[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 23 (Monday, February 4, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 7907-7937]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-02020]



[[Page 7907]]

Vol. 78

Monday,

No. 23

February 4, 2013

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; Removing the Island 
Night Lizard From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife; Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 78, No. 23 / Monday, February 4, 2013 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 7908]]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2012-0099; FXES11130900000-134-FF09E32000]
RIN 1018-AY44


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removing the 
Island Night Lizard From the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; 12-month petition finding; notice of document 
availability.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to 
remove the island night lizard (Xantusia riversiana) from the Federal 
List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. This action is based on a 
review of the best available scientific and commercial information, 
which indicates that the species no longer meets the definition of 
endangered species or threatened species under the Endangered Species 
Act of 1973, as amended (Act). This proposed rule, if made final, would 
remove the island night lizard as a threatened species from the List of 
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. This document also constitutes our 
12-month finding on a petition to remove the island night lizard from 
the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.

DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before 
April 5, 2013. We must receive requests for public hearings, in 
writing, at the address shown in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT 
section by March 21, 2013.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
    (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Enter Keyword or ID box, enter FWS-R8-ES-
2012-0099, which is the docket number for this rulemaking. On the 
search results page, under the Comment Period heading in the menu on 
the left side of your screen, check the box next to ``Open'' to locate 
this document. Please ensure you have found the correct document before 
submitting your comments. If your comments will fit in the provided 
comment box, please use this feature of http://www.regulations.gov, as 
it is most compatible with our comment review procedures. If you attach 
your comments as a separate document, our preferred file format is 
Microsoft Word. If you attach multiple comments (such as form letters), 
our preferred format is a spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel.
    (2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public 
Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R8-ES-2012-0099; Division of Policy and 
Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax 
Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
    We request that you send comments only by the methods described 
above. We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This 
generally means that we will post any personal information you provide 
us (see Public Comments below for more information).
    Document availability: A copy of the draft post-delisting 
monitoring plan can be viewed at http://ecos.fws.gov/speciesProfile/profile/speciesProfile.action?spcode=C01M.

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

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Executive Summary

    This document contains: (1) A 12-month finding in response to a 
petition to delist the San Clemente and San Nicolas Island distinct 
population segments (DPSs); (2) a proposed rule to remove the island 
night lizard from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife; and (3) a notice of availability of a draft post-delisting 
monitoring plan.
    Species addressed. The island night lizard (Xantusia riversiana) is 
endemic to three Channel Islands (San Clemente, San Nicolas, and Santa 
Barbara) located off the southern California coast and a small islet 
(Sutil Island) located just southwest of Santa Barbara Island. Habitat 
restoration and reduced adverse human-related impacts since listing 
have resulted in significant improvements to habitat quality and 
quantity. As a result, threats to the island night lizard have been 
largely ameliorated. Though population densities were not known at the 
time of listing, the island night lizard populations are currently 
estimated at 21.3 million lizards on San Clemente Island, 15,300 
lizards on San Nicolas Island, and 17,600 lizards on Santa Barbara 
Island (including Sutil Island).
    Purpose of the Regulatory Action. Under the Endangered Species Act 
of 1973, we may be petitioned to list, delist, or reclassify a species. 
In 2004, we received a petition from the Navy asserting that each of 
the three island occurrences of island night lizard qualifies for 
recognition as a DPS under the DPS Policy (61 FR 4722; February 7, 
1996) and requesting that we delist the San Clemente and San Nicolas 
Island DPSs (Navy 2004, p. 12). In 2006, we published a 90-day finding 
(71 FR 48900) concluding that the Navy's petition provided substantial 
information supporting that delisting may be warranted and we thus 
announced the initiation of a status review for this species, which is 
summarized in this document.
    Basis for the Regulatory Action. Under the Act, a species may be 
determined to be an endangered species or threatened species based on 
any of five factors: (A) The present or threatened destruction, 
modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (B) 
overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes; (C) disease or predation; (D) the inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms; or (E) other natural or manmade factors 
affecting its continued existence. We must consider the same factors in 
delisting a species. We may delist a species if the best scientific and 
commercial data indicate the species is neither threatened nor 
endangered for one or more of the following reasons: (1) The species is 
extinct; (2) the species has recovered and is no longer threatened or 
endangered; or (3) the original scientific data used at the time the 
species was classified were in error.
    Threats to the island night lizard at the time of listing included 
destruction of habitat by feral goats and pigs, predation, and the 
introduction of nonnatives throughout the species range. We reviewed 
all available scientific and commercial information pertaining to the 
five threat factors in our status review of the island night lizard. 
The results of our status review are summarized below.
     We consider the island night lizard to be ``recovered'' 
because all substantial threats to the lizard have been ameliorated.
     All remaining potential threats to the species and its 
habitat, with the exception of climate change, are currently managed 
through implementation of management plans.
     While we recognize that results from climate change such 
as rising air temperatures, lower rainfall amounts, and rising sea 
level are important issues with potential effects to the island night

[[Page 7909]]

lizard and its habitat, the best available information does not 
indicate that potential changes in temperature, precipitation patterns, 
and rising sea levels would significantly impact the island night 
lizard or its habitat. We expect that the lizard's susceptibility to 
climate change is somewhat reduced by its ability to use varying 
habitat types and by its broad generalist diet; therefore, we do not 
consider climate change to be a substantial threat to the species at 
this time.
     We find that delisting the island night lizard is 
warranted and we propose to remove this taxon from the Federal List of 
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.
     We have also prepared a draft post-delisting monitoring 
plan to monitor the island night lizard after delisting to verify that 
the species remains secure.

Acronyms Used

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

BMP = best management practices
CHIS = Channel Islands National Park
DPS = Distinct Population Segment
FMP = Fire Management Plan
GHG = greenhouse gas
INLMA = Island Night Lizard Management Area
INRMP = Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan
IPCC = Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
MSRP = Montrose Settlements Restoration Program
Navy = United States Department of the Navy
NEPA = National Environmental Policy Act
NHRP = Native Habitat Restoration Program
NPS = National Park Service
OMB = Office of Management and Budget
PDM = post-delisting monitoring
PRBO = Point Reyes Bird Observatory
Service = United States Fish and Wildlife Service
SHOBA = Shore Bombardment Area
SPR = Significant Portion of the Range

Public Comments

    We intend any final action resulting from this proposal to be based 
on the best scientific and commercial data available, and be as 
accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we request comments 
or information from other governmental agencies, tribes, the scientific 
community, industry, or other interested parties concerning this 
proposed rule. We particularly seek comments concerning:
    (1) Reasons why we should or should not delist the island night 
lizard under the Act.
    (2) New biological or other relevant data concerning any threat (or 
lack thereof) to this species.
    (3) New information concerning the population size or trends of 
this species.
    (4) New information on the restoration of Lycium californicum 
(California boxthorn), which contain the highest recorded densities of 
island night lizards throughout their range.
    (5) New information on the current or planned activities in the 
subject areas that may adversely affect or benefit the species.
    (6) New information and data on the projected and reasonably likely 
impacts to island night lizard or its habitat associated with climate 
change.
    (7) Information regarding how best to conduct post-delisting 
monitoring (PDM), should the proposed delisting lead to a final 
delisting rule (see Post-Delisting Monitoring Plan Overview section 
below, which briefly outlines the goals of the draft PDM Plan that is 
available for public comment concurrent with publication of this 
proposed rule). Such information might include suggestions regarding 
the draft objectives, and monitoring procedures for establishing 
population and habitat baselines, or for detecting variations from 
those baselines over the course of at least 9 years.
    You may submit your comments and materials concerning this proposed 
rule (and associated draft PDM Plan) by one of the methods listed in 
ADDRESSES. We will not accept comments sent by email or fax or to an 
address not listed in ADDRESSES. If you submit a comment via http://www.regulations.gov, we will post your entire comment--including your 
personal identifying information--on http://www.regulations.gov. If 
your written comments provide personal identifying information, you may 
request at the top of your document that we withhold this information 
from public review. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able 
to do so. We will post all hardcopy comments on http://www.regulations.gov. Please include sufficient information with your 
comment to allow us to verify any scientific or commercial data you 
submit.
    Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting 
documentation we used in preparing this proposed rule, will be 
available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, or by 
appointment during normal business hours at the Carlsbad Fish and 
Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section).

Public Hearings

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

Peer Review

    In accordance with our joint policy on peer review published in the 
Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (50 FR 34270), we will seek the expert 
opinions of at least three appropriate and independent specialists 
regarding this proposed rule and the draft PDM Plan. The purpose of 
peer review is to ensure that decisions are based on scientifically 
sound data, assumptions, and analyses. A peer review panel will conduct 
an assessment of the proposed rule and draft PDM Plan, and the specific 
assumptions and conclusions regarding the proposed delisting. This 
assessment will be completed during the public comment period.
    We will consider all comments and information we receive during the 
comment period on this proposed rule as we prepare the final 
determination. Accordingly, the final decision may differ from this 
proposal.

Background

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

Previous Federal Actions

    The island night lizard was proposed as a threatened species under 
the Act on June 1, 1976 (41 FR 22073) based on threats from habitat 
degradation from grazing by introduced animals on all

[[Page 7910]]

three islands and from ``habitat alterations caused by farming, fire, 
grazing by introduced animals, and invasion by exotic plants'' on San 
Nicolas and Santa Barbara Islands. A final rule listing the island 
night lizard as a threatened species was published in the Federal 
Register on August 11, 1977 (42 FR 40682). We finalized a Recovery Plan 
for the Endangered and Threatened Species of the California Channel 
Islands (Recovery Plan) in January 1984, which addressed the island 
night lizard and six other federally listed species occurring on San 
Clemente, San Nicolas, and Santa Barbara Islands (including Sutil 
Island) off the coast of southern California (Service 1984). 
Subsequently, we initiated notice of reviews and requested public 
comments concerning the status of the island night lizard under 4(c)(2) 
of the Act on September 27, 1982 (47 FR 42387), July 7, 1987 (52 FR 
25523), and November 6, 1991 (56 FR 56882). None of those reviews 
resulted in a recommendation to change the status of the species; no 
summaries were published.
    In 1997, the National Wilderness Institute submitted a petition to 
delist the island night lizard on the basis of data error (National 
Wilderness Institute 1997). In a letter to the National Wilderness 
Institute dated June 29, 1998 (Service 1998), we indicated that due to 
the low priority assigned to delisting activities in our 1997 Fiscal 
Year Listing Priority Guidance, we were not able to act on the petition 
at that time.
    In 2004, the Navy submitted a petition asserting that the island 
night lizard populations on San Clemente, San Nicolas, and Santa 
Barbara Islands each qualify as DPSs (Navy 2004). The petition stated 
that the island night lizard populations meet the discreteness and 
significance criteria of the Service's and National Marine Fisheries 
Service's Joint Policy Regarding the Recognition of Distinct Vertebrate 
Population Segments under the Act (DPS Policy) (61 FR 4722, February 7, 
1996). The petition sought the delisting of the San Clemente and San 
Nicolas Island distinct population segments of island night lizard.
    On July 7, 2005 (70 FR 39327), we announced the initiation of a 5-
year review of the island night lizard and requested that interested 
parties submit information regarding the species' status. We published 
a second notice in the Federal Register on November 3, 2005 (70 FR 
66842), extending the request for information concerning the island 
night lizard. No information regarding the status of the island night 
lizard was received in response to either information request. On 
August 22, 2006 (71 FR 48900), we published in the Federal Register a 
90-day finding for both the 1997 and 2004 petitions to delist the 
island night lizard. In our 90-day finding, we determined the 1997 
petition from the National Wilderness Institute did not provide 
substantial information indicating that delisting the island night 
lizard due to data error was warranted, which concluded our review of 
that petition. However, we determined the 2004 petition from the Navy 
provided substantial information indicating the petitioned actions of 
delisting the San Clemente and San Nicolas Island populations may be 
warranted and initiated a 12-month status review, which is represented 
by this proposed delisting rule.
    In September 2006, we completed a 5-year review of the island night 
lizard (Service 2006, pp. 24-26). In that review, we conducted a 
preliminary DPS analysis of the island night lizard populations on San 
Clemente, San Nicolas, and Santa Barbara Islands and concluded that the 
lizards on each island may qualify as DPSs under the Service's policy 
because they may each meet the discreteness and significance criteria. 
Additionally, the 2006 5-year review recommended revising the listing 
of the island night lizard by designating each island as a DPS. That 
review also recommended classifying the San Nicolas and Santa Barbara 
Island DPSs as threatened. Lastly, the 5-year review concluded that the 
San Clemente Island DPS had recovered due to the amelioration of 
threats and recommended delisting of this DPS (Service 2006, p. 26). 
However, we stated that we would continue to seek additional 
information and refine our preliminary DPS analysis in the context of 
the 12-month finding on the Navy's petition to delist the San Clemente 
and San Nicolas populations of the island night lizard (Service 2006, 
p. 5). We published a notice in the Federal Register on February 14, 
2007 (72 FR 7064), announcing the availability of completed 5-year 
reviews, including the island night lizard 5-year review. A copy of the 
2006 5-year review for the island night lizard is available on the 
Service's Environmental Conservation Online System [http://ecos.fws.gov/docs/five_year_review/doc776.pdf].
    Most recently, we published a notice of initiation of 5-year 
reviews in the Federal Register on May 21, 2010 (75 FR 28636), 
initiating a further status review for the island night lizard. We 
completed this review for the lizard on October 5, 2012. The 2012 
review recommended delisting the lizard throughout its entire range due 
to the amelioration of substantial threats and current management of 
potential threats to the species and its habitat (Service 2012a, p. 
44). As we are adopting this recommendation in this finding, we do not 
further address here the DPS status of the three island populations.

Species Information

    The island night lizard occurs on three of the Channel Islands off 
the coast of California: San Clemente Island, San Nicolas Island, and 
Santa Barbara Island. It also occurs on a small islet, Sutil Island, 
just southwest of Santa Barbara Island. The majority of information on 
island night lizard biology and life history comes from studies 
conducted on San Clemente Island, with some additional studies and 
information from San Nicolas and Santa Barbara islands. The information 
on island night lizards on Sutil Island is limited to the two occasions 
it was documented there.

Description

    Island night lizard adults average 2.6 to 4.3 inches (in) (65 to 
109 millimeters (mm)) in length from snout to vent (Goldberg and Bezy 
1974, p. 356; Fellers and Drost 1991, p. 28; Mautz 1993, p. 422). 
Dorsal coloration ranges from pale ash gray and beige to shades of 
brown and shades of black with varying uniform, mottled, and striped 
patterns (Bezy et al. 1980, p. 575; Fellers and Drost 1991, pp. 42-44). 
Both coloration and patterning are highly variable among lizards on all 
islands throughout their range (Bezy et al. 1980, p. 575; Fellers and 
Drost 1991, pp. 43-44).

Biology and Life History

    The island night lizard is a slow-growing, late-maturing, and long-
lived lizard (Goldberg and Bezy 1974, pp. 355-358; Fellers and Drost 
1991, pp. 36-42). Island night lizards can live on average 11 to 13 
years, with some individuals estimated to be 30 years of age (Fellers 
and Drost 1991, p. 38; Mautz 1993, p. 420; Fellers et al. 1998, p. 25).
    Members of the genus Xantusia are primarily active during the day 
(Bezy 1988, p. 8); however, they are highly sedentary and tend to 
remain under shelter such as dense vegetation or rocks (Fellers and 
Drost 1991, pp. 50, 55; Mautz 1993, p. 419). Sheltered areas provide 
suitable cover to protect the species from predation and allow 
sufficient amounts of sunlight to penetrate to the ground, providing a 
range of temperatures for thermal regulation (regulation of body 
temperature) (Mautz 2001a, pp. 9-12).
    Island night lizards are viviparous (bear live young) and reach 
sexual

[[Page 7911]]

maturity at approximately 3 to 4 years of age (Goldberg and Bezy 1974, 
p. 355; Fellers and Drost 1991, p. 40). Breeding begins around March or 
April and single broods of young are born around September (Goldberg 
and Bezy 1974, p. 353). Females demonstrate irregular intervals between 
reproductive cycles, but appear to approach a biennial cycle 
(approximately half of sexually mature females reproduce in any given 
year) (Goldberg and Bezy 1974, p. 358). The island night lizard is 
unique within the genus Xantusia for having a brood size greater than 
two (Fellers and Drost 1991, p. 59); however, brood size differs among 
each of the islands where the species occurs, with females on San 
Nicolas Island averaging 5.3 young per brood and females on both San 
Clemente and Santa Barbara Islands averaging 3.9 young per brood 
(Fellers and Drost 1991, p. 60).
    Based on multiple years of surveys on San Clemente Island, neonate 
(young of the year) island night lizards on average comprise about 25 
percent of the population (Mautz 1993, p. 422), but this percentage may 
be lower during periods of drought. Between August 2003 and July 2004, 
only 1.65 in (42 mm) of rain fell on San Clemente Island (Mautz 2005, 
p. 5). Surveys conducted in 2004 during the first part of the birthing 
season (early September) revealed neonate lizards comprised only 14 of 
the 199 lizards captured (approximately 7 percent) (Mautz 2005, p. 5). 
In contrast, surveys conducted in October 2006 following a very rainy 
winter on San Clemente Island (9.65 in (245 mm) of rainfall) revealed 
45 of the 127 lizards (35 percent of those captured) were yearlings (in 
the first year of life) (Mautz 2007, p. 4). Had the 2006 survey taken 
place in early September, the yearlings would have been counted as 
neonates. The significant difference in the percentage of neonates or 
yearlings between dry and wet years may be representative of the 
species' reproductive response to annual variations in rainfall and 
food abundance.
    Island night lizards are omnivorous, with a diet primarily 
consisting of insects and plant matter (Knowlton 1949, p. 45; 
Brattstrom 1952, pp. 168-171; Mautz 1993, p. 417). Analyses of stomach 
and digestive tract contents of 24 lizards collected from San Clemente 
Island in 1948 revealed an omnivorous diet consisting of insects 
(including species of Hemiptera, Coleoptera, Lepidoptera, Diptera, and 
Hymenoptera); grass, sedge, seeds, and fruits; lizard skin; and the 
remains of what appeared to be juvenile mice (Knowlton 1949, p. 45). In 
15 of the 24 specimens, plant material constituted at least 50 percent 
of the total food identified in the stomach contents (Knowlton 1949, p. 
46). A more detailed analysis of numerous species of Xantusia, 
including specimens of the island night lizard from San Clemente, San 
Nicolas, and Santa Barbara Islands, was conducted by Brattstrom (1952, 
p. 3). Based on samples of the stomach and intestinal contents, 
Brattstrom (1952, p. 172) determined that the island night lizard eats 
the widest variety of foods of any of the species of the Genus Xantusia 
included in the research. Although all age groups will eat both plant 
and animal material, younger lizards consume a greater amount of animal 
prey in their diet than older lizards (Fellers and Drost 1991, p. 56). 
Plant material found in the stomach or fecal samples of island night 
lizards included Mesembryanthemum crystallinum (crystalline iceplant); 
the fruits, flowers, and leaves of Lycium californicum (California 
boxthorn); and the fruits of Atriplex semibaccata (Australian saltbush) 
(Fellers and Drost 1991, pp. 55-56).

