[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 118 (Tuesday, June 19, 2012)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 36727-36869]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-13886]



[[Page 36727]]

Vol. 77

Tuesday,

No. 118

June 19, 2012

Part III





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; Revised Designation of 
Critical Habitat for the Pacific Coast Population of the Western Snowy 
Plover; Final Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 118 / Tuesday, June 19, 2012 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 36728]]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2010-0070; 4500030114]
RIN 1018-AX10


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revised 
Designation of Critical Habitat for the Pacific Coast Population of the 
Western Snowy Plover

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), designate 
revised critical habitat for the Pacific Coast distinct population 
segment (DPS) (Pacific Coast WSP) of the western snowy plover 
(Charadrius nivosus nivosus, formerly C. alexandrinus nivosus) under 
the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). In total, 
approximately 24,527 acres (9,926 hectares) of critical habitat for the 
Pacific Coast WSP in Washington, Oregon, and California, fall within 
the boundaries of the critical habitat designation. This revised final 
designation constitutes an increase of approximately 12,377 ac (5,009 
ha) from the 2005 designation of critical habitat for the Pacific Coast 
WSP. A taxonomic name change has occurred and been accepted for the 
snowy plover. Throughout the remainder of this document, we will use 
the currently recognized name for the subspecies, Charadrius nivosus 
nivosus, to which the listed entity (Pacific Coast WSP) belongs for 
references to the Pacific Coast WSP.

DATES: This rule becomes effective on July 19, 2012.

ADDRESSES: This final rule, final economic analysis, and maps of 
critical habitat will be available on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2010-0070, and at http://www.fws.gov/arcata/. Comments and materials received, as well as 
supporting documentation used in preparing this final rule, are 
available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business 
hours, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arcata Fish and Wildlife 
Office, 1655 Heindon Road, Arcata, CA 95521; telephone 707-822-7201; 
facsimile 707-822-8411.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Nancy Finley, Field Supervisor, or Jim 
Watkins, Fish and Wildlife Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office, 1655 Heindon Road, Arcata, CA 95521; 
telephone 707-822-7201; facsimile 707-822-8411. Persons who use a 
telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal 
Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Executive Summary

    Why we need to publish a rule. This is a final rule to revise the 
designation of critical habitat for the threatened Pacific Coast 
population of the western snowy plover under the Act. Under the Act, 
any species that is determined to be endangered or threatened requires 
designated critical habitat. We must issue a rule to designate critical 
habitat. In total, approximately 24,527 acres (9,926 hectares) of 
critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP in Washington, Oregon, and 
California, fall within the boundaries of the critical habitat 
designation.
    We designated critical habitat for this species in 1999 and again 
in 2005. As part of a settlement agreement, we agreed to reconsider the 
designations. A proposed revised critical habitat was published in the 
Federal Register on March 22, 2011 (76 FR 16046). This constitutes our 
final revised designation for the Pacific Coast WSP.
    We are making the following changes to the critical habitat 
designation. See Table 2 for details.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           Current critical                                 Factors affecting
                State                    habitat designation      Revised designation      revised designation
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Washington...........................  2,526 acres (1,023       Four units in            We are excluding 425
                                        hectares) of Federal,    Washington, totaling     acres (172 hectares)
                                        State, and Private       6,077 acres (2,460       of Tribal lands from
                                        lands.                   hectares).               designation based on
                                                                                          partnerships.
Oregon...............................  2,147 acres (869         9 units in Oregon,       We are excluding 3,106
                                        hectares) of Federal,    totaling 2,112 acres     acres (1,257 hectares)
                                        State, and Private       (856 hectares).          of lands from
                                        lands.                                            designation based on
                                                                                          partnerships with
                                                                                          landowners.
California...........................  7,477 acres (3,030       47 units in California,  We are excluding 266
                                        hectares) of Federal,    totaling 16,337 acres    acres (108 hectares)
                                        State, and Private       (6,612 hectares).        of lands from
                                        lands.                                            designation based on
                                                                                          partnerships with
                                                                                          landowners.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The basis for our action. Under the Endangered Species Act, any 
endangered or threatened species must have a designated critical 
habitat. We are required to base the designation on the best available 
scientific data after taking into consideration economic and other 
impacts. The Secretary can exclude an area from critical habitat if the 
benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of designation, unless the 
exclusion will result in the extinction of the species.
    We prepared an economic analysis. To ensure that we consider the 
economic impacts, we prepared a new economic analysis of the proposed 
revised designation. On January 17, 2012, we made available our revised 
draft economic analysis (77 FR 2243). We received public comments on 
the draft economic analysis and revised it based on input from the 
public. The economic analysis did not identify any areas with 
disproportionate costs associated with the designation, and no areas 
were excluded from the final designation based on economic reasons.
    We incorporated peer review. We sought comments and information 
from independent specialists to ensure that our critical habitat 
designation was based on scientifically sound data, assumptions, and 
analyses. We had invited these peer reviewers to comment on our 
specific assumptions and conclusions in the proposed revision of the 
critical habitat designation. Information we received from peer review 
is incorporated in this final revised designation.

Background

    It is our intent to discuss in this final rule only those topics 
directly relevant to the development and designation of revised 
critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP under the Act (16 U.S.C. 
1531 et seq.). For more information on the taxonomy, biology, and 
ecology of the Pacific Coast WSP, refer to the final listing rule 
published in the Federal Register on March 5, 1993 (58 FR 12864); the 
12-month finding on a petition to delist the Pacific Coast WSP (71 FR 
20607, April 21, 2006); and the revised proposed critical habitat rule

[[Page 36729]]

published in the Federal Register on March 22, 2011 (76 FR 16046). 
Additional information on this species can also be found in the 
Recovery Plan for the Pacific Coast Population of the Western Snowy 
Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus) finalized on August 13, 2007, 
which is available from the Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office (see 
ADDRESSES section) (Service 2007). Information on the associated draft 
economic analysis for the revised proposed critical habitat was 
published in the Federal Register on January 17, 2012 (77 FR 2243). The 
nomenclature for the listed entity has changed to the ``Pacific Coast 
population of the western snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus nivosus),'' 
but this change does not alter the description or distribution of the 
species.

Change in Taxonomic Nomenclature

    In our January 17, 2012, Federal Register publication (77 FR 2243), 
which made available the draft economic analysis on the March 22, 2011, 
revised proposed critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP, we 
proposed a taxonomic and nomenclatural change for the Pacific Coast WSP 
from Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus to C. nivosus nivosus and for that 
change to be published in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). Based 
on information presented in that notice (see the notice's section 
entitled Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Changes Affecting Charadrius 
alexandrinus nivosus) and acceptance of the change by the scientific 
community, we are amending the List of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife at 50 CFR 17.11(h) to identify the listed entity as the 
western snowy plover (Pacific Coast population DPS) (Charadrius nivosus 
nivosus), to update the ``Historic Range'' column to clarify that the 
historical range of the Pacific Coast population DPS is California, 
Oregon, Washington, and Mexico, and to update the ``Vertebrate 
population where endangered or threatened'' column to indicate that the 
DPS is threatened in California, Oregon, Washington, and Mexico (within 
50 miles of Pacific coast).

New Information on Species' Description, Life History, Ecology, 
Habitat, and Range

    We did not receive any new information pertaining to the 
description, ecology, or habitat of the Pacific Coast WSP following the 
2011 revised proposed critical habitat rule (76 FR 16046; March 22, 
2011).

Climate Change

    Our analyses under the Act include consideration of ongoing and 
projected changes in climate. The terms ``climate'' and ``climate 
change'' are defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 
(IPCC). ``Climate'' refers to the mean and variability of different 
types of weather conditions over time, with 30 years being a typical 
period for such measurements, although shorter or longer periods also 
may be used (IPCC 2007, p. 78). The term ``climate change'' thus refers 
to a change in the mean or variability of one or more measures of 
climate (e.g., temperature or precipitation) that persists for an 
extended period, typically decades or longer, whether the change is due 
to natural variability, human activity, or both (IPCC 2007, p. 78). 
Various types of changes in climate can have direct or indirect effects 
on species. These effects may be positive, neutral, or negative, and 
they may change over time, depending on the species and other relevant 
considerations, such as the effects of interactions of climate with 
other variables (e.g., habitat fragmentation) (IPCC 2007, pp. 8-14, 18-
19). In our analyses, we use our expert judgment to weigh relevant 
information, including uncertainty, in our consideration of various 
aspects of climate change.
    Sea level rise and hydrological changes associated with climate 
change are having and will continue to have significant effects on 
Pacific Coast WSP and its habitat over the next several decades. Sea 
level rise is a result of two phenomena: Thermal expansion (increased 
sea water temperatures) and global ice melt (Cayan et al. 2006, p. 5). 
Between 1897 and 2006, the observed sea level rise has been 
approximately 0.08 inches (in) (2 millimeters (mm)) per year, or a 
total of 8 in (20 centimeters (cm)) over that period (Heberger et al. 
2009, p. 6). Older estimates projected that sea level rise along the 
California coast would follow a similar rate and reach 0.7-2 feet (ft) 
(0.2-0.6 meters (m)) by 2100 (IPCC 2007). Recent observations and 
models (including the models we used to evaluate Pacific Coast WSP 
habitat) indicate that those projections were conservative and ignored 
some critical factors, such as melting of the Greenland and Antarctica 
ice sheets (Heberger et al. 2009, p. 6). Heberger et al. (2009, p. 8) 
have updated the sea level rise projections for California to 3.3-4.6 
ft (1.0-1.4 m) by 2100, while Vermeer and Rahmstorf (2009, p. 21530) 
calculate the sea level rise globally at 2.4-6.2 ft (0.57-1.9 m); in 
both cases, recent estimates were more than twice earlier projections. 
Combined with California's normal dramatic tidal fluctuations and 
coincidental storms, the severity of the latter increasing with more 
frequent El Ni[ntilde]o Southern Oscillations due to increasing surface 
water temperature (Cayan et al. 2006, p. 17), the effects of sea level 
rise are expected to reach farther inland than previously anticipated 
(Cayan et al. 2006, pp. 48-49; Cayan et al. 2009, p. 40). Similar 
effects are expected to occur along the Oregon and Washington 
coastlines (Galbraith et al. 2002, pp. 173-183; Huppert et al. 2009, 
pp. 285-309; Ruggiero et al. 2010, 211-262).
    For the Pacific Coast WSP and other shorebird habitat, Galbraith et 
al. (2002, pp. 173-183) in a study of sites in Washington (Willapa Bay) 
and California (Humboldt Bay and San Francisco Bay) projected losses of 
intertidal habitat could range between 20 and 70 percent of the 
existing habitat. In addition, sea-level rise may result in coastal 
areas to lose their ability to continue to support the current number 
of shorebirds. Areas with steep topography (Northern California to 
Washington State) or seawalls (Southern California) with limited beach 
habitat are expected to have the most severe losses (Galbraith et al. 
2002, pp. 173-183). Additionally sea-level rise would cause: (1) 
Inundation of low-lying areas by high tides; (2) flooding of coastal 
areas during major storm events, especially near river mouths; (3) 
acceleration of erosion of coastal bluffs; and (4) a shift in beach 
profiles, move the position of the mean high water line landward 
(Huppert et al. 2009, p. 285).
    In our development of this critical habitat designation, we 
evaluated numerous climate change models of varying scope and scale. 
Due to the wide range of the Pacific Coast WSP (Washington to Mexico) 
we selected models which reflected conditions across the range for the 
Pacific Coast WSP and those developed or accepted by the Department of 
the Interior as a basis for determining the extent of the effects of 
climate change on coastal habitat used by the Pacific Coast WSP.

Previous Federal Actions

    The Pacific Coast WSP was listed as a threatened species on March 
5, 1993 (58 FR 12864). Critical habitat was designated in 1999 (64 FR 
68508; December 7, 1999). That rule was remanded and partially vacated 
by the U. S. District Court for the District of Oregon on July 2, 2003, 
in order to conduct a new analysis of economic impacts (Coos County 
Board of County

[[Page 36730]]

Commissioners et al. v. Department of the Interior et al., CV 02-6128, 
M. Hogan). We published a revised rule designating critical habitat on 
September 29, 2005 (70 FR 56970).
    A 5-year status review of the population under section 4(c)(2) of 
the Act was completed June 8, 2006, based on the analysis conducted for 
the section 4(b)(3)(B) status review for a 12-month finding on a 
petition to delist the Pacific Coast WSP (71 FR 20607; April 21, 2006). 
Because the Pacific Coast WSP was listed prior to our 1996 policy 
published in the Federal Register on February 7, 1996 (61 FR 4721) 
regarding recognition of distinct population segments, in our 12-month 
finding, we reviewed and confirmed our determination that the Pacific 
Coast WSP constituted a valid distinct population segment.
    On October 2, 2008, the Center for Biological Diversity challenged 
our 2005 critical habitat designation (70 FR 56970; September 29, 2005) 
(Center for Biological Diversity v. Kempthorne, et al., No. C-08-4594 
PJH (N.D. California)). This litigation was resolved through 
settlement, in which the Service agreed to conduct a rulemaking to 
consider potential revisions to the designated critical habitat for the 
Pacific Coast WSP. On May 11, 2009, the U. S. District Court for the 
Northern District of California adopted the terms of the settlement 
agreement and issued an order requiring the Service to submit a final 
revised critical habitat designation to the Federal Register by June 5, 
2012. This rule complies with that court order.

Summary of Comments and Recommendations

    We requested written comments from the public on the 2011 proposed 
rule to revise critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP during two 
comment periods. The first comment period requesting comments in 
association with the publication of the proposed revised rule (76 FR 
16046) opened on March 22, 2011, and closed May 23, 2011. Upon the 
availability of the draft economic analysis (DEA) associated with the 
revised proposed critical habitat, a second comment period covering 
both the revised proposed rule and the DEA opened on January 17, 2012 
(77 FR 2243) and closed on February 16, 2012. During both public 
comment periods, we contacted appropriate Federal, State, and local 
agencies, scientific organizations, and other interested parties and 
invited them to comment on the proposal to revise critical habitat for 
this species and the associated DEA. During the comment periods, we 
requested that all interested parties submit comments or information 
related to the proposed revisions to critical habitat, including (but 
not limited to) the following: Unit boundaries; species occurrence 
information and distribution; land use designations that may affect 
critical habitat; potential economic effects of the revised proposed 
designation; benefits associated with critical habitat designation; 
areas proposed for designation and associated rationale for the non-
inclusion or considered exclusion of these areas; and methods used to 
designate critical habitat.
    During the first comment period, we received 149 comment letters 
directly addressing the proposed revision of critical habitat, as 
follows: 1 from a peer reviewer, 5 from Federal agencies, 1 from a 
Native American Tribe, and 142 from public organizations or 
individuals. During the second comment period, we received nine 
additional comments addressing the revised proposed critical habitat 
designation and the DEA. Of these latter comments, none were from 
Federal agencies, one was from a State agency, and the remaining eight 
were from public organizations or individuals. We did not receive any 
additional comments from Native American Tribes during the second 
public comment period. We reviewed all comments received for 
substantive issues and new information regarding the revised 
designation of critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP. All 
substantive comments are addressed in the following summary and any 
changes have been incorporated into this revised final rule as 
appropriate.
    The open period for requesting public hearings on the revised 
proposed rule ran from March 22, 2011, through May 6, 2011 (76 FR 
16046). The second open period for requesting public hearings 
associated with the January 17, 2012 (77 FR 2243), Federal Register 
publication ran from January 17, 2012, through February 16, 2012. We 
did not receive any requests for a public hearing during the two open 
periods.

Peer Review

    In accordance with our Policy for Peer Review in Endangered Species 
Act Activities, published on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we solicited 
expert opinions from three knowledgeable individuals with scientific 
expertise that included familiarity with the species, the geographic 
region in which it occurs, and conservation biology principles. One 
peer reviewer responded and generally supported the revised proposed 
designation, and provided additional information, clarifications, and 
suggestions that we have incorporated, as appropriate, to improve this 
revised final critical habitat rule. Other potential reviewers that 
were contacted could not respond due to prior commitments and timing of 
the requested review relative to the Pacific Coast WSP field season. 
Peer reviewer comments are addressed in the following summary and 
incorporated into the final rule as appropriate.

Peer Review Comments

    (1) Comment: The peer reviewer affirmed that the background 
information, essentially the biology of the Pacific Coast WSP, was well 
represented. Additional information was provided for the distribution 
of Pacific Coast WSP in Oregon. The reviewer suggested including sites 
in northern Oregon not covered under the State's habitat conservation 
plan (HCP), and that the sites should be considered collectively, as 
plovers move between them.
    Our Response: We appreciate the assessment of the revised proposed 
rule by the peer reviewer. We have identified all the areas we consider 
to have the physical or biological features essential to the 
conservation of the species or other areas we have determined to be 
essential for the conservation of the species as based on our criteria 
for designating critical habitat. Not all occupied sites were proposed 
as critical habitat. Some areas meeting the definition of critical 
habitat have been excluded from this revised final critical habitat 
designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see Exclusions section 
for a detailed discussion). Those sites that we consider to have 
spatial significance to one another were grouped as subunits of a 
larger unit. The northern Oregon sites referenced by the reviewer were 
not included because of their relatively limited use by Pacific Coast 
WSP at this time and they were determined not to be essential.
    The HCP with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) is a 
landscape-level conservation planning effort. It was developed with the 
assistance of a multi-partner steering committee that reviewed the 
recovery plan and objectives, historical plover use, and existing 
habitat conditions, and selected the most appropriate locations for 
reestablishment of plover nesting habitat. In addition, the HCP went 
through extensive public review at both the State and Federal levels, 
and incorporated appropriate input from those processes.
    (2) Comment: The peer reviewer agreed with the conservation benefit 
of

[[Page 36731]]

designating additional habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP. Specifically, 
the reviewer acknowledged that additional habitat is needed for 
connectivity between sites, and noted that the revised proposed rule 
leaves a 75-mile (mi) (121-kilometer (km)) gap between units on the 
north and south coasts of Oregon.
    Our Response: We appreciate the peer reviewer's critical review. 
Connectivity is not the only criterion used to select sites. We refer 
readers to our Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat section in 
the revised proposed rule (76 FR 16046; March 22, 2011). Selected sites 
must have regional importance, either for breeding or wintering Pacific 
Coast WSPs.
    There are few additional suitable locations between Oregon's north 
and south coasts to designate as critical habitat. Sites were 
considered, but not proposed, due to habitat and development conditions 
that would adversely impact plovers were they to use the sites. 
Seventy-five miles is a relatively small gap in the range given that 
current gap between occupied habitat in Oregon and Washington is 
greater than 150 miles (241 km).
    (3) Comment: The peer reviewer acknowledged the importance of 
addressing sea-level rise, but noted uncertainty regarding our ability 
to predict how Pacific Coast WSP will respond. In addition, the 
reviewer noted that we cannot adequately predict the response of 
Pacific Coast WSP prey sources to a rapidly changing beach environment 
that is compromised by years of beach stabilization and invasive, 
nonnative plants.
    Our Response: We agree that the response of Pacific Coast WSPs and 
their prey is difficult to predict (refer to Climate Change section 
above). Our models for sea-level rise are general in nature as they 
must represent the entire range of the Pacific Coast WSP in the United 
States. Consequently, site- and regionally-specific models are relevant 
when assessing specific effects on species and locations, but for the 
purposes of this evaluation, landscape-scale models were used to assist 
us in establishing unit boundaries.
    There is inherent uncertainty associated with the parameters in the 
model; however, assumptions were selected that were generally 
conservative to best protect the species. Our assessment of sea-level 
rise in the revised proposed rule only addresses habitat, and does not 
attempt to address prey response, plover use, and site-specific 
shoreline armoring, as these are conditions or parameters that cannot 
be adequately represented across the range of the species.

Federal Agency Comments

Bureau of Land Management
    (4) Comment: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Arcata, 
California, noted that, as proposed, Unit 5 (Subunits A, B, and C) has 
expanded to the west, encompassing the intertidal zone. Yet the eastern 
boundary remains the same as in prior critical habitat designations. 
BLM commented that they understand the rationale for the westward 
expansion based on year-to-year changes to the beach environment and 
improved mapping, because of expected inundation resulting from sea-
level rise. BLM noted that critical habitat would be better served with 
an expansion to the east.
    Our Response: Unit 5 primarily depicts mapping changes with 
improved information from the 2005 designation. We did not extend the 
unit to the east, as there is a dune crest that would separate such an 
eastern expansion from the ocean beach. Such a barrier would likely 
discourage Pacific Coast WSP use of the area, combined with the paved 
road that reaches the length of Humboldt Bay's South Spit. Similarly, 
there is a dirt road to the east side of the dune crest in subunit CA 
5B that may also discourage Pacific Coast WSP use of any eastern 
expansion area there.
Department of the Army (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)
    (5) Comment: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) challenged 
the need for critical habitat designation of the intertidal zone, 
stating that Pacific Coast WSPs generally forage on wrack deposited at 
the maximum high water mark, and roost well above this line and are not 
found along the water's edge.
    Our Response: We agree that most foraging by Pacific Coast WSP on 
southern California beaches is associated with wrack; however, Pacific 
Coast WSP will use the intertidal areas. Use of intertidal areas may be 
greater where there is no offshore kelp beds to form well-developed 
wrack, such as in northern California, Oregon, and Washington. However, 
Pacific Coast WSPs have been documented foraging within the beach 
intertidal zone, and gathering food from both above and below the sand 
surface (Page et al. 2009; http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/154/articles/foodhabits).
    In areas that do not have well-developed wrack, the intertidal zone 
may play a greater importance in plover foraging. Consequently, the 
intertidal zone is essential to Pacific Coast WSP's conservation, 
thereby meeting the standard for designation as critical habitat when 
there is an association with other features and primary constituent 
elements.
    (6) Comment: The USACE commented that our approach to sea-level 
rise should be modified. The highest, high water boundary is 
recommended as a starting reference point. In addition, the USACE 
stated that the eastern boundary should not be established in areas 
that do not currently contain suitable habitat as a means to address 
sea-level rise.
    Our Response: The purpose of this revised critical habitat 
designation is to conserve the Pacific Coast WSP. Establishing a 
western boundary is difficult, but the ``water's edge'' is a boundary 
that is easily determined on the ground. We agree with the USACE that 
the water's edge is difficult to map, and will change with seasonal and 
daily tides, storm events, beach configuration, etc. Our maps and the 
inclusion of the intertidal zone are an attempt to address the water's 
edge issue and include the full range of habitat available to the 
Pacific Coast WSP.
    We expanded critical habitat to the east from past designations to 
help ensure there will be adequate potential for habitat in the future 
as sea-level rise occurs. Not all habitat to the east is currently 
suitable, however, and we include in this critical habitat designation 
only those areas that we consider likely to be suitable with 
restoration. Not addressing the eastern expansion and only considering 
currently available habitat would limit the conservation value of a 
critical habitat designation as ``coastal squeeze'' occurs with a rise 
in sea level. Using elevations on the beach and adjusting them as sea-
level rise occurs, as suggested by the USACE, makes it difficult for 
land and project managers to determine critical habitat boundaries.
    (7) Comment: The USACE questioned the validity of the Pacific Coast 
WSP listing as threatened. Specifically, the agency provided an example 
of a snowy plover banded in Utah appearing at a coastal Orange County, 
California, site.
    Our Response: First, we note that the Service action at issue here 
does not concern whether or not the Pacific Coast WSP should be listed 
under the Act, but whether the Service should revise critical habitat 
for the species. Separate from this action, the Service is currently 
reviewing the listing status of the Pacific Coast WSP (see 76 FR 30377; 
May 25, 2011). For further discussion of listing issues, we direct the 
USACE to our 12-month finding on a petition to delist the Pacific Coast 
WSP (71 FR 20607; April

[[Page 36732]]

21, 2006), where detailed information on the Pacific Coast WSP distinct 
population segment listing is available.
    The report cited by the USACE documents a Utah-banded snowy plover 
at an Orange County beach during the nonbreeding season (project-
related observation period was from September 27, 2009, to October 29, 
2009) (Ryan and Hamilton 2009, unpublished report). Our understanding 
is that the snowy plover banding in Utah was done during the end of the 
breeding season, on July 22, 2009 (F. Bidstrup, pers. comm. 2012). Few, 
if any, snowy plovers are present in Utah during the nonbreeding season 
(Paton 1995, p. 277). Interior-nesting snowy plovers are migratory, and 
are well documented overwintering along the Pacific Coast (71 FR 20607; 
April 21, 2006). Generally, interior-nesting snowy plovers begin to 
appear along the Pacific Coast in mid- to late-July. In the 12-month 
finding, we cite instances of coastal-breeding snowy plovers nesting at 
interior sites, but acknowledge that this type of occurrence is rare 
based on banding records (71 FR 20607; April 21, 2006). This 
interchange in breeders accounts for the fact that there is little 
genetic difference between interior and coastal- breeding snowy plovers 
(71 FR 20607; April 21, 2006). Regardless, because the Pacific Coast 
WSP is generally a non-migratory population, and because it is 
ecologically separated from interior-nesting snowy plovers, it meets 
criteria for listing under our distinct population segment policy (71 
FR 20607, April 21, 2006; 61 FR 4721, February 7, 1996) and the Act.
    (8) Comment: The USACE stated that some of the areas proposed for 
designation as critical habitat do not meet the definition of critical 
habitat. Either the units are heavily used by recreational users, or 
are adjacent to disturbed areas. The commenter provided site-specific 
information where they believe designation is inappropriate due to 
beach nourishment projects at some units.
    Our Response: We have determined based on our criteria for 
designating critical habitat that all the areas designated in this rule 
are essential either to or for the conservation of the Pacific Coast 
WSP and meet the definition of critical habitat. However, within each 
critical habitat unit there may be some areas that do not contain the 
physical or biological features and therefore would not be considered 
critical habitat. Due to mapping constraints (e.g., the scale of the 
unsuitable areas are too small to be reflected on our maps), we did not 
remove these areas from this final revised designation. The analysis of 
effects of dredging and beach nourishment on Pacific Coast WSPs and 
their habitat is part of the section 7 consultation process under the 
Act. Effects to designated critical habitat and non-designated areas 
that are affected by the Federal action will be assessed under that 
process, as well as other effects to Pacific Coast WSPs.
    Disturbance by recreational users and other sources will also be 
evaluated through the section 7 process where there is a Federal nexus. 
For areas lacking a Federal nexus, the Service will work with beach and 
land managers to implement recovery actions that will avoid or offset 
adverse effects of disturbance. We consider disturbance to be relative, 
as Pacific Coast WSPs respond differently to disturbance between sites.
    (9) Comment: The USACE commented that the maps were easier to 
follow in the 2005 designation than those in the 2011 revised proposed 
rule because the 2005 maps provided more detail relative to land marks, 
such as roads.
    Our Response: We appreciate this comment, and have made changes to 
the maps in this final rule. Specifically, the maps in this revised 
final rule have more location detail, such as roads, than we provided 
in the 2011 revised proposed rule. In remote areas where roads are 
scarce, we added watercourses. We acknowledge that watercourses are 
dynamic, and they can change with time, but they do provide some 
ability to locate unit boundaries on the ground.
Department of the Navy
    (10) Comment: The Department of the Navy (Navy) commented that 
portions of two of their installations, Naval Support Area Monterey and 
Navy at Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, were included in the 
revised proposed rule, and requested they be exempted from critical 
habitat because both installations have an integrated natural resources 
management plan (INRMP).
    Our Response: An INRMP integrates implementation of the military 
mission of the installation with stewardship of the natural resources 
found on the base. A Service-approved INRMP is required to exempt a 
facility from critical habitat designation (refer to section of this 
rule concerning military exemptions under section 4(a)(3)). In 2001, 
the Navy completed the INRMP for Naval Support Area Monterey, which 
includes approximately 8 ac (3 ha) in Unit CA 22, Monterey to Moss 
Landing. Although the 2001 INRMP was approved by the Service, we 
determined that it did not address management actions for western snowy 
plovers and therefore does not meet the requirements for exemption from 
critical habitat. On March 30, 2012, we received an addendum to the 
2001 INRMP; this addendum detailed additional conservation measures the 
Navy will implement for the Pacific Coast WSP at Naval Support Area 
Monterey. We have reviewed the addendum and have concluded that the 
conservation measures identified in the addendum would provide a 
benefit to the Pacific Coast WSP and its habitat. We approved and 
signed this addendum on May 24, 2012. As a result we have exempted the 
approximately 8 ac (3 ha) from Unit CA 22 from the designation under 
section 4(a)(3) of the Act (see Exemptions section).
    The Navy also identified that approximately 0.08 ac (0.03 ha) at 
Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, was included in the revised 
proposed rule. These lands were inadvertently included as part of Unit 
CA 39 in the revised proposed designation due to a mapping error. The 
identified 0.08 ac (0.03 ha) of Navy lands within Unit CA 39, Ormond 
Beach, have been removed in this revised final designation because they 
are unsuitable habitat and not essential to the conservation of the 
species.
National Park Service
    (11) Comment: The National Park Service noted that critical habitat 
units for the Pacific Coast WSP were proposed within several units of 
the National Park system, including: Channel Islands National Park; 
Golden Gate National Recreation Area; Point Reyes National Seashore; 
Redwood National and State Parks; and Lewis and Clark National Historic 
Park. The National Park Service supports the proposed revised 
designation, and provided general information regarding its management 
for Pacific Coast WSP at its facilities.
    Our Response: We appreciate the National Park Service's comments. 
No response necessary.
U.S. Forest Service
    (12) Comment: The U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Siuslaw National 
Forest, Oregon, provided information regarding use and boundary 
descriptions for Units OR 7, OR 8, and OR 9.
    Our Response: Lands covered under the OPRD HCP are excluded in this 
revised final rule. We note the USFS's comments; however, all units 
have changed with the exception of OR 8A, as a result of the 
exclusions. Federal lands remain unaffected by the OPRD

[[Page 36733]]

HCP exclusions, and remain in this final designation.

State Agency Comments

    (13) Comment: The OPRD requested that all lands under its HCP be 
``exempted'' (meaning ``excluded'') under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, 
because the OPRD HCP provides adequate management protections, making 
designation of critical habitat on those lands covered by the HCP 
redundant.
    Our Response: Comment noted. In developing this final revised 
designation, we have considered OPRD's comments regarding exclusion of 
the HCP areas, and have conducted the analysis required under section 
4(b)(2) of the Act to consider such exclusions (refer to the Exclusions 
section). As a result of our analysis, we have concluded that the 
benefits of excluding the lands covered under the OPRD HCP outweigh the 
benefits of including those areas as critical habitat and as a result 
the Secretary has used his discretion to exclude these areas under 
section 4(b)(2) of the Act.
    (14) Comment: The California Department of Parks and Recreation 
(CDPR) provided site information throughout California and pointed out 
errors in the unit descriptions. CDPR believes some sites proposed for 
designation are inappropriate, due to disturbance, proximity to 
campgrounds, recreational off-road vehicle use, and presence of 
lifeguard facilities.
    Regarding Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA), CDPR 
acknowledged that the critical habitat designation would have little 
effect on day-to-day operations of Oceano Dunes SVRA and would not 
affect management activities for the Pacific Coast WSP. However, CDPR 
also stated that a critical habitat designation would increase 
administrative costs and implied that a critical habitat designation 
would require restoration of degraded habitat in Oceano Dunes SVRA.
    CDPR stated that designation of the ``riding area'' of Oceano Dunes 
SVRA as critical habitat would be inappropriate because the riding area 
is degraded, used for recreation, and unoccupied by the western snowy 
plover. CDPR requested that the riding and camping areas be excluded 
from the critical habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, 
because those areas (1) do not contain the physical or biological 
features essential for the western snowy plover, and (2) are covered by 
a management plan that provides conservation value greater than what 
would be provided by a critical habitat designation.
    Our Response: The general comments from CDPR on the unit 
description errors were noted and incorporated into this revised final 
rule.
    We agree with CDPR that a critical habitat designation should have 
little, if any, effect on day-to-day operations at Oceano Dunes SVRA 
and should not affect management activities for the Pacific Coast WSP 
unless a future project in Oceano Dunes SVRA would be authorized, 
funded, permitted, or carried out by a Federal agency.
    We agree that portions of Oceano Dunes SVRA are degraded by 
recreation activities; however, habitat degradation does not preclude 
us from designating an area as critical habitat if the area contains 
physical or biological features essential to the conservation of the 
species and otherwise meets the definition of critical habitat. Also, 
annual surveys by CDPR and other groups have documented the species (in 
relatively large numbers) using Oceano Dunes SVRA in both breeding and 
wintering seasons. The use of areas for recreational activities does 
not preclude the use of the area by the Pacific Coast WSP. For example, 
the Silver Strand State Beach area identified as critical habitat (Unit 
CA 55B), as well as other high recreational use areas, plays an 
important role in Pacific Coast WSP conservation. We have determined 
that these areas are essential because they provide adequate space for 
high-tide roosting and foraging opportunities, especially during low 
human-use periods and during the winter. These areas may provide an 
even greater conservation value as habitat conditions shift and 
adaptive management strategies are implemented.
    The DEA accompanying the proposed critical habitat rule determined 
that Oceano Dunes SVRA would incur some increase in administrative cost 
as a result of being included in critical habitat. These costs would be 
associated with coordination with a Federal agency during consultation 
under section 7 of the Act, additional analysis under California 
Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), or critical habitat analysis in the 
Oceano Dunes SVRA HCP. However, the DEA did not identify any 
disproportionate costs to the Oceano Dunes SVRA likely to result from a 
critical habitat designation.
    The recovery plan for the Pacific Coast WSP (Service 2007) states 
that, because of the dynamic nature of western snowy plover habitat, 
the physical or biological features and specific primary constituent 
elements (PCEs) for the species may be seasonally variable or lacking. 
Accordingly, one or more PCEs may be absent during certain seasons. 
That said, a critical habitat unit is not required to contain all PCEs 
to qualify for designation. The implementing regulations for section 4 
of the Act (50 CFR 424.12(d)) state that when several habitats, each 
satisfying the requirements for designation as critical habitat, are 
located in proximity to one another, an inclusive area may be 
designated as critical habitat. Portions of that inclusive area may not 
contain any or all PCEs. The Oceano Dunes SVRA is located within unit 
CA-31, and contains at least one PCE (open landscapes) year round, and 
may seasonally contain two other PCEs (frequency of inundation and 
organic debris). We have determined that Oceano Dunes SVRA plays an 
important role in conservation of the western snowy plover. That role 
may increase due to climate-related changes, including sea-level rise. 
We maintain that Oceano Dunes SVRA is essential to the conservation of 
the Pacific Coast WSP.
    Lastly, we recognize that the CDPR intensively manages habitat for 
the Pacific Coast WSP at Oceano Dunes SVRA. We also recognize the 
difficult balance between the Oceano Dunes SVRA use-mandate and 
conservation of sensitive species. However, justification of exclusion 
from critical habitat is not solely based on conservation measures 
provided by a management plan but on how the benefits of exclusion from 
critical habitat compare to the benefits of inclusion. We recognize 
that the CDPR at Oceano Dunes SVRA have been implementing measures to 
conserve the Pacific Coast WSP and conditions have improved somewhat 
for the Pacific Coast WSP in critical habitat unit CA-31. We value our 
current partnership with the CDPR in conserving sensitive species and 
their habitats; however, after considering the relevant impacts being 
incurred by the Pacific Coast WSP, we did not conclude that the 
benefits of excluding Oceano Dunes SVRA lands in unit CA-31 outweigh 
the benefits of including those lands as critical habitat. In addition, 
as mentioned in the CDPR comment letter, the CDPR is experiencing 
severe funding limitations. Consequently, the CDPR may not be able to 
guarantee that the Oceano Dunes SVRA management plan will be 
implemented in the future. For these reasons, the Secretary is 
declining to exercise his discretion to exclude Oceano Dunes SVRA lands 
from unit CA-31.

Public Comments

    The majority of the public comments we received were form letters 
regarding Oceano Dunes SVRA. The 104 form letters did not provide 
substantial

[[Page 36734]]

information, and were analogous to a ``vote'' not to designate critical 
habitat at Oceano Dunes SVRA. For information on our determination on 
critical habitat for the Oceano Dunes SVRA, please see Comment 14 
above.
    (15) Comment: Several commenters proposed models other than the 
ones we used relative to sea-level rise. We also received comments 
challenging the likelihood of sea-level rise. Some commenters stated 
that sea-level rise could not be attributed to human-caused actions and 
that we should not be managing for an impact (i.e., sea-level rise) 
that might not occur. Others commenters stated that there is no 
``global warming'' occurring, and that the Service is not considering 
the best science available.
    Our Response: The Service considers climate change the single 
greatest conservation challenge of the 21st century, and as a result we 
have developed a draft strategic plan to address climate change 
(Service 2009, pp. 1-32). We acknowledge climate change is a complex 
issue, and there may be some uncertainty over all the causes and 
precise manifestations of climate change (see Climate Change section 
above). Given these uncertainties, one objective of this revised final 
rule is to identify and protect those habitats that we determine will 
provide resiliency for Pacific Coast WSP in the face of the effects of 
climate change on habitat. We will undoubtedly have to adapt management 
approaches as we learn more. We agree that Pacific Coast WPS management 
actions should stem the impacts of climate change where opportunities 
to do so exist.
    We evaluated the models proposed by the commenters, and in some 
instances, we acknowledge that these models have more detail, often 
resulting from site-specific information. However, that site 
specificity could not be incorporated into a model that would assess 
the species' habitat rangewide because there is insufficient 
corresponding data from all sites across the entire range of the 
Pacific Coast WSP (i.e., from Washington to the Mexican border in 
California). Other models proposed by commenters used different 
parameters than the models we employed, and thus, could not be used 
consistently. The models we selected reflected conditions across the 
range for the Pacific Coast WSP. Because we anticipated that use of 
models would be controversial, we chose to use those developed or 
accepted by the Department of the Interior.
    We intentionally did not address the cause(s) for sea-level rise in 
our revised proposed rule (76 FR 16046; March 22, 2011), as it is 
subject to debate in many forums outside this critical habitat 
designation process. However, there are ample data to support that sea-
level rise is occurring, and it will continue into the future. The 
models we used provide perspective on the extent and time at which we 
can expect sea-level rise to occur (refer to Climate Change section 
above).
    (16) Comment: Two commenters questioned the need to list the 
Pacific Coast WSP as threatened.
    Our Response: As noted above in response to Comment 7, this finding 
does not address whether the Pacific Coast WSP should be listed, but 
rather concerns whether revisions should be made to critical habitat 
for the Pacific Coast WSP. See 71 FR 20607 (April 21, 2006) for 
information on the listing of the Pacific Coast WSP.
    (17) Comment: Three commenters believe that we underestimate the 
impacts of predation, and overstate the effects of human-caused 
disturbance.
    Our Response: Predation is a leading cause of Pacific Coast WSP 
adult, chick, and egg mortality; however, the significance of predation 
varies by site. With the influx of common ravens to Santa Barbara, San 
Luis Obispo, Monterey, and Santa Cruz Counties to coastal habitat since 
the late 1990s, predation pressure has increased in some areas. 
Predator management, both nonlethal and lethal, has been effective at 
many sites. Predator management is generally considered a recovery 
action, outside the process for designating critical habitat (Page et 
al. 2008, pp. 1-11).
    Regarding human disturbance and effects to Pacific Coast WSP, there 
is a relationship between human beach use and predation. Disturbance 
associated with human beach use can result in Pacific Coast WSPs 
flushing from their nest. When this occurs, the birds leave tracks in 
the sand, and those foot tracks can lead predators to the nest and 
result in egg loss. Also, unmanaged or poorly managed trash associated 
with a variety of uses, including recreational use, can also attract 
potential predators to beach habitats. Gulls, ravens, and crows are 
known Pacific Coast WSP predators and are good examples of species that 
are attracted to areas with improper trash management practices. 
Outreach and education focusing on these human-associated concerns will 
assist in reducing predator interaction with the Pacific Coast WSP.
    Pacific Coast WSPs can withstand some disturbance. Their tolerance 
to disturbance will vary by site (see our response to Comment 18 
below), and may vary by the individual experience of a single bird. 
Disturbance can come from both predators and human-caused sources.
    (18) Comment: Comments regarding the primary constituent elements 
(PCEs) were wide-ranging. Some commenters stated that the ``minimal 
disturbance'' element limited the Service's selection of potential 
units, while other commenters asserted that several units should not be 
designated due to too much disturbance. One commenter suggested that 
``minimal disturbance'' is better considered under Special Management 
Considerations.
    Our Response: We generally consider that there are three 
generalized threats, or limiting factors, to conservation and recovery 
of the Pacific Coast WSP. Specifically, we consider limiting factors to 
conservation to be: (1) Predation; (2) habitat loss and degradation; 
and (3) disturbance. These three factors may vary in importance by 
site, and their sequence here should not indicate a priority or level 
of importance.
    For the Pacific Coast WSP, there are natural and human-caused 
disturbances that affect the species and its habitat. Pacific Coast 
WSPs respond differently to disturbance depending on the type of 
disturbance, its frequency, and the timing of the disturbance. By way 
of example, breeding Pacific Coast WSPs appear to be more sensitive to 
disturbance than wintering plovers. Pacific Coast WSPs are more likely 
to flush from, or abandon, a nest during the early incubation stages. 
They are less likely to abandon a nest as eggs approach hatching, 
presumably because a significant time has been spent incubating and 
defending the nest. Human presence at isolated beaches on Vandenberg 
Air Force Base, for example, can result in Pacific Coast WSPs flushing 
at a greater distance than plovers at Oceano Dunes SVRA, where they are 
subject to greater disturbance and have the ability to ``habituate.'' 
Vandenberg and Oceano Dunes SVRA are only approximately 30 mi (48 km) 
apart. Consequently, disturbance is ``relative'' to site conditions. 
Minimal disturbance is a PCE because it is a component of a unit's 
suitability and should be considered in Pacific Coast WSP conservation, 
and therefore, in critical habitat designation. The amount, timing, and 
extent of disturbance may be best addressed as a special management 
consideration. We considered sites with a range of disturbance, and 
each site designated is regionally important.
    (19) Comment: One commenter stated that the Service is constraining 
critical habitat protection by using criteria not

[[Page 36735]]

consistent with the Act. Specifically, use of criteria other than the 
PCEs limits the Service's ability to designate habitat.
    Our Response: Stating our selection criteria and methods is 
necessary for public disclosure (refer to Methods Used to Designate 
Critical Habitat and Physical and Biological Features sections). The 
selection criteria relate to how we determine where the PCEs, or 
elements of physical and biological features that are essential to the 
conservation of the Pacific coast WSP, are on the landscape. Therefore, 
our selection criteria define how we determined ``essential areas'' for 
designation of critical habitat.
    (20) Comment: One commenter suggested that we include habitat 
buffers in our designation.
    Our Response: The Act does not provide for us to designate buffer 
habitat. We are directed by section 4 of the Act to designate only 
those specific areas determined to be either essential to or for the 
conservation of the species. The areas identified as critical habitat 
within units that are not occupied, and may be unsuitable at the 
present, still meet the definition of critical habitat as they will 
play a role in Pacific Coast WSP conservation as sea-level rise occurs. 
These areas are not considered buffers.
    (21) Comment: One commenter raised issues with the increase in unit 
size on their lands from the 2005 designation. Other landowners that 
are within proposed critical habitat units, but have property at some 
distance from the water's edge, questioned the need to designate their 
properties as critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP.
    Our Response: In many instances, the units are wider in this rule 
than designated in 2005, because we anticipate sea-level rise and want 
to ensure there remains adequate critical habitat following inundation. 
It is difficult to determine where the effects of sea-level rise will 
be the most significant, because we expect beach morphology or habitat 
characteristics to change. Inland expansion of unit boundaries 
(generally eastward) beyond those in the 2005 designation are expected 
to offset potential adverse effects of sea-level rise.
    Our maps and unit descriptions indicate a westward increase in unit 
boundaries for this rule in many cases. The inclusion of the intertidal 
zone is a function of better mapping and the updated National 
Agriculture Imagery (NAIP) used for this rule, as well as our desire to 
use the ``water's edge'' as a boundary. The intertidal zone plays an 
important role in providing the physical and biological features of 
most of the designated units. As a consequence, the intertidal zone is 
included in our designation where appropriate. Having the water's edge 
as the westward, or ocean-side boundary, gives a clear demarcation of 
the unit boundary when actually visiting the site.
    Other expansions of unit boundaries beyond those in the 2005 
designation occurred as a result of using new information that better 
identifies the physical or biological features essential to Pacific 
Coast WSP. Thus, the new unit boundaries were drawn using the best 
scientific information available to the Service.
    (22) Comment: Two commenters believe the Service violated both the 
Act and Administrative Procedure Act by failing to adequately detail 
the difference in the revised proposed rule over the 2005 designation.
    Our Response: In the revised proposed rule, we outlined our methods 
and explained differences between the prior September 2005 final rule 
and the March 2011 revised proposed rule in the Summary of Changes From 
Previously Designated Critical Habitat section (76 FR 16054; March 22, 
2011). We changed the methods used to designate critical habitat 
because of the need to address sea-level rise and provide conservation 
of the species and its habitat based on the 2007 Recovery Plan for the 
species. These changes resulted in the proposed revision to designated 
critical habitat and the proposed designation of additional areas as 
critical habitat, and in some cases, a proposed expansion in the size 
of areas designated in 2005.
    We also reviewed the areas excluded from the 2005 final critical 
habitat designation based upon section 4(b)(2) of the Act. Our March 
22, 2011, revised proposal of critical habitat did not include any 
proposed exclusions, but we did request public comment as to whether 
any specific areas being proposed as revised critical habitat should be 
excluded under section 4(b)(2) of the Act. Based on comments received 
on the 2011 revised proposed rule and our analysis conducted pursuant 
to the Act, in this revised final designation we have excluded several 
areas (see Application of Section 4(b)(2) of the Act and Exclusions 
sections below). Because of these exclusions and other modifications to 
various units, as described elsewhere in this rule, the areas included 
in this final revised critical habitat designation differ from those 
proposed in March 2011. The methodology and process used to calculate 
acreage was discussed in the proposed revised rule (and herein), and 
there has been no deviation from that process.
    (23) Comment: Two commenters believed the Service violated the 
Administrative Procedure Act and the Act by failing to provide adequate 
notice of the extent of critical habitat. Specifically, commenters 
believe the maps provided in the revised proposed rule were inadequate.
    Our Response: The critical habitat maps are coarse, compared to 
detailed land ownership. However, the Geographical Information System 
(GIS) layers for the unit polygons were posted on the Arcata Fish and 
Wildlife Office Web site, and were available for downloading during the 
public comment periods. The availability of the GIS data complies with 
both the Administrative Procedure Act and the Act. We notified 
landowners, informing them that critical habitat was being proposed for 
designation on lands in coastal areas from Washington to southern 
California. Because of the scale of the revised proposed designation, 
some individual landowners may have been missed, but we made a good 
faith effort to reach all those that could be identified at the time of 
the proposal. We also were available upon request to go over maps as 
needed and were directly contacted by several landowners that sought 
clarification of ownership during the open public comment periods.
    (24) Comment: Two commenters stated that the Service failed to 
adequately explain why retaining all previously designated critical 
habitat is essential.
    Our Response: By court settlement, the Service agreed to conduct a 
rulemaking to consider potential revisions to the 2005 critical habitat 
designation. Our Methods and Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat 
sections in the 2011 revised proposed rule explain how we selected 
areas essential to and for the conservation of the species. The methods 
applied in 2011 were similar to those used in the 2004 proposed rule 
and 2005 final rule. Each unit in this designation contains a 
description explaining how it meets the Act's definition and our 
criteria for designation as critical habitat.
    Our revised final designation varies from the 2005 rule. There are 
exclusions and exemptions in this revised final rule that were not in 
the previous rule (refer to our sections on Summary of Changes from the 
Revised Proposed Rule).
    (25) Comment: Two commenters suggested that the Service violated 
the Act by proposing units that were not occupied at the time of 
listing.
    Our Response: Critical habitat is defined under section 3 of the 
Act as (1) the specific areas within the

[[Page 36736]]

geographical area occupied by a species, at the time it was listed in 
accordance with the Act, on which are found those physical or 
biological features (a) essential to the conservation of the species, 
and (b) which may require special management considerations or 
protection; and (2) the specific areas outside the geographical area 
occupied by a species at the time it was listed, upon a determination 
that such areas are essential for the conservation of the species. Some 
units are designated based on this second prong; these units, such as 
WA 1, were not occupied at the time of listing but have been determined 
to be essential for the conservation of the species.
    In addition, some units included in this designation may not be 
occupied year-round. However, they are essential for conservation 
because they constitute important wintering sites where breeding does 
not occur, or important breeding sites. Unit CA 9 is an example of a 
unit designated for its importance as wintering site.
    Unit OR 12 is designated because, although it is unoccupied, it 
serves an essential role in conservation by connecting other units and 
thus facilitating Pacific Coast WSP movement from site to site 
depending on habitat availability, allowing additional foraging or 
wintering opportunities. This site is expected to play an important 
role as sea-level rise inundates other sites. The site is identified in 
the 2007 Recovery Plan as a recovery site.
    (26) Comment: One commenter stated that the Service violated the 
Information (Data) Quality Act because the revised proposed rule is not 
clear regarding the science used to develop the rule.
    Our Response: The revised proposed rule, and this final revision to 
critical habitat, are in fact clear in describing the science used to 
develop the rule. In our Background and Critical Habitat--Methods Used 
to Designate Critical Habitat sections, we discuss the types of 
information used to develop the designation, as well as the models, 
mapping techniques, and other materials used to develop the revised 
proposed rule. We selected models and data that could be consistently 
used throughout the Pacific Coast WSP's range, and avoided site-
specific models and data that would be more difficult to obtain.
    (27) Comment: One commenter stated that the public should be able 
to review input from peer reviewers.
    Our Response: Peer review is conducted concurrently with the public 
comment period. Peer reviewers are provided the same information as the 
public; however, because of their experience with the species or 
similar species, they are asked to provide a detailed review. 
Typically, their response is provided by the closing date of the public 
comment period; therefore, there is no opportunity for the public to 
comment on peer-review input. Peer-reviewer input has been summarized 
in this rule, but the full text is available upon request at the Arcata 
Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES section).
    (28) Comment: Some commenters provided Pacific Coast WSP use 
information for sites that were not proposed for designation. 
Specifically, sites in Oregon and the Monterey Bay region of California 
were referenced. Commenters felt that the Service did not fully 
consider all sites, stating that the omitted sites provide connectivity 
and thus value to critical habitat.
    Our Response: We proposed sites that have regional and rangewide 
importance. Many sites in northern California have comparatively little 
Pacific Coast WSP use relative to sites both to the north and to the 
south. However, we are designating those sites because of the large gap 
in breeding and wintering Pacific Coast WSPs from southern Sonoma 
County, California, to New River in Oregon. The fluctuation in the 
breeding population and the connectivity value of the sites within a 
large gap in the Pacific Coast WSP's range justifies their inclusion in 
designation.
    Habitat is dynamic, and species may move from one area to another 
over time. We recognize that critical habitat designated at a 
particular point in time may not include all of the habitat areas that 
we may later determine are necessary for the recovery of the species. 
For these reasons, a critical habitat designation does not signal that 
habitat outside the designated area is unimportant or may not be needed 
for recovery of the species.
    (29) Comment: A commenter in Washington expressed concern that 
beach nourishment at Shoalwater Bay by the USACE would impact 
designated critical habitat. Additional, detailed information was 
provided by another commenter during the second comment period for the 
same unit, related to the USACE's beach nourishment project.
    Our Response: These comments raise issues related to section 7 of 
the Act, which requires that Federal agencies ensure that their actions 
do not jeopardize species or adversely modify or destroy designated 
critical habitat. If the USACE engages in beach nourishment projects at 
Shoalwater Bay, such actions may require consultation with the Service 
to determine the project's effects on Pacific Coast WSP and on 
designated critical habitat (refer to Effects of Critical Habitat 
Designation--Section 7 Consultation).
    (30) Comment: Private landowners from all three States raised 
concerns that designation of critical habitat on their property would 
prevent use of their land and adjacent land. Several believe the 
designation would increase regulation and curtail development and 
enjoyment. Some municipalities expressed similar concerns.
    Our Response: A critical habitat designation may result in 
limitations to land use only in association with land use or management 
practices that require a Federal permit, Federal funding, or 
discretionary action by a Federal agency (i.e., a Federal nexus). If a 
project requires such Federal involvement, then the action and its 
effects to the Pacific Coast WSP and its designated critical habitat 
would be evaluated under section 7 of the Act (refer to Effects of 
Critical Habitat Designation--Section 7 Consultation). Actions that do 
not have a Federal nexus may continue, provided there is no take of 
Pacific Coast WSPs. If take of Pacific Coast WSPs is anticipated, an 
individual may seek an incidental take permit from the Service for the 
Pacific Coast WSP on the lands where the action is to occur. The 
designation of critical habitat does not affect a non-Federal action.
    (31) Comment: Two commenters reported on the importance of certain 
sites in Sonoma County, California, specifically Salmon Creek Beach and 
Doran Spit.
    Our Response: We agree that the Salmon Creek Beach and Doran Spit 
sites are important to Pacific Coast WSP conservation. However, their 
overall importance relative to other sites within Recovery Unit 4 
(refer to the Recovery Plan; Service 2007) is not as great. Breeding is 
variable at both Salmon Creek Beach and Doran Spit, as well as at more 
northern sites (e.g., CA 8, Manchester Beach). Monitoring of the sites 
will continue, and the Service will work with beach managers to 
implement appropriate recovery actions that will further conservation 
of the Pacific Coast WSP at these sites.
    (32) Comment: Four commenters questioned why critical habitat was 
not proposed for Ocean Beach, Pacifica State Beach, and Gazos Creek in 
San Francisco and San Mateo Counties. Commenters also expressed the 
importance of Laguna Creek State Beach and Seabright State Beach, 
noting their collective importance.
    Our Response: We agree that these sites are important to Pacific 
Coast WSP

[[Page 36737]]

conservation. However, the potential of these sites as breeding areas 
is lower than that of the sites we designated for breeding (see the 
Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat section below) (Service 
2007, pp. B9-B12; Service 2011, p. 16053). Similarly the numbers of 
wintering birds supported by the suggested sites is lower than that of 
the sites we designated for wintering alone, and wintering needs are 
also met by many of the sites designated for breeding. The suggested 
areas also do not strongly advance the goals of increasing diverse 
habitat, maintaining connectivity, or utilizing restored areas for 
plover conservation. However, monitoring of the suggested sites will 
continue, and we will work with beach managers to implement appropriate 
recovery actions that will further conservation of the Pacific Coast 
WSP at these sites.
    (33) Comment: One commenter ``petitioned'' for exclusions under 
section 4(b)(2) of the Act for both Oceano Dunes SVRA, and a 4-ac (2-
ha) area near Sand City, California.
    Our Response: Although there is no 4(b)(2) petition process for 
exclusions of areas from designation of critical habitat, we have 
considered the comment in terms of whether Oceano Dunes SVRA and Sand 
City sites should be excluded from this designation. The commenter 
cited economic considerations in support of exclusion; these were 
addressed in the final economic analysis (FEA) for the revised proposed 
rule (refer to the Exclusions section below). The FEA did not identify 
any disproportionate costs associated with designation of critical 
habitat at either Oceano Dunes SVRA or the Sand City sites (refer to 
our response to Comment 14 above, and to ``Exclusions based on Economic 
Impacts'' below), and consequently, these sites were not considered for 
economic exclusions. Moreover, in order for lands to be excluded under 
section 4(b)(2) of the Act, the benefits of excluding the area must 
outweigh the benefits of including those lands as critical habitat. In 
this case, the benefits of excluding the ``petitioned'' lands do not 
outweigh the benefits of including those lands (for instance section 7 
and 10 obligations under the Act; increased public awareness of Pacific 
Coast WSP habitat, and potential indirect oversite by State and local 
governments) in this final revised designation.
    (34) Comment: Three commenters requested exclusions or partial 
exclusions to Units CA 38, CA 39, and CA 41 because they believe those 
areas do not contain the PCEs due to disturbance.
    Our Response: Refer to our response to Comment 8 above. Our 
response to Comment 17 also addresses disturbance.

