosquito Cove, and Canchalagua Canyon) are within 500 ft 
(152 m) of roads on the island, and may be subject to diffuse 
disturbance and road effects that degrade habitat quality along the 
road (Forman and Alexander 1998, p. 217). Roadsides tend to provide 
conditions (high disturbance, seed dispersal from vehicles, ample light 
and water) preferable to nonnative species (Forman and Alexander 1998, 
p. 210).
    Potential impacts from nonnative plants are minimized through 
annual implementation of the Navy's island-wide nonnative plant control 
program (O'Connor 2009b, pers. comm.; Munson 2011a, pers. comm.). The 
focus of the nonnative plant species program is to control plants on 
the island with the potential to adversely impact habitat of federally 
listed species (see above discussion on Nonnative Species under Factor 
A--M. clementinus). Although nonnative plants will continue to pose a 
risk to the habitat or range of Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae, the 
Navy has taken steps to curtail habitat and plant community alteration 
from nonnative plants. To reduce the potential for transport of 
nonnative plants to the island, military and nonmilitary personnel 
inspect tactical ground vehicles and remove any visible plant material, 
dirt, or mud prior to going on San Clemente Island (USFWS 2008, p. 63). 
This precaution helps to control the movement of nonnative plants to 
the island, but once on the island, nonnative plants easily spread 
through the movement of vehicles from one area to another.
    Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae has persisted on the island and, 
despite the continued risk of encroachment to habitat by nonnatives, 
the range of this taxon has expanded from 6 to 29 occurrences since 
listing. Impacts from nonnative plants may be a persistent, but low-
level, threat to A. d. var. traskiae habitat.

[[Page 29112]]

Fire
    Fire was not considered a threat to habitat occupied by Acmispon 
dendroideus var. traskiae at the time of listing (42 FR 40682; August 
11, 1977). Since that time, however, over 50 percent of the island has 
experienced at least one wildfire (Navy 2002, Map 3-3, p. 3-32), and 
some habitat has burned multiple times with very short intervals 
between fires (Navy 2002, Map 3-4, p. 3-33). The majority of fires are 
concentrated in SHOBA, potentially impacting habitat of 8 of 29 
occurrences (28 percent; Eagle Canyon, Bryce Canyon, North Mosquito 
Cove, Canchalagua Canyon, Thirst Canyon, Cave Canyon, Horse Canyon, and 
Pyramid Head) where military training exercises within Impact Areas I 
and II employ live ordnance and incendiary devices. However, fires are 
occasionally ignited by activities north of SHOBA, such as training 
activities near Eel Point (possibly impacting Seal Cove Terraces and 
Eel Cove Canyon occurrences) (Navy 2002, Map 3-4, p. 3-33).
    Increased fire frequency resulting from intensified military uses 
could lead to localized changes in vegetation on San Clemente Island. 
The Navy recently approved a significant expansion in the number of 
locations where live fire and demolition training will take place (Navy 
2008a, pp. 2-3--2-38), including TAR north of SHOBA (TAR 17--Eel Cove 
Canyon and Seal Cove Terraces, and TAR 14 and 15--Larkspur and Chamish 
Canyon). These higher levels of training have not occurred in recent 
history, and will likely expand from current levels. In addition to 
demolitions, certain proposed munitions exercises involve the use of 
incendiary devices, such as illumination rounds, white phosphorous, and 
tracer rounds, which pose a high risk of fire ignition. Additionally, 
smoke, flares, and pyrotechnics are proposed for use within TAR 11 
(Wilson's Cove) towards the eastern shore, and expanded live fire and 
demolition training is proposed within TAR 16 (Middle Island Plateau) 
towards the center of the island. It is likely that the fire pattern on 
the island will change in response to this increase in ignition 
sources, with fires becoming more common within and adjoining the 
training areas north of SHOBA.
    At the time of listing, fire was not identified as a habitat threat 
because of lack of fire history and the low intensity of military 
training on the island. Since that time, military training has 
significantly increased, and we have better records of the fire 
frequency on the island. Approximately 14 of the 29 occurrences (48 
percent) (Wilson's Cove, Middle Island Plateau, Eagle Canyon, Bryce 
Canyon, North Mosquito Cove, Canchalagua Canyon, Thirst Canyon, Cave 
Canyon, Horse Canyon, Pyramid Head, Eel Cove Canyon, Seal Cove 
Terraces, Larkspur Canyon, and Chamish Canyon) of Acmispon dendroideus 
var. traskiae fall within areas that may be subject to recurrent fire 
associated with military training (Table 1). This includes locations 
that fall within 1,000 ft (305 m) of TAR where the Navy conducts live 
fire and demolition training, and occurrences within SHOBA (SHOBA 
serves as a buffer for Impact Areas I and II). Fires that escape 
designated training areas may threaten habitat on other parts of the 
island, though, because of the broad distribution of the species, it is 
unlikely that one fire could spread throughout the entire range. The 
Navy's implementation of the MOFMP will limit the frequency with which 
fires escape impact areas and TAR. Through the annual review process, 
the Navy identifies mechanisms to reduce fire return intervals within 
areas where this taxon is concentrated (USFWS 2008, pp. 91-122). The 
Navy's implementation of an MOFMP will help to reduce the risk of 
habitat conversion by fire, although the habitat of A. d. var. traskiae 
could be altered by increased fire frequency and spread of nonnative 
grass. Although the threat is ameliorated through the MOFMP, fire 
remains an island-wide threat to A. d. var. traskiae, particularly to 
the 14 occurrences that fall within areas that may be subject to 
recurrent fire associated with military training.
Summary of Factor A
    San Clemente Island was used for sheep ranching, cattle ranching, 
goat grazing, and pig farming from 1850 until 1934 (Navy 2002, pp. 3-
4). The effects of these grazers, which were not completely removed 
from the island until 1992, on the habitat and plants were one of the 
original reasons for classifying Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae as 
endangered in the 1977 listing rule (42 FR 40682). Currently, the 
habitat of A. d. var. traskiae is threatened by destruction and 
modification caused by land use, erosion, nonnative plants, and fire. 
To help ameliorate these threats, the Navy is implementing an MOFMP, an 
INRMP, and an island-wide nonnative species control program (Navy 2002, 
pp. 1-1-8-12; USFWS 2008, pp. 1-237). The MOFMP has been helpful in 
informing strategic decisions for training using live fire or 
incendiary devices. The Navy has postponed major troop and assault 
vehicle maneuvers across the island until an erosion control plan is 
completed. Natural resource managers have been successful in decreasing 
the prevalence of particularly destructive nonnatives, such as 
Foeniculum vulgare. Though increased impacts associated with military 
training could threaten the species, 24 of 29 occurrences (83 percent) 
of A. d. var. traskiae fall outside of training areas (IOA or TAR) 
where the most intensive habitat disturbances are likely to occur. 
While it is anticipated that military training activities, erosion, 
nonnatives, and fire will have ongoing impacts to the taxon's habitat, 
based on its distribution and current and anticipated conservation 
efforts, impacts from these threats are reduced and minimized for A. d. 
var. traskiae. Therefore, the threats to the habitat of A. d. var. 
traskiae will not likely impact most of the known occurrences both now 
and into the future.

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

    In the listing rule (42 FR 40682; August 11, 1977), the Service did 
not identify any threats from overutilization, and there is no new 
information to indicate that overutilization is a threat to Acmispon 
dendroideus var. traskiae. Although voucher herbarium specimens of A. 
d. var. traskiae and seeds have been collected for research and seed 
banking, overutilization of A. d. var. traskiae for any purpose is not 
currently considered a threat nor is expected to be in the future.

Factor C. Disease or Predation

    Grazing of feral goats and rooting of feral pigs were considered a 
direct threat to Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae in the final 
listing rule (42 FR 40682; August 11, 1977). As stated above, however, 
nonnative mammalian herbivores were removed from San Clemente Island in 
1992, and this threat was ameliorated, as recognized in our 2007 status 
review (USFWS 2007b, p. 13). Currently, no other predators or diseases 
on San Clemente Island are known to pose a significant threat to A. d. 
var. traskiae both now and in the future.

Factor D. Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    The Act requires us to examine the adequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms with respect to those existing and foreseeable threats that 
may affect Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae. The inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms was not

[[Page 29113]]

considered a threat to A. d. var. traskiae at listing (42 FR 40682; 
August 11, 1977). Since it was listed as endangered, the Act has been 
and continues to be the primary Federal law that affords protection to 
A. d. var. traskiae. The Service's responsibilities in administering 
the Act include sections 7, 9, and 10 (see above discussion in the 
Malacothamnus clementinus--Factor D section for more information on the 
Service's responsibilities for all three species that are the subject 
of this Finding). Critical habitat has not been designated or proposed 
for this taxon. Listing A. d. var. traskiae provided a variety of 
protections, including the prohibitions against removing or destroying 
plants within areas under Federal jurisdiction and the conservation 
mandates of section 7 for all Federal agencies. If A. d. var. traskiae 
were not listed, these protections would not be provided. Thus, we must 
evaluate whether other regulatory mechanisms would provide adequate 
protections absent the protections of the Act.
Other Federal Protections
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
    All Federal agencies are required to adhere to the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1970 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) for 
projects they fund, authorize, or carry out. The Council on 
Environmental Quality's regulations for implementing NEPA (40 CFR parts 
1500-1518) state that agencies shall include a discussion on the 
environmental impacts of the various project alternatives (including 
the proposed action), any adverse environmental effects that cannot be 
avoided, and any irreversible or irretrievable commitments of resources 
involved (40 CFR part 1502). The NEPA itself is a disclosure law, and 
does not require subsequent minimization or mitigation measures by the 
Federal agency involved. Although Federal agencies may include 
conservation measures for Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae as a 
result of the NEPA process, any such measures are typically voluntary 
in nature and are not required by the statute. NEPA does not itself 
regulate activities that might affect A. d. var. traskiae, but it does 
require full evaluation and disclosure of information regarding the 
effects of contemplated Federal actions on sensitive species and their 
habitats. On San Clemente Island, the Navy must meet the NEPA 
requirements for actions significantly affecting the quality of the 
human environment. Typically, the Navy prepares Environmental 
Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements on operation plans and 
new or expanding training actions. Absent the listing of A. d. var. 
traskiae, we would expect the Navy to continue to meet the procedural 
requirements of NEPA for its actions, including evaluating the 
environmental impacts to rare plant species and other natural 
resources. However, as explained above, NEPA does not itself regulate 
activities that might affect A. d. var. traskiae.
Sikes Act Improvement Act (Sikes Act)
    The Sikes Act (16 U.S.C. 670) authorizes the Secretary of Defense 
to develop cooperative plans with the Secretaries of Agriculture and 
the Interior for natural resources on public lands. The Sikes Act 
Improvement Act of 1997 requires Department of Defense installations to 
prepare INRMPs that provide for the conservation and rehabilitation of 
natural resources on military lands consistent with the use of military 
installations to ensure the readiness of the Armed Forces. An INRMP is 
a plan intended ``* * * to guide installation commanders in managing 
their natural resources in a manner that is consistent with the 
sustainability of those resources while ensuring continued support of 
the military mission'' (Navy 2002, p. 1-1). INRMPs are developed in 
coordination with the State and the Service, and are generally updated 
every 5 years. Although an INRMP is technically not a regulatory 
mechanism because its implementation is subject to funding 
availability, it is an important guiding document that helps to 
integrate natural resource protection with military readiness and 
training.
San Clemente Island Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan 
(INRMP)
    Pursuant to the Sikes Act, the Navy adopted an INRMP for San 
Clemente Island that identifies multiple objectives for protecting 
Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae and its habitat to help to reduce 
threats to this taxon (Navy 2002). The INRMP discloses actions through 
the NEPA process and to comply with such legislation and regulations as 
the Endangered Species Act, Federal Noxious Weed Act of Act of 1974 (7 
U.S.C. 2801), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, 
and Liability Act (42 U.S.C. 9601), the Resources Conservation and 
Recovery Act (42 U.S.C. 6901), and Soil Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 3B) 
(see above discussion on INRMPs under Malacothamnus clementinus--Factor 
D). Natural resource objectives of relevance to the protection of A. d. 
var. traskiae in the INRMP include: ``Protect, monitor, and restore 
plants and cryptograms in order to manage for their long-term 
sustainability on the island'' (Navy 2002, p. 4-39). The INRMP 
specifically includes the following objectives for A. d. var. traskiae 
management: removal of nonnatives, restoration of native grasses and 
scrub species, monitoring of the species, studies of response to fire, 
and studies and inventory of insect pollinators (Navy 2002, p. D-11). 
To date, multiple INRMP management strategies have been implemented for 
the conservation of A. d. var. traskiae. Other INRMP strategies that 
target the plant communities within which this species occurs include: 
Controlling erosion, with priority given to locations where erosion may 
be affecting listed species; producing a new vegetation map; reducing 
nonnative plant cover from 1992-1993 baseline levels; managing the size 
and intervals of fires; experimenting with fire management to improve 
native plant dominance while protecting sensitive plant occurrences; 
and conducting genetic and biological studies of A. d. var. traskiae.
    The MOFMP, Erosion Control Plan, and nonnative plant species 
control conducted on the island are discussed above under Acmispon 
dendroideus var. traskiae--Factor A. The Present or Threatened 
Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of Its Habitat or Range. 
Absent listing under the Act, the Navy would still be required to 
develop and implement INRMPs under the Sikes Act. However, as noted 
under the other factors, while the INRMP helps to ameliorate threats 
and provides some protection for A. d. var. traskiae occurrences, those 
occurrences within Impact Areas or operationally closed areas may not 
benefit from the conservation measures. While the INRMP has reduced the 
severity of threats and contributed to conservation of the species, it 
still allows for land use consistent with military readiness and 
training. Thus, Navy activities will continue to impact A. d. var. 
traskiae as described under Factor A.
State Protections
    Since the time of listing, Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae has 
benefited from additional State protections under the Native Plant 
Protection Act (NPPA) and California Endangered Species Act (CESA; 
listed 1982). However, the range of A. d. var. traskiae is restricted 
to a Federal military installation, so listing under NPPA and CESA may 
only afford protection to this species in rare instances when the lead 
agency is a