Distribution and Habitat

    The island night lizard is endemic to three Channel Islands (San 
Clemente, San Nicolas, and Santa Barbara) located off the southern 
California coast (Goldberg and Bezy 1974, pp. 355-358; Fellers and 
Drost 1991, p. 28) and a small islet (Sutil Island) located just 
southwest of Santa Barbara Island (Bezy et al. 1980, p. 579). San 
Clemente Island and San Nicolas Island are managed by the Navy, while 
Santa Barbara Island and Sutil Island are owned and managed by the 
National Park Service. San Clemente, San Nicolas, and Santa Barbara 
Islands vary in size and the amount of suitable habitat available for 
the island night lizard (see Table 1 below at the end of the 
``Population Density and Abundance'' section, which highlights the 
lizard's estimated population size for each island in relation to each 
island's size and the available habitat present). San Clemente Island 
is the largest and southernmost of the Channel Islands occupied by the 
lizard, consisting of approximately 37,200 acres (ac) (15,054 hectares 
(ha)), and is located approximately 68 miles (mi) (109 kilometers (km)) 
west of San Diego, California, and 55 mi (89 km) south of Long Beach, 
California (Navy 2002, p. 1.1). San Nicolas Island is the second 
largest and westernmost of the three Channel Islands inhabited by the 
lizard, consisting of approximately 14,230 ac (5,698 ha), and is 
located approximately 28 mi (45 km) southwest of Santa Barbara Island 
and 50 mi (80 km) northwest of San Clemente Island (Fellers et al. 
1998, p. 5). Santa Barbara Island is the smallest and northernmost 
island inhabited by the lizard, consisting of approximately 640 ac (259 
ha), and is located approximately 38 mi (61 km) from the mainland of 
southern California (Fellers and Drost 1991, pp. 5, 29) and 28 mi (45 
km) northeast of San Nicolas Island.
    Sutil Island is an islet located approximately 0.4 mi (0.65 km) 
southwest of Santa Barbara Island and consisting of approximately 13.7 
ac (5.5 ha). At the time of listing (42 FR 40682), island night lizards 
were not known to occur on Sutil Island. Since listing, we are aware of 
only two occasions where island night lizards were documented on Sutil 
Island and, currently, little information concerning the species on 
Sutil Island exists.
    Different surveys and descriptions of the vegetation types on San 
Clemente, San Nicolas, and Santa Barbara Islands have referred to the 
habitat supporting island night lizards under various names and 
descriptions. Two vegetation types identified by Sawyer et al. (2009) 
support most of the known dominant plant taxa associated with the 
lizard. The two vegetation types are Coast prickly pear scrub and 
Lycium californicum Provisional Shrubland Alliance. In Coast prickly 
pear scrub, cacti such as Opuntia littoralis (coastal prickly pear), 
Opuntia oricola (chaparral prickly pear), and Cylindropuntia prolifera 
(coast cholla) are dominant or codominant among the shrub canopy 
(Sawyer et al. 2009, pp. 599-601). Lycium californicum Provisional 
Shrubland Alliance is characterized by the prevalence of L. 
californicum (Sawyer et al. 2009, p. 588).
    Cylindropuntia prolifera is referred to by its older Latin name, 
Opuntia prolifera, in numerous references cited in this document (for 
example, Fellers and Drost 1991, pp. 34, 68; Mautz 2001a, p. 17; Navy 
2002, p. 3.54). While the Service recognizes that C. prolifera is the 
currently accepted name of this species and is used in discussions that 
reference current literature in this document (for example, Sawyer et 
al. 2009 and NPS in litt. 2011b), we will use the older name of O. 
prolifera only when referencing previous literature. Vegetation now 
classified as Coast prickly pear scrub includes communities variously 
referred to as Maritime Succulent Scrub and Maritime Desert Scrub in 
several references cited within this document (Fellers and Drost 1991, 
pp. 34, 68; Mautz 2001a, p. 17; Navy 2002, p. 3.54). Lycium 
californicum Provisional Shrubland Alliance (Sawyer et al. 2009, p. 
588) is

[[Page 7912]]

a vegetative community in which L. californicum is a dominant or 
codominant species and taxa such as Coreopsis gigantea (giant 
coreopsis), Bergerocactus emoryi (golden-spined cereus), and C. 
prolifera are present. This is also referred to as Maritime Succulent 
Scrub, Maritime Desert Scrub, or boxthorn habitat by numerous 
references included within this document (for example, Fellers and 
Drost 1991, pp. 34, 68; Mautz 2001a, p. 17; Navy 2002, p. 3.54). To 
eliminate any confusion, we will refer to the vegetation types that 
comprise high-quality habitat and supports high island night lizard 
densities as L. californicum and Opuntia spp. habitats.
    Surveys conducted on the islands occupied by the island night 
lizard indicate strong habitat preferences for Lycium californicum and 
Opuntia spp. habitats (Fellers and Drost 1991, p. 34; Schwemm 1996, pp. 
3-4; Mautz 2001a, p. 23; Mautz 2004, p. 18). These habitats are 
considered high quality because they offer suitable cover to protect 
the species from predation and allow sufficient amounts of sunlight to 
penetrate to the ground, which provides a thermal mosaic for thermal 
regulation (Mautz 2001a, pp. 9-11, 17-18). Island night lizards are 
also known to occupy grasslands, Coreopsis gigantea stands, mixed shrub 
communities, rocky outcrops, and cobble and driftwood habitats (Fellers 
and Drost 1991, p. 34; Schwemm 1996, pp. 3-4; Mautz 2001a, p. 23; Mautz 
2004, p. 18). Loose rocks or crevices in clay soils are also important 
habitat components within island night lizard habitat (Fellers and 
Drost 1991, p. 53; Mautz 2001a, p. 17).
    Mautz (2001a, pp. 17-18) suggested that vegetation community 
characteristics may be as important to island night lizard habitat as 
species composition. This assertion is corroborated by Fellers et al. 
(1998, p. 16), who concluded that plywood debris, which serves as cover 
in grasslands with scattered Haplopappus (haplopappus) and few to no 
other shrub species, was a factor that contributed to high densities of 
lizards at sampling sites on San Nicolas Island.
    In addition to natural cover, artificial cover created by human 
presence on San Clemente, San Nicolas, and Santa Barbara Islands may 
also be utilized by island night lizards, thereby enabling them to 
persist in areas of otherwise unsuitable habitat. During surveys for 
the species on San Clemente and San Nicolas Islands, lizards were 
routinely found under pieces of plywood discarded by U.S. Navy (Navy) 
personnel (Fellers et al. 1998, p. 18). The presence of these boards, 
some of which may have been in place for a decade or more, provided an 
opportunity for researchers to assess longevity of the species because 
some specific lizards were recorded (captured and recaptured) over long 
intervals of time (Fellers et al. 1998, p. 7). Underlying soils may 
also indicate whether an area supports lizards. Extensive trapping 
conducted on San Nicolas Island determined that loose sand substrates 
are unsuitable for the species (Fellers et al. 1998, pp. 11-17). Very 
little information exists concerning the vegetative communities on 
Sutil Island.
San Clemente Island
    San Clemente Island supports approximately 19,640 acres (ac) (7,948 
hectares (ha)) of high-quality island night lizard habitat distributed 
primarily along the western marine terraces (Navy 2002, p. 3.54). There 
are approximately 13,791 ac (5,581 ha) of Opuntia spp. habitat and 
5,849 ac (2,367 ha) of Lycium californicum habitat (Service 1997, p. 6; 
Navy 2002, p. 3.54). From 1992 to 2008, a long-term trend analysis was 
conducted, which indicated no clear trend in habitats dominated by 
Opuntia spp. or L. californicum on San Clemente Island, but there was 
an approximate 6 percent reduction of L. californicum and 10 percent 
reduction of Opuntia spp. in the cover of those habitats on the island 
(Tierra Data Inc. 2010, pp. 48-67). This observed decrease was likely 
due to high rainfall experienced in the baseline years from 1991 to 
1993, in comparison to subsequent rainfall (Tierra Data Inc. 2010, p. 
125).
    Low- to moderate-quality island night lizard habitat consisting of 
Artemisia spp. (sagebrush), Eriogonum spp. (buckwheat), Deinandra 
clementina (as Hemizonia clementina) (Catalina tarweed), as well as 
Lycium californicum and Opuntia spp., occupies approximately 386 ac 
(156 ha) of the northeastern escarpment of San Clemente Island (Navy 
2002, p. 3.65). Low-quality grassland habitat occupies approximately 
11,831 ac (4,788 ha) on the central plateau and eastern scarp of the 
island (Navy 2002, p. 3.54). Lizards on San Clemente Island have not 
been found in closed-canopy canyon or woodland habitats, which do not 
allow sufficient amounts of sunlight to penetrate the canopy cover for 
thermal regulation, or active sand dunes that do not offer sufficient 
cover for the species (Mautz 2001a, pp. 4, 9, 18).
San Nicolas Island
    Due to differing survey methodologies and precision of mapping 
efforts, the amount of high-quality habitat on San Nicolas Island has 
varied over time. Based on these various surveys and methodologies, 
little high-quality habitat is known to exist on San Nicolas Island. 
Site specific vegetation transects completed in 1996 failed to locate 
Lycium californicum and only once located Opuntia spp. (Chess et al. 
1996, pp. 19-46). Fellers et al. (1998, p. 46) conducted an island-wide 
analysis of the vegetation, utilizing aerial photos and on the ground 
surveys, and estimated 1.9 ac (0.8 ha) of high-quality island night 
lizard habitat and about 161 ac (65 ha) of lower-quality mixed shrub 
habitat occur on San Nicolas Island. In 2003, Junak (2003, p. 7) also 
conducted an island-wide survey of the vegetation utilizing helicopter 
flyovers, on the ground surveys, and Global Positioning System 
receivers and estimated that approximately 11.2 ac (4.6 ha) of high-
quality habitats were available on the island. That high-quality 
habitat occurs primarily on the eastern half of the island and is 
patchily distributed with lower-quality habitat (Fellers et al. 1998, 
pp. 13-14). The lower-quality habitat is a mixed shrub community 
comprising Haplopappus spp., Calystegia macrostegia (island morning-
glory), Coreopsis gigantea, Atriplex semibaccata, Deinandra clementina, 
Lupinus albifrons (silver lupine), Baccharis pilularis (coyote brush), 
and Artemisia spp. (Fellers et al. 1998, pp. 16-17). Island night 
lizards generally do not inhabit the western half of San Nicolas Island 
due to a lack of suitable vegetative or rock cover. One exception is a 
0.6-ac (0.2-ha) area of cobble and driftwood habitat at Redeye Beach 
that is just above the intertidal zone on the northwestern side of the 
island (Fellers et al. 1998, p. 11). Occupancy within this habitat, 
which supports the highest density of lizards on the island, is unique 
to San Nicolas Island (Fellers et al. 1998, p. 11).
Santa Barbara Island
    Habitat on Santa Barbara Island is limited due to the small size of 
the island and the extensive habitat damage that occurred historically 
when goats (Capra spp.), sheep (Ovis spp.), and European rabbits 
(Oryctolagus cuniculus) were present (Service 1984, pp. 45-46; Fellers 
and Drost 1991, p. 70). Using aerial photographs of the island from 
1983 and ground surveys, Fellers and Drost (1991, p. 68) identified 
approximately 14.8 ac (6 ha) of high-quality habitat on Santa Barbara 
Island that included Lycium californicum, Opuntia spp., and rock 
outcrops. Low- to moderate-quality habitat on Santa Barbara Island also 
contains some

[[Page 7913]]

Lycium californicum and Opuntia spp., but is dominated by Coreopsis 
gigantea, Eriogonum giganteum var. compactum (Santa Barbara Island 
buckwheat), and Eriophyllum nevinii (silver-lace) (Fellers and Drost 
1991, p. 70); these native shrub communities are patchily distributed 
in grasslands across a majority of the island (Halvorson et al. 1988, 
p. 111).
    The National Park Service (NPS) is preparing a new preliminary 
vegetative analysis of Santa Barbara Island, but it has not been 
finalized (NPS 2011b, in litt.). Preliminary results from surveys 
conducted in 2010 (in a report not yet finalized) by the NPS indicate 
an increase in high-quality habitat, where Lycium californicum and 
Opuntia spp. are dominant or codominant among the vegetation (NPS 
2011b, in litt.). Results indicate that there are approximately 16.6 ac 
(6.7 ha) of L. californicum and 9.3 ac (3.8 ha) of Opuntia oricola 
habitat where these taxa account for greater than 39 percent of the 
vegetative cover (Rodriguez 2012, pers. obs.). A preliminary analysis 
concerning Cylindropuntia prolifera, another documented habitat for the 
lizard, is not yet available.
Sutil Island
    Little is known about the habitat on Sutil Island. Sutil Island 
consists of approximately 13.7 ac (5.5 ha) (Rudolph 2011, pers. obs.), 
much of it unbroken bedrock, with some vegetation identified as island 
night lizard habitat, such as low shrubs, Lycium californicum, and 
rocks and fissures, but these are sparsely distributed (Drost 2011, 
pers. obs.).

Population Density and Abundance

    At listing (42 FR 40682), island night lizard population densities 
were not known on any of the inhabited Channel Islands. Island night 
lizards appear to show preference for several habitat types (Fellers 
and Drost 1991, p. 68; Mautz 2001a, pp. 17-19); however, determining an 
overall population estimate is difficult due to the sedentary and 
reclusive behavior of the species. The highest lizard population 
densities are observed in Lycium californicum and Opuntia spp. habitats 
(Fellers and Drost 1991, pp. 34, 68; Mautz 2001a, p. 17). Lizards are 
found in lower densities throughout shrub communities, rocky outcrops, 
grasslands, and in stands of Coreopsis gigantea (Service 1984, p. 93; 
Fellers and Drost 1991, p. 35; Mautz 2001a, pp. 17-22). Mautz (2004, p. 
8) reported that a large number of lizards are repeatedly recaptured in 
survey traps. High recapture rates, in conjunction with large survey 
grids relative to their home range size, indicate that standardized 
trapping provides a good estimate of local densities (White 1982, p. 
130). Therefore, trapping in suitable cover on San Clemente, San 
Nicolas, and Santa Barbara Islands can be a good indicator of lizard 
density and overall abundance (Mautz 2001a, p. 17).
San Clemente Island
    Surveys conducted over a 7-year period indicate that San Clemente 
Island contains the largest population of island night lizards. From 
1991 to 1998, researchers calculated population densities using data 
from pitfall traps, cover boards, and rock turn surveys in high-quality 
island night lizard habitat (Mautz 2001a, pp. 17-23, 43-54). The Navy 
conducted similar surveys in 2009 and 2010; as of 2011 (Mautz 2011, 
pers. comm.), those results were not yet analyzed and are not currently 
available.
    Density estimates were assessed by analyzing capture rates and 
mark-recapture data, based on the 1991 to 1998 surveys, using three 
methodologies: (1) A minimum estimate measure of the number of animals 
intercepted in a single sample; (2) a Lincoln Index; and (3) a 
Regression Index (Mautz 2001a, pp. 21-23). The minimum estimate measure 
resulted in a population of 8.18 million on San Clemente Island; 
however, Mautz (2001a, pp. 20-22) indicated that this number represents 
an underestimate because most of the lizard population is inaccessible 
in dense vegetation or underground, and pitfall traps intercept only 
animals active in the immediate vicinity of the trap. The Lincoln Index 
estimated that 16.71 million lizards occurred on San Clemente Island; 
however, Mautz (2001, pp. 43-44) again cautioned that this method could 
underestimate the number of lizards because inadequate mixing of those 
captured lizards back into the population could result in a higher 
proportion of recaptures. The Regression Index estimated that 25.89 
million lizards occurred on San Clemente Island; however, Mautz (2001, 
p. 51) cautioned that this method could overestimate the number of 
lizards because the index requires a closed sampling population and the 
extended period of time of sampling from 1991-1998 may accommodate an 
increased amount of immigration and emigration on the study plots.
    Mautz (2001a, pp. 21-23) suggested that a reasonable estimate of 
island night lizard density on San Clemente Island could be calculated 
from the average between the Lincoln and Regression Indexes. This 
calculation resulted in an estimate of 21.3 million lizards on the 
island. Evaluation of the habitat type where the data was collected was 
used to estimate lizard densities in high-quality habitat: 1,934 
lizards per 2.47 ac (1 ha) in Lycium californicum habitat, 2,558 
lizards per 2.47 ac (1 ha) in Opuntia littoralis and O. oricola 
habitat, and 1,423 lizards per 2.47 ac (1 ha) in O. prolifera habitat 
(Mautz 2001a, p. 23). These high-quality habitats occur on the lower 
marine terraces of the west side of the island and support 
approximately half of the estimated population (10.4 million) of 
lizards (Mautz 2001a, p. 29). In the lower-quality habitat areas, 
island night lizards were estimated at 1,142 lizards per 2.47 ac (1 ha) 
in upland plateau grasslands and 926 lizards per 2.47 ac (1 ha) in 
scarp grassland and coastal sage (Mautz 2001a, p. 23). No lizards were 
found in canyon woodland and active sand dunes on the island (Mautz 
2001a, p. 23). Because there has not been a new population estimate or 
much change in the quantity of habitat, the Service and Navy continue 
to use the estimate of 21.3 million lizards.
San Nicolas Island
    Estimates of the number of island night lizards on San Nicolas 
Island have been assessed from a number of data collection efforts. The 
primary study conducted surveys from 1992 to 1995 using pitfall traps, 
coverboards, and Sherman small mammal traps arranged in transects 
through suitable habitat and on the edges of impenetrable habitats 
(Fellers et al. 1998, p. 7). That study also utilized data from surveys 
conducted by Tom Murphey from 1984 to 1985 (Fellers et al. 1998, p. 5). 
Lastly, Fellers et al. (1998, p. 71) also used grid arrays conducted 
from 1992 to 1995, from some of the areas initially surveyed by Tom 
Murphey.
    Fellers et al. (1998, p. 46) estimated the number of lizards on San 
Nicolas island and density of lizards in different habitat types by 
comparing survey data from populations on Santa Barbara Island with 
aerial photograph estimates of the habitat on San Nicolas Island. 
Overall, lizard abundance on San Nicolas Island was estimated at 15,300 
individuals (Fellers et al. 1998, p. 20). Island night lizard densities 
were estimated at 3,200 lizards per 2.47 ac (1 ha) in Lycium 
californicum habitat, 2,500 lizards per 2.47 ac (1 ha) in Opuntia spp. 
habitat, and 200 lizards per 2.47 ac (1 ha) in mixed-shrub habitat 
(Fellers et al. 1998, p. 46). Island night lizards are found primarily 
on the eastern half of San Nicolas Island; however, the island does 
support an

[[Page 7914]]

exceptionally high density of lizards (4,000 per 2.47 ac (1 ha)) in 
cobble and driftwood habitat found on Redeye Beach at the northwestern 
end of the island (Fellers et al. 1998, pp. 11, 20). The mixed-shrub 
habitat is only utilized by the island night lizard on San Nicholas 
Island and it is unknown whether it supports a self-sustaining lizard 
population. Through examination of aerial photographs and ground 
surveying efforts, Fellers et al. (1998, p. 46) estimated approximately 
0.13 ac (0.05 ha) of L. californicum and 1.17 ac (0.47 ha) of Opuntia 
spp. existed on San Nicolas Island.
    Subsequent to Fellers et al. (1998), Junak (2003, p. 7) revised the 
estimated amount of Opuntia spp. and Lycium californicum habitats on 
San Nicolas Island, and concluded there were 11.2 ac (4.6 ha) of these 
habitats available on the island, compared to 1.3 ac (0.52 ha) 
previously. A new population assessment of island night lizards on San 
Nicolas Island has not been conducted, though we anticipate that the 
number of lizards has increased due to the increase in high-quality 
habitat. Currently, the Navy's 2010 Integrated Natural Resources 
Management Plan (INRMP) for San Nicolas Island continues to use the 
population size of approximately 15,000 lizards established by Fellers 
et al. (1998, p. 20) as the current population estimate (Navy 2010, p. 
3-43).
Santa Barbara Island
    Surveys to assess island night lizard population status were 
conducted on Santa Barbara Island from 1981 to 1988 using pitfall traps 
and Sherman small mammal traps in transects and grid arrays depending 
on the island's topography (Fellers and Drost 1991, p. 30). Island 
night lizard densities were estimated at 3,213 lizards per 2.47 ac (1 
ha) in Lycium californicum habitat, 2,476 lizards per 2.47 ac (1 ha) in 
Opuntia spp. habitat, and 1,665 lizards per 2.47 ac (1 ha) in rock 
habitat (Fellers and Drost 1991, p. 68). All other habitat types or 
vegetative communities on the island displayed a density of zero 
(Fellers and Drost 1991, p. 68). Based on estimates of available 
habitat types and extrapolation of lizard densities within those 
habitat types, a total of approximately 17,600 lizards were estimated 
to occur on Santa Barbara Island in 1991 (Fellers and Drost 1991, p. 
68). A new preliminary vegetative analysis of Santa Barbara Island is 
being drafted and until it is finalized, we will use Fellers and Drost 
(1991, p. 68) density estimates as the most recent estimate. The 
Service and NPS continue to use this estimate, because there has been 
little change in the quantity of habitat available and no additional 
population estimates have been conducted.
Sutil Island
    Sutil Island was not known to be occupied at the time the island 
night lizard was listed. In 1978, a survey of Sutil Island was 
conducted and 12 lizards were identified (Wilson 1979, as cited in 
Power 1979, p. 8.5). In 1991, Drost (2011, pers. obs.) visited the 
island and though there was little habitat that could be turned or 
searched, he observed one lizard in a rock crevice. He noted that 
though vegetative cover on the island was sparse, there were surface 
cracks, fissures, and boulder cover that could provide cover. We have 
no surveys for the island night lizard on Sutil Island since 1978. 
Because Sutil Island is within close proximity to Santa Barbara Island, 
has very few to no visitors annually, and like Santa Barbara Island is 
managed by the NPS, we will incorporate Sutil Island in the discussion 
of Santa Barbara Island for the remainder of this document.

             Table 1--Island Size, Amount of Habitat, and Population Size of the Island Night Lizard
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                     Estimated
                 Island                              Size               Amount of high-quality      population
                                                                               habitat*              (million)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
San Clemente............................  37,200 ac (15,054 ha).....  19,640 ac (7,948 ha)......            21.3
San Nicolas**...........................  14,230 ac (5,698 ha)......  11.8 ac (4.8 ha)..........          15,300
Santa Barbara...........................  640 ac (259 ha)...........  25.9 ac (10.5 ha).........          17,599
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* High-quality habitat (Lycium californicum and Opuntia spp.).
** Amount of habitat includes cobble and driftwood habitat unique to San Nicolas Island.