Comments on the Draft Economic Analysis

Comments on Development
    (35) Comment: Several commenters expressed concern that the 
designation of critical habitat within the Sand City coastal zone in 
Unit CA 22 will create regulatory uncertainty with associated costs for 
future development projects in the area. Additionally, the California 
Coastal Commission (CCC) may view the designation of critical habitat 
as ``overriding'' the previously approved Sand City local coastal plan 
(LCP), which allows for the development of two coastal resorts. If 
these projects do not move forward, jobs and tax revenue that would 
have been generated by the developments would be lost.
    Our Response: As stated in section 4.2.2 of the FEA, we acknowledge 
that incremental indirect impacts resulting from future litigation or 
increased scrutiny from State agencies may include denial of 
development permits for the Sterling-McDonald and Security National 
Guaranty (SNG) sites in Sand City, Unit CA 22. Due to uncertainty 
surrounding the likelihood and extent of such indirect impacts, we are 
unable to quantify any potential impacts. Specifically, such a 
calculation requires information about both the probability that 
current development plans will be affected and the magnitude of 
impacts, neither of which can be determined at this time, nor directly 
attributed to the critical habitat designation. The commenter provides 
estimates of total revenues anticipated to be generated by these 
projects; however, assuming total loss of these revenues implies that 
such an impact will occur with 100 percent certainty. It is possible, 
based on recent litigation concerning the site and limits to the CCC's 
authority to amend the previously approved local coastal program, 
development will move forward as planned and not be affected by the 
designation. Therefore, this analysis does not attempt to quantify 
these impacts, but notes that such impacts are possible and, if they 
occur, would be an incremental result of critical habitat designation.
    (36) Comment: One commenter expressed concern that the SNG 
development site in Sand City, CA (Unit CA 22), is vulnerable to 
indirect incremental impacts of the designation. The commenter stated 
that if critical habitat were designated in this previously excluded 
area, the development project would be subject to further 
administrative burden related to review by the CCC. The commenter 
expressed concern that critical habitat may be used by the CCC or other 
agencies as a further reason to deny a coastal development permit or 
other approval, resulting in increased litigation and associated costs.
    Our Response: The DEA and FEA acknowledge the potential for 
increased indirect impacts to SNG due to the designation of critical 
habitat. The FEA notes that such indirect impacts are possible, and if 
they occur, may be an incremental result of critical habitat 
designation. However, as explained in section 4.2.2 of the FEA, we do 
not quantify these impacts due to considerable uncertainty surrounding 
the probability that the development permits will be denied or that the 
development will face legal action due to the designation of critical 
habitat. To this point, the commenter provides documentation suggesting 
that denial of a permit by CCC could be illegal in light of recent 
court decisions. An assumption that development will not proceed at the 
site as planned is thus highly speculative.
    (37) Comment: One commenter requested clarification of the meaning 
of the phrase ``land's option value for development,'' as used in 
section 4.2.2, paragraph 148, and in Exhibits ES-4 and 4-4, of the DEA.
    Our Response: The FEA incorporates clarifying language in section 
4.2.2. ``Option value'' refers to the fact that land values incorporate 
an expectation of residential or commercial development, in terms of 
likelihood and timing, and the associated returns to the landowner.
    (38) Comment: In the context of the indirect impacts to SNG 
development, a commenter stated that it is not helpful or meaningful to 
characterize economic impacts as indirect because the term may suggest 
that indirect impacts are of lesser magnitude than direct impacts.
    Our Response: As described in section 2.4.2 of the FEA, the 
designation of critical habitat may, under certain circumstances, 
affect actions that do not have a Federal nexus and thus are not 
subject to the provisions of section 7 under the Act. Indirect 
incremental impacts are those unintended changes in behavior that may 
occur outside of the Act, through other Federal, State, or local 
actions, and that may be caused by the designation of critical habitat. 
The FEA does not intend to diminish the magnitude of such impacts by 
calling them indirect. The FEA may not quantify indirect impacts in 
some instances due to the considerable

[[Page 36738]]

uncertainty surrounding their likelihood and magnitude.
    (39) Comment: One commenter requested that the Service utilize the 
estimate of economic impacts for Unit CA 22 contained in the 2005 
economic analysis when making a decision to exclude units from critical 
habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act.
    Our Response: The 2005 economic analysis was developed under a co-
extensive framework, which considered and quantified both baseline 
costs, as well as incremental impacts of the designation. As described 
in sections 2.1 and 2.2 (as well as in Exhibit 2-1), the 2011 DEA 
distinguishes the incremental costs of designation from baseline costs, 
whereas the 2005 economic analysis evaluated all Pacific Coast WSP 
(baseline and incremental) conservation costs collectively. That is, 
the impacts estimated in the 2005 Economic Analysis captured costs of 
Pacific Coast WSP conservation regardless of whether they resulted 
specifically from critical habitat designation or from other Federal, 
State, or local regulations. The 2011 DEA instead characterizes all 
potential future Pacific Coast WSP conservation as either baseline 
(expected to occur even without the designation of critical habitat) or 
incremental (expected to occur only if critical habitat is designated). 
The FEA qualitatively discusses baseline Pacific Coast WSP conservation 
and quantifies the incremental impacts.
    The identification and estimation of incremental impacts is 
consistent with direction provided by the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) to Federal agencies for the estimation of the costs and 
benefits of Federal regulations (see OMB, Circular A-4, 2003). It is 
also consistent with several recent court decisions, including Cape 
Hatteras Access Preservation Alliance v. U.S. Department of the 
Interior, 344 F. Supp. 2d 108 (D.D.C.); Center for Biological Diversity 
v. U.S. Bureau of Land Management, 422 F. Supp. 2d 1115 (N.D. Cal. 
2006); Home Builders Association of Northern California v. United 
States Fish and Wildlife Service, 616 F.3d 983 (9th Cir. 2010), cert. 
denied, 179 L. Ed 2d 301, 2011 U.S. Lexis 1392, 79 U.S.L.W. 3475 
(2011); and Arizona Cattle Growers v. Salazar, 606 F. 3d 1160 (9th Cir. 
2010), cert. denied, 179 L. Ed. 2d 300, 2011 U.S. Lexis 1362, 79 
U.S.L.W. 3475 (2011). These decisions found that estimation of 
incremental impacts stemming solely from the designation is proper.
    (40) Comment: One commenter asserted that additional administrative 
burden and project modifications are necessary under the Act for a 
USACE beach nourishment project in subunit WA 3B due to the Pacific 
Coast WSP's recent colonization of subunit WA 3B.
    Our Response: The FEA includes the estimated administrative cost of 
section 7 consultation related to this beach nourishment project in 
subunit WA 3B. As described in section 4.2.5 of the FEA, due to the 
designation of critical habitat, this project's previous informal 
consultation will need to be reinitiated in 2012, to consider the 
adverse modification standard. This project is short-term and occurs in 
a critical habitat unit occupied by the Pacific Coast WSP, but could 
have permanent impacts on critical habitat. The analysis assumes that 
no project modifications would be necessary to avoid adverse 
modification of critical habitat in addition to what has already been 
proposed to reduce impacts to the Pacific Coast WSP. However, until the 
section 7 analysis is complete, it remains unknown if an adverse 
modification determination will be the resultant outcome.
    (41) Comment: Although the revised critical habitat does not 
overlap any areas currently used for recreation in subunit CA 55B 
(Coronado Beach), a commenter expressed concern that the designation of 
critical habitat could impact future recreation activities in the 
subunit. These activities included lifeguarding activities, beach 
access, and construction of a bike path and pedestrian trail. The 
commenter also expressed concern that a popular dog beach north of the 
critical habitat designation in subunit CA 55B could be affected by 
critical habitat.
    Our Response: If there is a Federal nexus, the future construction 
of a bike path and pedestrian trail could result in section 7 
consultation with the Service if the project may affect Pacific Coast 
WSPs or designated critical habitat. Costs associated with this 
consultation have been added to section 4.2.1 of the FEA; however, 
these costs would be incurred only if activities are subject to a 
Federal nexus. Because subunit CA 55B is considered occupied by the 
Pacific Coast WSP and these projects are considered long-term 
activities, the incremental impacts associated with these projects are 
limited to the administrative cost of addressing the adverse 
modification standard during consultation.
    The lifeguard facilities and activities are not part of a Federal 
action, and therefore, would not involve an adverse modification 
analysis for critical habitat under section 7 of the Act. As the dog 
beach to the north of subunit CA 55B is not part of this designation as 
critical habitat, the FEA does not consider impacts to activities 
occurring at this beach.
Comments on Recreation
    (42) Comment: A commenter stated that if the open riding and 
camping area of Oceano Dunes SVRA was to be restored to support the 
PCEs identified in the revised proposed critical habitat rule, there 
would be substantial adverse economic impacts. The commenter asserted 
that restoration of PCEs in this area would require eliminating camping 
and off-highway vehicle (OHV) riding opportunities in 563 ac (228 ha), 
or approximately one third of the area currently open to riding.
    Our Response: Activities at Oceano Dunes SVRA are not currently 
subject to a Federal nexus. Because critical habitat only applies to 
activities implemented by a Federal agency or that require Federal 
authorization or funding, we do not expect the operations of the park 
to change due to critical habitat designation. As noted in section 
4.2.1 of the FEA and Exhibits ES-4 and 4-4, indirect impacts to Oceano 
Dunes SVRA are possible, but the analysis does not quantify the impacts 
due to considerable uncertainty surrounding the probability that the 
CCC will alter its current permit or Oceano Dunes SVRA will face legal 
action due to the designation of critical habitat. The FEA notes, 
however, that such impacts are possible, and if they were to occur, 
they would be considered incremental results of the designation.
    (43) Comment: One commenter asserted that the revised proposed 
critical habitat rule fails to consider the economic impacts of this 
rule on operations and recreational opportunities in Oceano Dunes SVRA. 
The commenter expressed concerns that the revised critical habitat 
designation could result in significant delays to crucial visitor-
service efforts or resource management efforts, including the placement 
of new restrooms, restoration of sensitive vegetation islands, and 
regular maintenance of perimeter fence to prevent trespass of vehicles 
into closed areas or adjacent private property. The commenter asserted 
that the additional time necessary to undertake section 7 consultation 
could jeopardize projects, jeopardize project funding, and result in 
significant loss of recreational opportunities in Oceano Dunes SVRA. 
Loss of recreational opportunities would, in turn, result in 
significant loss of income for local businesses and the local economy. 
Two commenters submitted an economic analysis prepared for the 
California

[[Page 36739]]

Department of Parks and Recreation, Off Highway Motor Vehicle 
Recreation Division, estimating the overall economic contribution of 
Oceano Dunes SVRA to be $171 million annually.
    Our Response: Our analysis notes in section 4.2.1 of the FEA and in 
Exhibits ES-4 and 4-4 that reducing or eliminating the area available 
for riding at Oceano Dunes SVRA would result in welfare losses and 
regional economic impacts. Beach users would incur social welfare 
losses due to forgone trips or a diminished beach experience (for 
example, due to crowding). In addition, regional economic impacts arise 
due to reductions in beach recreation-related expenditures caused by 
fewer recreation-related trips. The regional economic impacts that 
could result from reducing or eliminating the riding area would 
represent some portion of the $171 million annual economic impact of 
Oceano Dunes SVRA estimated by the commenter.
    However, activities on Oceano Dunes SVRA are not currently subject 
to a Federal nexus. Therefore, the Service does not expect the 
operations of the park to change due to critical habitat designation, 
nor does it expect administrative impacts (or delays) associated with 
undertaking section 7 consultation. As we note in section 4.2.1 of the 
FEA and in Exhibits ES-4 and 4-4, indirect impacts to Oceano Dunes SVRA 
are possible, but the analysis does not quantify the impacts due to 
considerable uncertainty surrounding the probability that the CCC will 
alter its current permit or that Oceano Dunes SVRA will face legal 
action due to the designation of critical habitat. In addition, the 
area within Oceano Dunes SVRA within Unit CA 31 is occupied by both 
breeding and wintering Pacific Coast WSP, and as a result any project 
modifications that may take place would be a result of having to avoid 
take of the species and not because of the designation of critical 
habitat and would be considered baseline impacts of the designation.
    (44) Comment: A commenter expressed concern that the designation of 
critical habitat could impact beach management activities, tourism, 
and, in turn, tax revenues in the City of Santa Barbara.
    Our Response: Section 4.2.2 of the FEA describes expected economic 
impacts related to dredging and beach nourishment projects in Unit CA 
35, Santa Barbara Beaches. This section acknowledges the potential for 
administrative impacts to semi-annual beach management activities 
caused by the designation of critical habitat for the Pacific Coast 
WSP. Beach nourishment projects in this unit are not likely to incur 
incremental project modifications, as they are short-term and temporary 
in nature. As Unit CA 35 is occupied by the Pacific Coast WSP, any 
project modifications proposed in this unit would be due to the 
presence of the Pacific Coast WSP and are considered baseline impacts 
of the designation. Therefore, the designation of critical habitat is 
not expected to impact beach access, tourism, or tax revenues in the 
City of Santa Barbara.
    (45) Comment: One commenter expressed concern that the designation 
of critical habitat on Los Angeles County beaches (CA 43, CA 44, CA 
45A-D) could impact future recreational activities and daily 
maintenance operations, such as beach raking and sanitizing sandy 
beaches, collecting trash, cleaning restroom facilities, and 
maintaining volleyball courts.
    Our Response: Unless such recreational and maintenance activities 
are subject to a Federal nexus, as defined under the section titled 
Effects of Critical Habitat Designation, we do not expect these 
activities to be affected by designation of critical habitat on Los 
Angeles County beaches.
Comments on Habitat Management
    (46) Comment: One commenter asserted that inclusion of proposed 
units OR 1, OR 2, OR 3, OR 5, and OR 11 generates additional stress on 
the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) when applying for 
Federal grants to execute habitat management projects for the plover by 
creating a Federal nexus where one did not previously exist. The 
commenter asserted that this Federal nexus needlessly belabors efforts 
to improve habitat for the plover and forces OPRD and the Service to 
expend additional staff time addressing items that have already been 
accounted for in the habitat conservation plan (HCP) process.
    Our Response: As stated in the footnote to Exhibit 3-2 of the FEA, 
and as delineated in Table 3 below, Units OR 1, OR 2, OR 3, OR 4, OR 5, 
OR 6, OR 12, and OR 13 are considered unoccupied and consultation with 
the Service would not occur absent critical habitat designation. Unit 
OR 11 is considered occupied by the Service and therefore, if a Federal 
nexus exists, consultation may be necessary to address project impacts 
to the species as well as critical habitat. In the unoccupied units, 
costs of addressing critical habitat effects during consultation and 
all administrative costs of consultation are considered incremental 
impacts of the designation, regardless of activity duration or the 
permanency of habitat impacts. Following this methodology, the FEA 
forecasts costs in Units OR 1 and OR 3 associated with future jetty 
repair as incremental impacts of the designation. For Units OR 2 and OR 
5, we do not foresee projects in these areas, and no specific planned 
or ongoing projects were identified by the commenter. Therefore, the 
FEA does not quantify additional impacts related to future OPRD habitat 
management projects.
    Note that most areas covered by OPRD's HCP have been excluded from 
the revised final critical habitat designation. Consequently, Federal 
grants obtained by the State and other entities to conduct habitat 
restoration or other actions in the excluded areas will not require a 
section 7 critical habitat analysis, unless those activities are to 
occur in areas not specifically excluded (i.e., within designated 
critical habitat).
    (47) Comment: One commenter stated that proposed units CA 55E and 
CA 55G are managed under the San Diego Bay INRMP, a joint INRMP between 
the U.S. Navy Southwest Division and the San Diego Unified Port 
District (Port of San Diego), prepared in the year 2000. The commenter 
requested that these lands be exempted from critical habitat, similar 
to the exemption of military lands in the proposed rule.
    Our Response: As described under the section titled Exemptions, the 
Sikes Act Improvement Act of 1997 (Sikes Act) (16 U.S.C. 670a) required 
each military installation that includes land and water suitable for 
the conservation and management of natural resources to complete an 
integrated natural resources management plan (INRMP) by November 17, 
2001. As a result to a 2004 amendment to the Act, section 4(a)(3)(B)(i) 
now provides: ``The Secretary shall not designate as critical habitat 
any lands or other geographical areas owned or controlled by the 
Department of Defense, or designated for its use, that are subject to 
an integrated natural resources management plan prepared under section 
101 of the Sikes Act (16 U.S.C. 670a), if the Secretary determines in 
writing that such plan provides a benefit to the species for which 
critical habitat is proposed for designation.'' The Department of 
Defense (DOD) lands we identified as essential for the conservation of 
the Pacific Coast WSP within San Diego Bay have been exempted under 
section 4(a)(3)(B) of the Act. There are two INRMPs covering Navy land 
in south San Diego County (2002 Naval Base Coronado INRMP and 2000 San 
Diego Bay INRMP). All exemptions of Navy lands, including those within 
San Diego Bay, were based

[[Page 36740]]

on the 2002 Naval Base Coronado INRMP (see Exemptions section). The 
Port of San Diego owns non-DOD lands that are managed using the 2000 
San Diego Bay INRMP. Because we have a well-established partnership 
with the Port of San Diego for Pacific Coast WSP conservation, in this 
final rule we have excluded, under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, the 
critical habitat within the plan area that is managed by the Port of 
San Diego (Subunits CA 55E and CA 55G) (see Exclusions section).

Summary of the 2005 Rule

    On September 29, 2005 (70 FR 56970), we designated approximately 
12,150 ac (4,922 ha) as critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP. We 
included 32 units within Washington, Oregon, and California. The unit 
breakdown by State is as follows: Washington, 3 units (2,526 ac (1,023 
ha)); Oregon, 5 units (2,147 ac (869 ha)); and California, 24 units 
(7,477 ac (3,026 ha)). During our comparison of the 2005 final critical 
habitat designation and this revised final designation, we discovered 
that the acreage totals for some units or areas were in error. The 
totals for areas for the 2005 rule identified within this rule are the 
correct totals.

Summary of Changes From the Revised Proposed Rule

    On March 22, 2011 (76 FR 16046), we proposed to designate 28,261 ac 
(11,436 ha) of critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP in 68 units. 
On January 17, 2012 (77 FR 2243), we reopened the comment period and 
made changes to our March 22, 2011, revised proposed rule. 
Specifically, we announced the availability of the draft economic 
analysis on our March 22, 2011, revised proposed critical habitat rule 
(76 FR 16046); identified the taxonomic and nomenclature change for the 
Pacific Coast WSP; proposed to exempt Vandenberg Air Force Base under 
provisions in section 4(a)(3) of the Act due to their newly approved 
INRMP; and proposed changes to Unit CA 46: Bolsa Chica State Beach and 
Bolsa Chica Reserve. The most significant changes between the March 22, 
2011, and January 17, 2012, revised proposed rule and this revised 
final rule are outlined in Table 2 below and include:
    (1) In the document announcing the availability of the DEA (77 FR 
2243; January 17, 2012), we stated we were considering exempting the 
Department of Defense (DOD) lands at Vandenberg Air Force Base (AFB) 
within Units CA 32 and CA 33 from the designation of critical habitat 
based on the April 14, 2011, approved INRMP, which contains 
conservation measures that protect the Pacific Coast WSP. We have 
determined that the actions being implemented through the Vandenberg 
AFB INRMP provide a benefit to the Pacific Coast WSP, and therefore, we 
are exempting approximately 1,135 ac (459 ha) of DOD land in Units CA 
32 and CA 33 under section 4(a)(3) of the Act. For a complete 
discussion of exemptions under section 4(a)(3) of the Act, see 
Exemptions section below.
    (2) During the public comment period on the proposed rule, we 
received information from the Navy that approximately 8 ac (3 ha) of 
DOD lands were included in the revised proposed critical habitat within 
Unit CA 22 in Monterey County, California. The Navy submitted an 
amended INRMP for these lands. We have reviewed the amended INRMP and 
have determined that it provides conservation benefits for the Pacific 
Coast WSP and its habitat. We have exempted the 8 ac (3 ha) of DOD 
lands from the designation under section 4(a)(3) of the Act, see 
Exemptions section below.
    (3) We finalized our exclusion analysis under section 4(b)(2) of 
the Act. Approximately 3,797 ac (1,537 ha) of habitat are excluded from 
the revised final critical habitat designation based on this analysis. 
This represents approximately 16 percent of the habitat that was 
proposed. See the Exclusions section, below, for more information. 
Approximately 425 ac (172 ha) of tribal lands are excluded from subunit 
WA 3B, including all land under the jurisdiction of the Shoalwater Bay 
Tribe. Another 3,309 ac (1,339 ha) of critical habitat is being 
excluded under the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Habitat 
Conservation Plan, City of San Diego Subarea Plan (under the Multi-
Species Conservation Plan) and the Carlsbad Habitat Management Plan 
(under the Multi-species Habitat Conservation Plan). An additional 63 
ac (25 ha) of Port of San Diego managed lands within subunits CA 55E 
and CA 55G are being excluded based on a management plan for the 
Pacific Coast WSP and our partnership with the Port. We determined that 
excluding these lands would not result in extinction of the Pacific 
Coast WSP, and that the benefits of excluding these lands outweigh the 
benefits of including them. Consequently, the Secretary is exercising 
his discretion to exclude approximately 3,797 ac (1,537 ha) of land in 
Washington, Oregon, and California under section 4(b)(2) of the Act. 
For a complete discussion of exclusions under section 4(b)(2) of the 
Act, see Exclusions section below.
    (4) Based on comments received by the USACE and the public, we 
revised Unit CA 46, Bolsa Chica State Beach (subunit CA 46A), and Bolsa 
Chica Reserve (subunits 46E and 46F). The Unit was revised to include 
approximately 471 ac (191 ha), a net decrease of approximately 34 ac 
(14 ha) from the proposal. As described in our January 17, 2012, 
Federal Register notice, the new areas identified better reflect lands 
essential to the Pacific Coast WSP (77 FR 2243).
    (5) We received information from the Willapa National Wildlife 
Refuge (NWR) during development of this final rule regarding habitat 
suitability to the Pacific Coast WSP at the refuge, and the extent of 
Federal jurisdiction. As a result, we modified the unit boundaries for 
WA 4A, Leadbetter Spit. In the March 2011 proposed rule, WA 4A was 
identified as having 2,463 ac (997 ha) of habitat meeting criteria for 
designation as critical habitat (76 FR 16046). Federal jurisdiction 
goes to ordinary high tide line. The acreage estimate under the 
proposed rule was incorrect, and the revised unit is approximately 125 
ac (50 ha) smaller. In addition, the proposed rule did not account for 
acreage that was unlabeled in the parcel data, similar to the situation 
described in point (6) below (see Table 1). Within Subunit WA 4A, 
approximately 1,713 ac (693 ha) are managed by Washington State and 987 
ac (399 ha) are on Willapa National Wildlife Refuge (Federal).
    Similarly, Shoalwater Bay Tribe Reservation lands included in Unit 
WA 3B, Shoalwater/Graveyard Spit, were miscalculated in the revised 
proposed rule (76 FR 16046). Tribal lands have been recalculated to be 
425 ac (172 ha) in this revised final rule, all of which are excluded 
from designation under 4(b)(2) of the Act (see Exclusions section).
    (6) During finalization of our critical habitat designation, we 
discovered inconsistencies in the calculation of some of the acreages 
for proposed units. The inconsistencies resulted from calculations 
based on parcel data (i.e. ownership data), which do not contain the 
intertidal zone and other lands managed by the California State Lands 
Commission (and the similar agency for Washington). Consequently, those 
acres were not included in the unit acreage totals in the proposed 
revised rule. Table 1 lists the affected units.
    Maps in the proposed revised rule for the affected units in Table 1 
accurately depict the intended unit boundaries, including the unlabeled 
lands managed by the California State Lands Commission and the State of 
Washington (76 FR 16046). In addition, our methods discussion in this 
final revision reflects our decision to use the

[[Page 36741]]

water's edge as the westward or ocean-side unit boundary (refer to our 
Methods Used to Designate Critical Habitat section, and our response to 
Comment 4 in the Summary of Comments and Recommendations section). This 
revised final designation includes the intertidal zone and other lands 
managed by state land commission agencies. Therefore, adequate notice 
has been provided regarding our intent to designate critical habitat 
for the Pacific Coast WSP to the water's edge.
    (7) There were several discrepancies between text and tables in the 
2005 final critical habitat rule for the Pacific Coast WSP (70 FR 
56970). The information provided in this revised final rule is compared 
to the tables in the 2005 revised rule (see Table 2 below in this rule 
for comparison). Rounding error remains an issue, and may result in a 
difference in acreages between tables in this revised final designation 
and previous rules. However, these differences in acreages are small, 
and the data provided within this rule remain representative of our 
designation. Legal descriptions and GIS data layers are available at 
http://www.fws.gov/arcata/es/birds/WSP/plover.html, or upon request to 
the Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT above).

  Table 1--Units With Discrepancies From Parcel Data and Unit Boundary.
  The Difference in Acreage (Hectares) Is Reflected in Lands Under the
          Jurisdiction of the California State Lands Commission
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        Total unit area
             Unit name              Proposed acres ac   recalculated ac
                                           (ha)               (ha)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
WA 4A Leadbetter Spit.............        2,463 (997)      2,700 (1,093)
CA 2 Gold Bluffs Beach............           144 (58)           233 (94)
CA 3A Stone Lagoon................            52 (21)            55 (22)
CA 3B Big Lagoon..................           212 (86)          268 (108)
CA 4A Clam Beach/Little River.....           194 (79)          337 (136)
CA 5A Humboldt Bay South Spit.....          419 (170)          572 (231)
CA 5B Eel River North Spit and              259 (105)          464 (188)
 Beach............................
CA 6 Eel River Gravel Bars........        1,139 (461)        1,349 (546)
CA 7 MacKerricher Beach...........        1,176 (476)        1,218 (493)
CA 8 Manchester Beach.............          482 (195)          505 (204)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Values in table may not sum due to rounding.


  Table 2--Changes Between the September 29, 2005, Pacific Coast WSP Revised Critical Habitat Designation; the
   March 22, 2011, and the January 17, 2012, Revised Proposed Designation; and This Revised Final Designation
                       [Acreage values are approximate and may not total due to rounding]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       2005 Designation of      2011 and 2012 Revised      2012 Revised final
                                    revised critical habitat    proposed revisions to       critical habitat
   Critical habitat unit in this            in AC/HA            the critical habitat      designation in AC/HA
        revised final rule         --------------------------   designation in AC/HA   -------------------------
                                                             --------------------------
                                         AC           HA           AC           HA           AC           HA
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Washington:
    WA 1 Copalis Spit.............  ...........  ...........          407          165          407          165
    WA 2 Damon Point..............          908          368          673          272          673          272
    WA 3A Midway Beach............          786          318          697          282          697          282
    WA 3B Shoalwater/Graveyard      ...........  ...........         1121          454          696          282
     Spit.........................
    WA 4A Leadbetter Spit.........          832          337         2463          997         2700         1093
    WA 4B Gunpowder Sands Island..  ...........  ...........          904          366          904          366
                                   -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Washington Totals.........         2526         1022         6265         2535         6077         2459
                                                                                       -------------------------
Oregon:
    OR 1 Columbia River Spit......  ...........  ...........          169           68   Excluded under 4(b)(2).
                                                                                       -------------------------
    OR 2 Necanicum River Spit.....  ...........  ...........          211           85           11            4
                                                                                       -------------------------
    OR 3 Nehalem River Spit.......  ...........  ...........          299          121   Excluded under 4(b)(2).
                                                                                       -------------------------
    OR 4 Bayocean Spit............          207           84          367          149          201           82
                                                                                       -------------------------
    OR 5 Netarts Spit.............  ...........  ...........          541          219   Excluded under 4(b)(2).
                                                                                       -------------------------
    OR 6 Sand Lake South..........  ...........  ...........          200           81            5            2
    OR 7 Sutton/Baker Beaches.....          260          105          372          151          276          112
    OR 8A Siltcoos Breach.........            8            3           15            6           15            6
    OR 8B Siltcoos River Spit.....          527          213          241           97          116           47
    OR 8C Dunes Overlook/           ...........  ...........          716          290          383          155
     Tahkenitch Creek Spit........
    OR 8D North Umpqua River Spit.  ...........  ...........          236           95           59           24
    OR 9 Tenmile Creek Spit.......          235           95          244           99          223           90
    OR 10 Coos Bay North Spit.....          278          113          308          125          273          111

[[Page 36742]]

 
    OR 11 Bandon to New River.....          632          256         1016          411          541          219
                                                                                       -------------------------
    OR 12 Elk River Spit..........  ...........  ...........          167           68   Excluded under 4(b)(2).
                                                                                       -------------------------
    OR 13 Euchre Creek Spit.......  ...........  ...........          116           47            9            4
                                   -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Oregon Totals.............         2147          869         5218         2112         2112          855
California:
    CA 1 Lake Earl................           57           24           74           30           74           30
    CA 2 Gold Bluffs Beach........  ...........  ...........          144           58          233           94
    CA 3A Stone Lagoon............  ...........  ...........           52           21           55           22
    CA 3B Big Lagoon..............          280          113          212           86          268          108
    CA 4A Clam Beach/Little River.          155           63          194           79          337          136
    CA 4B Mad River Beach.........          377          153          456          185          452          183
    CA 5A Humboldt Bay South Spit.          375          152          419          170          572          231
    CA 5B Eel River North Spit and          283          114          259          105          464          188
     Beach........................
    CA 5C Eel River South Spit and          402          163          339          137          336          136
     Beach........................
    CA 6 Eel River Gravel Bars....         1193          483         1139          461         1349          546
    CA 7 MacKerricher Beach.......         1048          424         1176          476         1218          493
    CA 8 Manchester Beach.........          341          138          482          195          505          204
    CA 9 Dillon Beach.............  ...........  ...........           39           16           39           16
    CA 10A Point Reyes............          462          187          460          186          460          186
    CA 10B Limantour..............          124           50          156           63          156           63
    CA 11 Napa-Sonoma.............  ...........  ...........          618          250          618          250
    CA 12 Hayward.................  ...........  ...........            1            0            1            0
    CA 13A Eden Landing...........  ...........  ...........          237           96          237           96
    CA 13B Eden Landing...........  ...........  ...........          171           69          171           69
    CA 13C Eden Landing...........  ...........  ...........          609          246          609          246
    CA 14 Ravenswood..............  ...........  ...........           89           36           89           36
    CA 15 Warm Springs............  ...........  ...........          168           68          168           68
    CA 16 Half Moon Bay...........           37           15           36           15           36           15
    CA 17 Waddell Creek Beach.....            9            4           25           10           25           10
    CA 18 Scott Creek Beach.......           19            8           23            9           23            9
    CA 19 Wilder Creek Beach......           10            4           15            6           15            6
    CA 20 Jetty Road to Aptos.....  ...........  ...........          399          161          399          161
    CA 21 Elkhorn Slough Mudflats.          281          114          281          114          281          114
    CA 22 Monterey to Moss Landing  ...........  ...........          967          391          959          388
                                                                                       -------------------------
                                    ...........  ...........  ...........  ...........  8 ac (3 ha) exempt under
                                                                                                4(a)(3).
                                                                                       -------------------------
    CA 23 Point Sur Beach.........           61           25           72           29           72           29
    CA 24 San Carpoforo Creek.....  ...........  ...........           24           10           24           10
    CA 25 Arroyo Laguna Creek.....  ...........  ...........           28           11           28           11
    CA 26 San Simeon State Beach..           28           11           24           10           24           10
    CA 27 Villa Creek Beach.......           17            7           20            8           20            8
    CA 28 Toro Creek..............  ...........  ...........           34           14           34           14
    CA 29 Atascadero Beach/Morro    ...........  ...........          213           86          213           86
     Strand State Beach...........
    CA 30 Morro Bay Beach.........  ...........  ...........         1076          435         1076          435
    CA 31 Pismo Beach/Nipomo Dunes  ...........  ...........         1652          669         1652          669
                                                                                       -------------------------
    CA 32 Vandenberg North........  ...........  ...........          711          288    Exempt under 4(a)(3).
                                                                                       -------------------------
    CA 33 Vandenberg South........  ...........  ...........          424          172    Exempt under 4(a)(3).
                                                                                       -------------------------
    CA 34 Devereaux Beach.........           36           15           52           21           52           21
    CA 35 Santa Barbara Beaches...  ...........  ...........           65           26           65           26
    CA 36 Santa Rosa Island         ...........  ...........          586          237          586          237
     Beaches......................
    CA 37 San Buenaventura Beach..  ...........  ...........           70           28           70           28
    CA 38 Mandalay Beach to Santa           350          142          672          272          672          272
     Clara River..................
    CA 39 Ormond Beach............          175           71          320          130          320          130
                                                             ---------------------------------------------------
    CA 40, CA 41 Mugu Lagoon......           87           35    Exempt under 4(a)(3)
                                      Exempt under 4(a)(3).
                                                             ---------------------------------------------------

[[Page 36743]]

 
    CA 42 San Nicolas Island......  ...........  ...........    Exempt under 4(a)(3)
                                      Exempt under 4(a)(3).
                                                             ---------------------------------------------------
    CA 43 Zuma Beach..............           68           28           73           30           73           30
    CA 44 Malibu Beach............  ...........  ...........           13            5           13            5
    CA 45A Santa Monica Beach.....           25           10           48           19           48           19
    CA 45B Dockweiler North.......           43           17           34           14           34           14
    CA 45C Dockweiler South.......           24           10           65           26           65           26
    CA 45D Hermosa State Beach....           10            4           27           11           27           11
    CA 46A Bolsa Chica State Beach            4            2           93           38           93           38
    CA 46B Bolsa Chica Reserve....  ...........  ...........            2            1            2            1
    CA 46C Bolsa Chica Reserve....          591          239          222           90          222           90
    CA 46D Bolsa Chica Reserve....  ...........  ...........            2            1            2            1
    CA 46E Bolsa Chica Reserve....  ...........  ...........          247          100          247          100
    CA 46F Bolsa Chica Reserve....  ...........  ...........            2            1            2            1
    CA 47 Santa Ana River Mouth...           13            5           19            8           19            8
    CA 48 Balboa Beach............  ...........  ...........           25           10           25           10
                                                             ---------------------------------------------------
    CA 49 San Onofre Beach-Marine            49           20    Exempt under 4(a)(3)
     Corps Base Camp Pendleton....
                                      Exempt under 4(a)(3).
                                                             ---------------------------------------------------
    CA 50A-C Batiquitos Lagoon....           65           26           66           27   Excluded under 4(b)(2).
                                                                                       -------------------------
    CA 51A-C San Elijo Lagoon       ...........  ...........           15            6           15            6
     Ecological Reserve...........
                                                                                       -------------------------
    CA 52A San Dieguito Lagoon....  ...........  ...........            4            2            4            2
                                                                                       -------------------------
    CA 52B San Dieguito Lagoon....  ...........  ...........            3            1   Excluded under 4(b)(2).
                                                                                       -------------------------
    CA 52C San Dieguito Lagoon....  ...........  ...........            4            2   Excluded under 4(b)(2).
                                                                                       -------------------------
    CA 53 Los Penasquitos Lagoon..           24           10           32           13   Excluded under 4(b)(2).
                                                                                       -------------------------
    CA 54A Fiesta Island..........  ...........  ...........            2            1   Excluded under 4(b)(2).
                                                                                       -------------------------
    CA 54B Mariner's Point........  ...........  ...........            7            3   Excluded under 4(b)(2).
                                                                                       -------------------------
    CA 54C South Mission Beach....  ...........  ...........           38           15   Excluded under 4(b)(2).
                                                                                       -------------------------
    CA 54D San Diego River Channel  ...........  ...........           51           21   Excluded under 4(b)(2).
                                                             ---------------------------------------------------
    CA 55A orth Island............           44           18    Exempt under 4(a)(3)
                                      Exempt under 4(a)(3).
                                                             ---------------------------------------------------
    CA 55B Coronado Beach.........  ...........  ...........           74           30           74           30
                                                             ---------------------------------------------------
    CA 55C Silver Strand Beach....  ...........  ...........    Exempt under 4(a)(3)
                                      Exempt under 4(a)(3).
                                                             ---------------------------------------------------
    CA 55D Delta Beach............  ...........  ...........    Exempt under 4(a)(3)
                                      Exempt under 4(a)(3).
                                                             ---------------------------------------------------
    CA 55E Sweetwater Marsh                 128           52          132           54           79           32
     National Wildlife Refuge and
     D Street Fill................
    CA 55F Silver Strand State      ...........  ...........           82           33           82           33
     Beach........................
                                                                                       -------------------------
    CA 55G Chula Vista Wildlife     ...........  ...........           10            4   Excluded under 4(b)(2).
     Reserve......................
                                                                                       -------------------------
    CA 55H Naval Radio Receiving    ...........  ...........           66           27    Exempt under 4(a)(3).
     Facility.....................
                                                                                       -------------------------
    CA 55I San Diego National       ...........  ...........            5            2            5            2
     Wildlife Refuge South Bay
     Unit.........................
    CA 55J Tijuana Estuary and              182           74          150           61          150           61
     Border Field State Park......
                                   -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
        California Totals.........        7,477        3,026       16,896        6,838       16,337        6,612
                                   -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 36744]]

 
            Total *...............       12,150        4,917       28,379       11,485       24,527        9,926
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Values in table may not sum due to rounding.

    In summary, this revised final critical habitat designation 
includes approximately 24,527 ac (9,926 ha) in 60 units, after 
excluding portions of Units/subunits WA 3B, OR 1-7, OR 8A-D, OR 9-13, 
CA 50A-C, CA 52B-C, CA 53, CA 54A-D, CA 55E, CA 55G, and CA 55I 
(approximately 3,797 ac (1,537 ha)) based on consideration of economic, 
national security, and other relevant impacts (see Exclusions). The 
areas identified in this revised final rule constitute revisions of 
areas excluded and designated as critical habitat for the Pacific Coast 
WSP on September 29, 2005 (70 FR 56970), and proposed revisions to that 
rule published on March 22, 2011 (76 FR 16046) and January 17, 2012 (77 
FR 2243). This revised final critical habitat designation includes 
approximately 6,077 ac (2,460 ha) in 4 units within Washington, 
approximately 2,112 ac (856 ha) in 9 units within Oregon, and 16,337 ac 
(6,612 ha) in 47 units within California. Table 2 above outlines the 
differences between the 2005 final critical habitat rule (70 FR 56970; 
September 29, 2005), the 2011 and 2012 proposed revisions to the 
critical habitat designation (76 FR 16046, March 22, 2011; 77 FR 2243, 
January 17, 2012, respectively), and this revised final critical 
habitat designation for the Pacific Coast WSP. For more information on 
the differences between the 2005 critical habitat rule and the 2011 
revised proposed critical habitat rule and 2012 amendment, please see 
the Summary of Changes From Previously Designated Critical Habitat 
section of the revised proposed critical habitat rule published in the 
Federal Register on March 22, 2011 (76 FR 16046), and the Changes to 
Proposed Revised Critical Habitat section of the document published in 
the Federal Register on January 17, 2012 (77 FR 2243).

Critical Habitat

Background

    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the Act as:
    (1) The specific areas within the geographical area occupied by a 
species, at the time it is listed in accordance with the Act, on which 
are found those physical or biological features:
    (a) Essential to the conservation of the species and
    (b) Which may require special management considerations or 
protection; and
    (2) Specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by a 
species at the time it is listed, upon a determination that such areas 
are essential for the conservation of the species.
    Conservation, as defined under section 3 of the Act, means to use 
and the use of all methods and procedures that are necessary to bring 
any endangered or threatened species to the point at which the measures 
provided under the Act are no longer necessary. Such methods and 
procedures include, but are not limited to, all activities associated 
with scientific resources management such as research, census, law 
enforcement, habitat acquisition and maintenance, propagation, live 
trapping, and transplantation, and, in the extraordinary case where 
population pressures within a given ecosystem cannot otherwise be 
relieved, may include regulated taking.
    Critical habitat receives protection under section 7 of the Act 
through the requirement that Federal agencies ensure, in consultation 
with the Service, that any action they authorize, fund, or carry out is 
not likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification of 
critical habitat. The designation of critical habitat does not affect 
land ownership or establish a refuge, wilderness, reserve, preserve, or 
other conservation area. Such designation does not allow the government 
or public to access private lands. Such designation does not require 
implementation of restoration, recovery, or enhancement measures by 
non-Federal landowners. Where a landowner requests Federal agency 
funding or authorization for an action that may affect a listed species 
or critical habitat, the consultation requirements of section 7(a)(2) 
would apply, but even in the event of a destruction or adverse 
modification finding, the obligation of the Federal action agency and 
the landowner is not to restore or recover the species, but to 
implement reasonable and prudent alternatives to avoid destruction or 
adverse modification of critical habitat.
    Under the first prong of the Act's definition of critical habitat, 
areas within the geographical area occupied by the species at the time 
it was listed are included in a critical habitat designation if they 
contain physical or biological features (1) which are essential to the 
conservation of the species and (2) which may require special 
management considerations or protection. In this final rule, we also 
designate areas within the Pacific Coast WSP's historical range that 
may not have been occupied at listing. We designate those areas because 
we have determined that those areas are essential for the conservation 
of the species. For both the occupied and unoccupied areas (at the time 
of listing), critical habitat designation identifies, to the extent 
known using the best scientific and commercial data available, those 
physical or biological features that are essential to the conservation 
of the species (such as space, food, cover, and protected habitat). In 
identifying those physical and biological features within an area, we 
focus on the principal biological or physical constituent elements 
(primary constituent elements such as roost sites, nesting grounds, 
seasonal wetlands, water quality, tide, soil type) that are essential 
to the conservation of the species. Primary constituent elements are 
the elements of physical or biological features that, when laid out in 
the appropriate quantity and spatial arrangement to provide for a 
species' life-history processes, are essential to the conservation of 
the species.

[[Page 36745]]

    Under the second prong of the Act's definition of critical habitat, 
we can designate critical habitat in areas outside the geographical 
area occupied by the species at the time it is listed, upon a 
determination that such areas are essential for the conservation of the 
species. For example, an area currently occupied by the species but 
that was not occupied at the time of listing may be essential to the 
conservation of the species and may be included in the critical habitat 
designation. We designate critical habitat in areas outside the 
geographical area occupied by a species only when a designation limited 
to its range would be inadequate to ensure the conservation of the 
species.
    Section 4 of the Act requires that we designate critical habitat on 
the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available. 
Further, our Policy on Information Standards Under the Endangered 
Species Act (published in the Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 
34271)), the Information Quality Act (section 515 of the Treasury and 
General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Pub. L. 
106-554; H.R. 5658)), and our associated Information Quality 
Guidelines, provide criteria, establish procedures, and provide 
guidance to ensure that our decisions are based on the best scientific 
data available. They require our biologists, to the extent consistent 
with the Act and with the use of the best scientific data available, to 
use primary and original sources of information as the basis for 
recommendations to designate critical habitat.
    When we are determining which areas should be designated as 
critical habitat, our primary source of information is generally the 
information developed during the listing process for the species. 
Additional information sources may include the recovery plan for the 
species, articles in peer-reviewed journals, conservation plans 
developed by States and counties, scientific status surveys and 
studies, biological assessments, other unpublished materials, or 
experts' opinions or personal knowledge.
    Habitat is dynamic, and species may move from one area to another 
over time. We recognize that critical habitat designated at a 
particular point in time may not include all of the habitat areas that 
we may later determine are necessary for the recovery of the species. 
For these reasons, a critical habitat designation does not signal that 
habitat outside the designated area is unimportant or may not be needed 
for recovery of the species. Areas that are important to the 
conservation of the species, both inside and outside the critical 
habitat designation, will continue to be subject to: (1) Conservation 
actions implemented under section 7(a)(1) of the Act, (2) regulatory 
protections afforded by the requirement in section 7(a)(2) of the Act 
for Federal agencies to insure their actions are not likely to 
jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened 
species, and (3) the prohibitions of section 9 of the Act if actions 
occurring in these areas may affect the species. Federally funded or 
permitted projects affecting listed species outside their designated 
critical habitat areas may still result in jeopardy findings in some 
cases. These protections and conservation tools will continue to 
contribute to recovery of this species. Similarly, critical habitat 
designations made on the basis of the best available information at the 
time of designation will not control the direction and substance of 
future recovery plans, habitat conservation plans (HCPs), or other 
species conservation planning efforts if new information available at 
the time of these planning efforts calls for a different outcome.
Relationship of Critical Habitat to Recovery Planning
    Areas that are important to the conservation of the species, but 
are outside the critical habitat designation, will continue to be 
subject to conservation actions we implement under section 7(a)(1) of 
the Act. Areas that support populations are also subject to the 
regulatory protections afforded by the section 7(a)(2) jeopardy 
standard, as determined on the basis of the best available scientific 
information at the time of the agency action. Federally funded or 
permitted projects affecting listed species outside their designated 
critical habitat areas may still result in jeopardy findings in some 
cases. Similarly, critical habitat designations made on the basis of 
the best available information at the time of designation will not 
control the direction and substance of future recovery plans, HCPs, or 
other species conservation planning efforts if new information 
available at the time of these planning efforts calls for a different 
outcome.
    In developing this revised final rule, we considered the 
conservation relationship between critical habitat and recovery 
planning. Although recovery plans formulate the recovery strategy for a 
species, they are not regulatory documents, and there are no specific 
protections, prohibitions, or requirements afforded a species based 
solely on a recovery plan. Furthermore, although critical habitat 
designation can contribute to the overall recovery strategy for a 
species, it does not, by itself, achieve recovery plan goals.
    In Appendix C of the Recovery Plan (Service 2007), the Service 
recommends management actions that can be taken by land managers to 
benefit the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP. Some actions should 
be implemented with other measures to maximize the recovery potential. 
Other recovery actions need to be instituted when conditions change; 
for example, when there is increased predation, or the type of predator 
changes. Monitoring and intensive management may be required at some 
sites.
    We expect that there will be an increased need for management 
(i.e., implementation of recovery actions) as ``coastal squeeze'' 
occurs with a rising shift in sea level. A land manager's response will 
likely vary by site, depending on the site needs at that time. 
Additional planning may be required to set priorities to the expected 
change in habitat condition.
    Much information has been collected since the Pacific Coast WSP's 
listing as threatened in 1993. Those data that define life history 
parameters need to be regularly assessed to gain a better understanding 
of Pacific Coast WSP survivorship, response to predation and 
disturbance, and response to changing habitats. A revised population 
viability analysis (Service 2007, Appendix D) will assist biologists 
and land managers to understand population movements, and perhaps 
prioritize areas suitable for intensive management. Cost-effective 
management at a few, well-distributed sites may assist with long-term 
Pacific Coast WSP conservation, and allow for the sharing of resources.

Methods

    As required by section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we used the best 
scientific data available in determining areas that contain the 
features essential to the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP. Data 
sources included research published in peer-reviewed articles and 
previous Service documents on the species. Additionally, we utilized 
regional Geographic Information System (GIS) shape files for area 
calculations and mapping (also refer to Methods section in the 2011 
revised proposed rule published at 76 FR 16046).

Physical or Biological Features

    In accordance with section 3(5)(A)(i) and 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act and 
regulations at 50 CFR 424.12, in determining which areas within the 
historical range and geographical area occupied by the

[[Page 36746]]

species at the time of listing to designate as critical habitat, we 
consider the physical or biological features essential to the 
conservation of the species and which may require special management 
considerations or protection. These include, but are not limited to:
    (1) Space for individual and population growth and for normal 
behavior;
    (2) Food, water, air, light, minerals, or other nutritional or 
physiological requirements;
    (3) Cover or shelter;
    (4) Sites for breeding, reproduction, or rearing (or development) 
of offspring; and
    (5) Habitats that are protected from disturbance or are 
representative of the historical, geographical, and ecological 
distributions of a species.
    We derive the specific physical or biological features essential 
for the Pacific Coast WSP from studies of this species' habitat, 
ecology, and life history as described in the Critical Habitat section 
of the revised proposed rule to designate critical habitat published in 
the Federal Register on March 22, 2011 (76 FR 16046), and in the 
information presented below. Additional information can be found in the 
final listing rule published in the Federal Register on March 5, 1993 
(58 FR 12864), and the Recovery Plan for the Pacific Coast Population 
of the Western Snowy Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus) finalized 
on August 13, 2007 (Service 2007). We have determined that the Pacific 
Coast WSP requires the following physical or biological features.

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

    The historical range of the Pacific Coast WSP extends from Copalis 
Spit, Washington, south along the Pacific Coast of Oregon and 
California to Bahia Magdelena, Baja California, Mexico. The Pacific 
Coast WSP breeds primarily above the high tide line on coastal beaches, 
sand spits, dune-backed beaches, sparsely vegetated dunes, beaches at 
creek and river mouths, and salt pans at lagoons and estuaries. Less 
common nesting habitats include bluff-backed beaches, dredged material 
disposal sites, salt pond levees, dry salt ponds, and river bars. In 
winter, Pacific Coast WSPs are found on many of the beaches used for 
nesting as well as on beaches where they do not nest, including manmade 
salt ponds and on estuarine sand and mud flats. Despite the variation 
in the types of habitat where the Pacific Coast WSP is found, these 
habitats all share the same general characteristics of typically being 
flat, open areas with sandy or saline substrates, with usually sparse 
or absent vegetation or driftwood (Stenzel et al. 1981, p. 18; Service 
2007).
    In addition to the varying habitat types identified above, 
individual habitat characteristics also vary across the Pacific Coast 
WSP's range. For example, beach habitats in the southern part of its 
range are generally characterized by large, flat, open spaces, whereas 
beach habitats within the northern part of the range (north of Tomales 
Bay, CA) are smaller, more widely distributed, and often associated 
with stream mouths, bays, or estuaries. These varying habitat types and 
availability contribute to the Pacific Coast WSP's ability to maintain 
its use of coastal areas for breeding and wintering across its range 
and are considered an essential physical or biological feature for the 
species.

Space for Individual and Population Growth and for Normal Behavior

    Pacific Coast WSPs require space for foraging and establishment of 
nesting territories. These areas vary widely in size depending on 
habitat type, habitat availability, life-history stage, and activity. 
As stated in the Background section of the revised proposed designation 
(76 FR 16046; March 22, 2011), males establish nesting territories that 
vary from about 0.25 to 2.5 ac (0.1 to 1.0 ha) at interior sites (Page 
et al. 1995, p. 10) and 1.2 ac (0.5 ha) in coastal salt pan habitat, 
with beach territories perhaps larger (Warriner et al. 1986, p. 18). 
Foraging activities also occur in non-territorial areas up to 5 mi (8 
kilometers (km)) from the nesting sites when not incubating. Essential 
areas must therefore extend beyond nesting territories to include space 
for foraging during the nesting season and space for overwintering, and 
to provide for connectivity with other portions of the Pacific Coast 
WSP's range. Pacific Coast WSPs may overwinter at locations where there 
is no current breeding, but where breeding may have occurred in the 
past (e.g. Dillon Beach, CA-9). These wintering areas provide important 
areas for overwinter survival, provide protections for historical 
nesting areas, and allow for connectivity between sites. These open 
areas also allow plovers to fully utilize their camouflage and running 
speed to avoid predators and to catch prey. Based on the information 
above, we identify areas surrounding known breeding and wintering areas 
containing space for nesting territories, foraging activities, and 
connectivity for dispersal and nonbreeding or nesting use to be a 
physical or biological feature needed by this species.

Food, Water, Air, Light, Minerals, or Other Nutritional or 
Physiological Requirements

    Pacific Coast WSPs typically forage in open areas by locating prey 
visually and then running to seize it with their beaks (Page et al. 
1995, p. 12). They may also probe in the sand for burrowing 
invertebrates, or charge flying insects that are resting on the ground, 
snapping at them as they flush. Accordingly they need open areas in 
which to forage, to facilitate both prey location and capture. Deposits 
of tide-cast wrack such as kelp or driftwood tend to attract certain 
invertebrates, and so provide important foraging sites for plovers 
(Page et al. 1995, p. 12). Pacific Coast WSPs forage both above and 
below high tide, but not while those areas are underwater. Foraging 
areas will therefore typically be limited by water on their shoreward 
side, and by dense vegetation or development on their landward sides. 
Therefore, we have identified open, sandy areas which may contain tide-
cast wrack or other vegetative debris to attract prey as a physical or 
biological feature needed by this species.
    Pacific Coast WSPs use sites of freshwater for drinking where 
available, but some historical nesting sites, particularly in southern 
California, have no obvious nearby freshwater sources. Adults and 
chicks in those areas must be assumed to obtain their necessary water 
from the food they eat. Accordingly we have not included freshwater 
sites as a physical or biological feature for the species.

Cover or Shelter

    Pacific Coast WSPs occupy open beach or similar areas for the 
majority of their life functions. Such open areas provide little cover 
or shelter from predators, human disturbance, winds, storms, and the 
extreme high tides associated with weather events, and these conditions 
cause many nest losses. Pacific Coast WSPs and their eggs are well 
camouflaged against light colored, sandy or pebbly backgrounds (Page et 
al. 1995, p. 12), so open areas with such substrates actually 
constitute shelter for purposes of nesting. Chicks may also crouch near 
driftwood, dune plants and piles of kelp to hide from predators (Page 
and Stenzel 1981, p. 7). Plovers readily scrape blown sand out of their 
nests, but there is little they can do to protect their nests against 
serious storms or flooding other than to attempt to lay a new clutch if 
the old one is lost (Page et al. 1995, p. 8). No studies have 
quantified the amount of vegetation

[[Page 36747]]

cover that would make an area unsuitable for nesting or foraging, but 
coastal nesting and foraging locations typically have relatively well-
defined boundaries between open sandy substrate favorable to Pacific 
Coast WSPs and unfavorably dense vegetation inland. Such bounds show up 
well in aerial and satellite photographs, which we used to map 
essential habitat features. Therefore, based on the information above, 
we have identified areas with sandy or pebbly backgrounds or other 
substrate which provide camouflage for eggs, young, and nesting adults 
and areas that contain driftwood, dune plants, piles of kelp or other 
materials which provide cover and shelter to be physical or biological 
features needed by this species.

Sites for Breeding, Reproduction, and Rearing (or Development) of 
Offspring

    Pacific Coast WSPs nest in depressions in open, relatively flat 
areas, near to tidal waters but far enough away to avoid being 
inundated by daily tides. Typical substrate is sandy or pebbly beaches, 
but plovers may also lay their eggs in existing depressions on harder 
ground such as salt pan, cobblestones, or dredge tailings. As stated 
earlier, Pacific Coast WSPs and their eggs are well camouflaged against 
light-colored, sandy or pebbly backgrounds (Page et al. 1995, p. 12), 
Where available, dune systems with numerous flat areas and easy access 
to the shore are particularly favored for nesting. Plover nesting areas 
must provide shelter from predators and human disturbance, as discussed 
above. Unfledged chicks forage with one or both parents, using the same 
foraging areas and behaviors as adults.