[[Page 29114]]

non-Federal agency or when proposed activities fall under other State 
laws.
Summary of Factor D
    The regulatory mechanisms outlined above provide for adequate 
conservation of Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae. In continuance of a 
long history of cooperative conservation efforts, the Navy also 
implements several conservation actions that benefit this plant taxon. 
The Navy has implemented a MOFMP to reduce the risk of fire on the 
island and a nonnative plant species control program. In response to 
the conservation actions proposed and the current status of the listed 
taxon, we issued a non-jeopardy biological opinion on the Navy's MOFMP. 
The provisions included in the San Clemente Island INRMP provide 
protection of A. d. var. traskiae occurrences and adaptive management 
of its habitat in order to help address threats to the plant from 
military activities and nonnative plants, although implementation may 
not be extended to occurrences in operationally closed areas. A. d. 
var. traskiae occurrences are afforded protection through Federal and 
military mechanisms, and thus the inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms is not considered a current threat to the species. However, 
in the absence of the Act, the existing regulatory mechanisms are not 
adequate to conserve A. d. var. traskiae throughout its range both now 
and in the future.

Factor E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting Its Continued 
Existence

    The 1977 listing rule identified nonnatives as a threat to Acmispon 
dendroideus var. traskiae under Factor E (42 FR at 40684; August 11, 
1977). In this 5-factor analysis, impacts from nonnative plants are 
discussed above under Factor A as a threat to habitat. Other threats 
attributable to Factor E that have been identified since listing 
include: (1) Movement of vehicles and troops, (2) fire, (3) climate 
change, and (4) hybridization. Factor E addresses threats to 
individuals of the species, rather than the habitat modification 
threats that are discussed in Factor A. Therefore, while some threats 
are discussed in both sections, in this section we are focusing on the 
direct impacts to individuals of A. d. var. traskiae.
Movement of Vehicles and Troops
    Military training activities within SWAT, TAR, and the IOA often 
entail the movement of vehicles and troops over the landscape, which 
has the potential of trampling or crushing individual plants (for 
discussion of SWAT, TAR, and IOA, see above under Malacothamnus 
clementinus--Factor E). Based on the distribution of Acmispon 
dendroideus var. traskiae occurrences, and type of troop movements 
likely to occur, impacts due to trampling and crushing are considered a 
low-level threat to its long-term persistence, and are most likely to 
occur occasionally within the IOA and TAR. Approximately 13 of 29 
occurrences (45 percent; Wilson Cove, Canchalagua Canyon, Middle Island 
Plateau, North Mosquito Cove, Eagle Canyon, Larkspur Canyon, Chamish 
Canyon, Lemon Tank Canyon, Seal Cove Terraces, Eel Cove Canyon, Middle 
Wallrock Canyon, Warren Canyon, and North Island Terraces) of A. d. 
var. traskiae are partially or wholly within the boundaries of a 
training area (IOA, TAR, or SWAT). Many of these occurrences are in 
areas that are not readily accessible to vehicles and troops. Loss of 
individual plants from proposed increases in troop and vehicle 
movements within SWAT, TAR, and the IOA is likely to increase, though 
this will not significantly impact the survival and recovery of this 
taxon because of the diffuse nature of this threat and the location of 
much of the species along the eastern escarpment, away from military 
training activities (USFWS 2008, pp. 113-122).
Fire
    Although not specifically mentioned in the listing rule, intense or 
frequent fires threaten individuals at 14 of 29 (48 percent) of 
Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae occurrences. In the Factor A 
discussion above, we addressed impacts of fire on the habitat. This 
section covers the discrete threat to individuals or occurrences of A. 
d. var. traskiae. As discussed in the Background section, it is unknown 
if A. d. var. traskiae is adapted to periodic fires, though it is 
likely that this taxon is resilient to occasional fires (Navy 2002, p. 
D-10; Tierra Data Inc. 2005, p. 80). Adult plants have been lost in 
fires, but subsequent recruitment from the seed bank resulted in 
replacement numbers of juvenile plants (Tierra Data Inc. 2005, p. 80). 
Aside from this observation, the relationship between fire and the life 
history of A. d. var. traskiae has not been adequately studied. 
Additionally, the species' tolerance to fire frequency is unknown. In 
areas that burn more frequently, the seed bank may become depleted if 
individuals burn before they produce seeds. Although an individual 
plant has the ability to produce vast amounts of seed, the seed bank 
must be replenished regularly for the species to persist (Junak and 
Wilken 1998, p. 257).
    Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae occurs in some areas of the 
island that may experience elevated fire frequency, such as in SHOBA 
and surrounding Eel Point (Eagle Canyon, Bryce Canyon, North Mosquito 
Cove, Canchalagua Canyon, Thirst Canyon, Cave Canyon, Horse Canyon, 
Pyramid Head, Seal Cove Terraces, and Eel Cove Canyon) (discussed in A. 
d. var. traskiae--Factor A). Increased fire frequency from intensified 
military use could also lead to localized changes in vegetation, 
resulting in indirect adverse effects on A. d. var. traskiae. The 
potential for frequent fire at many of the occurrences within SHOBA is 
reduced by their location on the eastern escarpment of the island, away 
from Impact Areas I and II. This threat may become difficult to assess 
with the recent closure of the eastern escarpment area due to 
unexploded ordnance. The Navy's fire management practices are 
anticipated to minimize frequency of ignitions as well as the spread of 
fires (as described above in Factor A).
    The Navy conducts annual reviews of fire management and fire 
occurrence that allow for adaptive management. These measures should 
minimize loss of individuals or occurrences of A. d. var. traskiae due 
to fire. At the present time, fire management does not pose a threat as 
fuelbreak locations have not been proposed in the vicinity of this 
taxon. Although the Navy has planned and implemented fire management, 
fire threatens 14 occurrences of Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae. 
Due to the continued impacts of fire within SHOBA, fire remains a 
Factor E threat to the existence of A. d. var. traskiae.
Climate Change
    For general information regarding climate change impacts, see the 
climate change discussion under Malacothamnus clementinus--Factor E 
above. Since listing of Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae, the 
potential impact of ongoing, accelerated climate change has become a 
recognized threat to the flora and fauna of the United States (IPCC 
2007a, pp. 1-52; PRBO 2011, pp. 1-68). San Clemente is located in a 
Mediterranean climatic regime, but with a significant maritime 
influence. Climate change models indicate an increase in average 
temperature for southern California (see above discussion on climate 
change under Malacothamnus clementinus--Factor E). San Clemente Island 
typically receives less rainfall than neighboring mainland areas 
(Tierra Data Inc. 2005, p. 4). Therefore, the models may

[[Page 29115]]

understate the effects to vegetation on the island. Less rainfall and 
warmer air temperatures could limit the range of A. d. var. traskiae, 
although there is no direct research on the effects of climate change 
on the species. Additionally, changes in sea level and temperature may 
be more acute on small islands, due to their high vulnerability 
(surrounded by ocean) and low adaptive capacity (from limited size) 
(IPCC 2007b, p. 1). The impacts of future climate change to A. d. var. 
traskiae remain unclear. The most recent literature on climate change 
predicts hydrological changes, higher temperatures, and expansion of 
drought areas (IPCC 2007a, pp. 1-18). While we recognize that climate 
change is an important issue with potential effects to listed species 
and their habitats, the best available information does not facilitate 
accurate predictions regarding the effects to A. d. var. traskiae at 
this time.
Hybridization
    As discussed above in the Background section, Acmispon dendroideus 
var. traskiae is known to hybridize with Acmispon argophyllus var. 
argenteus. In 1990, Liston et al. (p. 240) confirmed hybridization 
between co-occurring populations of A. d. var. traskiae and A. 
argophyllus var. argenteus in Wilson Cove. At that time, they detected 
only four hybrid individuals out of 38 individuals tested, and failed 
to detect hybridization in another area of co-occurrence at the 
southern end of the island. Although hybrid individuals seem to be 
restricted to Wilson Cove (Liston 1990, p. 240; Allan 1999, p. 91), 
other unconfirmed hybrids (no genetic testing done) have been observed 
elsewhere on the island (Howe 2009b, pers. comm.; Braswell 2011, pers. 
obs.).
    Liston et al. (1990, pp. 240-243) offered three hypotheses for the 
scarcity of confirmed hybrid individuals. First, hybrids may have 
reduced fitness and be selected against, or be sterile and thus unable 
to produce viable seed even if backcrossed to the parent taxa. In this 
situation, hybridization would not be a threat to the genetic integrity 
of A. dendroideus var. traskiae. Second and conversely, if the fertile 
hybrids are recent in origin (within the last 20 years), and because 
both parental taxon are long-lived, woody perennials, few hybrid 
individuals would be expected due to the slower development and 
lifespan of the species. If this is correct, the genetic integrity of 
the largest-known occurrence of A. d. var. traskiae in Wilson Cove 
might be at risk of introgressive hybridization (introduction of genes 
from one species to another resulting in fertile hybrids). 
Introgressive hybridization could lead to the loss of genetic variation 
and lower fitness of A. d. var. traskiae. Finally, the limited number 
of hybrid plants (four) might be an artifact of the genetic testing 
method used by the study.
    Liston et al. (1990, p. 243) suggested that there be further 
investigation of these hypotheses before management recommendations are 
made to the Navy. Allan (1999, p. 91) stated that A. d. var. traskiae 
should be ``closely monitored.'' Although the species has expanded its 
range and numbers, hybridization with A. a. var. argenteus remains a 
concern at the largest of the 29 occurrences (Wilson's Cove), although 
unconfirmed hybrids have been observed in other areas of the island 
(e.g., Norton Canyon). Hybridization may threaten, and could diminish, 
the genetic diversity of the species, especially in the already 
disturbed occurrence of Wilson Cove (Allan 1999, pp. 91-92). Additional 
study is needed to determine the extent and magnitude of this threat to 
A. d. var. traskiae.
Summary of Factor E
    Threats associated with military activities, fire, climate change, 
and hybridization continue to impact Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae 
at 18 of 29 occurrences (62 percent; Wilson Cove, Canchalagua Canyon, 
Middle Island Plateau, North Mosquito Cove, Eagle Canyon, Larkspur 
Canyon, Chamish Canyon, Lemon Tank Canyon, Seal Cove Terraces, Eel Cove 
Canyon, Middle Wallrock Canyon, Warren Canyon, North Island Terraces, 
Bryce Canyon, Thirst Canyon, Cave Canyon, Horse Canyon, and Pyramid 
Head) on San Clemente Island. Trampling and crushing of individual 
plants are probably incidental, but are likely to increase with 
increases in training levels on the island. However, the Navy is 
implementing conservation measures that will improve conditions for A. 
d. var. traskiae, which has expanded its distribution on the island. 
Military training activities have the potential to ignite fires that 
can spread to habitat supporting this species, though the majority of 
the occurrences are outside of the areas designated for live fire and 
demolition. In preparation for these training efforts, the Navy 
implemented a fire management plan within the MOFMP that will limit the 
frequency of fires escaping the Impact Areas.
    Climate change may also likely impact Acmispon dendroideus var. 
traskiae, though the magnitude of this threat is largely unknown. The 
genetic integrity of A. d. var. traskiae may be threatened by 
hybridization with A. adsurgens var. argenteus at one of the largest 
occurrences and requires further investigation. However, the extent and 
prevalence of this threat is unknown, and only confirmed in one of 29 
occurrences. Overall, the threats described under Factor E are either 
of low magnitude, low likelihood, or adequately managed, while the 
potential overall threat of climate change remains unknown across this 
taxon's range. Although these threats could directly impact individuals 
of this taxon, we are of the view that they will not impede the 
recovery of A. d. var. traskiae now or in the future.