Recovery Planning and Implementation

    Section 4(f) of the Act directs us to develop and implement 
recovery plans for the conservation and survival of endangered and 
threatened species unless we determine that such a plan will not 
promote the conservation of the species. The Act directs that, to the 
maximum extent practicable, we incorporate into each plan:
    (1) Site-specific management actions that may be necessary to 
achieve the plan's goals for conservation and survival of the species;
    (2) Objective, measurable criteria, which when met would result in 
a determination, in accordance with the provisions of section 4 of the 
Act, that the species be removed from the list; and
    (3) Estimates of the time and cost required to carry out the plan.
    Revisions to the list (adding, removing, or reclassifying a 
species) must reflect determinations made in accordance with sections 
4(a)(1) and 4(b) of the Act. Section 4(a)(1) requires that the 
Secretary determine whether a species is endangered or threatened (or 
not) because of one or more of five threat factors. Objective, 
measurable criteria, or recovery criteria contained in recovery plans, 
must indicate when we would anticipate an analysis of the five threat 
factors under section 4(a)(1) would result in a determination that a 
species is no longer endangered or threatened. Section 4(b) of the Act 
requires the determination be made ``solely on the basis of the best 
scientific and commercial data available.''
    While recovery plans are intended to provide guidance to the 
Service, States, and other partners on methods of minimizing threats to 
listed species and on criteria that may be used to determine when 
recovery is achieved, they are not regulatory documents and cannot 
substitute for the determinations and promulgation of regulations 
required under section 4(a)(1) of the Act. Determinations to remove a 
species from the List made under section 4(a)(1) of the Act must be 
based on the best scientific and commercial data available at the time 
of the determination, regardless of whether that information differs 
from the recovery plan.
    In the course of implementing conservation actions for a species, 
new information is often gained that requires recovery efforts to be 
modified accordingly. There are many paths to accomplishing recovery of 
a species, and recovery may be achieved without all criteria being 
fully met. For example, one or more recovery criteria may have been 
exceeded while other criteria may

[[Page 7915]]

not have been accomplished, yet the Service may judge that, overall, 
the threats have been minimized sufficiently, and the species is robust 
enough, that the Service may reclassify the species from endangered to 
threatened or perhaps delist the species. In other cases, recovery 
opportunities may have been recognized that were not known at the time 
the recovery plan was finalized. These opportunities may be used 
instead of methods identified in the recovery plan.
    Likewise, information on the species may be learned that was not 
known at the time the recovery plan was finalized. The new information 
may change the extent that recovery criteria need to be met for 
recognizing recovery of the species. Overall, recovery of species is a 
dynamic process requiring adaptive management, planning, implementing, 
and evaluating the degree of recovery of a species that may, or may 
not, fully follow the guidance provided in a recovery plan.
    Thus, while a recovery plan provides important guidance on the 
direction and strategy for recovery, and indicates when a rulemaking 
process may be initiated, the determination to remove a species from 
the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife is ultimately 
based on an analysis of whether a species is no longer endangered or 
threatened. The following discussion provides a brief review of 
recovery planning for the island night lizard, as well as an analysis 
of the recovery criteria and goals as they relate to evaluating the 
status of the species.
    In 1984, the Service published the Recovery Plan for the Endangered 
and Threatened Species of the California Channel Islands (Recovery 
Plan) that addressed three candidate species and seven federally 
threatened or endangered plants and animals, including the island night 
lizard, distributed among three of the Channel Islands (Service 1984). 
Given the threats in common to the 10 species addressed, the Recovery 
Plan is broad in scope and focuses on restoration of habitats and 
ecosystem function. The Recovery Plan included six general objectives 
covering all 10 of the plant and animal species:
    (1) Identify present adverse impacts to biological resources and 
strive to eliminate them.
    (2) Protect known resources from further degradation by: (a) 
Removing feral herbivores, carnivores, and selected exotic plant 
species; (b) controlling unnatural erosion in sensitive locations; and 
(c) directing military operations and adverse recreational uses away 
from biologically sensitive areas.
    (3) Restore habitats by revegetating disturbed areas using native 
species.
    (4) Identify areas of San Clemente Island where habitat restoration 
and population increase of certain addressed taxa may be achieved 
through a careful survey of the island and research on habitat 
requirements of each taxon.
    (5) Delist or upgrade the listing status of those taxa that achieve 
vigorous, self-sustaining population levels as the result of habitat 
stabilization, restoration, and preventing or minimizing adverse human-
related impacts.
    (6) Monitor effectiveness of recovery effort by undertaking 
baseline quantitative studies and subsequent follow-up work (Service 
1984, pp. 106-107).
    Our review of the Recovery Plan focuses on the actions identified 
that promote the recovery of the island night lizard. The Recovery Plan 
adopts a generalized strategy to eliminate or control selected threats 
associated with nonnative species, erosion, and habitat disturbance. 
Elimination of these threats and restoration of degraded habitat on the 
Channel Islands are necessary for recovery of the island night lizard. 
The Recovery Plan states that ``[o]nce the threats to these taxa have 
been removed or minimized and the habitats are restored, adequately 
protected, and properly managed, reclassification for some taxa may be 
considered'' (Service 1984, p. 108). Actions specified in the Recovery 
Plan that are pertinent to recovery of the threatened island night 
lizard include:
    (1) Eliminate selected nonnative species from San Clemente, San 
Nicolas, and Santa Barbara Islands.
    (2) Conduct a soil survey of San Clemente Island.
    (3) Construct check-dams to control erosion on San Clemente Island.
    (4) Revegetate eroded and disturbed areas on San Clemente Island.
    (5) Conduct specific programs for the island night lizard once 
management recommendations are formulated to enhance populations.
    (6) Provide good-quality habitat for endangered or threatened birds 
(includes expanding Lycium californicum, which is high-quality island 
night lizard habitat).
    (7) Modify existing management plans to minimize habitat 
disturbance.
    (8) Implement policies to minimize habitat disturbance or loss.
    (9) Prevent the introduction of additional nonnative taxa.
    (10) Maintain restriction of recreational use of Santa Barbara 
Island to existing designated trails.
    (11) Establish an ecological reserve for regions of high density of 
island night lizards on San Clemente and San Nicolas Islands.
    (12) Determine island night lizard essential habitat, habitat 
requirements and preferences, population size, distribution, and 
effects of nonnative plants on the species and utilize data for 
development of habitat recommendations and habitat restoration.
    (13) Evaluate the success of management actions.
    (14) Increase public support for recovery efforts.
    (15) Use existing laws and regulations to protect the island night 
lizard.
    Specific criteria for determining when threats have been removed or 
sufficiently minimized for the island night lizard are not identified 
in the Recovery Plan. However, six objectives are described in general 
to achieve recovery of the Channel Island species. Following are a 
summary of actions and activities that have been implemented according 
to the 1984 Recovery Plan (Service 1984, pp. 106-107), and that 
contribute to achieve these recovery objectives.

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

    Actions taken by the Navy and NPS to contribute to achieving this 
objective include: education and outreach; development and 
implementation of management plans to identify, minimize, and address 
threats; management, control, and elimination of nonnative predators, 
herbivores, and invasive plants; consultation and coordination with the 
Service; and control of erosion. These actions are discussed briefly 
below and in greater detail in the five-factor analysis.
    The Navy has taken steps to eliminate incidental impacts to the 
island night lizard by educating all Navy personnel stationed on San 
Clemente and San Nicolas Islands. All Navy personnel receive handouts, 
pamphlets, or posters presenting information on the distribution, 
threats, and management responsibilities of sensitive resources, such 
as federally threatened and endangered species, including the island 
night lizard. The NPS has also taken steps to eliminate incidental 
impacts to the lizard by educating all visitors to Santa Barbara Island 
(including Sutil Island). Brochures discussing the island's unique 
wildlife, including the island night lizard, as well

[[Page 7916]]

as maps of designated trails that all visitors must use to decrease 
disturbance to wildlife and lessen damage to resources, are available 
to all visitors of the island at the visitors' center or online at the 
Channel Islands National Park's Web site (http://www.nps.gov/chis/index.htm).
    The Recovery Plan also recommends that existing laws and 
regulations be used to protect candidate, threatened, and endangered 
species, including the island night lizard. Based on the occurrences of 
this species on federally owned land, the primary laws with potential 
to protect the island night lizard include the National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA), the Sikes Act Improvement Act, NPS Organic Act, 
Federal Noxious Weed Act, Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act, 
and the Act.
    NEPA requires Federal action agencies to integrate environmental 
values into their decision-making processes by considering the 
environmental impacts of their proposed actions and reasonable 
alternatives to those actions. Since its enactment in 1970, the Navy 
has implemented NEPA for actions on San Clemente and San Nicolas 
Islands, and the NPS has implemented NEPA for actions on Santa Barbara 
Island (including Sutil Island).
    Pursuant to the Sikes Act Improvement Act of 1997, the Navy adopted 
INRMPs for San Clemente Island in 2002 and San Nicolas Island in 2010 
that help guide the management and protection of each island's natural 
resources (Navy 2002; Navy 2010). INRMPs incorporate to the maximum 
extent practicable, ecosystem management principles and provide the 
landscape necessary to sustain military land uses. Each INRMP includes 
specific management actions and objectives to address the Recovery Plan 
task of incorporating recovery actions into existing management plans 
(see Factor D below). Through these mechanisms, the Navy is required to 
identify and address all threats to federally listed species during the 
INRMP planning process. If possible, threats are ameliorated, 
eliminated, or mitigated through this procedure. The Navy strives to 
fulfill this objective through both internal planning (INRMP) and 
compliance with Federal law (consultations with the Service under the 
Act and preparing environmental review documents under NEPA). The 
actions taken by the Navy under the INRMPs have not completely 
eliminated all adverse impacts, but many threats to island night 
lizards have been greatly reduced. These contributions to the 
elimination of adverse impacts fulfill a majority of this objective 
with respect to island night lizard as stated in the Recovery Plan.
    Since listing of the Island night lizard under the Act in 1977, the 
Navy and NPS have had a history of consultation and coordination with 
the Service regarding the effects of various activities on the island 
night lizard on San Clemente, San Nicolas, and Santa Barbara Islands.

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

    In 1992, the Navy fulfilled a major part of this objective by 
removing the last of the feral goats and pigs from San Clemente Island. 
Currently, the Navy has an ongoing predator control program to trap and 
remove feral cats and rats from San Clemente Island. From 2009 to 2010, 
the Montrose Settlements Restoration Program (MSRP) assisted the Navy 
by removing all feral cats from San Nicolas Island. In 1981, the last 
of the European rabbits (a nonnative herbivore) were removed from Santa 
Barbara Island. These actions to remove predators and nonnative 
herbivores, or develop removal programs for potential predators, have 
fulfilled this component of objective 2 in the Recovery Plan to remove 
feral and nonnative animals. Additionally, the Navy on both San 
Clemente and San Nicolas Islands, in accordance with the Federal 
Noxious Weed Act and through implementation of the Navy's INRMPs, 
conducts actions to reduce or eliminate all transport of nonnative 
plants to each island, and has facilitated programs to remove nonnative 
taxa that currently occur on the islands. On Santa Barbara Island, the 
NPS implements policies and management activities (in accordance with 
the Organic Act) that restrict all nonnative plant species from the 
island. Additionally, in partnership with the MSRP, nonnative plant 
removal is currently occurring on Santa Barbara Island. These actions 
to control nonnative plants on all islands occupied by the island night 
lizard have fulfilled most of this component of objective 2 in the 
Recovery Plan to remove exotic plant species.
    The Navy is also taking steps to minimize the effects of erosion on 
San Clemente Island. Erosion control measures are being incorporated 
into project designs to minimize the potential to exacerbate existing 
erosion (O'Connor 2009, pers. comm.). Along with the Navy's planned 
expansion of its military operational areas, the Navy is developing an 
erosion control plan that will minimize soil erosion within and 
adjoining the operational areas (Navy 2008b, pp. 5-30; Service 2008 p. 
62). The proposed erosion control plan includes development and 
application of best management practices (BMPs) such as: establishing 
setbacks and buffers from steep slopes, drainages, and sensitive 
resources; constructing site-specific erosion control structures; 
conducting revegetation and routine maintenance; and monitoring and 
adjusting the BMPs as appropriate. While the erosion control plan is 
being prepared, the Navy has postponed all major battalion movements 
and training, and is using BMPs to minimize erosion when creating and 
approving projects that might contribute to erosion on the island. The 
Navy has taken steps to reduce the threat of erosion on the island and 
contribute to the achievement of this objective.
    Through implementation of INRMPs on San Clemente and San Nicolas 
Islands, the Navy conducts measures to avoid areas with highly erodible 
soils. Additionally, San Clemente has a nursery to grow native island 
plants, which are then used to assist in erosion control of disturbed 
sites. San Nicolas Island has developed a nursery for similar erosion 
control measures. On Santa Barbara Island, NPS requires the active 
preservation of soil resources and the avoidance or minimization of 
impacts to soil. These actions to prevent erosion fulfill this 
component of objective 2 of the Recovery Plan.
    As recommended by the INRMP, the Navy established the Island Night 
Lizard Management Area (INLMA), which is avoided to the maximum extent 
practicable to assist with the recovery of the island night lizard and 
its habitat. Additionally, through implementation of INRMPs on both San 
Clemente and San Nicolas Islands, the Navy defines and marks work areas 
to prevent lizard mortality. The NPS has designated trails on Santa 
Barbara Island to allow visitors to view the island's ecosystems 
without being obtrusive or destructive to the natural resources. These 
actions to avoid biologically sensitive areas fulfill objective 2 with 
respect to island night lizard as stated in the Recovery Plan.

[[Page 7917]]

Objective 3: Restore Habitats by Revegetating Disturbed Areas Using 
Native Species

    To restore the structure and function of native island ecosystems, 
the Navy, through implementation of its INRMP on San Clemente Island, 
has developed the Native Habitat Restoration Program and constructed a 
native plant nursery where plants, including species that provide a 
benefit to island night lizard habitat, are grown from seed, and stem 
and root cuttings, and outplanted annually. Additionally, the MSRP 
currently grows native plant species in a nursery on Santa Barbara 
Island to support island night lizard restoration projects. To date, 
approximately 15,000 native plants, some providing a benefit to the 
island night lizard, have been restored to Santa Barbara Island. These 
actions to restore habitat by revegetation fulfill the objective as 
stated in the Recovery Plan.

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

    Since listing, research on the life history and biology of the 
island night lizard has been ongoing on San Clemente Island. Research 
has determined the island night lizard's distribution and density in 
various habitats on San Clemente Island (Mautz 1993; Mautz 2001a). 
Additionally, the Navy developed the INLMA (as part of the 2002 INRMP) 
to conserve the largest area of high-quality habitat with the highest 
densities of island night lizards. The Navy currently avoids and 
minimizes impacts to the lizard for any projects or training activities 
proposed in this area through consultation with the Service. Thus, 
these actions completely fulfill the objective as stated in the 
Recovery Plan.

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

    Since listing, threats to the island night lizard have been largely 
ameliorated, including removal of all nonnative herbivores from San 
Clemente and Santa Barbara Islands and removal of feral cats from San 
Nicolas Island. Given that habitat types that are strongly associated 
with island night lizards appear to be increasing slowly through 
natural recovery and restoration projects, as well as the amelioration 
of all substantial threats to the island night lizard, the populations 
on the three islands appear to be stable. Remaining threats, such as 
nonnative plants, land use and development, fire, and erosion, are 
potentially of concern, but are actively managed through implementation 
of management plans and measures described in the Navy's INRMPs and 
NPS's management policies and active management plans. Thus, the 
objective to improve the status of the island night lizard to the point 
it can be delisted has been fully met.

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

    Since listing and publication of the Recovery Plan, island night 
lizard monitoring has been conducted on San Clemente Island, with one 
assessment of the population estimated at approximately 21.3 million 
island night lizards. Although no subsequent population assessments 
have occurred since 2001, ongoing monitoring of individual body 
condition and neonate-to-juvenile ratios indicates the density of 
island night lizards still strongly corresponds to certain vegetation 
types. Assessments of the extent and quality of those habitats have 
been conducted more recently, as discussed below in more detail.
    San Clemente Island supports the largest amount of high-quality 
island night lizard habitat. Monitoring from 1992 to 2008 has shown 
fluctuating short-term trends, but no clear long-term trend, in Opuntia 
spp. or Lycium californicum habitats on San Clemente Island (Tierra 
Data Inc. 2010, pp. 48-67). However, there was an approximate 6 percent 
reduction of L. californicum and 10 percent reduction of Opuntia spp. 
in percent cover of those habitats on the island (Tierra Data Inc. 
2010, pp. 48-67). This reduction was likely due to high rainfall 
experienced in the baseline years from 1991 to 1993, in comparison to 
subsequent rainfall (Tierra Data Inc. 2010, p. 125). While research has 
not indicated how this reduction in cover affects island night lizard 
populations, monitoring surveys and estimates of island night lizard 
populations indicate the species remains abundant in suitable habitat. 
We expect continued monitoring on San Clemente Island, including that 
associated with ongoing and proposed habitat restoration projects, to 
show island night lizard populations remaining stable or increasing on 
the island. These monitoring efforts fulfill the objective as stated in 
the Recovery Plan.
    On San Nicolas Island, there has been one assessment of the island 
night lizard's population in 1998 and two assessments of the vegetation 
associated with high densities of island night lizards. The first 
vegetation assessment was conducted in 1998 by Fellers et al. (1998). A 
second vegetation assessment was conducted in 2003 by Junak (2003, p. 
7), which indicated an increase in high-quality Opuntia spp. and L. 
californicum habitats from 1.9 ac (0.8 ha) in 1998 to 11.2 ac (4.6 ha). 
This increase was probably due to more current data and better mapping 
technology. Monitoring of lizards on San Nicolas Island will be 
conducted every 5 years by the U.S. Geological Survey in connection 
with proposed habitat restoration projects (Navy 2010, p. 4.55). 
Because this species population is strongly correlated with abundance 
of habitat, and we have seen an increase in available habitat, we 
expect island night lizard populations to remain stable or increase in 
number on the island. These monitoring efforts fulfill the objective as 
stated in the Recovery Plan.
    On Santa Barbara Island, there has been one assessment of the 
island night lizard population and two assessments of the amount of 
high-quality habitat consisting of Opuntia spp. and Lycium 
californicum. The first habitat assessment was conducted from an 
examination of aerial photographs from 1983 and indicated a total of 
14.8 ac (6.0 ha) of L. californicum and Opuntia spp. habitats (Fellers 
and Drost 1991, p. 31). However, a new preliminary draft assessment 
indicates that approximately 16.6 ac (6.7 ha) of L. californicum and 
9.3 ac (3.8 ha) of O. oricola habitats exist in which these species 
comprise greater than 39 percent of the vegetative cover (Rodriguez 
2012, pers. obs.). Additionally, the MSRP continues to restore native 
habitat on Santa Barbara Island, including species that provide 
moderate-quality habitat for the island night lizard. Therefore, we 
expect the island night lizard population to remain stable or increase 
on Santa Barbara Island. These monitoring actions fulfill this 
objective as stated in the Recovery Plan.

Summary of Recovery Plan Implementation

    In summary, while the Recovery Plan does not include taxon-specific 
downlisting or delisting criteria for the island night lizard, many of 
the actions identified in the Recovery Plan have been implemented to 
benefit the lizard. With the exception of a few recommended recovery 
actions that are

[[Page 7918]]

still ongoing, nearly all recovery objectives have been fulfilled 
through research and monitoring efforts on all occupied islands, 
implementation of the Navy's INRMPs on San Clemente and San Nicolas 
Islands, and NPS's management policies on Santa Barbara Island. Most 
significantly, the Navy removed feral goats and pigs from San Clemente 
Island in 1992. There are currently a number of programs in place to 
improve habitat suitability, prevent introduction of nonnative species, 
guide and track management efforts, and protect occurrences of the 
island night lizard. We investigated other potential threats to the 
lizard and concluded that they do not pose significant impacts. As a 
result of the management actions conducted by the Navy and NPS, 
substantial threats have been ameliorated throughout the species' range 
and the majority of objectives discussed in the Recovery Plan are 
fulfilled.
    Based on our review of the Recovery Plan, we conclude that the 
status of the island night lizard has improved due to past and current 
activities being implemented by the Navy and NPS, and the objectives of 
the Recovery Plan have been met. The effects of these activities on the 
status of island night lizard are discussed in further detail below.

Summary of Factors Affecting the Species

    Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533) and its implementing 
regulations (50 CFR part 424) set forth the procedures for adding 
species to, reclassifying species on, or removing species from the 
Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife (List). We may 
determine a species to be an endangered or threatened species due to 
one or more of the five factors described in section 4(a)(1) of the 
Act. The five listing factors are: (A) The present or threatened 
destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range; (B) 
overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes; (C) disease or predation; (D) the inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms; and (E) other natural or manmade 
factors affecting its continued existence. We must consider these same 
five factors in delisting a species. We may delist a species according 
to 50 CFR 424.11(d), if the best available scientific and commercial 
data indicate that the species is neither endangered nor threatened for 
the following reasons: (1) The species is extinct; (2) the species has 
recovered and is no longer endangered or threatened; or (3) the 
original scientific data used at the time the species was classified 
were in error. The five factors listed under section 4(a)(1) of the Act 
and their analyses in relation to the island night lizard are presented 
below. This analysis of threats requires an evaluation of both the 
threats currently facing the subspecies and the threats that could 
potentially affect it in the foreseeable future, following the 
delisting and the removal of the Act's protections.
    The Act defines an endangered species as a species that is in 
danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range (16 U.S.C. 1532(6)). A threatened species is one that is likely 
to become an endangered species in the foreseeable future throughout 
all or a significant portion of its range (16 U.S.C. 1532(20)). The 
word ``range'' refers to the range in which the species currently 
exists, and the word ``significant'' refers to the value of that 
portion of the range being considered to the conservation of the 
species. The ``foreseeable future'' is the period of time over which 
events or effects reasonably can or should be anticipated, or trends 
extrapolated.
    In considering what factors might constitute threats, we must look 
beyond the exposure of the species to a particular factor to evaluate 
whether the species may respond to the factor in a way that causes 
actual impacts to the species. If there is exposure to a factor and the 
species responds negatively, the factor may be a threat, and during the 
status review, we attempt to determine how significant a threat it is. 
The threat is significant if it drives or contributes to the risk of 
extinction of the species, such that the species warrants listing as 
endangered or threatened as those terms are defined by the Act. 
However, the identification of factors that could impact a species 
negatively may not be sufficient to compel a finding that the species 
warrants listing. The information must include evidence sufficient to 
suggest that the potential threat is likely to materialize and that it 
has the capacity (i.e., it should be of sufficient magnitude and 
extent) to affect the species' status such that it meets the definition 
of endangered or threatened under the Act.

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

    At the time of listing (42 FR 40682), the present or threatened 
destruction, modification, or curtailment of habitat or range was 
identified as a factor affecting the island night lizards on San 
Clemente, San Nicolas, and Santa Barbara Islands. Threats attributed to 
this factor included the introduction of nonnative herbivores and the 
continuing negative effects of overgrazing on the native vegetation, 
including those plants identified as island night lizard habitat (42 FR 
40682, pp. 40683-40684). The introduction of nonnative plant species 
was also discussed in the listing rule (42 FR 40682, p. 40684), 
although under the Factor E section. Since listing, and as identified 
in the 2006 5-year review of the island night lizard (Service 2006, pp. 
10-24), threats from nonnative plants, land use or development, and 
fire also were considered potential threats to island night lizard 
habitat and are discussed under Factor A. The 2012 5-year review 
addressed the potential threat of erosion to island night lizard 
habitat or range under Factor A (Service 2012a, pp. 26-27), and thus it 
is also included in this discussion. And finally, we include discussion 
on potential impacts of climate change to habitat under Factor A (as 
well as Factor E as it relates to impacts to individuals of the species 
itself).
Nonnative Animals
    At listing we determined that overgrazing by introduced nonnative 
herbivores was a threat to the island night lizard on all occupied 
islands throughout the species' range (42 FR 40682, pp. 40683-40684). 
Nonnative herbivores were introduced to San Clemente, San Nicolas, and 
Santa Barbara Islands during the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s, resulting 
in the degradation of lizard habitat (42 FR 40682, pp. 40682-40683; 
Navy 2002, pp. 3.34-3.35; Navy 2005, p. 7). In both the 2006 and 2012 
5-year reviews, the Service reported that all nonnative herbivores had 
been removed from these islands and concluded that habitat destruction 
or modification from the introduction of nonnative herbivores was no 
longer a threat to the species now or in the future (Service 2006, pp. 
11-12; Service 2012a, p. 19).