Undisturbed Areas

    Disturbance of nesting or brooding plovers by humans and domestic 
animals can be a major factor affecting nesting success. Pacific Coast 
WSPs leave their nests when humans or pets approach too closely. Dogs 
may also deliberately chase plovers and inadvertently trample nests, 
while vehicles may directly crush adults, chicks, or nests, separate 
chicks from brooding adults, and interfere with foraging and mating 
activities (Warriner et al. 1986, p. 25; Service 1993, p. 12871; Ruhlen 
et al. 2003, p. 303). Repeated flushing of incubating plovers exposes 
the eggs to the weather and depletes energy reserves needed by the 
adult, which may result in reductions to nesting success. Surveys at 
Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, from 1994 to 1997, found the 
rate of nest loss on southern beaches at the Base to be consistently 
higher than on northern beaches, where recreational use was much lower 
(Persons and Applegate 1997, p. 8). Ruhlen et al. (2003, p. 303) found 
that increased human activities on Point Reyes beaches resulted in a 
lower chick survival rate.
    Pacific Coast WSP require relatively undisturbed areas. However, 
disturbance appears to be a relative feature that varies between sites 
and Pacific Coast WSPs seem to respond differently to disturbance by 
site. Consequently, one level of disturbance at a particular site may 
not be detrimental at another site. ``Relatively undisturbed'' is 
therefore a site-specific consideration. For example, incubating 
Pacific Coast WSPs at Vandenberg Air Force Base are easily disturbed 
because there is little human-related activity and noise due to the 
military mission of the Air Force. At Oceano Dunes SVRA about 30 miles 
to the south, Pacific Coast WSPs appear to tolerate more noise and 
activity. With intensive management, the reproductive success for 
Pacific Coast WSPs at Oceano Dunes SVRA is fairly high, although it 
varies from year to year.
    Recent efforts in various areas along the Pacific coast that have 
been implemented to isolate nesting plovers from recreational beach 
users through the use of docents, symbolic fencing, and public outreach 
have correlated with higher nesting success in those areas (Page, et 
al. 2003, p. 3). Therefore we have identified undisturbed areas that 
allow the species to conduct their ``normal activities'' to be a 
physical or biological feature essential for the species.

Primary Constituent Elements for the Pacific Coast Western Snowy Plover

    Pursuant to the Act and its implementing regulations under 50 CFR 
424.12, we are required to identify the physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP in areas 
occupied at the time of listing, focusing on the features' primary 
constituent elements. We consider primary constituent elements to be 
the elements of physical or biological features that provide for a 
species' life-history processes and are essential to the conservation 
of the species. We are designating critical habitat in areas within the 
geographical areas that were occupied by the species at the time of 
listing that continue to be occupied today, that contain the primary 
constituent elements in the quantity and spatial arrangement to support 
life-history functions essential for the conservation of the species, 
and that may require special management considerations or protection. 
We are also designating areas outside the geographical area occupied by 
the species at the time of listing, but are essential for the 
conservation of the species. These sites are within the historical 
range of the Pacific Coast WSP, and were used by the species prior to 
listing. See Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat section below 
for a discussion of the species' historical and current geographic 
range.
    We believe conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP is dependent upon 
multiple factors, including the conservation and management of areas to 
maintain ``normal'' ecological functions, where existing populations 
survive and reproduce. We are designating areas of critical habitat 
that provide some or all of the elements of physical or biological 
features essential for the conservation of this species. Based on the 
best available information, the primary constituent elements (PCEs) 
essential to the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP are the 
following:
    Sandy beaches, dune systems immediately inland of an active beach 
face, salt flats, mud flats, seasonally exposed gravel bars, artificial 
salt ponds and adjoining levees, and dredge spoil sites, with:
    (1) Areas that are below heavily vegetated areas or developed areas 
and above the daily high tides;
    (2) Shoreline habitat areas for feeding, with no or very sparse 
vegetation, that are between the annual low tide or low-water flow and 
annual high tide or high-water flow, subject to inundation but not 
constantly under water, that support small invertebrates, such as 
crabs, worms, flies, beetles, spiders, sand hoppers, clams, and 
ostracods, that are essential food sources;
    (3) Surf- or water-deposited organic debris, such as seaweed 
(including kelp and eelgrass) or driftwood located on open substrates 
that supports and attracts small invertebrates described in PCE 2 for 
food, and provides cover or shelter from predators and weather, and 
assists in avoidance of detection (crypsis) for nests, chicks, and 
incubating adults; and
    (4) Minimal disturbance from the presence of humans, pets, 
vehicles, or human-attracted predators, which provide relatively 
undisturbed areas for individual and population growth and for normal 
behavior.
    The critical habitat identified in this revised rule contains the 
primary constituent elements in the appropriate quantity and spatial 
arrangement essential to the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP, and 
supports multiple life processes for the species.

[[Page 36748]]

Portions of some critical habitat units may be currently degraded; 
however, these areas could be restored with special management, thereby 
providing suitable habitat to offset habitat loss from anticipated sea-
level rise resulting from climate change. Additional areas are proposed 
as critical habitat to allow a recovering Pacific Coast WSP population 
to occupy its former range, and allow adjustment to changing conditions 
(e.g. shifting sand dunes), expected sea-level rise, and human 
encroachment.

Special Management Considerations or Protection

    When designating critical habitat, we assess whether the specific 
areas within the geographical area occupied by the species at the time 
of listing contain features that are essential to the conservation of 
the species and which may require special management considerations or 
protection.
    All areas included in our revision of critical habitat will require 
some level of management to address the current and future threats to 
the physical and biological features essential to the conservation of 
the Pacific Coast WSP. Special management considerations or protection 
may be required to minimize habitat destruction, degradation, and 
fragmentation associated with the following threats, among others: 
water diversions, stabilized dunes and watercourses associated with 
urban development, human recreational activities, off-highway vehicle 
(OHV) use, beach raking, pets, nonnative vegetation, resource 
extraction, and fishing.
    Water diversions reduce the transport of sediments, which 
contribute to suitable nesting and foraging substrates. Stabilized 
dunes and watercourses associated with urban development alter the 
dynamic processes of beach and river systems, thereby reducing the open 
nature of suitable habitat needed for predator detection. Human 
recreational activities disturb foraging or nesting activities or may 
attract and provide cover for approaching predators. The use of OHVs 
has been documented to crush plover nests and strike plover adults. 
Beach raking or grooming can remove wrack, reducing food resources and 
cover, and contributing to beach erosion. Pets (leashed and unleashed) 
can cause incubating adults to leave the nest and establish trails in 
the sand that can lead predators to the nest. Nonnative vegetation 
reduces visibility that plovers need to detect predators, and occupies 
otherwise suitable habitat. Resource extraction can disturb incubating, 
brooding, or foraging plovers. Fishing can disturb Pacific Coast WSPs 
and can attract predators by the presence of fish offal and bait 
(Lafferty 2001, p. 2222; Dugan 2003, p. 134; Schlacher et al. 2007, p. 
557; Service 2007, p. 33; Dugan and Hubbard 2010, p. 67).
    For discussion of the threats to the Pacific Coast WSP and its 
habitat, please see the 12-month finding on the petition to delist the 
Pacific Coast WPS (71 FR 20607, April 21, 2006), the final listing rule 
(58 FR 12864, March 5, 1993) and the final critical habitat rule (70 FR 
56970, September 29, 2005). Please also see the Revised Final Critical 
Habitat Designation section below for a discussion of the threats in 
each of the proposed revised critical habitat units.

Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat

    As required by section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we use the best 
scientific data available to designate critical habitat. We review 
available information pertaining to the habitat requirements of the 
species. In accordance with the Act and its implementing regulation at 
50 CFR 424.12(e), we consider whether designating additional areas--
outside those currently occupied as well as those occupied at the time 
of listing--are necessary to ensure the conservation of the species. We 
are designating critical habitat in areas within the geographical area 
occupied by the species at the time of listing in 1993. We also are 
designating specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by 
the species at the time of listing because such areas are essential for 
the conservation of the species, and are within the Pacific Coast WSP's 
historical range. We have determined that limiting the designation of 
critical habitat to those areas that were considered occupied at the 
time of listing is no longer sufficient to conserve the species 
because:
    (1) There has been considerable loss and degradation of habitat 
throughout the species' range since the time of listing;
    (2) We anticipate a further loss of habitat in the future due to 
sea-level rise resulting from climate change; and;
    (3) The species needs habitat areas that are arranged spatially in 
a way that will maintain connectivity and allow dispersal within and 
between units.
    All areas designated as critical habitat are within the historical 
range of the species, which differs from the species' geographic 
distribution (i.e., occupancy) at the time of listing. We have 
identified areas to include in this designation by applying Criteria 1 
through 6 below. In an effort to update our 2005 final designation of 
critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP, we used the best available 
information on occupancy and habitat conditions of areas that were 
analyzed in 2005 to determine whether to add or remove areas from this 
revision of critical habitat.
    The amount and distribution of critical habitat being designated 
will allow populations of Pacific Coast WSP to:
    (1) Maintain their existing distribution;
    (2) Increase their distribution into previously occupied areas 
(needed to offset habitat loss and fragmentation);
    (3) Move between areas depending on resource and habitat 
availability (response to changing nature of coastal beach habitat) and 
support genetic interchange;
    (4) Increase the size of each population to a level where the 
threats of genetic, demographic, and normal environmental uncertainties 
are diminished; and
    (5) Maintain their ability to withstand local or unit level 
environmental fluctuations or catastrophes.
    We considered the following criteria to select appropriate units 
for this revised rule:
    (1) Areas throughout the range of the Pacific Coast WSP located to 
allow the species to move and expand. The dynamic nature of beach, 
dune, and similar habitats necessitates that Pacific Coast WSPs move to 
adjust for changes in habitat availability, food sources, and pressures 
on survivorship or reproductive success (Colwell et al. 2009, p. 5). 
Designating units in appropriate areas throughout the range of the 
Pacific Coast WSP allows for seasonal migration, year-to-year 
movements, and expansion of the Pacific Coast WSP to its historical 
boundaries. We consider this necessary to conserve the species because 
it assists in counterbalancing catastrophes, such as extreme climatic 
events, oil spills, or disease that might depress regional survival or 
productivity. Having units across the species' range helps maintain a 
robust, well-distributed population and enhances survival and 
productivity of the Pacific Coast WSP as a whole, facilitates 
interchange of genetic material between units, and promotes 
recolonization of any sites that experience declines or local 
extirpations due to low productivity or temporary habitat loss. Within 
this designation we focused on areas within the six recovery units 
identified in the Recovery Plan (Service 2007, Appendix A).
    (2) Breeding areas. Areas identified in the Recovery Plan (Service 
2007) known to support breeding Pacific Coast WSP

[[Page 36749]]

were selected. Selected sites include historical breeding areas and 
areas currently being used by breeding plovers. These areas are 
essential to the conservation of the species because they contain the 
physical and biological features necessary for Pacific Coast WSPs to 
breed and produce offspring and ensure that population increases are 
distributed throughout the Pacific Coast WSP's range. By selecting 
breeding areas across the Pacific Coast WSP's range we can assist in 
conserving the species' genetic and demographic robustness and 
important life-history stages for long-term sustainability of the 
entire listed species. Some breeding areas are occupied year-round and 
also are used as wintering areas by a portion of the population.
    (3) Wintering areas. Major wintering sites not already selected 
under criterion 2 above were added. A ``major'' wintering site is 
defined as one that supports more wintering birds than average for the 
geographical region based on current or historical numbers. These areas 
are necessary to provide sufficient habitat for the survival of Pacific 
Coast WSPs during the nonbreeding season as these areas allow for 
dispersal of adults or juveniles to nonbreeding sites and provide 
roosting and foraging opportunities and shelter during inclement 
weather.
    (4) Unique habitat. Additional sites were added that provide unique 
habitat, or that are situated to facilitate interchange between 
otherwise widely separated units. This criterion is based on standard 
conservation biology principles. By protecting a variety of habitats 
and facilitating interchange between them, we increase the ability of 
the species to adjust to various limiting factors that affect the 
population, such as predators, disease, major storms, habitat loss and 
degradation, and rise in sea level.
    (5) Areas to maintain connectivity of habitat. Some areas that may 
be seasonally lacking in certain elements of essential physical or 
biological features and that contain marginal habitat were included if 
they were contiguous with areas containing one or more of those 
elements and if they contribute to the hydrologic and geologic 
processes essential to the ecological function of the system. These 
areas are essential to the conservation of the species because they 
maintain connectivity within populations, allow for species movement 
throughout the course of a given year, and allow for population 
expansion.
    (6) Restoration areas. We have selected some areas within occupied 
units that, once restored, would be able to support the Pacific Coast 
WSP. These areas generally are upland habitats adjacent to beach and 
other areas used by the species containing introduced vegetation, such 
as European beach grass (Ammophila arenaria), that currently limits use 
of the area by the species. These areas would provide habitat to off-
set the anticipated loss and degradation of habitat due to sea-level 
rise expected from the effects of climate change or due to development. 
These areas previously contained and would still contain the features 
essential to the conservation of the species once removal of the 
beachgrass and restoration of the area has occurred.

Methods Used To Designate Critical Habitat

    In order to translate the criteria above to the areas on the ground 
we used the following methodology to identify the boundaries of 
critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP:
    (1) We digitally mapped occurrence data within the range of the 
Pacific Coast WSP at the time and subsequent to the time of listing in 
the form of polygons and points using ArcMap 9.3.1 (ESRI 2009). An 
attempt was made to consider site-specific survey data that was both 
current and historical. Survey information used in this designation was 
compiled from several sources during various timeframes as identified 
in the Recovery Plan (Service 2007, Appendix B).
    (2) We utilized National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP 2009) 
aerial imagery with a 3.3-ft (1-m) resolution to determine the lateral 
extent (width) between the water and upland areas of habitat. The 
western (seaward) boundary of the coastal units is the water's edge 
based on NAIP imagery. This boundary varies daily with each changing 
tide, and will vary seasonally with storm surges, and sand erosion and 
deposition. Given the dynamic nature of coastal beaches, riparian 
areas, and salt pond management, we also delineated the lateral extent 
to encompass the entire area up to the lower edge of permanent upland 
vegetation or to the edge of a permanent barrier, such as a bluff, 
levee, sea wall, human development, etc. Using aerial imagery (NAIP 
2009), we also delineated the northern and southern extents of the 
units to include the beach areas associated with the occurrence 
information identified above.
    When determining revised critical habitat boundaries, we made every 
effort to avoid including developed areas, such as lands covered by 
buildings, sea walls, pavement, and other structures, because these 
areas lack physical or biological features for the Pacific Coast WSP. 
The scale of maps we prepared under the parameters for publication 
within the Code of Federal Regulations may not reflect the exclusion of 
such developed lands. Any such lands inadvertently left inside critical 
habitat boundaries shown on the maps of this revised critical habitat 
are considered excluded in this revised rule. Therefore, a Federal 
action involving these lands would not trigger section 7 consultation 
with respect to critical habitat unless the specific action would 
affect the physical and biological features in adjacent critical 
habitat.
    We are designating critical habitat units that we have determined 
were occupied at the time of listing and contain sufficient elements of 
physical and biological features to support life-history processes 
essential for the conservation of the species, and lands outside of the 
geographical area occupied at the time of listing that we have 
determined are essential for the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP.
    Units in this revised designation have sufficient elements of 
physical or biological features to support Pacific Coast WSP life-
history processes. Some units contain all of the identified elements of 
physical and biological features and support multiple life-history 
processes. Some units contain only some elements of the physical and 
biological features necessary to support the Pacific Coast WSP 
particular use of that habitat.
    (3) In determining the boundaries of the OPRD HCP-covered lands 
that are being excluded under section 4(b)(2) of the Act from this 
revised final critical habitat designation, we relied on Oregon State 
statute for the definition of beach and shoreline boundaries. HCP-
covered lands consist of the ``Ocean Shore,'' an area defined by Oregon 
State statute as the sandy areas of the Oregon coast between the 
extreme low tide and the actual or statutory vegetation line, whichever 
is farther landward. HCP-covered lands do not include the Federal lands 
within the ``Ocean Shore'' boundary. For these Federal lands that are 
not excluded from this designation, the designated lands extend 
landward from the mean high tide. OPRD either owns and leases lands on 
the ``Ocean Shore'' as a State Park or State Natural Area or manages 
the ``Ocean Shore'' under a statutory recreation easement (Oregon 
Revised Statute (ORS) 390.635 and 390.620; Oregon Administrative Rule 
736-020-0040(3)).
    GIS data layers for the statute vegetation line and mean high water 
line were provided to the Service by the State of Oregon. The statutory

[[Page 36750]]

vegetation line (ORS 390.770) was established in 1969. This is a 
jurisdictional line that determines the regulatory authority of OPRD to 
regulate development and recreation on the beach. The statutory 
vegetation line applies to all the land located along the Pacific Ocean 
between the Columbia River and the Oregon-California boundary between 
extreme low tide and the lines of vegetation as established and 
described according to the Oregon Coordinate System (ORS) 93.330.
    Adjacent to Federal lands, the ``Ocean Shore'' only extends to the 
mean high water line (MHWL). MHWL is a tidal datum, which is the 
computed average of all the high water heights observed over the 
National Tidal Datum Epoch. For purposes of OPRD jurisdiction where 
adjacent to Federal lands, ``mean high water'' corresponds generally 
with the ``line of ordinary high water'' as defined in ORS 274.005(3). 
For mapping critical habitat in Oregon, MHWL data from south of 
Florence were collected in the summer of 2008; data from north of 
Florence were collected in the summer of 2009.
    Using the 2009 National Agriculture Imagery Program data (NAIP) for 
proposed revised western snowy plover critical habitat, we incorporated 
the MHWL into the critical habitat layer to create separate polygons. 
These polygons represent HCP-covered lands adjacent to Federal lands 
and were excluded from critical habitat.
    Where the ``Ocean Shore'' overlaps non-Federal lands, we 
incorporated the statutory vegetation line into the critical habitat 
layer to determine HCP-covered lands. Based on aerial imagery, if the 
actual vegetation line was farther landward of the statutory vegetation 
line, all land seaward of the actual vegetation line was excluded from 
critical habitat, as defined by Oregon statute. All areas that were not 
identified for exclusion remain as designated critical habitat.

Revised Final Critical Habitat Designation

    We are designating approximately 6,077 ac (2,460 ha) in 4 units 
within Washington, approximately 2,112 ac (855 ha) in 9 units within 
Oregon, and 16,337 ac (6,612 ha) in 47 units within California. The 
area identified as critical habitat Units CA32, Vandenberg Air Force 
Base North and CA33, Vandenberg Air Force Base South (combined total of 
approximately 1,134 ac (459 ha)), have been exempted from this revised 
final designation in their entirety under section 4(a)(3)(B) of the Act 
(refer to the Exemptions section below). These units had been 
previously proposed for designation as they did not have clear 
management protections for Pacific Coast WSP until the April 14, 2011, 
approval of the base's INRMP. Additional areas have been excluded under 
section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see Exclusions section below). Table 3 
identifies the areas known to be occupied at the time of listing as 
well as current occupancy status.

 Table 3--Occupancy of Pacific Coast WSP by Designated Critical Habitat
                                  Units
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    Occupied at time       Currently
               Unit                    of listing?         occupied?
------------------------------------------------------------------------
WA 1 Copalis Spit................  No................  No.
WA 2 Damon Point.................  Yes...............  Yes.
WA 3A Midway Beach...............  Yes...............  Yes.
WA 3B Shoalwater/Graveyard Spit..  Yes...............  Yes.
WA 4A Leadbetter Spit............  Yes...............  Yes.
WA 4B Gunpowder Sands Island.....  Unknown...........  No.
OR 2 Necanicum River Spit........  No................  No.
OR 4 Bayocean Spit...............  Yes...............  No.
OR 6 Sand Lake South.............  No................  No.
OR 7 Sutton/Baker Beaches........  Yes...............  Yes.
OR 8A Siltcoos Beach.............  Yes...............  Yes.
OR 8B Siltcoos River Spit........  Yes...............  Yes.
OR 8C Dunes Overlook/Tahkenitch    Yes...............  Yes.
 Creek Spit.
OR 8D North Umpqua River Spit....  No................  No.
OR 9 Tenmile Creek Spit..........  Yes...............  Yes.
OR 10 Coos Bay North Spit........  Yes...............  Yes.
OR 11 Bandon to New River........  Yes...............  Yes.
OR 13 Euchre Creek Spit..........  No................  No.
CA 1 Lake Earl...................  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 2 Gold Bluffs Beach...........  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 3A Stone Lagoon...............  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 3B Big Lagoon.................  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 4A Clam Beach/Little River....  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 4B Mad River Beach............  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 5A Humboldt Bay South Spit      Yes...............  Yes.
 Beach.
CA 5B Eel River North Spit and     Yes...............  Yes.
 Beach.
CA 5C Eel River South Spit and     Yes...............  Yes.
 Beach.
CA 6 Eel River Gravel Bars.......  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 7 MacKerricher Beach..........  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 8 Manchester Beach............  No................  Yes.
CA 9 Dillon Beach................  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 10A Point Reyes...............  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 10B Limantour.................  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 11 Napa-Sonoma Marshes........  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 12 Hayward....................  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 13A Eden Landing..............  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 13B Eden Landing..............  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 13C Eden Landing..............  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 14 Ravenswood.................  Yes...............  Yes.

[[Page 36751]]

 
CA 15 Warm Springs...............  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 16 Half Moon Bay..............  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 17 Waddell Creek Beach........  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 18 Scott Creek Beach..........  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 19 Wilder Creek Beach.........  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 20 Jetty Road to Aptos........  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 21 Elkhorn Slough Mudflats....  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 22 Monterey to Moss Landing...  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 23 Point Sur Beach............  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 24 San Carpoforo Creek........  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 25 Arroyo Laguna Creek........  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 26 San Simeon State Beach.....  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 27 Villa Creek Beach..........  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 28 Toro Creek.................  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 29 Atascadero Beach/Morro       Yes...............  Yes.
 Stand State Beach.
CA 30 Morro Bay Beach............  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 31 Pismo Beach/Nipomo Dunes...  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 34 Devereaux Beach............  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 35 Santa Barbara Beaches......  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 36 Santa Rosa Island Beaches..  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 37 San Buenaventura Beach.....  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 38 Mandalay Beach to Santa      Yes...............  Yes.
 Clara River.
CA 39 Ormond Beach...............  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 43 Zuma Beach.................  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 44 Malibu Beach...............  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 45A Santa Monica Beach........  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 45B Dockweiler North..........  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 45C Dockweiler South..........  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 45D Hermosa State Beach.......  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 46A Bolsa Chica State Beach...  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 46B Bolsa Chica Reserve.......  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 46C Bolsa Chica Reserve.......  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 46D Bolsa Chica Reserve.......  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 46E Bolsa Chica Reserve.......  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 46F Bolsa Chica Reserve.......  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 47 Santa Ana River Mouth......  No................  No.
CA 48 Balboa Beach...............  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 50(A-C) Batiquitos Lagoon.....  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 51(A-C) San Elijo Lagoon        Yes...............  Yes.
 Ecological Reserve.
CA 52(A-C) San Dieguito Lagoon...  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 53 Los Penasquitos Lagoon.....  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 54A Fiesta Island.............  Yes...............  No.
CA 54B Mariner's Point...........  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 54C South Mission Beach.......  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 54D San Diego River Channel...  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 55B Coronado Beach............  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 55C Silver Strand Beach.......  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 55D Delta Beach...............  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 55E Sweetwater Marsh National   Yes...............  Yes.
 Wildlife Refuge and D Street
 Fill.
CA 55F Silver Strand State Beach.  Yes...............  Yes.
CA 55H Naval Radio Receiving       Yes...............  Yes.
 Facility.
CA 55I San Diego National          Yes...............  Yes.
 Wildlife Refuge, South Bay Unit.
CA 55J Tijuana Estuary and Border  Yes...............  Yes
 Field State Park.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Table 4 outlines the areas included in this revised final critical 
habitat designation by land ownership. Units designated as critical 
habitat are discussed in detail below. The areas we describe below 
constitute our current best assessment of areas that meet the 
definition of critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP.

                   Table 4--Critical Habitat Units for the Pacific Coast WSP by Land Ownership
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       Proposed     Proposed                             Designated   Designated
       Critical habitat units           acres       hectares       Land  ownership         acres       hectares
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
WA 1 Copalis Spit..................          407          165  State..................          407          165
WA 2 Damon Point...................          673          272  State..................          648          262
                                                               Other..................           25           10
WA 3A Midway Beach.................          697          282  State..................          697          282
WA 3B Shoalwater/Graveyard Spit **.        1,121          454  State..................          505          204

[[Page 36752]]

 
                                                               Other..................          192           78
WA 4A Leadbetter Spit..............        2,700        1,093  Federal................          997          403
                                                               State..................        1,703          689
WA 4B Gunpowder Sands Island.......          904          366  Federal................          904          366
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   Washington State Totals                     Federal................        1,901          769
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               State..................        3,960        1,602
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               Other..................          217           88
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
OR 2 Necanicum River Spit..........          211           85  Other..................           11            4
OR 4 Bayocean Spit.................          367          149  Federal................          199           81
                                                               Other..................            2            1
OR 6 Sand Lake South...............          200           81  Other..................            5            2
OR 7 Sutton/Baker Beaches..........          372          151  Federal................          276          112
OR 8A Siltcoos Breach..............           15            6  Federal................            7            3
                                                               State..................            8            3
OR 8B Siltcoos River Spit..........          241           97  Federal................          116           47
OR 8C Dunes Overlook/Tahkenitch              716          290  Federal................          383          155
 Creek Spit.
OR 8D North Umpqua River Spit......          236           96  Federal................           59           24
OR 9 Tenmile Creek Spit............          244           99  Federal................          223           90
OR 10 Coos Bay North Spit..........          308          125  Federal................          273          110
OR 11 Bandon to New River..........        1,016          411  Federal................          459          186
                                                               Other..................           82           33
OR 13 Euchre Creek Spit............          116           47  Other..................            9            4
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     Oregon State Totals                       Federal................        1,995          807
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               State..................            8            3
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               Other..................          109           44
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CA 1 Lake Earl.....................           74           30  State..................           73           30
CA 2 Gold Bluffs Beach *...........          144           58  State..................          233           94
CA 3A Stone Lagoon *...............           52           21  State..................           55           22
CA 3B Big Lagoon *.................          212           86  State..................          268          108
CA 4A Clam Beach/Little River *....          194           79  State..................          222           90
                                                               Other..................          115           47
CA 4B Mad River Beach..............          456          185  State..................          148           60
                                                               Other..................          304          123
CA 5A Humboldt Bay South Spit *....          419          170  Federal................           20            8
                                                               State..................          542          219
                                                               Other..................           10            4
CA 5B Eel River North Spit and               259          105  State..................          457          185
 Beach *.
                                                               Other..................            7            3
CA 5C Eel River South Spit and               339          137  State..................          172           70
 Beach.
                                                               Other..................          164           66
CA 6 Eel River Gravel Bars *.......        1,139          461  State..................          304          123
                                                               Other..................        1,045          463
CA 7 MacKerricher Beach *..........        1,176          476  State..................        1,144          463
                                                               Other..................           74           30
CA 8 Manchester Beach *............          482          195  Federal................           68           28
                                                               State..................          425          172
                                                               Other..................           12            5
CA 9 Dillon Beach..................           39           16  Other..................           39           16
CA 10A Point Reyes.................          460          186  Federal................          460          186
CA 10B Limantour...................          156           63  Federal................          156           63
CA 11 Napa-Sonoma..................          618          250  State..................          618          250
CA 12 Hayward......................            1            0  Other..................            1            0
CA 13A Eden Landing................          237           96  State..................          228           92
                                                               Other..................            8            3
CA 13B Eden Landing................          171           69  State..................          171           69
CA 13C Eden Landing................          609          246  State..................          602          244
                                                               Other..................            7            3
CA 14 Ravenswood...................           89           36  Other..................           89           36
CA 15 Warm Springs.................          168           68  Federal................          168           68
CA 16 Half Moon Bay................           36           15  State..................           36           15
CA 17 Waddell Creek Beach..........           25           10  State..................           19            8
                                                               Other..................            6            2
CA 18 Scott Creek Beach............           23            9  State..................           15            6
                                                               Other..................            8            3

[[Page 36753]]

 
CA 19 Wilder Creek Beach...........           15            6  State..................           14            6
                                                               Other..................            1            0
CA 20 Jetty Road Aptos.............          399          161  State..................          369          149
                                                               Other..................           30           12
CA 21 Elkhorn Slough Mudflats......          281          114  State..................          281          114
CA 22 Monterey to Moss Landing.....          967          391  Federal................          415          168
                                                               State..................          285          115
                                                               Other..................          259          105
CA 23 Point Sur Beach..............           72           29  State..................           38           15
                                                               Other..................           34           14
CA 24 San Carpoforo Creek..........           24           10  Federal................            4            2
                                                               State..................           18            7
                                                               Other..................            2            1
CA 25 Arroyo Laguna Creek..........           28           11  State..................           18            7
                                                               Other..................           10            4
CA 26 San Simeon State Beach.......           24           10  State..................           24           10
CA 27 Villa Creek Beach............           20            8  State..................           20            8
CA 28 Toro Creek...................           34           14  State..................           11            4
                                                               Other..................           23            9
CA 29 Atascadero Beach/Morro Strand          213           86  State..................           64           26
 State Beach.
                                                               Other..................          149           60
CA 30 Morro Bay Beach..............        1,076          435  State..................          948          383
                                                               Other..................          129           52
CA 31 Pismo Beach/Nipomo Dunes.....        1,652          669  Federal................          242           98
                                                               State..................          552          223
                                                               Other..................          858          347
CA 34 Devereaux Beach..............           52           21  State..................           43           17
                                                               Other..................            9            4
CA 35 Santa Barbara Beaches........           65           26  State..................           30           12
                                                               Other..................           35           14
CA 36 Santa Rosa Island Beaches....          586          237  Federal................          586          237
CA 37 San Buenaventura Beach.......           70           28  State..................           70           28
CA 38 Mandalay Beach to Santa Clara          672          272  State..................          459          186
 River.
                                                               Other..................          213           86
CA 39 Ormond Beach.................          320          130  State..................          159           65
                                                               Other..................          161           65
CA 43 Zuma Beach...................           73           30  State..................            1            0
                                                               Other..................           72           29
CA 44 Malibu Beach.................           13            5  State..................           13            5
CA 45A Santa Monica Beach..........           48           19  State..................           29           12
                                                               Other..................           19            8
CA 45B Dockweiler North............           34           14  State..................           34           14
CA 45C Dockweiler South............           65           26  State..................           54           22
                                                               Other..................           11            5
CA 45D Hermosa State Beach.........           27           11  State..................            8            3
                                                               Other..................           19            8
CA 46A Bolsa Chica Beach...........           93           38  State..................           93           38
CA 46B Bolsa Chica Reserve.........            2            1  State..................            2            1
CA 46C Bolsa Chica Reserve.........          222           90  State..................          222           90
CA 46D Bolsa Chica Reserve.........            2            1  State..................            2            1
CA 46E Bolsa Chica Reserve.........          247          100  State..................          247          100
CA 46F Bolsa Chica Reserve.........            2            1  State..................            2            1
CA 47 Santa Ana River Mouth........           19            8  State..................           18            7
                                                               Other..................            1            0
CA 48 Balboa Beach.................           25           10  Other..................           25           10
CA 51A-C San Elijo Lagoon                     15            6  State..................           11            4
 Ecological Reserve.
                                                               Other..................            4            2
CA 52A San Dieguito Lagoon.........            4            2  Other..................            4            2
CA 55B Coronado Beach..............           74           30  State..................           74           30
CA 55E Sweetwater Marsh National             132           54  Federal................           79           32
 Wildlife Refuge and D Street Fill.
CA 55F Silver Strand State Beach...           82           33  Federal................           78           31
                                                               State..................            4            1
CA 55I San Diego National Wildlife             5            2  Federal................            5            2
 Refuge, South Bay Unit.
CA 55J Tijuana Estuary and Border            150           61  Federal................           71           29
 Field State Park.
                                                               Other..................           79           32
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                   California State Totals                     Federal................        2,352          952
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               State..................        9,857        3,989
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 36754]]

 
                                                               Other..................        4,128        1,671
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Totals Designated By Ownership                 Federal................        6,248        2,529
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               State..................       13,825        5,595
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               Other..................        4,454        1,802
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                  Totals Designated By State                   Washington.............        6,078        2,460
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               Oregon.................        2,112          855
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                               California.............       16,337        6,612
                                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Grand Total..............................................  .......................       24,527        9,926
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Land ownership values differ from the revised proposed rule due to updated ownership data.
** Off-reservation lands (fee-owned) were not excluded and are included within the Other land ownership total.
Values in table may not sum due to rounding.

    Brief descriptions of all units and reasons why they meet the 
definition of critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP are described 
below. The units are grouped by State and listed in order 
geographically north to south. For more information about the areas 
excluded from critical habitat designation, please see the Exclusions 
section of this revised final rule.

Washington

WA 1, Copalis Spit, 407 ac (165 ha)
    Copalis Spit is located along the central Washington coast, 
approximately 20 mi (32 km) northwest of the Community of Hoquiam in 
Grays Harbor County. Copalis Spit is a 2-mi (3-km) long sand spit 
bounded by the Copalis River on the northern and landward sides. The 
Copalis Beach access road off State Route 109 and State Park property 
line demark the southern boundary. The unit is entirely within 
Griffiths-Priday Ocean State Park (Washington State Parks and 
Recreation Commission).
    This unit is the northernmost unit in the range of the species and 
historically supported 6 to 12 nesting pairs of Pacific Coast WSPs, but 
no nesting has been documented since 1984 (Service 2007, p. 21). This 
unit was not occupied at the time of listing and is not currently 
occupied. The unit consists of a long sandy beach with sparsely 
vegetated dunes that extend to the river, providing nesting and 
foraging opportunities, as well as protection from the weather. The 
northward shift of Connor Creek washed out the beach access road at the 
southern end, effectively closing the area to motorized vehicles. 
Because of its relatively remote location, the area receives little 
human use and is therefore relatively undisturbed. Although currently 
unoccupied, the unit is considered essential for the conservation of 
the species as it allows for population expansion into the northern 
extent of the Pacific Coast WSP's historical range from adjacent 
occupied areas and has high-quality habitat, including a long sandy 
beach with limited disturbance with sparsely vegetated dunes that 
extend to the river, providing nesting and foraging opportunities for 
the species.
WA 2, Damon Point, 673 ac (272 ha)
    This unit is located at the southern end of the City of Ocean 
Shores in Grays Harbor County and is a sandy spit that extends into 
Grays Harbor. The unit boundary begins at the Damon Point parking area 
off Marine View Drive. The western boundary generally follows the 
property line for the Oyhut Wildlife Area.
    This unit was occupied at the time of listing, and we consider this 
unit to be currently occupied. Research in the mid-1980s indicated that 
up to 20 Pacific Coast WSPs have used Damon Point for nesting. However, 
use has declined significantly at this site, with only six adult birds 
documented using the area during the breeding season in 2005. A 
historic shipwreck (S.S. Catala) was exposed during winter storms in 
2006, and the vessel was removed from the spit due to oil spill and 
other hazardous materials concerns over a period of 17 months (State of 
Washington, Department of Ecology 2007). The opportunity to view the 
shipwreck and removal operation drew media attention, and hundreds of 
visitors visited the site on weekends. Visitation of the area has 
dropped off since the clean-up. Even though no plover nesting has been 
documented at Damon Point since 2006, we still consider this unit 
occupied by the species based on previous use of the area, on the 
fluctuating use of areas in general by the species as a response to 
habitat and resource availability, and because breeding surveys are not 
extensive presence-absence surveys and only provide information during 
the breeding season. We have determined that the unit contains the 
physical and biological features essential to the conservation of the 
species which may require special management considerations or 
protection. The unit includes sandy beaches that are relatively 
undisturbed by human or tidal activity (nesting habitat), large 
expanses of sparsely vegetated barren terrain, and mudflats and 
sheltered bays that provide ample foraging areas.
    The majority (648 ac (262 ha)) of the unit is administered by the 
State of Washington (Department of Fish and Wildlife and Department of 
Natural Resources). There are over 7 mi (11 km) of sandy beaches and 
shoreline at Damon Point, and the shape of the spit changes constantly 
with winter storms and nearshore sand drift. In recent years, some of 
the lower elevation areas have been overwashed, and coastal erosion may 
result in separation of the spit from the mainland in the near future. 
The western edge of the unit lies adjacent to a municipal wastewater 
treatment facility that is managed by the City of Ocean Shores, with a 
few undevelopable private parcels in the tidelands near the parking 
area. Similar to Copalis Spit, the access road has washed out, and the 
area is currently inaccessible to motorized vehicles.
    The primary threats to Pacific Coast WSPs that may require special

[[Page 36755]]

management at this time are recreational use, including pedestrians and 
unleashed pets; habitat loss from European beach grass; and potential 
reopening of the vehicle access road. Special management in the form of 
developing and enforcing regulations to address the recreation issues 
may be needed. Management to remove and control beach grass will 
prevent further spread of nonnative vegetation, thereby maintaining and 
expanding the elements of essential physical or biological features 
identified above.
WA 3A, Midway Beach, 697 ac (282 ha)
    Located adjacent to the Community of Grayland, this subunit extends 
from the northern boundary of Grayland Beach State Park, through South 
Beach State Park to Cape Shoalwater at the southern end in Pacific 
County. Midway Beach is an expansive beach and is nearly 0.5 mi (0.8 
km) wide at the widest point. This subunit was occupied at the time of 
listing and is currently occupied. This subunit includes the following 
physical and biological features essential to the conservation of the 
species: large areas of sand dune habitat that is relatively 
undisturbed, areas of sandy beach above and below the high-tide line 
with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small invertebrates, and 
close proximity to tidally influenced estuarine mud flats that provide 
cover or shelter from predators, and are important for foraging.
    Beach accretion since 1998 has greatly improved habitat conditions, 
resulting in this beach becoming a primary nesting area in the State. 
From 1998 to 2005, an average of 18 plovers nested annually at Midway 
Beach, and from 2003 to 2006, between 23 and 28 Pacific Coast WSPs 
nested at Midway Beach.
    Primary threats at this subunit that may require special management 
include motorized vehicle use on the beaches and human activity. The 
recent closure of the Midway Beach Access Road due to safety concerns, 
e.g., vehicles getting stuck in deep sand, has reduced impacts in the 
nesting area, but may not be permanent. Therefore, the physical or 
biological features essential to the conservation of the species in 
this subunit may require special management considerations or 
protection to address threats associated with human-related recreation 
and other activities. Developing and enforcing regulations to address 
the recreation issues may be needed. Management to remove and control 
beach grass will prevent further spread of nonnative vegetation, 
thereby maintaining and expanding the elements of essential physical 
and biological features identified above.
WA 3B, Shoalwater/Graveyard Spit, 696 ac (282 ha)
    The subunit is located in Pacific County at Shoalwater Bay (also 
known as Graveyard Spit). This beach is an extension of Midway Beach, 
and extends south into the entrance of Willapa Bay. The western portion 
of this subunit starts at a narrow strip of beach adjacent to State 
Route 105 and extends to the western edge of the Shoalwater Bay Indian 
reservation. This portion of the subunit is approximately 148 ac (60 
ha) in size. The eastern portion of the subunit starts at the eastern 
edge of the Shoalwater Bay Indian reservation boundary and continues in 
a southwesterly direction to the Community of Tokeland. This portion of 
the subunit is approximately 548 ac (222 ha) in size. The landward 
extent of the unit is the edge of the bay, and the seaward extent of 
the unit is the Pacific Ocean's water's edge. In our March 2011 revised 
proposal, we proposed 1,121 ac (454 ha) for this subunit; approximately 
425 ac (172 ha) of the proposed subunit that is part of the Shoalwater 
Bay Tribal lands have been excluded from designation under section 
4(b)(2) of the Act (refer to the Exclusions section below).
    This subunit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently 
occupied. The State Recovery Plan for the western snowy plover (WDFW 
1995) defines the geographic area from Grayland Beach State Park south 
to Toke Point as ``South Beach.'' Based on documented sightings and 
records of western snowy plover use for the south beach geographic area 
(WDFW 1995, Appendix C), Shoalwater/Graveyard Spit was occupied at the 
time of listing and is a known or presumed historical nesting area 
(WDFW 1995, Figure 2, p. 3). Pacific Coast WSPs nested on the 
Shoalwater Bay Indian reservation in 2006, 2007 and 2008, but no 
nesting has been documented on the spit since 2008. Although fledging 
success is relatively high at this location, plover use of the 
Shoalwater/Graveyard Spit area is sporadic.
    The subunit includes the following features essential to the 
conservation of the species: large areas of sand dune habitat that are 
relatively undisturbed; areas of sandy beach above and below the high-
tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small 
invertebrates; and close proximity to tidally influenced estuarine mud 
flats. Special management that may be required includes management of 
human-related activities to reduce disturbance to breeding Pacific 
Coast WSPs, and maintenance of the physical or biological features 
within the subunit.
    Based on interpretation of aerial imagery, the Cape Shoalwater area 
has experienced extensive erosion over the past 15 years. A nearly 0.3 
mi-wide (0.5 km-wide) by 1.5 mi-long (2.4 km-long) section of the 
coastline, including roads and residences, has been reclaimed by the 
ocean, resulting in the accretion of Midway Beach. The accretion of 
beach improves elements of essential physical or biological features. 
Because the county ownership layer for this subunit is ambiguous and 
all private property parcels are under water, the layer could not be 
used for precise acreage calculations. However, the vast majority of 
the unit is managed by the State of Washington.
WA 4A, Leadbetter Spit, 2,700 ac (1,093 ha)
    The Leadbetter Spit subunit is located in Pacific County at the 
northern tip of the Long Beach Peninsula, and consists of a 26 mi-long 
(42 km-long) spit that defines the west side of Willapa Bay and extends 
down to the mouth of the Columbia River. The subunit is located just 
north of the community of Ocean Park and includes Leadbetter Point 
State Park (SP) and the Willapa NWR at the northern end of the spit. 
The main portion of this subunit is on the ocean side, and includes the 
coastal beaches from the tip of the peninsula, and the habitat 
restoration area down to Oysterville Road, approximately 1.8 mi (3 km) 
south of Leadbetter Point SP. The boundaries for this subunit have 
changed from that proposed in our March 2011 rule as a result of 
information provided to us by Willapa NWR staff and an acreage 
miscalculation in the March 2011 proposed rule (76 FR 16046) (refer to 
the Summary of Changes from the Revised Proposed section above).
    This subunit contains some areas that are currently not suitable 
habitat (water and vegetated areas) but may become suitable with 
management actions, sea-level rise, and ongoing natural changes and 
beach accretion on the spit. Although the refuge manages areas above 
the high tide line on the northern portion of the spit, the ownership 
data do not reflect where the State and Federal jurisdictions lie. 
Thus, all ownership acreages are approximate for this unit. The subunit 
includes approximately 8 mi (13 km) of coastal beaches and sheltered 
bays. Approximately 987 ac (399 ha) are on lands that are managed by 
the Willapa NWR, and the remaining 1,713 ac (693

[[Page 36756]]

ha) are managed by the Washington State Park and Recreation Department 
and Department of Natural Resources.
    Leadbetter Spit was occupied at the time of listing, is currently 
occupied, and is the largest subunit in Washington. Approximately 25 to 
30 Pacific Coast WSPs nest and overwinter on the spit annually, with 
most of the nesting occurring in the snowy plover habitat restoration 
area within the Willapa NWR. Between 10 and more than 40 breeding 
adults were recorded between 2005 and 2009 (WDFW 2009, p. 12). A few 
pairs nest along the ocean beaches and on State Park lands just south 
of the Willapa NWR. The 2007 Recovery Plan lists a management goal of 
30 breeding adults for this subunit (Service 2007, Appendix B).
    The subunit includes the following features essential to the 
conservation of the species: Relatively undisturbed, sandy beaches 
above and below the high-tide line and sparsely vegetated dunes for 
nesting; miles of coastal wrack line supporting small invertebrates; 
and close proximity to tidally influenced estuarine mud flats and 
sheltered bays for foraging. The combined dynamics of weather and surf 
cause large quantities of wood and shell material to accumulate on the 
spit, providing prime nesting habitat, hiding areas from predators, 
foraging opportunities, and shelter from inclement weather.
    European beach grass threatens the habitat quality of the subunit. 
Special management that may be needed includes restoration and 
maintenance of degraded habitat to ensure the reinfestation of 
nonnative vegetation does not occur. Doing so will ensure that elements 
of essential physical or biological features within this subunit remain 
intact. Primary threats that may require special management include the 
State's management of the spring razor clam season, which opens beaches 
to motorized vehicle and provides access into Pacific Coast WSP nesting 
areas that normally receive limited human use. The State Parks and 
Recreation Commission has posted areas where plovers nest, increased 
enforcement of the wet sand driving regulations, and conducted habitat 
restoration on State Park lands.
WA 4B, Gunpowder Sands Island, 904 ac (366 ha)
    The subunit includes Gunpowder Sands Island just off the northern 
tip of the Long Beach Peninsula. The island shifts location annually 
and only a portion of the mapped area may be dry sand at any given 
time. The island is managed by the State of Washington.
    Because the island is only accessible by boat, breeding surveys for 
Pacific Coast WSP at this location are sporadic. It is unknown if this 
Gunpowder Sands Island was occupied at the time the Pacific Coast WSP 
was listed in 1993, but two successful nests and one failed nest were 
documented on the island in 1995 (WDFW heritage data). Although nesting 
has not been recently confirmed for this area, we consider this unit 
essential for the conservation of the species because it provides a 
safe nesting, resting, and foraging area free of human disturbance and 
connectivity between two currently occupied areas. We consider that it 
is important for the species' use, based on the proximity of the site 
to the occupied nesting area on Leadbetter Spit, and on fluctuating 
habitat and resource availability.
    Gunpowder Sands Island also has physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the species: Relatively undisturbed, 
sandy beaches above and below the high-tide line; sparsely vegetated 
dunes for nesting; and coastal wrackline supporting small 
invertebrates. The island is periodically overwashed during winter 
storms, resulting in dry sand and beach habitat with little or no 
vegetation.

Oregon

OR 1, Columbia River Spit
    Unit OR 1 has been excluded from critical habitat designation under 
section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see Exclusions section below).
OR 2, Necanicum River Spit, 11 ac (4 ha)
    We proposed 211 (85 ha) for designation in this unit in our revised 
proposed designation of critical habitat. In this final revision, 200 
ac (81 ha) has been excluded from critical habitat designation under 
section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see Exclusions section below).
    This unit is on the western coast of Clatsop County, adjacent to 
the City of Gearhart, and less than 1 mi (2 km) north of the City of 
Seaside. It is bounded by the Necanicum River estuary on the south, 
City of Gearhart to the north and east, and Oregon Parks and Recreation 
Department's HCP-covered lands to the west. The mouth of the river 
changes periodically. The northern inland portion of the unit is 
overgrown with European beach grass; sea-level rise and overwashing of 
this area during the winter months is anticipated to result in 
vegetation removal and the creation of additional Pacific Coast WSP 
breeding habitat. Eleven ac (4 ha) of privately owned land landward of 
HCP-covered lands are included in this revised designated critical 
habitat because they are essential to the conservation of the Pacific 
Coast WSP to address habitat needs arising from anticipated sea-level 
rise.
    Necanicum River Spit was not considered occupied at the time the 
Pacific Coast WSP was listed in 1993. Two breeding Pacific Coast WSPs 
were documented in 2002 (Service unpublished data). We consider the 
unit is essential for the conservation of the species as it is needed 
for use in response to fluctuating habitat and resource availability. 
It has the capability of providing future connectivity between occupied 
areas, dispersal habitat between units, and habitat for resting and 
foraging. This unit may provide habitat to support breeding plovers and 
facilitate interchange between otherwise widely separated units within 
Recovery Unit 1 (identified in the Recovery Plan, Service 2007) in 
Oregon and Washington.
    Necanicum River Spit is a characteristic dune-backed beach with 
wide sand spits in close proximity to tidally influenced estuarine mud 
flats. The unit contains sparsely vegetated, low-lying areas of sandy 
dune; open, sandy areas that are relatively undisturbed by humans; and 
close proximity to tidally influenced estuarine mud flats, which are 
considered essential for the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP.
OR 3, Nehalem River Spit
    Unit OR 3 has been excluded from critical habitat designation under 
section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see Exclusions section below).
OR 4, Bayocean Spit, 201 ac (82 ha)
    We proposed 367 ac (149 ha) for designation in this unit in our 
revised proposed designation of critical habitat. In this final 
revision, 80 ac (32 ha) were removed from proposed critical habitat at 
the shoreline due to inundation, and 86 ac (35 ha) of proposed critical 
habitat has been excluded under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see 
Exclusions section below).
    This unit is on the western coast of Tillamook County, and about 9 
mi (15 km) northwest of the City of Tillamook. It is bounded by 
Tillamook Bay on the east, the Tillamook Bay South Jetty to the north, 
the northern boundary of Bayocean Peninsula County Park 2.0 mi (3.2 km) 
to the south, and HCP-covered lands to the west. The unit is located 
behind a relatively low foredune. Sea-level rise and overwashing of 
this area during the winter months is anticipated to result in 
vegetation removal and

[[Page 36757]]

creation of additional Pacific Coast WSP breeding habitat. Two ac (1 
ha) of privately owned land and 199 ac (81 ha) of federally owned land 
landward of the HCP-covered lands are designated due to anticipated 
sea-level rise.
    Bayocean Spit was occupied at the time of listing. Two Pacific 
Coast WSPs were documented in 1993, and six plovers in 1995, in this 
unit during the breeding season (ODFW in litt. 1994, Appendix, Table 2; 
ODFW unpublished data). Prior to 2001, winter use of the area by 
plovers was documented consistently. Recent records indicate use by 
wintering plovers in 2007 and 2008 (Service unpublished data). We 
consider the unit to be needed by the species for future use in 
response to fluctuating habitat and resource availability. It has the 
capability of providing future connectivity between occupied areas, 
dispersal habitat between units, and habitat for resting and foraging. 
This unit may provide habitat to support breeding plovers and 
facilitate interchange between otherwise widely separated units within 
Recovery Unit 1 (identified in the Recovery Plan, Service 2007) in 
Oregon and Washington.
    Bayocean Spit is a characteristic dune-backed beach in close 
proximity to tidally influenced estuarine mud flats. The unit contains 
the following features essential to the conservation of the species: 
Sparsely vegetated, low-lying areas of sandy dune; open, sandy areas 
that are relatively undisturbed by humans; sandy beach above the mean 
high water line that supports small invertebrates; and close proximity 
to tidally influenced estuarine mud flats.
    Primary threats to essential physical and biological features that 
may require special management in this unit are degradation of the sand 
dune system due to encroachment of European beach grass; disturbance 
from humans and pets in important foraging and nesting areas; and 
predators.
OR 5, Netarts Spit
    Unit OR 5 has been excluded from critical habitat designation under 
section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see Exclusions section below).
OR 6, Sand Lake South, 5 ac (2 ha)
    We proposed 200 ac (81 ha) for designation in this unit in our 
revised proposed designation of critical habitat. In this final 
revision, 195 ac (79 ha) has been excluded from critical habitat 
designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see Exclusions section 
below).
    This unit is on the southwestern coast of Tillamook County, about 
4.5 mi (7 km) north of Pacific City. It is bounded by Sand Lake estuary 
to the north and east, the northern limit of development in the town of 
Tierra Del Mar to the south, and HCP-covered lands to the west. The 
mouth of the lake changes periodically. The unit is a small upland 
portion of the spit. Sea-level rise and overwashing of this area during 
the winter months is anticipated to result in vegetation removal and 
the creation of additional Pacific Coast WSP breeding habitat. Five ac 
(2 ha) of privately owned land landward of HCP-covered lands are 
included in this revised designated critical habitat because they are 
essential to the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP to address 
habitat needs arising from anticipated sea-level rise.
    Sand Lake South was not considered occupied at the time the Pacific 
Coast WSP was listed in 1993. However, four snowy plovers were observed 
during the breeding season at Sand Lake in 1986 (ODFW, in litt. 1994, 
Appendix, Table 2). Although nesting has not been recently confirmed 
for this area, Sand Lake South is an historical breeding site within 
the species' range. The unit has the capability of providing 
connectivity between occupied areas, dispersal habitat between units, 
and habitat for resting and foraging. This unit is needed to provide 
habitat to support breeding plovers and facilitate interchange between 
otherwise widely separated units within Recovery Unit 1 (identified in 
the Recovery Plan, Service 2007) in Oregon and Washington.
    Sand Lake South is a characteristic dune-backed beach with wide 
sand spits in close proximity to tidally influenced estuarine mud 
flats. The unit contains sparsely vegetated, low-lying areas of sandy 
dune; open, sandy areas that are relatively undisturbed by humans; and 
close proximity to tidally influenced estuarine mud flats, which are 
considered essential for the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP.
OR 7, Sutton/Baker Beaches, 276 ac (112 ha)
    We proposed 372 (151 ha) for designation in this unit in our 
revised proposed designation of critical habitat. In this final 
revision, 96 ac (39 ha) of proposed critical habitat has been excluded 
under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see Exclusions section below).
    This unit is on the western coast of Lane County, about 5 mi (8 km) 
north of the City of Florence. It is located 2.25 mi south of Heceta 
Head and bounded by Sutton Creek to the south, lands administered by 
the Siuslaw National Forest to the east, and HCP-covered lands to the 
west The unit consists of 276 ac (112 ha) of Federal lands, managed by 
the U.S. Forest Service's (USFS) Siuslaw National Forest.
    This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently 
occupied. The most recently documented Pacific Coast WSPs for this unit 
includes four breeding plovers in 2007 (Lauten et al. 2007, p. 5). We 
have determined that the unit contains the physical and biological 
features essential to the conservation of the species which may require 
special management considerations or protection. This unit provides 
habitat to support breeding plovers and facilitates interchange between 
otherwise widely separated units under intensive management. It extends 
behind a relatively low foredune in several places into areas overgrown 
with beach grass. Sea-level rise and overwashing of these areas during 
the winter months is anticipated to result in vegetation removal and 
the creation of additional plover breeding habitat.
    The unit is characteristic of a dune-backed beach and wide sand 
spits with overwash areas and contains an interdune flat created 
through habitat restoration. It includes the following features 
essential to the conservation of the species: Sparsely vegetated, low-
lying areas of sandy dune; open, sandy areas that are relatively 
undisturbed by humans; and sandy beach above the mean high water line 
that supports small invertebrates.
    Primary threats to essential physical and biological features that 
may require special management in this unit are degradation of the sand 
dune system due to encroachment of European beach grass; disturbance 
from humans, pets, and horses in important foraging and nesting areas; 
and predators.
OR 8A, Siltcoos Breach, 15 ac (6 ha)
    This subunit is on the southwestern coast of Lane County, about 7 
mi (11 km) southwest of the City of Florence. It is an important 
wintering area that includes a large opening in the foredune 1.2 mi (2 
km) north of the Siltcoos River. The southern boundary is located 0.6 
mi (1 km) north of the Siltcoos River, with the Oregon Dunes National 
Recreation Area (NRA) to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. 
The subunit consists of 7 federally owned ac (3 ha) managed by the USFS 
as the Oregon Dunes NRA in the Siuslaw National Forest and 8 ac (3 ha) 
on the ``Ocean Shore,'' managed by OPRD.
    This subunit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently 
occupied with recently documented wintering Pacific Coast WSPs in 2005, 
2006, 2007, and 2010 (Service unpublished data). As many as 59 Pacific 
Coast WSP were