Combination of Factors--Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae

    A species may be affected by more than one threat in combination. 
Within the preceding review of the five listing factors, we have 
identified multiple threats that may have interrelated impacts on the 
species (see also above discussion on combination of factors--
Malacothamnus clementinus). The species' productivity may be reduced 
because of these threats, either singularly or in combination. However, 
it is not necessarily easy to determine (nor is it necessarily 
determinable) whether a particular threat is the primary threat having 
the greatest effect on the viability of the species, or whether it is 
exacerbated by or working in combination with other potential threats 
to have cumulative or synergistic effects on the species. While the 
combination of factors is a threat to the existence of Acmispon 
dendroideus var. traskiae, we are unable to determine the magnitude or 
extent of cumulative or synergistic effects of the combination of 
factors on the viability of the species at this time.

Castilleja grisea (San Clemente Island Paintbrush)

    In the 2007 status review, we stated that the predominant threat at 
listing (nonnative herbivores) was removed from San Clemente Island in 
1992 (USFWS 2007c, pp. 1-19). Additional threats to Castilleja grisea 
identified in 2007 include: (1) Erosion, (2) nonnative species, (3) 
fire, (4) land use, and (5) access to SHOBA. The first four of these 
threats are discussed below under Factor A. As discussed previously, 
access to SHOBA is not considered a threat, though it limits our 
ability to assess all occurrences of the taxon reviewed here.

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

    Under this listing factor in the final listing rule, we identified 
habitat modification by browsing feral goats

[[Page 29116]]

and rooting feral pigs as threats to Castilleja grisea and other island 
taxa (42 FR 40682). As discussed above, the Navy removed the last of 
the remaining feral goats and pigs from San Clemente Island in 1992 
(Kellogg and Kellogg 1994, p. 5), which resulted in improved habitat 
conditions, and led to changes in the cover of native and nonnative 
plants on the island (Tierra Data Inc. 2005, pp. i-96; Kellogg 2006, 
pers. comm.). The Recovery Plan identified habitat alteration and 
disturbance from the Navy's use of the island for military operational 
and training needs as additional threats to the habitats occupied by C. 
grisea (USFWS 1984, pp. 58-63). Additional threats identified since 
listing include alteration of San Clemente Island habitats by military 
training activities, fire, and fire management. As outlined below, we 
discuss the impacts of the following threats that affect the habitat or 
range of C. grisea: (1) Land use, (2) erosion, (3) nonnative plants, 
(4) fire, and (5) fire management.
Land Use
    The distribution of Castilleja grisea includes a single occurrence 
in the north of the island at West Cove, with the remaining 28 
occurrences distributed across the southern 15.5 mi (25 km) of the 
island, particularly along the eastern escarpment. Training activities 
approved in the MOFMP would include substantial increases in vehicle 
and foot traffic in the IOA, leading to habitat modification. Ten of 
the 29 occurrences (34 percent; plain northeast of Warren Canyon, 
Larkspur Canyon, Lemon Tank Canyon, Eagle Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Horse 
Beach Canyon, China Canyon, Knob Canyon, Canchalagua Canyon, and 
Pyramid Head) are within or partially within the IOA and experience 
direct habitat impacts, while three of 29 occurrences (10 percent; 
Thirst Canyon, SHOBA Boundary Occurrence, and Upper Horse Canyon) are 
near the IOA (within 1,000 ft (305 m)) and could experience diffuse or 
accidental impacts to C. grisea habitat. Recent area closures due to 
unexploded ordnance could make habitat impacts from training difficult 
to assess for several occurrences (34 percent; Nanny Canyon, Lemon Tank 
Canyon, Eel Point, Eagle Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Horse Beach Canyon, 
China Canyon, Knob Canyon, Canchalagua Canyon, and Pyramid Head) in the 
future. Additionally, one occurrence (West Cove) is within an Assault 
Vehicle Maneuver Area (AVMA) and could be subject to habitat 
disturbance from vehicles.
    The southern portion of Castilleja grisea's distribution extends 
through SHOBA where impacts to the habitat are likely. Certain 
munitions exercises involve the use of incendiary devices, such as 
illumination rounds, white phosphorous, and tracer rounds, which pose a 
high risk of fire ignition (USFWS 2008, p. 11-13). Because of the 
elevated risk of fire associated with training activities, live and 
inert munitions fire are targeted towards Impact Areas I and II within 
SHOBA where bombardments and land demolition are concentrated. Four of 
29 occurrences (14 percent; China Canyon, Red Canyon, Upper Chenetti 
Canyon and Horse Beach Canyon) are within or partially within Impact 
Areas. Currently, the Impact Areas are closed to nonmilitary personnel, 
so the plant's status at these four occurrences is unknown, as well as 
the status of any conservation action that would otherwise be expected 
to be implemented in these areas (USFWS 2008, p. 50).
    Also within SHOBA, an occurrence of C. grisea is located in lower 
Horse Beach Canyon, above Horse Beach. Horse Beach (TAR 21) is used for 
special warfare training activities that include the use of live fire, 
illumination rounds, and tracers. Training activities within parts of 
SHOBA pose a direct threat to habitat due to associated ground 
disturbance and land demolition. Sixteen of 29 C. grisea occurrences 
(55 percent) are located outside of heavily impacted training areas, 
and 13 occurrences (45 percent; West Cove, Plain northeast of Warren 
Canyon, Larkspur Canyon, Lemon Tank Canyon, Eagle Canyon, Bryce Canyon, 
China Canyon, Knob Canyon, Canchalagua Canyon, Pyramid Head, Red 
Canyon, Upper Chenetti Canyon and Horse Beach Canyon) are at least 
partially within the boundaries of a training area (IOA, TAR, AVMA, or 
Impact Area). Although, within training areas, many of the impacts to 
these 13 occurrences would be diffuse and are unlikely to have a high 
impact on the species. The Navy has demonstrated their efforts to help 
conserve and manage listed species on the island through amelioration 
of habitat impacts by military activities through implementation of the 
MOFMP and INRMP. Land use appears to pose a high-magnitude threat to 
the habitat of a small number of occurrences of C. grisea on San 
Clemente Island.
Erosion
    Erosion and associated soil loss caused by browsing of feral goats 
and rooting of feral pigs likely modified the island's habitat (Navy 
2002, p. 1-14). Defoliation from overgrazing on San Clemente Island 
resulted in increased erosion over much of the island, especially on 
steep slopes where denuded soils can be quickly washed away during 
storm events (Johnson 1980, p. 107; Navy 2002, pp. 1-14, 3-9; Tierra 
Data Inc. 2007, pp. 6-7). There may be residual impacts from historical 
grazing, and vegetation may be slow to recover and hold soil. In the 
INRMP, erosion was identified as a threat to the canyon woodland 
habitat and maritime desert scrub, which is habitat for Castilleja 
grisea (Navy 2002, pp. 4-3, 4-12). The process of soil erosion can lead 
to destruction of terraces, steep slopes, and canyons that support the 
growth and reproduction of C. grisea. Castilleja grisea plants occur 
within steep canyon areas where such concentration of water flows may 
be a threat (Navy 2002, p. D-23).
    Increased military activities where Castilleja grisea occurs within 
training area boundaries are expected to increase erosion associated 
with roadways, through soil compaction and other soil disturbances. The 
impacts from erosion are anticipated along the ridgeline of the eastern 
escarpment, affecting eight occurrences (Pyramid Head, Knob Canyon, 
Canchalagua Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Eagle Canyon, Thirst Canyon, SHOBA 
Boundary occurrence, and Horton Canyon) (Tierra Data Inc 2007, pp.12-
18; Navy 2008a, p. G-8). Closure of the eastern escarpment within SHOBA 
due to unexploded ordnance could make assessing this threat and 
implementing conservation measures in these eight occurrences difficult 
in the future.
    The Navy studied the potential for erosion from several proposed 
military activities (Tierra Data Inc. 2007, pp. 1-45, Appendices). 
Approximately 13 of 29 Castilleja grisea occurrences (45 percent; West 
Cove, Plain northeast of Warren Canyon, Larkspur Canyon, Lemon Tank 
Canyon, Eagle Canyon, Bryce Canyon, China Canyon, Knob Canyon, 
Canchalagua Canyon, Pyramid Head, Red Canyon, Upper Chenetti Canyon, 
and Horse Beach Canyon) fall partially or wholly within the boundaries 
of a designated training area (IOA, TAR, AVMA, or Impact Area), and are 
likely to be impacted by erosion. Fifteen occurrences of C. grisea are 
at least partially within 500 ft (152 m) of a road (paved or unpaved) 
(China Canyon, Horse Beach Canyon, Pyramid Head, Knob Canyon, 
Canchalagua Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Eagle Canyon, Upper Horse Canyon, 
Plain northeast of Warren Canyon, Horton Canyon, Seal Cove Terraces, 
Lemon Tank Canyon, Larkspur Canyon, Terrace Canyon, and West Cove) 
(Forman and Alexander

[[Page 29117]]

1998, p. 217). These occurrences could be subject to diffuse 
disturbance and road effects that degrade the habitat quality. Roads 
can concentrate water flow, causing incised channels and erosion of 
slopes (Forman and Alexander 1998, pp. 216-217). This increased erosion 
near roads can degrade habitat, especially along the steep canyons and 
ridges.
    Along the eastern escarpment, Castilleja grisea is found in steep 
canyons in proximity to roads where it may be vulnerable to runoff 
during storm events (Navy 2008a, pp. G-4, G-8). At the southern end of 
the species' range, one occurrence is downslope from Horse Beach Canyon 
Road along a poorly maintained dirt road that is proposed to serve as 
part of the Assault Vehicle Maneuver Corridor. This location is likely 
to have an elevated risk from erosion (USFWS 2008, p. 99).
    The Navy incorporates erosion control measures into all site 
feasibility studies and project design to minimize the potential to 
exacerbate existing erosion and avoid impacts to listed species (Munson 
2011a, pers. comm.). The INRMP requires that all projects include 
erosion conservation work (Navy 2002, p. 4-89). These conservation 
actions include best management practices, choosing sites that are 
capable of sustaining disturbance with minimum soil erosion, and 
stabilizing disturbed sites (Navy 2002, pp. 4-89-4-91). An erosion 
control plan for San Clemente Island is in the development stage, with 
expectations to reduce impacts of erosion where Castilleja grisea 
occurs in areas with increased and expanded military operations (Munson 
2011a, pers. comm.). This erosion control plan will address military 
operations associated with the IOA, AVMA and AFP; however, since the 
plan is not yet finalized, it does not currently ameliorate the noted 
threats from erosion.
    In areas that will not be covered under the erosion control plan, 
erosion control measures are already being incorporated into project 
designs to minimize the potential to exacerbate existing erosion and 
avoid impacts to listed species (Munson 2011a, pers. comm.). 
Additionally, large-scale island-wide maneuvers with assault vehicles 
have been postponed until the erosion control plan is enacted. The 
processes and results of erosion are island-wide threats to C. grisea, 
particularly to the occurrences in or adjacent to military training 
areas or roads. Seventeen of 29 occurrences (55 percent; West Cove, 
Plain northeast of Warren Canyon, Larkspur Canyon, Lemon Tank Canyon, 
Eagle Canyon, Bryce Canyon, China Canyon, Knob Canyon, Canchalagua 
Canyon, Pyramid Head, Red Canyon, Upper Chenetti Canyon, Horse Beach 
Canyon, Upper Horse Canyon, Horton Canyon, Seal Cove Terraces, and 
Terrace Canyon) of C. grisea are in areas that could be subject to, and 
threatened by, erosion from training activities or road use. 
Occurrences in operationally closed areas may not be afforded the 
conservation measures outlined by the Navy.
    Erosion can lead to overall habitat degradation and loss of 
individuals or groupings of plants. However, despite existing levels of 
erosion on the island, the distribution of Castilleja grisea has 
increased since listing. The Navy incorporates erosion control measures 
into all projects to minimize the potential to exacerbate existing 
erosion and avoid impacts to habitat and listed species. Although the 
Navy tries to ameliorate erosion, management efforts are not possible 
in areas that are closed to natural resource personnel. The processes 
and results of erosion are island-wide threats to C. grisea, 
particularly to the 17 occurrences in or adjacent to military training 
areas or roads. Therefore, erosion is still considered a threat to the 
existence of C. grisea.
Nonnative Plants
    One of the threats to Castilleja grisea identified in the final 
listing rule was the spread of nonnative plants into its habitat (42 FR 
40682, 40684). Nonnatives can alter habitat structure, ecological 
processes such as fire regimes, nutrient cycling, hydrology, and energy 
budgets, and compete for water, space, light, and nutrients (for 
discussion of nonnatives on San Clemente Island, see above discussion 
on Nonnative Species under Malacothamnus clementine--Factor A). 
Castilleja grisea is often associated with native maritime desert scrub 
vegetation types, where nonnative grasses are present but not a 
dominant component of the plant community (Tierra Data Inc. 2005, pp. 
29-42).
    Although previous invasions of nonnative species were probably 
introduced in grazing fodder, current invasions are typically 
introduced and spread around the island by military activities and 
training (see above discussion on Nonnative Species under Malacothamnus 
clementinus--Factor A). Nonnative plants constitute a rangewide threat 
to all native plants on San Clemente Island, including all occurrences 
of Castilleja grisea. A total of 9 of 29 occurrences (31 percent; China 
Canyon, Horse Beach Canyon, Pyramid Head, Knob Canyon, Canchalagua 
Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Eagle Canyon, Plain northeast of Warren Canyon, 
and Lemon Tank Canyon) are within 500 ft (152 m) of Ridge Road or China 
Point Road, and may be subject to diffuse disturbance and road effects 
that degrade the habitat quality along the road (Forman and Alexander 
1998, p. 217). Roadsides tend to create conditions (high disturbance, 
seed dispersal from vehicles, ample light and water) preferred by 
nonnative species (Forman and Alexander 1998, p. 210). Nonnatives, 
including Foeniculum vulgare and Mesembryanthemum crystallinum 
(crystalline iceplant), have been found in the disturbed shoulders 
along the road between Ridge Road and China Point in SHOBA (Braswell 
2011, pers. obs.).
    Potential impacts from nonnative plants are expected to be 
minimized by annual implementation of the Navy's island-wide nonnative 
plant control program (O'Connor 2009b, pers. comm.; Munson 2011a, pers. 
comm.; see above discussion on Nonnative Species under Malacothamnus 
clementine--Factor A). This program targets nonnative species for 
elimination using herbicide and mechanical removal, prioritizing 
species that are new to the island or are particularly destructive. The 
program has been successful at isolating and limiting some species, 
such as Foeniculum vulgare, to a few locations (Howe 2011b, pers. 
comm.). To reduce the potential for transport of nonnative plants to 
San Clemente Island, military and nonmilitary personnel inspect 
tactical ground vehicles, and remove any visible plant material, dirt, 
or mud prior to going onto the island (USFWS 2008, p. 63). This 
precaution helps to control the movement of nonnative plants onto the 
island, but once on the island nonnatives are easily spread by the 
movement of vehicles from one area to another. Although nonnative 
plants will continue to pose a rangewide risk to C. grisea, it is a 
threat of low intensity, and the Navy has taken steps to curtail 
habitat conversion from nonnative plants.
    Nonnative plant species are an island-wide threat to the native 
vegetative community. The Navy has taken preventative and conservation 
measures through funding and implementing nonnative plant species 
control on the island. Management and control of nonnative plants is 
not in place at the four occurrences (14 percent; China Canyon, Red 
Canyon, Upper Chenetti Canyon, and Horse Beach Canyon) that are closed 
to natural resource managers. However, outside of these areas, 
Castilleja grisea has persisted on the