San Clemente Island

    Introduced nonnative herbivores and omnivores have historically and 
adversely impacted the quantity and quality of habitat and food sources 
for the island night lizard on San Clemente Island. The last of the 
nonnative grazing animals was removed from San Clemente Island by 1992; 
however, the effects of overgrazing, such as depletion of native 
plants, remain prominent on the central plateau and terraces between 
canyons on the southern portion of the island. To monitor the response 
of vegetation to the removal of these nonnative grazers, the Navy 
implemented a long-term monitoring program from 1992 to 2008 (Tierra 
Data

[[Page 7919]]

Inc. 2010). The analysis from the monitoring program indicated a slight 
reduction in the percent cover of Lycium californicum and Opuntia spp. 
habitats on San Clemente Island. This apparent decline is likely due to 
an overestimate in the baseline years from 1991 to 1993 resulting from 
higher rainfall, compared to a reduction in rainfall in subsequent 
years (Tierra Data Inc. 2010, pp. 48-67). This slight reduction in 
percent cover is not a cause for concern because this habitat remains 
well-distributed across the western terraces of the island where there 
was less grazing impact and where the Navy has established the INLMA. 
The Navy has no intention of reintroducing large nonnative herbivores 
to San Clemente Island and has a ``no pets policy'' to control the 
introduction of any nonnative species (Navy 2002, p. 3.119). Because 
the major threat to habitat (nonnative herbivores) has been eliminated 
and the Navy has an active habitat management and restoration program, 
as described below, we expect the amount and distribution of habitat to 
remain relatively stable in the future, although some fluctuation is 
expected related to variable rainfall.
    To restore the structure and function of native island ecosystems 
impacted by nonnative herbivores, the Navy implements a Native Habitat 
Restoration Program (NHRP) on San Clemente Island (Navy 2002, p. 3.51). 
As part of that program, the Navy operates a native plant nursery that 
supports habitat restoration projects for native species such as the 
San Clemente Island loggerhead shrike (Lanius ludovicianus mearnsi) and 
island night lizard. Plants propagated at the nursery include species 
that benefit the island night lizard, such as Lycium californicum, 
Artemisia californica, and Coreopsis gigantea (Navy 2002, p. 3.51). The 
Navy outplants at several locations each year to promote native species 
(Munson 2011, pers. obs.). The Navy has also planted L. californicum at 
Wilson Cove on the northeastern side of San Clemente Island for 
restoration of areas disturbed by military activities (Munson 2011, 
pers. obs.). These restoration efforts implemented by the Navy have 
improved the abundance of native habitat on San Clemente Island and 
have provided a benefit to multiple species, including the island night 
lizard.

San Nicolas Island

    Although nonnative herbivores were not present on San Nicolas 
Island at the time of listing (42 FR 40682), the island has a history 
of grazing activities prior to listing that resulted in impacts on 
native plant communities. The compounding effects of overgrazing and 
wind erosion allowed for the emergence of sand dunes on San Nicolas 
Island, which do not provide habitat for island night lizards (Dunkle 
1950, p. 262; Schwartz 1994, p. 173). More recently, in 2011, the Navy 
completed a Biosecurity Plan for San Nicolas Island to prevent the 
transport and establishment of nonnative vertebrate species on the 
island (Navy 2011, p. 1) (See discussion under Factor C: Disease or 
Predation below). The goal is to protect the existing biodiversity on 
the island by preventing further degradation of habitat on the island 
from grazing activities now and in the future. Additionally, the Navy 
is in the process of developing a habitat management and restoration 
program to improve the abundance of native plant species on the island. 
To assist in habitat restoration activities on San Nicolas Island (see 
Land Use and Development section below), the Navy has created a plant 
nursery that will yield plants, including species identified as 
components of island night lizard habitat for future restoration 
projects on San Nicolas Island (Ruane 2013, pers. comm.).
    We anticipate no future impacts to island night lizard habitat as a 
result of nonnative herbivores, and we expect the amount and 
distribution of habitat to remain relatively stable in the future 
(although some fluctuation is expected related to variable rainfall) 
because: (1) The major threat to habitat (nonnative herbivores) was 
eliminated from San Nicolas Island, thus preventing further reduction 
of lizard habitat from this threat; and (2) the Navy is in the process 
of developing a habitat management and restoration program.

Santa Barbara Island and Sutil Island

    Island night lizard habitat on Santa Barbara Island was modified 
due to the introduction of nonnative herbivores such as European 
rabbits, which heavily impacted the quantity and quality of habitat for 
the island night lizard. European rabbits were removed from Santa 
Barbara Island by 1981 (Sumner 1959, p. 5; Fellers and Drost 1991, p. 
70, p. 354; Knowlton et al. 2007, p. 535). The NPS currently has a 
nonnative species prevention policy that restricts bringing any animal 
onto the island (NPS 2012). Since the removal of nonnative herbivores, 
Santa Barbara Island native plant communities, such as Artemisia spp., 
Lycium californicum, and others, have shown resurgence and are 
increasing in extent (Fellers and Drost 1991, p. 70). Research 
conducted on Santa Barbara Island from 1982 to 2002 showed an increase 
in native island night lizard plant communities of Opuntia littoralis 
and Eriogonum giganteum, but a decline in O. prolifera (Corry 2006, pp. 
51-53).
    Since 2007, the MSRP has conducted native plant restoration 
projects on Santa Barbara Island (Harvey and Barnes 2009, pp. 15-22) to 
benefit Xantus's Murrelet (Synthiliboramphus hypoleucus) and Cassin's 
Auklet (Ptychoramphus aleuticus) (Harvey and Barnes 2009, p. 4). Many 
of the native plants used in these restoration projects also provide 
island night lizard habitat, such as low- to moderate-quality habitat 
(Coreopsis gigantea, Eriogonum giganteum var. compactum, Deinandra 
clementine, Eriophyllum nevinii, Artemisia nesiotica (sage), and 
Baccharis pilularis) and high-quality habitat (Lycium californicum) 
(Fellers and Drost 1991, p. 34; Fellers et al. 1998, pp. 11-12; Harvey 
and Barnes 2009, p. 7; Mautz 2001a, p. 23; Navy 2005, p. 30). Since 
2007, the MSRP has restored approximately 5 ac (2 ha) of native habitat 
on Santa Barbara Island, consisting of approximately 15,000 native 
plants (Little 2011, pers. obs.). Because the major threat to habitat 
(nonnative herbivores) has been eliminated and the NPS has an active 
habitat management and restoration program, we expect the amount and 
distribution of habitat to remain relatively stable in the future.
Nonnative Plants
    At listing, the introduction of nonnative plants was noted as 
having adversely impacted all California Channel Islands (42 FR 40682, 
p. 40684). While the introduction of nonnative herbivores impacted much 
of the native vegetation, nonnative plants introduced to the islands 
have also modified habitat for the island night lizard. In the 2006 5-
year review, we noted that nonnative plant species may alter ecosystem 
dynamics by changing soil nitrogen cycling, and may compete with native 
plants for space or other resources such as light, water, and nutrients 
(Service 2006, p. 12). Nonnative plant species can also alter 
ecological processes such as fire frequency that otherwise could affect 
the persistence of the island night lizard (Navy 2002, p. 3.114). Low 
densities of lizards observed in some of the nonnative plant 
communities suggest that modification of the native plant communities 
can reduce the available resources for this taxon. The 2006 and 2012 5-
year reviews of the island night lizard found that habitat destruction 
or modification from the introduction of nonnative plants is of 
potential concern,

[[Page 7920]]

but due to current management and preventative actions implemented on 
all occupied islands, is not a substantial threat to the species 
throughout its range now and in the future (Service 2006, p. 13; 
Service 2012a, pp. 20-22).

San Clemente Island

    Nonnative plants were introduced to San Clemente Island 
approximately 200 years ago and, in combination with periods of 
extended drought and overgrazing in the late-1800s, have changed the 
composition and structure of the vegetative communities on the island 
(Navy 2002, p. 3.31). The introduction of nonnative plant species to 
the island has resulted in the loss of adequate shrub cover and 
proliferation of annual grasses on parts of San Clemente Island 
(Service 1997, p. 7). The most noticeable changes have occurred in the 
northern grasslands and dune systems (Navy 2002, p. 3.31).
    Nonnative plant introduction can occur on San Clemente Island as a 
result of equipment and materials transported to the island from the 
mainland (Service 1997, p. 7) and potentially seeds deposited by birds. 
Seeds and propagules of nonnative plants adhere to vehicles in mud or 
soil, and can also be brought onto the island in gravel used for road 
maintenance (Service 1997, p. 7). The predominant nonnative plant 
species on San Clemente Island include Foeniculum vulagare (fennel), 
Carpobrotus spp. (iceplant), Salsola spp. (Russian thistle), and 
several abundant nonnative annual grasses (Service 1997, p. 7).
    Research evaluating the percent cover of nonnative plant species in 
plot transects on San Clemente Island was conducted from 1992 to 1996, 
2000, 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2008 (Tierra Data Inc. 2010, p. 26). 
Although likely attributed to higher rainfall totals from 1991 to 1993 
compared with drought conditions from 2002 to 2003 and in 2006, results 
indicate an approximately 20 percent decrease in percent cover among 
nonnative plant species, from baseline data collected during the 1992 
to 1993 field season (Tierra Data Inc. 2010, p. 125).
    Habitat destruction or modification from nonnative plants is a 
potential concern, but not currently a substantial threat to the island 
night lizard due to current management efforts on San Clemente Island. 
Although previous invasions of nonnative plants probably occurred 
through introduction of plants preferred for livestock grazing, current 
nonnative species invasions are typically introduced by equipment used 
during military activities on the island. The potential pathways for 
the introduction of nonnative plants to San Clemente Island are many, 
including human activities and seeds deposited by birds. Due to the 
continued risk of nonnative plant species, the Navy monitors for new 
introductions and when found, treats them appropriately (Service 2008, 
pp. 58-59). In accordance with the Federal Noxious Weed Act and as 
implemented through objectives set forth within the Navy's INRMP, the 
Navy continues to reduce the risk of introducing additional nonnative 
plants to San Clemente Island and manage the removal of nonnative plant 
taxa already occurring on the island (Navy 2002, p. 3.116). The Navy's 
objectives on San Clemente Island are as follows:
    (1) Use of only native species in landscaping (Navy 2002, p. 
3.116); and
    (2) Wash all vehicles and equipment used in construction or 
training activities prior to coming onto the island, including high-
pressure spraying to the underside and wheel wells to remove mud and 
weed seed (Navy 2002, p. 3.116).
    Additional nonnative plant management techniques described within 
the INRMP include: Controlled burns, mechanical removal, and herbicide 
treatment (Navy 2002, pp. 3.115-3.116). Although nonnative plants will 
continue to pose a risk to island night lizard habitat, the Navy has 
taken steps to curtail habitat and plant community alteration by 
nonnative plants and such steps are expected to continue into the 
future.
    The Navy has implemented an NHRP on San Clemente Island to restore 
the structure and function of native island ecosystems (Navy 2002, p. 
3.51). To assist the NHRP, the Navy has constructed a native plant 
nursery where plants are currently grown from seed or stem and root 
cuttings (see discussion above in the Nonnative Animals section). 
Impacts to island night lizard habitat from nonnative plants may be a 
persistent low-level threat, but due to implementation of the Navy's 
INRMP, current nonnative species management, and native species 
restoration, nonnative species are not currently, nor do we see them 
becoming in the future, a substantial threat to the lizard on San 
Clemente Island.

San Nicolas Island

    The introduction of nonnative plants, combined with the effect of 
nonnative herbivores on San Nicolas Island, has limited the quantity of 
high-quality island night lizard habitat. The most recent information 
indicates that just over half of the 278 plant taxa on San Nicolas 
Island are nonnative species, and that San Nicolas Island has the 
highest proportion (approximately 51 percent) of nonnative plant taxa 
of any of the eight Channel Islands (Junak 2008, p. 67).
    Many potential pathways exist for the introduction of nonnative 
plants to San Nicolas Island, including human activities and seeds 
deposited by birds. Due to the continued risk of nonnative plant 
species being introduced to the island, the Navy monitors for nonnative 
plant introductions and when found, treats them appropriately (Service 
2008, pp. 58-59).
    In accordance with the Federal Noxious Weed Act, and as implemented 
through objectives set forth within the Navy's INRMP, the Navy 
continues to reduce the risk of introducing additional nonnative plants 
to San Nicolas Island and manage the removal of nonnative plant taxa 
already occurring on the island (Navy 2010, p. 4.75-4.76). The Navy's 
objectives on San Nicolas Island are as follows:
    (1) Require vehicles and equipment to be cleaned prior to shipment 
to the island and between uses at different island construction sites, 
document that all gravel and fill materials brought to the island are 
certified weed free, and prohibit the use of nonnative plants for 
landscaping unless specifically approved by the Environmental Division 
(Navy 2010, p. 4.75).
    (2) Require that native plant species be used for landscaping 
unless specifically approved (Navy 2010, p. 4.76).
    (3) Inspect barge and aircraft before they leave the mainland or 
for transport arriving directly from other ports or airports, inspect 
prior to disembarking on San Nicolas Island (Navy 20010, p. 4.76).
    Additionally, the Navy treats and monitors select nonnative species 
annually on San Nicolas Island, such as Brassica tournefortii (Saharan 
mustard) and Foeniculum vulgare (fennel) (Ruane 2011, pers. obs.). We 
anticipate that implementation and continued efforts in the future of 
the measures described above will remove existing nonnative plants and 
reduce the rate of introduction of these nonnatives on San Nicolas 
Island. Therefore, we do not consider nonnative species to be a 
substantial threat to the lizard now or in the future.

Santa Barbara Island and Sutil Island

    Historically, Santa Barbara Island consisted of a native shrubland 
that provided habitat for the island night lizard; however, the 
introduction of nonnative herbivores and nonnative plants to the island 
has modified the native habitat to a more herbaceous-

[[Page 7921]]

dominated habitat that is not as readily used by the lizard (Halvorson 
et al. 1988, p. 109). The native scrub cover that once dominated Santa 
Barbara Island is currently inundated by a nonnative annual grassland 
community throughout half of the eastern terrace of the island 
(Halvorson et al. 1988, p. 113). Transect data collected on Santa 
Barbara Island from 1984 to 2002 indicated a reduction in percent cover 
of some native plants (Hemizonia clementina and Opuntia prolifera) that 
provide low- to moderate-quality habitat for the island night lizard 
(Corry and McEachern 2009, p. 208). However, data indicate an increase 
in average combined and percent cover for many other native plant 
species on the island that provide habitat for the island night lizard 
(Coreopsis gigantea, Baccharis pilularis, Eriogonum giganteum v. 
compactum, Opuntia littoralis, and Lycium californicum) (U.S. 
Geological Survey (USGS) 2001, p. 6, Appendix A; Corry and McEachern 
2009, pp. 206-208). Recovery of low- to moderate-quality island night 
lizard habitat is expected to occur through the natural expansion of 
native shrub habitat into nonnative grasslands (USGS 2001, p. 6).
    The NPS recognizes the potential threat of nonnative plant species 
and is taking steps to reduce the risk of new introductions. Current 
NPS management policy, in accordance with the NPS Organic Act, dictates 
that the NPS will control detrimental nonnative species for the 
protection of native species' habitats (NPS 2006b, p. 45). In 2007, the 
MSRP began propagating a native stock of seeds (which were previously 
collected on Santa Barbara Island) at the Channel Islands National Park 
greenhouse (Harvey and Barnes 2009, p. 7). Species propagated at the 
greenhouse included those found within low- to moderate-quality island 
night lizard habitat, such as Coreopsis gigantea, Eriogonum giganteum 
var. compactum, Deinandra clementina, Eriophyllum nevinii, Artemisia 
nesiotica, Baccharis pilularis, and high-quality habitat, such as 
Lycium californicum (Fellers and Drost 1991, p. 34; Fellers et al. 
1998, pp. 11-12; Mautz 2001a, p. 23, Navy 2005, p. 30). To date, the 
MSRP has restored approximately 5 ac (2 ha) of native habitat for 
seabirds on Santa Barbara Island (Little 2011, pers. obs.). This 
restoration effort has outplanted approximately 15,000 native plants to 
the island, some of which as discussed above, provide habitat for 
island night lizards (Little 2011, pers. obs.). Additionally, from 2007 
to 2011 the NPS in coordination with the MSRP conducted nonnative plant 
species removal from Santa Barbara Island on 4.5 ac (1.8 ha) (Harvey 
2012, pers. comm.). The NPS began drafting a General Management Plan 
for the Channel Islands that will address the continuing effort to 
monitor and restore native vegetation on Santa Barbara Island (Faulkner 
2011, pers. comm.); this plan is not yet completed. Due to current and 
future management efforts described above, we do not consider nonnative 
species a substantial threat to the lizard on Santa Barbara Island now 
or in the future.
Land Use and Development
    At listing (42 FR 40682), the destruction or modification of 
habitat from land use and development was not identified as a threat to 
the island night lizard. The 2006 and 2012 island night lizard 5-year 
reviews concluded that land use and development is not a substantial 
threat to the species or its habitat on any of the three occupied 
islands (Service 2006, p. 18; Service 2012a, pp. 22-24).

San Clemente Island

    San Clemente Island is owned and administered by the Navy and 
provides operating facilities and support services for the U.S. Pacific 
Fleet. Activities on and around the island include aviation training, 
undersea warfare, amphibious warfare, special warfare, and Joint Task 
Force exercises (Navy 2002, pp. 2.1-2.2). There are more than 300 
buildings and structures on the island, including an airstrip on the 
far northern part of the island. Several quarries and borrow pits are 
used to provide materials for road construction and maintenance. 
Intensive training, foot traffic, and construction activities impact 
island night lizards in the areas where such activities occur. However, 
most of the buildings and structures are located on the far northern 
and far southern parts of San Clemente Island, while most of the high-
quality Lycium californicum and Opuntia spp. habitats are found on the 
western portion of the island (Navy 2002, pp. 2-14). The western 
portion of the island receives little training use because it is 
recognized by the Navy to contain high-quality lizard habitat (Navy 
2002, p. 3.82). The INLMA was created on this portion of the island to 
provide a focus area for island night lizard management activities (see 
Factor D), including habitat restoration, to offset the effects of 
surface-disturbing construction projects (Service 2008, p. 200).
    In 2008, the Navy initiated consultation with the Service, pursuant 
to section 7 of the Act, for proposed new training activities for San 
Clemente Island (Service 2008, p. 11). Many of the proposed activities 
covered by the consultation occur in areas already receiving sustained 
use by the military (Service 2008, p. 10). We estimated that from 2009 
to 2014, approximately 2.5 percent of the island night lizard 
population on San Clemente Island could incidentally be harmed or 
killed through modification of habitat resulting from these proposed 
activities. These adverse impacts were associated with increased fires, 
off-road assault vehicle use, construction of buildings, and other 
military-related activities (Service 2008, pp. 10, 206). However, we 
concluded that this potential loss would not jeopardize the continued 
existence of the species or appreciably reduce its recovery (Service 
2008, pp. 205, 209).
    While island night lizard habitat loss and disturbance occur on San 
Clemente Island as a result of military land use and development 
projects such as training and testing activities, the impacts of these 
activities are of minor consequence given the size of the island, the 
amount of suitable habitat that remains for the species, the 
distribution of the island night lizard population across the island, 
the size of the species' population on the island, and the avoidance of 
areas designated for island night lizard management. Therefore, we do 
not consider land use and development a substantial threat to the 
island night lizard or its habitat on San Clemente Island now or in the 
future.