[[Page 36758]]

documented during the winter of 2005 (C. Burns, pers. comm. 2006), and 
26, 36, and 24 Pacific Coast WSP in 2006, 2007 and 2010, respectively 
(Service unpublished data).
    The subunit is characteristic of a dune-backed beach. It includes 
the following features essential to the conservation of the species: 
Sparsely vegetated, low-lying areas of sandy dune and sandy beach above 
the mean high water line that supports small invertebrates.
    Primary threats to essential physical and biological features that 
may require special management in this subunit are degradation of the 
sand dune system due to encroachment of European beach grass on the 
available wintering habitat and disturbance from humans, pets, and 
vehicles in important roosting and foraging areas.
OR 8B, Siltcoos River Spit, 116 ac (47 ha)
    We proposed 241 (97 ha) for designation in this unit in our revised 
proposed designation of critical habitat. In this final revision, 125 
ac (51 ha) of proposed critical habitat has been excluded under section 
4(b)(2) of the Act (see Exclusions section below).
    This subunit is located in Lane and Douglas Counties, about 7 mi 
(11 km) southwest of the City of Florence. It includes the sand spits 
to the north and south of the Siltcoos River and is bounded by the 
Waxmyrtle Trail and campground to the east, and HCP-covered lands to 
the west. It consists of 116 federally owned ac (47 ha) managed by the 
USFS as the Oregon Dunes NRA in the Siuslaw National Forest.
    Siltcoos River Spit was occupied at the time of listing and is 
currently occupied. Most recently documented Pacific Coast WSPs for 
this subunit include 26 breeding adults in 2011 (Lauten et al. 2011, p. 
25).
    The subunit is characteristic of a dune-backed beach and sand spit 
in close proximity to a tidally influenced river mouth. The subunit 
contains the following features essential to the conservation of the 
species: sparsely vegetated, low-lying areas of sandy dune; open, sandy 
areas that are relatively undisturbed by humans; sandy beach above the 
mean high water line that supports small invertebrates; and close 
proximity to tidally influenced freshwater areas.
    Primary threats to essential physical and biological features that 
may require special management in this subunit are degradation of the 
sand dune system due to encroachment of European beach grass; 
disturbance from humans and pets in important foraging and nesting 
areas; vehicle trespass into closed areas; and predators.
OR 8C, Dunes Overlook/Tahkenitch Creek Spit, 383 ac (155 ha)
    We proposed 716 (290 ha) for designation in this unit in our 
revised proposed designation of critical habitat. In this final 
revision, 333 ac (135 ha) of proposed critical habitat has been 
excluded under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see Exclusions section 
below).
    This subunit is in Douglas County, about 9 mi (15 km) southwest of 
the City of Florence. The southern boundary of the unit is about 5.3 mi 
(9 km) northwest of the City of Reedsport. It is bounded by the subunit 
8B to the north, a street legal vehicle area to the south, Oregon Dunes 
NRA to the east, and HCP-covered lands to the west. It consists of 383 
federally owned ac (155 ha) managed by the USFS as the Oregon Dunes NRA 
in the Siuslaw National Forest.
    Dunes Overlook/Tahkenitch Creek Spit was occupied at the time of 
listing and is currently occupied. Documented Pacific Coast WSPs for 
this subunit include 71 breeding plovers in 2011 (Lauten et al. 2011, 
p. 25).
    The subunit is characteristic of a dune-backed beach and sand spit 
in close proximity to a tidally influenced river mouth and contains 
interdune flats created through habitat restoration. The subunit 
contains the following features essential to the conservation of the 
species: Wide sand spits or overwashes and sparsely vegetated, low-
lying areas of sandy dune; open, sandy areas that are relatively 
undisturbed by humans; sandy beach above the mean high water line that 
supports small invertebrates; and close proximity to tidally influenced 
freshwater areas.
    Primary threats to essential physical and biological features that 
may require special management in this subunit are degradation of the 
sand dune system due to encroachment of European beach grass; 
disturbance from humans in important foraging and nesting areas; and 
predators.
OR 8D, North Umpqua River Spit, 59 ac (24 ha)
    We proposed 236 (95 ha) for designation in this unit in our revised 
proposed designation of critical habitat. In this final revision, 177 
ac (71 ha) of proposed critical habitat has been excluded under section 
4(b)(2) of the Act (see Exclusions section below).
    This subunit is on the western coast of Douglas County, about 4 mi 
(5 km) west of the City of Reedsport. It is bounded by the Umpqua River 
North Jetty to the south, Oregon Dunes NRA land to the north and east, 
and HCP-covered lands to the west. Subunit 8D consists of 59 ac (24 ha) 
of Federal land managed by the USFS for the Oregon Dunes NRA in the 
Siuslaw National Forest.
    This subunit was not occupied at the time of listing. Nesting 
Pacific Coast WSPs were last documented at North Umpqua River Spit in 
the 1980s (ODFW unpublished data). The subunit is located between 
currently occupied areas and provides habitat for adult dispersal 
between units. Although nesting and wintering has not been recently 
confirmed for this area, we consider the unit is needed by the species 
for use in response to fluctuating habitat and resource availability.
    The subunit is characteristic of a dune-backed beach in close 
proximity to tidally influenced freshwater areas. The subunit includes 
sparsely vegetated, low-lying areas of sandy dune; open, sandy areas 
that are relatively undisturbed by humans; sandy beach above the mean 
high water line that supports small invertebrates; and close proximity 
to tidally influenced freshwater areas, which are considered essential 
for the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP.
OR 9, Tenmile Creek Spit, 223 ac (90 ha)
    We proposed 244 ac (99 ha) for designation in this unit in our 
revised proposed designation of critical habitat. In this final 
revision, 21 ac (8 ha) of proposed critical habitat has been excluded 
under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see Exclusions section below).
    This unit is on the northwestern coast of Coos County, about 11 mi 
(18 km) southwest of the City of Reedsport. It includes the sand spits 
and beaches to the north and south of the Tenmile River. This unit is 
on the northwestern coast of Coos County, about 11 mi (18 km) southwest 
of the City of Reedsport, with Winchester Bay 6.5 mi (10.5 km) to the 
north, Coos Bay North Jetty 15.5 mi (25 km) to the south, the City of 
Lakeside 2.5 mi (4 km) to the east, and HCP-covered lands to the west.
    Tenmile Creek Spit was occupied at the time of listing and is 
currently occupied. Documented Pacific Coast WSPs for this unit include 
25 breeding adults in 2011 (Lauten et al. 2011, p. 25). Unit OR 9 
consists of 223 ac (90 ha) of Federal land managed as the Oregon Dunes 
NRA by the USFS.
    The unit is characteristic of a dune-backed beach and sand spit in 
close proximity to a tidally influenced river mouth. It includes the 
following features essential to the conservation of the species: 
Sparsely vegetated, low-

[[Page 36759]]

lying areas of sandy dune; open, sandy areas that are relatively 
undisturbed by humans; sandy beach above the mean high water line that 
supports small invertebrates; and close proximity to tidally influenced 
freshwater areas.
    Primary threats to essential physical and biological features that 
may require special management in this unit degradation of the sand 
dune system due to encroachment of European beach grass; disturbance 
from humans in important foraging and nesting areas; vehicle trespass 
into closed areas; and predators.
OR 10, Coos Bay North Spit, 273 ac (111 ha)
    We proposed 308 (125 ha) for designation in this unit in our 
revised proposed designation of critical habitat. In this final 
revision, 35 ac (14 ha) of proposed critical habitat has been excluded 
under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see Exclusions section below).
    This unit is on the western coast of Coos County, about 3 mi (5 km) 
west of the City of Coos Bay. It is bounded Oregon Dunes NRA 3 mi (4.8 
km) to the north, Coos Bay North Jetty to the south, Coos Bay to the 
east, and HCP-covered lands to the west.
    Coos Bay North Spit was occupied at the time of listing and is 
currently occupied. Documented Pacific Coast WSPs for this unit include 
59 breeding plovers in 2011 (Lauten et al. 2011, p. 25). The unit 
consists of 273 ac (111 ha) of Federal land under the jurisdiction of 
the USACE, but primarily managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management 
(BLM).
    The unit is characteristic of a dune-backed beach in close 
proximity to tidally influenced estuarine mud flats and containing 
interior interdune flats created through dredge material disposal or 
through habitat restoration. It includes the following features 
essential to the conservation of the species: Expansive, sparsely 
vegetated interdune flats; open, sandy areas that are relatively 
undisturbed by humans; areas of sandy beach above the mean high water 
line with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small invertebrates; 
and close proximity to tidally influenced estuarine mud flats.
    Primary threats to essential physical and biological features that 
may require special management in this unit are degradation of the sand 
dune system due to encroachment of European beach grass; disturbance 
from humans, pets, and horses in important foraging and nesting areas; 
vehicle trespass into closed areas; and predators.
OR 11, Bandon to New River, 541 ac (219 ha)
    We proposed 1,016 ac (411 ha) for designation in this unit in our 
revised proposed designation of critical habitat. In this final 
revision, Bandon State Natural Area (227 ac, 92 ha), which is owned and 
managed by OPRD, and 249 ac (101 ha) of private land have been excluded 
from critical habitat designation for this unit under section 4(b)(2) 
of the Act (see Exclusions section below).
    The remaining lands of this unit are on the southwestern coast of 
Coos County, about 3 mi (5 km) south of the City of Bandon. The unit 
consists of multiple land ownerships bounded by the southern boundary 
of Bandon State Natural Area to the north, the New River to the east, 
north of the Floras Creek outlet to the south, and HCP-covered lands to 
the west. The unit encompasses all of New River Spit and extends behind 
a relatively low foredune north of Floras Creek. Sea-level rise and 
overwashing of these areas during the winter months is anticipated to 
result in vegetation removal and the creation of additional Pacific 
Coast WSP breeding habitat.
    New River was occupied at the time of listing and is currently 
occupied. Documented Pacific Coast WSPs for this unit include 20 
breeding plovers in 2011 (Lauten et al. 2011, p. 25; Lauten 2012 pers. 
comm.). The BLM is the unit's primary land manager. Unit OR 11 consists 
of 459 ac (186 ha) of Federal land with 82 ac (33 ha) of private land.
    The unit is characteristic of a dune-backed beach and barrier spit, 
and contains interdune flats created through habitat restoration. It 
includes the following features essential to the conservation of the 
species: Wide sand spits or overwashes and sparsely vegetated, low-
lying areas of sandy dune; open, sandy areas that are relatively 
undisturbed by humans; areas of sandy beach above the mean high water 
line with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small invertebrates; 
and close proximity to tidally influenced freshwater areas.
    Primary threats that may require special management in this unit 
are degradation of the sand dune system due to encroachment of European 
beach grass; disturbance from humans and pets in important foraging and 
nesting areas; vehicle trespass into closed areas; and predators.
OR 12, Elk River Spit
    Unit OR 12 has been excluded from critical habitat designation 
under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see Exclusions section below).
OR 13, Euchre Creek Spit, 9 ac (4 ha)
    We proposed 116 (47 ha) for designation in this unit in our revised 
proposed designation of critical habitat. In this final revision, 107 
ac (43 ha) of proposed critical habitat has been excluded under section 
4(b)(2) of the Act (see Exclusions section below).
    This unit is on the western coast of Curry County, approximately 10 
mi (6 km) north of the City of Gold Beach. It located to the north and 
south of the Euchre Creek and is bounded by HCP-covered lands to the 
west. The unit consists of 9 ac (4 ha) of private land. The unit 
extends into low-elevation areas on the north and south side of Euchre 
Creek. Sea-level rise and overwashing of these areas during the winter 
months is anticipated to result in vegetation removal and the creation 
of additional Pacific Coast WSP breeding habitat.
    Although Euchre Creek Spit was not considered occupied at the time 
the Pacific Coast WSP was listed in 1993, this beach is a historical 
nesting site. The most recently documented Pacific Coast WSP in the 
area was one wintering plover in 1989 (ODFW in litt. 1994, Appendix, 
Table 3). Although nesting and wintering have not been recently 
confirmed for this area, we consider the unit is needed by the species 
for use in response to fluctuating habitat and resource availability. 
We consider the unit to be essential for the conservation of the 
Pacific Coast WSP as it has the capability of providing connectivity 
between occupied areas, dispersal habitat between units, and habitat 
for resting and foraging. This unit may provide habitat to support 
breeding Pacific Coast WSP and would facilitate interchange between 
otherwise widely separated units within Recovery Unit 1 (identified in 
the Recovery Plan, Service 2007) in Oregon and Washington.
    Euchre Creek Spit is characteristic of a dune-backed beach and sand 
spit in close proximity to a tidally influenced river mouth. The unit 
includes sparsely vegetated, low-lying areas of sandy dune; open, sandy 
areas that are relatively undisturbed by humans; and close proximity to 
tidally influenced freshwater areas, which are essential for the 
conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP.

California

CA 1, Lake Earl, 74 ac (30 ha)
    This unit is located directly west of the Lake Earl/Lake Tolowa 
lagoon system in Del Norte County about 4 mi (7 km) north of Crescent 
City. The Lake Earl Lagoon spit is approximately 3 mi

[[Page 36760]]

(5 km) in length, encompasses approximately 74 ac (30 ha), and lies 
approximately 2 mi (3 km) north of Point Saint George and the McNamara 
Airfield.
    This unit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently 
occupied. This unit is a historical breeding site (Yocom and Harris 
1975, p. 30), and has harbored a small population of wintering Pacific 
Coast WSP in recent years (Service unpublished data). This unit is 
capable of supporting 10 breeding adults with adaptive management 
(Service 2007, Appendix B). All 74 ac (24 ha) are managed by the State 
under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Fish and Game 
(CDFG), and California Department of Parks and Recreation (CDPR).
    Essential physical or biological features of the unit for Pacific 
Coast WSP conservation include sandy beaches above and below the mean 
high-tide line, wind-blown sand in dune systems immediately inland of 
the active beach face, and the wash over area at the lagoon mouth.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from: Degradation of the sand 
dune system due to encroachment of European beach grass; destruction of 
habitat and loss of wintering and nesting Pacific Coast WSPs from OHV 
use; and destruction of habitat from annual mechanical breaching (as 
authorized by the USACE) of the spit between the Lake Earl/Lake Tolowa 
Lagoon and the Pacific Ocean.
CA 2, Gold Bluffs Beach, 233 ac (94 ha)
    This unit is located in Humboldt County about 5 mi (6 km) north of 
the Town of Orick within Prairie Creek State Park (north of Gold Bluffs 
Beach campground), and is managed cooperatively with Redwood National 
Park, collectively known as Redwood National and State Parks (RNSP). 
This unit was occupied at the time of listing, is currently occupied, 
and incorporates the primary use area of a pair of Pacific Coast WSPs 
that nested in Prairie Creek State Park during the summer of 2005, and 
is commonly used by wintering Pacific Coast WSPs.
    Although not considered a main breeding location, unit CA 2 
provides a fairly undisturbed location for breeding Pacific Coast WSP 
that lose nests to predation or other causes at various nest sites, and 
could offset habitat loss as sea-level rise prevents nesting at sites 
currently being used by plovers. One chick was fledged from the unit 
during 2004. Up to five Pacific Coast WSPs were observed within the 
unit in March 2007. The unit's primary value is as a wintering site 
(Service 2007, Appendix B). The site is often used as wintering habitat 
on an irregular basis (Service unpublished data). RNSP are actively 
managing the area for Pacific Coast WSP.
    The northeast portion of the unit is currently vegetated with 
European beach grass and is, therefore, currently unsuitable for 
nesting. However, with restoration, that portion of the unit would be 
considered suitable nesting habitat. We include that portion of the 
unit to help offset the anticipated effects of sea-level rise over 
time. RNSP have restored beach habitat by removing nonnative vegetation 
on other portions of Gold Bluffs Beach. We anticipate similar 
restoration within the unit to occur sometime in the future.
    The unit contains the following features essential to the 
conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP: Low lying sandy dunes; open, 
sandy areas that are relatively undisturbed by humans; and sandy beach 
above and below the high-tide line that supports small invertebrates. 
Most visitor use in the area is in Fern Canyon, which is to the east of 
the unit and outside of suitable Pacific Coast WSP habitat. Visitation 
is light relative to other State and National Parks within the Pacific 
Coast WSP's range. Limited vehicle use of the beach is allowed for 
commercial and tribal fishing, and park administrative use.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from human-related use from 
recreation and OHV use associated with commercial fishing, and European 
beach grass.
CA 3A, Stone Lagoon, 55 ac (22 ha)
    This subunit is approximately 0.9 mi (1.5 km) in length, and is 
located on the Stone Lagoon spit. Stone Lagoon borders the subunit on 
the east, and the Pacific Ocean makes up the subunit's western edge. 
Subunit CA 3A is located in Humboldt County, approximately 3 mi (5 km) 
south of the Town of Orick.
    The subunit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently 
occupied. Nesting has recently occurred within the subunit. In 2009, a 
single nest hatched three chicks, all of which fledged (Colwell, et al. 
2009, p. 9). The Recovery Plan (Service 2007) estimates that up to 16 
Pacific Coast WSPs can be supported within Unit CA 3; however, all are 
attributed to subunit CA 3B. Recent data indicate that the population 
management potential for subunit CA 3A is underestimated by the 
Recovery Plan (Service 2007, Appendix B), as it does contribute towards 
the species' reproductive success in northern California (Colwell et 
al. 2009, p. 9; Service unpublished data).
    The subunit contains the following physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP: Low-lying sandy 
dunes; open, sandy areas that are relatively undisturbed by humans; and 
sandy beach above and below the high-tide line that supports small 
invertebrates. Special management may be needed to control nonnative 
vegetation and enforce existing regulations to ensure the suitability 
of the subunit. With time, we anticipate that the entire subunit will 
be inundated with sea-level rise associated with climate change.
CA 3B, Big Lagoon, 268 ac (108 ha)
    This subunit consists of a large sand spit that divides the Pacific 
Ocean from Big Lagoon. The northern extent of Big Lagoon Spit is 
located in Humboldt County and is approximately 6 mi (10 km) south of 
the Town of Orick. This subunit was occupied at the time of listing and 
is currently occupied. Big Lagoon Spit is historical nesting habitat 
(Page and Stenzel 1981, p. 9), and currently maintains a winter 
population of fewer than 10 Pacific Coast WSPs (Service unpublished 
data). Recent nesting occurred within the subunit during 2005, in which 
a single nest hatched and fledged three chicks. We estimate the subunit 
can support 16 breeding adults (Service 2007, Appendix B). The subunit 
is located on the Big Lagoon Spit, which is approximately 4 mi (7 km) 
in length. Most of the subunit is managed by the CDPR. Approximately 
0.6 ac (0.3 ha) are managed by Humboldt County.
    Essential physical or biological features of the subunit that 
contribute towards the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP include: 
Low-lying sandy dunes and open, sandy areas that are relatively 
undisturbed by humans; and sandy beach above and below the high-tide 
line that supports small invertebrates.
    CDPR has conducted habitat restoration at this unit through the 
hand-removal of nonnative vegetation. The primary threat to wintering 
and breeding Pacific Coast WSPs that may require special management is 
disturbance from humans and pets from walking through winter flocks and 
potential nesting areas.
    Other threats requiring management include control of nonnative 
vegetation and enforcement of existing human-use

[[Page 36761]]

regulations are needed to ensure the suitability of the subunit. With 
time, we anticipate that the entire subunit will be inundated with sea-
level rise associated with climate change.
CA 4A, Clam Beach/Little River, 337 ac (136 ha)
    The subunit is located in Humboldt County immediately west and 
north of the Town of McKinleyville. The Clam Beach/Little River 
subunit's northern boundary is directly across from the south abutment 
of the U.S. Highway 101 Bridge that crosses the Little River. The 
southern subunit boundary is aligned with the north end of the 
southernmost, paved Clam Beach parking area. The length of the subunit 
is approximately 2 mi (3 km). Approximately 222 ac (90 ha) are State 
owned.
    This subunit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently 
occupied. During 2003, the subunit supported a breeding population of 
approximately 12 Pacific Coast WSPs, and a winter population of up to 
55 plovers (Service unpublished data). This subunit is one of four 
primary nesting locations within northern California. Based on the 
Recovery Plan (Service 2007, Appendix B), we expect the subunit to be 
capable of supporting six pairs of breeding Pacific Coast WSPs.
    Essential physical or biological features of the subunit that 
contribute towards the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP include 
large areas of sandy dunes, areas of sandy beach above and below the 
high-tide line, and generally barren to sparsely vegetated terrain. 
Special management is needed to control nonnative vegetation and 
enforcement of existing human-use regulations. With time, we anticipate 
that the lower portions of this subunit will be inundated with sea-
level rise associated with climate change.
CA 4B, Mad River Beach, 452 ac (183 ha)
    The subunit is located in Humboldt County immediately west of the 
Town of McKinleyville. This subunit was largely swept clean of European 
beach grass when the Mad River temporarily shifted north in the 1980s 
and 1990s. The Mad River Beach subunit is approximately 3 mi (5 km) 
long, and ranges from the U.S. Highway 101 Vista Point below the 
Arcata-Eureka Airport in the north, to School Road in the south. 
Approximately 161 ac (65 ha) are owned and managed by Humboldt County, 
and 143 ac (58 ha) are privately owned. The remaining 148 ac (60 ha) 
are managed by the State, and consist of the intertidal zone. Upon 
recalculation of ownership data, we discovered that the overall subunit 
area is approximately 4 ac (2 ha) smaller than proposed.
    This subunit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently 
occupied. We expect it to eventually support 12 breeding Pacific Coast 
WSPs with proper management (Service 2007, Appendix B). The current 
breeding population is believed to be less than five Pacific Coast 
WSPs, although plovers from this subunit readily intermix with plovers 
in CA 4A and elsewhere (Colwell et al. 2009, p. 9; Service unpublished 
data). Occasional winter use by Pacific Coast WSPs has been 
intermittently documented, with most wintering within the adjacent 
critical habitat subunit to the north (Service unpublished data).
    Essential physical or biological features of the subunit that 
contribute towards the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP include 
large areas of sandy dunes, areas of sandy beach above and below the 
high-tide line, and generally barren to sparsely vegetated terrain. 
Control of nonnative vegetation and enforcement of existing human-use 
regulations are needed to ensure the suitability of the subunit. With 
time, we anticipate that the lower portions of this subunit will be 
inundated with sea-level rise associated with climate change.
    Potential threats to nests, chicks, and both wintering and breeding 
adult Pacific Coast WSPs that may require special management are: 
nonnative vegetation, OHV use, and disturbance caused by equestrians 
(i.e., people riding horses) and humans with accompanying pets.
CA 5A, Humboldt Bay South Spit Beach, 572 ac (231 ha)
    This subunit is located in Humboldt County adjacent to Humboldt 
Bay, less than 1 mi west of the City of Eureka, with the southern 
boundary being Table Bluff. Approximately 542 ac (219 ha) of the unit 
are owned by the CDFG and State Lands Commission, but are managed by 
BLM; 10 ac (4 ha) are owned and managed by Humboldt County; and 20 ac 
(8 ha) are owned by the USACE. The subunit is 5 mi (8 km) in total 
length.
    This subunit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently 
occupied. The Pacific Coast WSP wintering population within the subunit 
is estimated at fewer than 15 individuals. Three nests, from four 
breeders, were attempted within the subunit in 2003 (Service 
unpublished data). This subunit is capable of supporting 30 breeding 
Pacific Coast WSPs (Service 2007, Appendix B). The BLM has conducted 
habitat restoration within the subunit, in consultation with us.
    The following physical or biological features essential to the 
conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP can be found within the unit: 
Large areas of sandy dunes, areas of sandy beach above and below the 
high-tide line, and generally barren to sparsely vegetated terrain. 
Control of nonnative vegetation and enforcement of existing human-use 
regulations are needed to ensure the suitability of the unit. With 
time, we anticipate that the lower portions of this unit will be 
inundated with sea-level rise associated with climate change.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from nonnative vegetation, OHV 
use, and disturbance from equestrians and humans with pets.
CA 5B, Eel River North Spit and Beach, 464 ac (188 ha)
    This subunit is located in Humboldt County about 4 mi (7 km) east 
of the Town of Loleta and stretches from Table Bluff on the north to 
the mouth of the Eel River in the south. The subunit is estimated to be 
3.9 mi (7 km) long, and is managed by the State, except for 7 ac (3 ha) 
of private land.
    This subunit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently 
occupied with a wintering population of Pacific Coast WSPs estimated at 
fewer than 20 (Service unpublished data). As many as 11 breeders have 
been observed during breeding season window surveys, with a breeding 
population estimated at less than 15 (Colwell et al. 2009, p. 9). We 
expect this subunit to eventually support 20 breeding Pacific Coast 
WSPs with proper management (Service 2007, Appendix B).
    Essential physical or biological features of the subunit include: 
Large areas of sandy, sparsely vegetated dunes for reproduction and 
normal behavior, and areas of sandy beach above and below the high-tide 
line supporting small invertebrates for foraging. Surf-cast organic 
debris is an important component of the habitat in this subunit, 
providing shelter from the wind both for nesting Pacific Coast WSPs and 
for invertebrate prey species. Control of nonnative vegetation and 
enforcement of existing human-use regulations are needed to ensure the 
suitability of the subunit. With time, we anticipate that the lower 
portions of this subunit will be inundated with sea-level rise 
associated with climate change.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the

[[Page 36762]]

species may require special management considerations or protection to 
address the main threats from nonnative vegetation, predators, OHVs, 
and disturbance from equestrians and humans with pets.
CA 5C, Eel River South Spit and Beach, 336 ac (136 ha)
    This subunit, located in Humboldt County, encompasses the beach 
segment from the mouth of the Eel River, south to Centerville Road, 
approximately 4 mi (7 km) west of the City of Ferndale. The subunit is 
5 mi (8 km) long; 160 ac (65 ha) are private, with 4 ac (2 ha) managed 
by Humboldt County. Approximately 172 ac (70 ha) are managed by the 
State.
    This subunit was occupied at the time of listing, is currently 
occupied, and capable of supporting 20 breeding Pacific Coast WSPs. A 
single nest was found during the 2004 breeding season (Colwell et al. 
2004, p. 7). The winter population is estimated at fewer than 80 
plovers, many of which breed on the Eel River gravel bars (CA 5) 
(Service unpublished data).
    Essential physical or biological features of the subunit include: 
Large areas of sandy dunes, areas of sandy beach above and below the 
high-tide line, and generally barren to sparsely vegetated terrain for 
foraging. Control of nonnative vegetation and enforcement of existing 
human-use regulations are needed to ensure the suitability of the 
subunit. With time, we anticipate that the lower portions of this 
subunit will be inundated with sea-level rise associated with climate 
change.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from nonnative vegetation, 
predators, OHVs, and disturbance from equestrians and humans with pets.
CA 6, Eel River Gravel Bars; 1,349 ac (546 ha)
    This unit, located in Humboldt County, is largely inundated during 
winter months due to high flows in the Eel River. The unit is 6.4 mi (8 
km) from the City of Fernbridge, and includes gravel bars between 
Fernbridge and the confluence of the Van Duzen River. The Eel River is 
contained by levees in this section, and consists of gravel bars and 
wooded islands. The unit contains a total of 1,349 ac (546 ha), of 
which 176 ac (71 ha) are owned and managed by Humboldt County, 304 ac 
(123 ha) are under the jurisdiction of the California State Lands 
Commission, and 869 ac (352 ha) are privately-owned.
    This unit was occupied at the time of listing, is currently 
occupied, and capable of supporting 40 breeding Pacific Coast WSPs. 
Surveys have documented 22 breeding birds in this unit; however, those 
numbers have dropped off in recent years (Colwell et al. 2009, p. 9; 
Service unpublished data).
    Essential physical or biological features of this unit include 
bare, open gravel bars comprised of both sand and cobble, which support 
reproduction and foraging. This unit harbors the most important 
breeding habitat in California north of San Francisco Bay, and has the 
highest fledging success rate of any area from Mendocino County to the 
Oregon border.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from predators, OHVs, 
disturbance from gravel mining, and humans with pets. Gravel mining is 
managed through a Clean Water Act permit issued by the USACE.
CA 7, MacKerricher Beach, 1,218 ac (493 ha)
    This unit is approximately 3.5 mi (5.6 km) long. The unit is just 
south of the Ten Mile River, and approximately 4 mi (6 km) north of the 
City of Fort Bragg located in Mendocino County. The State manages 
approximately 1,144 ac (463 ha), and 74 ac (30 ha) are privately owned. 
CDPR has been conducting removal of European beach grass to improve 
habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP and other sensitive dune species 
within the unit.
    This unit was occupied at the time of listing, is currently 
occupied, and is capable of supporting 20 breeding Pacific Coast WSPs 
(Service 2007, Appendix B). The current breeding population is 
estimated at fewer than 10 (Colwell et al. 2009, p. 9). The winter 
population of plovers is fewer than 45 (Service unpublished data).
    Essential physical or biological features of the unit include: 
large areas of sandy dunes, areas of sandy beach above and below the 
high-tide line, and generally barren to sparsely vegetated terrain. 
Control of nonnative vegetation and enforcement of existing human-use 
regulations are needed to ensure the suitability of the unit. With 
time, we anticipate that the lower portions of this unit will be 
inundated with sea-level rise associated with climate change.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from nonnative vegetation, 
predators, and disturbance from equestrians and humans with pets.
CA 8, Manchester Beach, 505 ac (204 ha)
    The Manchester Beach unit is approximately 3.5 mi (6 km) long and 
located in Mendocino County about 1 mi (2 km) west of the Town of 
Manchester. The State manages 425 ac (172 ha) of the unit, 68 ac (28 
ha) are federally managed, and the remaining 12 ac (5 ha) are privately 
owned. This unit is occupied and provides an important wintering site 
for Pacific Coast WSPs in the region (Service 2007, Appendix B). In 
2003, a pair of Pacific Coast WSPs nested within the unit, and 
successfully hatched two chicks. However, those chicks did not survive 
(Colwell et al. 2004, p. 7). The current wintering population is 
estimated at fewer than 20 (Service unpublished data).
    Although occupancy at the time of listing has not been confirmed, 
we consider this unit essential for the conservation of the species 
based on the fluctuating use of areas by the species as a response to 
habitat and resource availability. The unit is located adjacent to 
currently occupied areas and provides dispersal habitat between units. 
This unit provides habitat to support breeding Pacific Coast WSPs, will 
facilitate interchange between otherwise widely separated units, and 
helps provide habitat within a Recovery Unit identified in the Recovery 
Plan (Service 2007).
    The unit contains large areas of sandy dunes, areas of sandy beach 
above and below the high-tide line, and generally barren to sparsely 
vegetated terrain, which are essential for the conservation of the 
Pacific Coast WSP.
CA 9, Dillon Beach, 39 ac (16 ha)
    This unit is located at the mouth of Tomales Bay, in Marin County, 
just south of the Town of Dillon Beach. It stretches for about 0.7 mi 
(1 km) north from Sand Point. The unit was occupied at the time of 
listing, is currently occupied, and is an important wintering area for 
the species. Seventy-five wintering Pacific Coast WSPs were counted at 
this location during the January 2007 winter window survey (Service 
2007, p. 4). The unit does not extend as far north as did the unit 
proposed for Dillon Beach in 2004 (69 FR 75607, December 17, 2004), 
because subsequent site visits and discussions with local Pacific Coast 
WSP surveyors have established that Pacific Coast WSPs only rarely used 
the area north of

[[Page 36763]]

the unit we are designating in this rule. The unit is entirely on 
private land.
    Essential physical or biological features provided by the unit 
include surf cast debris supporting small invertebrates for foraging, 
and large stretches of relatively undisturbed, sparsely vegetated, 
sandy beach, both above and below high-tide line, for foraging and 
potentially for nesting.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from nonnative vegetation, 
predators, and disturbance by humans and their pets. Control of 
nonnative vegetation and enforcement of existing human-use regulations 
are needed to ensure the suitability of the unit. With time, we 
anticipate that the lower portions of this unit will be inundated with 
sea-level rise associated with climate change.
CA 10A, Point Reyes, 460 ac (186 ha)
    This subunit is located in Marin County to the west of the 
unincorporated Community of Inverness and occupies most of the west-
facing beach between Point Reyes and Tomales Point. It is located 
entirely within the Point Reyes National Seashore, and consists 
primarily of dune-backed beaches. This unit was occupied at the time of 
listing, is currently occupied, supports both nesting and wintering 
Pacific Coast WSPs, and has the potential to support 50 breeding birds 
with proper management (Service 2007, Appendix B).
    The Point Reyes unit includes the following PCEs essential to 
Pacific Coast WSP conservation: sparsely vegetated sandy beach above 
and below high-tide for nesting and foraging, wind-blown sand dunes for 
nesting and predator avoidance, and tide-cast debris attracting small 
invertebrates for foraging. Control of nonnative vegetation and 
enforcement of existing human-use regulations are needed to ensure the 
suitability of the subunit. With time, we anticipate that the lower 
portions of this subunit will be inundated with sea-level rise 
associated with climate change.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from nonnative vegetation, 
disturbance by humans and pets, and predators (particularly corvids).
CA 10B, Limantour, 156 ac (63 ha)
    Limantour is a roughly 2.25-mi (4-km) sand spit at the north end of 
Drake's Bay located in Marin County to the west of the unincorporated 
Community of Olema. The subunit includes the end of the spit, and 
narrows to include only the south-facing beach towards the base of the 
spit. It is completely within the Point Reyes National Seashore. This 
unit was occupied at the time of listing, is currently occupied, and 
can support both nesting and wintering Pacific Coast WSPs, although 
nesting has not been documented since 2000 (Stenzel in litt. 2004, p. 
3; Service 2009, p. 3). Ninety-eight wintering plovers were counted at 
the site during the January 2007 window survey (Service 2007, p. 4). 
The subunit is expected to contribute significantly to plover 
conservation in the region by providing habitat capable of supporting 
10 nesting birds (Service 2007, Appendix B).
    PCEs at the subunit include sparsely vegetated beach sand, above 
and below high-tide for nesting and foraging, and tide-cast debris 
supporting small invertebrates. Control of nonnative vegetation and 
enforcement of existing human-use regulations are needed to ensure the 
suitability of the subunit. With time, we anticipate that the lower 
portions of this subunit will be inundated with sea-level rise 
associated with climate change.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from nonnative vegetation, 
disturbance by humans and pets, and nest predators such as crows and 
ravens.
CA 11, Napa-Sonoma Marshes, 618 ac (250 ha)
    This unit encompasses salt evaporation ponds 7 and 7A, in the Napa-
Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area, owned by the CDFG. It is situated in Napa 
County, about 2.3 mi (4 km) west of the Napa County Airport, and about 
1.5 mi (2.4 km) south of Las Amigas Road. The unit was occupied at the 
time of listing and is currently occupied. Twelve Pacific Coast WSPs 
were identified at the location in the summer 2009, during window 
surveys (Service 2009, p. 2). This is the only location in the northern 
portion of the San Francisco Bay known to support nesting Pacific Coast 
WSPs.
    Essential physical or biological features provided by the unit 
include sparsely vegetated areas above daily high-tides, such as salt 
pans, artificial salt ponds, and adjoining levees, for nesting and 
foraging.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from nonnative vegetation, 
flooding, and nest predators such as great egrets (Casmerodius albus) 
and common ravens (Corvus corax) (Robinson-Nilsen et al. 2009, p. 14). 
Control of nonnative vegetation and enforcement of existing human-use 
regulations are needed to ensure the suitability of the unit. With 
time, we anticipate that the lower portions of this unit will be 
inundated with sea-level rise associated with climate change.
CA 12, Hayward, 1 ac (0 ha)
    This unit comprises Island 5 at the Hayward Regional Shoreline 
Park, located to the west of the City of Hayward in Alameda County. The 
area is managed by the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD) as a 
nesting area for shorebirds--primarily least terns (Sterna antillarum 
browni), but also Pacific Coast WSPs (Riensche 2007, p. 1). The unit 
was occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. Three 
Pacific Coast WSPs chicks from one nest successfully fledged from the 
unit in 2008 (Riensche 2008, p. 2; Robinson et al. 2008, pp. 19, 34), 
but since then seven plover nesting attempts in the area have failed, 
primarily due to predation (Robinson-Nilsen et al. 2009, pp. 16, 32; 
Robinson-Nilsen 2010, pers. comm.). The most commonly observed avian 
predators at the site have been California gulls (Larus californicus), 
although the only actual depredation observed was by a killdeer 
(Charadrius vociferus) (Robinson-Nilsen et al. 2009, pp. 14, 16). 
Essential physical or biological features provided by the unit include 
sparsely vegetated areas above daily high-tides, such as salt pans, 
artificial salt ponds, and adjoining levees, for nesting and foraging.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from predation, salt pond 
management, and non-native vegetation. The EBRPD is implementing a 
predator management program utilizing numerous volunteers as well as 
staff from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Wildlife 
Services program (Riensche 2008, p. 2) to reduce predation at this 
site.
CA 13A, Eden Landing: 237 ac (96 ha)
    This subunit encompasses salt ponds E11, E15B, and E16B, just south 
of highway 92 and the San Mateo Bridge and west of Union City in 
Alameda County. This unit was occupied at the time of listing, is 
currently occupied,

[[Page 36764]]

and supported a total of 30 Pacific Coast WSP nests in 2009, 15 of 
which hatched (Robinson-Nilsen et al. 2009, p. 32). Approximately 228 
ac (92 ha) are State owned. Approximately 8 ac (3 ha) are privately 
owned. Essential features provided by the subunit include sparsely 
vegetated areas above daily high tides, such as salt pans, artificial 
salt ponds, and adjoining levees, for nesting and foraging.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from flooding and avian nest 
predators such as California gulls (Robinson-Nilsen et al. 2009, p. 
13).
CA 13B, Eden Landing, 171 ac (69 ha)
    This subunit is located west of Union City in Alameda County and 
encompasses salt pond E14, just south of Eden Creek. This subunit was 
occupied at the time of listing, is currently occupied, supported nine 
Pacific Coast WSP nests in 2009, three of which hatched young 
(Robinson-Nilsen et al. 2009, p. 32). The subunit does not include salt 
ponds E12 and E13 (just north of E14), because those are being 
converted to high salinity ponds for birds such as eared grebes 
(Podiceps nigricollis) and phalaropes (Phalaropus spp.) that forage 
well on such habitat (Strong 2010a, p. 1). The entire subunit is State 
owned. Essential features provided by the subunit include sparsely 
vegetated areas above daily high-tides, such as salt pans, artificial 
salt ponds and adjoining levees, for nesting and foraging.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from flooding and avian nest 
predators such as California gulls (Robinson-Nilsen et al. 2009, p. 
13).
CA 13C, Eden Landing, 609 ac (246 ha)
    This subunit encompasses salt ponds E6A and E6B, and is located 
just north of Old Alameda Creek and west of Union City in Alameda 
County. This unit was occupied at the time of listing, is currently 
occupied, and supported a total of two Pacific Coast WSP nests in 2009, 
both of which hatched young (Robinson-Nilsen et al. 2009, p. 32). The 
subunit does not include a panhandle-shaped area of potential habitat 
just north of pond E6A because it is being converted to tidal marsh as 
part of a restoration project started before the South Bay Salt Pond 
Restoration Project (Strong 2010b, p. 7; Strong 2010c, p. 1). Essential 
physical or biological features provided by the subunit include 
sparsely vegetated areas above daily high-tides, such as salt pans, 
artificial salt ponds, and adjoining levees, for nesting and foraging.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from flooding and avian nest 
predators such as California gulls (Robinson-Nilsen et al. 2009, p. 
13).
CA 14, Ravenswood, 89 ac (36 ha)
    This unit consists of the southwestern portion of salt pond SF2 
located east of the City of East Palo Alto in San Mateo County near the 
western approach to the Dumbarton Bridge. Pond SF2 is undergoing 
renovations intended to provide ponded areas, islands, and salt pan for 
several species of shorebirds, including Pacific Coast WSPs (South Bay 
Salt Pond Restoration Project 2010, p. 3). The Ravenswood unit is drawn 
to encompass the salt pan area (Strong 2010b, pp. 3, 4). This unit was 
occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. In 2009, 
pond SF2 supported 23 Pacific Coast WSPs nests, 17 of which hatched 
young (Robinson-Nilsen et al. 2009, p. 32). The entire unit is 
privately owned. Essential physical or biological features provided by 
the unit include sparsely vegetated areas above daily high-tides, such 
as salt pans, artificial salt ponds and adjoining levees, for nesting 
and foraging.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from flooding and avian nest 
predators such as California gulls (Robinson-Nilsen et al. 2009, p. 
13).
CA 15, Warm Springs, 168 ac (68 ha)
    This unit encompasses the northeastern portion of salt evaporation 
ponds A22 and A23 in the Warm Springs area of the South San Francisco 
Bay near Foster City in San Mateo County. This unit was occupied at the 
time of listing and is currently occupied. Fourteen breeding Pacific 
Coast WSPs were identified at these ponds during the 2009 summer window 
surveys (Service unpublished data). Additionally, Robinson-Nilsen et 
al. (2009, p. 32) found a total of 21 Pacific Coast WSPs nests at the 
ponds in 2009, 11 of which successfully hatched young. The southwestern 
portions of the ponds are excluded in keeping with tidal marsh 
restoration plans envisioned under the draft Tidal Marsh Recovery Plan 
(Service 2009, p. 266). The entire unit is federally owned.
    Essential physical or biological features provided by the unit 
include sparsely vegetated areas above daily high-tides, such as salt 
pans, artificial salt ponds, and adjoining levees, for nesting and 
foraging.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from flooding and avian nest 
predators such as California gulls (Robinson-Nilsen et al. 2009, p. 
13).
CA 16, Half Moon Bay, 36 ac (15 ha)
    This unit is located next to the City of Half Moon Bay in San Mateo 
County and stretches for about 1.25 mi (2 km) along Half Moon Bay State 
Beach, and is entirely within CDPR land. The essential features of this 
unit include sandy beach above and below the high-tide line for nesting 
and foraging, and surf-cast debris to attract small invertebrates. This 
unit was occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. 
Small numbers of breeding Pacific Coast WSPs have been found at the 
location in the past five surveys (Service 2009, p. 3). The unit also 
supports a sizeable winter flock, consisting of 50 Pacific Coast WSPs 
in 2007 (Service 2007, p. 4). We expect the unit to eventually support 
10 breeding Pacific Coast WSPs in the unit under proper management 
(Service 2007).
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from nonnative vegetation, 
disturbance by humans and pets, and nest predators. Control of 
nonnative vegetation and enforcement of existing human-use regulations 
are needed to ensure the suitability of the unit. With time, we 
anticipate that the lower portions of this unit will be inundated with 
sea-level rise associated with climate change.
CA 17, Waddell Creek Beach, 25 ac (10 ha)
    This unit includes the mouth of Waddell Creek and is located about 
20 mi (32 km) north of the City of Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz County. It 
extends about 0.6 mi (1 km) north along the coast from a point about 
0.4 mi (0.6 km) south of the creek mouth to a point about 0.2 mi (1 km) 
north of the creek mouth. Unit CA 17 encompasses approximately 19 ac (8 
ha) of State land and 6 ac (2 ha) of private land. This unit was 
occupied at the time of listing, and the unit has historically (prior 
to 2004)

[[Page 36765]]

been an important breeding and wintering site, supporting up to 11 
breeding and up to 50 wintering Pacific Coast WSPs (Service unpublished 
data). Although Pacific Coast WSPs have not been documented in recent 
years, we consider this unit presently occupied based on the 
fluctuating use of areas by the species as a response to habitat and 
resource availability. The unit is located between currently occupied 
areas and provides dispersal habitat between units. This unit provides 
habitat to support breeding plovers, will facilitate interchange 
between otherwise widely separated units, and helps provide habitat 
within Recovery Unit 4 (identified in the Recovery Plan, Service 2007) 
along the central California Coast.
    This unit includes the following physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the species: Wind-blown sand dunes, 
areas of sandy beach above and below the high-tide line with occasional 
surf-cast wrack supporting small invertebrates, and generally barren to 
sparsely vegetated terrain.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from nonnative vegetation and 
human disturbance. Control of nonnative vegetation and enforcement of 
existing human-use regulations are needed to ensure the suitability of 
the unit. With time, we anticipate that the lower portions of this unit 
will be inundated with sea-level rise associated with climate change.
CA 18, Scott Creek Beach, 23 ac (9 ha)
    This unit includes the mouths of Scott and Molino Creeks and is 
located about 13 mi (21 km) north of the City of Santa Cruz in Santa 
Cruz County. It extends about 0.7 mi (1 km) north along the coast from 
the southern end of the sandy beach, 0.3 mi (0.5 km) south of Molino 
Creek, to a point about 0.1 mi (0.2 km) north of Scott Creek. Unit CA 
18 encompasses approximately 15 ac (6 ha) of State land and 8 ac (3 ha) 
of local jurisdictional land. This unit was occupied at the time of 
listing and is currently occupied, and recent surveys have found up to 
4 breeding Pacific Coast WSPs, while historical surveys (prior to 2004) 
have found up to 12 breeding plovers occupying the area (Service 
unpublished data). Unit CA 18 is an important wintering area, with up 
to 129 Pacific Coast WSPs recorded in a single season (Service 
unpublished data).
    This unit is essential to the conservation of the species because, 
with proper management, and in conjunction with the other two 
relatively small units designated in Santa Cruz County (CA 17 and 19), 
it can attract additional breeding Pacific Coast WSPs and thereby 
facilitate interchange between the larger units at Half Moon Bay (CA 
16).
    The unit includes the following habitat physical or biological 
features essential to the species: Areas of sandy beach above and below 
the high-tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small 
invertebrates and generally barren to sparsely vegetated terrain.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from nonnative vegetation, human 
disturbance, and predators. Control of nonnative vegetation and 
enforcement of existing human-use regulations are needed to ensure the 
suitability of the unit. With time, we anticipate that the lower 
portions of this unit will be inundated with sea-level rise associated 
with climate change.
CA 19, Wilder Creek Beach, 15 ac (6 ha)
    This unit is located at the mouth of Wilder Creek and is about 1 mi 
(1.6 km) west of the city of Santa Cruz, in Santa Cruz County. It 
extends about 0.25 mi (0.40 km) along the coast encompassing the sandy 
beach at the mouth of Wilder Creek. The unit is situated on State-owned 
(14 ac (6 ha)) and private (1 ac (0.4 ha)) land. This unit was occupied 
at the time of listing and is currently occupied. Although nesting in 
this area has been uncommon in recent years, it has historically been 
an important snowy plover nesting area, with up to 16 birds nesting 
each year (Service 2007, Appendix B) and is also an important Pacific 
Coast WSP wintering area, with up to 52 birds each winter (Service 
2007, Appendix B). Unit CA 19 is capable of supporting 16 breeding 
Pacific Coast WSPs under proper management (Service 2007, Appendix B).
    This unit is essential to the conservation of the species because, 
with proper management, and in conjunction with the other two 
relatively small units in Santa Cruz County (CA 17 and 18), it can 
attract additional breeding Pacific Coast WSPs and thereby facilitate 
interchange between the larger units at Half Moon Bay (CA 16) and Jetty 
Road to Aptos (CA 20). The unit includes the following features 
essential to the species: Areas of sandy beach above and below the high 
tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small 
invertebrates (for nesting and foraging) and generally barren to 
sparsely vegetated terrain (for foraging and predator avoidance).
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from nonnative vegetation, human 
disturbance, development, OHV use, pets, and predators. Control of 
nonnative vegetation and enforcement of existing human-use regulations 
are needed to ensure the suitability of the unit. With time, we 
anticipate that the lower portions of this unit will be inundated with 
sea-level rise associated with climate change.
CA 20, Jetty Road to Aptos, 399 ac (161 ha)
    This unit is located about 5 mi (8 km) west of the City of 
Watsonville and includes Sunset State Beach located in Santa Cruz 
County and Zmudowski State Beach and Moss Landing State Beach, both 
located in Monterey County. The mouth of the Pajaro River is located 
near the center of the subunit, and is designated as a Natural Preserve 
within Zmudowski State Beach. Elkhorn Slough is at the south end of the 
subunit. It extends about 8 mi (13 km) along the coast from Elkhorn 
Slough to Zils Road. Approximately 369 ac (149 ha) are State owned. The 
remaining 30 ac (12 ha) are privately owned. This unit was occupied at 
the time of listing; is currently occupied; is an important breeding 
area, with as many as 105 breeding Pacific Coast WSPs each year; and is 
also an important wintering area, with up to 250 plovers each winter 
(Service unpublished data).
    The unit includes the following habitat physical or biological 
features essential to the species: Areas of sandy beach above and below 
the high-tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small 
invertebrates, and generally barren to sparsely vegetated terrain.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from nonnative vegetation, human 
disturbance, development, horses, OHV use, pets, predators, and habitat 
changes resulting from exotic vegetation. Control of nonnative 
vegetation and enforcement of existing human-use regulations are needed 
to ensure the suitability of the unit. With time, we anticipate that 
the lower portions of this unit will be inundated with sea-level rise 
associated with climate change.

[[Page 36766]]

CA 21, Elkhorn Slough Mudflats, 281 ac (114 ha)
    This unit is located about 3.5 mi (6 km) north of the City of 
Castroville along the north side of Elkhorn Slough east of Highway 1 
located in Monterey County. This unit is 1.5 mi (2 km) long, extending 
about 1 mi (2 km) along the north shore of Elkhorn Slough east of 
Highway 1 and about 0.5 mi (1 km) north from Elkhorn Slough to Bennett 
Slough. The unit is situated entirely on State-owned land. This unit 
was occupied at the time of listing, is currently occupied, and is an 
important breeding area, with as many as 41 breeding Pacific Coast WSPs 
each year, and is also an important wintering area, with up to 137 
plovers each winter (Service unpublished data). This unit is capable of 
supporting 80 breeding Pacific Coast WSPs under proper management 
(Service 2007, Appendix B).
    The unit includes the following habitat physical or biological 
features essential to the species: Areas of sandy beach above and below 
the high-tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small 
invertebrates, and mud flat and salt pan habitat with generally barren 
to sparsely vegetated terrain.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from human disturbance, 
development, horses, OHV use, pets, predators, and habitat changes 
resulting from exotic vegetation. Control of nonnative vegetation and 
enforcement of existing human-use regulations are needed to ensure the 
suitability of the unit. With time, we anticipate that the lower 
portions of this unit will be inundated with sea-level rise associated 
with climate change.
CA 22, Monterey to Moss Landing, 959 ac (388 ha)
    This unit includes the beaches along the southern half of Monterey 
Bay from the City of Monterey at the south end of the unit to Moss 
Landing and the mouth of Elkhorn Slough at the north end of the unit in 
Monterey County. The mouth of the Salinas River is a Natural Preserve 
under State Parks, and is located near the center of the unit. Both the 
Salinas River and Marina Dunes Natural Preserves are within the unit. 
The unit extends about 15 mi (24 km) north along the coast from 
Monterey to Moss Landing. Unit CA 22 includes approximately 285 ac (115 
ha) of State lands, 36 ac (14 ha) of local lands, and 415 ac (168 ha) 
of Federal land. The remainder is privately owned. This unit was 
occupied at the time of listing, is currently occupied, and is an 
important breeding area, with as many as 162 breeding Pacific Coast 
WSPs each year, and is also an important wintering area, with up to 363 
plovers each winter (Service unpublished data).
    The unit includes the following physical or biological features 
essential to the species: Areas of sandy beach above and below the 
high-tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small 
invertebrates and generally barren to sparsely vegetated terrain.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from human disturbance, 
development, horses, OHV use, pets, predators, and habitat changes 
resulting from exotic vegetation. Control of nonnative vegetation and 
enforcement of existing human-use regulations are needed to ensure the 
suitability of the unit. With time, we anticipate that the lower 
portions of this unit will be inundated with sea-level rise associated 
with climate change.
CA 23, Point Sur Beach, 72 ac (29 ha)
    This unit is about 17 mi (27 km) south of the City of Monterey and 
immediately north of Point Sur State Historic Park (SHP) in Monterey 
County. It extends about 0.7 mi (1 km) north along the coast from Point 
Sur SHP, and includes the Point Sur Dunes Natural Preserve. This unit 
encompasses approximately 38 ac (15 ha) of State land and 34 ac (14 ha) 
of private land. This unit was occupied at the time of listing, is 
currently occupied, and has supported up to 13 breeding Pacific Coast 
WSPs each year (Service unpublished data). This unit is capable of 
supporting 20 breeding Pacific Coast WSPs under proper management 
(Service 2007, Appendix B). Unit CA 23 is an important wintering area, 
historically supporting up to 65 plovers each winter (Service 
unpublished data).
    The unit includes the following habitat physical or biological 
features essential to the species: Wind-blown sand dunes, areas of 
sandy beach above and below the high-tide line with occasional surf-
cast wrack supporting small invertebrates, and generally barren to 
sparsely vegetated terrain.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from human disturbance and 
habitat changes resulting from exotic vegetation. Control of nonnative 
vegetation and enforcement of existing human-use regulations are needed 
to ensure the suitability of the unit. With time, we anticipate that 
the lower portions of this unit will be inundated with sea-level rise 
associated with climate change.
CA 24, San Carpoforo Creek, 24 ac (10 ha)
    This unit is located approximately 20 mi (32 km) north of the Town 
of Cambria and 2.5 mi (4 km) south of the San Luis Obispo/Monterey 
County boundary in San Luis Obispo County. It extends approximately 
0.57 mi (1 km) along the coast. This unit contains approximately 4 ac 
(2 ha) of land owned by the USFS, 18 ac (7 ha) owned by the CDPR, and 2 
ac (1 ha) of private land. The unit was occupied at the time of 
listing, is currently occupied, and has supported as many as nine 
breeding Pacific Coast WSPs; however, breeding does not occur here 
every year (Service unpublished data). This unit is capable of 
supporting 10 breeding Pacific Coast WSPs under proper management 
(Service 2007, Appendix B). This unit consistently supports 40 to 50 
wintering plovers (Service unpublished data). San Carpoforo Creek is 
approximately 53 mi (84 km) south of the closest unit to the north (CA 
23, Point Sur), and approximately 11 mi (18 km) north of the closest 
unit to the south (CA 25, Arroyo Laguna Creek). Therefore, this unit 
may facilitate interchange between widely separated habitats.
    This unit includes the following physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the species: Areas of sandy beach 
above and below the high-tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack 
supporting small invertebrates and generally barren to sparsely 
vegetated terrain.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from human disturbance, pets, 
and dune-stabilizing vegetation. Control of nonnative vegetation and 
enforcement of existing human-use regulations are needed to ensure the 
suitability of the unit. With time, we anticipate that the lower 
portions of this unit will be inundated with sea-level rise associated 
with climate change.
CA 25, Arroyo Laguna Creek, 28 ac (11 ha)
    This unit is located 11 mi (8 km) south of San Carpoforo Creek and 
10 mi (16 km) north of the Town of Cambria in San Luis Obispo County. 
It extends

[[Page 36767]]

approximately 0.9 mi (2 km) along the coast from a rocky headland 0.2 
mi (0.3 km) south of Adobe Creek to 0.2 mi (0.3 km) north of Oak Knoll 
Creek. This unit encompasses approximately 18 ac (7 ha) of land owned 
by the CDPR and 10 ac (4 ha) of private land. This unit was occupied at 
the time of listing and is currently occupied. Arroyo Laguna Creek has 
historically (prior to 2000) been an important site, supporting as many 
as 6 breeding and 91 wintering Pacific Coast WSPs; however, neither 
breeding nor wintering occurs here every year (Service unpublished 
data). This unit is capable of supporting six breeding Pacific Coast 
WSPs under proper management (Service 2007, Appendix B). This unit is 
roughly equidistant between CA 24 (San Carpoforo Creek) and CA 26 (San 
Simeon State Beach) and may facilitate interchange between widely 
separated habitats.
    This unit includes the following physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the species: Areas of sandy beach 
above and below the high-tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack 
supporting small invertebrates (for nesting and foraging) and generally 
barren to sparsely vegetated terrain.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from human disturbance, pets, 
and dune-stabilizing vegetation. Control of nonnative vegetation and 
enforcement of existing human-use regulations are needed to ensure the 
suitability of the unit. With time, we anticipate that the lower 
portions of this unit will be inundated with sea-level rise associated 
with climate change.
CA 26, San Simeon State Beach, 24 ac (10 ha)
    This unit is located about 2 mi (3 km) north of the Town of Cambria 
in San Luis Obispo County. It extends about 0.9 mi (2 km) along the 
coast from a point opposite the intersection of Highway 1 and Moonstone 
Beach Drive to the northwestern corner of San Simeon State Beach. Unit 
CA 26 is owned by the CDPR. The unit was occupied at the time of 
listing and is currently occupied. San Simeon State Beach has supported 
as many as seven breeding Pacific Coast WSPs; however, breeding does 
not occur here every year (Service unpublished data). This unit is an 
important wintering area with up to 143 plovers recorded in a single 
season over the last 7 years (Service unpublished data).
    This unit includes the following physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the species: Areas of sandy beach 
above and below the high-tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack 
supporting small invertebrates and generally barren to sparsely 
vegetated terrain.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from human disturbance, pets, 
and dune-stabilizing vegetation. Control of nonnative vegetation and 
enforcement of existing human-use regulations are needed to ensure the 
suitability of the unit. With time, we anticipate that the lower 
portions of this unit will be inundated with sea-level rise associated 
with climate change.
CA 27, Villa Creek Beach, 20 ac (8 ha)
    This unit is located about 3.5 mi (6 km) northwest of the Community 
of Cayucos in San Luis Obispo County. It extends 0.3 mi (0.5 km) 
northwest along the beach from an unnamed headland 1.4 mi (2 km) north 
of Point Cayucos to an unnamed headland northwest of Villa Creek. This 
unit is owned by the CDPR. This unit was occupied at the time of 
listing, is currently occupied, and is an important breeding and 
wintering site. This unit has supported as many as 33 breeding Pacific 
Coast WSPs in a single season (Service unpublished data). Wintering 
numbers vary widely from year to year, with 10 to 112 plovers recorded 
over the last 7 seasons (Service unpublished data).
    This unit includes the following physical or biological features 
essential to the species: Areas of sandy beach above and below the 
high-tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small 
invertebrates and generally barren to sparsely vegetated terrain.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from nonnative vegetation, human 
disturbance, pets, horses, and predators. Control of nonnative 
vegetation and enforcement of existing human-use regulations are needed 
to ensure the suitability of the unit. With time, we anticipate that 
the lower portions of this unit will be inundated with sea-level rise 
associated with climate change.
CA 28, Toro Creek, 34 ac (14 ha)
    This unit is located about 3 mi (5 km) north of the City of Morro 
Bay in San Luis Obispo County, extending from 0.4 mi (1 km) north of 
Toro Creek Road to 0.5 mi (1 km) south of Toro Creek Road (total 
length: 0.9 mi (1 km)). This unit was occupied at the time of listing, 
is currently occupied, and was historically (prior to 2000) an 
important breeding area, having supported as many as 16 breeding 
Pacific Coast WSPs (Service unpublished data). Breeding has not 
occurred at this unit in the last 5 seasons; however, the unit is 
capable of supporting 25 breeding plovers under proper management 
(Service 2007, Appendix B). This unit is an important wintering area 
with up to 121 Pacific Coast WSPs recorded in a single season (Service 
unpublished data). The unit encompasses approximately 11 ac (4 ha) of 
State land and 23 ac (9 ha) of private land.
    This unit includes the following physical or biological features 
essential to the species: Areas of sandy beach above and below the 
high-tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small 
invertebrates and generally barren to sparsely vegetated terrain.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from nonnative vegetation, human 
disturbance, pets, and predators. Control of nonnative vegetation and 
enforcement of existing human-use regulations are needed to ensure the 
suitability of the unit. With time, we anticipate that the lower 
portions of this unit will be inundated with sea-level rise associated 
with climate change.
CA 29, Atascadero Beach/Morro Strand State Beach, 213 ac (86 ha)
    This unit is located at Morro Strand State Beach just north of the 
City of Morro Bay in San Luis Obispo County. It extends about 2.25 mi 
(4 km) north along the beach from the parking area northeast of Morro 
Rock to an unnamed rocky outcrop opposite the end of Yerba Buena Street 
at the north end of the City of Morro Bay. This unit encompasses 
approximately 64 ac (26 ha) of State land, 51 ac (21 ha) of local 
jurisdictional land, and 98 ac (40 ha) of private land. This unit was 
occupied at the time of listing, is currently occupied, and is an 
important breeding area, having supported as many as 24 breeding 
Pacific Coast WSPs in a single season (Service unpublished data). The 
unit is capable of supporting 40 breeding Pacific Coast WSPs under 
proper management (Service 2007, Appendix B). This unit is also an 
important wintering area, with up to 249 plovers being recorded during 
a single season over the last 7 years (Service unpublished data).