[[Page 29118]]

island. Despite the continued risk of encroachment by nonnatives, 
Castilleja grisea remains on the island, and its range has continued to 
expand. Impacts from nonnative plants are a persistent, but low-level, 
threat to C. grisea habitat.
Fire
    Fire was not considered a threat to Castilleja grisea habitat at 
the time of listing (42 FR 40682; August 11, 1977). Since that time, 
however, over 50 percent of the island has experienced at least one 
wildfire (Navy 2002, Map 3-3, p. 3-32). The majority of fires are 
concentrated in SHOBA, potentially impacting 15 of 29 occurrences (52 
percent; Thirst Canyon, Eagle Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Canchalagua Canyon, 
Knob Canyon, Pyramid Head, Snake Canyon, Upper Chenetti Canyon, Horse 
Beach Canyon, China Canyon, Red Canyon, Kinkipar Canyon, Cave Canyon, 
Horse Canyon, and Upper Horse Canyon). Seven occurrences occur within 
the eastern escarpment in SHOBA (Thirst Canyon, Eagle Canyon, Bryce 
Canyon, Canchalagua Canyon, Knob Canyon, Pyramid Head, and Snake 
Canyon), where impacts from fire are less likely. Recent closure of 
this area limits the ability to assess the status and manage habitat at 
these occurrences.
    Because of the elevated risk of fire associated with training 
activities, live and inert munitions fire is targeted towards two 
delineated Impact Areas. The risk of frequent fire is higher in Impact 
Areas I and II, potentially affecting the habitat at four of 29 
occurrences (14 percent; Upper Chenetti Canyon, Horse Beach Canyon, 
China Canyon, and Red Canyon). The effects of fire, and the state of 
plants within the Impact Areas, are currently unknown due to closure of 
the area (USFWS 2008, p. 50). Fires are occasionally ignited by 
activities north of SHOBA, posing a low-magnitude threat to the habitat 
at 14 of the 29 occurrences (48 percent; SHOBA Boundary, Horton Canyon, 
Lemon Tank Canyon, Nanny Canyon, Larkspur Canyon, Box Canyon, Upper 
Norton Canyon, Middle Ranch Canyon, Waymuck Canyon, Plain northeast of 
Warren Canyon, Seal Cove Terraces, Eel Cove Canyon, Terrace Canyon, and 
West Cove) (Navy 2002, Map 3-4, p. 3-33).
    Increased fire frequency from intensified military use could lead 
to localized changes in vegetation (see above discussion on fire 
frequency under Malacothamnus clementinus--Factor A). The Navy has 
significantly expanded the number of locations where live fire and 
demolition training will take place (USFWS 2008, pp. 21-37), including 
TAR north of SHOBA (TAR 17--Eel Cove Canyon and Seal Cove Terraces, and 
TAR 14 and 15--Larkspur Canyon). In addition to demolitions, certain 
proposed munitions exercises involve the use of incendiary devices, 
such as illumination rounds, white phosphorous, and tracer rounds, 
which pose a high risk of fire ignition. Expanded live fire and 
demolition training is also approved within TAR 16 (Lemon Tank Canyon) 
toward the center of the island. It is likely that the fire pattern on 
the island will change due to this increase in ignition sources, with 
fires becoming more common within and adjoining the training areas 
north of SHOBA.
    At the time of listing, fire was not identified as a threat because 
of lack of fire history and the low intensity of military training on 
the island. Since that time, military training has significantly 
increased, and we have better records of the fire frequency on the 
island. Approximately 19 of 29 occurrences (65 percent) of Castilleja 
grisea fall within areas that may be subject to recurrent fires 
associated with military training. This includes locations that fall 
within SHOBA that serve as a buffer for Impact Areas I and II, and 
occurrences near live fire and demolition training areas. As described 
in the Background section, occurrences of C. grisea have been 
discovered within and outside of the impact areas in SHOBA (Junak and 
Wilken 1998, p. 298; Navy 2002, p. D-20), indicating that the species 
is tolerant of at least occasional fire. High fire frequency may be a 
potential threat that could limit the distribution of C. grisea by 
overwhelming its tolerance threshold (Brooks et al. 2004, p. 683; 
Jacobson et al. 2004, p. 1). Frequent fire may exceed a plant taxon's 
capacity to persist by depleting seed banks and reducing reproductive 
output when fire occurs at higher than natural frequencies in C. grisea 
habitat (Zedler et al. 1983, pp. 811-815).
    Within the Impact Areas or operationally closed zones, fire 
suppression and firefighting are not being implemented because of 
safety hazards from the presence of unexploded ordnance. Fires that 
escape designated training areas threaten other parts of the island, 
though it is unlikely that one fire is capable of spreading throughout 
the entire range of the species due to its broad distribution across 
the island. The Navy's implementation of the MOFMP will limit the 
frequency with which fires escape Impact Areas and TAR. Through the 
annual review process, the Navy will identify mechanisms to reduce fire 
return intervals within areas and habitats where this taxon is 
concentrated (USFWS 2008, pp. 91-122). Although the threat is 
ameliorated through the MOFMP, fire remains an island-wide threat to C. 
grisea, particularly to the habitat at the 19 occurrences that fall 
within areas that may be subject to recurrent fire associated with 
military training.
Fire Management
    A fire management plan within the MOFMP was developed by the Navy 
to provide flexibility for the timing of military training and to 
ensure that adequate fire suppression resources were present with an 
increased level of training activities (see above discussion on Fire 
Management under Malacothamnus clementinus--Factor A). The Navy 
constructed fuelbreaks around the Impact Areas for safety purposes and 
to manage the spread of fire from the Impact Areas. Maintenance of 
these fuelbreaks reduces the likelihood and frequency of fires 
spreading to sensitive areas and habitats, such as those occupied by 
Castilleja grisea. Fuelbreaks on San Clemente Island are created using 
herbicides and strip burning, and maintained using herbicides and fire 
retardant (Phos-Chek D75F) (USFWS 2008, pp. 97-98) (see above 
discussion on Fire Management (including fire retardant use) under 
Malacothamnus clementinus--Factor A).
    Four occurrences (Red Canyon, China Canyon, Horse Beach Canyon, and 
Upper Chenetti Canyon) of C. grisea have been documented within the 
Impact Areas, and are likely exposed to impacts from higher intensity 
training, such as bombardment and fire. Some of these occurrences are 
near fuelbreaks and may be impacted by a change in the vegetation 
community from fuelbreak maintenance, resulting in an increase in 
erosion or invasive nonnative plants. Additionally, occurrences on the 
eastern escarpment near the firebreaks on Ridge Road (Canchalagua 
Canyon, Knob Canyon) might be impacted by the creation and maintenance 
of firebreaks (USFWS 2008, p. 57). The Navy has committed to studying 
the effects of Phos-Chek on San Clemente Island vegetation, and has 
avoided application of Phos-Chek within 300 ft (91.4 m) of mapped 
listed species to the extent allowable with fuelbreak installation 
(USFWS 2008, pp. 97-98). In the MOFMP, the Navy committed to conducting 
preseason briefings for firefighting personnel on the guidelines for 
fire suppression and limitations associated with the use of Phos-Chek 
and saltwater drops (USFWS 2008, pp. 97-98). The impact of saltwater on 
the habitat of C. grisea has not yet been

[[Page 29119]]

assessed. However, if salt persists, the composition in the plant 
community could change to favor more salt-tolerant taxa.
    It is anticipated that the Navy will construct additional 
fuelbreaks to minimize the risk of fire spreading from areas proposed 
for expansion of live fire and demolition training north of SHOBA 
(USFWS 2008, p. 98). To minimize the potential for effects to listed 
species, the Navy considers the documented locations of listed species 
on the island as fuelbreak lines are developed. The majority of 
Castilleja grisea habitat is not impacted by fire management, and only 
6 of 29 occurrences (21 percent) are associated with fuelbreaks. Even 
if expanded in conjunction with increased levels of training 
activities, the benefits of fuelbreaks outweigh the detrimental impacts 
of recurrent fire to C. grisea habitat. The threat of fire management 
to C. grisea habitat is restricted mainly to occurrences within SHOBA, 
and particularly to occurrences in the Impact Areas. Because of the 
isolated nature of this threat and its role in prevention of fire, fire 
management is a low-magnitude threat to C. grisea in the future.
Summary of Factor A
    The habitat of Castilleja grisea is threatened by destruction and 
modification of habitat associated with land use, erosion, the spread 
of nonnatives, fire, and fire management. To help ameliorate these 
threats, the Navy is implementing a MOFMP, an INRMP, and the island-
wide control of nonnative plants. (Navy 2002, pp. 1-1--8-12; USFWS 
2008, pp. 1-237). The MOFMP has been helpful in informing strategic 
decisions for training using live fire or incendiary devices. The Navy 
has postponed major troop and assault vehicle maneuvers across the 
island until an erosion control plan is completed (Navy 2008b, pp. 5-
29, 5-30; USFWS 2008, pp. 62, 87). Natural resource managers have been 
successful at decreasing the prevalence of particularly destructive 
nonnatives, such as Foeniculum vulgare. In recent years, access to 
Impact Areas I and II within SHOBA for biological monitoring and 
conservation actions has been strictly prohibited (USFWS 2008, p. 50), 
so the status of four occurrences (Red Canyon, China Canyon, Horse 
Beach Canyon, and Upper Chenetti Canyon) remains unknown. Recently, 
closures along the eastern escarpment in SHOBA have also limited the 
monitoring and management of four occurrences (Knob Canyon, Canchalagua 
Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Eagle Canyon). However, 16 of 29 occurrences 
(55 percent) of C. grisea fall outside Impact Areas, IOA, AVMA, TAR, 
and fuelbreaks, where the most intensive habitat disturbances are 
likely to take place. While it is anticipated that military training 
activities will likely increase, based on the current range of C. 
grisea and conservation efforts, the threats to the habitat of C. 
grisea posed by land use, erosion, nonnatives, fire and fire management 
are decreasing in magnitude.