San Nicolas Island

    Since 1944, San Nicolas Island has been part of the Naval Air 
Warfare Center Weapons Division Sea Range, managed by the Naval Air 
Weapons Station at China Lake, California. The island currently houses 
approximately 200 Navy personnel that occasionally conduct small-scale 
training exercises. The island also serves as a launch platform for 
missile testing (Navy 2002, p. 10). Facilities on the island are used 
to conduct radar tracking and control, range surveillance, telemetry, 
and communications for weapons testing (Navy 2005, pp. 6, 10). There 
are approximately 156 buildings and structures on San Nicolas Island, 
along with 47 mi (76 km) of paved and unpaved roads (Navy 2005, p. 6.) 
Additionally, a 10,000-foot (ft) (3,048-meter (m)) concrete and asphalt 
runway occupies a mesa on the eastern part of the island and, in 1989, 
a missile testing and pilot training impact area was established (Navy 
2005, pp. 6, 19).
    Since listing, some permanent loss of island night lizard habitat 
has occurred

[[Page 7922]]

from the development of structures and mission-essential activities. 
Island night lizards and their habitats do not generally occur in 
launching areas and thus are not likely to be affected by the 
activities that occur there (Service 2001, p. 19). Of the 11 patches of 
high-quality habitat identified by Fellers et al. (1998, p. 61), 1 is 
in close proximity to the airstrip and 3 others are in the proximity of 
existing structures (Navy 2005, p. 8). On average, less than five 
projects per year have potential to impact lizards, such that 
relocation of individuals may be required into adjacent habitat. Most 
of those projects are generally small--approximately 0.01 ac (0.004 ha) 
(Smith 2009, pers. comm.). Habitat is re-created in these circumstances 
by piling cut Opuntia spp. pads on top of boards and placing them into 
the adjacent area (Smith 2009, pers. comm.). The wooden boards provide 
temporary habitat for the lizards while the Opuntia spp. cuttings take 
root. Island night lizards have not been monitored after relocations; 
thus, there is no information available to determine the success of 
these actions. Although high-quality Opuntia spp. and Lycium 
californicum habitats are limited on San Nicolas Island, overall land 
use on the island is not intensive and measures are implemented 
consistent with the INRMP to try to safely relocate island night 
lizards that may be impacted by projects.
    As part of a consultation with the Service on the effects of a new 
wind energy project on San Nicolas Island, a biological opinion (8-8-
10-F-35) was completed on August 26, 2010, and subsequently amended 
(814402011-F-0060) on April 22, 2011. During a 4- to 5-year span 
beginning in 2010, the Navy will install up to 11 wind-powered turbines 
and an energy storage facility on San Nicolas Island (Service 2010, p. 
3). The Service expects this wind energy project to adversely affect 
the island night lizard by increasing indirect effects of predation by 
American kestrel (Falco sparverius) and barn owls (Tyto alba), causing 
injury or death of individual lizards by foot traffic and construction, 
and habitat loss and loss of habitat connectivity (Service 2011, pp. 5-
7). However, the Navy will implement numerous measures in accordance 
with management practices stated in the INRMP to reduce the project's 
effects on the island night lizard: avoidance and minimization measures 
(including capture and relocation); species monitoring; management of 
nonnative plant species; erosion control; and contaminant cleanup 
(Service 2011, p. 5). We concluded in that biological opinion that we 
do not expect the effects of the proposed project to jeopardize the 
continued existence of the island night lizard (Service 2011, p. 8).
    While island night lizard habitat loss and disturbance occurs on 
San Nicolas Island as a result of military land use and development, 
the impacts of these activities are minimal and the Navy conducts 
adequate management efforts to minimize the effects on the island night 
lizard. Therefore, we do not consider land use and development a 
substantial threat to the island night lizard or its habitat on San 
Nicolas Island now or in the future.

Santa Barbara Island and Sutil Island

    Minimal land use activities have occurred on Santa Barbara Island. 
Farming occurred on Santa Barbara Island from the mid-1800s to early 
1900s when portions of the east and west terraces were cleared for 
agriculture; however, the farming effort was largely unsuccessful and 
it appears that all farming practices ceased by 1926 (Corry 2006, p. 
19). Santa Barbara Island is now managed as a unit of the NPS, with 
land management focused on the preservation of natural, archaeological, 
and aesthetic resources (NPS 2006b, pp. 44-62). A visitor center and 
camping area is located in proximity to a cove area that serves as a 
landing spot for visitors to the island (NPS 2011a). Public use of the 
island is limited to primitive camping, hiking, wildlife observation, 
and other nonconsumptive uses (NPS 20011b). With the exception of 
potential fire caused by human-related activities (see Fire discussion 
below), land use is not a substantial threat to the island night lizard 
or its habitat on Santa Barbara Island due to active management 
efforts, existing regulatory mechanisms (see discussion of the Organic 
Act below under Factor D), and current management policies, which are 
expected to continue in the future.
Fire
    At listing (42 FR 40682), fire was not identified as a threat to 
the island night lizard or its habitat. Historically, ranching 
operations were conducted on San Clemente and San Nicolas Islands, with 
vegetation periodically burned to facilitate planting of feed crops for 
nonnative herbivores (Navy 2002, p. 3.28; Navy 2005, p. 7). Fire would 
normally be a rare occurrence on San Clemente, San Nicolas, and Santa 
Barbara Islands, but human use and occupancy of the islands have 
increased the incidence of wildfires on all three islands to varying 
degrees.
    Since the time of listing, we have identified fire as a potential 
impact to island night lizard. On San Clemente and San Nicolas Islands, 
this potential threat is associated with military activities and the 
introduction of nonnative annual grasses, which increase the 
availability of readily flammable fuels (Service 2006, p. 13; Service 
2012a, pp. 25-27). Vegetative communities including Lycium 
californicum, Opuntia prolifera, and Coreopsis gigantea, which support 
moderate to high island night lizard densities, are intolerant of and 
not well adapted to fire (Navy 2002, pp. 3.59-3.61; Sawyer et al. 2009, 
pp. 483, 588, 600). However, Opuntia littoralis may be more tolerant of 
fire, though it is not fire-dependent for germination (Navy 2002, pp. 
3.60-3.61). Where fires do occur, they may destroy lizard habitat which 
reduces cover that assists with thermoregulation, increases exposure to 
predators, creates a short-term reduction in prey availability, and 
potentially harms individuals (Mautz 2001, p. 27; Service 2006, p. 13). 
Although the potential for fire exists on San Clemente, San Nicolas, 
and Santa Barbara Islands, it is not considered a substantial threat. 
The potential for human-caused ignition on San Nicolas Island and Santa 
Barbara Island is considered low due to the limited amount of human 
activities that might initiate a fire. In addition, all islands 
currently implement fire management policies, as discussed below under 
each island description (Service 2006, pp. 13-15; Service 2012a, pp. 
25-27).

San Clemente Island

    The use of San Clemente Island for military training and testing 
has led to a higher number of fires on the island than would otherwise 
be expected to occur naturally as a result of lightning. Military 
activities contribute to fires that may adversely affect listed plants 
and wildlife on San Clemente Island (Service 2008, p. 3). The southern 
portion of the island has the greatest risk due to the ship-to-shore 
bombardment that occurs in the area (Service 2008, pp. 56-57). 
Additionally, the presence of combustible nonnative grasses in 
combination with military activities could increase fire frequency on 
San Clemente Island (Navy 2002, p. 3.31).
    While fire does not appear to affect island night lizard habitat in 
the short term, an increase in fire frequency or size could negatively 
affect lizard abundance over time (Mautz 2001a, pp. 27-28). The 
highest-quality habitat and highest density of lizards occur in areas 
where fire has not occurred, or has

[[Page 7923]]

occurred rarely, and the fires are small in size (Service 1997, p. 60; 
Navy 2002, p. 3.32). This trend suggests that lizard habitat and 
abundances are reduced when fires occur more frequently.
    Since 1997, the Navy has implemented a number of management 
measures to reduce the frequency of wildfires on San Clemente Island: 
prevention measures, such as scheduling operations with high ignition 
potential outside the fire season and electrical system improvements; 
containment measures, such as vegetation management and use of 
prophylactic fire retardants; and suppression measures, such as staging 
and use of suppression resources (Service 2008, p. 51). Currently, the 
portions of the island at greatest risk of fire are the impact areas 
associated with the ship-to-shore bombardment located at the southern 
end of the island, and areas containing unexploded ordnance in which 
access for fire prevention has been closed (Service 2008, pp. 56-57).
    In 2008, the Navy proposed a new training expansion on San Clemente 
Island that could potentially increase the occurrence of fire (Service 
2008, p. 5). As part of the consultation with the Service on the 
effects of the new training and testing activities (Service 2008, pp. 
2-3), the Navy completed a comprehensive Fire Management Plan (FMP) for 
San Clemente Island (Navy 2009). The Navy's fire management focuses on 
military training and other human-related activities and facilities, as 
these activities represent the primary source of ignition on the island 
(Service 2008, p. 3). The Navy modifies range and training activities 
in an effort to prevent fire ignition, containment, and suppression 
(Service 2008, pp. 3-4). The FMP implements fuel management strategies 
consisting of high-intensity fuel management buffer zones; defensible 
space around structures; and low-intensity landscape modification with 
prescribed fire that meets fuels management, resource protection, and 
habitat restoration objectives (Navy 2009, p. ES-3). The FMP concludes 
that fire does not greatly affect island night lizards on San Clemente 
Island due to their high numbers and wide distribution across the 
island, unless the frequency or size of the fire is so high that it 
removes the necessary thermal cover for long periods of time and over 
large areas (Navy 2009, pp. 2.26, 2.32).
    Through our consultation, we concluded that although these 
activities may adversely affect island night lizard individuals, fires 
are not expected to have a significant effect on the island-wide 
population due to the number of lizards on the island (Service 2008, 
pp. 203-204). Additionally, we concluded that the fuelbreak and 
suppression measures outlined within the FMP would prevent a 
significant increase in fire frequency where high-quality habitat 
occurs (Service 2008, p. 204).
    If intervals between fires are too short, fire can negatively 
impact Lycium californicum and there is a risk of type conversion of 
the habitat or long-term loss of the shrub community (Navy 2009, p. 
4.7). However, prescribed fires may be a useful management tool to 
control nonnative grasses that degrade native vegetative community 
values (Navy 2009, pp. 4.7-4.8), specifically in L. californicum 
moderate- and low-density habitat. Because a potential benefit could 
result from less severe fires in L. californicum habitat, fires of 
moderate-severity will be managed to less than 5 ac (2 ha) in high-
density L. californicum habitat (Navy 2009, p. 4.8). In moderate-
density L. californicum habitat, prescribed burns will be managed to 
less than 20 ac (8 ha); and in low-density L. californicum habitat, 
prescribed burns will be managed to less than 40 ac (16 ha) (Navy 2009, 
p. 4.8).
    We note that the results of this threat analysis remain consistent 
with our analysis described in the 2006 and 2012 5-year reviews of the 
island night lizard, such that the potential of fire posing a threat to 
island night lizards and their habitat on San Clemente Island exists 
(Service 2006, pp. 15; Service 2012a, p. 25). However, fire is not 
currently a substantial threat to the species or its habitat on the 
island nor do we think it will become so in the future due to 
historical and current fire patterns, the existence of an FMP for the 
island, the abundance and distribution of high-quality island night 
lizard habitat, and high abundance of the species on the island.

San Nicolas Island

    The potential impacts of fire are a greater concern on San Nicolas 
Island than San Clemente Island due to the limited amount of island 
night lizard habitat. Historical grazing from the introduction of 
nonnative herbivores has resulted in disturbed vegetative communities 
that favor nonnative plants, specifically nonnative grasses, and 
increase the vulnerability of these vegetative communities to wildfire 
(Navy 2010, p. 4.13). Missile launch and termination areas are the most 
likely sources of potential wildfire ignitions on San Nicolas Island 
(Service 2006, p. 15). Despite these conditions, few fires have 
occurred on San Nicolas Island (Navy 2010, p. 4.12). The risk of 
wildfire to island night lizards is reduced by the fact that launch 
sites are located outside of high-quality island night lizard habitat 
on the northern and western portion of San Nicolas Island (Navy 2005, 
p. 8, 30). Additionally, a fire station is located on the eastern side 
of San Nicolas Island (Navy 2005, p. 6), near high-quality Lycium 
californicum and Opuntia spp. habitat. Few fires have occurred on San 
Nicolas Island (Navy 2010, p. 4.12). We have no information to indicate 
that fire has occurred, or is likely to occur, in the intertidal zone 
of the unique cobble and driftwood habitat inhabited by island night 
lizards at Redeye Beach.
    The objective of the current fire management strategy on San 
Nicolas Island, as implemented through the Navy's INRMP, is to protect 
people, infrastructure, and natural and cultural resources from the 
harmful impacts of wildfire on the island (Navy 2010, p. 4.14). 
Strategies to achieve this objective include: preventing wildfire 
ignitions; providing, maintaining, and upgrading fire management 
cooperative agreements, memoranda of understanding, and reciprocal 
agreements to provide maximum protection to cultural resources, natural 
resources, and the island's infrastructure; developing a fire 
management plan; and developing a database to track all fires, acres 
burned, suppression tactics, and individuals involved in the 
suppression tactics (Navy 2010, pp. 4.14-4.15).
    In summary, few fires are known to have occurred on San Nicolas 
Island. While some wildfire risk is associated with vegetative 
conditions and military activities, fire management activities appear 
to be sufficiently managing those risks and are expected to do so into 
the future. Therefore, fire is not a substantial threat to the island 
night lizard or its habitat now or in the future.

Santa Barbara Island and Sutil Island

    Wildfire risk on Santa Barbara Island is less than the other two 
islands and is primarily related to recreational activities. The 
National Park Service manages visitation to Santa Barbara Island to 
ensure the biological and archaeological values of the island are not 
diminished. Human visitation to Santa Barbara Island is minimal, with 
only 3,286 on-shore visitors recorded from 2007 to 2010; of these, 
2,159 visitors stayed overnight on the island in the primitive 
campground (NPS 2011a). Although smoking is limited to the cement area 
adjacent to the visitor center and campfires are not permitted on the 
island, historical occurrences and potential sources of wildfire on 
Santa Barbara Island are most likely human-

[[Page 7924]]

caused, such as campfires, fireworks, or mechanical equipment. 
Currently, Channel Islands National Park has a Fire Management Plan 
(CHIS FMP) in place that covers all units of the Park. The CHIS FMP 
calls for the suppression of all wildfires within the Park and 
utilization of Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics where feasible to 
reduce impacts to natural and cultural resources (NPS 2006a, p. 12). 
Although no resources are available on Santa Barbara Island to suppress 
wildfires, the U.S Forest Service's Los Padres National Forest provides 
firefighting support, including air and ground resources, incident 
command, communications, and ordering (NPS 2006a, p. 10).
    While the potential for fire exists on Santa Barbara Island, it is 
currently not a substantial threat to island night lizard habitat due 
to limited human presence on the island, prohibition of fire at 
campgrounds, and the current CHIS FMP (Service 2006, p. 15; Service 
2012a, p. 27), nor is it expected to be a threat in the future.
Erosion
    Although erosion was not identified as a threat to the island night 
lizard at listing (42 FR 40682), the impact from erosion has since been 
identified as a general threat to the habitats on the Channel Islands. 
Erosion caused by ongoing military activities on San Clemente and San 
Nicolas Islands currently affects lizard habitat; however, impacts are 
primarily a consequence of the historical introduction of nonnative 
herbivores and land use operations. Due to ongoing management efforts, 
described below, by the Navy and NPS, the 2006 and 2012 5-year reviews 
concluded that erosion is not a substantial threat to the lizard or its 
habitat on any of the occupied islands (Service 2006, pp. 12, 16; 
Service 2012a, pp. 28-29).

San Clemente Island

    Historical impacts and natural land processes have resulted in 
landslides and erosion on San Clemente Island which require active 
management by the Navy to minimize threats to island night lizard 
habitat. Landslides occur where steep slopes have been denuded by 
grazing nonnative animals. The landslides are exacerbated by naturally 
occurring processes such as wind and water wearing away land surface, 
posing a concern for species' habitat and affecting other ecological 
processes on San Clemente Island (Navy 2002, p. 3.22). The Navy, in 
accordance with the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act of 
1935, as amended (16 U.S.C. S.5901), and as implemented through the 
Navy's INRMP for San Clemente Island, is required to prevent and 
control erosion through surveys and implementation of conservation 
measures (Navy 2002, p. 3.22). Erosion control measures include 
locating ground-disturbing activities on previously disturbed sites 
when possible and assuring that all project work areas and transit 
routes are clearly identified and marked, and by restricting vehicular 
activities within those areas (Navy 2002, p. 3.23). Additionally, as 
part of its consultation with the Service on increased training and 
testing activities, the Navy is developing an erosion control plan and 
will implement measures to prevent significant impacts to native 
habitat, including high-quality island night lizard habitat (Service 
2008, p. 62). The Navy coordinated with the Service during development 
of a plan, and submitted a draft version to the Service for review in 
2012. The plan has not yet been finalized.
    Impacts from erosion on San Clemente Island resulting from 
historical introduction and overgrazing by nonnative herbivores have 
been intensified with current land use operations by the Navy. However, 
we do not consider erosion to be a substantial threat to the island 
night lizard or its habitat on the island due to current management 
practices, including: (1) Coordination with the Service to avoid 
impacts to island night lizard habitat; (2) the Navy's compliance with 
the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act of 1935 to prevent and 
control erosion; and (3) the Navy's INRMP that requires all projects to 
incorporate erosion control measures into their projects (training 
maneuvers excluded). The Navy's efforts under the latter two items 
above are expected to continue in the future should the island night 
lizard be delisted.

San Nicolas Island

    Similar to San Clemente Island, erosion is also a concern for 
island night lizard habitat on San Nicolas Island. Almost all of the 
high-quality island night lizard habitat consisting of Lycium 
californicum and Opuntia spp., and moderate-quality habitat consisting 
of shrub communities, occur in areas where a moderate to high 
probability of soil erodibility exists (Navy 2005, pp. 30, 44). Most 
erosion on San Nicolas Island is due to high winds, effects to 
vegetation from past sheep grazing, and the island's arid climate (Navy 
2005, p. 42). Additional erosion was likely caused by military 
activities that did not include sufficient erosion control measures 
(Navy 2005, p. 42). Halvorson et al. (1996, p. 25) noted that the north 
and south slope of San Nicolas Island may need active restoration for 
the recovery of native plants due to soil erosion. Fellers (2009, pers. 
obs.) commented that not much high-quality island night lizard habitat 
will be lost to unnatural erosion on San Nicolas Island; however, he 
also found that unnaturally eroded areas on the south slope are lost 
and cannot be revegetated.
    The Navy has incorporated erosion control measures into San Nicolas 
Island construction projects since 2000 (Navy 2005, p. 42). The Navy 
will also continue repairing roads to address and reduce erosion (Ruane 
2011, pers. comm.). The objective of the current soils conservation 
management strategy on San Nicolas Island, as implemented through the 
Navy's INRMP, is to conserve soil productivity, nutrient functioning, 
vegetation, wildlife habitat, and water quality through effective 
implementation of best management practices to prevent and control 
erosion (Navy 2010, p. 4.10).
    Erosion on San Nicolas Island was exacerbated by historical land 
use practices and the introduction of nonnative herbivores (Service 
2006, p. 12; Service 2012a, p. 29); residual effects continue to be a 
potential concern due to the limited amount of, and time required to 
reestablish, high-quality lizard habitat. Currently, moderate and high-
quality island night lizard habitat occurs in areas considered by the 
Navy to have a moderate- to high-soil erodibility. However, steps are 
being taken by the Navy to reduce and manage current impacts from 
erosion on San Nicolas Island and such efforts are expected to continue 
in the future. Therefore, we do not consider erosion to currently be a 
substantial threat to the island night lizard or its habitat on San 
Nicolas Island now or in the future.

Santa Barbara Island and Sutil Island

    Erosion from wind, wave action, and the effects of overgrazing are 
evident on Santa Barbara Island and continue to contribute to 
alteration of habitat. However, new sources of human-caused erosion on 
the island, which could exacerbate current conditions, are minimal 
given the limited amount of human use there. Any new erosion resulting 
from direct human use would likely be related to erosion along existing 
trails. Currently, NPS management policies dictate that the NPS will 
actively preserve soil resources and prevent the unnatural erosion and 
prevent or minimize potentially irreversible impacts on soil (NPS 
2006b, p. 56). Therefore, based on the best available information about

[[Page 7925]]

current erosion levels and NPS efforts to preserve soil resources, we 
find that erosion is not a substantial threat to the island night 
lizard or its habitat on Santa Barbara Island now or in the future.
Climate Change
    Our analyses under the Endangered Species 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). The term ``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).
    Scientific measurements spanning several decades demonstrate that 
changes in climate are occurring, and that the rate of change has been 
faster since the 1950s. Examples include warming of the global climate 
system, and substantial increases in precipitation in some regions of 
the world and decreases in other regions (For these and other examples, 
see IPCC 2007, p. 30; and Solomon et al. 2007, pp. 35-54, 82-85). 
Results of scientific analyses presented by the IPCC show that most of 
the observed increase in global average temperature since the mid-20th 
century cannot be explained by natural variability in climate, and is 
``very likely'' (defined by the IPCC as 90 percent or higher 
probability) due to the observed increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) 
concentrations in the atmosphere as a result of human activities, 
particularly carbon dioxide emissions from use of fossil fuels (IPCC 
2007, pp. 5-6 and figures SPM.3 and SPM.4; Solomon et al. 2007, pp. 21-
35). Further confirmation of the role of GHGs comes from analyses by 
Huber and Knutti (2011, p. 4), who concluded it is extremely likely 
that approximately 75 percent of global warming since 1950 has been 
caused by human activities.
    Scientists use a variety of climate models, which include 
consideration of natural processes and variability, as well as various 
scenarios of potential levels and timing of GHG emissions, to evaluate 
the causes of changes already observed and to project future changes in 
temperature and other climate conditions (e.g., Meehl et al. 2007, 
entire; Ganguly et al. 2009, pp. 11555, 15558; Prinn et al. 2011, pp. 
527, 529). All combinations of models and emissions scenarios yield 
very similar projections of increases in the most common measure of 
climate change, average global surface temperature (commonly known as 
global warming), until about 2030. Although projections of the 
magnitude and rate of warming differ after about 2030, the overall 
trajectory of all the projections is one of increased global warming 
through the end of this century, even for the projections based on 
scenarios that assume that GHG emissions will stabilize or decline. 
Thus, there is strong scientific support for projections that warming 
will continue through the twenty-first century, and that the magnitude 
and rate of change will be influenced substantially by the extent of 
GHG emissions (IPCC 2007, pp. 44-45; Meehl et al. 2007, pp. 760-764 and 
797-811; Ganguly et al. 2009, pp. 15555-15558; Prinn et al. 2011, pp. 
527, 529). (See IPCC 2007b, p. 8, for a summary of other global 
projections of climate-related changes, such as frequency of heat waves 
and changes in precipitation. Also see IPCC 2011(entire) for a summary 
of observations and projections of extreme climate events.)
    Various changes in climate may 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 interactions of climate with other variables 
(e.g., habitat fragmentation) (IPCC 2007, pp. 8-14, 18-19). Identifying 
likely effects often involves aspects of climate change vulnerability 
analysis. Vulnerability refers to the degree to which a species (or 
system) is susceptible to, and unable to cope with, adverse effects of 
climate change, including climate variability and extremes. 
Vulnerability is a function of the type, magnitude, and rate of climate 
change and variation to which a species is exposed, its sensitivity, 
and its adaptive capacity (IPCC 2007, p. 89; see also Glick et al. 
2011, pp. 19-22). There is no single method for conducting such 
analyses that applies to all situations (Glick et al. 2011, p. 3). We 
use our expert judgment and appropriate analytical approaches to weigh 
relevant information, including uncertainty, in our consideration of 
various aspects of climate change.
    Although many species already listed as endangered or threatened 
may be particularly vulnerable to negative effects related to changes 
in climate, we also recognize that, for some listed species, the likely 
effects may be positive or neutral. In any case, the identification of 
effective recovery strategies and actions for recovery plans, as well 
as assessment of their results in 5-year reviews or proposed 
reclassification rules such as this document, should include 
consideration of climate-related changes and interactions of climate 
and other variables. In the case of this proposed rule, this analysis 
contributes to our evaluation of whether the island night lizard can be 
delisted.
    Global climate projections are informative, and, in some cases, the 
only or the best scientific information available for us to use. 
However, projected changes in climate and related impacts can vary 
substantially across and within different regions of the world (e.g., 
IPCC 2007, pp. 8-12). Therefore, we use ``downscaled'' projections when 
they are available and have been developed through appropriate 
scientific procedures, because such projections provide higher 
resolution information that is more relevant to spatial scales used for 
analyses of a given species (see Glick et al. 2011, pp. 58-61, for a 
discussion of downscaling). With regard to our analysis for the island 
night lizard, we have used the best scientific and commercial data 
available as the basis for considering various aspects of climate 
change, as well as the likely effects of climate change in conjunction 
with other influences that are relevant to the island night lizard.
    Since listing (42 FR 40682, p. 40684), potential threats have been 
identified to the flora and fauna of the United States from ongoing 
accelerated climate change (IPCC 2007, pp. 1-52; Point Reyes Bird 
Observatory (PRBO) 2011, pp. 1-68). A recent study examined the effects 
of climate change scenarios as they pertain specifically to the 
different ecoregions of California (PRBO 2011, pp. 1-68). An 
ecoregional approach was examined because climate change effects will 
vary in different areas of California due to the State's size and 
diverse topography (PRBO 2011, p. 1). Climate projections for 
temperature, precipitation, and sea-level rise in these ecoregions were 
obtained by analyzing numerous IPCC emission scenarios (2007, pp. 44-
54), the core of most climate projections for atmospheric and oceanic 
global circulation models (PRBO 2011, p. 1).
    The Southern Bight ecoregion includes San Clemente, San Nicolas, 
Santa Barbara, and Sutil Islands (PRBO 2011, p. 4); however, this 
ecoregion refers only to the marine environment