[[Page 36768]]

    This unit includes the following physical or biological features 
essential to the species: areas of sandy beach above and below the 
high-tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small 
invertebrates and generally barren to sparsely vegetated terrain.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from nonnative vegetation, human 
disturbance, pets, and predators. Control of nonnative vegetation and 
enforcement of existing human-use regulations are needed to ensure the 
suitability of the unit. With time, we anticipate that the lower 
portions of this unit will be inundated with sea-level rise associated 
with climate change.
CA 30, Morro Bay Beach, 1,076 ac (435 ha)
    This unit is located at Montana de Oro State Park south of Morro 
Rock and adjacent to the City of Morro Bay in San Luis Obispo County. 
It extends 5.5 mi (9 km) north along the beach from a rocky outcrop 
about 350 ft (105 m) north of Hazard Canyon to the northern tip of the 
sand spit. This unit encompasses approximately 948 ac (383 ha) of State 
land, 69 ac (28 ha) of local jurisdictional land, and 60 ac (24 ha) of 
private land. This unit was occupied at the time of listing, is 
currently occupied, and is an important breeding area, supporting as 
many as 205 breeding Pacific Coast WSPs in a single season (Service 
unpublished data). Morro Bay Beach is also an important wintering area, 
supporting up to 104 plovers during a single over the last seven 
seasons (Service unpublished data).
    This unit includes the following physical or biological features 
essential to the species: Wind-blown sand dunes, areas of sandy beach 
above and below the high-tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack 
supporting small invertebrates, and generally barren to sparsely 
vegetated terrain.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from human disturbance, horses, 
pets, predators, and dune-stabilizing vegetation. Control of nonnative 
vegetation and enforcement of existing human-use regulations are needed 
to ensure the suitability of the unit. With time, we anticipate that 
the lower portions of this unit will be inundated with sea-level rise 
associated with climate change.
CA 31, Pismo Beach/Nipomo Dunes, 1,652 ac (669 ha)
    This unit is located south of the City of Grover Beach and west of 
the Town of Oceano and extends from San Luis Obispo County into 
northern Santa Barbara County west of the City of Guadalupe. The unit 
has approximately 242 ac (98 ha) of Federal land, 552 ac (223 ha) of 
State land, 377 ac (152 ha) of local jurisdictional land, and 481 ac 
(195 ha) of private land. This unit extends about 12 mi (19 km) along 
the beach from a point about 0.4 mi (1 km) north of Mussel Point to a 
point on the north side of Arroyo Grande Creek at the south end of 
Strand Way in the Town of Oceano. This unit was occupied at the time of 
listing, is currently occupied, and is an important breeding area, 
having supported as many as 162 breeding Pacific Coast WSPs in a single 
season (Service unpublished data). This unit is capable of supporting 
350 breeding Pacific Coast WSPs under proper management (Service 2007, 
Appendix B). Pismo Beach/Nipomo Dunes is an important wintering area, 
having supported up to 287 Pacific Coast WSPs during a single season 
over the last 7 years (Service unpublished data). The unit includes 
portions of Pismo State Beach and Oceano Dunes SVRA, owned and managed 
by the CDPR; the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge, owned 
and managed by the Service; the Guadalupe Oil Field, owned and managed 
by the Chevron Corporation; and Rancho Guadalupe County Park, owned and 
managed by the County of Santa Barbara.
    This unit includes the following physical or biological features 
essential to the species: Wind-blown sand dunes, areas of sandy beach 
above and below the high-tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack 
supporting small invertebrates, and generally barren to sparsely 
vegetated terrain.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from nonnative vegetation, human 
disturbance, OHVs, horses, pets, and predators. Control of nonnative 
vegetation and enforcement of existing human-use regulations are needed 
to ensure the suitability of the unit. With time, we anticipate that 
the lower portions of this unit will be inundated with sea-level rise 
associated with climate change.
CA 32, Vandenberg North, CA 33, Vandenberg South
    Pursuant to section 4(a)(3) of the Act, we have exempted units CA 
32 (711 ac (288 ha)), and CA33 (424 ac (172ha)), from critical habitat 
designation (see Exemptions section below).
CA 34, Devereaux Beach, 52 ac (21 ha)
    This unit is located on the University of California's Coal Oil 
Point Natural Reserve, about 7 mi (11 km) west along the coast from the 
City of Santa Barbara in Santa Barbara County. The unit extends about 
1.8 mi (3 km) north along the coast from the western boundary of Isla 
Vista County Park to a point along the beach opposite the end of Santa 
Barbara Shores Drive. This unit consists of 43 ac (17 ha) of State land 
and 9 ac (4 ha) of local jurisdictional land. This unit was occupied at 
the time of listing, is currently occupied, and is an important 
breeding area with as many as 39 breeding Pacific Coast WSPs recorded 
in a single season (Service unpublished data). This unit is also an 
important wintering area with up to 360 Pacific Coast WSPs recorded 
during a single season over the last 7 years (Service unpublished 
data).
    This unit includes the following physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the species: Areas of sandy beach 
above and below the high-tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack 
supporting small invertebrates and generally barren to sparsely 
vegetated terrain.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from nonnative vegetation, human 
disturbance, pets, and predators. Control of nonnative vegetation and 
enforcement of existing human-use regulations are needed to ensure the 
suitability of the unit. With time, we anticipate that the lower 
portions of this unit will be inundated with sea-level rise associated 
with climate change.
CA 35, Santa Barbara Beaches, 65 ac (26 ha)
    This unit is located within the City of Santa Barbara in Santa 
Barbara County. It extends about 1.8 mi (3 km) along the coast from the 
Andree Clark Bird Refuge intersection with the Pacific Ocean to the 
Santa Barbara Harbor. This unit encompasses approximately 30 ac (12 ha) 
of State land, 35 ac (14 ha) of City of Santa Barbara lands, and 0.3 ac 
(0.1 ha) of private land. The unit was occupied at the time of listing 
and is currently occupied. The unit is an

[[Page 36769]]

important wintering area with up to 111 Pacific Coast WSPs recorded 
during a single season over the last 7 years (Service unpublished 
data).
    This unit includes the following physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the species: areas of sandy beach 
above and below the high-tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack 
supporting small invertebrates and generally barren to sparsely 
vegetated terrain.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from nonnative vegetation, human 
disturbance, development, and pets. Control of nonnative vegetation and 
enforcement of existing human-use regulations are needed to ensure the 
suitability of the unit. With time, we anticipate that the lower 
portions of this unit will be inundated by sea-level rise associated 
with climate change.
CA 36, Santa Rosa Island Beaches, 586 ac (237 ha)
    This unit is located on Santa Rosa Island about 31 mi (50 km) 
southwest of the City of Santa Barbara in Santa Barbara County. This 
unit is comprised of 11 different beaches (subunits CA 36A through CA 
36K) around the island. This unit encompasses approximately 586 ac (237 
ha) of Channel Islands National Park land. This unit was occupied at 
the time of listing, is currently occupied, and is an important 
breeding area with as many as 37 breeding Pacific Coast WSPs recorded 
in a single season (Service unpublished data). This unit is capable of 
supporting 130 breeding plovers under proper management (Service 2007, 
Appendix B). This is also an important wintering area with up to 242 
plovers recorded during a single season over the last 7 years (Service 
unpublished data).
    This unit includes the following physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the species: Areas of sandy beach 
above and below the high-tide line with surf-cast wrack supporting 
small invertebrates and generally barren to sparsely vegetated terrain.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from nonnative vegetation, and 
direct disturbance from expanding marine mammal populations. Control of 
nonnative vegetation and enforcement of existing human-use regulations 
are needed to ensure the suitability of the unit. With time, we 
anticipate that the lower portions of this unit will be inundated by 
sea-level rise associated with climate change.
CA 37, San Buenaventura Beach, 70 ac (28 ha)
    This unit is located within the City of Ventura in Ventura County. 
It extends about 2 mi (3 km) north along the coast from rock groin, 
immediately north of Marina Park to the Ventura Pier. San Buenaventura 
State Beach is a unit that is owned by the CDPR. This unit was occupied 
at the time of listing and is currently occupied. It is an important 
wintering area with up to 72 Pacific Coast WSPs recorded during a 
single season over the last 7 years (Service unpublished data).
    This unit includes the following physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the species: Areas of sandy beach 
above and below the high-tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack 
supporting small invertebrates and generally barren to sparsely 
vegetated terrain.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from nonnative vegetation, human 
disturbance, and pets. Control of nonnative vegetation and enforcement 
of existing human-use regulations are needed to ensure the suitability 
of the unit. With time, we anticipate that the lower portions of this 
unit will be inundated by sea-level rise associated with climate 
change.
CA 38, Mandalay Beach to Santa Clara River, 672 ac (272 ha)
    This unit is located near the City of Oxnard in Ventura County. It 
extends about 6 mi (10 km) north along the coast from the north jetty 
of Channel Islands Harbor to a point about 0.5 mi (1 km) north of the 
Santa Clara River mouth. This unit encompasses approximately 213 ac (86 
ha) of private land and 459 ac (186 ha) of State land within McGrath 
and Mandalay State Beaches. This unit was occupied at the time of 
listing and is currently occupied. It is an important breeding area 
with as many as 70 breeding Pacific Coast WSPs recorded in a single 
season (Service unpublished data). This unit is also an important 
wintering area with up to 129 plovers recorded during a single season 
over the last 7 years (Service unpublished data).
    This unit includes the following physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the species: Wind-blown sand dunes, 
areas of sandy beach above and below the high-tide line with occasional 
surf-cast wrack supporting small invertebrates, and generally barren to 
sparsely vegetated terrain.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from human disturbance, 
development, pets, and dune-stabilizing vegetation. Control of 
nonnative vegetation and enforcement of existing human-use regulations 
are needed to ensure the suitability of the unit. With time, we 
anticipate that the lower portions of this unit will be inundated by 
sea-level rise associated with climate change.
CA 39, Ormond Beach, 320 ac (130 ha)
    This unit is located near the cities of Port Hueneme and Oxnard in 
Ventura County. It extends about 3 mi (5 km) northwest along the coast 
from Arnold Road and the boundary of Naval Base Ventura County, Point 
Mugu (NBVC, Point Mugu) to the south jetty of Port Hueneme. This unit 
encompasses approximately 161 ac (65 ha) of private land and 159 ac (65 
ha) of State land. This unit was occupied at the time of listing, is 
currently occupied, and is an important breeding area with as many as 
33 breeding Pacific Coast WSPs recorded in a single season (Service 
unpublished data). This unit is capable of supporting 50 breeding 
plovers under proper management (Service 2007, Appendix B). This unit 
is also an important wintering area with up to 117 plovers recorded 
during a single season over the last 7 years (Service unpublished 
data).
    This unit includes the following physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the species: Wind-blown sand dunes, 
areas of sandy beach above and below the high-tide line with occasional 
surf-cast wrack supporting small invertebrates, and generally barren to 
sparsely vegetated terrain.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from nonnative vegetation, human 
disturbance, and pets. Control of nonnative vegetation and enforcement 
of existing human-use regulations are needed to ensure the suitability 
of the unit. With time, we anticipate that the lower portions of this 
unit will be inundated by sea-level rise associated with climate 
change.

[[Page 36770]]

CA 40, Mugu Lagoon North; CA 41, Mugu Lagoon South; CA 42, San Nicolas 
Island
    Pursuant to section 4(a)(3) of the Act, we have exempted units CA 
40, CA 41, and CA42 from critical habitat designation (see Exemptions 
section below).
CA 43, Zuma Beach, 73 ac (30 ha)
    This unit is located about 8 mi (13 km) west of the City of Malibu 
in Los Angeles County. It extends about 3 mi (5 km) north along the 
coast from the north side of Point Dume to the base of Trancas Canyon. 
This unit encompasses approximately 72 ac (29 ha) of Los Angeles County 
lands, and 1 ac (0.5 ha) of State land. This unit was occupied at the 
time of listing and is currently occupied. It is an important wintering 
area with up to 213 Pacific Coast WSPs recorded during a single season 
over the last 7 years (Service unpublished data; Ryan et al. 2010, p. 
19).
    This unit includes the following physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the species: Areas of sandy beach 
above and below the high-tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack 
supporting small invertebrates and generally barren to sparsely 
vegetated terrain.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from nonnative vegetation, human 
disturbance, development, horses, and pets. Control of nonnative 
vegetation and enforcement of existing human-use regulations are needed 
to ensure the suitability of the unit. With time, we anticipate that 
the lower portions of this unit will be inundated by sea-level rise 
associated with climate change.
CA 44, Malibu Beach, 13 ac (5 ha)
    This unit is located within the City of Malibu in Los Angeles 
County. It extends about 0.5 mi (1 km) north along the coast from 
approximately 300 ft (94 m) north of the Malibu Pier to Malibu Point. 
Approximately 9 ac (4 ha) are within Malibu Lagoon State Beach. The 
ownership of the remaining 4 ac (1 ha) are not known; however, the 
State likely has jurisdiction over these lands. This unit was occupied 
at the time of listing and is currently occupied. It is an important 
wintering area with up to 67 Pacific Coast WSPs recorded during a 
single season over the last 7 years (Service unpublished data).
    This unit includes the following physical or biological features 
for the conservation of the species: Areas of sandy beach above and 
below the high-tide line with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting 
small invertebrates and generally barren to sparsely vegetated terrain.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from nonnative vegetation, human 
disturbance, and pets. Control of nonnative vegetation and enforcement 
of existing human-use regulations are needed to ensure the suitability 
of the unit. With time, we anticipate that the lower portions of this 
unit will be inundated by sea-level rise associated with climate 
change.
CA 45A, Santa Monica Beach, 48 ac (19 ha)
    This subunit is located between the cities of Santa Monica and Los 
Angeles in Los Angeles County. It stretches roughly 1 mi (2 km) from 
Montana Avenue to the mouth of Santa Monica Canyon. This subunit 
consists of 29 ac (12 ha) of State owned land, and 19 ac (8 ha) are 
owned by the City of Santa Monica. This subunit was occupied at the 
time of listing, is currently occupied, and annually supports a 
significant wintering flock of Pacific Coast WSPs (an average wintering 
flock of 36 from 2003 to 2010 (Service unpublished data)) in a location 
with high-quality breeding habitat. This location also facilitates 
interchange between wintering locations.
    This location contains the physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the species, including a wide sandy 
beach with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small invertebrates.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from human recreational 
disturbance, pets, and beach raking.
CA 45B, Dockweiler North, 34 ac (14 ha)
    This subunit is located south of Ballona Creek and west of the El 
Segundo Dunes, and immediately west of the Los Angeles International 
Airport, in the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County. It stretches 
roughly 0.5 mi (0.8 km) centered at Sandpiper Street. This subunit is 
owned by the State of California. This subunit was occupied at the time 
of listing and is currently occupied. In conjunction with Subunits CA 
45C and CA 45D, the subunit annually supports a significant wintering 
flock of Pacific Coast WSPs in a location with high quality breeding 
habitat (Page in litt. 2004) and facilitates interchange between 
wintering locations.
    This location contains the physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the species, including a wide sandy 
beach with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small invertebrates.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from human recreational 
disturbance, pets, and beach raking.
CA 45C, Dockweiler South, 65 ac (26 ha)
    This subunit is located immediately west of the Hyperion Wastewater 
Treatment Plant between the cities of Los Angeles and El Segundo in Los 
Angeles County. It stretches approximately 1 mi (1.6 km) along Vista 
del Mar from West Imperial Highway extending past East Grand Avenue. 
This subunit consists of 54 ac (22 ha) of State land and 11 ac (5 ha) 
of privately owned land. This subunit was occupied at the time of 
listing and is currently occupied. In conjunction with Subunits CA 45B 
and CA 45D, it annually supports a significant wintering flock of 
Pacific Coast WSPs in a location with high-quality breeding habitat 
(Page in litt. 2004) and facilitates interchange between wintering 
locations.
    This location contains the physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the species, including a wide sandy 
beach with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small invertebrates.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from human recreational 
disturbance, pets, and beach raking.
CA 45D, Hermosa State Beach, 27 ac (11 ha)
    This subunit is located immediately west of the City of Hermosa 
Beach in Los Angeles County. This subunit stretches roughly 0.5 mi (1 
km) from Eleventh Street to First Street. This subunit consists of 8 ac 
(3 ha) State land and 19 ac (8 ha) are privately owned. This subunit 
was occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. The unit 
supported an average wintering flock of 25 Pacific Coast WSPs from 2003 
to 2010 (Service unpublished data). In conjunction with subunits CA 45B 
and CA 45C, this subunit annually supports a large and significant

[[Page 36771]]

wintering flock of Pacific Coast WSP and facilitates interchange 
between wintering locations.
    This location contains the physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the species, including a wide sandy 
beach with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small invertebrates.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from human recreational 
disturbance, pets, and beach raking.
CA 46A, Bolsa Chica State Beach, 93 ac (38 ha)
    This subunit is located west of the Pacific Coast Highway, in the 
City of Huntington Beach, Orange County. It stretches roughly 2.4 mi 
(3.9 km) from north of the lagoon mouth channel (into Bolsa Chica 
Ecological Reserve) to just south of the Sunset Beach area near Warner 
Avenue. This subunit consists of 93 ac (38 ha) owned by the State of 
California. This subunit was occupied at the time of listing, is 
currently occupied, and supported an average wintering flock of 27 
Pacific Coast WSPs from 2003 through 2010 (Service unpublished data). 
The subunit annually supports a significant wintering flock of Pacific 
Coast WSPs in a location with high-quality breeding habitat.
    This location contains the physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the species, including a wide sandy 
beach with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small invertebrates. 
The physical or biological features essential to the conservation of 
the species in this subunit may require special management 
considerations or protection to address threats from recreational 
disturbance and beach raking.
CA 46 (Subunits B-F), Bolsa Chica Reserve, 475 ac (192 ha)
    These subunits are located east of the Pacific Coast Highway, in 
Orange County. They consist of 475 ac (192 ha), all of which are owned 
by the State of California. Bolsa Chica Reserve contains significant 
nesting areas (which we are labeling as individual subunits B, C, D, E, 
and F). This location supported 47 breeding adult Pacific Coast WSP in 
2009 (Knapp and Peterson 2009, p. 8). These subunits were occupied at 
the time of listing, are currently occupied, and annually support one 
of the largest breeding populations of Pacific Coast WSP in the region. 
The Recovery Plan for the Pacific Coast WSP states that this location 
contributes to the conservation goal for the region by providing a 
management potential of 70 breeding birds (Service 2007, Appendix B). 
This location also supported an average wintering flock of 14 Pacific 
Coast WSP from 2003 through 2010 (Service unpublished data). This 
reserve is an active oil field that underwent significant 
reconstruction and restoration between 2004 and 2006, including the 
addition of three new nest sites and a new ocean inlet that allows the 
water level to rise and fall resembling the irregular semi-diurnal 
tidal range of southern California's ocean waters (Knapp and Peterson 
2009, p. 1).
    This location contains the physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the species, including tidally 
influenced estuarine mud flats supporting small invertebrates, and 
seasonally dry ponds that provide nesting and foraging habitat for 
Pacific Coast WSP. The physical or biological features essential to the 
conservation of the species in these subunits may require special 
management considerations or protection to address threats from 
vegetation encroachment in nesting and foraging areas and predation of 
chicks and eggs.
CA 47, Santa Ana River Mouth, 19 ac (8 ha)
    This unit is located north of the Santa Ana River mouth, 
immediately west of the City of Huntington Beach in Orange County. This 
unit consists of 19 ac (8 ha), of which 18 ac (7 ha) are owned by the 
State of California, and 1 ac (0.4 ha) is privately owned. This unit 
was not occupied at the time of listing. However, we consider this unit 
essential for the conservation of the species based on the fluctuating 
use of areas by the species as a response to habitat and resource 
availability. The unit is located adjacent to currently occupied areas 
and provides dispersal habitat between units. This unit provides 
habitat to support breeding plovers, and will facilitate interchange 
between otherwise widely separated units, and helps provide habitat 
within the Recovery Unit identified in the Recovery Plan (Service 
2007).
    This location contains habitat such as a wide sandy beach with 
surf-cast wrack supporting small invertebrates, and tidally influenced 
estuarine mud flats that provide nesting and foraging habitat for 
Pacific Coast WSPs. Primary threats in this unit are those associated 
with recreational disturbance and beach raking.
CA 48, Balboa Beach, 25 ac (10 ha)
    This unit is located on the Balboa Peninsula, immediately west of 
the City of Newport Beach in Orange County. This unit stretches roughly 
0.3 mi (0.5 km) from A Street south to G Street, including a total of 
25 ac (10 ha), all of which are owned by the City of Newport Beach. 
This unit was occupied at the time of listing, is currently occupied, 
and supported two breeding adult Pacific Coast WSPs in 2009 (P. Knapp, 
pers. comm. 2010) and three breeding adult Pacific Coast WSPs in 2010 
(T. Ryan, in litt. 2010). It also supported an average wintering flock 
of 35 Pacific Coast WSPs from 2003 through 2010 (Service unpublished 
data).
    This location contains the physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the species, including a wide sandy 
beach with occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small invertebrates.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from human recreational 
disturbance, predation of chicks and eggs, and beach raking.
CA 49, San Onofre Beach-Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
    Unit CA 49 has been exempted from critical habitat designation 
under section 4(a)(3) of the Act (see Exemptions section below).
CA 50 (Subunits A-C), Batiquitos Lagoon
    Unit CA 50 (66 ac (27 ha)) has been excluded from critical habitat 
designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see Exclusions section 
below).
CA 51 (Subunits A-C), San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve, 15 ac (6 ha)
    These subunits are located between the cities of Solana Beach and 
Encinitas in San Diego County. These subunits were occupied at the time 
of listing and are currently occupied. They consist of 15 ac (6 ha), of 
which 11 ac (4 ha) are owned by the State of California, and 4 ac (2 
ha) are privately owned. San Elijo Lagoon includes three nest sites 
(which we are labeling as individual Subunits CA 51A, CA 51B, and CA 
51C). The San Elijo Lagoon Restoration Working Group is planning to 
restore habitat at the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve, which may 
include nest sites for nesting sea birds and shorebirds, including 
Pacific Coast WSP and California least tern. Restoration and 
enhancement of coastal dune habitat at this site is ongoing, and the 
Service is currently participating in

[[Page 36772]]

a cooperative agreement with the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy to create 
suitable nesting areas for Pacific Coast WSPs, California least terns, 
and other shorebirds in the southwest corner of the West Basin of the 
lagoon. The Recovery Plan for the Pacific Coast WSP states that this 
location contributes significantly to the conservation goal for the 
region by providing a management potential of 20 breeding birds 
(Service 2007, Appendix B). This unit may facilitate interchange 
between wintering locations (see Criteria Used to Identify Critical 
Habitat section above).
    These subunits contain the physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the species, including sandy beaches 
and tidally influenced estuarine mud flats with tide-cast organic 
debris supporting small invertebrates. Restoration of degraded habitat 
within these subunits will improve the habitat.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from human recreational 
disturbance, vegetation encroachment in the intertidal zone, and 
predation of chicks and eggs.
CA 52A, San Dieguito Lagoon, 4 ac (2 ha)
    Subunit CA 52A is located at the west end of San Dieguito River 
Park within the city of Del Mar in San Diego County. This subunit was 
occupied at the time of listing, is currently occupied, and consists of 
4 ac (1 ha), all of which are privately owned.
    This subunit is a nest site that was created for nesting seabirds 
and shorebirds including Pacific Coast WSP and California least tern. 
This subunit also facilitates interchange between wintering locations. 
The Recovery Plan for the Pacific Coast WSP states that San Dieguito 
Lagoon contributes significantly to the conservation goal for the 
region by providing a management potential of 20 breeding birds 
(Service 2007, Appendix B). Additionally, restoration of this site 
occurred in 2009, improving areas used by breeding and wintering 
shorebirds. Use of one nesting site by a pair of plovers was reported 
in 2010 (Foster, pers. comm. 2010b). Additional improvements to the 
nest sites are expected in the future.
    This subunit contains the physical or biological features essential 
to the conservation of the species, including wide sandy beaches and 
tidally influenced estuarine mud flats with tide-cast organic debris 
supporting small invertebrates.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species in this subunit may require special management 
considerations or protection to address threats from human recreational 
disturbance, vegetation encroachment in the intertidal zone, and 
predation of chicks and eggs.
CA 52 (Subunits B-C), San Dieguito Lagoon
    Subunits CA 52B (3 ac (1 ha)) and CA 52C (4 ac (2 ha)) have been 
excluded from critical habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the 
Act (see Exclusions section below).
CA 53, Los Penasquitos Lagoon
    Unit CA 53 (32 ac (13 ha)) has been excluded from critical habitat 
designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see Exclusions section 
below).
CA 54A, Fiesta Island
    Subunit CA 54A (2 ac (1 ha)) has been excluded from critical 
habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see Exclusions 
section below).
CA 54B, Mariner's Point
    Subunit CA 54B (7 ac (3 ha)) has been excluded from critical 
habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see Exclusions 
section below).
CA 54C, South Mission Beach
    Subunit CA 54C (38 ac (15 ha)) has been excluded from critical 
habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see Exclusions 
section below).
CA 54D, San Diego River Channel
    Subunit CA 54D (51 ac (21 ha)) has been excluded from critical 
habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see Exclusions 
section below).
CA 55A, Naval Air Station North Island
    Subunit CA 55A has been exempted from critical habitat designation 
under section 4(a)(3) of the Act (see Exemptions section below).
CA 55B, Coronado Beach, 74 ac (30 ha)
    This subunit is located immediately west of the City of Coronado in 
San Diego County. This subunit stretches roughly 0.6 mi (0.96 km) from 
the boundary with Naval Air Station North Island (NASNI) to the south 
end of the natural sand dunes at Coronado City Beach. This subunit 
includes a total of 74 ac (30 ha) owned by the State of California. 
This subunit was occupied at the time of listing, is currently 
occupied, and is adjacent to the sizable Pacific Coast WSP population 
at NASNI, which contained an average wintering flock of 69 Pacific 
Coast WSPs from 2003 to 2010 (Service unpublished data). Additionally, 
biologists recorded 17 breeding adults at NASNI during 2009 surveys 
(Service unpublished data). The Recovery Plan for the Pacific Coast WSP 
states that this location (in conjunction with adjacent military lands) 
contributes significantly to the conservation goal for the region by 
providing a management potential of 20 breeding birds (Service 2007, 
Appendix B). This unit also facilitates interchange between wintering 
locations.
    This subunit contains the physical or biological features essential 
to the conservation of the species, including a wide sandy beach with 
occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small invertebrates, as well as 
wind-blown sand in dune systems immediately inland of the active beach 
face.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from human recreational 
disturbance and beach raking.
CA 55C, Silver Strand Beach and CA 55D, Delta Beach
    Subunits CA 55C and CA 55D have been exempted from critical habitat 
designation under section 4(a)(3) of the Act (see Exemptions below).
CA 55E, Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge and D Street Fill, 79 
ac (32 ha)
    Lands owned and managed by the Port of San Diego under the San 
Diego Bay Natural Resources Plan within subunit CA 55E (53 ac (21 ha)) 
have been excluded from critical habitat designation under section 
4(b)(2) of the Act (see Exclusions section below). Federal lands (79 ac 
(32 ha)) within the subunit that are owned and managed by the Service 
(Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge) are not excluded from 
critical habitat.
    This subunit is located on the east side of San Diego Bay in the 
City of Chula Vista in San Diego County. This subunit consists of 
approximately 79 ac (32 ha) of which all are owned by the Service. This 
subunit was occupied at the time of listing, is currently occupied, and 
supported nesting Pacific Coast WSPs in 2000 (R. Patton, pers. comm. 
2010), and two adult Pacific Coast WSPs in 2009 (Service unpublished 
data). The Recovery Plan for the Pacific Coast WSP states that this 
location contributes significantly to the conservation goal for the 
region by providing a management potential of 25 breeding birds 
(Service 2007, Appendix

[[Page 36773]]

B). Additionally, this subunit annually supports a large and 
significant wintering flock of Pacific Coast WSPs and facilitates 
interchange between wintering locations.
    This subunit contains the physical or biological features essential 
to the conservation of the species, including sandy beaches above and 
below mean high-tide line and tidally influenced estuarine mud flats 
that provide nesting and foraging habitat for Pacific Coast WSPs.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species in this subunit may require special management 
considerations or protection to address threats from vegetation 
encroachment in the intertidal zone, and predation of chicks and eggs.
CA 55F, Silver Strand State Beach, 82 ac (33 ha)
    This subunit is located immediately north of the City of Imperial 
Beach, in the City of Coronado in San Diego County. This subunit 
consists of 82 ac (33 ha), of which approximately 78 ac (31 ha) are 
owned by the State of California, and the ownership of 4 ac (1 ha) are 
unknown, but may also be under the State's jurisdiction. This subunit 
was occupied at the time of listing and is currently occupied. The 
subunit stretches roughly 1.5 mi (2.4 km) west of Silver Strand 
Boulevard, and is centered roughly at Coronado Cays Park. This subunit, 
in conjunction with adjacent lands at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, 
supported at least 10 breeding adults in 2009 (Service unpublished 
data) and 8 breeding adults in 2010 (Ryan, in litt. 2010). The Recovery 
Plan for the Pacific Coast WSP states that this location contributes 
significantly to the conservation goal for the region by providing a 
management potential of 65 breeding birds (Service 2007, Appendix B). 
This subunit contained an average wintering flock of 13 Pacific Coast 
WSPs from 2003 to 2010 (Service unpublished data). This subunit also 
facilitates interchange between wintering locations.
    This subunit contains the physical or biological features essential 
to the conservation of the species, including a wide sandy beach with 
occasional surf-cast wrack supporting small invertebrates, as well as 
wind-blown sand in dune systems immediately inland of the active beach 
face.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species may require special management considerations or 
protection to address the main threats from human recreational 
disturbance and predation of chicks and eggs.
CA 55G, Chula Vista Wildlife Reserve
    Subunit CA 55G (10 ac (4 ha)) has been excluded from critical 
habitat designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see Exclusions 
section below).
CA 55H, Naval Radio Receiving Facility
    Subunit CA 55H has been exempted from critical habitat designation 
under section 4(a)(3) of the Act (see Exemptions section below).
CA 55I, San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, South Bay Unit, 5 ac (2 ha)
    This subunit is located at the southernmost end of San Diego Bay in 
a location that is operated by Western Salt Works as salt evaporation 
ponds. This subunit is immediately north of the City of Imperial Beach, 
in the City of San Diego in San Diego County. This subunit consists of 
5 ac (2 ha), all of which are owned by the Service. This subunit was 
occupied at the time of listing, is currently occupied, and supported 
at least three breeding adults in 2009 (Collins, in litt. 2010), and 
seven breeding adults in 2010 (Ryan, in litt. 2010). The Recovery Plan 
for the Pacific Coast WSP states that this location contributes 
significantly to the conservation goal for the region by providing a 
management potential of 30 breeding birds (Service 2007, Appendix B).
    The subunit contains the physical or biological features essential 
to the conservation of the species, including sparsely vegetated areas 
on artificial salt flats and adjoining dikes, as well as tidally 
influenced estuarine mud flats with tide-cast organic debris supporting 
small invertebrates for foraging.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species in this subunit may require special management 
considerations or protection to address threats from egg and chick 
predation.
CA 55J, Tijuana Estuary and Border Field State Park, 150 ac (61 ha)
    This subunit is located in the City of Imperial Beach in San Diego 
County. This subunit stretches roughly 2 mi (3.2 km) from the end of 
Seacoast Drive to the United States/Mexico border, extending across 
both the Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge and Border Field State 
Park. This subunit consists of 150 ac (61 ha), of which 71 ac (29 ha) 
are owned by the Service and 79 ac (32 ha) are owned by the State of 
California. This subunit was occupied at the time of listing, is 
currently occupied, and supported at least 10 adult breeding Pacific 
Coast WSPs in 2009 (B. Collins, in litt. 2010), and 19 breeding adults 
in 2010 (Ryan, in litt. 2010). This location also supported an average 
wintering flock of 54 Pacific Coast WSPs from 2003 to 2010 (Service 
unpublished data). The Recovery Plan for the Pacific Coast WSP states 
that this location contributes significantly to the conservation goal 
for the region by providing a management potential of 40 breeding birds 
(Service 2007, Appendix B).
    This subunit contains the physical or biological features essential 
to the conservation of the species, including a wide sandy beach with 
occasional surfcast wrack supporting small invertebrates, as well as 
tidally influenced estuarine mud flats with tide-cast organic debris 
supporting small invertebrates for foraging.
    The physical or biological features essential to the conservation 
of the species in this subunit may require special management 
considerations or protection to address threats from human recreational 
disturbance and predation of chicks and eggs.

Effects of Critical Habitat Designation

Section 7 Consultation

    Section 7(a)(2) of the Act requires Federal agencies, including the 
Service, to ensure that any action they fund, authorize, or carry out 
is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered 
species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse 
modification of designated critical habitat of such species. In 
addition, section 7(a)(4) of the Act requires Federal agencies to 
confer with the Service on any agency action which is likely to 
jeopardize the continued existence of any species proposed to be listed 
under the Act or result in the destruction or adverse modification of 
proposed critical habitat.
    Decisions by the 5th and 9th Circuit Courts of Appeal have 
invalidated our regulatory definition of ``destruction or adverse 
modification'' (50 CFR 402.02) (see Gifford Pinchot Task Force v. U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, 378 F.3d 1059 (9th Cir. 2004) and Sierra 
Club v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service et al., 245 F.3d 434, 442 (5th 
Cir. 2001)), and we do not rely on this regulatory definition when 
analyzing whether an action is likely to destroy or adversely modify 
critical habitat. Under the statutory provisions of the Act, we 
determine destruction or adverse modification on the basis of whether, 
with implementation of the proposed Federal action, the affected 
critical habitat would continue to serve

[[Page 36774]]

its intended conservation role for the species.
    If a Federal action may affect a listed species or its critical 
habitat, the responsible Federal agency (action agency) must enter into 
consultation with us. Examples of actions that are subject to the 
section 7 consultation process are actions on State, tribal, local, or 
private lands that require a Federal permit (such as a permit from the 
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under section 404 of the Clean Water Act 
(33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.) or a permit from the Service under section 10 
of the Act) or that involve some other Federal action (such as funding 
from the Federal Highway Administration, Federal Aviation 
Administration, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency). Federal 
actions not affecting listed species or critical habitat, and actions 
on State, tribal, local, or private lands that are not federally funded 
or authorized, do not require section 7 consultation.
    As a result of section 7 consultation, we document compliance with 
the requirements of section 7(a)(2) of the Act through our issuance of:
    (1) A concurrence letter for Federal actions that may affect, but 
are not likely to adversely affect, listed species or critical habitat; 
or
    (2) A biological opinion for Federal actions that may affect, and 
are likely to adversely affect, listed species or critical habitat.
    When we issue a biological opinion concluding that a project is 
likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species and/or 
destroy or adversely modify critical habitat, we provide reasonable and 
prudent alternatives to the project, if any are identifiable, that 
would avoid the likelihood of jeopardy and/or destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat. We define ``reasonable and prudent 
alternatives'' (at 50 CFR 402.02) as alternative actions identified 
during consultation that:
    (1) Can be implemented in a manner consistent with the intended 
purpose of the action,
    (2) Can be implemented consistent with the scope of the Federal 
agency's legal authority and jurisdiction,
    (3) Are economically and technologically feasible, and
    (4) Would, in the Director's opinion, avoid the likelihood of 
jeopardizing the continued existence of the listed species and/or avoid 
the likelihood of destroying or adversely modifying critical habitat.
    Reasonable and prudent alternatives can vary from slight project 
modifications to extensive redesign or relocation of the project. Costs 
associated with implementing a reasonable and prudent alternative are 
similarly variable.
    Regulations at 50 CFR 402.16 require Federal agencies to reinitiate 
consultation on previously reviewed actions in instances where we have 
listed a new species or subsequently designated critical habitat that 
may be affected, and the Federal agency has retained discretionary 
involvement or control over the action (or the agency's discretionary 
involvement or control is authorized by law). Consequently, Federal 
agencies sometimes may need to request reinitiation of consultation 
with us on actions for which formal consultation has been completed, if 
those actions with discretionary involvement or control may affect 
subsequently listed species or designated critical habitat.

Application of the ``Adverse Modification'' Standard

    The key factor related to the adverse modification determination is 
whether, with implementation of the proposed Federal action, the 
affected critical habitat would continue to serve its intended 
conservation role for the species. Activities that may destroy or 
adversely modify critical habitat are those that alter the physical and 
biological features to an extent that appreciably reduces the 
conservation value of critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP. As 
discussed above, the role of critical habitat is to support life- 
history needs of the species and to provide for the conservation of the 
species.
    Section 4(b)(8) of the Act requires us to briefly evaluate and 
describe in any proposed or final regulation that designates critical 
habitat, activities involving a Federal action that may destroy or 
adversely modify such habitat, or that may be affected by such 
designation.
    Activities that may affect critical habitat, when carried out, 
funded, or authorized by a Federal agency, should result consultation 
for the Pacific Coast WSP. These activities include, but are not 
limited to:
    (1) Actions and management efforts affecting Pacific Coast WSP on 
Federal lands, such as refuges, national seashores, parks, and wildlife 
reserves. Such activities may include clearing and raking of tidal 
debris (seaweed, driftwood) from beaches, causing a loss in cover and 
forage; high levels of visitor use, which can disturb and disrupt 
normal behavior; restoration efforts, which can temporarily affect 
Pacific Coast WSP's use of an area; and utility corridors that require 
maintenance, which can lead to disturbance of Pacific Coast WSPs;
    (2) Dredging and dredge spoil placement that permanently removes 
the physical or biological features to the extent that Pacific Coast 
WSPs are affected for the foreseeable future;
    (3) Construction and maintenance of roads, walkways, marinas, 
access points, bridges, culverts, and other structures that interfere 
with Pacific Coast WSP nesting, breeding, or foraging or that result in 
increases in predation;
    (4) Storm water and wastewater discharge from communities, which 
could impact invertebrate abundance, on which Pacific Coast WSPs rely 
for food; and
    (5) Flood control actions that change the physical or biological 
features to the extent that the habitat no longer contributes to the 
conservation of the species.
    Note that the scale of these activities is a crucial factor in 
determining whether, in any instance, they would directly or indirectly 
alter critical habitat to the extent that the value of the critical 
habitat would be appreciably diminished in providing for the physical 
or biological features essential to the conservation of the Pacific 
Coast WSP.
    We consider all of the revised final critical habitat units and 
subunits to contain features essential to or for the conservation of 
the Pacific Coast WSP. To ensure that their actions do not jeopardize 
the continued existence of the Pacific Coast WSP, Federal agencies 
already consult with us on activities in areas currently occupied by 
the Pacific Coast WSP, or in unoccupied areas if the species may be 
affected by their actions.

Exemptions

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

    The Sikes Act Improvement Act of 1997 (Sikes Act) (16 U.S.C. 670a) 
required each military installation that includes land and water 
suitable for the conservation and management of natural resources to 
complete an integrated natural resources management plan (INRMP) by 
November 17, 2001. An INRMP integrates implementation of the military 
mission of the installation with stewardship of the natural resources 
found on the base. Each INRMP includes:
    (1) An assessment of the ecological needs on the installation, 
including the need to provide for the conservation of listed species;
    (2) A statement of goals and priorities;

[[Page 36775]]

    (3) A detailed description of management actions to be implemented 
to provide for these ecological needs; and
    (4) A monitoring and adaptive management plan.
    Among other things, each INRMP must, to the extent appropriate and 
applicable, provide for fish and wildlife management; fish and wildlife 
habitat enhancement or modification; wetland protection, enhancement, 
and restoration where necessary to support fish and wildlife; and 
enforcement of applicable natural resource laws.
    The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004 (Pub. 
L. 108-136) amended the Act to limit areas eligible for designation as 
critical habitat. Specifically, section 4(a)(3)(B)(i) of the Act (16 
U.S.C. 1533(a)(3)(B)(i)) now provides: ``The Secretary shall not 
designate as critical habitat any lands or other geographical areas 
owned or controlled by the Department of Defense, or designated for its 
use, that are subject to an integrated natural resources management 
plan prepared under section 101 of the Sikes Act (16 U.S.C. 670a), if 
the Secretary determines in writing that such plan provides a benefit 
to the species for which critical habitat is proposed for 
designation.''
    We consult with the military on the development and implementation 
of INRMPs for installations with federally listed species. We analyzed 
INRMPs developed by military installations located within the range of 
the critical habitat designation for the Pacific Coast WSP to determine 
if units covered by these INRMPs are exempt under section 4(a)(3) of 
the Act. The following areas are Department of Defense lands with 
completed, Service-approved INRMPs within the revised critical habitat 
designation.

Approved Integrated Natural Resources Management Plans

Naval Support Activity Monterey, CA 22, 8 ac (3 ha)
    The Department of the Navy, Naval Support Activity (NSA) Monterey 
provides primary support to the Naval Postgraduate School, Fleet 
Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center, Navy Research Lab and 
more than 15 additional tenant commands. Naval Support Activity 
Monterey supports over 160 buildings which are located on more than 626 
ac (253 ha) of DOD lands. The Naval Postgraduate School is the largest 
producer of advanced graduate degrees for DOD and graduates thousands 
every year from all services and from over 50 countries. The Fleet 
Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center provides the highest 
quality, most relevant, and timely worldwide Meteorology and 
Oceanography support to U.S. and coalition forces from their Operations 
Center in Monterey, California. The Navy Research Lab conducts 
scientific and weather modeling as well as atmospheric and aerosol 
studies.
    The NSA Monterey INRMP is a planning document that guides the 
management and conservation of natural resources under the 
installation's control. The INRMP was prepared to ensure that natural 
resources are managed in support of the NSA Monterey's military command 
mission and that all activities are consistent with Federal stewardship 
requirements. The NSA Monterey INRMP was completed in 2001. An addendum 
to the 2001 INRMP, addressing conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP, 
was submitted to the Service in March 2012 and was approved and signed 
by the Service in May 2012. The INRMP is NSA Monterey's adaptive plan 
for managing natural resources to support and be consistent with the 
military mission, while protecting and enhancing the biological 
integrity of lands under its use. Naval Support Activity Monterey is 
committed to an ecosystem management approach for its natural resources 
program by integrating all components of natural resource management 
into a comprehensive and coordinated effort. An integrated approach to 
ecosystem management will help protect the biological diversity found 
at NSA Monterey.
    The INRMP identifies the goal of contributing to the recovery of 
the Pacific Coast WSP through development of cooperative, ecosystem 
management-based strategies. The INRMP identifies the following 
management and protective measures to achieve this goal:
    (1) Protect and maintain natural coastal processes that perpetuate 
high-quality breeding habitat including measures such as:
    (2) Ensure beach areas are clean of litter and contaminants;
    (3) Improve signage mandating dogs be leashed at all times;
    (4) Develop and maintain a feral animal predator management 
program;
    (5) Minimize activities which can affect invertebrate populations 
that shorebirds forage on,such as routine removal of tidal wrack;
    (6) Discourage human foot traffic from suitable nesting areas with 
fencing and educational signage;
    (7) Eliminate incompatible military operations on beach during 
nesting season;
    (8) Actively communicate management strategies to local community;
    (9) Enhance remnant dune areas as potential nest sites;
    (10) Identify opportunities to use suitable dredge or other 
materials for expansion of beachareas to create improved nesting 
substrate;
    (11) Maintain native plant coverage on dunes and control invasive 
weeds on dunes and beach;
    (12) Conduct monitoring in support of management objective;
    (13) Meet with stakeholders annually to oversee implementation and 
prioritize projects;
    (14) Monitor Pacific Coast WSP population at least annually; and
    (15) Regularly monitor dune and beach area and identify conflicts 
for immediate actions and long-term projects.
    Based on the above considerations, and in accordance with section 
4(a)(3)(B)(i) of the Act, we have determined that the identified lands 
are subject to the 2001 INRMP and the 2012 Addendum to the INRMP for 
NSA Monterey and that the conservation efforts identified in the INRMP 
have and will provide a benefit to the Pacific Coast WSP and features 
essential to its conservation, and will benefit Pacific Coast WSPs 
occurring in habitats within or adjacent to NSA Monterey. Therefore, 
lands within this installation (approximately 8 ac (3 ha) of of Unit CA 
22) are exempt from critical habitat designation under section 4(a)(3) 
of the Act. We are not including approximately 8 ac (3 ha) of habitat 
for the Pacific Coast WSP in this revised final critical habitat 
designation because of this exemption.
Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA 32 and CA 33, 1,135 ac (460 ha)
    VAFB is headquarters for the 30th Space Wing, the Air Force's Space 
Command unit that operates VAFB and the Western Test Range/Pacific 
Missile Range. VAFB operates as an aerospace center supporting west 
coast launch activities for the Air Force, Department of Defense, 
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and commercial 
contractors. The three primary operational missions of VAFB are to 
launch, place, and track satellites in near-polar orbit; to test and 
evaluate the intercontinental ballistic missile systems; and to support 
aircraft operations in the western range. VAFB lies on the south-
central California coast, approximately 275 mi (442 km) south of San 
Francisco, 140 mi (225 km) northwest of Los Angeles, and 55 mi (88 km) 
northwest of Santa Barbara. The

[[Page 36776]]

99,100-ac (40,104-ha) base extends along approximately 42 mi (67 km) of 
Santa Barbara County coast, and varies in width from 5 to 15 mi (8 to 
24 km).
    The VAFB INRMP was prepared to provide strategic direction to 
ecosystem and natural resources management on VAFB. The long-term goal 
of the INRMP is to integrate all management activities in a manner that 
sustains, promotes, and restores the health and integrity of VAFB 
ecosystems using an adaptive management approach. The INRMP was 
designed to: (1) Summarize existing management plans and natural 
resources literature pertaining to VAFB; (2) identify and analyze 
management goals in existing plans; (3) integrate the management goals 
and objectives of individual plans; (4) support base compliance with 
applicable regulatory requirements; (5) support the integration of 
natural resource stewardship with the Air Force mission; and (6) 
provide direction for monitoring strategies.
    VAFB completed an INRMP in 2011, which benefits western snowy 
plover by: (1) Implementing restrictions on recreational beach access 
during the nesting season, which are evaluated each year for their 
effectiveness in protecting snowy plovers; (2) prohibiting recreational 
off-road vehicle activity on western snowy plover beaches at any time 
except when essential to support the VAFB mission or in an emergency; 
(3) training VAFB personnel to operate ATVs to avoid impacts to western 
snowy plovers and their habitat; (4) using horse and foot patrols when 
possible on base beaches; (5) enforcing leash laws throughout VAFB 
year-round; (6) prohibiting all pets on western snowy plover nesting 
beaches between March 1 and September 30 each year; (7) implementing a 
predator management plan that includes ecologically sound approaches to 
reducing predation of western snowy plover nests and chicks; (8) 
cleaning base beaches between October 1 and February 28 each year under 
the ``Adopt-a-Beach Program'' and implementing program-specific 
monitoring of western snowy plovers, to determine impacts from launches 
and other Air Force activities; (9) restricting aircraft overflight to 
a minimum of 500-foot altitude above western snowy plover nesting 
beaches; and (10) establishing flight patterns to minimize aircraft 
presence over these beaches (VAFB 2011, Tab D, p. 18-20). Furthermore, 
VAFB's environmental staff reviews projects and enforces existing 
regulations and orders that, through their implementation, avoid and 
minimize impacts to natural resources, including the western snowy 
plover and its habitat.
    Habitat features essential to the conservation of the western snowy 
plover exist on VAFB, and activities occurring on VAFB are currently 
being conducted in a manner that minimizes impacts to western snowy 
plover habitat. This military installation has a Secretarial-approved 
INRMP that provides a benefit to the western snowy plover, and VAFB has 
committed to work closely with the Service and the CDFG to continually 
refine their existing INRMP as part of the Sikes Act's INRMP review 
process. Based on the above considerations, and in accordance with 
section 4(a)(3)(B)(i) of the Act, we have determined that conservation 
efforts identified in the 2011 INRMP for VAFB provide a benefit to the 
western snowy plover and its habitat. This includes habitat located on 
Vandenberg North (CA 32) and South (CA 33) beaches. Therefore, lands 
subject to the INRMP for VAFB, which includes the lands leased from the 
Department of Defense by other parties, are exempt from critical 
habitat designation under section 4(a)(3)(B) of the Act, and we are not 
including approximately 1,135 ac (460 ha) of habitat in this revised 
critical habitat designation because of this exemption.
Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu, CA 40 and CA 41, 208 ac (84 ha)
    The Department of the Navy, Naval Base Ventura County, manages two 
facilities in Ventura County, California: Point Mugu and San Nicolas 
Island. Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu (NBVC, Point Mugu) was 
established in 1949 as the Naval Air Weapons Station to support a new 
U.S. Naval Air Missile Test Center, which provided material and service 
support, including military personnel administration, air traffic 
control, and flight line functions. The NBVC, Point Mugu occupies 
approximately 4,490 ac (1,817 ha) of land on the coast of southern 
California, Ventura County. Currently, the installation is used for 
target drone launches, aircraft operations, and beach missile launch 
operations, and is responsible for maintenance of the roads and 
perimeter fence, utilities maintenance, pest management, recreation, 
and natural resource management.
    The NBVC, Point Mugu INRMP is a planning document that guides the 
management and conservation of natural resources under the 
installation's control. The INRMP was prepared to ensure that natural 
resources are managed in support of the Naval Base Ventura County's 
military command mission and that all activities are consistent with 
Federal stewardship requirements. The NBVC, Point Mugu INRMP was 
completed in 2002, and renewed and approved by the Service in 2008. The 
INRMP is Naval Base Ventura County's adaptive plan for managing natural 
resources to support and be consistent with the military mission, while 
protecting and enhancing the biological integrity of lands under its 
use (U.S. Navy 2002, p. ES-3). Naval Base Ventura County is committed 
to an ecosystem management approach for its natural resources program 
by integrating all components of natural resource management into a 
comprehensive and coordinated effort. An integrated approach to 
ecosystem management will help protect the biological diversity found 
at NBVC, Point Mugu.
    The INRMP identifies the following management and protective 
measure goals for the Pacific Coast WSP:
    (1) Monitor and manage breeding habitat of Pacific Coast WSPs;
    (2) Monitor and manage wintering and migration areas to maximize 
Pacific Coast WSP population survival;
    (3) Develop mechanisms for long-term management and protection of 
Pacific Coast WSPs and their breeding and wintering habitat;
    (4) Undertake scientific investigations that facilitate recovery 
efforts;
    (5) Undertake public information and education programs for Pacific 
Coast WSPs;
    (6) Continue measures in place for Pacific Coast WSP protection, 
including beach closures;
    (7) Protect and maintain natural coastal processes that perpetuate 
high-quality breeding habitat;
    (8) Keep Pacific Coast WSP management areas closed to all pets, 
leashed or not, with the exception of NBVC security dogs on official 
duty (e.g., apprehending a suspect);
    (9) Monitor habitat to maintain the nesting substrates necessary 
for Pacific Coast WSP breeding success;
    (10) Identify factors that limit the quality of wintering and 
breeding habitat;
    (11) Clean and restore the eastern arm of Mugu Lagoon to sandy 
beach;
    (12) Improve methods of monitoring Pacific Coast WSPs, such as 
color banding; and
    (13) Develop and implement public information and education 
programs on Pacific Coast WSPs and recovery efforts at the proposed 
Mugu Lagoon Visitor Education Center.
    Based on the above considerations, and in accordance with section 
4(a)(3)(B)(i) of the Act, we have determined that the identified lands 
are