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

    In the listing rule (42 FR 40682; August 11, 1977), the Service did 
not identify any threats from overutilization, and there is no new 
information to indicate that overutilization is a threat to Castilleja 
grisea. Although voucher herbarium specimens of C. grisea and seeds 
have been collected for research and seed banking, overutilization of 
C. grisea for any purpose is not currently considered a threat nor 
expected to be in the future.

Factor C. Disease or Predation

    Grazing of feral goats and rooting of feral pigs were considered a 
direct threat to Castilleja grisea in the final listing rule (42 FR 
40682; August 11, 1977). As stated above, this threat was ameliorated 
by the removal of all goats and pigs from San Clemente Island in 1992, 
as recognized in our 2007 status review (USFWS 2007c, p. 11). 
Currently, no other predators or diseases on San Clemente Island are 
known to pose a significant threat to C. grisea, nor are they expected 
to become a threat in the future.

Factor D. Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    The Act requires us to examine the adequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms with respect to those existing and foreseeable threats that 
may affect Castilleja grisea. The inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms was not indicated as a threat to C. grisea at listing (42 FR 
40682; August 11, 1977). Since it was listed as endangered, the Act has 
been and continues to be the primary Federal law that affords 
protection to C. grisea. The Service's responsibilities in 
administering the Act include sections 7, 9, and 10 (for more 
information on the Service's responsibilities, see above discussion 
under Malacothamnus clementinus--Factor D). Critical habitat has not 
been designated or proposed for this taxon. Listing C. grisea provided 
a variety of protections, including the prohibitions against removing 
or destroying plants within areas under Federal jurisdiction and the 
conservation mandates of section 7 for all Federal agencies. If C. 
grisea were not listed, these protections would not be provided. Thus, 
we must evaluate whether other regulatory mechanisms would provide 
adequate protections absent the protections of the Act.
Other Federal Protections
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
    All Federal agencies are required to adhere to the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1970 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) for 
projects they fund, authorize, or carry out. The Council on 
Environmental Quality's regulations for implementing NEPA (40 CFR parts 
1500-1518) state that agencies shall include a discussion on the 
environmental impacts of the various project alternatives (including 
the proposed action), any adverse environmental effects that cannot be 
avoided, and any irreversible or irretrievable commitments of resources 
involved (40 CFR part 1502). The NEPA itself is a disclosure law, and 
does not require subsequent minimization or mitigation measures by the 
Federal agency involved. Although Federal agencies may include 
conservation measures for Castilleja grisea as a result of the NEPA 
process, any such measures are typically voluntary in nature and are 
not required by the statute. NEPA does not itself regulate activities 
that might affect C. grisea, but it does require full evaluation and 
disclosure of information regarding the effects of contemplated Federal 
actions on sensitive species and their habitats.
    On San Clemente Island, the Navy must meet the NEPA requirements 
for actions significantly affecting the quality of the human 
environment. Typically, the Navy prepares Environmental Assessments and 
Environmental Impact Statement on operational plans and new or 
expanding training actions. Absent the listing of Castilleja grisea, we 
would expect the Navy to continue to meet the procedural requirements 
of NEPA for its actions, including evaluating the environmental impacts 
to rare plant species and other natural resources. However, as 
explained above, NEPA does not itself regulate activities that might 
affect C. grisea.
Sikes Act Improvement Act (Sikes Act)
    The Sikes Act (16 U.S.C. 670) authorizes the Secretary of Defense 
to develop cooperative plans with the

[[Page 29120]]

Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior for natural resources on 
public lands. The Sikes Act Improvement Act of 1997 requires Department 
of Defense installations to prepare INRMPs that provide for the 
conservation and rehabilitation of natural resources on military lands 
consistent with the use of military installations to ensure the 
readiness of the Armed Forces. An INRMP is a plan intended ``* * * to 
guide installation commanders in managing their natural resources in a 
manner that is consistent with the sustainability of those resources 
while ensuring continued support of the military mission'' (Navy 2002, 
p. 1-1). INRMPs are developed in coordination with the State and the 
Service, and are generally updated every 5 years. Although an INRMP is 
technically not a regulatory mechanism because its implementation is 
subject to funding availability, it is an important guiding document 
that helps to integrate the military's mission with natural resource 
protection.
San Clemente Island Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan 
(INRMP)
    Pursuant to the Sikes Act, the Navy adopted an INRMP for San 
Clemente Island that identifies multiple objectives for protecting 
Castilleja grisea and its habitat to help reduce threats to this taxon 
(Navy 2002). The INRMP also disclosed actions through the NEPA process, 
and to comply with such legislation and regulations as the Endangered 
Species Act, the Federal Noxious Weed Act of 1974 (7 U.S.C. 2801), the 
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act 
(42 U.S.C. 9601), the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act (42 
U.S.C. 6901), and the Soil Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 3B) (see INRMP 
section above under Malacothamnus clementinus--Factor D). Natural 
resource objectives of relevance to the protection of C. grisea in the 
INRMP include an objective to: ``Protect, monitor, and restore plants 
and cryptograms in order to manage for their long-term sustainability 
on the island'' (Navy 2002, p. 4-39). The INRMP specifically includes 
the following objectives for C. grisea management: recovery of native 
shrub communities that are host plants for the species, the removal of 
nonnatives, monitoring of the species, studies of preferred host 
plants, study of plant's response to fire, and studies and inventory of 
insect pollinators (Navy 2002, pp. D-20, D-21). Multiple INRMP 
management strategies have been implemented for the conservation of C. 
grisea. Other INRMP strategies that target the plant communities within 
which this species occurs include: Controlling erosion, with priority 
given to locations where erosion may be affecting listed species; 
producing a new vegetation map; reducing nonnative plant cover from 
1992-1993 baseline levels; managing the size and intervals of fires; 
experimenting with fire management to improve native plant dominance 
while protecting sensitive plant occurrences; and conducting genetic 
and biological studies of C. grisea across the island.
    The MOFMP, Erosion Control Plan, and nonnative plant species 
control conducted on the island are discussed above under Castilleja 
grisea--Factor A. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, 
or Curtailment of Its Habitat or Range. Absent listing under the Act, 
the Navy would still be required to develop and implement INRMPs under 
the Sikes Act. However, as noted under the other factors, while the 
INRMP helps to ameliorate threats and provides some protection for C. 
grisea occurrences, those occurrences within Impact Areas or 
operationally closed areas may not benefit from the conservation 
measures. While the INRMP has reduced the severity of threats and 
contributed to conservation of the species, it still allows for land 
use consistent with military readiness and training. Thus, Navy 
activities will continue to impact C. grisea as described under Factor 
A and E.
State Protections
    Since the time of listing, Castilleja grisea has benefited from 
additional State protections under the Native Plant Protection Act 
(NPPA) and California Endangered Species Act (CESA; listed 1982). 
However, the range of C. grisea is restricted to a Federal military 
installation, so listing under NPPA and CESA may only afford protection 
to this species in rare instances when the lead agency is a non-Federal 
agency or when proposed activities fall under other State laws.
Summary of Factor D
    The regulatory mechanisms outlined above provide for adequate 
conservation of Castilleja grisea. In continuance of a long history of 
cooperative conservation efforts, the Navy also implemented several 
conservation actions that benefit this plant taxon. The Navy has 
implemented an MOFMP to reduce the risk of fire on the island and a 
nonnative plant species control program. In response to the 
conservation actions proposed and the current status of the listed 
taxon, we issued a non-jeopardy biological opinion on the Navy's MOFMP. 
The provisions included in the San Clemente Island INRMP provide 
protection to all C. grisea occurrences and adaptive management of its 
habitat in order to help address threats to the plant from military 
activities and nonnative plants. However, as indicated in the 
discussion under Factor A, not all management tools described in the 
INRMP are in place, and conservation management may not be implemented 
at several of the known occurrences that have been closed to natural 
resource managers. Castilleja grisea occurrences are afforded 
protection through Federal and military mechanisms, and thus the 
inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms is not considered a threat 
to the species now or in the future. However, in the absence of the 
Act, the existing regulatory mechanisms are not adequate to conserve C. 
grisea throughout its range both now and in the future.

Factor E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting Their Continued 
Existence

    The 1977 listing rule identified nonnatives as a threat to 
Castilleja grisea under Factor E: competition from nonnative plants (42 
FR 40682; August 11, 1977). In this 5-factor analysis, impacts from 
nonnative plants are discussed above under Factor A as a threat to 
habitat. Other Factor E threats identified since listing that currently 
impact C. grisea plants include: (1) Movement of vehicles and troops, 
(2) fire, and (3) climate change. Factor E addresses threats to 
individuals of the species, rather than the habitat modification 
threats that are discussed in Factor A. Therefore, while some threats 
are discussed in both sections, in this section we are focusing on the 
direct impacts to individuals of C. grisea.
Movement of Vehicles and Troops
    Military training activities within training areas often entail the 
movement of vehicles and troops over the landscape with the potential 
of trampling or crushing individual plants (for discussion of SWAT, 
TAR, and IOA, see above discussion for Malacothamnus clementinus--
Factor E). Based on the distribution of Castilleja grisea occurrences 
and type of troop movements likely to occur, impacts due to trampling 
and crushing are likely to occur within the IOA or AVMA, along roads, 
and in the Impact Areas. Specifically, major troop movements and 
vehicle landings are planned through Horse Beach and the Horse Beach 
Canyon occurrence, with troops and assault vehicles moving

[[Page 29121]]