[[Page 7926]]

and not the terrestrial environment occupied by island night lizards. 
Therefore, this threats analysis will use projections made for the 
Southwestern California ecoregion. This ecoregion is appropriate to use 
because it contains the same vegetation found on the islands and used 
by island night lizard, including Lycium californicum, Opuntia spp., 
Coreopsis gigantea, Deinandra clementina, Artemisia californica, and 
Baccharis pilularis (Sawyer et al. 2009, pp. 387, 423, 483, 493, 588, 
599-600).
    Currently, San Clemente, San Nicolas, Santa Barbara, and Sutil 
Islands are located within a Mediterranean climatic regime, but with a 
significant maritime influence. Climate change models indicate a 1 to 3 
degrees Celsius (1.8 to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) increase in average 
temperature for southern California by the year 2070 (Field et al. 
1999, p. 5; Cayan et al. 2008a, p. S26; PRBO 2011, p. 40). As daily 
temperatures increase, lizard species spend more time in burrows or 
refuges and less time foraging (Sinervo et al. 2010, p. 894). Over the 
same time span, models predict a 10 to 37 percent decrease in annual 
precipitation (PRBO 2011, p. 40); however, other modeling predictions 
indicate little to no change in annual precipitation (Field et al. 
1999, pp. 8-9; Cayan et al. 2008a, p. S26; PRBO 2011, p. 40). If annual 
precipitation decreases, the percent of vegetative cover and amount of 
available food sources for the island night lizard would also decrease.
    Although the islands experience a short rain season (generally 
November through April), the presence of fog during the summer months 
helps to reduce moisture stress for many plant species on the islands 
(Halvorson et al. 1988, p. 111). Currently, climate modeling for fog 
projections remains a subject of uncertainty (Field et al. 1999, pp. 
21-22). There is also substantial uncertainty in precipitation 
projections and debate about precipitation patterns and projections for 
the Southwestern California ecoregion (PRBO 2011, p. 40). If the 
islands experienced a prolonged period of warmer air temperature and 
lower rainfall, the island night lizard's habitat could potentially be 
reduced; however, due to the uncertainty about precipitation 
projections, it is difficult to predict the likelihood of that 
happening.
    Rising sea level may also pose a threat to island night lizard 
habitat on the inhabited islands. By the end of the twenty-first 
century, various models predict sea level rise 0.11 to 0.72 meters 
(0.11 to 0.72 ft) globally (Cayan et al. 2008b, S62; PRBO 2011, p. 41). 
A rise in sea level, which may accompany high-tide wave action and more 
frequent severe storms as a result of climate change, can potentially 
affect the islands that support the island night lizard by inundating 
low-lying portions, as well as potentially accelerating erosion along 
coastal areas (PRBO 2011, p. 41). The cobble and driftwood habitat that 
occurs just above the intertidal zone at Redeye Beach on San Nicolas 
Island and supports approximately 1,000 island night lizards (Fellers 
et al. 1998, p. 46) could potentially be altered by a rise in sea 
level. Island night lizard habitat on Santa Barbara Island occurs at 
sea level and a rise could potentially alter this habitat (Fellers 
2011, pers. obs.); however, the USGS's Coastal Vulnerability Index for 
the Channel Islands National Park indicates Santa Barbara Island has a 
low vulnerability ranking indicating a very low rate of sea level rise 
(0.002-0.004 m (0.007-0.013 ft) over the last 27 years (Pendleton et 
al. 2005, p. 28). On San Clemente Island, Mautz (2011 pers. comm.) 
indicates that high-quality island night lizard habitat at its lowest 
elevation occurrence is approximately 10 m (32.8 ft) above sea level, 
and that a rise in sea level, even at an extreme projection of 0.72 m 
(2.4 ft), does not pose a threat to the continued existence of the 
species.
    The island night lizard is an insular endemic species (unique to 
specific islands) that is vulnerable to extirpation from random factors 
such as environmental stochasticity and natural catastrophes. While 
climate change could potentially affect the island night lizard and its 
habitat, the best available information does not allow us to make a 
meaningful prediction about how potential changes in temperature, 
precipitation patterns, and rising sea levels could impact the island 
night lizard, the islands where it occurs, or its habitat. However, we 
expect that the lizard's susceptibility to climate change is somewhat 
reduced by its ability to use varying habitat types and by its broad 
generalist diet. Therefore, we do not consider climate change to be a 
substantial threat to the island night lizard or its habitat at this 
time or in the future.
Factor A Summary
    The loss and modification of habitat for the island night lizard by 
nonnative herbivores was identified as a threat to the species when it 
was listed (42 FR 40682). In our 2006 and 2012 island night lizard 5-
year reviews we noted that, although grazing animals were removed from 
the islands, the residual effects remain and so the process for 
recovery of these habitat types on San Nicolas and Santa Barbara 
Islands is occurring at a slow pace. However, current evidence 
indicates that native vegetation, including that favored by the lizard, 
is recovering on all three occupied islands and is expected to continue 
due to management practices, restoration efforts, and policies 
implemented by the Navy and NPS. Therefore, habitat destruction and 
modification to the island night lizard or its habitat as a result of 
the introduction of nonnative herbivores has been ameliorated and is no 
longer a substantial threat nor is it likely to become one in the 
future.
    At the time of listing (42 FR 40682), the introduction of nonnative 
plants was not identified as a threat to the island night lizard. The 
2006 and 2012 5-year reviews considered the presence of nonnative 
plants a potential concern due to the vegetation composition changes 
that have occurred on the three islands inhabited by the island night 
lizard. The Navy and NPS recognize the potential threat of nonnative 
species and are implementing management efforts to reduce this risk 
that will continue in the future. While nonnative plants are a 
potential rangewide threat, we do not consider the introduction and 
persistence of nonnative plants to be a substantial threat to the 
island night lizard or its habitat on any of the occupied islands 
because of the current and ongoing management actions and policies to 
remove and control the future introduction of nonnative plants to all 
islands.
    Development activities can reduce available habitat for island 
night lizards, resulting in the direct loss of individuals. We have 
determined that land use impacts on San Clemente could potentially 
affect the island night lizard and its habitat. However, because of the 
limited development impacts, the remaining amount of available habitat, 
and the large number of island night lizards (estimated 21 million), we 
do not consider land use or development a substantial threat to the 
species' habitat on that island. Land use impacts on San Nicolas Island 
could potentially affect the island night lizard due to the limited 
amount of suitable habitat for the species; however, these activities 
will likely have a minimal impact due to the current management 
practices to avoid the species during project implementation. In 
addition, high-quality habitat is distributed in areas that will not be 
developed. The current status of Santa Barbara Island as a unit of the 
National Park System protects the island night lizard and its habitat 
from impacts related to future land use or development. In summary, 
while land use and development is a concern on

[[Page 7927]]

two of the islands, the amount, quality, and distribution of habitat 
together with avoidance measures reduce the potential impact; 
therefore, we do not consider development a substantial threat to the 
island night lizard or its habitat on any of the occupied islands now 
or in the future.
    A potential for fire exists on all three islands due to human 
activity, with an increased potential on San Clemente and San Nicolas 
Islands due to military activities and nonnative annual grasses that 
increase the amount of flammable fuels (Service 2006, pp. 13-15; 
Service 2012a, pp. 23-26). Based on historical records and current land 
use, high fire frequency on Santa Barbara is an unlikely occurrence, 
limited to human negligence to provide an ignition source. Although 
fire is a potential threat on all islands, we do not consider fire a 
substantial threat to the island night lizard or its habitat because of 
ongoing fire management policies, plans, and actions being implemented 
on all occupied islands now and in the future.
    Historical land use and overgrazing by nonnative herbivores 
exacerbated the impacts of erosion on San Clemente, San Nicolas, and 
Santa Barbara Islands and those impacts are likely to continue for many 
years to come. However, all nonnative herbivores have been removed from 
the islands, and the slow process of natural recovery is ongoing. In 
accordance with the Navy's INRMPs and NPS's management policies, 
efforts are underway to control new and existing sources of erosion on 
all occupied islands. Further, the development and implementation of 
erosion control plans will help minimize future impacts to the island 
night lizard and its habitat from erosion. We conclude that erosion may 
affect island night lizard and its habitat, but it is not currently a 
substantial threat nor is it likely to become one in the future, due to 
current management, individual island circumstances, and erosion 
control efforts.
    At the time of listing (42 FR 40682, p. 40684), we did not find 
climate change to be a threat to the island night lizard. Generally, 
climate change is predicted to result in warmer air temperatures, lower 
rainfall amounts, and rising sea levels; however, it is currently 
unknown how climate change will specifically affect island night lizard 
habitat on San Clemente, San Nicolas, and Santa Barbara Islands 
(Service 2006, p. 24; Service 2012a, pp. 38-39). The island night 
lizard may be more susceptible to natural catastrophes on San Nicolas 
and Santa Barbara Island because of its restricted distribution on 
those islands. Its greater numbers and distribution on San Clemente 
Island may indicate the island night lizard is less susceptible to 
stochastic events on the island. We recognize that climate change has 
the potential to affect the island night lizard and its habitat; 
however, at this time, the best available scientific and commercial 
information does not indicate that climate change is a substantial 
threat to the species' habitat now or in the future.
    In conclusion, we do not find that habitat destruction or 
modification from introduction of nonnative taxa, land use and 
development, fire, erosion, or climate change pose a substantial threat 
to the island night lizard or its habitat on San Clemente, San Nicolas, 
and Santa Barbara Islands currently or in the future.

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

    Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes was not identified as a threat to the island night 
lizard at listing (42 FR 40682, p. 40684). The 2006 and 2012 5-year 
reviews (Service 2006, p. 18; Service 2012a, p. 28) did not identify 
overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes as a threat to the island night lizard. To our 
knowledge, island night lizards are captured only for scientific 
purposes or for relocation efforts due to Navy projects in accordance 
with permitted activities covered by a section 10(a)(1)(A) permit under 
the Act. Currently, there are only two active section 10(a)(1)(A) 
permits issued by the Service for the island night lizard. Although 
research activities may result in impacts to some individuals (use of 
pitfall traps and toe-clipping), they do not constitute a significant 
threat to the species. Capture of island night lizards for commercial 
or other nonpermitted activities is unlikely to occur on San Clemente 
or San Nicolas Islands because access to these islands is strictly 
limited by the Department of Defense. No available information 
indicates that visitors to Santa Barbara Island are actively collecting 
island night lizards. Although it is possible that someone visiting or 
working on any of the islands could collect island night lizards, based 
on the best available information, there is no indication that such 
activities are occurring.
    Based on the limited number of active section 10(a)(1)(A) permits 
and lack of evidence that collection is otherwise occurring, we find 
that overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes is not currently a threat and not likely to become 
a threat to the species on any of the occupied islands.

Factor C. Disease or Predation

Disease
    Disease was not identified as a threat to the island night lizard 
at listing (42 FR 40682, p. 40684), or in the 2006 or 2012 5-year 
reviews (Service 2006, p. 19; Service 2012a, p. 29). Currently, the 
best available information does not indicate that disease is a threat 
to the lizard or likely to be a threat in the future.
Predation
    At the time of listing (42 FR 40682, p. 40684), we identified 
predation of island night lizards as a threat to the species due to the 
introduction of nonnative feral cats and pigs to San Clemente Island 
(42 FR 40682, p. 40683). The listing rule (42 FR 40682, p. 40684) also 
indicated that the introduction of the nonnative southern alligator 
lizard to San Nicolas Island might pose a threat to the island night 
lizard through depredation or increased competition (42 FR 40682, p. 
40684). The listing rule does not discuss native predators to the 
island night lizard, such as San Clemente loggerhead shrike and other 
raptor species. Currently, each island has native predators, such as 
raptors, but currently available information does not indicate these 
predators are a substantial threat to the island night lizard.

San Clemente Island

    Since listing, nonnative predators have been identified on San 
Clemente Island, including feral cats, black rats, and gopher snakes 
(Pituophis catenifer); however, only feral cats are known to prey upon 
island night lizards (Mautz 2001, p. 9). The 2006 and 2012 5-year 
reviews concluded that feral cats on San Clemente Island could threaten 
the island night lizard. However, we concluded that predation by feral 
cats was not a substantial threat due to predator management actions 
implemented through the Navy's INRMP and the large lizard population on 
the island. The Navy continues to control feral cats on San Clemente 
Island to benefit the San Clemente loggerhead shrike and San Clemente 
Island sage sparrow (Amphispiza belli clementeae). These measures 
provide an ancillary benefit to the island night lizard (Service 2008, 
p. 59; Biteman et al. 2011, p. 22).
    In 2006, we concluded that predation by black rats (Rattus rattus) 
and nonnative snakes could threaten island

[[Page 7928]]

night lizards on San Clemente Island. Black rats are found throughout 
San Clemente Island, but the total population of black rats on the 
island is unknown. Despite an extensive review of the best scientific 
and commercial information available, the information does not indicate 
whether or how often black rats prey upon island night lizards. One 
gopher snake has been located on the island, but since its removal, no 
others have been reported.
    Despite the continued presence of feral cats and black rats on the 
island, lizard numbers remain high. Additionally, the Navy currently 
implements a ``no pet policy'' to prevent the introductions of 
potential predators to native wildlife (Navy 2001, p. 3.119). 
Therefore, nonnative predators do not currently pose a substantial 
threat to the species on San Clemente Island due to the large 
population size of the island night lizard and current predator control 
measures being implemented on the island, which are expected to 
continue in the future (Mautz 2001a, p. 25; Service 2006, p. 19).

San Nicolas Island

    The 2006 5-year review indicated that the introduction of two 
nonnative lizards (southern alligator lizard and side-blotched lizard) 
may impact island night lizards on San Nicolas Island (Service 2006, p. 
20). Specifically, the southern alligator lizard may compete with or 
prey on island night lizards (Service 2006, p. 20). Fellers et al. 
(2009, pp. 18-19) noted that the ranges of both nonnative lizards have 
expanded on San Nicolas Island and that both the island night lizard 
and side-blotched lizard have similar distributions on the island. 
Fellers et al. (2009, p. 18) also noted that southern alligator lizards 
occur in different habitats than island night lizards and that there is 
no indication of negative impacts to the island night lizard.
    Despite the presence of these two nonnative lizards, a review of 
the best available information does not indicate that predation is 
occurring. No record exists of side-blotched lizards preying upon 
island night lizards. In addition, the southern alligator lizard 
generally occupies different habitats than the island night lizard. 
Therefore, we conclude that the southern alligator lizard and side-
blotched lizard do not pose a substantial predatory threat to the 
island night lizard on San Nicolas Island (Service 2012a, p. 32).
    In the 2006 5-year review, we concluded that feral cat predation 
threatened the island night lizard due to the small lizard population 
and the large feral cat population on San Nicolas Island (Service 2006, 
p. 20). In 2009, the Navy implemented a feral cat removal program to 
protect Federal or State listed species, including the island night 
lizard (Hanson and Bonham 2011, pp. 1-4). In addition, the MSRP 
prioritized removal of feral cats from San Nicolas Island to improve 
nesting success for the Brandt's cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicillatus) 
and western gull (Larus occidentalis) (MSRP 2005, pp. D3.1-D3.2). 
Several methods were utilized to detect and remove cats from the 
island, including the installation of camera traps to detect the 
location and presence of feral cats, the use of modified padded leg-
hold live traps, and spotlight hunting (Hanson and Bonham 2011, pp. 2, 
4-5). Since June 27, 2010, surveys have failed to locate any evidence 
of feral cats on San Nicolas Island (Hanson and Bonham 2011, p. 19). 
The Navy and MSRP announced the successful completion of this project 
in February 2012 (Little 2012a, pers. comm.). Based on these successful 
feral cat eradication efforts, we conclude that feral cats are no 
longer a threat to the island night lizard on San Nicolas Island 
(Service 2012a, p. 30).
    In 2011, the Navy completed a Biosecurity Plan for San Nicolas 
Island to protect the biodiversity of San Nicolas Island by preventing 
the transport and establishment of all nonnative vertebrate species 
(Navy 2011, p. 1). Through implementation of this plan, the Navy has 
established biosecurity measures for personnel, barge operations, 
airfield operations, and implemented monitoring to prevent the 
introduction of nonnative vertebrate species to San Nicolas Island 
(Navy 2011, pp. 7-19). All personnel must be trained in biosecurity 
protocols, report sightings and suspicions, display and distribute 
information signs and pamphlets, ensure biosecurity language is 
included in all contracts, and review biosecurity compliance (Navy 
2011, p. 19). These measures will benefit the island night lizard by 
reducing the potential for nonnative vertebrate species to be 
introduced to San Nicolas Island, which could prey upon the island 
night lizard or outcompete it for natural resources.
    Based on a review of the best available information, we conclude 
that predation is not currently a substantial threat to the island 
night lizard on San Nicolas Island nor is it likely to become one in 
the future because nonnative lizards on the island occur in different 
habitats and are not adversely impacting island night lizards; feral 
cats have been successfully eradicated; and the Navy implemented a 
Biosecurity Plan to prevent further introduction of nonnative predators 
to the island.

Santa Barbara and Sutil Island

    The 2006 and 2012 5-year reviews of the island night lizard 
concluded that Santa Barbara Island does not support any nonnative 
predators, but does support populations of native predators of the 
island night lizard, including the burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia), 
American kestrel (Falco sparverius), and barn owl (Tyto alba) (Service 
2006, p. 19; Service 2012a, p. 33). While natural predators may pose a 
threat to individual island night lizards (Service 2012a), they do not 
pose a substantial threat to the continued existence of the species on 
Santa Barbara Island due to the current number of lizards on the 
island, highly sedentary nature of the lizard, and tendency to remain 
under shelter such as dense vegetation or rock, which limits the 
exposure to aerial predators lizards (Service 2006, p. 19; Service 
2012a, p. 33). To prevent future introductions of the possible 
predators to Santa Barbara Island, the NPS restricts bringing any 
animal onto the island (NPS 2012). Based on lack of nonnative 
predators, limited predation by natural predators, and NPS invasive 
species management, we conclude that predation is not a substantial 
threat on Santa Barbara Island, now or in the future.
Factor C Summary
    At the time of listing (42 FR 40682, p. 40684), disease was not 
considered a threat to the island night lizard and predation by feral 
cats and alligator lizards was considered a threat, but their impacts 
were not fully understood. Since then, as described above with respect 
to affected islands, we have identified predation by nonnative lizards, 
feral cats, and black rats as a threat to the species. We have no new 
information to indicate that disease is a threat to the island night 
lizard. Recent research indicates that neither the southern alligator 
lizard nor the more recently introduced nonnative side-blotched lizard 
negatively impact the island night lizard on San Nicolas Island. 
Additionally, in 2010, the Navy successfully completed a feral cat 
removal program on San Nicolas Island. The Navy has also implemented 
efforts to control black rats and feral cats on San Clemente Island as 
part of the recovery efforts for the San Clemente loggerhead shrike and 
San Clemente Island sage sparrow. Though black rats and feral cats may 
affect individual island night lizards, they do not currently pose a 
substantial threat to the species on San Clemente Island. No

[[Page 7929]]

nonnative predators of the island night lizard exist on Santa Barbara 
Island and native predators on Santa Barbara Island do not currently 
pose a threat to the species existence. Also, both the Navy and NPS 
have policies in place to control the introduction of potential 
predators, and such efforts are expected to continue in the future. 
Therefore, we conclude that disease and predation are not substantial 
threats to the island night lizard on any of the occupied islands 
currently or in the future.