[[Page 36777]]

subject to the 2008 INRMP for NBVC, Point Mugu and that the 
conservation efforts identified in the INRMP have and will provide a 
benefit to the Pacific Coast WSP and features essential to its 
conservation, and will benefit Pacific Coast WSPs occurring in habitats 
within or adjacent to NBVC, Point Mugu. Therefore, lands within this 
installation (Units CA 40 and CA 41) are exempt from critical habitat 
designation under section 4(a)(3) of the Act. We are not including 
approximately 208 ac (84 ha) of habitat in this revised final critical 
habitat designation because of this exemption.
Department of the Navy, Naval Base Ventura County, San Nicolas Island 
(CA 42), 321 ac (130 ha)
    San Nicolas Island is under the jurisdiction of Department of the 
Navy, Naval Base Ventura County. The 14,230-ac (5,759-ha) San Nicolas 
Island is located approximately 65 mi (105 km) south of NBVC, Point 
Mugu. Naval facilities on San Nicolas Island include a 10,000-ft 
(3,048-m) concrete and asphalt runway, radar tracking instrumentation, 
electro-optical devices, telemetry, communications equipment, and 
missile and target launch areas, as well as personnel support. 
Currently, the island is used as the management launch platform for 
short- and medium-range missile testing, and an observation facility 
for missile testing. Primarily, San Nicolas Island's mission is to 
support the primary research, design, development, testing, and 
evaluation of air weapons and associated aircraft systems into anti-
surface and anti-air warfare aircraft.
    The San Nicolas Island INRMP (U.S. Navy 2005, pp. 1-129) is a 
planning document that guides the management and conservation of 
natural resources under the Navy Base Ventura County's control. The 
INRMP was prepared to ensure that natural resources are managed in 
support of the Naval Base Ventura County's military command mission and 
that all activities are consistent with Federal stewardship 
requirements. The San Nicolas Island INRMP was completed and approved 
by the Service in 2003, and renewed in 2005. The San Nicolas Island 
INRMP is Naval Base Ventura County's adaptive plan for managing natural 
resources to support and be consistent with the military mission, while 
protecting and enhancing the biological integrity of lands under its 
use (U.S. Navy 2005, p. 5). Naval Base Ventura County is committed to 
an ecosystem management approach for its natural resources program by 
integrating all components of natural resource management into a 
comprehensive and coordinated effort. An integrated approach to 
ecosystem management will help protect the biological diversity found 
at San Nicolas Island.
    The San Nicolas Island INRMP identifies the following management 
and protective measure goals for the Pacific Coast WSP:
    (1) Monitor Pacific Coast WSPs' nests during missile launches, 
barge landings, and other activities that may disturb nesting 
behaviors;
    (2) Close Pacific Coast WSP nesting areas to recreational activity 
during the breeding season (March through September);
    (3) Monitor the effects of Navy activities on Pacific Coast WSPs by 
conducting island-wide Pacific Coast WSP censuses twice annually, once 
during the breeding season and once during the winter season;
    (4) Educate island personnel regarding protected species 
regulations and responsibilities;
    (5) Maintain signs around breeding sites to alert personnel of 
closures;
    (6) Conduct site-specific Pacific Coast WSP surveys in potential or 
known breeding habitat prior to disturbance activities;
    (7) Remove unnecessary structures in Pacific Coast WSP nesting 
areas and attach avian excluders to essential structures, if feasible;
    (8) Conduct amphibious training exercises on beaches not harboring 
nesting Pacific Coast WSPs;
    (9) Continue to implement a feral cat control/removal program;
    (10) Develop and maintain a computer database for storing 
information on locations of nesting sites, incidental sightings and 
size and results of surveys for resource management purposes;
    (11) Continue to participate with recovery planning and other 
efforts to help establish stable Pacific Coast WSP populations; and
    (12) Support research to explore the effects of increasing pinniped 
(seal, sea lion) populations on nesting success of Pacific Coast WSPs.
    Based on the above considerations, and in accordance with section 
4(a)(3)(B)(i) of the Act, we have determined that the identified lands 
are subject to the 2005 INRMP for San Nicolas Island and that the 
conservation efforts identified in the INRMP have and will provide a 
benefit to the Pacific Coast WSP and features essential to its 
conservation, and will benefit Pacific Coast WSPs occurring in habitats 
within or adjacent to NBVC, San Nicolas Island. Therefore, lands within 
this installation (Unit CA 42) are exempt from critical habitat 
designation under section 4(a)(3)(B) of the Act. We are not including 
approximately 321 ac (130 ha) of habitat in this revised final critical 
habitat designation because of this exemption.
Marine Corps Base (MCB) Camp Pendleton (CA 49), 441 ac (179 ha)
    Marine Corps Base (MCB) Camp Pendleton is the Marine Corps' premier 
amphibious training installation and it is the only west coast 
amphibious assault training center. The installation has been 
conducting air, sea, and ground assault training since World War II. 
MCB Camp Pendleton occupies over 125,000 ac (50,586 ha) of coastal 
southern California in the northwest corner of San Diego County. Aside 
from nearly 10,000 ac (4,047 ha) that is developed, most of the 
installation is largely undeveloped land that is used for training. MCB 
Camp Pendleton is situated between two major metropolitan areas: The 
City of Los Angeles that is 82 mi (132 km) to the north, and the City 
of San Diego that is 38 mi (61 km) to the south. MCB Camp Pendleton is 
located north of the City of Oceanside, southeast of the City of San 
Clemente, and adjacent to the western side of the unincorporated 
community of Fallbrook, San Diego County, California. Aside from a 
portion of the installation's border that is shared with the Cleveland 
National Forest's San Mateo Wilderness Area and Fallbrook Naval Weapons 
Station, surrounding land use includes urban development, rural 
residential development, and farming and ranching. The largest single 
leaseholder on the installation is CDPR, which possesses a 50-year real 
estate lease granted on September 1, 1971, for 2,000 ac (809 ha) that 
encompasses San Onofre State Beach.
    The MCB Camp Pendleton INRMP is a planning document that guides the 
management and conservation of natural resources under the 
installation's control. The INRMP was prepared to assist installation 
staff and users in their efforts to conserve and rehabilitate natural 
resources consistent with the use of MCB Camp Pendleton to train 
Marines and set the agenda for managing natural resources on MCB Camp 
Pendleton. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton completed its INRMP in 
2001, followed by a revised and updated version in 2007, to address 
conservation and management recommendations within the scope of the 
installation's military mission, including conservation measures for 
Pacific Coast WSP (MCB Camp Pendleton 2007, Appendix F, Section F.23, 
pp. F85-F89). The Service provided concurrence in 2001 and 2007

[[Page 36778]]

for the respective INRMPs. Additionally, CDPR is required to conduct 
its natural resources management consistent with the philosophies and 
supportive of the objectives in the revised 2007 INRMP (MCB Camp 
Pendleton 2007, Chapter 2, p. 31).
    The Pacific Coast WSP and its habitat are provided protection and 
management by the Estuarine and Beach Conservation Plan (MCB Camp 
Pendleton 2007, Appendix B, pp. B-1--B-20), which was addressed through 
the section 7 consultation process with a biological opinion issued by 
the Service on October 30, 1995 (Service 1995, Biological Opinion 1-6-
95-F02), and is now implemented under the 2007 INRMP. Base-wide 
protection measures for avoidance and minimization of impacts to 
Pacific Coast WSP and its habitat, especially during the breeding 
season, are provided in both the conservation plan and Base Order 
P3500.1M. The base-wide protection measures for Pacific Coast WSP 
include, but are not limited to:
    (1) Minimize reduction or loss of upland buffers surrounding 
coastal wetlands;
    (2) Restore the dune system in the vicinity of the Santa Margarita 
Estuary following the guidance developed by The Nature Conservancy;
    (3) Maintain integrity of listed species' habitat; and
    (4) Promote growth of current population of Pacific Coast WSPs (MCB 
Camp Pendleton 2007, Appendix B, pp. B5-B7).
    Annual management and protection measures for Pacific Coast WSPs 
identified in Appendix F of the INRMP include, but are not limited to:
    (1) Installation of sign postings describing the sensitive nature 
of the breeding area/season;
    (2) Installation of permanent/temporary fencing that directs 
military training away from sensitive nesting and foraging areas;
    (3) Beach habitat enhancement (nonnative vegetation control and 
sand mobilization);
    (4) Ant control (ants can cause incubating adults to abandon a 
nest, and can contribute towards chick mortality); and
    (5) Focused predator control (MCB Camp Pendleton 2007, Appendix F, 
p. F89).
    Current environmental training regulations and restrictions are 
provided to all military personnel to maintain compliance with the 
terms of the INRMP. Training regulations guide activities to protect 
endangered and threatened species on the installation, including 
Pacific Coast WSP and its habitat. Specific conservation measures, 
outlined in the Instructions for Military Training Activities section 
of the Estuarine and Beach Conservation Plan, are applied to Pacific 
Coast WSP and its habitat (MCB Camp Pendleton 2007, p. B-13). These 
include:
    (1) Military activities are kept to a minimum within the Santa 
Margarita Management Zone (i.e., the area on the base where the 
majority of nesting sites occur) and any nesting site outside the 
traditionally fenced nesting areas during the breeding/nesting season 
(1 March-31 August) for the Pacific Coast WSP. A buffer distance of 984 
ft (300 m) away from fenced or posted nesting areas must be adhered to 
for all activities involving smoke, pyrotechnics, loud noises, blowing 
sand, and large groupings of personnel (14 or more). Aircraft are not 
authorized to land within 984 ft (300 m) of fenced nesting areas on 
Blue Beach or White Beach and are required to maintain an altitude of 
300 ft (91 m) Above Ground Level (AGL) or more above nesting areas.
    (2) Recreational activities within the Santa Margarita Management 
Zone and posted nest locations during the breeding season are to be 
kept to a minimum, and camping at Cocklebur Canyon Beach is prohibited.
    (3) Foot traffic within the Santa Margarita Management Zone is 
prohibited within 150 ft (46 m) of posted nesting areas during the 
breeding season.
    (4) A 300-ft (91-m) buffer from posted nesting areas is required 
for surf fishermen, and no live baitfish or amphibians are allowed for 
fishing activities.
    Additionally, MCB Camp Pendleton Environmental Security staff 
review projects and enforce existing regulations and orders that, 
through their implementation under National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) requirements, avoid and minimize impacts 
to natural resources, including the Pacific Coast WSP and its habitat. 
MCB Camp Pendleton also provides training to personnel on environmental 
awareness for sensitive resources on the base, including the Pacific 
Coast WSP and its habitat. As a result of these regulations and 
restrictions, activities occurring on MCB Camp Pendleton are currently 
conducted in a manner that minimizes impacts to Pacific Coast WSPs and 
their habitat.
    MCB Camp Pendleton's INRMP also benefits Pacific Coast WSP through 
ongoing monitoring and research efforts. To assess the effectiveness of 
MCB Camp Pendleton's Estuarine and Beach Conservation Plan, biennial 
monitoring is conducted to determine number of pairs, hatching success, 
and reproductive success (MCB Camp Pendleton 2007, Appendix B, p. B12). 
Annual monitoring of nests is conducted to track Pacific Coast WSP 
population trends (MCB Camp Pendleton 2007, Appendix F, p. F89). Data 
are provided to all necessary personnel through MCB Camp Pendleton's 
GIS database on sensitive resources and MCB Camp Pendleton's published 
resource atlas. Moreover, CDPR is required to conduct its natural 
resources management consistent with the philosophies and supportive of 
the objectives of the INRMP (MCB Camp Pendleton 2007, p. 2-30).
    Based on the above considerations, and in accordance with section 
4(a)(3)(B)(i) of the Act, we have determined that the identified lands 
are subject to the MCB Camp Pendleton INRMP and that conservation 
efforts identified in the 2007 INRMP do and will continue to provide a 
benefit to Pacific Coast WSP and features essential to its 
conservation, and will benefit Pacific Coast WSPs occurring in habitats 
within or adjacent to MCB Camp Pendleton. This includes habitat located 
in the following areas: San Onofre Beach, Aliso/French Creek Mouth, and 
Santa Margarita River Estuary (names of areas follow those used in the 
draft recovery plan (Service 2001, Appendix B, p. B-16)). Therefore, 
lands within this installation are exempt from critical habitat 
designation under section 4(a)(3) of the Act. We are not including 
approximately 441 ac (179 ha) of habitat in this revised final critical 
habitat designation because of this exemption.
Naval Base Coronado, Naval Air Station (CA 55A, CA 55C, CA 55D, and CA 
55H), 734 ac (297 ha)
    Naval Base Coronado includes eight military facilities in San Diego 
County, California. Three of these facilities (Naval Air Station North 
Island (CA 55A); Naval Amphibious Base Coronado (CA 55C, and CA 55D); 
and Naval Radio Receiving Facility (CA 55H)) include beach habitat that 
supports Pacific Coast WSPs. For planning and description purposes 
regarding these beaches and the military training that occurs here, the 
U.S. Navy describes these areas as:
    (1) Naval Air Station North Island (NAS North Island),
    (2) Naval Amphibious Base Coronado or Silver Strand Training 
Complex--North (SSTC-North), and
    (3) Naval Radio Receiving Facility or Silver Strand Training 
Complex--South (SSTC-South).

[[Page 36779]]

    NAS North Island is located north of the City of Coronado and 
encompasses 2,803 ac (1134 ha), of which approximately 95 ac (39 ha) is 
southern foredune/beach habitat. SSTC-North is located south of the 
City of Coronado and encompasses roughly 1,000 ac (405 ha), of which 
approximately 257 ac (104 ha) are beach-front habitat leased from CDPR 
for amphibious military training activities. SSTC-North, including the 
San Diego Bay-front beach referred to as Delta Beach, supports 
approximately 278 ac (113 ha) of southern foredune/beach habitat. SSTC-
South is located north of the City of Imperial Beach, and encompasses 
450 ac (182 ha), of which approximately 78 ac (32 ha) is southern 
foredune/beach habitat.
    The U.S. Navy completed an INRMP in 2002 to provide a viable 
framework for the management of natural resources on lands controlled 
by for Naval Base Coronado. This INRMP was approved by the Service. The 
U.S. Navy continues to implement the completed 2002 INRMP as a revision 
is being drafted. The INRMP identifies conservation and management 
recommendations within the scope of the installation's military 
mission, including conservation measures for Pacific Coast WSP and its 
habitat (Naval Base Coronado 2002, Section 3, pp. 81-83). The 
management strategy outlines actions that would contribute to the 
recovery of Pacific Coast WSP through development of cooperative, 
ecosystem management-based strategies (Naval Base Coronado 2002, 
Section 4, pp. 56-58).
    The INRMP revision will reflect the management changes driven by 
the U.S. Navy's need for additional beach training. The U.S. Navy will 
continue to implement the 2002 INRMP, subject to modified management 
strategies identified in the 2010 Silver Strand Training Area 
Biological Opinion (BO), until completion of a revised INRMP. The 
revised INRMP will include the management strategy identified in the 
2010 Silver Strand Training BO. The 2002 INRMP identifies conservation 
and management recommendations within the scope of the installation's 
military mission, including conservation measures for Pacific Coast WSP 
and its habitat (Naval Base Coronado 2002, Section 3, pp. 81-83). The 
management strategy outlines actions that would contribute to the 
recovery of Pacific Coast WSP through development of cooperative, 
ecosystem management-based strategies (Naval Base Coronado 2002, 
Section 4, pp. 56-58). Management actions that will benefit the Pacific 
Coast WSP to be implemented by the Navy on the U.S. Navy's Silver 
Strand Training Complex Operations, Naval Base, Coronado, in accordance 
with the 2002 INRMP as modified by the 2010 SSTC BO (08B0503-09F0517) 
include:
    (1) Minimize the potential for take of nests and chicks at SSTC-N 
and SSTC-S Beaches during the breeding season;
    (2) Monitor training activities to ascertain the impact on Pacific 
Coast WSP distribution and report any observed incidental take to the 
Service annually;
    (3) Modify the beach to create hummocks to deter plovers from 
nesting in intensively used beach lanes;
    (4) Schedule efforts to avoid beach lanes with higher nest numbers;
    (5) Study the effects of military working dogs on plovers to 
develop additional conservation measures, if necessary;
    (6) Require that dogs be on leashes;
    (7) Annual nest site preparation;
    (8) Mark and avoid up to 22 nests at SSTC-S, SSTC-N Beaches, plus 
any additional nests that exceed 22 that are initiated in beach lanes 
Orange 1 and Orange 2;
    (9) Protect nesting and foraging areas at NAS North Island, SSTC-
North, SSTC-South, and Delta Beach from predation by supporting 
consistent and effective predator management;
    (10) Enhance and disallow mowing of remnant dune areas as potential 
nest sites in areas that can be protected from human disturbance and 
predators during nesting season;
    (11) Conduct monitoring throughout Naval Base Coronado and 
establish a consistent approach to monitoring nesting attempts and 
hatching success to determine the success of predator management 
activities, and limit predator-prey interactions by fencing unless it 
conflicts with U.S. Navy training;
    (12) Identify opportunities to use dredge material that has high 
sand content for expansion and rehabilitation of beach areas at NAS 
North Island and Delta Beach to create improved nesting substrate;
    (13) Minimize activities that can affect invertebrate populations 
necessary for Pacific Coast WSP foraging by prohibiting beach raking on 
Naval Base Coronado beaches, with the exception of the area immediately 
in front of the Navy Lodge at NAS North Island and Camp Surf at SSTC-
South;
    (14) If any relocation of nest/eggs is necessary as a protective 
measure, each nest/egg will be relocated the shortest distance possible 
into suitable habitat by Service-approved monitors to increase the 
chance of nest success;
    (15) Identify conflicts for immediate action and response;
    (16) Public outreach to military residents of adjacent housing;
    (17) Post signs to eliminate human trespassers during nesting 
season and possibly for nest avoidance as well; and
    (18) Work with the Service and others to develop a regional 
approach to managing and conserving the habitat needed to sustain 
Pacific Coast WSP.
    The 2010 SSTC BO (08B0503-09F0517, p. 128) also specifies that if 
new information reveals that the increased training is affecting 
Pacific Coast WSP in a manner inconsistent with the conclusion of the 
Biological Opinion, then reinitiation of consultation may be warranted. 
If monitoring indicates that the western snowy plover numbers within 
the area of increased military training decline below the 5-year 
average, as determined by maximum active nest numbers--average of 18 
plover pairs at SSTC (range of 11 to 22); 10 plover pairs at NASNI 
(range of 7 to 14); and 8 plover pairs at SSSB (range of 5 to 9)--
reinitiation of consultation may be warranted. If snowy plover use of 
SSTC beaches declines, Service and U.S. Navy biologists will evaluate 
alternative explanations for any observed decline (such as, 
continuation of low productivity associated with predation) and the 
need for additional conservation measures. This cooperative 
relationship allows the Service to work closely with the U.S. Navy for 
the continued implementation of beneficial measures to Pacific Coast 
WSP, while minimizing impacts associated with the increased training 
activities that are required for military readiness.
    Based on the above considerations, and in accordance with section 
4(a)(3)(B)(i) of the Act, we have determined that the identified lands 
are subject to the Naval Base Coronado INRMP and that the conservation 
efforts identified in the existing Service- approved INRMP will provide 
a benefit to Pacific Coast WSP features essential to its conservation 
and will benefit Pacific Coast WSPs occurring in habitats within and 
adjacent to NAS North Island, SSTC-North, and SSTC-South. We also 
anticipate that the draft revised INRMP will provide a similar if not 
greater benefits to Pacific Coast WSPs, but will reopen this 
designation as necessary to evaluate the conservation efforts in Naval 
Base Coronado's final revised INRMP. Therefore, lands within this 
installation (Units CA 55A, CA 55C, CA 55D, and CA 55H) are exempt 
under section 4(a)(3) of the Act. We are not including approximately 
734 ac (297 ha) of habitat in this revised final critical habitat 
designation because of this exemption.

[[Page 36780]]

    Table 5 below provides approximate land areas (ac, ha) that meet 
the definition of critical habitat but are exempt from designation 
under section 4(a)(3)(B) of the Act.

                          Table 5--Exemptions From Designation by Critical Habitat Unit
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                         Areas meeting the
                                                                           definition of      Areas  exempted in
         Unit                Specific area        Basis for  exemption   critical  habitat         ac (ha)
                                                                            in ac  (ha)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
CA 22................  Naval Support Area         4(a)(3)(B)..........  8 ac (3 ha)........  8 ac (3 ha).
                        Monterey.
CA 32................  Vandenberg Air Force Base  4(a)(3)(B)..........  711 ac (288 ha)....  711 ac (288 ha).
                        North.
CA 33................  Vandenberg Air Force Base  4(a)(3)(B)..........  423 ac (171 ha)....  423 ac (171 ha).
                        South.
CA 40................  Naval Base Ventura County  4(a)(3)(B)..........  136 ac (55 ha).....  136 ac (55 ha).
                        Point Mugu, Mugu Lagoon
                        North.
CA 41................  Naval Base Ventura County  4(a)(3)(B)..........  72 ac (29 ha)......  72 ac (29 ha).
                        Point Mugu, Mugu Lagoon
                        South.
CA 42................  Naval Base Ventura         4(a)(3)(B)..........  321 ac (130 ha)....  321 ac (130 ha).
                        County, San Nicolas
                        Island.
CA 49................  Marine Corps Base (MCB)    4(a)(3)(B)..........  441 ac (179 ha)....  441 ac (179 ha).
                        Camp Pendleton.
CA 55A...............  Naval Base Coronado,       4(a)(3)(B)..........  142 ac (57 ha).....  142 ac (57 ha).
                        Naval Air Station North
                        Island.
CA 55C...............  Naval Base Coronado        4(a)(3)(B)..........  436 ac (176 ha)....  436 ac (176 ha).
                        Silver Strand Beach.
CA 55D...............  Naval Base Coronado Delta  4(a)(3)(B)..........  90 ac (36 ha)......  90 ac (36 ha).
                        Beach.
CA 55H...............  Naval Base Coronado Naval  4(a)(3)(B)..........  66 ac (27 ha)......  66 ac (27 ha).
                        Radio Receiving Facility.
                      ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total............  .........................  ....................  ...................  2,846 ac (1,151
                                                                                              ha).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Exclusions

Application of Section 4(b)(2) of the Act

    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act states that the Secretary shall 
designate and make revisions to critical habitat on the basis of the 
best available scientific data after taking into consideration the 
economic impact, national security impact, and any other relevant 
impact of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. The 
Secretary may exclude an area from critical habitat if he determines 
the benefits of such exclusion outweigh the benefits of specifying such 
area as part of the critical habitat, unless he determines, based on 
the best scientific data available, that the decision not to designate 
such area as critical habitat will result in the extinction of the 
species. In making that determination, the statute on its face, as well 
as the legislative history are clear that the Secretary has broad 
discretion regarding which factor(s) to use and how much weight to give 
to any factor.
    In considering whether to exclude a particular area from the 
designation, we identify the benefits of including the area in the 
designation, identify the benefits of excluding the area from the 
designation, and evaluate whether the benefits of exclusion outweigh 
the benefits of inclusion. If the analysis indicates that the benefits 
of exclusion outweigh the benefits of inclusion, the Secretary may 
exercise his discretion to exclude the area only if such exclusion 
would not result in the extinction of the species.
    When identifying the benefits of inclusion for an area, we consider 
the additional regulatory benefits that area would receive from the 
protection from adverse modification or destruction as a result of 
actions with a Federal nexus, the educational benefits of mapping 
essential habitat for recovery of the listed species, and any benefits 
that may result from a designation due to State or Federal laws that 
may apply to critical habitat.
    When considering the benefits of exclusion, we consider, among 
other things, whether exclusion of a specific area is likely to result 
in conservation; the continuation, strengthening, or encouragement of 
partnerships; or implementation of a management plan that provides 
equal to or more conservation that a critical habitat designation would 
provide.
    In the case of the Pacific Coast WSP, the benefits of critical 
habitat include public awareness of the Pacific Coast WSP's presence 
and the importance of habitat protection, and in cases where a Federal 
nexus exists, increased habitat protection for the Pacific Coast WSP 
due to the protection from adverse modification or destruction of 
critical habitat.
    When we evaluate the existence of a conservation or management plan 
when considering the benefits of exclusion, we consider a variety of 
factors, including but not limited to, whether the plan is finalized; 
how it provides for the conservation of the essential physical or 
biological features; whether there is a reasonable expectation that the 
conservation management strategies and actions contained in a 
management plan will be implemented into the future; whether the 
conservation strategies in the plan are likely to be effective; and 
whether the plan contains a monitoring program or adaptive management 
to ensure that the conservation measures are effective and can be 
adapted in the future in response to new information.
    After evaluating the benefits of inclusion and the benefits of 
exclusion, we carefully weigh the two sides to evaluate whether the 
benefits of exclusion outweigh those of inclusion. If our analysis 
indicates that the benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of 
inclusion, we then determine whether exclusion would result in 
extinction. If exclusion of an area from critical habitat will result 
in extinction, we will not exclude it from the designation.
    Based on the information provided by entities seeking exclusion, as 
well as any additional public comments received and information in our 
files, we evaluated whether certain lands in the revised proposed 
critical habitat were appropriate for exclusion from this revised final 
designation pursuant to section 4(b)(2) of the Act. We considered the 
areas discussed below for exclusion under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, 
and present our detailed analysis below. For those areas in which the 
Secretary has exercised his discretion to exclude, we conclude that:
    (1) Their value for conservation will be preserved in the near 
future by existing protective actions, or

[[Page 36781]]

    (2) The benefits of excluding the particular area outweigh the 
benefits of their inclusion, based on the ``other relevant factor'' 
provisions of section 4(b)(2) of the Act.
    We are excluding a total of approximately 3,797 ac (1,537 ha) of 
land from critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP. Table 6 below 
provides approximate areas (ac, ha) of lands in each State by unit that 
meet the definition of critical habitat but are being excluded under 
section 4(b)(2) of the Act from the final critical habitat rule. Maps 
showing excluded areas are available upon request by contacting the 
Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office (see the ADDRESSES section).

  Table 6--Areas Excluded From Critical Habitat Designation by Critical
                              Habitat Unit
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                  Area excluded under
                 Unit/subunit                    section 4(b)(2) of the
                                                          act
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                       HABITAT CONSERVATION PLANS
------------------------------------------------------------------------
               Oregon Parks and Recreation Department HCP
------------------------------------------------------------------------
UNIT.........................................  ac (ha).
OR 1 Columbia River Spit.....................  169 (68).
OR 2 Necanicum River Spit....................  200 (81).
OR 3 Nehalem River Spit......................  299 (121).
OR 4 Bayocean Spit...........................  166 (67).
OR 5 Netarts Spit............................  541 (219).
OR 6 Sand Lake South.........................  195 (79).
OR 7 Sutton/Baker Beaches....................  96 (39).
OR 8B Siltcoos River Spit....................  125 (51).
OR 8C Dunes Overlook/Tahkenitch Creek Spit...  333 (135).
OR 8D North Umpqua River Spit................  177 (71).
OR 9 Tenmile Creek Spit......................  21 (8).
OR 10 Coos Bay North Spit....................  35 (14).
OR 11 Bandon to New River....................  475 (192).
OR 12 Elk River Spit.........................  167 (68).
OR 13 Euchre Creek Spit......................  107 (43).
                                              --------------------------
    Subtotal for OPRD HCP Lands..............  3,106 (1,257).
------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Southern California Multi-Species HCPs and Other Management Plans
------------------------------------------------------------------------
UNIT.........................................  ac (ha).
CA 50A Batiquitos Lagoon.....................  24 (10).
CA 50B Batiquitos Lagoon.....................  23 (9).
CA 50C Batiquitos Lagoon.....................  19 (8).
CA 52B San Dieguito Lagoon...................  3 (1).
CA 52C San Dieguito Lagoon...................  4 (2).
CA 53 Los Penasquitos Lagoon.................  32 (13).
CA 54A Fiesta Island.........................  2 (1).
CA 54B Mariner's Point.......................  7 (3).
CA 54C South Mission Beach...................  38 (15).
CA 54D San Diego River Channel...............  51 (21).
CA 55E Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife      53 (21).
 Refuge and D Street Fill.
CA G55 Chula Vista Wildlife Reserve..........  10 (4).
                                              --------------------------
    Subtotal for all Southern CA Plans.......  266 (108).
    Subtotal for all HCP Lands in OR and CA..  3,372 (1,365).
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                              Tribal Lands
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                          Shoalwater Bay Tribe
------------------------------------------------------------------------
UNIT.........................................  ac (ha).
Shoalwater Bay tribal lands within WA3B        425 (172).
 Shoalwater/Graveyard Spit.
                                              --------------------------
    Subtotal for Tribal Lands................  425 ac (172 ha).
                                              --------------------------
        Total Area Excluded Under 4(b)(2)....  3,797 (1,537).
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Values in this table may not sum due to rounding.

Exclusions Based on Economic Impacts
    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we consider the economic impacts 
of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. In order to 
consider economic impacts, we prepared a draft economic analysis of the 
proposed critical habitat designation and related factors (Industrial 
Economics Incorporated (IEc) 2011, pp. 1-130). The draft analysis, 
dated September 15, 2011, was made available for public review and 
comment from January 17, 2012, through February 16, 2012 (77 FR 2243). 
Following the close of the comment

[[Page 36782]]

period, a final analysis (dated March 23, 2012) of the potential 
economic effects of the designation was developed taking into 
consideration the public comments and any new information (IEc 2012, 
pp. 1-131).
    The intent of the final economic analysis (FEA) is to quantify the 
economic impacts of all potential conservation efforts for the Pacific 
Coast WSP; some of these costs will likely be incurred regardless of 
whether we designate critical habitat (baseline). The economic impact 
of the final critical habitat designation is analyzed by comparing 
scenarios both ``with critical habitat'' and ``without critical 
habitat.'' The ``without critical habitat'' scenario represents the 
baseline for the analysis, considering protections already in place for 
the species (e.g., under the Federal listing and other Federal, State, 
and local regulations). The baseline, therefore, represents the costs 
incurred regardless of whether critical habitat is designated. The 
``with critical habitat'' scenario describes the incremental impacts 
associated specifically with the designation of critical habitat for 
the species. The incremental conservation efforts and associated 
impacts are those not expected to occur absent the designation of 
critical habitat for the species. In other words, the incremental costs 
are those attributable solely to the designation of critical habitat 
above and beyond the baseline costs; these are the costs we consider in 
the final designation of critical habitat. The analysis looks 
retrospectively at baseline impacts incurred since the species was 
listed, and forecasts both baseline and incremental impacts likely to 
occur with the designation of critical habitat.
    The FEA also addresses how potential economic impacts are likely to 
be distributed, including an assessment of any local or regional 
impacts of habitat conservation and the potential effects of 
conservation activities on government agencies, private businesses, and 
individuals. The FEA measures lost economic efficiency associated with 
residential and commercial development and public projects and 
activities, such as economic impacts on water management and 
transportation projects, Federal lands, small entities, and the energy 
industry. Decision makers use this information to assess whether the 
effects of the designation might unduly burden a particular group or 
economic sector. Finally, the FEA looks retrospectively at costs that 
have been incurred since 1993 (year of the species' listing) (58 FR 
12864; March 5, 1993), and considers those costs that may occur in the 
20 years following the designation of critical habitat, which was 
determined to be the appropriate period for analysis because limited 
planning information was available for most activities to forecast 
activity levels for projects beyond a 20-year timeframe. The FEA 
quantifies economic impacts of the Pacific Coast WSP conservation 
efforts associated with the following categories of activity: (1) 
Recreation; (2) commercial and residential development; (3) gravel 
mining; (4) military activities; and (5) habitat and species 
management.
    Nearly 86 percent of the critical habitat is not expected to 
experience any incremental impacts. In some of these units, the 
critical habitat area is subject to existing HCPs or land management 
plans that incorporate plover conservation. For other units, no future 
land use threats (e.g., development or transportation projects) are 
forecast to occur (IEc 2012, p. 4-1).
    In the DEA, the major cost was associated with military operations 
at Vandenberg Air Force Base, which was proposed for designation as 
Units CA 32 and 33 in our March 2011 proposed revised designation. 
Vandenberg Air Force Base subsequently completed a Secretarial-approved 
INRMP and has been exempted from this final revised designation under 
section 4(a)(3) of the Act (see Exemptions section).
    The FEA estimates total potential incremental economic impacts in 
areas proposed as revised critical habitat over the next 20 years (2012 
to 2032) to be $266,000, annualized at $25,100 using a 7 percent 
discount rate. These totals include the potential incremental impacts 
associated with inclusion of Vandenberg Air Force Base and, as a result 
of its exemption from this final designation, the total potential 
incremental impacts may be less. These costs represent additional 
administrative effort as part of future consultations under section 7 
of the Act. We do not expect that the designation will result in 
additional conservation efforts for the plover due to the nature of the 
known projects. Exhibit 4-2 provides the estimated incremental impacts 
by activity (IEc 2012, p. 4-6). Development activities have the highest 
incremental impact at $50,000, followed by habitat and species 
management at $16,700, and mining at $10,500.
Development
    The FEA estimates the largest impacts of the proposed revised 
critical habitat rule would result from real estate development. The 
FEA has identified two commercial resort developments that may be 
affected by the designation of critical habitat for the Pacific Coast 
WSP. The total incremental impacts within Unit CA 22 are estimated to 
be $17,100 ($1,610 annualized) at a 7 percent discount rate and include 
the administrative cost of addressing adverse modification during 
consultation as well as any additional conservation efforts necessary 
to avoid adverse modification (IEc 2012, pp. 4-4, 4-12--4-14). These 
costs are assuming that a Federal nexus would be identified for the 
proposed project; currently, however, there is no federal nexus and 
thus consultation under section 7 is not required. Indirect costs 
(i.e., lost potential income to local business and construction jobs) 
may also be associated with this unit and the project proponents have 
estimated these impacts to be approximately $30 million annually to the 
local economy if the projects are not allowed to proceed due to 
litigation or other permit proceedings not connected with this critical 
habitat designation (IEc 2012, p. 4-14). These estimates could not be 
verified by our economic analysis. Both development sites are located 
at the southerly end of Unit CA 22 in Sand City, California. The first 
development site, commonly known as the ``Sterling/McDonald'' site, is 
jointly owned by a private developer and the Sand City Redevelopment 
Agency. The project proponents are presently in the process of 
developing an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) under CEQA. Project 
proponents expect the EIR to be completed in 6 months. The second site 
on the Sand City coastline is the Security National Guaranty (SNG) 
development site (formerly known as the Lonestar site). Similar to the 
Sterling McDonald site, the SNG site is planned for a mixed-use 
visitor-serving resort. The hotel-condo resort will include up to 341 
units. Pursuant to CEQA, the resort has undergone a full EIR along with 
an addendum update and peer review.
    These development projects do not have a Federal nexus and thus 
consultation with the Service under section 7 of the Act is not 
required. Due to the lack of a Federal nexus, no direct impacts of 
critical habitat designation are expected; however, indirect impacts 
(i.e. lost potential income to local business and construction jobs) 
are possible in the event that other permitting processes or litigation 
unrelated to this designation affect project approvals (IEc 2012, pp. 
4-12-4-13). SNG has prepared a detailed habitat protection plan (HPP) 
that evaluates and mitigates potential impacts to any presence of 
sensitive biological resources, including the Pacific Coast WSP. 
Conservation

[[Page 36783]]

measures contained within the HPP related to the plover include: 
Fencing and signage around construction; Pacific Coast WSP surveys 
prior to, during, and after construction; erection of exclosures and 
signage if any nesting Pacific Coast WSPs are discovered; predator 
management; permanent conservation easement for Pacific Coast WSP 
habitat on the property; and quarterly and annual reporting to the 
Service (IEc 2012, p. 4-13).
    One additional development project was identified in subunit CA 55B 
by the City of Coronado. The City of Coronado has developed a 
conceptual plan for a Class 1 bike path and pedestrian trail for the 
Central Beach area in subunit CA 55B. If this plan moves forward, 
consultation with the Service would occur if there is a Federal nexus. 
The total incremental impacts within this unit are estimated to be 
$4,670 ($441 annualized) at a 7 percent discount rate and include the 
administrative cost of addressing adverse modification during 
consultation as well as any additional conservation efforts necessary 
to avoid adverse modification (IEc 2012, pp. 4-5, 4-14).
Recreation
    The majority of incremental costs associated with recreation are at 
the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA). Oceano Dunes 
SVRA is one of several Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) areas administered by 
the CDPR and encompasses roughly 3,590 ac (1,453 ha) in San Luis Obispo 
County; approximately 1,500 ac (607 ha) are designated for camping and 
OHV use. Portions of Oceano Dunes SVRA are located within Unit CA 31. 
While there is no federal nexus for activities at Oceano Dunes SVRA, 
CDPR is working with the Service to develop a habitat conservation plan 
in connection with obtaining an incidental take permit. An intra-
Service consultation under section 7 would be required for issuance of 
the permit. Consequently, the direct incremental impacts identified are 
a result of section 7 administrative costs and are estimated to be 
approximately $9,580 ($904 annualized, at a 7 percent discount rate); 
however, additional indirect costs may also be associated with this 
unit (IEc 2012, pp. 4-4, 4-10--4-12).
Mining
    Gravel mining has occurred within Unit CA 6 and within the Eel 
River basin for decades and has been regulated under a variety of 
programs, including under section 404 of the Clean Water Act and the 
Rivers and Harbors Act, which are administered by the USACE. Currently, 
six gravel extractors operate in Unit CA 6 under a countywide permit 
issued by the USACE. A biological opinion has been issued for the 
gravel mining operations, and the USACE is required to re-initiate 
consultation to renew the Letter of Permission during the life of the 
permit. The USACE must consult with the Service again in 2014, 2019, 
2024, and 2029. The direct incremental impacts identified are a result 
of section 7 administrative costs and are estimated to be approximately 
$10,500 ($995 annualized, at a 7 percent discount rate) (IEc 2012, pp. 
4-3, 4-18--4-19).
Habitat and Species Management
    We have consulted on many habitat and species management projects 
throughout the range of the Pacific Coast WSP. The FEA has identified 
four habitat and species management activities that would require 
consultation under section 7 of the Act. The projects include: (1) A 
habitat restoration project in subunit WA 3B; (2) the draft Fort Ord 
Dunes HCP; (3) the Santa Barbara County Parks Department draft HCP for 
Rancho Guadalupe Dunes County Park in Unit CA 31; and (4) the draft HCP 
for Oceano Dunes SVRA for the CDPR. Individual costs for each unit are 
summarized in Exhibit 4-1 (IEc 2012, pp. 4-3--4-6). The total estimated 
costs associated with these projects are $16,700 ($1,580 annualized, at 
a 7 percent discount rate) (IEc 2012, pp. 4-21--4-23).
    Because the FEA did not identify any disproportionate, or 
unreasonable costs that are likely to result from the designation of 
revised final critical habitat, the Secretary did not consider 
exercising his discretion to exclude any areas from this designation of 
critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP based on economic impacts. A 
copy of the FEA with supporting documents may be obtained by contacting 
the Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES) or by downloading 
from the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov.
Exclusions Based on National Security Impacts
    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we consider whether there are 
lands owned or managed by the Department of Defense (DOD) where a 
national security impact might exist. In preparing this proposal, we 
have exempted from the designation of critical habitat those DOD lands 
with completed INRMPs determined to provide a benefit to the Pacific 
Coast WSP. We have also determined that the remaining lands within the 
proposed designation of critical habitat for the species are not owned 
or managed by the Department of Defense, and, therefore, we anticipate 
no impact on national security.
    In comments received from the Navy on our 2011 revised proposed 
rule, we were notified that approximately 8 ac (3 ha) associated with a 
Navy school (Naval Support Area Monterey) along the Monterey Bay coast 
was identified within the revised proposed critical habitat for the 
Pacific Coast WSP. These DOD lands have been exempted from the revised 
final designation under section 4(a)(3) of the Act (see Exemptions).
    The Navy also identified that approximately 0.08 ac (0.03 ha) at 
Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme, was included in the revised 
proposed rule. These lands were inadvertently included as part of Unit 
CA 39 in the revised proposed designation due to a mapping error. The 
identified 0.08 ac (0.03 ha) of Navy lands within Unit CA 39, Ormond 
Beach, have been removed in this revised final designation because they 
are unsuitable habitat and not essential to the conservation of the 
species.
    No other DOD lands have been identified within the revised final 
designation. Consequently, the Secretary is not exercising his 
discretion to exclude any areas from this revised final designation 
based on impacts on national security.
Exclusions Based on Other Relevant Impacts
    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we consider any other relevant 
impacts, in addition to economic impacts and impacts to national 
security. We consider a number of factors including whether the 
landowners have developed any HCPs or other management plans for the 
area, or whether there are conservation partnerships that would be 
encouraged by designation of, or exclusion from, critical habitat. In 
addition, we look at any tribal issues, and consider the government-to 
government relationship of the United States with tribal entities. We 
also consider any social impacts that might occur because of the 
designation.
Land and Resource Management Plans, Conservation Plans, or Agreements 
Based on Conservation Partnerships
    We consider a current land management or conservation plan (HCPs, 
as well as other types) to provide adequate management or protection 
for Pacific Coast WSP and its habitat if it meets the following 
criteria:
    (1) The plan is complete and provides the same or better level of 
protection from adverse modification or

[[Page 36784]]

destruction than that provided through a consultation under section 7 
of the Act;
    (2) There is a reasonable expectation that the conservation 
management strategies and actions will be implemented for the 
foreseeable future and effective, based on past practices, written 
guidance, or regulations; and
    (3) The plan provides adaptive management and conservation 
strategies and measures consistent with currently accepted principles 
of conservation biology.
Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs)
    Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act authorizes us to issue to non-
Federal entities a permit for the incidental take of endangered and 
threatened species. This permit allows a non-Federal landowner to 
proceed with an activity that is legal in all other respects, but that 
results in the incidental taking of a listed species (i.e., take that 
is incidental to, and not the purpose of, the carrying out of an 
otherwise lawful activity). The Act specifies that an application for 
an incidental take permit must be accompanied by a habitat conservation 
plan, and specifies the content of such a plan. The purpose of HCPs is 
to describe and ensure that the effects of the permitted action on 
covered species are adequately minimized and mitigated, and that the 
action does not appreciably reduce the survival and recovery of the 
species. In our assessment of HCPs associated with this final 
rulemaking, the analysis required for these types of exclusions 
involves careful consideration of the benefits of designation versus 
the benefits of exclusion. The benefits of designation typically arise 
from additional section 7 protections, as well as enhanced public 
awareness once specific areas are identified as critical habitat. The 
benefits of exclusion generally relate to relieving regulatory burdens 
on existing conservation partners, maintaining good working 
relationships with them, and encouraging the development of new 
partnerships.
    Some HCP permittees have expressed the view that critical habitat 
designation on lands covered by an HCP devalues the conservation 
efforts of the plan's proponents, and could undermine the partnerships 
fostered through the development and implementation of the plans. They 
believe critical habitat designation on HCP lands would discourage 
development of additional HCPs and other conservation plans in the 
future. Where an existing HCP provides for protection for a species and 
its essential habitat within the plan area, or where the existence of a 
Federal nexus for future activities is uncertain, the benefits of 
preserving existing partnerships by excluding the covered lands from 
critical habitat are most significant. Excluding lands owned by or 
under the jurisdiction of the permittees of an HCP, under these 
circumstances, promotes positive working relationships and eliminates 
impacts to existing and future partnerships while encouraging 
development of additional HCPs for other species.
    Large-scale HCPs take many years to develop and foster an 
ecosystem-based approach to habitat conservation planning, by 
addressing conservation issues through a coordinated approach. If local 
jurisdictions were to require landowners to obtain incidental take 
permits (ITP) individually prior to the issuance of a building permit 
under section 10 of the Act, this would result in uncoordinated, patchy 
conservation that would be less likely to achieve listed species 
recovery. We actively work to foster partnerships with local 
jurisdictions and encourage development of regional HCPs that afford 
proactive, landscape-level conservation for multiple species, including 
voluntary protections for covered species.
    The proposed rule to revise designated habitat for the Pacific 
Coast WSP (76 FR 16046; March 22, 2011) did not specifically identify 
any HCP, management plan, or conservation partnership that the Service 
was proposing at that time for exclusion under section 4(b)(2) of the 
Act. The Service did indicate that it was seeking input from the public 
as to whether the Secretary should exclude HCP areas or other such 
areas under management that benefits the Pacific Coast WSP from the 
final revised designation, and mentioned that there were areas in the 
revised proposed designation that were included in management plans or 
other large-scale HCPs, such as the Oregon Parks and Recreation 
Department (OPRD) Habitat Conservation Plan. The Service also sought 
input on exclusions of Tribal Lands from the final revised designation. 
In developing the revised final critical habitat and weighing the 
benefits of exclusion versus inclusion, we have analyzed these areas 
that are managed under a HCP, similar management plan, or conservation 
partnership and have determined that several units or portions of units 
that were included in the revised proposed designation are managed 
consistent with the intent of the exclusion language. We discuss each 
of these areas below.
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Habitat Conservation Plan
    The OPRD HCP was permitted under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Act in 
2011, and covers about 230 mi (370 km) of sandy shore within the range 
of the Pacific Coast WSP in Oregon. The associated incidental take 
permit (ITP) authorizes incidental take of the Pacific Coast WSP caused 
by public use and recreation management activities, natural resources 
management activities, and beach management activities along the coast 
of Oregon for a period of 25 years (Service 2011).
    The HCP-covered lands consist of the ``Ocean Shore,'' an area 
defined by Oregon State statute as the sandy areas of the Oregon coast 
between the extreme low tide and the actual of statutory vegetation 
line, whichever is farther landward. HCP-covered lands do not include 
the Federal lands within the ``Ocean Shore'' boundary. In the areas 
adjacent to Federal lands, the covered lands extend from the extreme 
low tide to the mean high tide. Covered lands are either owned and 
leased by OPRD as a State Park or Natural Area or managed under a 
statutory recreation easement within the Ocean Shore (Oregon Revised 
Statute 390.635 and 390.620; Oregon Administrative Rule 736-020-
0040(3)). Federal lands are not covered by the HCP and were, therefore, 
not considered for exclusion.
    Conservation measures to be implemented on the covered lands will 
be focused on 16 management areas that were identified to have the 
greatest potential to provide Pacific Coast WSP habitat when considered 
in the context of recreational use of the Ocean Shore, historical 
Pacific Coast WSP use, and the biological requirements of the species.
    The OPRD either owns or leases five of these management areas, 
which are identified as ``Snowy Plover Management Areas'' (SPMAs): (1) 
Columbia River South Jetty; (2) Necanicum Spit; (3) Nehalem Spit; (4) 
Bandon; and (5) Netarts Spit. The remaining 11 potential management 
areas are identified as ``Recreation Management Areas'' (RMAs) and are 
adjacent to upland areas owned by other landowners but are located 
within the area defined as Ocean Shore. Together, the 16 management 
areas span approximately 48 mi (77 km) of the 230 mi (370 km) of sandy 
Ocean Shore in Oregon.
    The conservation measures (Table 7) include: (1) Implementation of 
Pacific Coast WSP management activities on OPRD-owned or -leased SPMAs; 
(2) implementation of recreational use

[[Page 36785]]

restrictions at SPMAs and RMAs owned by other landowners; and (3) 
implementation of beach management activities on the Ocean Shore.