north along Horse Beach Road from the beach (USFWS 2008, pp. 30, 41). 
These operations could affect the Horse Beach Canyon and China Canyon 
occurrences (USFWS 2008, pp. 85-86). The status of these plants is 
currently unknown because of closure of the Impact Areas (USFWS 2008, 
p. 50).
    Sixteen of 29 occurrences (approximately 55 percent; West Cove, 
Terrace Canyon, Larkspur Canyon, Nanny Canyon, Lemon Tank Canyon, Seal 
Cove Canyon, Eel Cove Canyon, Plain northeast of Warren Canyon, Eagle 
Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Horse Beach Canyon, China Canyon, Red Canyon, 
Knob Canyon, Canchalagua Canyon, and Pyramid Head) are partially or 
wholly within the boundaries of a training area (IOA, TAR, AVMA, SWAT, 
or Impact Area), and may be impacted by trampling. Recent documentation 
of C. grisea within these training areas suggests that, while the 
individual plants have the potential to be impacted by the activities 
described above, they are able to sustain themselves under the recent 
levels of traffic from vehicles and troops associated with training 
activities (SERG 2009-2011, GIS data). Steep slopes along the eastern 
escarpment may also afford the eight C. grisea occurrences there some 
topographic protection from vehicle and troop movements. The 
anticipated loss of individual plants from proposed increases in troop 
and vehicle movement is likely to increase, though this will likely be 
a low-level impact to the survival and recovery of C. grisea because it 
is diffuse and managed by the Navy (USFWS 2008, pp. 91-102).
Fire
    Although not specifically mentioned in the listing rule, intense or 
frequent fires could threaten Castilleja grisea. In the Factor A 
discussion above, we addressed impacts of fire on the habitat; this 
section covers the discrete threats to individuals of C. grisea. As 
discussed in the Background section, it is unknown if C. grisea is 
adapted to periodic fires, though it is likely that this taxon is 
resilient to occasional fires (Navy 2002, p. D-10; Tierra Data Inc. 
2005, p. 80). Castilleja grisea has recently been documented in 
portions of Horse Beach Canyon that burned up to three times since 
1979, and a large occurrence was discovered in Pyramid Cove the year 
following a fire (Navy 1996, p. 5-2). The mechanisms and conditions 
under which C. grisea can tolerate fire, and at what frequency, are 
unknown. At higher than natural fire frequencies, fire has the 
potential to exceed a plant's capacity to persist by depleting seed 
banks and reducing reproductive output (Zedler et al. 1983, pp. 811-
815). The response of C. grisea to fire may also be governed by the 
response of its host species to fire.
    Castilleja grisea occurs in some areas of the island that may 
experience elevated fire frequency, such as SHOBA and especially the 
Impact Areas (Red Canyon, China Canyon, Horse Beach Canyon, Upper 
Chenetti Canyon) (discussed in Factor A above). The potential for 
frequent fire at many of the occurrences within SHOBA is reduced by 
their location on the eastern side of the island, away from Impact 
Areas I and II. In conjunction with its expansion of training 
activities, the Navy implemented a fire management plan within the 
MOFMP that is focused on fire prevention, fuels management, and fire 
suppression. These measures should minimize the frequency and spread of 
fires that could result in loss of C. grisea individuals.
    Cu astilleja grisea is likely to withstand occasional fires, as 
demonstrated through its stability on the island since listing. 
Although fire ignition points are concentrated in the military training 
areas, fires that escape these areas can spread to most other areas of 
the island. However, fires that escape from training areas are not 
likely to disturb the entire distribution of C. grisea at one time 
because this taxon is widely distributed across San Clemente Island, 
and associated with steep canyon areas where fires are less likely to 
impact the plant. Nine of 29 C. grisea occurrences (31 percent; Eel 
Cove Canyon, Seal Cove Terraces, Red Canyon, China Canyon, Horse Beach 
Canyon, Upper Chenetti Canyon, Larkspur Canyon, Lemon Tank Canyon, and 
Snake Canyon) are more vulnerable to the spread of fire associated with 
military training. These occurrences include locations that fall within 
0.5 mi (805 m) of TAR, or within Impact Areas where live fire and 
demolition training will be performed.
    The Navy's fire management practices minimize ignitions as well as 
the spread of fires (as described above in Factor A). The Navy is 
conducting annual reviews of fire management and fire occurrences that 
will allow for adaptive management. These measures should minimize the 
frequency and spread of fires that could result in loss of individuals 
of C. grisea. Although, in areas operationally closed to natural 
resource managers, conservation actions may not be implemented, and the 
plant's status remains unknown. We anticipate that the Navy's 
implementation of the MOFMP will limit the frequency with which fires 
escape Impact Areas and TAR and that, through the annual review 
process, the Navy will identify mechanisms to reduce fire return 
intervals in areas not designated for incendiary use (USFWS 2008, pp. 
91-122). Therefore, the impact of fire on individual C. grisea plants 
is likely a low-level threat to long-term persistence of this taxon.
Climate Change
    For general information regarding climate change impacts, see above 
discussion on climate change under Malacothamnus clementinus--Factor E. 
Since listing of Castilleja grisea (USFWS 1977, p. 40684), the 
potential impacts of ongoing, accelerated climate change have become a 
recognized threat to the flora and fauna of the United States (IPCC 
2007a, pp. 1-52; PRBO 2011, pp. 1-68) (for discussion of climate change 
scenarios in California, see Malacothamnus clementinus--Factor E 
above). San Clemente is located within a Mediterranean climatic regime, 
but with a significant maritime influence. Climate change models 
predict an increase in average temperature for southern California. 
There is substantial uncertainty in precipitation projections, and 
relatively little consensus concerning precipitation patterns and 
projections for southwestern California (PRBO 2011, p. 40). Less 
rainfall and warmer air temperatures could limit the range of C. 
grisea, although there is no direct research on the effects of climate 
change on the species. Castilleja grisea occurs in great numbers on the 
eastern side of the island, where fog contributes to a wetter climate. 
This area could become drier if fog is less frequent, possibly 
affecting moisture availability for C. grisea. The impacts of predicted 
future climate change to C. grisea remain unclear. While we recognize 
that climate change is an important issue with potential effects to 
listed species and their habitats, information is not available to make 
accurate predictions regarding its effects to C. grisea at this time.
Summary of Factor E
    Castilleja grisea continues to be impacted by military activities 
and fire at 17 of the 29 (59 percent) occurrences on San Clemente 
Island. Military training activities have the potential to ignite fires 
within C. grisea habitat, though the majority of occurrences are 
outside of the Impact Areas and TAR where the highest impacts are 
recognized. The threat from fire is reduced by implementation of the 
Navy's MOFMP, which should limit the frequency of fires escaping from 
the Impact Areas, although suppression will not likely occur within the 
boundaries of the Impact Areas. Threats from

[[Page 29122]]

trampling and crushing of individual plants are likely to increase due 
to increases in training on the island. However, C. grisea has expanded 
its distribution on the island, and the Navy is implementing 
conservation measures that will continue to improve conditions for this 
taxon. Finally, climate change may likely influence this taxon, though 
the magnitude of this rangewide threat or how it may affect this taxon 
is unknown at this time. Given the distribution of the species and the 
conservation measures that will be implemented by the Navy, the threats 
described here currently and in the future are either of limited extent 
or adequately managed to reduce and minimize impacts to the species, 
while the potential overall threat of climate change remains unknown 
across this taxon's range.

Combination of Factors--Castilleja grisea

    A species may be affected by more than one threat in combination. 
Within the preceding review of the five listing factors, we have 
identified multiple threats that may have interrelated impacts on the 
species (see above discussion on Combination of Factors under 
Malacothamnus clementinus--Factor E). The species' productivity may be 
reduced because of these threats, either singularly or in combination. 
However, it is not necessarily easy to determine (nor is it necessarily 
determinable) whether a particular threat is the primary threat having 
the greatest effect on the viability of the species, or whether it is 
exacerbated by or working in combination with other potential threats 
to have cumulative or synergistic effects on the species. While the 
combination of factors is a threat to the existence of Castilleja 
grisea, we are unable to determine the magnitude or extent of 
cumulative or synergistic effects of the combination of factors on the 
viability of the species at this time.

Finding

    An assessment of the need for a species' protection under the Act 
is based on threats to that species and the regulatory mechanisms in 
place to ameliorate impacts from these threats. As required by section 
4(a)(1) of the Act, we conducted a review of the status of these taxa 
and assessed the five factors in consideration of whether Malacothamnus 
clementinus, Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae, and Castilleja grisea 
are threatened or endangered throughout all of their range. We examined 
the best scientific and commercial information available regarding the 
past, present, and future threats faced by the species. We reviewed 
information presented in the May 18, 2010, petition, information 
available in our files, and through our 90-day finding in response to 
this petition, and other available published and unpublished 
information. We also consulted with species experts and Navy staff, who 
are actively managing for the conservation of M. clementinus, A. d. 
var. traskiae, and C. grisea on San Clemente Island.
    In considering what factors might constitute threats, we must look 
beyond the mere exposure of the species to the factor to determine 
whether the exposure causes actual impacts to the species. If there is 
exposure to a factor, but no response, or only a positive response, 
that factor is not a threat. If there is exposure and the species 
responds negatively, the factor may be a threat and we then attempt to 
determine how significant the threat is. If the threat is significant, 
it may drive, or contribute to, the risk of extinction of the species 
such that the species warrants listing as threatened or endangered as 
those terms are defined by the Act. This does not necessarily require 
empirical proof of a threat. The combination of exposure and some 
corroborating evidence of how the species is likely impacted could 
suffice. The mere identification of factors that could impact a species 
negatively is not sufficient to compel a finding that listing is 
appropriate; we require evidence that these factors are operative 
threats that act on the species to the point that the species meets the 
definition of threatened or endangered under the Act.
    A direct threat identified in the listing rule (42 FR 40682), 
grazing from feral herbivores, was eliminated by 1992 through the 
complete removal of goats and pigs from the island (Factors A and C). 
This action also fulfilled one of the primary goals of the Recovery 
Plan under Objective 2 (USFWS 1984, p. 107). However, as a result of 
years of grazing, impacts from nonnative plants and erosion have 
continued to increase on the island. Our review of the status of 
Malacothamnus clementinus, Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae, and 
Castilleja grisea determined that threats to these species under 
Factors A, D, and E are present. The Navy's natural resource management 
and INRMP for the island have helped to ameliorate many of the threats 
to these species. The Navy implements natural resource management 
through the control of nonnative species, execution of the fire 
management plan, and avoidance of federally listed species. Despite 
current impacts from these threats to the habitat and individuals of 
these taxa, surveys indicate that the range of each taxon has increased 
since the time of listing. Increased survey efforts and survey accuracy 
have also shown that these taxa occupy significantly more sites than 
were known at listing. The extent to which this represents the 
detection of previously unknown occurrences, recruitment from the 
existing seed bank, or recolonization associated with dispersal events, 
or positive response to management and conservation efforts is not 
known. Regardless, the increase of both the range and number of 
occurrences for all species indicates an overall improved status for 
these species since listing.
    The surveys and discoveries of new occurrences also contribute to 
the achievement of objectives in the Recovery Plan (Objective 6; USFWS 
1984, p. 107). The Navy has taken measures to locate the heaviest 
impacts of military operations away from the species to the extent 
feasible while meeting operational needs, which will minimize, but not 
fully eliminate, the damage or destruction of individuals or 
occurrences of M. clementinus, A. d. var. traskiae, and C. grisea, 
partially fulfilling Objective 1 of the Recovery Plan (USFWS 1984, p. 
107; USFWS 2008, pp. 90, 101, 121). However, the largest and most 
diverse occurrences of Malacothamnus clementinus are closed to natural 
resource monitoring and management, and their status remains unknown.

Malacothamnus clementinus

    Since the removal of feral goats and pigs, the distribution of 
Malacothamnus clementinus has expanded from 3 to 11 occurrences on San 
Clemente Island. However, there are still significant threats to the 
species, including threats to habitat from military training activities 
directly related to land use, erosion, nonnative plants, fire, and fire 
management (see Malacothamnus clementinus--Factor A). Habitat impacts 
are caused by the movement of troops and vehicles over the landscape, 
as well as by the use of live fire, demolitions, and bombardments. Six 
of the 11 known occurrences of M. clementinus are within SHOBA, much of 
which serves as a buffer from military training impacts for the rest of 
the island. Three M. clementinus occurrences are directly within the 
Impact Areas, where frequent fire, habitat disturbance (bombardment), 
and troop and vehicle movement occur. This includes the occurrence at 
Horse Beach Canyon that comprises the greatest number of point 
localities and one of the two occurrences with the greatest genetic 
variability (Helenurm

[[Page 29123]]

1999, p. 39). Through implementation of the INRMP, the Navy developed 
an MOFMP and a nonnative plant management plan to help minimize or 
ameliorate these threats to the species. However, the status of M. 
clementinus at Lemon Tank Canyon and the three occurrences in Impact 
Areas within SHOBA remains unknown at this time, because these areas 
are closed to natural resource personnel (USFWS 2008, p. 50).
    Threats to individual Malacothamnus clementinus plants also affect 
the species and include: Movement of vehicles and troops, fire, climate 
change, and low genetic diversity (see Malacothamnus clementinus--
Factor E). The steps that the Navy has taken to minimize impacts and 
avoid endangered species to the extent practicable have helped 
ameliorate the threats caused by training to the individual M. 
clementinus plants. Climate change may impact M. clementinus, though 
the effect is largely unknown. The genetic makeup of the species has 
been studied (fulfilling Objective 4 of the Recovery Plan), revealing 
that genetic variation within the species is low. Combined with a low 
seed production rate and vegetative reproduction, low genetic diversity 
puts the species at risk of low genetic fitness and extinction by 
stochastic events.
    The Navy implemented an INRMP to coordinate the management of 
natural resources on the island. Providing a framework for military 
operations, this plan helps to ameliorate threats to the endangered 
species on the island, and provides for long-term conservation planning 
within the scope of military readiness. Provisions included in the 
INRMP provide some protection for Malacothamnus clementinus occurrences 
(including Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae, and Castilleja grisea), 
and allows adaptive management of the habitat in order to help address 
threats from military activities and nonnative plants. Occurrences 
within Impact Areas or operationally closed areas may not benefit from 
the conservation measures associated with the MOFMP due to lack of 
access for natural resources personnel. Existing regulatory mechanisms, 
absent the protections of the Act, provide insufficient certainty that 
efforts needed to address long-term conservation of the species will be 
implemented, or that they will be effective in reducing the level of 
threats to M. clementinus throughout its range. Under the INRMP, 
occurrences of M. clementinus, including the largest and most 
genetically diverse occurrences, will continue to be impacted by 
military activities necessary for military readiness and training, and 
the closure of some areas creates uncertainty as to the status of the 
occurrences within those areas and whether those occurrences will 
benefit from conservation measures.
    As discussed in the Factor Analysis, a species may be affected by 
more than one threat in combination. For example, fires (Factors A and 
E) may be more intense or frequent in the habitat if there are greater 
amounts of nonnative grasses (Factor A) present in the vegetative 
community. Additionally, military activities or erosion may lead to 
increased nonnatives in an area. Thus, the species' viability may be 
reduced because of synergistic effects when multiple threats are 
present at one time. Therefore, the combination of factors is a threat 
to the existence of Malacothamnus clementinus, but we are unable to 
determine the magnitude or extent of any synergistic effects of the 
various factors and their impact at this time.
    In conclusion, we have carefully assessed the best scientific and 
commercial information available regarding the past, present, and 
future threats faced by this species. Our review of the information 
pertaining to the five threat factors does not support a conclusion 
that the threats have been sufficiently removed, or that their 
imminence, intensity, or magnitude have been reduced to the extent that 
the species no longer requires the protections of the Act. Four of the 
11 known occurrences of the species have been closed to nonmilitary 
personnel, such that we are unable to assess the impacts of the threats 
described under the five listing factors above, nor are we able to 
document the status of a substantial portion of the occurrences of 
Malacothamnus clementinus. This includes one occurrence with the 
highest number of point localities and the greatest genetic 
variability. Under provision of section 4(a)(1) of the Act, we must 
assess the status in order to list or change the status of a species 
from endangered to threatened.
    The 2007 status review listed land use, fire, nonnative species, 
erosion, natural factors, fire management, and access to SHOBA as 
threats to the species (USFWS 2007, p. 1-23). Although we recommended 
downlisting in our 2007 status review, at this time we conclude that 
Malacothamnus clementinus continues to be in danger of extinction 
throughout its range because of the change in intensity of training and 
associated impacts enacted in the 2008 MOFMP. These changes include the 
escalation in frequency and intensity of bombardments in Impact Areas I 
and II and the movement of large groups of troops and vehicles through 
M. clementinus habitat. The threats to M. clementinus, coupled with low 
genetic fitness, place this taxon at risk of extinction throughout all 
of its range, and reclassification from endangered to threatened is not 
warranted at this time.

Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae

    Since listing and the removal of feral goats and pigs on San 
Clemente Island, the distribution of Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae 
has expanded from 6 to 29 occurrences, mainly along the western 
terraces and eastern escarpment. These significant gains demonstrate 
alleviation of threats from feral ungulates and that the species is 
persisting despite existing and remaining threats across the landscape. 
The taxon faces impacts from military training activities and land use, 
erosion, nonnative plants, and fire (see Acmispon dendroideus var. 
traskiae--Factor A). Impacts from land use include movement of troops 
and vehicles over the landscape, as well as the use of live fire, 
demolitions, and bombardments. Much of this activity is concentrated in 
training areas within the range of A. d. var. traskiae. However, many 
of these occurrences are along the eastern escarpment that is more 
protected from fire and military activity. Additionally, the majority 
of locations occupied by A. d. var. traskiae (24 of 29 occurrences, or 
83 percent) fall outside of training areas, and thus do not receive 
intensive habitat disturbance. Access to the eastern escarpment, within 
SHOBA and east of Ridge Road, was recently closed for safety concerns. 
As a result, the status of 4 of 29 occurrences (14 percent) could be 
difficult to monitor in the future.
    The Navy implemented a nonnative plant management plan and an MOFMP 
to ameliorate habitat threats to the species. Erosion control measures 
are incorporated into all project designs to minimize the potential to 
exacerbate existing erosion and avoid impacts to listed species (Munson 
2011a, pers. comm.). Additionally, large-scale island-wide maneuvers 
with assault vehicles have been postponed until an erosion control plan 
is drafted and implemented. While it is anticipated that military 
training activities, erosion, nonnatives, and fire will have ongoing 
impacts to the taxon's habitat, based on the current distribution of 
this taxon and existing conservation efforts, impacts from these 
threats are reduced and minimized for Acmispon dendroideus var. 
traskiae.

[[Page 29124]]

    Under the Sikes Act, the Navy has implemented an INRMP to organize 
the management of natural resources on the island (also see above 
discussion in the Finding section for Malacothamnus clementinus). 
Existing regulatory mechanisms, absent the protections of the Act, 
provide insufficient certainty that efforts needed to address long-term 
conservation of the species will be implemented, or that they will be 
effective in reducing the level of threats to Acmispon dendroideus var. 
traskiae throughout its range. Under the INRMP, occurrences of A. d. 
var. traskiae will continue to be impacted by military activities 
necessary for military readiness and training.
    Individual Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae plants also face 
threats on the island. Movement of vehicles and troops, fire, climate 
change, and hybridization with related species all impact the status of 
the species (see Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae--Factor E). The 
steps that the Navy has taken to minimize impacts and avoid endangered 
species to the extent practicable are ameliorating the threat of 
trampling individual A. d. var. traskiae plants caused by training. 
Hybridization has also been studied (fulfilling Objective 4 of the 
Recovery Plan), with confirmed hybrids occurring in Wilson Cove (Wilson 
Cove). The genetic integrity of A. d. var. traskiae may be threatened 
by hybridization with A. argophyllus var. argenteus at one of the 
largest occurrences, and requires further investigation. The threats 
described here (Factor E) are either of limited or undetermined 
magnitude, or reduced to the extent that we anticipate they will not 
impede the recovery of A. d. var. traskiae.
    As discussed above in the Factor Analysis, a species may be 
affected by more than one threat in combination. For example, fires 
(Factors A and E) may be more intense or frequent in the habitat if 
there are greater amounts of nonnative grasses (Factor A) present in 
the vegetative community. Thus, the species' viability may be reduced 
because of threats in combination. Therefore, the combination of 
factors is a threat to the existence of Acmispon dendroideus var. 
traskiae, but we are unable to determine the magnitude or extent of any 
synergistic effects of the various factors and their impact at this 
time.
    In conclusion, we have carefully assessed the best scientific and 
commercial information available regarding the past, present, and 
future threats faced by this species. After review of the information 
pertaining to the five threat factors, we find that the ongoing threats 
are not of sufficient imminence, intensity, or magnitude to indicate 
that Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae is presently in danger of 
extinction throughout its range and does not, therefore, meet the 
definition of an endangered species. While A. d. var. traskiae will 
continue to be impacted by military training activities and land use, 
erosion, nonnative plants, and fire, the expanded number of occurrences 
reduces the severity and magnitude of threats and the likelihood that 
any one event would affect all occurrences of the species. The extent 
of hybridization within the species is also not known and could affect 
the genetic integrity of the plant. Additionally, the plant occurs in 
recently closed areas, and these occurrences will not be able to be 
accessed or managed in the future with these closures.
    Though these threats to Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae still 
exist and will continue into the foreseeable future, the range of this 
taxon has substantially increased since listing, and the Navy is 
implementing conservation actions through their INRMP to reduce threats 
impacting A. d. var. traskiae. Therefore, we find that the petitioned 
action to downlist A. d. var. traskiae to threatened is warranted. 
Please see the Significant Portion of the Range Analysis section below 
for our evaluation as to whether this species may or may not be in 
danger of extinction in a significant portion of its range.

Castilleja grisea

    The known distribution of Castilleja grisea has expanded from 19 to 
29 known occurrences since listing, likely due to the removal of feral 
goats and pigs from the island in 1992. These significant gains 
demonstrate some alleviation of threats from feral ungulates and that 
the species is persisting despite existing and remaining threats across 
the landscape. Castilleja grisea faces impacts from military training 
activities and land use, erosion, nonnative plants, fire, and fire 
management (see Castilleja grisea--Factor A). The movement of troops 
and vehicles over the landscape, as well as use of live fire, 
demolitions, and bombardments, results in destruction and degradation 
of habitat occupied by C. grisea. Much of this activity is concentrated 
in SHOBA within training areas and Impact Areas. Four occurrences are 
within the Impact Areas, where frequent fire, habitat disturbance 
(bombardment), and troop and vehicle movement take place in the heavily 
used ranges. Access to parts of SHOBA, including the eastern escarpment 
and east of Ridge Road, was recently closed for safety concerns. The 
status of the four occurrences may be difficult to assess in the 
future, although these areas may be more protected from fire and 
military activity and are likely less impacted by habitat threats. A 
large proportion of C. grisea occurrences fall outside Impact Areas, 
TAR, and fuelbreaks, where the most intensive habitat disturbances are 
likely to take place.
    Threats impacting individual plants of Castilleja grisea on the 
island include: movement of vehicles and troops, fire, and potentially 
climate change (see Castilleja grisea--Factor E). The Navy has 
ameliorated the threats to individual plants by taking steps to 
minimize training impacts and measures to avoid endangered species to 
the extent practicable. The threats described under Factor E are either 
of limited extent or adequately managed and are not likely to impede 
the recovery of C. grisea.
    Under the Sikes Act, the Navy has implemented an INRMP to organize 
the management of natural resources on the island (also see above 
discussion in the Finding section for Malacothamnus clementinus). 
Existing regulatory mechanisms, absent the protections of the Act, 
provide insufficient certainty that efforts needed to address long-term 
conservation of the species will be implemented, or that they will be 
effective in reducing the level of threats to Castilleja grisea 
throughout its range. Under the INRMP, occurrences of C. grisea will 
continue to be impacted by military activities necessary for military 
readiness and training.
    As discussed above in the Factor Analysis, a species may be 
affected by more than one threat in combination. For example, fires 
(Factors A and E) may be more intense or frequent in the habitat if 
there are greater amounts of nonnative grasses (Factor A) present in 
the vegetative community. Thus, the species' viability may be reduced 
because of threats in combination. Therefore, the combination of 
factors is a threat to the existence of Castilleja grisea, but we are 
unable to determine the magnitude or extent of any synergistic effects 
of the various factors and their impact at this time.
    In conclusion, we have carefully assessed the best scientific and 
commercial information available regarding the past, present, and 
future threats faced by this species. After review of the information 
pertaining to the five threat factors, we find the ongoing threats are 
not of sufficient imminence, intensity, or magnitude to indicate that 
Castilleja grisea is

[[Page 29125]]

presently in danger of extinction across its range. While C. grisea 
will continue to be impacted by military training activities and land 
use, erosion, nonnative plants, and fire, the expanded number of 
occurrences reduces the severity and magnitude of threats and the 
likelihood that any one event would affect all occurrences of the 
species. Additionally, the plant occurs in operationally closed areas, 
such as the Impact Areas, where threats are concentrated and 
occurrences cannot be accessed or managed with these closures.
    Though threats to Castilleja grisea still exist and will continue 
into the foreseeable future, the range of this taxon has substantially 
increased since listing, and the Navy is implementing conservation 
actions through their INRMP to reduce threats impacting C. grisea. 
Therefore, we find that the petitioned action to downlist C. grisea to 
threatened is warranted at this time. Please see the Significant 
Portion of the Range Analysis section below for our evaluation as to 
whether this species may or may not be in danger of extinction in a 
significant portion of its range.

Significant Portion of the Range Analysis

    The Act defines ``endangered species'' as any species which is ``in 
danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range,'' and ``threatened species'' as any species which is ``likely to 
become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout 
all or a significant portion of its range.'' The definition of 
``species'' is also relevant to this discussion. The Act defines the 
term ``species'' as follows: ``The term `species' includes any 
subspecies of fish or wildlife or plants, and any distinct population 
segment [DPS] of any species of vertebrate fish or wildlife which 
interbreeds when mature.'' The phrase ``significant portion of its 
range'' (SPR) is not defined by the statute, and we have never 
addressed in our regulations: (1) The consequences of a determination 
that a species is either endangered or likely to become so throughout a 
significant portion of its range, but not throughout all of its range; 
or (2) what qualifies a portion of a range as ``significant.''
    Two recent district court decisions have addressed whether the SPR 
language allows the Service to list or protect less than all members of 
a defined ``species'': Defenders of Wildlife v. Salazar, 729 F. Supp. 
2d 1207 (D. Mont. 2010), concerning the Service's delisting of the 
Northern Rocky Mountain gray wolf (74 FR 15123, Apr. 12, 2009); and 
WildEarth Guardians v. Salazar, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 105253 (D. Ariz. 
Sept. 30, 2010), concerning the Service's 2008 finding on a petition to 
list the Gunnison's prairie dog (73 FR 6660, Feb. 5, 2008). The Service 
had asserted in both of these determinations that it had authority, in 
effect, to protect only some members of a ``species,'' as defined by 
the Act (i.e., species, subspecies, or DPS), under the Act. Both courts 
ruled that the determinations were arbitrary and capricious on the 
grounds that this approach violated the plain and unambiguous language 
of the Act. The courts concluded that reading the SPR language to allow 
protecting only a portion of a species' range is inconsistent with the 
Act's definition of ``species.'' The courts concluded that once a 
determination is made that a species (i.e., species, subspecies, or 
DPS) meets the definition of ``endangered species'' or ``threatened 
species,'' it must be placed on the list in its entirety and the Act's 
protections applied consistently to all members of that species 
(subject to modification of protections through special rules under 
sections 4(d) and 10(j) of the Act).
    Consistent with that interpretation, and for the purposes of this 
finding, we interpret the phrase ``significant portion of its range'' 
in the Act's definitions of ``endangered species'' and ``threatened 
species'' to provide an independent basis for listing; thus there are 
two situations (or factual bases) under which a species would qualify 
for listing: A species may be endangered or threatened throughout all 
of its range; or a species may be endangered or threatened in only a 
significant portion of its range. If a species is in danger of 
extinction throughout an SPR, it, the species, is an ``endangered 
species.'' The same analysis applies to ``threatened species.'' 
Therefore, the consequence of finding that a species is endangered or 
threatened in only a significant portion of its range is that the 
entire species shall be listed as endangered or threatened, 
respectively, and the Act's protections shall be applied across the 
species' entire range.
    We conclude, for the purposes of this finding, that interpreting 
the SPR phrase as providing an independent basis for listing is the 
best interpretation of the Act because it is consistent with the 
purposes and the plain meaning of the key definitions of the Act; it 
does not conflict with established past agency practice (i.e., prior to 
the 2007 Solicitor's Opinion), as no consistent, long-term agency 
practice has been established; and it is consistent with the judicial 
opinions that have most closely examined this issue. Having concluded 
that the phrase ``significant portion of its range'' provides an 
independent basis for listing and protecting the entire species, we 
next turn to the meaning of ``significant'' to determine the threshold 
for when such an independent basis for listing exists.
    Although there are potentially many ways to determine whether a 
portion of a species' range is ``significant,'' we conclude, for the 
purposes of this finding, that the significance of the portion of the 
range should be determined based on its biological contribution to the 
conservation of the species. For this reason, we describe the threshold 
for ``significant'' in terms of an increase in the risk of extinction 
for the species. We conclude that a biologically based definition of 
``significant'' best conforms to the purposes of the Act, is consistent 
with judicial interpretations, and best ensures species' conservation. 
Thus, for the purposes of this finding, a portion of the range of a 
species is ``significant'' if its contribution to the viability of the 
species is so important that, without that portion, the species would 
be in danger of extinction.
    We evaluate biological significance based on the principles of 
conservation biology using the concepts of redundancy, resiliency, and 
representation. Resiliency describes the characteristics of a species 
that allow it to recover from periodic disturbance. Redundancy (having 
multiple populations distributed across the landscape) may be needed to 
provide a margin of safety for the species to withstand catastrophic 
events. Representation (the range of variation found in a species) 
ensures that the species' adaptive capabilities are conserved. 
Redundancy, resiliency, and representation are not independent of each 
other, and some characteristic of a species or area may contribute to 
all three. For example, distribution across a wide variety of habitats 
is an indicator of representation, but it may also indicate a broad 
geographic distribution contributing to redundancy (decreasing the 
chance that any one event affects the entire species), and the 
likelihood that some habitat types are less susceptible to certain 
threats, contributing to resiliency (the ability of the species to 
recover from disturbance). None of these concepts is intended to be 
mutually exclusive, and a portion of a species' range may be determined 
to be ``significant'' due to its contributions under any one of these 
concepts.
    For the purposes of this finding, we determine if a portion's 
biological contribution is so important that the portion qualifies as 
``significant'' by