Factor D. Inadequacy of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms

    The Act requires us to examine the adequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms with respect to those existing and foreseeable threats that 
may affect island night lizard. The inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms was not indicated as a threat to the island night lizard at 
the time of listing (42 FR 40682, p. 40684). Since it was listed as 
threatened, the Act has been and continues to be the primary Federal 
law that affords protection to island night lizard. The Service's 
responsibilities in administering the Act include sections 7, 9, and 
10.
    Section 7(a)(1) of the Act requires all Federal agencies to utilize 
their authorities in furtherance of the purposes of the Act by carrying 
out programs for the conservation of endangered and threatened species. 
Section 7(a)(2) of the Act requires Federal agencies to ensure that 
actions they fund, authorize, or carry out do not ``jeopardize'' the 
continued existence of a listed species or result in the destruction or 
adverse modification of habitat in areas designated by the Service to 
be critical. Critical habitat has not been designated or proposed for 
the lizard. A jeopardy determination is made for a project that is 
reasonably expected, either directly or indirectly, to appreciably 
reduce the likelihood of both the survival and recovery of a listed 
species in the wild by reducing its reproduction, numbers, or 
distribution (50 CFR 402.02). A non-jeopardy opinion may include 
reasonable and prudent measures that minimize the extent of impacts to 
listed species associated with a project.
    Section 9 of the Act and Federal regulations pursuant to section 
4(d) of the Act prohibit the ``take'' of federally listed wildlife. 
Section 3(18) defines ``take'' to mean ``to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, 
shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage 
in any such conduct.'' Service regulations (50 CFR 17.3) define 
``harm'' to include significant habitat modification or degradation 
which actually kills or injures wildlife by significantly impairing 
essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding, or 
sheltering. ``Harassment'' is defined by the Service as an intentional 
or negligent action that creates the likelihood of injury to wildlife 
by annoying it to such an extent as to significantly disrupt normal 
behavioral patterns which include, but are not limited to, breeding, 
feeding, or sheltering. The Act provides for civil and criminal 
penalties for the unlawful taking of listed species.
    Listing the island night lizard provided a variety of protections 
within areas under Federal jurisdiction and the conservation mandates 
of section 7 for all Federal agencies. Since it was first listed in 
1977, the Navy and NPS have consulted and coordinated with us regarding 
the effects of various activities occurring on federally owned San 
Clemente, San Nicolas, and Santa Barbara Islands (see Factor A: Present 
or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of Habitat or 
Range above). If the island night lizard were not listed, these 
protections would not be provided. Thus, we must evaluate whether other 
regulatory mechanisms would provide adequate protections absent the 
protections of the Act.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

    All Federal agencies must comply with the NEPA of 1970 (42 U.S.C. 
4321 et seq.) for projects they fund, authorize, or carryout. The 
Council on Environmental Quality's regulations for implementing NEPA 
(40 CFR parts 1500-1518) state that agencies shall include a discussion 
on the environmental impacts of the various project alternatives 
(including the proposed action), any adverse environmental effects that 
cannot be avoided, and any irreversible or irretrievable commitments of 
resources involved (40 CFR part 1502). NEPA does not regulate 
activities that might affect the island night lizard, but does require 
full evaluation and disclosure of information regarding the effects of 
contemplated Federal actions on sensitive species and their habitats. 
It also does not require minimization or mitigation measures by the 
Federal agency involved. Therefore, Federal agencies may include 
conservation measures for island night lizard as a result of the NEPA 
process, but such measures would be voluntary in nature and are not 
required by the statute. On San Clemente and San Nicolas Islands, the 
Navy must analyze under NEPA any actions significantly affecting the 
quality of the human environment. Typically, the Navy prepares 
Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements on 
operation plans and new or expanding training actions. On Santa Barbara 
Island and incorporated Sutil Island, NPS must analyze under NEPA any 
actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. 
NPS prepares Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact 
Statements on actions and projects in national parks. Absent the 
listing of island night lizard, we would expect the Navy and NPS to 
continue to meet the procedural requirements of NEPA for their actions. 
However, as explained above, NEPA does not itself regulate activities 
that might affect island night lizards or their habitat.

National Park Service (NPS) Organic Act

    The NPS Organic Act of 1916, as amended (39 Stat. 535, 16 U.S.C. 
1), states that the NPS ``shall promote and regulate the use of the 
Federal areas known as national parks, monuments, and reservations * * 
* to conserve the scenery and the national and historic objects and the 
wildlife therein'' (which includes listed or non-listed species), ``and 
to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such 
means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future 
generations.'' The 2006 NPS Management Policies indicate that the Park 
Service will ``meet its obligations under the NPS Organic Act and the 
Endangered Species Act to both pro-actively conserve listed species and 
prevent detrimental effects on these species.'' This includes working 
with the Service and undertaking active management programs to 
inventory, monitor, restore, and maintain listed and non-listed species 
habitats, among other actions.

Sikes Act Improvement Act (Sikes Act)

    The Sikes Act (16 U.S.C. 670) authorizes the Secretary of Defense 
to develop cooperative plans with the Secretaries of Agriculture and 
the Interior for natural resources on public lands. The Sikes Act 
Improvement Act of 1997 requires Department of Defense installations to 
prepare Integrated Natural Resources Management Plans that provide for 
the conservation and rehabilitation of natural resources on military 
lands consistent with the use of military installations to ensure the 
readiness of the Armed Forces. INRMPs incorporate, to the maximum 
extent practicable, ecosystem management principles and provide the 
landscape

[[Page 7930]]

necessary to sustain military land uses. INRMPs are developed in 
coordination with the State and the Service, and are generally updated 
every 5 years. Although an INRMP is technically not a regulatory 
mechanism, because its implementation is subject to funding 
availability, it is an important guiding document that helps to 
integrate natural resource protection with military readiness and 
training.
    San Clemente Island INRMP: Pursuant to the Sikes Act, the Navy 
adopted an INRMP for San Clemente Island with multiple objectives for 
protection of the island night lizard and its habitat that reduce 
threats to this taxon (Navy 2002). The INRMP complied with NEPA, the 
Act, the Federal Noxious Weed Act (7 U.S.C. 2801), and the Soil 
Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act (16 U.S.C 590 a, b). The goal 
of the San Clemente Island INRMP is to support the military 
requirements of the Pacific Fleet while maintaining long-term ecosystem 
health (Navy 2002, p. 1.2). Specifically, this INRMP will:
    (1) Facilitate sustainable military readiness and foreclose no 
options for future requirements of the Pacific Fleet.
    (2) Protect, maintain, and restore priority native species to reach 
self-sustaining levels.
    (3) Ensure ecosystem resilience to testing and training impacts.
    (4) Maintain the full suite of native species, emphasizing the 
endemics.
    In 1997, the Navy established the INLMA (Service 1997, p. 5), an 
area encompassing 11,051 ac (4,474 ha) of the western shore of San 
Clemente Island where the majority of high-quality Lycium californicum 
and Opuntia spp. habitats, and approximately half of the island night 
lizard population is found (Mautz 2001a, p. 29). The INRMP states that 
the INLMA will be managed as a demonstration project, focusing on the 
integration of military operational needs with conservation of species 
(Navy 2002, p. 4.43). The INRMP provides a benefit to the species (Navy 
2002, pp. 4.43-4.47) through the following measures:
    (1) Designate and implement an approximately 11,010 acre (4,457 ha) 
management area.
    (2) Establish a ``no net loss'' habitat condition policy for INLMA.
    (3) Survey for nonnative weeds and prioritize annual control 
programs for the INLMA.
    (4) Ensure that no new nonnative animals are introduced to San 
Clemente Island that could be a predator, competitor, or introduce 
disease to the island night lizard.
    (5) Provide aggressive control of existing nonnative animals in the 
INLMA.
    (6) Manage fire to protect the integrity of the management area for 
island night lizards.
    (7) Develop, in cooperation with the Service, a delisting plan for 
the island night lizard.
    In addition to these management measures, the Navy developed an FMP 
for San Clemente Island in 2009 (see Factor A). The FMP implements fuel 
management strategies that benefit the island night lizard through 
development of: high-intensity fuel management buffer zones; defensible 
space around structures; and low-intensity landscape modification with 
prescribed fire that meets fuels management, resource protection, and 
habitat restoration objectives (Navy 2009, p. ES-3). Additionally, we 
concluded that the fuelbreak and suppression measures outlined within 
the FMP would prevent a significant increase in fire frequency where 
high-quality habitat occurs (Service 2008, p. 204).
    Although the INRMP includes objectives targeted toward habitat 
protection of high-quality island night lizard habitat, Navy 
operational needs may supersede INRMP goals. The Navy is currently 
revising the 2002 INRMP, and future iterations of this plan may differ 
from the existing INRMP. Pending completion of the new INRMP, the Navy 
continues to implement the 2002 INRMP. We expect that the revised INRMP 
will continue to manage for natural resource conservation to the 
maximum extent practicable based on the Navy's historical commitment to 
implement beneficial management actions for native flora and fauna, and 
their continued cooperation with the Service to provide conservation 
actions that benefit species such as the island night lizard and its 
habitat.
    San Nicolas Island INRMP: Pursuant to the Sikes Act, the Navy 
adopted an INRMP for San Nicolas Island that includes measures to 
protect the island night lizard and its habitat (Navy 2010). The INRMP 
also complied with NEPA, the Act, the Federal Noxious Weed Act (7 
U.S.C. 2801), and the Soil Conservation Act. The purpose of the San 
Nicolas INRMP is to provide a viable and implementable framework for 
the management of natural resources at Naval Base Ventura County, 
California, San Nicolas Island (Navy 2010, p. 1.1). The INRMP's 
objective for island night lizards on San Nicolas Island is to maintain 
a viable population (Navy 2010, p. 4.56). The strategies to accomplish 
this objective from the INRMP are listed below (Navy 2010, p. 4.56):
    (1) Continue to develop and implement protocols to resolve any 
baseline biological data gaps and to monitor distribution, population 
size, population trends, and habitat usage of the island night lizard 
population by conducting site-specific surveys in known or suitable 
habitat prior to disturbance activities.
    (2) Protect and maintain island night lizard habitat quality and 
integrity by:
    (a) Conducting an invasive nonnative control, monitoring, and 
removal program in island night lizard habitat in order to reduce 
impacts upon the species' population.
    (b) Defining and clearly marking work areas during road maintenance 
and other activities to prevent island night lizard mortality in 
accordance with the terms and conditions listed in the Biological 
Opinion (Service 2001).
    (c) Excluding areas of high-quality island night lizard habitat 
from mowing regimes.
    (d) Maintaining a bare ground buffer zone around equipment and 
storage areas in high-quality island night lizard habitat where 
practicable.
    (e) Siting staging areas for storage of equipment and materials in 
areas with low island night lizard densities, whenever feasible.
    (3) Conduct relocation of island night lizards in accordance with 
the terms and conditions identified in the current Biological Opinion 
(Service 2001).
    (4) Support studies to investigate the effectiveness of island 
night lizard management strategies by:
    (a) Supporting scientific studies of competition relationships 
between alligator lizards and island night lizards.
    (b) Supporting genetic studies of isolated island night lizard 
populations to determine population structure and size.
    (5) Educate island personnel on laws covering prohibition on taking 
listed species for pets or for sale in pet trade.
    (6) Support recovery plan efforts to establish stable island night 
lizard populations and eventual delisting by:
    (a) Supporting Channel Islands-wide review of population status of 
the species.
    While the INRMP does not guarantee funding will be appropriated for 
implementation, the Navy has demonstrated a continued commitment to the 
goals of the INRMP. They have funded a full-time biologist for the 
island, provided additional funds to hire contractors, or utilized 
university, volunteer, or other agency personnel to implement numerous 
activities as outlined in the INRMP.

[[Page 7931]]

Federal Noxious Weed Act

    The Federal Noxious Weed Act of 1975 (88 Stat. 2148, 7 U.S.C. 2801) 
established a Federal program that has subsequently been largely 
superseded by other statutes, including the Plant Protection Act (7 
U.S.C. 7701, et seq.), to control the spread of noxious weeds. The 1990 
amendment to the the Federal Noxious Weed Act (7 U.S.C. 2814), has been 
retained, and requires each Federal land-managing agency to: Designate 
an office or person adequately trained in managing undesirable plant 
species to develop and coordinate a program to control such plants on 
the agency's land; establish and adequately fund this plant management 
program through the agency's budget process; complete and implement 
cooperative agreements with the States regarding undesirable plants on 
agency land; and establish integrated management systems (as defined in 
the section) to control or contain undesirable plants targeted under 
the cooperative agreements. In accordance with this direction, the Navy 
and NPS work to control the introduction of nonnative plant species to 
the islands and to control or remove those currently present, which are 
actions that assist in protecting island night lizard habitat.

Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act

    The Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act of 1935 (16 U.S.C. 
590(a, b), 49 Stat. 163) recognized that the wastage of soil and 
moisture resources on farm, grazing, and forest lands of the Nation, 
resulting from soil erosion, is a menace to the national welfare and 
declared it to be the policy of Congress to provide permanently for the 
control and prevention of soil erosion and thereby to preserve natural 
resources, control floods, prevent impairment of reservoirs, and 
maintain the navigability of rivers and harbors, protect public health, 
public lands and relieve unemployment, and the Secretary of Agriculture 
shall coordinate and direct all activities with relation to soil 
erosion. In order to effectuate this policy, the Secretary of 
Agriculture authorizes, from time to time, that the following actions 
may be performed on lands owned or controlled by the United States or 
any of its agencies, with the cooperation of the agency having 
jurisdiction: Conduct surveys, investigations, and research relating to 
the character of soil erosion and the preventive measures needed; to 
publish the results of any such surveys, investigations, or research; 
to disseminate information concerning such methods; and to conduct 
demonstrational projects in areas subject to erosion by wind or water; 
and carry out preventative measures, including, but not limited to, 
engineering operations, methods of cultivation, the growing of 
vegetation, and changes in use of land. These measures assist island 
night lizards by encouraging management actions that prevent and 
control erosion, thus protecting island night lizard habitat.
Factor D Summary
    The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms was not indicated 
as a threat to the island night lizard at the time of listing or in the 
recent status reviews. Because all islands are under Federal ownership, 
various laws, regulations, and policies administered by the Federal 
Government provide protective mechanisms for the species and its 
habitat. Primary Federal laws that provide some benefit for the species 
and its habitat absent the Act include NEPA, Sikes Act, Federal Noxious 
Weed Act, Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act, and NPS Organic 
Act.
    INRMPs are important guiding documents that help to integrate the 
military's mission with natural resource protection on San Clemente and 
San Nicolas Island. Although the INRMPs include objectives targeted 
toward protection of habitat essential to the island night lizard and 
other native species, Navy operational needs may diverge from INRMP 
natural resource goals. For example, some control measures may not be 
implemented effectively or consistently in those areas that are 
operationally closed due to the presence of unexploded ordnance. 
However, in most locations, fire management plans, erosion control in 
accordance with the Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act, and 
nonnative plant species control in accordance with the Federal Noxious 
Weed Act, afford protections to the island night lizard on the islands 
as discussed above under Factor A. The Present or Threatened 
Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of Its Habitat or Range. 
Absent listing under the Act, the Navy would still be required to 
develop and implement INRMPs under the Sikes Act. The INRMPs will 
continue to provide a conservation benefit to the island night lizard 
through native habitat management efforts, where there is overlap with 
island night lizard habitat.
    The population of island night lizards and their habitat on Santa 
Barbara Island and Sutil Island are afforded protections by the NPS's 
Organic Act, which provides management programs to inventory, monitor, 
restore, and maintain listed species' habitats, and requires the NPS to 
manage all natural resources regardless of listing status (such as 
island night lizard after it is delisted).
    Delisting the island night lizard would eliminate the requirement 
to consult with us for actions carried out, funded, or authorized by 
the Navy and NPS on San Clemente, San Nicolas, and Santa Barbara 
Islands. However, we anticipate the Navy will continue to implement 
INRMPs for both San Clemente and San Nicolas Islands that include 
management for natural resources, native species, and other listed 
species, which we anticipate will provide an ancillary benefit to the 
island night lizard. We have no information indicating that management 
of Santa Barbara Island would be changed or altered in a manner that 
would be inconsistent with the conservation of natural resources and 
native species, which includes the island night lizard and its habitat. 
In conclusion, island night lizards are afforded protection through 
Federal or military mechanisms and, in absence of the Act, these 
existing regulatory mechanisms are expected to continue to a degree 
adequate to conserve the island night lizard and its habitat throughout 
its range both now and in the future. Therefore, we conclude that the 
inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms is not a current threat to 
the species on any of the occupied islands, nor is it expected to 
become a threat in the future.

Factor E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting the Continued 
Existence of the Species

    The listing rule (42 FR 40682, p. 40684) states that island-adapted 
taxa are often detrimentally affected by accidental or intentional 
introduction of nonnative species. This was the only threat attributed 
to Factor E for any of the seven taxa included in that rule. Because 
the primary effect of most nonnative taxa was related to habitat or 
predation, the discussion of introduced nonnative taxa is now included 
under Factor A as it relates to habitat and Factor C as it relates to 
predation.
    The restricted distribution of the island night lizard on San 
Nicolas and Santa Barbara Islands makes these populations susceptible 
to natural catastrophes such as fires, landslides, or prolonged 
droughts (Service 2006, p. 24). Potential impacts and management 
efforts to reduce or control effects of fire and erosion are discussed 
under Factor A. The 2012 5-year review of the island night lizard 
discusses the potential threat of climate change and its effects

[[Page 7932]]

on precipitation, drought, and sea level rise as it relates to the 
island night lizard (Service 2012a, pp. 39-41), and is further 
discussed below.
Climate Change
    As discussed under Factor A--Climate Change above, climate change 
poses a potential impact to island night lizards and their habitat 
based on modeling and climate change projections for southern 
California from various sources (IPCC 2007, PRBO 2011). Because the 
best available information for the region that encompasses San 
Clemente, San Nicolas, Santa Barbara, and Sutil Islands refers only to 
the marine environment and not the terrestrial environment occupied by 
island night lizards (PRBO 2011, p.4), we are utilizing projections 
made for the Southwestern California ecoregion in this threat analysis 
(see Factor A--Climate Change section above for additional discussion 
on available data, climate model predictions for temperature and 
precipitation, and potential impacts related to island night lizard 
habitat).
    Currently, climate modeling projections for fog (Field et al. 1999, 
pp. 21-22) and precipitation are the subject of uncertainty, with 
relatively little consensus concerning projections for the Southwestern 
California ecoregion (PRBO 2011, p. 40). Additionally and as noted 
above, we have no specific information related to precipitation and 
temperature projections specific to the terrestrial environment of the 
California Channel Islands. Regardless, the best available data 
indicate that when daily temperatures increase, lizard species spend 
more time in burrows or refuges and less time foraging (Sinervo et al. 
2010, p. 894). This reduced foraging time could possibly impact growth 
and survival of this already highly sedentary lizard. Drought 
conditions also reduce the arthropod populations in the spring, 
reducing a food source and compounding the effects of climate change 
(Knowlton 1949, p. 45; Schwenkmeyer 1949, pp. 37-40; Bolger et al. 
2000, p. 1242). Therefore, in the event of a prolonged period of warmer 
air temperature and lower rainfall, the island night lizard's habitat 
and food supply could also potentially be reduced. However, even with 
this potential reduction in food availability, Sinervo et al. (2010, p. 
898) investigated climate change impacts on Xantusidae and predicted 
that the species extinction risk for this family is zero through 2080. 
Therefore, we do not consider climate change to be a substantial threat 
to the island night lizard now or in the future.
Factor E Summary
    At the time of listing (42 FR 40682, p. 40684), we did not identify 
climate change as a threat to the island night lizard. The 2006 and 
2012 5-year reviews (Service 2006 p. 24; Service pp. 38-39) suggested 
that, because the island night lizard is an insular endemic species, it 
is vulnerable to extirpation from random factors such as environmental 
stochasticity (lacking predictability) and natural catastrophes. 
However, it is currently unknown how climate change will affect the 
island night lizard and its habitat on San Clemente, San Nicolas, and 
Santa Barbara Islands (Service 2006, p. 24; Service 2012a, pp. 38-39). 
The island night lizard may be more susceptible to natural catastrophes 
on San Nicolas and Santa Barbara Island because of its restricted 
distribution on those islands. Its greater numbers and distribution on 
San Clemente Island may indicate the island night lizard is less 
susceptible to stochastic events on that island. Climate change may 
affect the island night lizard and its habitat, but the best available 
information does not allow us to make accurate predictions regarding 
the effects of climate change on the island night lizard at this time. 
We expect that the lizard's susceptibility to climate change is 
somewhat reduced by its ability to use varying habitat types and by its 
broad generalist diet. Continued improvement in habitat quality and 
reduction of threats by the Navy and NPS is likely to increase the 
resilience of the lizard and its habitat to changing conditions. 
Therefore, because of current and expected ongoing management, we do 
not consider climate change to be a substantial threat to the species 
at this time or in the future.