 Table 7--Summary of Pacific Coast WSP Conservation Objectives Within the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department
                                                       HCP
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     Area specific management objectives                   Conservation benefit to Pacific Coast WSP
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Restrict activities near nesting habitat      Protect nesting and foraging areas.
 during the breeding season (March 15
 through September 15).
Restore and maintain plover nesting habitat.  Protect, restore, or enhance breeding and foraging areas.
Restore, maintain, and manage currently       Protect, restore, or enhance breeding and foraging areas.
 unoccupied sites for plover nesting.
Manage predators within plover nesting areas  Protect individuals, eggs, and young.
Monitor breeding and nonbreeding population.  Ensure effectiveness of plover conservation measures in HCP.
Conduct public outreach and education about   Protect nesting and foraging areas.
 plovers and their habitat.
Provide law enforcement of HCP rules and      Protect nesting and foraging areas.
 regulations.
If wintering plovers are impacted by covered  Protect wintering, nesting, and foraging plovers.
 activities or climate change is impacting
 plovers within the covered lands, modify
 the HCP to respond to changed circumstances.
Ensure site-specific management actions are   Protect, restore, or enhance breeding, wintering, and foraging
 prioritized and completed through             areas.
 individual site management plans.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Under the OPRD HCP, site management plans are required by the HCP 
for each area managed for Pacific Coast WSPs. Site management plans 
include management prescriptions specific to individual management 
areas and describe how the conservation measures required by the HCP 
(i.e., recreation management, habitat restoration and maintenance, 
predator management, monitoring, enforcement, and public outreach and 
education) will be completed at each managed area. Site management 
plans also outline the extent of seasonal recreational use restrictions 
for each area and are approved by the Service, and are reviewed every 5 
years to ensure the provisions are providing conservation benefits and 
meeting the intent of the HCP.
    The Bandon State Natural Area (SNA) is managed as the Bandon SPMA. 
OPRD has completed a draft site management plan, which has been 
submitted to the Service for review and approval. This site management 
plan further describes how the conservation measures, required in the 
HCP, will be completed at Bandon SPMA. Active management of the Bandon 
SPMA, per this site management plan, will begin in 2013. In the 
interim, OPRD continues to manage plovers at the site by restricting 
recreational access, providing public education, law enforcement, and 
habitat restoration and management. The site management plan will 
specify the long-term implementation of the OPRD HCP provisions at 
Bandon SPMA.
    In addition to the occupied Bandon SPMA, as many as four areas 
currently unoccupied by the Pacific Coast WSP have been identified as 
SPMAs and targeted for management of potential nesting populations of 
the Pacific Coast WSP over the term of the 25-year ITP. Three SPMAs 
will initially be managed by OPRD for nesting populations of Pacific 
Coast WSP: (1) Columbia River South Jetty; (2) Necanicum Spit; and (3) 
Nehalem Spit.
    By 2013, OPRD will prepare site management plans that describe how 
restoration and management measures required by the HCP are implemented 
at these three unoccupied SPMAs. Active management will begin the 
nesting season after site plans have been approved by the Service, 
starting in 2014. One additional SPMA, Netarts Spit, could also be 
managed if (1) the Columbia River South Jetty, Necanicum Spit, or the 
Nehalem Spit SPMA becomes occupied; and (2) one of the RMAs is not 
already under active, Service-approved management for the Pacific Coast 
WSP. Under these circumstances, OPRD will commit to managing Netarts 
Spit for nesting populations of the Pacific Coast WSP to ensure that a 
minimum of three unoccupied SPMAs are being actively managed at any 
given time over the term of the 25-year ITP.
    As discussed above, RMAs extend from the extreme low tide line to 
the mean high tide line on Federal lands, and from the mean low tide 
line to the statutory or actual vegetation line, whichever is most 
landward, on all other lands. Under the HCP, the OPRD will implement 
recreational use restrictions at up to 11 RMAs, which include; Bayocean 
Spit, South Sand Lake Spit, Sutton/Baker Beach, Siltcoos Estuary/Dunes 
Overlook/Tahkenitch Estuary, Tahkenitch South, Umpqua River North 
Jetty, Tenmile, Coos Bay North Spit, New River, Elk River, and Euchre 
Creek.
    If a RMA or the area immediately inland of a RMA becomes occupied 
by the Pacific Coast WSP, but a site management plan does not exist, 
the OPRD will automatically implement recreational use restrictions on 
HCP-covered lands between March 15 and September 15 of each year. These 
restrictions will remain in place until an agreement is reached between 
the Service and the landowner on conservation, any recommended 
conservation actions or a site management plan is developed by OPRD. 
The OPRD will also be notified of any changes that may modify the 
application of recreational use restrictions to a more focused area, 
based on the conservation needs of the plovers at the site, as outlined 
in the HCP. The provisions to implement restrictions on the covered 
lands allow OPRD to protect plovers within covered lands regardless of 
the management on the adjacent areas. In addition, a memorandum of 
understanding has been completed and signed by all involved State and 
Federal agencies, ensuring consistent management of plovers across 
jurisdictional boundaries according to the provisions of the HCP.
    In the event that a Service-approved site management plan has been 
developed, the OPRD will implement recreational use restrictions in 
cooperation with the landowner as directed by the site management plan. 
If an RMA and the areas immediately inland of the RMA are unoccupied by 
the Pacific Coast WSP, the OPRD will only implement recreational use 
restrictions at the request of the landowner and after consultation 
with

[[Page 36786]]

the Service and collaboration with the OPRD. The OPRD will also work 
with county and private landowners adjacent to RMAs to provide 
supervision, enforcement, and signage on their lands, because such 
restrictions (ropes, signs, enforcement) cannot be implemented by a 
private landowner on the Ocean Shore without OPRD approval.
    If a Pacific Coast WSP should nest on HCP-covered lands outside an 
occupied or unoccupied SPMA or RMA, the OPRD will install fencing 
around the individual nest in coordination with the landowner, and will 
consider installing a nest enclosure after consultation with the 
Service. Specifically, the OPRD will install a 164-foot (50-m radius) 
roped buffer around the nest that allows access along the wet sand, and 
will determine, through coordination with the Service, if use of an 
exclosure to protect the nest from predation is appropriate. The OPRD 
will also work with the Service and the landowner to install signage, 
as appropriate, to indicate the presence of nesting Pacific Coast WSPs.
    The terms of the OPRD HCP and associated ITP only addressed impacts 
to Pacific Coast WSPs during the breeding season. The HCP concluded 
that the impacts of covered activities did not rise to the level of 
take for wintering Pacific Coast WSPs. Therefore, OPRD did not request 
coverage by the ITP for activities that occur outside the breeding 
season, nor did the OPRD HCP include provisions for wintering habitat 
management or protection. However, the provisions for habitat 
management of nesting areas within the covered lands should provide 
conservation value for wintering habitat within the conservation area 
by providing protections during the nonbreeding season to foraging, 
roosting, and winter use areas. In addition, OPRD included a provision 
that would require amendment of the HCP, if covered activities were 
determined to adversely impact wintering Pacific Coast WSPs, based on 
annual monitoring.
    The OPRD HCP has provisions for adaptive management to address 
uncertainties in achieving conservation objectives for Pacific Coast 
WSP habitat, including uncertainties that may be associated with 
climate change. The adaptive management strategy helps to ensure 
management will continue to be consistent with agreed-upon Pacific 
Coast WSP conservation objectives. Climate change and associated sea-
level rise were considered ``changed circumstances'' that may require 
additional conservation measures of OPRD. In the event that sea-level 
rise results in loss of Pacific Coast WSP nesting habitat over the term 
of the HCP, OPRD and the Service will determine appropriate 
conservation measures necessary to respond to the changed circumstance.
Benefits of Inclusion--Oregon Parks and Recreation Department HCP
    The primary effect of designating any particular area as critical 
habitat is the requirement for Federal agencies to consult with us 
under section 7 of the Act to ensure actions they carry out, authorize, 
or fund do not destroy or adversely modify designated critical habitat. 
This would provide an additional benefit beyond that provided under the 
jeopardy standard which obligates Federal agencies to consult under 
section 7 of the Act with us on actions that may affect a federally 
listed species to ensure such actions do not jeopardize the species' 
continued existence. If a federally listed species does not occupy an 
area where a proposed action may occur, Federal agencies are not 
obligated to consult with us to ensure actions do not jeopardize the 
species' existence. However, the designation of critical habitat in 
such unoccupied areas provides an additional layer of regulatory review 
that would require Federal agencies to consult with us to ensure that 
critical habitat is not adversely modified. Therefore, there may be an 
additional regulatory benefit to designating critical habitat in 
unoccupied areas that we have determined to be essential.
    In evaluating project effects on critical habitat, the Service must 
be satisfied that the PCEs and, therefore, the essential features of 
the critical habitat likely will not be altered or destroyed by 
proposed activities to the extent that the conservation of the affected 
species would be appreciably reduced. If critical habitat were 
designated in areas of unoccupied habitat or currently occupied areas 
subsequently become unoccupied, different outcomes or requirements are 
also likely because effects to unoccupied areas of critical habitat are 
not likely to trigger the need for a jeopardy analysis.
    Critical habitat designation can also result in ancillary 
conservation benefits to the Pacific Coast WSP by triggering additional 
review and conservation through other Federal laws. The Federal laws 
most likely to afford protection to designated Pacific Coast WSP 
habitat are the Clean Water Act (CWA), Coastal Zone Management Act 
(CZMA; 16 U.S.C. 1451 et seq.), and the Rivers and Harbors Act (RHA; 33 
U.S.C. 401 et seq.). Projects requiring a review under the CWA, CZMA, 
and RHA that are located within critical habitat or are likely to 
affect critical habitat would create a Federal nexus and trigger 
section 7 consultation under the Act. Examples of potential projects 
that may trigger consultation as a result of CWA, CZMA, and RHA include 
beach restoration (such as, beach replenishment or removal of nonnative 
plants) and channel dredging.
    Another important benefit of including lands in a critical habitat 
designation is that the designation can serve to educate landowners and 
the public regarding the potential conservation value of an area, and 
may help focus conservation efforts on areas of high conservation value 
for certain species. Any information about the Pacific Coast WSP and 
its habitat that reaches a wide audience, including parties engaged in 
conservation activities, is valuable.
Benefits of Exclusion--Oregon Parks and Recreation Department HCP
    The benefits of excluding from designated critical habitat the 
approximately 3,106 ac (1,257 ha) of lands owned and managed by the 
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department are significant and include the 
measures summarized in Table 7 above.
    We have created close partnerships with the OPRD and several other 
stakeholders through the development of the OPRD HCP, which 
incorporates protections and management objectives for the Pacific 
Coast WSP and the habitat upon which it depends for breeding, 
sheltering, and foraging activities. The conservation strategy 
identified in the OPRD HCP, along with our close coordination with 
OPRD, addresses the identified threats to Pacific Coast WSP and the 
geographical areas that contain the physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the species in the areas identified in 
Table 6. The management objectives identified within this conservation 
strategy seek to achieve conservation goals for Pacific Coast WSPs and 
their habitat, and thus can be of greater conservation benefit than the 
designation of critical habitat, which does not require specific 
actions. Thus, the OPRD HCP provides a greater benefit to the Pacific 
Coast WSP than would designating critical habitat. Therefore, the 
relative benefits of designation of critical habitat on these lands are 
diminished and limited.
    Conservation measures that provide a benefit to Pacific Coast WSP 
and its habitat have been implemented in the areas owned and managed by 
the OPRD. These measures will continue to be

[[Page 36787]]

implemented as the OPRD and the Service finalize site-specific 
management plans on covered lands. Such measures include protection of 
nesting and foraging areas, predator management at nest sites, and 
trash clean-up at occupied sites.
    Excluding the approximately 3,106 ac (1,257 ha) owned and managed 
by the OPRD from the critical habitat designation will sustain and 
enhance the working relationship between the Service and the OPRD. The 
willingness of the OPRD to work with the Service on innovative ways to 
manage federally listed species will continue to reinforce those 
conservation efforts and our partnership, which contribute 
significantly toward achieving recovery of Pacific Coast WSP. We 
consider this voluntary partnership in conservation vital to our 
understanding of the status of species on non-Federal lands and 
necessary for us to implement recovery actions such as habitat 
protection and restoration, and beneficial management actions for 
species.
The Benefits of Exclusion Outweigh the Benefits of Inclusion--Oregon 
Parks and Recreation Department HCP
    We reviewed and evaluated the exclusion of approximately 3,106 ac 
(1,257 ha) of land owned and managed by the OPRD from our designation 
of critical habitat. The benefits of including these lands in the 
designation are small because the regulatory, educational, and 
ancillary benefits that would result from critical habitat designation 
are almost entirely redundant with the regulatory, educational, and 
ancillary benefits already afforded through the OPRD HCP and under 
State and Federal law.
    The OPRD HCP provides for significant conservation and management 
of the geographical areas that contain the physical or biological 
features essential to the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP and 
help achieve recovery of this species through the objectives as 
described in Table 7. Exclusion of these lands from critical habitat 
will help preserve the partnerships we have developed with the OPRD, 
other stakeholders, and project proponents through the development and 
ongoing implementation of the OPRD HCP. These partnerships are focused 
on conservation of multiple species, including Pacific Coast WSP, and 
secure conservation benefits for the species that will lead to 
recovery, as described above, beyond those that could be required under 
a critical habitat designation. Furthermore, these partnerships aid in 
fostering future partnerships for the benefit of listed species.
    We also conclude that the educational benefits of designating 
critical habitat on lands owned and managed by the OPRD would be 
negligible because there have been numerous opportunities for public 
education and outreach related to Pacific Coast WSP over the 10-year 
development of the HCP. In addition, the HCP includes public education 
and related tasks to conserve plovers on the entire Oregon coast. 
Western snowy plovers are State-listed throughout Oregon, and as a 
result, they receive a high degree of conservation oversight and 
management within the State. The OPRD HCP has gone through the State's 
public review and input process, and again through the Federal public 
review and input process under NEPA. These processes have provided 
extensive opportunities to educate the public and landowners about the 
location of plovers and plover habitat, and efforts to conserve the 
physical or biological features essential to the conservation of 
Pacific Coast WSP.
    Pacific Coast WSP currently occupies areas that are owned and 
managed by the OPRD and covered by its HCP (refer to Table 3). Because 
one of the primary threats to the Pacific Coast WSP is habitat loss and 
degradation, the consultation process under section 7 of the Act for 
projects with a Federal nexus will, in evaluating effects to the 
plovers, evaluate the effects of the action on the conservation or 
functionality of the habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP regardless of 
whether critical habitat is designated for these lands; a similar 
analysis would be performed to conduct the adverse modification 
analysis (IEc 2011, p. D-3). Consultation will continue to occur in 
areas outside the covered lands that remain critical habitat, but not 
on the excluded areas. However, the HCP has provisions for protecting 
and restoring plover habitat on occupied and unoccupied lands that far 
exceed the conservation afforded by section 7 consultation. These 
measures will not only prevent the degradation of essential features of 
plover habitat, but they will improve and maintain these features over 
time.
    We have determined that the management actions provided through 
implementation of the OPRD HCP, in conjunction with our partnership 
with the OPRD, provide a greater benefit to Pacific Coast WSP than 
would critical habitat designation. Furthermore, we have determined 
that the additional regulatory benefits of designating critical habitat 
in the occupied areas afforded through the section 7(a)(2) consultation 
process, are minimal because of limited Federal nexus and conservation 
measures which specifically benefit Pacific Coast WSP and its habitat 
are in place to address unoccupied areas. We also conclude that the 
educational and ancillary benefits of designating the geographical 
areas containing the physical or biological features essential to the 
conservation of the Pacific WSP would be minimal, because the HCP 
process has already provided considerable public education and 
ancillary benefits. Therefore, in consideration of the factors 
discussed above in the Benefits of Exclusion section, including the 
relevant impact to current and future partnerships, we have determined 
that the significant benefits of exclusion of lands covered by the OPRD 
HCP outweigh the benefits of critical habitat designation.
Exclusion Will Not Result in Extinction of the Species--Oregon Parks 
and Recreation Department HCP
    We have determined that the exclusion of 3,106 ac (1,257 ha) from 
the designation of critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP of lands 
owned and managed by the OPRD, as identified in the OPRD HCP will not 
result in extinction of the species because current conservation 
efforts under the plan adequately protect the geographical areas 
containing the physical or biological features essential to the 
conservation of the species. For projects affecting plovers in occupied 
areas, the jeopardy standard of section 7 of the Act, coupled with 
protection provided by OPRD HCP, would provide assurances that this 
species will not go extinct as a result of excluding these lands from 
the critical habitat designation. Based on the above discussion, the 
Secretary is exercising his discretion under section 4(b)(2) of the Act 
to exclude from this final critical habitat designation portions of the 
units or subunits that are within the OPRD HCP boundary (refer to Table 
6), totaling 3,106 ac (1,257 ha) of land.
Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP)--City of San Diego Subarea 
Plan
    The MSCP is a comprehensive habitat conservation planning program 
that encompasses 582,243 ac (235,626 ha) within 12 jurisdictions of 
southwestern San Diego County, California (County of San Diego 1998). 
The MSCP identifies the conservation needs of 85 federally listed and 
sensitive species, including the Pacific Coast WSP, and serves as the 
basis for development of subarea plans by each jurisdiction in support 
of section 10(a)(1)(B) permits. The MSCP

[[Page 36788]]

identifies where mitigation activities should be focused, such that 
upon full implementation of the subarea plans approximately 171,920 ac 
(69,574 ha) of the MSCP plan area will be preserved and managed for 
covered species (County of San Diego 1998, pp. 2-1, 4-2--4-4).
    Conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP is addressed in the MSCP and 
in the City of San Diego Subarea Plan. The section 10(a)(1)(B) permit 
for the City of San Diego Subarea Plan was issued on July 18, 1997 
(Service 1997). The City of San Diego Subarea Plan identifies areas 
where mitigation activities should be focused to assemble preserve 
areas in the Multi-Habitat Planning Area (MHPA); additional preserve 
areas within the MSCP (i.e., outside the City of San Diego Subarea Plan 
jurisdiction) include Pre-Approved Mitigation Areas (PAMA).
    When completed at the end of the 50-year permit term, the public 
sector (Federal, State, and local government, and the general public) 
will have contributed 108,750 ac (44,010 ha) (63 percent) to the 
preserve areas, of which 81,750 ac (33,083 ha) (48 percent) was 
existing public land when the MSCP was established, and 27,000 ac 
(10,927 ha) (16 percent) will have been acquired. At completion, the 
private sector will have contributed 63,170 ac (25,564 ha) (37 percent) 
to the preserve areas as part of the development process, either 
through avoidance of impacts or as compensatory mitigation for impacts 
to biological resources outside the preserve. Currently, and in the 
future, Federal and State governments, local jurisdictions and special 
districts, and managers of privately owned land will manage and monitor 
their land in the preserve within the MHPA for species and habitat 
protection (County of San Diego 1998, pp. 2-1, 4-2--4-4).
    The MSCP requires the City of San Diego to develop framework and 
site-specific management plans, subject to the review and approval of 
the Service and CDFG, to guide the management of all preserve land 
under City control. Currently, the framework plan for the City of San 
Diego is in place. The City of San Diego has not yet completed site-
specific management plans for some lands containing Pacific Coast WSP, 
including some lands we are excluding from critical habitat designation 
(CA 52B-C and CA 53). However, the City of San Diego has completed the 
Mission Bay Natural Resources Management Plan, which addresses Pacific 
Coast WSP within Mission Bay (CA 54A-D).
    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, the Secretary is exercising his 
discretion to exclude from critical habitat, all proposed subunits 
within the City of San Diego Subarea Plan boundaries, including a 
portion of proposed subunits within San Dieguito Lagoon (CA 52B-C), all 
of the proposed unit at Los Penasquitos Lagoon (CA 53), and all 
proposed subunits within Mission Bay (CA 54A-D). This area encompasses 
approximately 137 ac (55 ha) of land. We did not exclude one subunit 
within the San Dieguito Lagoon (CA 52A) as this area is not within the 
boundaries of the City of San Diego Subarea Plan. All areas containing 
the physical or biological features essential to the conservation of 
the species that occur on non-Federal lands covered by the City of San 
Diego Subarea Plan under the MSCP are excluded from the final critical 
habitat designation.
Benefits of Inclusion--City of San Diego Subarea Plan under the MSCP
    The primary effect of designating any particular area as critical 
habitat is the requirement for Federal agencies to consult with us 
under section 7 of the Act to ensure actions they carry out, authorize, 
or fund do not destroy or adversely modify designated critical habitat. 
Absent critical habitat designation in occupied areas, Federal agencies 
remain obligated under section 7 of the Act to consult with us on 
actions that may affect a federally listed species to ensure such 
actions do not jeopardize the species' continued existence. If a 
federally listed species does not occupy an area where a proposed 
action may occur, Federal agencies are not obligated to consult with us 
to ensure actions do not jeopardize the species' existence. However, 
the designation of critical habitat in such unoccupied areas provides 
an additional layer of regulatory review that would require Federal 
agencies to consult with us to ensure that critical habitat is not 
adversely modified. Therefore, there may be an additional regulatory 
benefit to designating critical habitat in unoccupied areas that we 
have determined to be essential, such as Fiesta Island (CA 54A).
    In evaluating project effects on critical habitat, the Service must 
be satisfied that the PCEs and, therefore, the essential features of 
the critical habitat likely will not be altered or destroyed by 
proposed activities to the extent that the conservation of the affected 
species would be appreciably reduced. If critical habitat were 
designated in areas of unoccupied habitat or currently occupied areas 
subsequently become unoccupied, different outcomes or requirements are 
also likely because effects to unoccupied areas of critical habitat are 
not likely to trigger the need for a jeopardy analysis.
    Critical habitat designation can also result in ancillary 
conservation benefits to the Pacific Coast WSP by triggering additional 
review and conservation through other Federal laws. The Federal laws 
most likely to afford protection to designated Pacific Coast WSP 
habitat are the Clean Water Act (CWA), Coastal Zone Management Act 
(CZMA), and the Rivers and Harbors Act (RHA). Projects requiring a 
review under the CWA, CZMA, and RHA that are located within critical 
habitat or are likely to affect critical habitat would create a Federal 
nexus and trigger section 7 consultation under the Act. Examples of 
potential projects that may trigger consultation as a result of CWA, 
CZMA, and RHA include beach restoration (such as, beach replenishment 
or removal of nonnative plants) and channel dredging. Thus, review of 
Federal actions affecting designated critical habitat units would 
consider the importance of this habitat to the species and the 
protections required for the species and its habitat.
    Another important benefit of including lands in a critical habitat 
designation is that the designation can serve to educate landowners and 
the public regarding the potential conservation value of an area, and 
may help focus conservation efforts on areas of high conservation value 
for certain species. Any information about the Pacific Coast WSP and 
its habitat that reaches a wide audience, including parties engaged in 
conservation activities, is valuable.
Benefits of Exclusion--City of San Diego Subarea Plan Under the MSCP
    The benefits of excluding from designated critical habitat the 
approximately 137 ac (55 ha) of land within the boundaries of the City 
of San Diego Subarea Plan are significant and include: (1) That the 
conservation management objectives for Pacific Coast WSP and its 
habitat identified in the City of San Diego Subarea Plan, described in 
Table 8 below, would continue to be implemented into the future; (2) 
continued and strengthened effective working relationships with all 
MSCP jurisdictions and stakeholders to promote the conservation of the 
Pacific Coast WSP and its habitat; (3) continued meaningful 
collaboration and cooperation in working toward recovering this 
species, including conservation benefits that might not otherwise 
occur; (4) encouragement of other jurisdictions with completed subarea 
plans under the MSCP to amend their plans to cover and benefit the

[[Page 36789]]

Pacific Coast WSP and its habitat; (5) encouragement of other coastal 
jurisdictions within the range of Pacific Coast WSP to complete HCPs or 
subarea plans under the MSCP that cover or are adjacent to Pacific 
Coast WSP habitat (including the cities of Coronado and Imperial 
Beach); and (6) encouragement of additional HCP and other conservation 
plan development in the future on other private lands that include the 
Pacific Coast WSP and other federally listed species.

  Table 8--Summary of Pacific Coast WSP Conservation Objectives Within the City of San Diego Subarea Plan Under
                                                    the MSCP
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     Area specific management objectives                   Conservation benefit to Pacific Coast WSP
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Protect nesting sites from human disturbance  Protect breeding areas.
 during the reproductive season.
Implement specific measures to protect        Protect, restore, or enhance breeding and foraging areas.
 against detrimental edge effects.
Ensure that incidental take (during the       Protect individuals and nests.
 breeding season) associated with
 maintenance or removal of levees or dikes
 is not authorized except as specifically
 approved by wildlife agencies.
Ensure the conservation of: 99 percent of     Protect nesting, wintering, and foraging areas.
 saltpan habitat; 90-95 percent of remaining
 beach habitat outside of intensively used
 beaches; and 93 percent of potential
 habitat.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We have created close partnerships with the City of San Diego and 
several other stakeholders through the development of the City of San 
Diego Subarea Plan, which incorporate protections and management 
objectives (described in Table 8 above) for the Pacific Coast WSP and 
the habitat upon which it depends for breeding, sheltering, and 
foraging activities. The conservation strategy identified in the 
subarea plan, along with our close coordination with the city and other 
stakeholders, addresses the identified threats to Pacific Coast WSP and 
the geographical areas that contain the physical or biological features 
essential to its conservation. The conservation gains to the Pacific 
Coast WSP identified within the City of San Diego Subarea Plan are more 
beneficial than designation of critical habitat because inclusion in 
critical habitat does not require beneficial management actions. Thus, 
the City of San Diego Subarea Plan provides a greater benefit to the 
Pacific Coast WSP than would designation of critical habitat. Our 
partnership with the City of San Diego helps ensure implementation of 
the protections and management actions identified within the City of 
San Diego Subarea Plan. Therefore, the relative benefits of designation 
of critical habitat on these lands are diminished and limited.
    Excluding lands within the MSCP from the critical habitat 
designation will sustain and enhance the working relationship between 
the Service and the City of San Diego. The willingness of the City to 
work with the Service on innovative ways to manage federally listed 
species will continue to reinforce those conservation efforts and our 
partnership, which contribute significantly toward achieving recovery 
of Pacific Coast WSP.
    By excluding the approximately 137 ac (55 ha) of land within the 
boundaries of the City of San Diego Subarea Plan from critical habitat 
designation, we are encouraging new partnerships with other landowners 
and jurisdictions to protect the Pacific Coast WSP and other listed 
species. Our ongoing partnerships with the City of San Diego, the 
larger regional MSCP participants, and the landscape-level multiple 
species conservation planning efforts they promote, are essential to 
achieve long-term conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP. We consider 
this voluntary partnership in conservation vital to our understanding 
of the status of species on non-Federal lands and necessary for us to 
implement recovery actions such as habitat protection and restoration, 
and beneficial management actions for species.
The Benefits of Exclusion Outweigh the Benefits of Inclusion--City of 
San Diego Subarea Plan Under the MSCP
    We have reviewed and evaluated the exclusion of approximately 137 
ac (55 ha) of land within the boundaries of the City of San Diego 
Subarea Plan. The benefits of including these lands in the designation 
are small because the regulatory, educational, and ancillary benefits 
that would result from critical habitat designation are almost entirely 
redundant with the regulatory, educational, and ancillary benefits 
already afforded through the City of San Diego Subarea Plan and under 
State and Federal laws. The City of San Diego Subarea Plan provides for 
significant conservation and management of the geographical areas that 
contain the physical or biological features essential to the 
conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP and help achieve recovery of this 
species through the objectives as described in Table 8.
    Exclusion of these lands from critical habitat will help preserve 
the partnerships we have developed with local jurisdictions and project 
proponents through the development and ongoing implementation of the 
MSCP and the City of San Diego Subarea Plan. These partnerships are 
focused on conservation of multiple species, including Pacific Coast 
WSP, and secure conservation benefits for the species that will lead to 
recovery, as described above, beyond those that could be required under 
a critical habitat designation. Furthermore, these partnerships aid in 
fostering future partnerships for the benefit of listed species, the 
majority of which do not occur on Federal lands and thus are less 
likely to result in a section 7 consultation.
    We also conclude that the educational benefits of designating 
critical habitat within the City of San Diego Subarea Plan boundaries 
would be negligible because there have been several opportunities for 
public education and outreach related to Pacific Coast WSP. The 
framework for the regional MSCP was developed over a 7-year period; the 
City of San Diego Subarea plan has been in place since 1997. 
Implementation of the subarea plan is formally reviewed yearly through 
publicly available annual reports and a public meeting, providing 
extensive opportunity to educate the public and landowners about the 
location of, and efforts to conserve, the physical or biological 
features essential to the conservation of Pacific Coast WSP.
    Within the City of San Diego Subarea Plan boundaries, Pacific Coast 
WSP currently occupies all but one subunit (CA 54A). Any project with a 
Federal nexus will require consultation under section 7 of the Act in 
those subunits occupied by Pacific Coast WSPs.

[[Page 36790]]

Furthermore, because one of the primary threats to the Pacific Coast 
WSP is habitat loss and degradation, the consultation process required 
under section 7 of the Act for a project with a Federal nexus will, in 
evaluating effects to the plovers, most likely evaluate the effects of 
the action on the conservation or functionality of occupied habitat for 
the Pacific Coast WSP and thus the jeopardy analysis would be similar 
to that performed to conduct the adverse modification analysis (IEc 
2011, p. D-3). Therefore, there would be minimal additional benefit of 
designating critical habitat within the boundaries of the City of San 
Diego Subarea Plan. The management objectives identified within this 
conservation strategy seek to achieve conservation goals for Pacific 
Coast WSPs and their habitat, and thus can be of greater conservation 
benefit than the designation of critical habitat, which does not 
require specific actions, particularly in the unoccupied subunit CA 
54A. The City of San Diego Subarea Plan would ensure the conservation 
of 99 percent of saltpan habitat; 90-95 percent of remaining beach 
habitat outside of intensively used beaches; and 93 percent of 
potential habitat. We have determined that the additional regulatory 
benefits of designating critical habitat in the occupied areas afforded 
through the section 7(a)(2) consultation process are minimal because of 
limited Federal nexus, and because of conservation measures in place 
which specifically benefit Pacific Coast WSP and its habitat. These 
conservation measures also provide for conservation of Pacific Coast 
WSP habitat in unoccupied areas. The City of San Diego Subarea Plan 
will also manage saltpan habitat within the MSCP used by Pacific Coast 
WSP for breeding and the City will implement measures to protect 
nesting sites from human disturbance during the reproductive season, 
control predators, and protect against detrimental edge effects 
(Service 1997, p. 110-111).
    We have determined that the additional regulatory benefits of 
designating occupied areas as Pacific Coast WSP critical habitat, such 
as protection afforded through the section 7(a)(2) consultation 
process, are minimal. Furthermore, the conservation objectives 
identified by the City of San Diego Subarea Plan, in conjunction with 
our partnership with the City of San Diego will provide a greater 
benefit to the species than critical habitat designation, especially in 
areas that are not currently occupied because the specific measures 
identified above in the plan that benefit the plover and its habitat 
will be implemented regardless of the species presence. We also 
conclude that the educational and ancillary benefits of designating 
critical habitat for Pacific WSP within the City of San Diego Subareas 
Plan boundaries would be negligible because of the partnership 
established between the Service and the City of San Diego, the 
management objectives identified in the City of San Diego Subarea Plan, 
the educational outreach that has occurred as part of the subarea 
planning process, and the independent regulatory protection already 
provided under the subarea plan. Therefore, in consideration of the 
relevant impact to current and future partnerships, as summarized in 
the Benefits of Exclusion section above, we determined the significant 
benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of critical habitat 
designation.
Exclusion Will Not Result in Extinction of the Species--City of San 
Diego Subarea Plan Under the MSCP
    We determine that the exclusion of 137 ac (55 ha) of land from the 
designation of critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP within the 
boundaries of the City of San Diego Subarea Plan will not result in 
extinction of the species because current conservation efforts under 
the subarea plan adequately protect the geographical areas containing 
the physical or biological features essential to the conservation of 
the species. In our 1997 Biological Opinion, the Service determined 
that implementation of the City of San Diego Subarea Plan is not likely 
to result in jeopardy to Pacific Coast WSP (Service 1997, p. 111). 
Therefore, based on the benefits described above, we have determined 
that this exclusion would not result in the extinction of the Pacific 
Coast WSP. Based on the above discussion, the Secretary is exercising 
his discretion under section 4(b)(2) of the Act to exclude from this 
final critical habitat designation a portion of proposed subunits 
within San Dieguito Lagoon (CA 52B-C), all of the proposed unit at Los 
Penasquitos Lagoon (CA 53), and all proposed subunits within Mission 
Bay (CA 54A-D) addressed by the City of San Diego Subarea Plan under 
the MSCP, totaling 137 ac (55 ha) of land.
Multiple Habitat Conservation Program (MHCP)--Carlsbad Habitat 
Management Plan (Carlsbad HMP)
    The MHCP is a comprehensive habitat conservation planning program 
that encompasses 111,908 ac (45,279 ha) within seven jurisdictions in 
northwestern San Diego County, California, including the cities of 
Carlsbad, Encinitas, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos, Solana Beach, 
and Vista. The MHCP was designed to create, manage, and monitor an 
ecosystem preserve. The MHCP is a subregional plan that identifies the 
conservation needs of 77 federally listed and sensitive species, 
including Pacific Coast WSP, and serves as the basis for development of 
subarea plans by each jurisdiction in support of section 10(a)(1)(B) 
permits. The subregional MHCP identifies where mitigation activities 
should be focused, such that upon full implementation of the subarea 
plans over 20,000 ac (8,094 ha) of the MHCP plan area will be preserved 
and managed for covered species (AMEC Earth and Environmental, Inc. 
(AMEC) and Conservation Biology Institute (CBI) 2003, p. E-16). The 
MHCP is also a subregional plan under the State of California's Natural 
Communities Conservation Plan (NCCP) program and was developed in 
cooperation with CDFG. The MHCP preserve system is intended to protect 
viable occurrences of native plant and animal species and their 
habitats in perpetuity, while accommodating continued economic 
development and quality of life for residents of northern San Diego 
County.
    Conservation of Pacific Coast WSP is addressed in the subregional 
plan and in the Carlsbad HMP. The section 10(a)(1)(B) permit for the 
City of Carlsbad HMP was issued on November 9, 2004 (Service 2004a). 
The Carlsbad HMP identifies areas where mitigation activities should be 
focused to assemble preserve areas within the Focused Planning Areas 
(FPAs). The FPAs are comprised of ``hard line'' preserves, indicating 
that lands will be conserved and managed for biological resources, and 
``soft line'' planning areas, within which preserve areas will 
ultimately be delineated and managed based on further data and planning 
(AMEC and CBI 2003, p. ES-6). Those areas of the MHCP preserve that are 
already conserved, as well as those designated for inclusion in the 
preserve under the plan, are referred to as the ``preserve area'' in 
this revised final critical habitat designation. Conservation within 
the FPAs will be achieved by the implementing measures documented in 
each city's subarea plan, including land use regulation, minimization 
of impacts, mitigation, and acquisition of parcels from willing sellers 
(AMEC and CBI 2003, p. ES-6).
    The Carlsbad HMP was approved by the Service on October 15, 2004. 
Approximately 24,570 ac (9,943 ha) of land are within the Carlsbad HMP

[[Page 36791]]

planning area, with about 8,800 ac (3,561 ha) remaining as natural 
habitat for species covered under the plan. Of this remaining habitat, 
the Carlsbad HMP proposes to establish a preserve system covering 
approximately 6,786 ac (2,746 ha). The MHCP requires the City of 
Carlsbad to develop area-specific management directives to address 
species and habitat needs for the preserve areas, including lands that 
support Pacific Coast WSP, and its habitat, and requires the City of 
Carlsbad to describe specific policies that will be implemented for the 
MHCP, subject to the review and approval of the Service and CDFG, to 
guide the City's preserve system. The City of Carlsbad has not yet 
completed area-specific management directives for some lands that 
support Pacific Coast WSP and its habitat. However, the MSCP, which has 
been approved and permitted by the Service and CDFG. provides an 
overarching conservation benefit for the Pacific Coast WSP, and the 
Carlsbad HMP includes numerous conservation measures to benefit the 
Pacific Coast WSP and its habitat and will be implemented regardless of 
any area specific plan (see Table 9). Furthermore, the City has 
demonstrated their commitment to implementation of the HMP since its 
approval in 2004, and we are confident their commitment will continue 
into the future as they establish the preserve system and the 
directives that will govern management of the preserve lands. 
Therefore, the lands identified as critical habitat subunit CA 50A-C 
which are addressed within the Carlsbad HMP are being excluded from 
this revised critical habitat designation. Currently, and in the 
future, Federal and State governments, local jurisdictions and special 
districts, and managers of privately owned land will manage and monitor 
their land in the preserve within the FPA for species and habitat 
protection (AMEC and CBI 2003, p. E-24).
    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, the Secretary is exercising his 
discretion to exclude from critical habitat, all proposed subunits 
within Batiquitos Lagoon (CA 50A-C) that are addressed by the Carlsbad 
HMP under the Multiple Habitat Conservation Program (MHCP). This area 
encompasses approximately 66 ac (27 ha) of land. All geographical areas 
containing the physical or biological features essential to the 
conservation of the species that occur on non-Federal lands covered by 
the Carlsbad HMP under the MHCP are excluded from the final critical 
habitat designation.
Benefits of Inclusion--Carlsbad HMP Under the MHCP
    The primary effect of designating any particular area as critical 
habitat is the requirement for Federal agencies to consult with us 
under section 7 of the Act to ensure actions they carry out, authorize 
or fund do not destroy or adversely modify designated critical habitat. 
Absent critical habitat designation in occupied areas, Federal agencies 
remain obligated under section 7 of the Act to consult with us on 
actions that may affect a federally listed species to ensure such 
actions do not jeopardize the species' continued existence. If a 
federally listed species does not occupy an area where a proposed 
action may occur, Federal agencies are not obligated to consult with us 
to ensure actions do not jeopardize the species' existence. However, 
the designation of critical habitat in such unoccupied areas provides 
an additional layer of regulatory review that would require Federal 
agencies to consult with us to ensure that critical habitat is not 
adversely modified. Therefore, there may be an additional regulatory 
benefit to designating critical habitat in unoccupied areas that we 
have determined to be essential.
    In evaluating project effects on critical habitat, the Service must 
be satisfied that the PCEs and, therefore, the essential features of 
the critical habitat likely will not be altered or destroyed by 
proposed activities to the extent that the conservation of the affected 
species would be appreciably reduced. If critical habitat were 
designated in areas of unoccupied habitat or currently occupied areas 
subsequently become unoccupied, different outcomes or requirements are 
also likely because effects to unoccupied areas of critical habitat are 
not likely to trigger the need for a jeopardy analysis.
    Critical habitat designation can also result in ancillary 
conservation benefits to the Pacific Coast WSP by triggering additional 
review and conservation through other Federal laws. The Federal laws 
most likely to afford protection to designated Pacific Coast WSP 
habitat are the Clean Water Act (CWA), Coastal Zone Management Act 
(CZMA), and the Rivers and Harbors Act (RHA). Projects requiring a 
review under the CWA, CZMA, and RHA that are located within critical 
habitat or are likely to affect critical habitat would create a Federal 
nexus and trigger section 7 consultation under the Act. Examples of 
potential projects that may trigger consultation as a result of CWA, 
CZMA, and RHA include beach restoration (such as replenishment or 
removal of nonnative plants) and channel dredging. Thus, review of 
Federal actions affecting designated critical habitat units would 
consider the importance of this habitat to the species and the 
protections required for the species and its habitat.
    Another important benefit of including lands in a critical habitat 
designation is that the designation can serve to educate landowners and 
the public regarding the potential conservation value of an area, and 
may help focus conservation efforts on areas of high conservation value 
for certain species. Any information about the Pacific Coast WSP and 
its habitat that reaches a wide audience, including parties engaged in 
conservation activities, is valuable.
Benefits of Exclusion--Carlsbad HMP Under the MHCP
    The benefits of excluding from designated critical habitat the 
approximately 66 ac (27 ha) of land within the boundaries of the 
Carlsbad HMP are significant and include: (1) An assurance that the 
conservation management objectives for Pacific Coast WSP and its 
habitat contained in the Carlsbad HMP, as described in Table 9 below, 
will be implemented into the future; (2) continued and strengthened 
effective working relationships with all MHCP jurisdictions and 
stakeholders to promote the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP and 
its habitat; (3) continued meaningful collaboration and cooperation in 
working toward recovering this species, including conservation benefits 
that might not otherwise occur; (4) encouragement of other 
jurisdictions with completed subarea plans under the MHCP to amend 
their plans to cover and benefit the Pacific Coast WSP and its habitat; 
(5) encouragement of other coastal jurisdictions within the range of 
Pacific Coast WSP to complete HCPs or subarea plans under the MHCP that 
cover or are adjacent to Pacific Coast WSP habitat (including the 
cities of Encinitas, Oceanside, and Solana Beach); and (6) 
encouragement of additional HCP and other conservation plan development 
in the future on other private lands that include the Pacific Coast WSP 
and other federally listed species.

[[Page 36792]]



              Table 9--Summary of Pacific Coast WSP Conservation Objectives Within the Carlsbad HMP
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     Area specific management objectives                   Conservation benefit to Pacific Coast WSP
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Conserve saltmarsh and estuarine habitats at  Protect nesting, wintering, and foraging areas.
 Buena Vista, Agua Hedionda, and Batiquitos
 Lagoons consistent with the City of
 Carlsbad's wetland policy.
Assure no net loss of saltmarsh and           Protect, restore, or enhance foraging areas.
 estuarine habitats within the City of
 Carlsbad.
Conserve all major populations within the     Protect individuals.
 City of Carlsbad, i.e., at Agua Hedionda
 and Batiquitos Lagoons.
Assure no direct impacts to nesting areas...  Protect nests.
Manage preserve areas to minimize edge        Protect, restore, or enhance breeding, wintering, and foraging
 effects; control nonnative plants; maintain   areas.
 hydrology and water quality; protect
 habitats from physical disturbances; and
 control predators.
Restore and enhance habitat in preserved      Protect, restore, or enhance breeding, wintering, and foraging
 areas, where possible.                        areas.
Restrict activities near nesting habitat      Protect individuals and nests.
 during the breeding season (April 1 through
 August 31).
Implement access control measures for areas   Protect individuals.
 where populations are present during the
 nonbreeding season, if warranted.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We have created close partnerships with the City of Carlsbad and 
several other stakeholders through the development of the Carlsbad HMP, 
which incorporates protections and management objectives (described in 
Table 9 above) for the Pacific Coast WSP and the habitat upon which it 
depends for breeding, sheltering, and foraging activities. The 
conservation strategy identified in the Carlsbad HMP, along with our 
close coordination with each city and other stakeholders, addresses the 
identified threats to Pacific Coast WSP and the geographical areas that 
contain the physical or biological features essential to its 
conservation. The conservation gains to the Pacific Coast WSP 
identified within the Carlsbad HMP are more beneficial than designation 
of critical habitat because critical habitat designation does not 
require beneficial management actions. Thus, the Carlsbad HMP provides 
a greater benefit to the Pacific Coast WSP than would designating 
critical habitat. Our partnership with the City of Carlsbad helps 
ensure implementation of the protections and management actions 
identified within the Carlsbad HMP. Therefore, the relative benefits of 
designation of these lands are diminished and limited.
    By excluding the approximately 66 ac (27 ha) of land within the 
boundaries of the Carlsbad HMP from critical habitat designation, we 
are encouraging new partnerships with other landowners and 
jurisdictions to protect the Pacific Coast WSP and other listed 
species. Our ongoing partnerships with the City of Carlsbad, the larger 
regional MHCP participants, and the landscape-level multiple species 
conservation planning efforts they promote, are essential to achieve 
long-term conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP. We consider this 
voluntary partnership in conservation vital to our understanding of the 
status of species on non-Federal lands and necessary for us to 
implement recovery actions, such as habitat protection and restoration, 
and beneficial management actions for species.
The Benefits of Exclusion Outweigh the Benefits of Inclusion--Carlsbad 
HMP Under the MHCP
    The benefits of including these lands in the designation are small 
because the regulatory, educational, and ancillary benefits that would 
result from critical habitat designation are almost entirely redundant 
with the regulatory, educational, and ancillary benefits already 
afforded through the Carlsbad HMP and under State and Federal law. The 
Carlsbad HMP provides for significant conservation and management of 
the geographical areas that contain the physical or biological features 
essential to the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP and help achieve 
recovery of this species through the objectives as described in Table 
9.
    Exclusion of these lands from critical habitat will help preserve 
the partnerships we have developed with local jurisdictions and project 
proponents through the development and ongoing implementation of the 
MHCP and Carlsbad HMP. These partnerships are focused on conservation 
of multiple species, including Pacific Coast WSP, and secure 
conservation benefits for the species that will lead to recovery, as 
described above, beyond those that could be required under a critical 
habitat designation. Furthermore, these partnerships aid in fostering 
future partnerships for the benefit of listed species, the majority of 
which do not occur on federal lands and thus are less likely to result 
in a section 7 consultation.
    We also conclude that the educational benefits of designating 
critical habitat within the boundaries of the Carlsbad HMP would be 
negligible because there have been several opportunities for public 
education and outreach related to Pacific Coast WSP. The framework for 
the regional MHCP was developed over a 12-year period; the Carlsbad HMP 
has been in place since 2004. Implementation of the subarea plan is 
formally reviewed yearly through publicly available annual reports and 
a public meeting, providing extensive opportunity to educate the public 
and landowners about the location of, and efforts to conserve, the 
physical or biological features essential to the conservation of 
Pacific Coast WSP.
    Within the Carlsbad HMP boundaries, any project with a Federal 
nexus will require consultation under section 7 of the Act because 
Pacific Coast WSP currently occupies all proposed subunits within the 
plan boundaries. Furthermore, because one of the primary threats to the 
Pacific Coast WSP is habitat loss and degradation, the consultation 
process required under section 7 of the Act for a project with a 
Federal nexus will, when analyzing effects to plovers, most likely 
evaluate the effects of the action on the conservation or functionality 
of occupied habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP and thus the jeopardy 
analysis would be similar to that performed to conduct the adverse 
modification analysis (IEc 2011, p. D-3). Therefore, there would be 
minimal additional benefit of designating critical habitat within the 
boundaries of the Carlsbad HMP.
    We have determined that the additional regulatory benefits of 
designating critical habitat for Pacific Coast WSP within the 
boundaries of the Carlsbad HMP, such as protection afforded through the 
section 7(a)(2) consultation process, are minimal. We also conclude 
that the educational and

[[Page 36793]]

ancillary benefits of designating critical habitat for Pacific WSP 
within the boundaries of the Carlsbad HMP would be negligible because 
of the partnership established between the Service and the City of 
Carlsbad, the management objectives identified in the Carlsbad HMP, and 
the independent regulatory protection already provided under the 
Carlsbad HMP. Therefore, in consideration of the relevant impact to 
current and future partnerships, as summarized in the Benefits of 
Exclusion section above, we determine that the significant benefits of 
exclusion outweigh the benefits of critical habitat designation.
Exclusion Will Not Result in Extinction of the Species--Carlsbad HMP 
Under the MHCP
    We determine that the exclusion of 66 ac (27 ha) of land from the 
designation of critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP within the 
boundaries of the Carlsbad HMP will not result in extinction of the 
species because current conservation efforts under the Carlsbad HMP 
adequately protect the geographical areas containing the physical or 
biological features essential to the conservation of the species. In 
our 2004 Biological Opinion, the Service determined that the MHCP 
subregional and the City's subarea plans are not likely to jeopardize 
the continued existence or recovery of the Pacific Coast WSP (Service 
2004, pp. 148-149). No direct impacts are expected from the MHCP 
subregional plan or the City's subarea plan due to 100 percent 
conservation of the coastal lagoons and because the MHCP will not allow 
any take of individuals or nests of Pacific Coast WSP. Therefore, we 
have determined that this exclusion will not result in the extinction 
of the Pacific Coast WSP. Based on the above discussion, the Secretary 
is exercising his discretion under section 4(b)(2) of the Act to 
exclude from this final critical habitat designation all proposed 
subunits within Batiquitos Lagoon (CA 50A-C) that are addressed by the 
Carlsbad HMP under the MHCP, totaling 66 ac (27 ha) of land.
Other Management Plans
San Diego Bay Natural Resources Plan
    In a collaborative strategy, the Port of San Diego and the U.S. 
Department of the Navy, Southwest Division prepared an INRMP for the 
San Diego Bay in September of 2000 (San Diego Bay INRMP) (U.S. Navy and 
San Diego Unified Port District 2000, p. xxi). The lands within the 
boundaries of the San Diego Bay INRMP that were proposed as revised 
critical habitat include Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge and 
D Street Fill (CA 55E) and Chula Vista Wildlife Reserve (CA 55G). These 
lands are owned and managed by the Port of San Diego. As described 
above under the section titled Exemptions, all lands in the San Diego 
Bay that are owned or managed by the U.S. Department of the Navy are 
exempted from critical habitat as a result of benefits provided to 
Pacific Coast WSP based on a separate and distinct INRMP (Naval Base 
Coronado INRMP).
    Because subunits CA 55E and CA 55G are not owned or controlled by 
the Department of Defense, but rather are owned and managed by the Port 
of San Diego, it is inappropriate to exempt the Port of San Diego lands 
from the critical habitat designation under section 4(a)(3)(B)(i) of 
the Act. However, after reviewing comments from the Port of San Diego 
concerning these subunits during both comment periods, conducting an 
analysis of the benefits of inclusion compared with the benefits of 
exclusion, and determining that exclusion will not result in the 
extinction of the species, we are excluding these Port of San Diego 
lands (CA 55E and CA 55G) under section 4(b)(2) of the Act. We, 
hereafter, refer to the Port of San Diego management plan for the Port 
lands incorporated into the San Diego Bay INRMP as the San Diego Bay 
Natural Resources Plan.
    The intent of the San Diego Bay Natural Resources Plan is to 
provide for stewardship of natural resources while supporting the 
ability of the Port of San Diego to achieve their mission within San 
Diego Bay. The plan is part of a larger strategy to assist the users of 
the San Diego Bay to make better, more cost-effective decisions about 
the development, conservation, restoration, and management of San Diego 
Bay. This strategy takes an ecosystem approach to management, whereby 
San Diego Bay is viewed as an ecosystem as opposed to a collection of 
individual species, sites, or projects, and management is addressed 
across ownership and jurisdictional boundaries. In conjunction with the 
San Diego Bay INRMP, the San Diego Bay Natural Resources Plan was 
developed through the cooperative effort of 13 governmental and 
nongovernmental organizations representing the primary working group 
known as the Technical Oversight Committee (TOC). The Service, a member 
of the TOC, participated in the development of the plan and is a 
signatory to the overarching San Diego Bay INRMP, which includes the 
Port of San Diego's lands.
    The footprint of the San Diego Bay Natural Resources Plan 
encompasses both uplands adjacent to the bay and all tidelands bayward 
of the historical mean high tide. Historical tideland areas owned or 
controlled by the Port of San Diego include 5,483 ac (2,219 ha) of 
nearly 15,000 ac (6,070 ha) of land and water within San Diego Bay, 
which collectively supports over 1,100 documented marine and 
terrestrial species (U.S. Navy and Port of San Diego 2011, p. 1-12), 
including Pacific Coast WSP.
    In conjunction with the San Diego Bay INRMP, the San Diego Bay 
Natural Resources Plan is currently being revised (U.S. Navy, Southwest 
Division and Port of San Diego 2011). The Service is providing input 
during the development of this revision. The revised version includes 
many of the same objectives and strategies as the current version, 
although it expands coverage on water quality, sediment quality, 
sustainable development, and other topics. The revision also outlines 
additional benefits for Pacific Coast WSP. In February of 2012, a draft 
was released for public comment, and the Port of San Diego had a public 
meeting to allow members of the public to provide input. Both the San 
Diego Bay INRMP and the San Diego Bay Natural Resources Plan continue 
to be implemented while being updated and revised.
    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, the Secretary is exercising his 
discretion to exclude from critical habitat a portion of proposed 
subunits within San Diego Bay, which includes the non-Federal lands 
portion of the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge and D Street 
Fill subunit (CA 55E) and the Chula Vista Wildlife Reserve subunit (CA 
55G) addressed by the San Diego Bay Natural Resources Plan. This area 
encompasses approximately 63 ac (25 ha) of non-Federal land. A 79-ac 
(32-ha) portion of subunit CA 55E (Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife 
Refuge and D Street Fill) is Federal land that is a part of the greater 
San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge Complex and is not excluded from 
critical habitat designation.
Benefits of Inclusion--San Diego Bay Natural Resources Plan
    The primary effect of designating any particular area as critical 
habitat is the requirement for Federal agencies to consult with us 
under section 7 of the Act to ensure actions they carry out, authorize, 
or fund do not destroy or adversely modify designated critical habitat. 
Absent critical habitat

[[Page 36794]]

designation in occupied areas, Federal agencies remain obligated under 
section 7 of the Act to consult with us on actions that may affect a 
federally listed species to ensure such actions do not jeopardize the 
species' continued existence. If a federally listed species does not 
occupy an area where a proposed action may occur, Federal agencies are 
not obligated to consult with us to ensure actions do not jeopardize 
the species' existence. However, the designation of critical habitat in 
such unoccupied areas provides an additional layer of regulatory review 
that would require Federal agencies to consult with us to ensure that 
critical habitat is not adversely modified. Therefore, there may be an 
additional regulatory benefit to designating critical habitat in 
unoccupied areas that we have determined to be essential, such as Chula 
Vista Wildlife Reserve (CA 55G).
    As stated above, the principal benefit of any designated critical 
habitat is that Federal activities will require section 7 consultations 
to ensure that adequate protection is provided to avoid adverse 
modification or destruction of critical habitat. This would provide an 
additional benefit beyond that provided under the jeopardy standard. In 
evaluating project effects on critical habitat, the Service must be 
satisfied that the PCEs and, therefore, the essential features of the 
critical habitat likely will not be altered or destroyed by proposed 
activities to the extent that the conservation of the affected species 
would be appreciably reduced. If critical habitat were designated in 
areas of unoccupied habitat or currently occupied areas subsequently 
become unoccupied, different outcomes or requirements are also likely 
because effects to unoccupied areas of critical habitat are not likely 
to trigger the need for a jeopardy analysis.
    Critical habitat designation can also result in ancillary 
conservation benefits to the Pacific Coast WSP by triggering additional 
review and conservation through other Federal laws. The Federal laws 
most likely to afford protection to designated Pacific Coast WSP 
habitat are the Clean Water Act (CWA), Coastal Zone Management Act 
(CZMA), and the Rivers and Harbors Act (RHA). Projects requiring a 
review under the CWA, CZMA, and RHA that are located within critical 
habitat or are likely to affect critical habitat would create a Federal 
nexus and trigger section 7 consultation under the Act. Examples of 
potential projects that may trigger consultation as a result of CWA, 
CZMA, and RHA include beach restoration (such as, beach replenishment 
or removal of nonnative plants) and channel dredging. Thus, review of 
Federal actions affecting designated critical habitat units would 
consider the importance of this habitat to the species and the 
protections required for the species and its habitat.
    Another important benefit of including lands in a critical habitat 
designation is that the designation can serve to educate landowners and 
the public regarding the potential conservation value of an area, and 
may help focus conservation efforts on areas of high conservation value 
for certain species. Any information about the Pacific Coast WSP and 
its habitat that reaches a wide audience, including parties engaged in 
conservation activities, is valuable.
Benefits of Exclusion--San Diego Bay Natural Resources Plan
    The benefits of excluding from designated critical habitat the 
approximately 63 ac (25 ha) of lands owned and managed by the Port of 
San Diego within the San Diego Bay Natural Resources Plan are 
significant and include: (1) An expectation that the management 
objectives contained within the San Diego Bay Natural Resources Plan, 
as described in Table 10 below, will be implemented into the future; 
(2) continued and strengthened effective working relationships with the 
Port of San Diego and other jurisdictions and stakeholders in the San 
Diego Bay to promote the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP and its 
habitat; (3) continued meaningful collaboration and cooperation in 
working toward recovering this species, including conservation benefits 
that might not otherwise occur; (4) encouragement of other coastal 
jurisdictions within the range of Pacific Coast WSP to complete 
management plans that provide a benefit to Pacific Coast WSP or its 
habitat; and (5) encouragement of future management plan development on 
private lands that include the Pacific Coast WSP and other federally 
listed species.

 Table 10--Summary of Pacific Coast WSP Conservation Objectives within the San Diego Bay Natural Resources Plan.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     Area specific management objectives                   Conservation Benefit to Pacific Coast WSP
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Support consistent and effective predator      Protect nesting and foraging areas.
 management at nest sites.
Protect unvegetated areas or remnant dune      Protect nesting and foraging areas.
 sites above the high tide line which are
 potential nesting sites.
Reduce human use during nesting season,        Protect nesting and foraging areas.
 particularly in the upper dunes; enforce dog
 leashing; and post signs.
Clean up trash, which attracts predators.....  Protect nesting and foraging areas.
Prohibit beach raking which can affect         Protect foraging areas.
 invertebrate populations upon which the
 plover depends.
Enhance remnant dune areas as potential nest   Restore habitat for nesting adults.
 sites in areas that can be protected from
 human disturbance and predators during
 nesting season.
Remove ice plant (e.g., Carpobrotus sp.) and   Restore habitat for nesting adults.
 other nonnatives from remnant dunes.
Support broader beaches with gentler slopes    Restore habitat for nesting adults.
 to support plover nesting.
Conduct research and monitoring in support of  Restore habitat for nesting adults.
 the management objective (i.e., study the
 plover's preference for higher mudflat, so
 that function may be protected or enhanced).
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We have created close partnerships with the Port of San Diego and 
several other stakeholders through the development of the San Diego Bay 
Natural Resources Plan, which incorporates protections and management 
objectives (described above in Table 10) for the Pacific Coast WSP and 
the habitat upon which it depends for breeding, sheltering, and 
foraging activities. The conservation strategy identified in the San 
Diego Bay Natural Resources Plan, along with our close coordination 
with Port of San Diego, addresses the identified threats to Pacific 
Coast WSP and the geographical areas that contain the physical or 
biological features essential to its conservation on subunits CA 55E 
and CA 55G. The management objectives identified within this 
conservation

[[Page 36795]]

strategy are more beneficial than designation of critical habitat on 
lands owned and managed by the Port of San Diego because critical 
habitat designation does not require beneficial management actions. 
Thus, the Port of San Diego Natural Resources Plan provides a greater 
benefit to the Pacific Coast WSP than would designating critical 
habitat. Therefore, the relative benefits of designation of critical 
habitat on these lands are diminished and limited.
    Conservation measures that provide a benefit to Pacific Coast WSP 
and its habitat have been implemented in both subunits (CA 55E and CA 
55G) owned and managed by the Port of San Diego since 2000. These 
measures will continue to be implemented as the Port of San Diego 
finalizes the revised plan (expected in late 2012). Such measures 
include protection of nesting and foraging areas, predator management 
at nest sites, prohibition of beach raking, and trash clean-up at 
occupied sites (described in Table 10 above) (U.S. Navy and San Diego 
Unified Port District 2000, p. 4-109; Maher, pers. comm. 2012).
    Excluding the approximately 63 ac (25 ha) owned and managed by the 
Port of San Diego from the critical habitat designation will sustain 
and enhance the working relationship between the Service and the Port 
of San Diego. The willingness of the Port of San Diego to work with the 
Service on innovative ways to manage federally listed species will 
continue to reinforce those conservation efforts and our partnership, 
which contribute significantly toward achieving recovery of Pacific 
Coast WSP. We consider this voluntary partnership in conservation vital 
to our understanding of the status of species on non-Federal lands and 
necessary for us to implement recovery actions such as habitat 
protection and restoration, and beneficial management actions for 
species.
The Benefits of Exclusion Outweigh the Benefits of Inclusion--San Diego 
Bay Natural Resources Plan
    The benefits of including these lands in the designation are small 
because the regulatory, educational, and ancillary benefits that would 
result from critical habitat designation are almost entirely redundant 
with the regulatory, educational, and ancillary benefits already 
afforded through the San Diego Bay Natural Resources Plan and under 
State and Federal law.
    The San Diego Bay Natural Resources Plan provides for significant 
conservation and management of the geographical areas that contain the 
physical or biological features essential to the conservation of the 
Pacific Coast WSP and help achieve recovery of this species through the 
objectives as described in Table 10. Exclusion of these lands from 
critical habitat will help preserve the partnerships we have developed 
with the Port of San Diego and project proponents through the 
development and ongoing implementation of the San Diego Bay Natural 
Resources Plan. These partnerships are focused on conservation of 
multiple species, including Pacific Coast WSP, and secure conservation 
benefits for the species that will lead to recovery, as described 
above, beyond those that could be required under a critical habitat 
designation. Furthermore, these partnerships aid in fostering future 
partnerships for the benefit of listed species, the majority of which 
do not occur on federal lands and thus are less likely to result in a 
section 7 consultation.
    We also conclude that the educational benefits of designating 
critical habitat on lands owned and managed by the Port of San Diego 
would be negligible because there have been several opportunities for 
public education and outreach related to Pacific Coast WSP. As part of 
the larger San Diego Bay INRMP, the San Diego Bay Natural Resources 
Plan has been in place since 2000. Additionally, as part of the larger 
San Diego Bay INRMP, implementation of the revised San Diego Bay 
Natural Resources Plan will be formally reviewed yearly through 
publicly available annual reports and a public meeting, again providing 
extensive opportunity to educate the public and landowners about the 
location of, and efforts to conserve, the physical or biological 
features essential to the conservation of Pacific Coast WSP. Members of 
the TOC, and specifically the Port of San Diego, are aware of the value 
of these lands to the conservation of Pacific Coast WSP, and 
conservation measures are already in place to protect Pacific Coast WSP 
habitat.
    Pacific Coast WSP currently occupies one subunit (CA 55E) that is 
owned and managed by the Port of San Diego with the Port of San Diego 
Natural Resources Plan. Because one of the primary threats to the 
Pacific Coast WSP is habitat loss and degradation, the consultation 
process under section 7 of the Act for a project with a Federal nexus 
will, in analyzing effects to the plovers, most likely evaluate the 
effects of the action on the conservation or functionality of the 
habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP; a similar analysis would be 
performed to conduct the adverse modification analysis (IEc 2011, p. D-
3).
    We have determined that the management actions provided through 
implementation of the San Diego Bay Natural Resources Plan, in 
conjunction with our partnership with the Port of San Diego, provide a 
greater benefit to Pacific Coast WSP than would critical habitat 
designation in the unoccupied subunit (CA 55G). As outlined in Table 
10, the San Diego Bay Natural Resources Plan outlines numerous measures 
which benefit the Pacific Coast WSP including measures in currently 
unoccupied areas such as in subunit CA 55G. These measures include 
restoration of marginal habitat or areas currently not being used by 
the plover. Furthermore, we determine that the additional regulatory 
benefits of designating critical habitat in the occupied subunit (CA 
55E), such as protection afforded through the section 7(a)(2) 
consultation process, are minimal. We also conclude that the 
educational and ancillary benefits of designating the geographical 
areas containing the physical or biological features essential to the 
conservation of the Pacific WSP provided by the San Diego Bay Natural 
Resources Plan would be negligible because of the partnership 
established between the Service and the Port of San Diego and the 
management objectives identified in the San Diego Bay Natural Resources 
Plan. Therefore, in consideration of the relevant impact to current and 
future partnerships, as summarized in the Benefits of Exclusion section 
above, we determined the significant benefits of exclusion outweigh the 
minor benefits of critical habitat designation.
Exclusion Will Not Result in Extinction of the Species--San Diego Bay 
Natural Resources Plan
    We determined that the exclusion of 63 ac (25 ha) from the 
designation of critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP of lands 
owned and managed by the Port of San Diego, as identified in the San 
Diego Bay Natural Resources Plan will not result in extinction of the 
species because current conservation efforts under the plan adequately 
protect the geographical areas containing the physical or biological 
features essential to the conservation of the species. For projects 
affecting plovers in occupied areas, the jeopardy standard of section 7 
of the Act, coupled with protection provided by the San Diego Bay 
Natural Resources Plan, provide assurances that this species will not 
go extinct as a result of excluding these lands from the critical 
habitat designation. Based on the above

[[Page 36796]]

discussion, the Secretary is exercising his discretion under section 
4(b)(2) of the Act to exclude from this final critical habitat 
designation a portion of proposed subunits within San Diego Bay 
(Sweetwater Marsh NWR and D Street Fill (CA 55E) and Chula Vista 
Wildlife Reserve (CA 55G)) that are addressed by the San Diego Bay 
Natural Resources Plan, totaling 63 ac (25 ha) of land. We also 
anticipate that the expected revisions to the existing San Diego Bay 
Natural Resources Plan will provide an even greater conservation 
benefit to the Pacific Coast WSP and its habitat due to our close 
working relationship with the Port of San Diego.