[[Page 29126]]

asking whether, without that portion, the representation, redundancy, 
or resiliency of the species would be so impaired that the species 
would have an increased vulnerability to threats to the point that the 
overall species would be in danger of extinction (i.e., would be 
``endangered''). Conversely, we would not consider the portion of the 
range at issue to be ``significant'' if there is sufficient resiliency, 
redundancy, and representation elsewhere in the species' range that the 
species would not be in danger of extinction throughout its range if 
the population in that portion of the range in question became 
extirpated (extinct locally).
    We recognize that this definition of ``significant'' establishes a 
threshold that is relatively high. On the one hand, given that the 
consequences of finding a species to be endangered or threatened in an 
SPR would be listing the species throughout its entire range, it is 
important to use a threshold for ``significant'' that is robust. It 
would not be meaningful or appropriate to establish a very low 
threshold whereby a portion of the range can be considered 
``significant'' even if only a negligible increase in extinction risk 
would result from its loss. Because nearly any portion of a species' 
range can be said to contribute some increment to a species' viability, 
use of such a low threshold would require us to impose restrictions and 
expend conservation resources disproportionately to conservation 
benefit: listing would be rangewide, even if only a portion of the 
range of minor conservation importance to the species is imperiled. On 
the other hand, it would be inappropriate to establish a threshold for 
``significant'' that is too high. This would be the case if the 
standard were, for example, that a portion of the range can be 
considered ``significant'' only if threats in that portion result in 
the entire species' being currently endangered or threatened. Such a 
high bar would not give the SPR phrase independent meaning, as the 
Ninth Circuit held in Defenders of Wildlife v. Norton, 258 F.3d 1136 
(9th Cir. 2001).
    The definition of ``significant'' used in this finding carefully 
balances these concerns. By setting a relatively high threshold, we 
minimize the degree to which restrictions will be imposed or resources 
expended that do not contribute substantially to species conservation. 
But we have not set the threshold so high that the phrase ``in a 
significant portion of its range'' loses independent meaning. 
Specifically, we have not set the threshold as high as it was under the 
interpretation presented by the Service in the Defenders litigation. 
Under that interpretation, the portion of the range would have to be so 
important that current imperilment there would mean that the species 
would be currently imperiled everywhere. Under the definition of 
``significant'' used in this finding, the portion of the range need not 
rise to such an exceptionally high level of biological significance. 
(We recognize that if the species is imperiled in a portion that rises 
to that level of biological significance, then we should conclude that 
the species is in fact imperiled throughout all of its range, and that 
we would not need to rely on the SPR language for such a listing.) 
Rather, under this interpretation we ask whether the species would be 
endangered everywhere without that portion, i.e., if that portion were 
completely extirpated. In other words, the portion of the range need 
not be so important that even being in danger of extinction in that 
portion would be sufficient to cause the remainder of the range to be 
endangered; rather, the complete extirpation (in a hypothetical future) 
of the species in that portion would be required to cause the remainder 
of the range to be endangered.
    The range of a species can theoretically be divided into portions 
in an infinite number of ways. However, there is no purpose to 
analyzing portions of the range that have no reasonable potential to be 
significant and threatened or endangered. To identify only those 
portions that warrant further consideration, we determine whether there 
is substantial information indicating that: (1) The portions may be 
``significant,'' and (2) the species may be in danger of extinction 
there or likely to become so within the foreseeable future. Depending 
on the biology of the species, its range, and the threats it faces, it 
might be more efficient for us to address the significance question 
first or the status question first. Thus, if we determine that a 
portion of the range is not ``significant,'' we do not need to 
determine whether the species is endangered or threatened there; if we 
determine that the species is not endangered or threatened in a portion 
of its range, we do not need to determine if that portion is 
``significant.'' In practice, a key part of the portion status analysis 
is whether the threats are geographically concentrated in some way. If 
the threats to the species are essentially uniform throughout its 
range, no portion is likely to warrant further consideration. Moreover, 
if any concentration of threats applies only to portions of the 
species' range that clearly would not meet the biologically based 
definition of ``significant,'' such portions will not warrant further 
consideration.
    Having determined that Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae and 
Castilleja grisea are no longer endangered throughout their ranges as a 
consequence of the threats evaluated under the five factors in the Act, 
we must next consider whether there are any significant portions of 
these two species' ranges where they are currently endangered. A 
portion of a species' range is significant if it is part of the current 
range of the species and is important to the conservation of the 
species as evaluated based upon its representation, resiliency, or 
redundancy.

Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae

    Applying the process described above, we evaluated the range of 
Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae to determine if any units could be 
considered a significant portion of its range. This taxon is an island 
endemic restricted to a single, small island, with no natural division 
in its range. Because of its limited range and number of occurrences in 
close proximity to one another, no portion is likely to have a greater 
contribution to representation, resiliency, or redundancy than other 
portions. Furthermore, the existing and potential primary direct and 
indirect threats from military training activities, nonnative plant 
species, fire, and erosion are relatively uniform across San Clemente 
Island, indicating that no portions of its range are experiencing a 
greater severity or magnitude of threats. We conclude that there are no 
portions that warrant further consideration under this analysis.
    In summary, the primary threats to Acmispon dendroideus var. 
traskiae are relatively uniform throughout its range. We determined 
that none of the existing or potential threats, either alone or in 
combination with others, currently place A. d. var. traskiae in danger 
of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. 
However, without the continued protections of the Act, this taxon is 
likely to become endangered throughout its range in the foreseeable 
future. Threatened status is therefore appropriate for A. d. var. 
traskiae throughout its entire range.

Castilleja grisea

    Applying the process described above, we evaluated the range of 
Castilleja grisea to determine if any units could be considered a 
significant portion of its range (also see the Significant Portion of 
the Range

[[Page 29127]]

Analysis section above for Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae). This 
island endemic is restricted to a single, small island with no natural 
division in its range. Because of its limited range and number of 
occurrences in close proximity to one another, no portion is likely to 
have a greater contribution to its representation, resiliency, or 
redundancy than other portions. The primary threats to C. grisea, 
military training activities, nonnative plant species, fire, and 
erosion, are relatively uniform throughout its range (San Clemente 
Island), indicating that no portion is experiencing a greater severity 
or magnitude of threats. We conclude that there are no portions that 
warrant further consideration under this analysis. We determined that 
none of the existing or potential threats, either alone or in 
combination with others, currently place C. grisea in danger of 
extinction throughout all of its range. However, without the continued 
protections of the Act, this taxon is likely to become endangered 
throughout its range in the foreseeable future. Threatened status is 
therefore appropriate for C. grisea throughout its entire range.

Effects of This Rule

    If this proposed rule is made final, it would revise 50 CFR 
17.12(h) to reclassify Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae and 
Castilleja grisea from endangered to threatened on the List of 
Endangered and Threatened Plants and to correct the scientific and 
common names for Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae. However, this 
reclassification does not significantly change the protections afforded 
these species under the Act. The regulatory protections of section 9 
and section 7 of the Act (see Factor D, above) would remain in place. 
Pursuant to section 7 of the Act, all Federal agencies must ensure that 
any actions they authorize, fund, or carry out are not likely to 
jeopardize the continued existence of A. d. var. traskiae and C. 
grisea. Whenever a species is listed as threatened, the Act allows 
promulgation of special rules under section 4(d) that modify the 
standard protections for threatened species found under section 9 of 
the Act and Service regulations at 50 CFR 17.31 and 17.71, when it is 
deemed necessary and advisable to provide for the conservation of the 
species. There are no 4(d) rules in place or proposed for A. d. var. 
traskiae and C. grisea, because there is currently no conservation need 
to do so for these species.
    Recovery actions directed at Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae and 
Castilleja grisea will continue to be implemented as outlined in the 
Recovery Plan for the Endangered and Threatened Species of the 
California Channel Islands (USFWS 1984). This recovery plan addresses 
10 plants (including Malacothamnus clementinus, A. d. var. traskiae, 
and C. grisea) and animals distributed among three of the Channel 
Islands (USFWS 1984).

Peer Review

    In accordance with our joint policy on peer review published in the 
Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we will seek the expert 
opinions of at least three appropriate and independent specialists 
regarding this proposed rule to reclassify Acmispon dendroideus var. 
traskiae and Castilleja grisea from endangered to threatened. The 
purpose of peer review is to ensure that our proposed rule is based on 
scientifically sound data, assumptions, and analyses. We have invited 
these peer reviewers to comment during this public comment period on 
our proposed downlisting.
    We will consider all comments and information we receive during 
this comment period on this proposed rule during our preparation of the 
final determination. Accordingly, the final decision may differ from 
this proposal.

Public Hearings

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

Required Determinations

Clarity of the Rule

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

Executive Order 13211

    Executive Order 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of 
Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. This rule 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.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations at 5 CFR part 
1320, which implement provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 
U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), require that Federal agencies obtain approval 
from OMB before collecting information from the public. This rule does 
not contain any new collections of information that require approval by 
OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act. 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

    We determined we do not need to prepare an Environmental Assessment 
or an Environmental Impact Statement, as defined under the authority of 
the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), 
in connection with regulations adopted pursuant to section 4(a) of the 
Act. We published a notice outlining our reasons for this determination 
in the Federal Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244).

References Cited

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

Author(s)

    The primary authors of this package are the staff members of the 
Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office.

[[Page 29128]]

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

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

Proposed Regulation Promulgation

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

PART 17--ENDANGERED AND THREATENED WILDLIFE AND PLANTS

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

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

    2. Amend Sec.  17.12(h) under ``Flowering Plants'' by removing the 
entry for ``Lotus dendroideus var. traskiae'' and adding an entry for 
``Acmispon dendroideus var. traskiae'' and revising the entry for 
``Castilleja grisea'' to read as follows:


Sec.  17.12  Endangered and threatened plants.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Species
--------------------------------------------------------    Historic  range           Family            Status         When       Critical     Special
         Scientific name                Common name                                                                   listed      habitat       rules
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
         Flowering Plants
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Acmispon dendroideus var.          San Clemente Island   U.S.A. (CA).........  Fabaceae............  T                      26           NA           NA
 traskiae.                          lotus.
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Castilleja grisea................  San Clemente Island   U.S.A. (CA).........  Orobanchaceae.......  T                      26           NA           NA
                                    Paintbrush.
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Authority

    The authority for this action is section 4 of the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Dated: May 1, 2012.
David L. Cottingham,
Acting Director, Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-11339 Filed 5-15-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P