Cumulative Effects

    A species may be affected by a combination of threats. Within the 
preceding review of the five listing factors, we identified multiple 
threats that may have interrelated impacts on the island night lizard 
or its habitat. Fire (Factor A) may increase in intensity and frequency 
on all occupied islands if there is an abundance of nonnative plants 
(grasses) (Factor A). Similarly, across all islands occupied by the 
island night lizard, fire (Factor A) may become more frequent if 
climate change results in hotter and drier environmental conditions 
(Factor A and E). An increase in the frequency of fires (Factor A) may 
potentially lead to an increased risk of predation (Factor C) due to 
loss of vegetative cover for the island night lizard in burned areas. 
On San Clemente and San Nicolas Islands, the land use and development 
activities (Factor A) conducted by the Navy can prompt an increase in 
erosion (Factor A) and the potential for fire (Factor A) in island 
night lizard habitat. Additionally, effects from climate change, such 
as rising sea level in conjunction with increased storm frequency and 
high-tide wave action (Factor A), could potentially impact island night 
lizard habitat by accelerating erosion (Factor A) on all occupied 
islands. Although island night lizard productivity may be reduced 
because of these threats, either alone or in combination, it is not 
easy to determine whether a specific threat is the primary threat 
having the greatest impact on the viability of the species, or whether 
it is exacerbated by, or functioning in combination with, other threats 
to result in cumulative or synergistic effects on the species. The Navy 
and NPS are actively managing for the threats described above to 
minimize impacts to the island night lizard. It is anticipated that 
their continued management of these threats will maintain the threats 
at a level where synergistic effects are not likely to result in a 
substantial impact to the island night lizard or its habitat. 
Therefore, we do not consider the cumulative impact of these threats to 
be substantial at this time.

Finding

    An assessment of the need for a species' protection under the Act 
is based on threats to that species and the regulatory mechanisms in 
place to ameliorate impacts from these threats. As required by the Act, 
we conducted a review of the status of the taxon and assessed the five 
factors to determine whether the island night lizard is threatened or 
endangered throughout all of its range. We examined the best scientific 
and commercial information available regarding the past, present, and 
future threats faced by the lizard. We reviewed petitions received on 
May 1, 1997, and March 22, 2004; comments and information received 
after publication of our 90-day finding (71 FR 48900, August 22, 2006); 
two 5-year status reviews, information available in our files; and 
other available published and unpublished information. We also 
consulted with recognized experts on the island night lizard and its 
habitat, and with other Federal agencies.
    In considering which factors might constitute threats, we must look 
beyond the mere exposure of the species to the factor to determine 
whether the species responds in a way that causes actual impacts to the 
species. If there is exposure to a factor, but no response or

[[Page 7933]]

only a positive response, that factor is not a threat. If there is 
exposure and the species responds negatively, the factor may be a 
substantial threat and we then attempt to determine the significance of 
the threat. If the threat is significant, it may drive or contribute to 
the risk of extinction of the species such that the species warrants 
listing as endangered or threatened, as those terms are defined by the 
Act. This does not necessarily require empirical proof of a threat. The 
combination of exposure and some corroborating evidence of how the 
species is likely impacted could suffice. The mere identification of 
factors that could potentially impact a species negatively is not 
sufficient to compel a finding that listing is appropriate; we require 
evidence that these factors are operative substantial threats that act 
on the species to the point that the species meets the definition of 
threatened or endangered under the Act.
    The reasons for listing the island night lizard as threatened (42 
FR 40682) were: Habitat loss or modification through the introduction 
of nonnative herbivores such as feral goats and pigs on San Clemente 
Island; habitat modification through the introduction of nonnative 
plants throughout the species' range (San Clemente, San Nicolas, and 
Santa Barbara Islands); predation by feral cats on San Clemente Island; 
and competition with the southern alligator lizard on San Nicolas 
Island. The island night lizard was not known to occupy Sutil Island at 
listing and thus the island was not included in the threats analysis at 
the time of listing. Since listing, the island night lizard has been 
twice identified on Sutil Island. Due to the small size of Sutil 
Island, proximity to Santa Barbara Island, and ownership of Sutil and 
Santa Barbara Island by the NPS, we included the population of Sutil 
Island and discussion of threats with the population of Santa Barbara 
Island.
    At the time of listing, several threats related to destruction of 
habitat were identified for the island night lizard on one or more of 
the Channel Islands. Since listing, these threats have been addressed 
by multiple actions through implementation of the Navy's INRMPs and the 
NPS's management policies. While a variety of threats existed under 
Factor A, not all threats were present on all three islands.
    All nonnative herbivores have been removed from San Clemente, San 
Nicolas, and Santa Barbara Islands, and the slow process of natural 
recovery of native habitat is ongoing. Management actions to control, 
remove, or prevent introduction of nonnative plant species are also 
implemented on all three islands by the Navy and NPS. Current 
management efforts on San Clemente and San Nicolas Islands to avoid or 
minimize impacts from land use and development, fire, and erosion due 
to military activities have resulted in reduction of threats to the 
island night lizard or its habitat on those islands. Land use and 
development is not considered a threat to the lizard or its habitat on 
Santa Barbara Island. Fire is also not a substantial threat to the 
lizard or its habitat on Santa Barbara Island due to limited human 
presence, current fire management policy on the island, and an FMP for 
Channel Islands National Park (including Santa Barbara Island). Erosion 
resulting from historical grazing by nonnative herbivores and 
historical land use practices is exacerbated by current military 
activities. Efforts to control these sources of erosion on San Clemente 
and San Nicolas Islands are currently ongoing, as outlined in the 
Navy's INRMPs. As a result of management efforts by the Navy and NPS, 
we do not consider any of these habitat threats to be substantial to 
the island night lizard or its habitat on any of the occupied islands, 
nor do we expect them to become so in the foreseeable future.
    Disease is not a current threat for the island night lizard on any 
of the islands where it occurs nor do we anticipate it to be in the 
foreseeable future; however, predation has impacted the species in the 
past and continues to be a potential impact to individuals on San 
Clemente Island. We do not consider predation to be a substantial 
threat currently or in the foreseeable future due to ongoing feral cat 
removal efforts implemented through the Navy's INRMP. All feral cats 
have been removed from San Nicolas Island, and predation is not a 
threat to the lizard on Santa Barbara Island. Finally, research 
indicates that the southern alligator lizard is not a threat to the 
island night lizard on San Nicolas Island.
    The overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes and inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms are not 
threats to the island night lizard on any of the occupied islands, nor 
do we anticipate them to become threats in the foreseeable future.
    Climate change has been identified as a potential threat with 
regards to the present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailments of its habitat, as well as with regard to other human and 
manmade factors. However, we cannot precisely determine how climate 
change will potentially impact the island night lizard and its habitat 
on San Clemente, San Nicolas, and Santa Barbara Islands. While climate 
change may impact the lizard and its habitat, we are unable to 
accurately predict the effects to the species and its habitat. However, 
species biology indicates that the lizard may be able to withstand some 
changes in habitat conditions. Therefore, we do not consider climate 
change to be a substantial threat to the species throughout its range 
now or in the foreseeable future.
    At the time of listing, the number of island night lizards on San 
Clemente, San Nicolas, and Santa Barbara Islands was unknown. Research 
conducted since then indicates that approximately 21 million island 
night lizards occur on San Clemente Island, 15,300 lizards occur on San 
Nicolas Island, and 17,600 lizards occur on Santa Barbara Island. While 
no new population numbers are available, new habitat assessments 
indicate that the amount of quality habitat supporting the island night 
lizard has increased on each of the islands. It is likely that the 
number of lizards has increased in association with the increase of 
quality habitat on all three islands. Currently, the Navy conducts 
monitoring for management actions that impact threatened or endangered 
species, including the island night lizard, as required by its INRMP. 
If the island night lizard is removed from the List, the Navy would 
continue to monitor the lizard and its habitat through post-delisting 
monitoring efforts to ensure the species is recovering and does not 
warrant relisting in the foreseeable future. The NPS conducts 
monitoring on Santa Barbara Island to assess the impacts of management 
actions on threatened and endangered species, including the island 
night lizard and its habitat. Additionally, the NPS monitors all 
natural resources, including the island night lizard, and would also 
participate in post-delisting monitoring efforts to ensure the species 
does not warrant relisting in the foreseeable future.
    We conclude that, since the time of listing, all substantial 
threats to the island night lizard have been ameliorated. Any remaining 
potential threats to the species are currently managed to minimize 
impacts. The one exception is climate change, for which there is not 
sufficient information to make accurate predictions about the timing 
and degree of potential impacts. However, data suggest that the 
extinction risk for the family Xantusidae (which includes the Island 
night lizard) is zero through the year 2080 (based on Sinervo et al. 
(2010) evaluation of Xantusidae (see Climate Change section)). 
Therefore, using 2080 as our frame of reference for determining the 
foreseeable future (which is generally

[[Page 7934]]

the latest time period that most climate change emission scenario 
models use because they lose confidence beyond this point), we 
concluded that this is not likely to become a substantial threat now or 
in the foreseeable future. We also note that all six primary objectives 
of the Recovery Plan were, or are in the process of, being fulfilled 
(see Recovery Plan Implementation section). Additionally, since 
listing, it was determined that over 21 million lizards exist in high-
quality habitat among the three islands. Based on the current level of 
threats, we would not anticipate future declines in population numbers. 
Therefore, we conclude that the island night lizard is not likely to 
become endangered in the foreseeable future throughout all of its 
range, because all substantial threats have been ameliorated, potential 
threats are currently managed, and Recovery Plan objectives have been 
initiated or fulfilled. As such, we recommend removing the island night 
lizard from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife.

Significant Portion of Its Range

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

[[Page 7935]]

resiliency of the species would be so impaired that the species would 
have an increased vulnerability to threats to the point that the 
overall species would be in danger of extinction (would be 
``endangered''). Conversely, we would not consider the portion of the 
range at issue to be ``significant'' if there is sufficient resiliency, 
redundancy, and representation elsewhere in the species' range that the 
species would not be in danger of extinction throughout its range if 
the population in that portion of the range in question became 
extirpated (extinct locally).
    We recognize that this definition of ``significant'' (a portion of 
the range of a species is ``significant'' if its contribution to the 
viability of the species is so important that without that portion the 
species would be in danger of extinction) establishes a threshold that 
is relatively high. On the one hand, given that the consequences of 
finding a species to be endangered or threatened in an SPR would be 
listing the species throughout its entire range, it is important to use 
a threshold for ``significant'' that is robust. It would not be 
meaningful or appropriate to establish a very low threshold whereby a 
portion of the range can be considered ``significant'' even if only a 
negligible increase in extinction risk would result from its loss. 
Because nearly any portion of a species' range can be said to 
contribute some increment to a species' viability, use of such a low 
threshold would require us to impose restrictions and expend 
conservation resources disproportionately to conservation benefit: 
Listing would be rangewide, even if only a portion of the range of 
minor conservation importance to the species is imperiled. On the other 
hand, it would be inappropriate to establish a threshold for 
``significant'' that is too high. This would be the case if the 
standard were, for example, that a portion of the range can be 
considered ``significant'' only if threats in that portion result in 
the entire species being currently endangered or threatened. Such a 
high bar would not give the SPR phrase independent meaning, as the 
Ninth Circuit held in Defenders of Wildlife v. Norton, 258 F.3d 1136 
(9th Cir. 2001).
    The definition of ``significant'' used in this finding carefully 
balances these concerns. By setting a relatively high threshold, we 
minimize the degree to which restrictions will be imposed or resources 
expended that do not contribute substantially to species conservation. 
But we have not set the threshold so high that the phrase ``in a 
significant portion of its range'' loses independent meaning. 
Specifically, we have not set the threshold as high as it was under the 
interpretation presented by the Service in the Defenders litigation. 
Under that interpretation, the portion of the range would have to be so 
important that current imperilment there would mean that the species 
would be currently imperiled everywhere. Under the definition of 
``significant'' used in this finding, the portion of the range need not 
rise to such an exceptionally high level of biological significance. 
(We recognize that if the species is imperiled in a portion that rises 
to that level of biological significance, then we should conclude that 
the species is in fact imperiled throughout all of its range, and that 
we would not need to rely on the SPR language for such a listing.) 
Rather, under this interpretation we ask whether the species would be 
endangered everywhere without that portion, that is, if that portion 
were completely extirpated. In other words, the portion of the range 
need not be so important that even the species being in danger of 
extinction in that portion would be sufficient to cause the species in 
the remainder of the range to be endangered; rather, the complete 
extirpation (in a hypothetical future) of the species in that portion 
would be required to cause the species in the remainder of the range to 
be endangered.
    The range of a species can theoretically be divided into portions 
in an infinite number of ways. However, there is no purpose in 
analyzing portions of the range that have no reasonable potential to be 
significant or in analyzing portions of the range in which there is no 
reasonable potential for the species to be endangered or threatened. To 
identify only those portions that warrant further consideration, we 
determine whether there is substantial information indicating that: (1) 
The portions may be ``significant'' and (2) the species may be in 
danger of extinction there or likely to become so within the 
foreseeable future. Depending on the biology of the species, its range, 
and the threats it faces, it might be more efficient for us to address 
the significance question first or the status question first. Thus, if 
we determine that a portion of the range is not ``significant,'' we do 
not need to determine whether the species is endangered or threatened 
there; if we determine that the species is not endangered or threatened 
in a portion of its range, we do not need to determine if that portion 
is ``significant.'' In practice, a key part of the determination that a 
species is in danger of extinction in a significant portion of its 
range is whether the threats are geographically concentrated in some 
way. If the threats to the species are essentially uniform throughout 
its range, no portion is likely to warrant further consideration. 
Moreover, if any concentration of threats to the species occurs only in 
portions of the species' range that clearly would not meet the 
biologically based definition of ``significant,'' such portions will 
not warrant further consideration.
    We consider the ``range'' of the island night lizard to be San 
Clemente, San Nicolas, and Santa Barbara Islands (including Sutil 
Island) of the California Channel Islands.
    We considered whether the threats facing the island night lizard 
might be different on San Clemente Island with approximately 99.85 
percent of the population compared to San Nicolas and Santa Barbara 
Islands with, combined, approximately 0.15 percent of the population 
(Service 2012b). A detailed spatial evaluation of threats showed that 
the level of threat, and extent of protective measures, is different on 
San Clemente Island and San Nicolas Island, compared to Santa Barbara 
Island due to ownership and activities conducted by the Navy (Service 
2012b, unpublished data). However, all substantial threats have been 
ameliorated from those islands, and the remaining potential threats to 
the island night lizard are actively managed for by the Navy through 
implementation of INRMPs, Federal Noxious Weed Act, and Soil 
Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act. On Santa Barbara Island there 
are no substantial threats, and the remaining potential threats receive 
protections provided through the implementation of NPS's management 
policies and the Channel Islands National Park Wildland FMP, in 
accordance with the Organic Act. It is our conclusion, based on our 
evaluation of the current potential threats to the island night lizard 
on San Clemente, San Nicolas, and Santa Barbara Islands (see Summary of 
Factors Affecting the Species section), that threats are neither 
sufficiently concentrated nor of sufficient magnitude to indicate the 
species is in danger of extinction on any island and thus it is likely 
to persist throughout its range.

Summary of Finding

    According to 50 CFR 424.11(d), a species may be delisted if the 
best scientific and commercial data available substantiate that the 
species is neither endangered nor threatened because of: (1) 
Extinction, (2) recovery, or (3) error

[[Page 7936]]

in the original data for classification of the species. We consider 
``recovery'' to apply to the island night lizard because, since 
listing, all substantial threats to the lizard have been ameliorated. 
All remaining potential threats to the species and its habitat, with 
the exception of climate change for which there is not information on 
which to make accurate predictions, are currently managed through 
management plans (the Navy's INRMPs on San Clemente and San Nicolas 
Islands in accordance with the Sikes Act, Federal Noxious Weed Act, and 
Soil Conservation and Domestic Allotment Act; and the NPS's management 
policies in accordance with the Organic Act on Santa Barbara Island). 
Upon completion of this finding, a majority of all six primary 
objectives of the Recovery Plan have been fulfilled. Therefore, we find 
that the island night lizard no longer requires the protection of the 
Act and we propose removing the species from the List of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife.

Effects of This Rule

    This rule, if made final, would revise 50 CFR 17.11(h) to remove 
the island night lizard from the List of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife. Because no critical habitat was designated for this species, 
this rule would not affect 50 CFR 17.95.
    If this species is removed from the List of Endangered and 
Threatened Wildlife, the prohibitions and conservation measures 
provided by the Act, particularly through sections 7 and 9 of the Act, 
would no longer apply. Removal of the island night lizard from the List 
of Threatened and Endangered Wildlife would relieve Federal agencies 
from the need to consult with us to ensure any action they authorize, 
fund, or carry out is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence 
of this species.

Peer Review

    In accordance with our joint policy on peer review published in the 
Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (50 FR 34270), we will seek the expert 
opinions of at least three appropriate and independent specialists 
regarding this proposed rule and the draft post-delisting monitoring 
(PDM) plan. The purpose of peer review is to ensure that decisions are 
based on scientifically sound data, assumptions, and analyses. We have 
invited these peer reviewers to comment during this comment period on 
this proposed rule and draft PDM plan, and the specific assumptions and 
conclusions regarding the proposed delisting. Accordingly, the final 
decision may differ from this proposal.

Post-Delisting Monitoring Plan

    Section 4(g)(1) of the Act requires us, in cooperation with the 
States, to implement a monitoring program for not less than 5 years for 
all species that have been recovered and delisted (50 CFR 17.11, 
17.12). The purpose of this post-delisting monitoring (PDM) is to 
verify that a species remains secure from risk of extinction after it 
has been removed from the protections of the Act. The PDM is designed 
to detect the failure of any delisted species to sustain itself without 
the protective measures provided by the Act. If, at any time during the 
monitoring period, data indicate that protective status under the Act 
should be reinstated, we can initiate listing procedures, including, if 
appropriate, emergency listing under section 4(b)(7) of the Act. 
Section 4(g) of the Act explicitly requires us to cooperate with the 
States in development and implementation of PDM programs, but we remain 
responsible for compliance with section 4(g) and, therefore, must 
remain actively engaged in all phases of PDM. We also seek active 
participation of other entities that are expected to assume 
responsibilities for the species' conservation post-delisting.

Post-Delisting Monitoring Plan Overview

    The Service has developed a draft PDM plan for the island night 
lizard in cooperation with the Navy and NPS. The PDM plan is designed 
to verify that the island night lizard remains secure from risk of 
extinction after removal from the list of federally threatened or 
endangered species by detecting changes in its status and habitat 
throughout its known range. With this notice, we are soliciting public 
comments and peer review on the draft PDM Plan including its objectives 
and procedures (see Public Comments Solicited). All comments on the 
draft PDM plan from the public and peer reviewers will be considered 
and incorporated into the final PDM plan as appropriate. Please see the 
plan, available at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/Library/, http://ecos.fws.gov/speciesProfile/profile/speciesProfile.action?spcode=C01M, 
or http://www.regulations.gov for more details.
    The draft PDM plan outlines monitoring that will take place for 5 
years over a 9-year period (i.e., years 1, 3, 4, 7, and 9). The draft 
PDM Plan includes the following measures:
    (1) Monitoring the overall health of the island night lizard 
populations on each island through trap capture rates and recruitment 
at previously established sampling sites. This monitoring will occur in 
all habitats for 9 years following delisting. Biologists will conduct 
density assessments using several methodologies including: Pitfall 
traps, rock-turn surveys, and coverboards arranged in grid arrays or 
transects. Efforts will be made to sample all sites within each 
sampling period. Surveys to assess recruitment will be conducted in 
October for each sampling year.
    (2) Monitoring high-quality habitat will occur twice throughout 
post-delisting monitoring to assess abundance and distribution of 
habitats on all islands. Recently completed island-wide habitat maps 
will be utilized as the baseline assessment to compare with post-
delisting monitoring mapping efforts.
    (3) Identifying thresholds that would trigger an extension of 
monitoring, alteration of management approach, or a status review will 
be established related to island night lizard density, recruitment, and 
habitat.
    Additionally, we are recommending that land managers on each island 
conduct monitoring in previously unsampled areas on each island 
consisting of different habitats at least once during PDM with a focus 
on high-quality habitat. Within these new areas, we recommend using 
already established protocols to allow for comparison of newly sampled 
island night lizard densities and distribution with previously 
established sites for each island. We also recommend establishing 
identical protocols for each island to allow for comparison among 
islands. Lastly, we recommend that each island continue restoration 
efforts of high-quality island night lizard habitat to increase 
distribution and connectivity.
    We also expect to monitor the commitments and actions of management 
plans implemented by the Navy and NPS, which manage potential threats 
to the island night lizard and its habitat, including the introduction 
and current persistence of nonnative plants, land use and development, 
erosion, and fire.

Required Determinations

Clarity of the Rule

    We are required by Executive Orders 12866 and 12988 and by the 
Presidential Memorandum of June 1, 1998, to write all rules in plain 
language. This means that each rule we publish must:
    (a) Be logically organized,
    (b) Use the active voice to address readers directly,

[[Page 7937]]

    (c) Use clear language rather than jargon,
    (d) Be divided into short sections and sentences, and
    (e) Use lists and tables wherever possible.
    If you feel that we have not met these requirements, send us 
comments by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. To 
better help us revise the rule, your comments should be as specific as 
possible. For example, you should tell us the names of the sections or 
paragraphs that are unclearly written, which sections or sentences are 
too long, the sections where you feel lists or tables would be useful, 
etc.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations at 5 CFR part 
1320, which implement provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 
U.S.C. 3501 et seq.), require that Federal agencies obtain approval 
from OMB before collecting information from the public. This rule does 
not contain any new collections of information that require approval by 
OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act. This rule will not impose 
recordkeeping or reporting requirements on State or local governments, 
individuals, businesses, or organizations. An agency may not conduct or 
sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of 
information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

National Environmental Policy Act

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

Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

    In concurrence 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 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. We have determined that 
there are no tribal lands affected by this proposal.

References Cited

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

Author

    The primary author of this proposed rule is the Carlsbad Fish and 
Wildlife Office in Carlsbad, California (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT).

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

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

Proposed Regulation Promulgation

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

PART 17--ENDANGERED AND THREATENED WILDLIFE AND PLANTS

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.


Sec.  17.11  [Amended]

0
2. Amend Sec.  17.11(h) by removing the entry for ``Lizard, Island 
night'' under ``REPTILES'' in the List of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife.

    Dated: January 23, 2013.
Rowan W. Gould,
Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2013-02020 Filed 2-1-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P