Tribal Lands--Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, 
``Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal 
Governments'' (59 FR 22951); Executive Order 13175; and the relevant 
provision of the Departmental Manual of the Department of the Interior 
(512 DM 2), we coordinate with federally-recognized Tribes on a 
government-to-government basis. Further, Secretarial Order 3206, 
``American Indian Tribal Rights, Federal-Tribal Trust Responsibilities, 
and the Endangered Species Act'' (1997) states that (1) critical 
habitat shall not be designated in areas that may impact tribal trust 
resources, may impact tribally-owned fee lands, or are used to exercise 
tribal rights unless it is determined essential to conserve a listed 
species; and (2) in designating critical habitat, the Service shall 
evaluate and document the extent to which the conservation needs of the 
listed species can be achieved by limiting the designation to other 
lands.
    Habitat on tribal lands was determined to be essential to the 
conservation of Pacific Coast WSP due to its location within the matrix 
of habitat available for Pacific Coast WSP. Because Pacific Coast WSPs 
move between coastal sites based on site condition and season, 
connectivity among and within habitats is essential for long-term 
persistence and recovery of the Pacific Coast WSP. Beach and intertidal 
habitat on or adjacent to tribal lands were determined to be important 
to maintain nesting, foraging, and roosting habitat, and to maintain 
connectivity between breeding and wintering habitats. The longstanding 
and distinctive relationship between Federal and tribal governments is 
defined by treaties, statutes, executive orders, judicial decisions, 
and agreements, which differentiate tribal governments from the other 
entities that deal with, or are affected by, the Federal government.
    This relationship has given rise to a special Federal trust 
responsibility involving the legal responsibilities and obligations of 
the United States toward Indian Tribes and the application of fiduciary 
standards of due care with respect to Indian lands, tribal trust 
resources, and the exercise of tribal rights. Accordingly, we are 
obligated to consult with Tribes based on their unique relationship 
with the Federal government. In addition, we evaluate Tribes' past and 
ongoing efforts for species conservation and the benefits of including 
or excluding tribal lands in the designation under section 4(b)(2) of 
the Act.
    We contacted all tribes potentially affected by the revised 
proposed designation and met with the Shoalwater Bay Tribe to discuss 
their ongoing and future management strategies for Pacific Coast WSP. 
We subsequently received a letter from the Shoalwater Bay Tribe 
describing ongoing tribal management, conservation efforts, and tribal 
coordination with the USACE. In their letter to us, the Shoalwater Bay 
Tribe stated that they do not participate in nontribal habitat 
designation processes (i.e., process to designate critical habitat 
under the Act). The Tribe requested a section 4(b)(2) exclusion under 
the Act.
    We determined approximately 425 ac (172 ha) of lands owned by, or 
under the jurisdiction of, the Tribe contained biological features 
essential to the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP, and therefore 
meet the definition of critical habitat under the Act. These tribal 
lands are located in subunit WA 3B. In making our final decision with 
regard to the designation of critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP 
on these tribal lands, we considered several factors, including 
Secretarial Order 3206, Executive Order 13175, the President's 
memorandum on ``Government-to-Government Relations with Native American 
Tribal Governments'' (59 FR 22951; April 29, 1994), conservation 
measures in place on these lands that may benefit the Pacific Coast 
WSP, economic impacts to tribes, our relationship with tribes, and 
impacts to current and future partnerships with the Shoalwater Bay 
Indian Tribe and other tribes we coordinate with on endangered and 
threatened species issues. Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, the 
Secretary is exercising his discretion to exclude approximately 425 ac 
(172 ha) of tribal land from this revised final critical habitat 
designation. As described in our analysis below, this conclusion was 
reached after considering the relevant impacts of specifying these 
areas as critical habitat.

Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe

    The Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe (Tribe) is a Federally-recognized 
tribe with a relatively small (approximately one square mile) 
reservation in Pacific County, Washington. Lands within the Shoalwater 
Bay Indian Reservation boundary include upland forested terrestrial 
habitats, a small residential and commercial area, and coastal marine 
habitats. Critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP was proposed in 
the portion of the reservation with coastal beaches as part of unit WA 
3B. Through our ongoing coordination with the Tribe, we have 
established a partnership that has benefitted natural resource 
management on tribal lands. For our 4(b)(2) balancing analysis, we 
considered our partnership with the Tribe and, therefore, analyzed the 
benefits of including and excluding those lands under the sovereign 
control of the Tribe that met the definition of critical habitat.
    Existing tribal regulations, including the 2001 Tribal 
Environmental Codes that protect the saltmarsh and sand spit as natural 
areas, will ensure any land use actions, including those funded, 
authorized, or carried out by Federal agencies, are not likely to 
result in the destruction or adverse modification of all lands 
considered for exclusion. The Tribe coordinates with the Service on all 
actions that have the potential to affect habitat for listed species on 
the reservation, including the Pacific Coast WSP. In 2003, the Service 
completed a Planning Aid Letter, and in 2006, we wrote a Fish and 
Wildlife Coordination Act Report for the USACE (Shoalwater Bay Indian 
Tribe is the project sponsor) on the proposed Shoalwater Coastal 
Erosion Project, which entails beach nourishment along the sand spit 
used by the Pacific Coast WSP. We completed a section 7 consultation 
for this project in 2007. The Service coordinated with the Tribe and 
USACE on the project design. We are actively working with these 
partners in implementation of the project to avoid or minimize impacts 
to current Pacific Coast WSP nesting habitat. Since surveys were 
conducted and nesting was confirmed in 2006, the Tribe has played an 
active role in surveying for and protecting habitat for the Pacific 
Coast WSP. In an email, dated June 9, 2011, to the Service, the USACE 
indicated that they were in the process of developing a Snowy Plover 
Management Plan as part of the beach nourishment and coastal erosion 
project. In an August 31, 2011, letter to

[[Page 36797]]

the Service, the Tribe confirmed that they will continue to use their 
existing regulatory structure to ``provide habitat protection for the 
Pacific Coast WSP'' and ``keep trespassers off those areas considered 
most important to the species,'' and references the USACE's intent to 
``develop a Pacific Coast WSP habitat protection plan as part of the 
erosion control project.'' The Tribe and Service are coordinating with 
the USACE on drafting the habitat protection plan and implementation of 
the project, which is scheduled to start in late summer 2012 (pending 
surveys for the Pacific Coast WSP). We are also coordinating with the 
Tribe and the USACE on the planting/vegetation management plan. We are 
currently working on a memorandum of understanding with the Tribe 
regarding plover protection. Any potential impacts to the Pacific Coast 
WSP from future proposed activities on the tribal lands will be 
addressed through a section 7 consultation using the jeopardy standard, 
and such activities would also be subject to the take prohibitions in 
section 9 of the Act.

Benefits of Inclusion--Shoalwater Bay Tribe

    The main benefit of any designated critical habitat is that Federal 
activities will require section 7 consultations to ensure that adequate 
protection is provided to avoid adverse modification or destruction of 
critical habitat. This would provide an additional benefit beyond that 
provided under the jeopardy standard. In evaluating project effects on 
critical habitat, the Service must be satisfied that the PCEs and, 
therefore, the essential features of the critical habitat likely will 
not be altered or destroyed by proposed activities to the extent that 
the conservation of the affected species would be appreciably reduced. 
If critical habitat were designated in areas of unoccupied habitat or 
currently occupied areas subsequently become unoccupied, different 
outcomes or requirements are also likely because effects to unoccupied 
areas of critical habitat are not likely to trigger the need for a 
jeopardy analysis.
    In Sierra Club v. Fish and Wildlife Service, 245 F.3d 434 (5th Cir. 
2001), the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals stated that the 
identification of habitat essential to the conservation of the species 
can provide informational benefits to the public, State and local 
governments, scientific organizations, and Federal agencies. The court 
also noted that critical habitat designation may focus and heighten 
public awareness of the plight of listed species and their habitats. 
Designation of critical habitat may contribute to conservation efforts 
by other parties by delineating areas of high conservation value for 
the Pacific Coast WSP.
    The primary benefit of including an area in a critical habitat 
designation is the requirement for Federal agencies to ensure actions 
they fund, authorize, or carry out are not likely to result in the 
destruction or adverse modification of any designated critical habitat, 
the regulatory standard of section 7(a)(2) of the Act under which 
consultation is completed. Federal agencies must also consult with us 
on actions that may affect a listed species and refrain from 
undertaking actions that are likely to jeopardize the continued 
existence of such species. The analysis of effects of a proposed 
project on critical habitat is separate and different from that of the 
effects of a proposed project on the species itself. The jeopardy 
analysis evaluates the action's impact to survival and recovery of the 
species, while the destruction or adverse modification analysis 
evaluates the action's effects to the designated habitat's contribution 
to conservation. Therefore, the difference in outcomes of these two 
analyses represents the regulatory benefit of critical habitat. This 
will, in many instances, lead to different results and different 
regulatory requirements. Thus, critical habitat designations may 
provide greater benefits to the recovery of a species than listing 
alone would do. However, for some species, and in some locations, the 
outcome of these analyses will be similar, because effects to habitat 
will often also result in effects to the species.
    Public education is often cited as another possible benefit of 
including lands in critical habitat as it may help focus conservation 
efforts on areas of high value for certain species. Partnership efforts 
with the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe to conserve the Pacific Coast WSP 
and other coastal species of concern have resulted in heightened 
awareness about the species.
    The designation of critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP may 
strengthen or reinforce some Federal laws, such as NEPA or Clean Water 
Act. These laws analyze the potential for projects to significantly 
affect the environment. Critical habitat may signal the presence of 
sensitive habitat that could otherwise be missed in the review process 
for these other environmental law.

Benefits of Exclusion--Shoalwater Bay Tribe

    Under Secretarial Order 3206, American Indian Tribal Rights, 
Federal-Tribal Trust Responsibilities, and the Endangered Species Act, 
we recognize that we must carry out our responsibilities under the Act 
in a manner that harmonizes the Federal trust responsibility to tribes 
and tribal sovereignty while striving to ensure that tribes do not bear 
a disproportionate burden for the conservation of listed species, so as 
to avoid or minimize the potential for conflict and confrontation. In 
accordance with the Presidential memorandums of April 29, 1994, and 
November 9, 2009, to the maximum extent possible, tribes are the 
appropriate governmental entities to manage their lands and tribal 
trust resources, and we are responsible for strengthening government-
to-government relationships with tribes. Federal regulation through 
critical habitat designation may affect the tribal working 
relationships we now have and which we are strengthening throughout the 
United States. Maintaining positive working relationships with tribes 
is key to implementing natural resource programs of mutual interest, 
including habitat conservation planning efforts. In light of the above-
mentioned orders and for a variety of other reasons described in their 
comment letters and communications, critical habitat designation is 
typically viewed by tribes as an unwarranted and unwanted intrusion 
into tribal self-governance.
    In the case of the Pacific Coast WSP proposed critical habitat, the 
Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe submitted a letter and email (August 31, 
2011) requesting to be excluded from the critical habitat designation. 
In their letter, they stated that the Tribe ``continues to demonstrate 
its desire to protect threatened and/or endangered species through its 
management and stewardship capabilities'' without ``externally defined 
designated critical habitat designations.'' The Tribe stated that they 
wish to make ``their own determinations regarding the Reservation and 
tribal trust resources'' and ``are pleased that the Tribe has been able 
to provide for the Pacific Coast WSP and steps are being taken to 
continue that effort in the most effective way possible'' (letter 
prepared by Gary Burns, Environmental Program Director and signed by 
the Tribal Council Chairperson). These communications clearly indicate 
that designation of tribal lands as critical habitat for Pacific Coast 
WSP would impact future conservation partnership opportunities with the 
Tribe. Therefore, a critical habitat designation could potentially 
damage our relationship with the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe. The 
commitment by the Tribe to restore habitat for this

[[Page 36798]]

native plant and efforts to control invasive species such as smooth 
cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) supports their commitment to protect 
habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP and strengthens the ongoing 
partnership with the Service. In their comments to the Service on the 
proposed rule, the Tribe indicated they would use their existing 
regulations to protect the Pacific Coast WSP and its habitat.
    Significant benefits would be realized by forgoing designation of 
critical habitat on lands managed by the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe. 
These benefits include:
    (1) Continuing and strengthening of our effective relationship with 
the Tribe to promote conservation of Pacific Coast WSP and its habitat; 
and
    (2) Allowing continued meaningful collaboration and cooperation in 
working toward recovering this species, including conservation actions 
that might not otherwise occur.
    The Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe coordinates regularly with the 
Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife on annual surveys for 
the Pacific Coast WSP and is partnering with the Service (Willapa 
National Wildlife Refuge and Ecological Services) to control nonnative/
invasive species and restore habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP and 
other coastal species on the outer beach. Service coordination includes 
attending meetings with tribal representatives to discuss ongoing 
projects, management plans, and other issues as that arise.
    Because the Tribe is the entity that enforces protective 
regulations on tribal land, and we have a working relationship with 
them, exclusion of these lands will yield a significant partnership 
benefit. We will continue to work cooperatively with the Tribe on 
efforts to conserve the Pacific Coast WSP. Therefore, excluding these 
lands from critical habitat provides the significant benefit of 
maintaining and strengthening our existing conservation partnerships 
and the potential of fostering new tribal partnerships.

Benefits of Exclusion Outweigh Benefits of Inclusion--Shoalwater Bay 
Tribe

    Based on the above considerations and consistent with the direction 
provided in section 4(b)(2) of the Act, the Service has determined that 
the benefits of excluding the above tribal lands outweigh the benefits 
of including them as critical habitat. This conclusion is based on the 
following factors. The tribal lands considered for exclusion are 
currently occupied by Pacific Coast WSPs and will be subject to the 
consultation requirements of the Act in the future. Although a jeopardy 
and adverse modification analysis must satisfy two different standards, 
because any modifications to proposed actions resulting from a section 
7 consultation to minimize or avoid impacts to the Pacific Coast WSP 
will be habitat-based, it is likely that measures implemented to 
minimize impacts to the critical habitat will also minimize impacts to 
the Pacific Coast WSP. Therefore, in the case of the Pacific Coast WSP, 
the benefits of critical habitat designation are very similar to the 
benefits of listing, and in some respects would be indistinguishable 
from the benefits of listing. Few additional benefits are provided by 
including these tribal lands in this critical habitat designation 
beyond what will be achieved through the implementation of the existing 
tribal management or conservation plans. In addition, we expect that 
the benefit of informing the public of the importance of this area to 
Pacific Coast WSP conservation would be low. Inclusion of tribal lands 
will not significantly improve habitat protections for Pacific Coast 
WSP beyond what is already provided for in the Tribe's own protective 
policies and practices, discussed above.
    Given the cooperative relationship between the Shoalwater Bay 
Indian Tribe and the Service, and all of the conservation benefits 
taken together, the additional regulatory and educational benefits of 
including the tribal lands as critical habitat are relatively small. 
The designation of critical habitat can serve to educate the public 
regarding the potential conservation value of an area, but this goal is 
already being accomplished through the identification of these areas in 
the tribal management planning, development of tribal Fish and Wildlife 
Codes, and through their outreach efforts.
    Because of the ongoing relationship between the Service and the 
Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe through a variety of forums, we find the 
benefits of these coordination efforts to be greater than the benefits 
of applying the Act's section 7 consultations for critical habitat to 
Federal activities on tribal lands. Based upon our consultations with 
the Tribes, designation of tribal lands as critical habitat would 
adversely impact our working relationship and the benefits resulting 
from this relationship.
    In contrast, although the benefits of encouraging tribal 
participation in resource management planning may be indirect, 
enthusiastic tribal participation and an atmosphere of cooperation are 
crucial to the long-term effectiveness of implementing successful 
endangered species conservation programs. Also, we have concluded that 
the Tribe's voluntary conservation efforts will provide tangible 
conservation benefits that will reduce the likelihood of extinction and 
increase the likelihood for Pacific Coast WSP recovery. Therefore, we 
assign great weight to these benefits of exclusion. To the extent that 
there are regulatory benefits of including tribal lands in critical 
habitat, there would be associated costs that could be avoided by 
excluding the area from designation. As we expect the regulatory 
benefits to be low, we likewise give weight to avoidance of those 
associated costs, as well as the additional transaction costs related 
to section 7 compliance.
    We reviewed and evaluated the benefits of inclusion and the 
benefits of exclusion of Shoalwater Bay Indian tribal lands as critical 
habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP. Past, present, and future 
coordination with the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe has provided and will 
continue to provide Pacific Coast WSP habitat conservation needs on 
tribal lands, such that there would be no additional benefit from 
designation of critical habitat. Further, because any potential impacts 
to the Pacific Coast WSP from future projects will be addressed through 
a section 7 consultation with us under the jeopardy standard, critical 
habitat designation on the Shoalwater Bay Indian Reservation would 
largely be redundant with the combined benefits of listing and existing 
tribal regulations and management. Therefore, the benefits of 
designating critical habitat on tribal lands are not significant.
    On the other hand, the benefits of excluding the Shoalwater Bay 
Indian Reservation from critical habitat are significant. Exclusion of 
these lands from critical habitat will help preserve and strengthen the 
conservation partnership we have developed with the Tribe and will 
foster future partnerships and development of management plans; 
inclusion, however, would negatively impact our relationships with the 
Tribe and other tribes. We are committed to working with the Shoalwater 
Bay Indian Tribe to further the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP 
and other endangered and threatened species on the reservation. The 
Tribe will continue to use their existing regulatory structure to 
protect Pacific Coast WSP and its habitat. The Tribe continues to 
provide for indirect conservation of Pacific Coast WSP habitat by 
implementing conservation measures for other coastal species that use 
some of the same habitat. Therefore, in consideration of the relevant 
impact to our partnership and our government-to-government

[[Page 36799]]

relationship with the Shoalwater Indian Bay Tribe, and the ongoing 
conservation management practices of the Tribe and our current and 
future conservation partnerships with them, we determined the 
significant benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of inclusion in 
the critical habitat designation.
    In summary, we find that excluding the Shoalwater Bay Indian tribal 
lands from this revised final critical habitat will preserve our 
partnership and may foster future habitat management and species 
conservation plans with the Tribe and with other tribes now and in the 
future. These partnership benefits are significant and outweigh the 
additional regulatory benefits of including these lands in final 
critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP. As a result, the regulatory 
benefits of critical habitat designation on tribal land would largely 
be redundant with the combined benefits of listing and existing tribal 
regulations.

Exclusion Will Not Result in Extinction of the Species--Shoalwater Bay 
Tribe

    We determined that the exclusion of 425 ac (172 ha) of tribal lands 
from the designation of Pacific Coast WSP critical habitat will not 
result in extinction of the species. The jeopardy standard of section 7 
of the Act and routine implementation of conservation measures through 
the section 7 process due to Pacific Coast WSP occupancy and protection 
provided by under Title 23 of the Tribal Environmental Ordinances 
provide assurances that this species will not go extinct as a result of 
excluding these lands from the critical habitat designation. Therefore, 
based on the above discussion the Secretary is exercising his 
discretion to exclude approximately 425 ac (172 ha) of tribal lands 
managed by the Shoalwater Bay Indian Tribe from this final critical 
habitat designation.

Required Determinations

Regulatory Planning and Review--Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

    Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) will review all significant rules. The OIRA 
has determined that this rule is not significant.
    Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 12866 while 
calling for improvements in the nation's regulatory system to promote 
predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most 
innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. 
The executive order directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches 
that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for 
the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and 
consistent with regulatory objectives. E.O. 13563 emphasizes further 
that regulations must be based on the best available science and that 
the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open 
exchange of ideas. We have developed this rule in a manner consistent 
with these requirements.

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

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA; 5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.), 
as amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act 
(SBREFA) of 1996 (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), whenever an agency must 
publish a notice of rulemaking for any proposed or final rule, it must 
prepare and make available for public comment a regulatory flexibility 
analysis that describes the effects of the rule on small entities 
(small businesses, small organizations, and small government 
jurisdictions). However, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required 
if the head of an agency certifies the rule will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The SBREFA 
amended the RFA to require Federal agencies to provide a certification 
statement of the factual basis for certifying that the rule will not 
have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. In this final rule, we are certifying that the revised 
critical habitat designation for the Pacific Coast WSP will not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
The following discussion explains our rationale.
    According to the Small Business Administration, small entities 
include small organizations, such as independent nonprofit 
organizations; small governmental jurisdictions, including school 
boards and city and town governments that serve fewer than 50,000 
residents; as well as small businesses. Small businesses include 
manufacturing and mining concerns with fewer than 500 employees, 
wholesale trade entities with fewer than 100 employees, retail and 
service businesses with less than $5 million in annual sales, general 
and heavy construction businesses with less than $27.5 million in 
annual business, special trade contractors doing less than $11.5 
million in annual business, and agricultural businesses with annual 
sales less than $750,000. To determine if potential economic impacts to 
these small entities are significant, we considered the types of 
activities that might trigger regulatory impacts under this rule, as 
well as types of project modifications that may result. In general, the 
term ``significant economic impact'' is meant to apply to a typical 
small business firm's business operations.
    To determine if the rule could significantly affect a substantial 
number of small entities, we consider the number of small entities 
affected within particular types of economic activities (e.g., 
development industry, recreation, mining). We apply the ``substantial 
number'' test individually to each industry to determine if 
certification is appropriate. However, the SBREFA does not explicitly 
define ``substantial number'' or ``significant economic impact.'' 
Consequently, to assess whether a ``substantial number'' of small 
entities is affected by this designation, this analysis considers the 
relative number of small entities likely to be impacted in an area. In 
some circumstances, especially with critical habitat designations of 
limited extent, we may aggregate across all industries and consider 
whether the total number of small entities affected is substantial. In 
estimating the number of small entities potentially affected, we also 
consider whether their activities have any Federal involvement.
    Designation of critical habitat only affects activities authorized, 
funded, or carried out by Federal agencies. Some kinds of activities 
are unlikely to have any Federal involvement and so will not be 
affected by critical habitat designation. In areas where the species is 
present, Federal agencies already are required to consult with us under 
section 7 of the Act on activities they authorize, fund, or carry out 
that may affect the Pacific Coast WSP. Federal agencies also must 
consult with us if their activities may affect critical habitat. 
Designation of critical habitat, therefore, could result in an 
additional economic impact on small entities due to the requirement to 
reinitiate consultation for ongoing Federal activities (see Application 
of the ``Adverse Modification Standard'' section).
    In our final economic analysis of the critical habitat designation, 
we evaluated the potential economic effects on small business entities 
resulting from conservation actions related to the listing of the 
Pacific Coast WSP and the designation of critical habitat. The analysis 
is based on the estimated impacts associated with the rulemaking as 
described in Chapters 1 through 5 and Appendix A of the analysis and 
evaluates the potential for economic

[[Page 36800]]

impacts related to: (1) Recreation; (2) commercial and residential 
development; (3) gravel mining; (4) military activities; and (5) 
habitat and species management (IEc 2012).
    In the FEA of the revised proposed critical habitat, we evaluate 
the potential economic effects on small business entities resulting 
from implementation of conservation actions related to the proposed 
revisions to critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP. The FEA is 
based on the estimated incremental impacts associated with the proposed 
rulemaking as described in Chapter 4. The FEA evaluates the potential 
for direct economic impacts related to activity categories identified 
above as well as for indirect impacts related to CEQA, uncertainty, and 
delay. The FEA concludes that the incremental impacts resulting from 
this rulemaking that may be borne by small businesses will be 
associated only with recreation. Incremental impacts are either not 
expected for the other types of activities considered or, if expected, 
will not be borne by small entities.
    As discussed in Appendix A of the FEA, Exhibit A-1 describes the 
non-Federal entities that may be affected by critical habitat 
designation and assesses whether they are considered small entities 
under the RFA. The State of California (CDPR), Santa Barbara County, 
Monterey County, Santa Cruz County, and City of Coronado will 
participate in the future consultations with the Service. Of these 
entities, only the City of Coronado meets the RFA's definition of a 
small governmental jurisdiction. Third-party administrative costs for 
the City of Coronado are expected to be $818 in 2012, assuming a 7 
percent discount rate. This impact represents less than 0.01 percent of 
the City's annual revenues of $40.3 million. In addition, the FEA has 
identified the potential for critical habitat to possibly indirectly 
influence future litigation or State review of environmental permits 
within Oceano Dunes SVRA (Unit CA 31) and the two development projects 
in Sand City (Unit CA 22). Critical habitat may indirectly serve as a 
lever for future litigation aimed at reducing or eliminating OHV-
recreation on the beach. Such action would indirectly affect recreators 
and businesses in the local community.
    In summary, we considered whether this designation will result in a 
significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities. 
Based on the above reasoning and currently available information, we 
concluded that this rule would not result in a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. Therefore, we are 
certifying that the designation of critical habitat for Pacific Coast 
WSP will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number 
of small entities, and a regulatory flexibility analysis is not 
required.

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

    Executive Order 13211 (Actions Concerning Regulations That 
Significantly Affect Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use) requires 
agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking 
certain actions. OMB has provided guidance for implementing this 
Executive Order that outlines nine outcomes that may constitute ``a 
significant adverse effect'' when compared to not taking the regulatory 
action under consideration.
    The economic analysis finds that none of these criteria are 
relevant to this analysis. Thus, based on information in the economic 
analysis, energy-related impacts associated with Pacific Coast WSP 
conservation activities within critical habitat are not expected. As 
such, the designation of critical habitat is not expected to 
significantly affect energy supplies, distribution, or use. Therefore, 
this action is not a significant energy action, and no Statement of 
Energy Effects is required.

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

    In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 
et seq.), we make the following findings:
    (1) This rule will not produce a Federal mandate. In general, a 
Federal mandate is a provision in legislation, statute, or regulation 
that would impose an enforceable duty upon State, local, or tribal 
governments, or the private sector, and includes both ``Federal 
intergovernmental mandates'' and ``Federal private sector mandates.'' 
These terms are defined in 2 U.S.C. 658(5)-(7). ``Federal 
intergovernmental mandate'' includes a regulation that ``would impose 
an enforceable duty upon State, local, or tribal governments'' with two 
exceptions. It excludes ``a condition of Federal assistance.'' It also 
excludes ``a duty arising from participation in a voluntary Federal 
program,'' unless the regulation ``relates to a then-existing Federal 
program under which $500,000,000 or more is provided annually to State, 
local, and tribal governments under entitlement authority,'' if the 
provision would ``increase the stringency of conditions of assistance'' 
or ``place caps upon, or otherwise decrease, the Federal Government's 
responsibility to provide funding,'' and the State, local, or tribal 
governments ``lack authority'' to adjust accordingly. At the time of 
enactment, these entitlement programs were: Medicaid; Aid to Families 
with Dependent Children work programs; Child Nutrition; Food Stamps; 
Social Services Block Grants; Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants; 
Foster Care, Adoption Assistance, and Independent Living; Family 
Support Welfare Services; and Child Support Enforcement. ``Federal 
private sector mandate'' includes a regulation that ``would impose an 
enforceable duty upon the private sector, except (i) a condition of 
Federal assistance; or (ii) a duty arising from participation in a 
voluntary Federal program.''
    The designation of critical habitat does not impose a legally 
binding duty on non-Federal government entities or private parties. 
Under the Act, the only regulatory effect is that Federal agencies must 
ensure that their actions do not destroy or adversely modify critical 
habitat under section 7. While non-Federal entities that receive 
Federal funding, assistance, or permits, or that otherwise require 
approval or authorization from a Federal agency for an action, may be 
indirectly impacted by the designation of critical habitat, the legally 
binding duty to avoid destruction or adverse modification of critical 
habitat rests squarely on the Federal agency. Furthermore, to the 
extent that non-Federal entities are indirectly impacted because they 
receive Federal assistance or participate in a voluntary Federal aid 
program, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act would not apply, nor would 
critical habitat shift the costs of the large entitlement programs 
listed above onto State governments.
    (2) We do not believe that this rule will significantly or uniquely 
affect small governments because it will not produce a Federal mandate 
of $100 million or greater in any year; that is, it is not a 
``significant regulatory action'' under the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act. The FEA concludes incremental impacts may occur due to project 
modifications that may need to be made for real estate development; 
however, these are not expected to significantly affect small 
governments. The City of Coronado has been identified as the only small 
government affected by the designation, and the total estimated cost 
associated with the designation is $818 in 2012, assuming a 7 percent 
discount rate. This impact represents less than 0.01 percent of the 
City's annual revenues of $40.3 million. Consequently, we do not 
believe that this revised final critical habitat

[[Page 36801]]

designation will significantly or uniquely affect small government 
entities. As such, a Small Government Agency Plan is not required.

Takings--Executive Order 12630

    In accordance with E.O. 12630 (``Government Actions and 
Interference with Constitutionally Protected Private Property 
Rights''), we have analyzed the potential takings implications of 
designating revised critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP in a 
takings implications assessment. As discussed above, the designation of 
critical habitat affects only Federal actions. Although private parties 
that receive Federal funding, assistance, or require approval or 
authorization from a Federal agency for an action may be indirectly 
impacted by the designation of critical habitat, the legally binding 
duty to avoid destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat 
rests squarely on the Federal agency. The FEA has identified that all 
the incremental costs are entirely administrative in nature. No 
incremental project modifications are anticipated to result from 
section 7 consultations with the majority of consultation costs being 
incurred by the Service and other Federal action agencies. Of the 
approximately 76 anticipated consultations over the 20-year period of 
analysis, only nine will involve third parties. The takings 
implications assessment concludes that this revised designation of 
critical habitat for the Pacific Coast WSP does not pose significant 
takings implications for lands within or affected by the designation.

Federalism--Executive Order 13132

    In accordance with Executive Order 13132 (Federalism), this rule 
does not have significant Federalism effects. A federalism impact 
summary statement is not required. In keeping with Department of the 
Interior and Department of Commerce policy, we requested information 
from, and coordinated development of, this revised final critical 
habitat designation with appropriate State resource agencies in 
California, Oregon, and Washington. We did receive comments from State 
Park managers in both Oregon and California. The ORPD requested that 
lands under their approved HCP be excluded from designation. The CDPR 
commented that portions of Oceano Dunes SVRA should be excluded from 
designation; however, that park unit does not have an approved HCP or 
other management plan. The designation may have some benefit to these 
governments in that the areas that contain the physical or biological 
features essential to the conservation of the species are more clearly 
defined, and the elements of the features of the habitat necessary to 
the conservation of the species are specifically identified. This 
information does not alter where and what federally sponsored 
activities may occur. However, it may assist local governments in long-
range planning (rather than having them wait for case-by-case section 7 
consultations to occur).
    Where State and local governments require approval or authorization 
from a Federal agency for actions that may affect critical habitat, 
consultation under section 7(a)(2) would be required. While non-Federal 
entities that receive Federal funding, assistance, or permits, or that 
otherwise require approval or authorization from a Federal agency for 
an action, may be indirectly impacted by the designation of critical 
habitat, the legally binding duty to avoid destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat rests squarely on the Federal agency.

Civil Justice Reform--Executive Order 12988

    In accordance with Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform), 
the Office of the Solicitor has determined that the rule does not 
unduly burden the judicial system and that it meets the applicable 
standards as set forth in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of the Order. We 
are designating revised critical habitat in accordance with the 
provisions of the Act. This revised final rule uses standard property 
descriptions in the preamble's critical habitat unit descriptions and 
identifies the elements of physical or biological features essential to 
the conservation of the Pacific Coast WSP within the designated areas 
to assist the public in understanding the habitat needs of the species.

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

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

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

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

Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, 
Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal 
Governments (59 FR 22951), E.O. 13175, and the Department of the 
Interior's manual at 512 DM 2, we readily acknowledge our 
responsibility to communicate meaningfully with recognized Federal 
tribes on a government-to-government basis. In accordance with 
Secretarial Order 3206 of June 5, 1997 (American Indian Tribal Rights, 
Federal-Tribal Trust Responsibilities, and the Endangered Species Act), 
we readily acknowledge our responsibilities to work directly with 
tribes in developing programs for healthy ecosystems, to acknowledge 
that tribal lands are not subject to the same controls as Federal 
public lands, to remain sensitive to Indian culture, and to make 
information available to tribes.
    In the proposed revisions to critical habitat published in the 
Federal Register on March 22, 2011 (76 FR 16046), we proposed to 
designate 1,121 ac in subunit WA 3B Shoalwater/Graveyard Spit, of which 
we claimed approximately 336 ac (136 ha) to be within the Shoalwater 
Bay Tribal lands. After further review and additional information 
provided by the Shoalwater Bay Tribe, we have identified approximately 
425 ac (172 ha) belonging to the Tribe and meeting the definition of 
critical habitat. We worked directly with the Tribe to determine 
economic and other burdens expected to result from critical habitat 
designation on tribal lands, and as a result of information exchanged, 
the Secretary is exercising his discretion to exclude all Shoalwater 
Bay Tribal lands meeting the definition of critical habitat for the 
Pacific Coast WSP from this final

[[Page 36802]]

revised designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (see Exclusions 
Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act--Tribal Lands section above).

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited is available on the 
Internet at http://www.regulations.gov and upon request from the Field 
Supervisor, Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES).

Authors

    The primary authors of this rule are staff of the Arcata Fish and 
Wildlife Office and Pacific Southwest Regional Office.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

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

Regulation Promulgation

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

PART 17--[AMENDED]

0
1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:

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

0
2. Amend Sec.  17.11(h) by revising the entry for ``Plover, western 
snowy'' under BIRDS to read as follows:


Sec.  17.11  Endangered and threatened wildlife.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        Species                                                     Vertebrate
--------------------------------------------------------                         population where                                 Critical     Special
                                                            Historic range         endangered or        Status     When listed    habitat       rules
           Common name                Scientific name                               threatened
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
              Birds
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
Plover, western snowy (Pacific     Charadrius nivosus    Pacific Coast         Pacific Coast         T                     493     17.95(b)           NA
 Coast population DPS).             nivosus.              population DPS--      population DPS--
                                                          U.S.A. (CA, OR,       U.S.A. (CA, OR,
                                                          WA), Mexico.          WA), Mexico (within
                                                                                50 miles of Pacific
                                                                                coast).
 
                                                                      * * * * * * *
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



0
3. Amend Sec.  17.95(b) by revising the entry for ``Western Snowy 
Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus nivosus)--Pacific Coast Population'' to 
read as follows:


Sec.  17.95  Critical habitat--fish and wildlife.

* * * * *
    (b) Birds.
* * * * *
Western Snowy Plover (Charadrius nivosus nivosus)--Pacific Coast 
Population
    (1) Critical habitat units are depicted for: Washington--Grays 
Harbor and Pacific Counties; Oregon--Clatsop, Tillamook, Lane, Douglas, 
Coos, and Curry Counties; and California--Del Norte, Humboldt, 
Mendocino, Marin, Napa, Alameda, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Monterey, San 
Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego 
Counties, on the maps below.
    (2) Within these areas, the primary constituent elements of the 
physical or biological features essential to the conservation of the 
Pacific Coast population of the western snowy plover are sandy beaches, 
dune systems immediately inland of an active beach face, salt flats, 
mud flats, seasonally exposed gravel bars, artificial salt ponds and 
adjoining levees, and dredge spoil sites, with:
    (i) Areas that are below heavily vegetated areas or developed areas 
and above the daily high tides;
    (ii) Shoreline habitat areas for feeding, with no or very sparse 
vegetation, that are between the annual low tide or low-water flow and 
annual high tide or high-water flow, subject to inundation but not 
constantly under water, that support small invertebrates, such as 
crabs, worms, flies, beetles, spiders, sand hoppers, clams, and 
ostracods, that are essential food sources;
    (iii) Surf- or water-deposited organic debris, such as seaweed 
(including kelp and eelgrass) or driftwood located on open substrates 
that supports and attracts small invertebrates described in paragraph 
(ii) of this entry for food, and provides cover or shelter from 
predators and weather, and assists in avoidance of detection (crypsis) 
for nests, chicks, and incubating adults; and
    (iv) Minimal disturbance from the presence of humans, pets, 
vehicles, or human-attracted predators which provide relatively 
undisturbed areas for individual and population growth and for normal 
behavior.
    (3) Critical habitat does not include manmade structures (such as 
buildings, roads, paved areas, boat ramps, and other developed areas) 
and the land on which such structures are directly located and existing 
within the legal boundaries on the effective date of this rule.
    (4) Critical habitat map units. Data layers defining map units were 
created on a base of USGS digital ortho-photo quarter-quadrangles, and 
critical habitat units were then mapped using Universal Transverse 
Mercator (UTM) Zone 10N and 11N coordinates.
    (5) The coordinates for these maps are available on the Internet at 
http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2010-0070, at http://www.fws.gov/arcata/, or at the Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office, 1655 
Heindon Road, Arcata, CA 95521.

[[Page 36803]]

    (6) Index map of critical habitat units for the Pacific Coast 
western snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus nivosus) in Washington 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.000


[[Page 36804]]


    (7) Unit WA 1: Copalis Spit, Grays Harbor County, Washington. Map 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.001


[[Page 36805]]


    (8) Unit WA 2: Damon Point, Grays Harbor County, Washington. Map 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.002


[[Page 36806]]


    (9) Subunit WA 3A: Midway Beach, Pacific County, Washington. Map of 
Subunits WA 3A and WA 3B follows.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.003

    (10) Subunit WA 3B: Shoalwater/Graveyard Spit, Pacific County, 
Washington. Map of Subunits WA 3A and WA 3B is provided at paragraph 
(8) of this entry.

[[Page 36807]]

    (11) Subunit WA 4A: Leadbetter Spit, Pacific County, Washington. 
Map of Subunits WA 4A and WA 4B follows.
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.004

    (12) Subunit WA 4B: Gunpowder Sands Island, Pacific County, 
Washington. Map of Subunits WA 4A and WA 4B is provided at paragraph 
(11) of this entry.

[[Page 36808]]

    (13) Index map of critical habitat units for the Pacific Coast 
western snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus nivosus) in Oregon follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.005


[[Page 36809]]


    (14) Unit OR 2: Necanicum River Spit, Clatsop County, Oregon. Map 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.006


[[Page 36810]]


    (15) Unit OR 4: Bayocean Spit, Tillamook County, Oregon. Map 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.007


[[Page 36811]]


    (16) Unit OR 6: Sand Lake South, Tillamook County, Oregon. Map 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.008


[[Page 36812]]


    (17) Unit OR 7: Sutton/Baker Beaches, Lane County, Oregon. Map 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.009


[[Page 36813]]


    (18) Subunit OR 8A: Siltcoos Breach, Lane County, Oregon. Map of 
Subunits OR 8A, OR 8B, and OR 8C follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.010

    (19) Subunit OR 8B: Siltcoos River Spit, Douglas and Lane Counties, 
Oregon. Map of Subunits OR 8A, OR 8B, and OR 8C is provided at 
paragraph (18) of this entry.
    (20) Subunit OR 8C: Dunes Overlook Tahkenitch Creek Spit, Douglas 
County, Oregon. Map of Subunits OR 8A, OR 8B, and OR 8C is provided at 
paragraph (18) of this entry.

[[Page 36814]]

    (21) Subunit OR 8D: North Umpqua River Spit, Douglas County, 
Oregon. Map follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.011


[[Page 36815]]


    (22) Unit OR 9: Tenmile Creek Spit, Coos County, Oregon. Map 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.012


[[Page 36816]]


    (23) Unit OR 10: Coos Bay North Spit, Coos County, Oregon. Map 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.013


[[Page 36817]]


    (24) Unit OR 11: Bandon to New River, Coos and Curry Counties, 
Oregon. Map follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.014


[[Page 36818]]


    (25) Unit OR 13: Euchre Creek Spit, Curry County, Oregon. Map 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.015


[[Page 36819]]


    (26) Index map of critical habitat units for the Pacific Coast 
western snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus nivosus) in Northern 
California follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.016


[[Page 36820]]


    (27) Unit CA 1: Lake Earl, Del Norte County, California. Map 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.017


[[Page 36821]]


    (28) Unit CA 2: Gold Bluffs Beach, Humboldt County, California. Map 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.018


[[Page 36822]]


    (29) Subunit CA 3A: Stone Lagoon, Humboldt County, California. Map 
of Subunits CA 3A and CA 3B follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.019

    (30) Subunit CA 3B: Big Lagoon, Humboldt County, California. Map of 
Subunits CA 3A and CA 3B is provided at paragraph 29 of this entry.

[[Page 36823]]

    (31) Subunit CA 4A: Clam Beach/Little River, Humboldt County, 
California. Map of Subunits CA 4A and CA 4B follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.020

    (32) Subunit CA 4B: Mad River Beach, Humboldt County, California. 
Map of Subunits CA 4A and CA 4B is provided at paragraph 31 of this 
entry.

[[Page 36824]]

    (33) Subunit CA 5A: Humboldt Bay South Spit, Humboldt County, 
California. Map of Subunit CA 5A and CA 5B follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.021

    (34) Subunit CA 5B: Eel River North Spit and Beach, Humboldt 
County, California. Map of Subunits CA 5A and CA 5B is provided at 
paragraph 33 of this entry.

[[Page 36825]]

    (35) Subunit CA 5C: Eel River South Spit and Beach, Humboldt 
County, California. Map follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.022


[[Page 36826]]


    (36) Unit CA 6: Eel River Gravel Bars, Humboldt County, California. 
Map follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.023


[[Page 36827]]


    (37) Unit CA 7: MacKerricher Beach, Mendocino County, California. 
Map follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.024


[[Page 36828]]


    (38) Unit CA 8: Manchester Beach, Mendocino County, California. Map 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.025


[[Page 36829]]


    (39) Unit CA 9: Dillon Beach, Marin County, California. Map 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.026


[[Page 36830]]


    (40) Subunit CA 10A: Point Reyes, Marin County, California. Map of 
Subunits CA 10A and CA 10B follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.027

    (41) Subunit CA 10B: Limantour, Marin County, California. Map of 
Subunits CA 10A and CA 10B is provided at paragraph 40 of this entry.

[[Page 36831]]

    (42) Unit CA 11: Napa-Sonoma, Napa County, California. Map follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.028
    

[[Page 36832]]


    (43) Unit CA 12: Hayward, Alameda County, California. Map follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.029
    

[[Page 36833]]


    (44) Subunit CA 13A: Eden Landing, Alameda County, California. Map 
of Subunits CA 13A, CA 13B, and CA 13C follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.030

    (45) Subunit CA 13B: Eden Landing, Alameda County, California. Map 
of Subunits CA 13A, CA 13B, and CA 13C is provided at paragraph 44 of 
this entry.
    (46) Subunit CA 13C: Eden Landing, Alameda County, California. Map 
of Subunits CA 13A, CA 13B, and CA 13C is provided at paragraph 44 of 
this entry.

[[Page 36834]]

    (47) Unit CA 14: Ravenswood, San Mateo County, California. Map 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.031


[[Page 36835]]


    (48) Unit CA 15: Warm Springs, Alameda County, California. Map 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.032


[[Page 36836]]


    (49) Unit CA 16: Half Moon Bay, San Mateo County, California. Map 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.033


[[Page 36837]]


    (50) Unit CA 17: Waddell Creek Beach, Santa Cruz County, 
California. Map follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.034


[[Page 36838]]


    (51) Unit CA 18: Scott Creek Beach, Santa Cruz County, California. 
Map follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.035


[[Page 36839]]


    (52) Unit CA 19: Wilder Creek Beach, Santa Cruz County, California. 
Map follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.036


[[Page 36840]]


    (53) Index map of critical habitat units for the Pacific Coast 
western snowy plover (Charadrius nivosus nivosus) in Southern 
California follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.037


[[Page 36841]]


    (54) Unit CA 20: Jetty Road to Aptos, Santa Cruz and Monterey 
Counties, California. Map of Units CA 20 and CA 21 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.038

    (55) Unit CA 21: Elkhorn Slough Mudflats, Monterey County, 
California. Map of Units CA 20 and CA 21 is provided at paragraph 54.

[[Page 36842]]

    (56) Unit CA 22: Monterey to Moss Landing, Monterey County, 
California. Map follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.039


[[Page 36843]]


    (57) Unit CA 23: Point Sur Beach, Monterey County, California. Map 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.040


[[Page 36844]]


    (58) Unit CA 24: San Carpoforo Creek, San Luis Obispo County, 
California. Map follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.041


[[Page 36845]]


    (59) Unit CA 25: Arroyo Laguna Creek, San Luis Obispo County, 
California. Map follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.042


[[Page 36846]]


    (60) Unit CA 26: San Simeon State Beach, San Luis Obispo County, 
California. Map follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.043


[[Page 36847]]


    (61) Unit CA 27: Villa Creek Beach, San Luis Obispo County, 
California. Map follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.044


[[Page 36848]]


    (62) Unit CA 28: Toro Creek, San Luis Obispo County, California. 
Map of Units CA 28 and CA 29 follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.045

    (63) Unit CA 29: Atascadero Beach/Morro Strand State Beach: San 
Luis Obispo County, California. Map of Units CA 28 and CA 29 is 
provided at paragraph 62 of this entry.

[[Page 36849]]

    (64) Unit CA 30: Morro Bay Beach, San Luis Obispo County, 
California. Map follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.046


[[Page 36850]]


    (65) Unit CA 31: Pismo Beach/Nipomo Dunes, San Luis Obispo and 
Santa Barbara Counties, California. Map follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.047


[[Page 36851]]


    (66) Unit CA 34: Devereaux Beach, Santa Barbara County, California. 
Map follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.048


[[Page 36852]]


    (67) Unit CA 35: Santa Barbara Beaches, Santa Barbara County, 
California. Map follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.049


[[Page 36853]]


    (68) Subunit CA 36A: Santa Rosa Island Beaches, Santa Barbara 
County, California. Map of Unit CA 36: Santa Rosa Island Beaches, 
including Subunits CA 36A through CA 36K follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.050

    (69) Subunit CA 36B: Santa Rosa Island Beaches, Santa Barbara 
County, California. Map of Unit CA 36: Santa Rosa Island Beaches, 
including Subunits CA 36A through CA 36K is provided at paragraph 68 of 
this entry.
    (70) Unit CA 36C: Santa Rosa Island Beaches, Santa Barbara County, 
California. Map of Unit CA 36: Santa Rosa Island Beaches, including 
Subunits CA 36A through CA 36K is provided at paragraph 68 of this 
entry.
    (71) Unit CA 36D: Santa Rosa Island Beaches, Santa Barbara County, 
California. Map of Unit CA 36: Santa Rosa Island Beaches, including 
Subunits CA 36A through CA 36K is provided at paragraph 68 of this 
entry.
    (72) Unit CA 36E: Santa Rosa Island Beaches, Santa Barbara County, 
California. Map of Unit CA 36: Santa Rosa Island Beaches, including 
Subunits CA 36A through CA 36K is provided at paragraph 68 of this 
entry.
    (73) Unit CA 36F: Santa Rosa Island Beaches, Santa Barbara County, 
California. Map of Unit CA 36: Santa Rosa Island Beaches, including 
Subunits CA 36A through CA 36K is provided at paragraph 68 of this 
entry.
    (74) Unit CA 36G: Santa Rosa Island Beaches, Santa Barbara County, 
California. Map of Unit CA 36: Santa Rosa Island Beaches, including 
Subunits CA 36A through CA 36K is provided at paragraph 68 of this 
entry.
    (75) Unit CA 36H: Santa Rosa Island Beaches, Santa Barbara County, 
California. Map of Unit CA 36: Santa Rosa Island Beaches, including 
Subunits CA 36A through CA 36K is provided at paragraph 68 of this 
entry.
    (76) Unit CA 36I: Santa Rosa Island Beaches, Santa Barbara County, 
California. Map of Unit CA 36: Santa Rosa Island Beaches, including 
Subunits CA 36A through CA 36K is provided at paragraph 68 of this 
entry.
    (77) Unit CA 36J: Santa Rosa Island Beaches, Santa Barbara County,

[[Page 36854]]

California. Map of Unit CA 36: Santa Rosa Island Beaches, including 
Subunits CA 36A through CA 36K is provided at paragraph 68 of this 
entry.
    (78) Unit CA 36K: Santa Rosa Island Beaches, Santa Barbara County, 
California. Map of Unit CA 36: Santa Rosa Island Beaches, including 
Subunits CA 36A through CA 36K is provided at paragraph 68 of this 
entry.
    (79) Unit CA 37: San Buenaventura Beach, Ventura County, 
California. Map follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.051


[[Page 36855]]


    (80) Unit CA 38: Mandalay Beach to Santa Clara River, Ventura 
County, California. Map follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.052


[[Page 36856]]


    (81) Unit CA 39: Ormond Beach, Ventura County, California. Map 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.053


[[Page 36857]]


    (82) Unit CA 43: Zuma Beach, Los Angeles County, California. Map 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.054


[[Page 36858]]


    (83) Unit CA 44: Malibu Beach, Los Angeles County, California. Map 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.055


[[Page 36859]]


    (84) Subunit CA 45A: Santa Monica Beach, Los Angeles County, 
California. Map follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.056


[[Page 36860]]


    (85) Subunit CA 45B: Dockweiler North, Los Angeles County, 
California. Map of Subunits CA 45B and CA 45C follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.057

    (86) Subunit CA 45C: Dockweiler South, Los Angeles County, 
California. Map of Subunits CA 45B and CA 45C is provided at paragraph 
85 of this entry.

[[Page 36861]]

    (87) Subunit CA 45D: Hermosa State Beach, Los Angeles County, 
California. Map follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.058


[[Page 36862]]


    (88) Subunit CA 46A: Bolsa Chica State Beach, Orange County, 
California. Map of Subunits CA 46A through CA 46F follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.059

    (89) Subunit CA 46B: Bolsa Chica Reserve, Orange County, 
California. Map of Subunits CA 46A through CA 46F is provided at 
paragraph 88 of this entry.
    (90) Subunit CA 46C: Bolsa Chica Reserve, Orange County, 
California. Map of Subunits CA 46A through CA 46F is provided at 
paragraph 88 of this entry.
    (91) Subunit CA 46D: Bolsa Chica Reserve, Orange County, 
California. Map of Subunits CA 46A through CA 46F is provided at 
paragraph 88 of this entry.
    (92) Subunit CA 46E: Bolsa Chica Reserve, Orange County, 
California. Map of Subunits CA 46A through CA 46F is provided at 
paragraph 88 of this entry.
    (93) Subunit CA 46F: Bolsa Chica Reserve, Orange County, 
California. Map of Subunits CA 46A through CA 46F is provided at 
paragraph 88 of this entry.

[[Page 36863]]

    (94) Unit CA 47: Santa Ana River Mouth, Orange County, California. 
Map follows: 
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.060


[[Page 36864]]


    (95) Unit CA 48: Balboa Beach, Orange County, California. Map 
follows: 
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.061


[[Page 36865]]


    (96) Subunit CA 51A: San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve, San Diego 
County, California. Map of Subunits CA 51A, CA 51B, and CA 51C follows: 

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.062

    (97) Subunit CA 51B: San Elijo Ecological Reserve, San Diego 
County, California. Map of Subunits CA 51A, CA 51B, and CA 51C is 
provided at paragraph 96 of this entry.
    (98) Subunit CA 51C: San Elijo Ecological Reserve, San Diego 
County, California. Map of Subunits CA 51A, CA 51B, and CA 51C is 
provided at paragraph 96 of this entry.

[[Page 36866]]

    (99) Subunit CA 52A: San Dieguito Lagoon, San Diego County, 
California. Map follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.063


[[Page 36867]]


    (100) Subunit CA 55B: Coronado Beach, San Diego County, California. 
Map follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.064


[[Page 36868]]


    (101) Subunit CA 55E: Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, 
San Diego County, California. Map of Subunits CA 55E, CA 55F, and CA 
55I follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.065

    (102) Subunit CA 55F: Silver Strand State Beach, San Diego County, 
California. Map of Subunits CA 55E, CA 55F, and CA 55I is provided at 
paragraph 101 of this entry.
    (103) Subunit CA 55I: San Diego National Wildlife Refuge--South Bay 
Unit, San Diego County, California. Map of Subunits CA 55E, CA 55F, and 
CA 55I is provided at paragraph 101 of this entry.

[[Page 36869]]

    (104) Subunit CA 55J: Tijuana Estuary and Border Field State Park, 
San Diego County, California. Map follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TR19JN12.066

* * * * *

    Dated: May 30, 2012.
Rachel Jacobson,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2012-13886 Filed 6-18-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P